Tuesday, November 13, 2018

House of Ashes by Loretta Marion


For mystery fans who also like a touch of paranormal and romance, I bring you House of Ashes by Loretta Marion. Please enjoy an excerpt and then download your own copy. Leave comments and questions as you follow the book tour and then make sure you enter the giveaway!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.


House of Ashes


Thirty-seven-year-old painter Cassandra Mitchell is fourth-generation to live in the majestic Battersea Bluffs, a brooding Queen Anne home originally built by her great-grandparents, Percy and Celeste Mitchell, and still standing despite tragedies that have swept the generations. Local lore has it that there was a curse placed on the family and the house is haunted, though opinions are divided on whether it's by malicious or benevolent spirits. Cassie believes the latter―but now she stands to lose her beloved home to mounting debt and the machinations of her dream-weaving ex-husband.

Salvation seems to arrive when a nomadic young couple wanders onto the property with the promise of companionship and much-needed help―until they vanish without a trace, leaving behind no clue to their identities. Cassie is devastated, but determined to discover what's happened to the young couple...even as digging into their disappearance starts to uncover family secrets of her own. Despite warnings from her childhood friend, now the local Chief of Police―as well as an FBI agent who pushes the boundaries of professionalism―Cassie can't help following the trail of clues (and eerie signals from the old house itself) to unravel the mystery. But can she do so before her family's dark curse destroys everything in its path?



Buy links


About Loretta Marion

A true bibliophile, Loretta Marion's affection for the written word began in childhood and followed her like a shadow throughout her life as she crafted award winning marketing and advertising copy and educational brochures. She then applied her writing skills as a volunteer, establishing a Legacy Story program for hospice patients, which inspired her to create her own fictional stories. Her debut novel, The Fool's Truth, was a twisty mystery with whispers of romance. Her newest novel, HOUSE OF ASHES – A Haunted Bluffs Mystery, is the first in a series published by Crooked Lane Books.

When not whipping out words on her laptop, she is traveling, enjoying outdoor pursuits, or is curled up with a delicious new book. Loretta lives in Rhode Island with her husband, Geoffrey, and their beloved Mr. Peabody, a sweet, devoted and amusing “Corgador”.

Website: https://www.LorettaMarion.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LorettaMarionAuthor


Loretta Marion will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Writing an Engaging Series: A Look at FBI Thriller On the Count of Three by Carolyn Arnold


A well-written police procedural is worth every lost moment of sleep. But they have to be done just right, otherwise they aren't worth it. Carolyn Arnold is a bestselling author who has mastered this art. Today she is telling us how to write an engaging series. You can also check out an excerpt from her latest book, On the Count of Three, and leave her further comments and questions. Be sure to follow the tour and take advantage of all the opportunities to win the giveaway!

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Writing an Engaging Series

The more books you write in a series, the steeper the challenges. The overall plot, the killer(s), the method, the victimology are rather easy. What is more difficult is coming up with ways for your characters to grow. It requires that you dig deep into out their backgrounds, their motivations, and their experience. If authors get lazy in this regard, it will show in the final product.

For this reason, I endeavor to interview my characters to really drill down and find out what about the plot has that can parallel to their personal or professional lives. Sometimes it’s harder than it sounds. When it came to writing On the Count of Three, I interviewed several of the characters—even ones outside the series’ main characters.

In this book, I’m introducing someone who may become a part of the series and there’s only one shot at a first impression. You need to make sure the character is strong and relatable—real—so that readers can connect with them and want to know more about that person. Further than that, you want the reader so invested in the character, they’ll want to follow them for many books to come.

Also, if you’re writing a police procedural series like me, it’s crucial to get the facts right. If you’re familiar with my work, you realize just how important this aspect is to me. I’ve even adopted the trademark Police Procedurals Respected by Law Enforcement™. This wasn’t a decision that I chose, but rather that chose me. I’ve had many people from law enforcement reach out to me over the years to tell me how accurate my books are. Some have said they even see themselves in the characters as if looking in a mirror.

So how do I get my facts right when I don’t have a background in law enforcement? Research, but I’ve also been blessed with a network of people who have experience in law enforcement to answer my questions. They are so understanding and selfless with their time in responding. What I’ve found is they are appreciative that I am taking the time to make sure procedure is as accurate as possible.

I am pleased to say that even though the challenges can be great—and at times seem insurmountable—I believe my hard work has paid off again with the seventh installment in the Brandon Fisher FBI series. On the Count of Three took much longer to finish up than I would have liked, but I believe the final product makes up for any delay.

I invite you to download a copy of On the Count of Three or order in paperback or hardcover from your favorite retailer. But be warned: this book isn’t for the faint of heart.




On the Count of Three

And they thought prison was hell…

When a woman’s disappearance ticks off all the same boxes as two unsolved murders, Miami homicide detective Kelly Marsh is convinced there’s about to be a third. If she’s right and the killer sticks to their previous MO, she only has three days before Jenna Kelter’s decapitated head will show up somewhere in the city. With no time to waste, Kelly reaches out to the one person she knows can help: her former mentor and family friend Jack Harper, who just happens to lead a team with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.

BAU special agent and profiler Brandon Fisher easily sees the similarities between Detective Marsh’s missing person case and the two cold cases: all three victims served time for DUI vehicular homicide and disappeared three days after being released from prison. But is that enough to assume Kelter has been abducted by a serial killer? Brandon’s not so sure and fears his boss may have let his personal connection to Marsh cloud his judgment. Surely there isn’t any other explanation for why they jumped into an investigation less than twenty-four hours after Kelter was reported missing. Then again, maybe Brandon is letting his own differences with the detective affect his perspective. He’ll need to move past it, though—and quickly.

After all, this killer has evaded capture for the past six years, and they may be looking at a lot more victims than originally suspected. This serial killer is calling the shots and pulling them into a macabre game of cat and mouse. While the team has no choice but to play, if they don’t make the right moves, one of them may not make it out of Miami alive.



https://amzn.to/2DhcMFN

Read an excerpt:
“We’ll start on the count of three,” he said in a singsong voice. The Night pulsed beneath his skin with a heartbeat of its own.

“No, no, please!” the woman screamed.

It pierced his ears, but he smiled, moving into position next to her. “One…” He reached out for the chain that suspended the blade. “T—” His phone rang. His body quaked, the tremors of the Night snaking through him.

He grabbed a roll of duct tape from a nearby utility shelf and slapped a piece across her mouth. He normally didn’t have to worry about their screams out there, but he wanted to answer this call. The ringtone told him it was his girlfriend, Roxanne. She fit into his life plan—at least for now—and he didn’t want to mess things up with her.

He kept his eyes on the woman as he answered his phone. “Hey, sweetie.”

He listened as his girlfriend prattled on about their plans for the following evening—dinner, then a movie. Nothing new there. She said maybe dancing afterward, but they’d never make it to a club. She’d be ready for bed by ten, and he’d tuck her in. She was as predictable as drying paint and about as exciting. But she played along with his sexual fantasies without contention, and she’d do anything to make him happy.

“You’ll pick me up? My place at six o’clock?” she asked.

“I can do that. I’m looking forward to spending some time with you.”

“Love you,” Roxanne told him.

“Love you, too.” He hung up, smiling, and let the expression carry for his victim to see. He set up his cell phone to record again and walked toward the woman. “Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?”

She was screaming behind the tape and bucking her head wildly. She was clearly trying to slide back, as if she could worm her way out of the guillotine.

Yes, fight. It makes it so much more fun…

“One,” he roared above her. “Two…” He wound the chain around his fingers. With a flick of his wrist, he released it. “Three.”

About Carolyn Arnold

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:
Website - http://carolynarnold.net/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters


Carolyn Arnold will be giving away a paperback copy of Remnants. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 9, 2018

Review of A Cowboy's Christmas Proposal by Cathy McDavid



Welcome to the book tour for A Cowboy's Christmas Proposal by Cathy McDavid. It's another touching cowboy story taking place on a ranch, plus it takes place during the Christmas season. I love my Christmas stories and I have been loving these rancher stories lately. So please check out my review and then follow the tour for more reviews and other book fun. Plus there's a fantastic giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours


A Cowboy's Christmas Proposal
(The Sweetheart Ranch #1)
By Cathy McDavid
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
November 1st 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

At a magical time of year…

Can a cowboy help falling in love?

For single dad Owen Caufield, living and working at Sweetheart Ranch for a month is the perfect change of pace. While the cowboy turned wedding officiant can now spend more time with his children, Molly O’Malley, his new boss, is less thrilled. A wedding ranch isn’t the best place for three rambunctious youngsters. But amid the chaos—and the coming holidays—it may be the best place to fall in love…

GoodreadsAmazonB&NBook DepositoryHarlequiniBooksKobo

**My thoughts**
I really can't seem to get enough of the cowboy and rancher romance stories lately. This story gets bonus points for taking place during the Christmas season, because I also can't get enough of the Christmas romances at this time of year. This book fit both perfectly.

Molly is a mess in the romance department. She has failed at marriage more than once, and before she has even made it down the aisle. It's affected her on every level of her life. So when her grandmother decides to elope and asks her to take over the Sweetheart Ranch weddings for a month, she decides it is a good time to try for a fresh start helping other people have their dream wedding. She tends to be overly attentive to details and demands as close to perfection as one can muster, which makes her a good person for the job. 

Owen is also starting over in a sense. He has left his demanding job and has come to the ranch to stand in for his great-uncle, who happens to be the groom of Molly's grandmother. He has brought his three young children with him so that he can get to know them better. They have spent most of their time with their mother, his ex-wife, and don't know him as well, because he has always been away for work. He has online ordination which allows him to perform secular weddings, which fit in perfectly at Sweetheart Ranch. It doesn't hurt that he is easy on the eyes. He is also used to being in charge at work. This can compliment Molly's style, or potentially stand in her way. 

The two work extremely well together. They also mesh well together on a personal level. Owen is a bit more eager to make things work than Molly is. He wants to find someone with whom he is compatible to share his life and to care for his kids. All three of them have taken to Molly and she does well with them. The problem is, Molly has her guard up. I can't say that I blame her, especially considering her past love life. 

You pretty much know the way the story is going to go, because these kinds of romances do follow a certain kind of formula. But what's lovely to enjoy is the road that gets them to that point. You watch Molly grow and she comes into herself while running the Sweetheart Ranch. You watch Owen grow as he bonds with his kids and truly realizes the importance of his relationship with them as their father. Both of them learn more about trusting others. 

And how can you not fall in love with the Sweetheart Ranch? I wish this place was real, because I would love to go visit it. Carriage rides, hayrides, campfires, and an overall romantic air about the place just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I even had moments where my eyes got a little misty, but I am a big romantic at heart, myself. That's a sign of a great romance for sure.


About the Author

In the third grade, NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Cathy McDavid made it her goal to read every Black Stallion book ever written. Who knew such an illustrious ambition would eventually lead to a lifelong love of all things western and a career writing contemporary romances for Harlequin? With over 1.2 million books sold, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll.

An “almost” Arizona native, she’s married to her own real-life sweetheart, whom she re-met a few years ago at a high school reunion. Her grown twins are out on their own and finding their happily-ever-afters. In 2014, Cathy retired from the corporate world to write full-time. She now spends her days penning stories about good looking cowboys riding the range, busting a bronc, and sweeping gals off their feet. It a tough job, but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

Tour Giveaway


1 winner will receive their choice of two previously published Christmas stories by Cathy McDavid (print or ebook, winner's choice), a small gift bag of promo bling, a holiday ornament, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card
US only
Ends November 23, 2018

Grab Our Button!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review of The Heartbreak Cowboy by Mina Beckett


Welcome to the book tour for The Heartbreak Cowboy, hosted by Promotional Book Tours! I shared an author interview over on my other site Candrel's Crafts, Cooks, and Characters, and today I have a review of the book for you. Enjoy my thoughts and be sure to grab your own copy! Follow the tour below to read the interview, more reviews, and other fun posts. And there's a great giveaway that you'll want to check out.

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support my websites at no additional cost to you. I also received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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*Old flames burn hotter the second time around...*

It’s been four long years since McCrea Coldiron watched Eleanor Mackenna walk out of his life. He wasn’t ready for the marriage noose then and never thought he would be. Single, free to do as he pleases, and running the Promise Point Horse Rescue Ranch are the things that make him sure he was right to let Eleanor go… This is until she comes back to town with a daughter he never knew about in tow.

Eleanor knows just how badly McCrea can burn a woman and how persuasive he can be when he wants something, so she’s more than cautious about his charming words and cocky grin when she comes home to arrange the sale of her grandparents’ ranch. But when a flat tire in a thunderstorm introduces four-year-old Sophie to her daddy, Eleanor knows McCrea’s love for his daughter is genuine. Can she trust it will be the same for her? As the icy walls around her heart begin to melt, Eleanor must find the courage to trust her heart or run away from the man who has always owned it.

Being shown what he lost is a wake-up call for McCrea and he isn’t about to let Eleanor or Sophie walk away. It’s time to prove he’s a man who believes in love and happy-ever-after.  


https://amzn.to/2RD7vfq

**My thoughts**
From the get-go, I could tell that Eleanor and McCrea had complete miscommunication between the two of them and deserved to have time to talk things through and to try to work things out. It's clear that the two of them still have a strong attraction to each other. And I rooted for them to figure it out the whole way. Mina does a good job of illustrating the extremes of feelings that go on in someone's mind when they are torn between hatred for the other person for betrayal and yet are still strongly attracted to someone, especially to who you used to be together. Jumbled up emotions take over and you feel almost crazy as you experience the various extremes.

While I am rooting for them to work it out, I am also cautioning them to take it easy. There is a lot of anger that felt like it disappeared too conveniently for me, and their daughter Sophie did play a huge role in that. And while we find out why McCrea didn't know that he had a daughter, I will say that I find it so hard to believe that so many people in a relatively small town had no idea that Eleanor had a child, even though she had moved away. She still had family there, still snuck to town for visits, and really didn't live dreadfully far away. Plus the two families go back for generations. There are a lot of buried family secrets, though, that are slowly revealed to provide some insight.

Beyond that, I did enjoy the descriptions of the ranches and the ranching lifestyle. While I never would make it living in such an environment, there is something so romantic about the idea of a ranch (in spite of the extreme hard work it takes to run one). I've been reading a lot of romances lately about being on a ranch. I love the horse rescue idea and how McCrea is trying to really do good in his life, as well as trying to show the love of his life how he can be her perfect cowboy.

About Mina Beckett

Mina and her husband live on a small farm in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of southern Kentucky. She's an artist, an avid reader, a dog lover, and a miniature horses enthusiast. Life in her corner of the world consists of long winter nights curled up by the fire, cheering on her favorite football teams in the fall, enduring March Madness in the spring and walking barefoot through her garden with a cold jar of tea in the summer fireflies at sunset accompanied by a serenade of crickets and frogs, and lazy nights in the porch swing.


Pick up the prequel novella The Cowboy's Goodnight Kiss for FREE on Mina's website!
Enter to win a $25 Amazon GC

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Read an exclusive excerpt from Heiress's Royal Baby Bombshell by Jennifer Faye


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the book tour for Heiress's Royal Baby Bombshell by Jennifer Faye! It's great timing with all of the Royal Family madness with recent babies and weddings. Plus it's a Christmas story, to help get you into the mood, now that we're on top of the holiday season. Please enjoy this exclusive excerpt from the story before you download your own copy. You can also check out the other books in the series, get some freebies, and enter a great giveaway! 

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.


Heiress's Royal Baby Bombshell
(The Cattaneos' Christmas Miracles #2)
By Jennifer Faye
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
November 61st 2018 by Harlequin Romance

One-night miracle…

For the Crown Prince!

In this The Cattaneos’ Christmas Miracles story, rebel royal Max believes his infertility has cost him the throne — until heiress Noemi reveals she’s carrying his baby! And with his country’s future at stake, Max must claim his heir! Noemi is hesitant and fiercely protective of their unborn baby, but at his snow-covered palace can Max offer her the most precious Christmas gift ever — the chance to become a family…


Read an excerpt:
He didn’t want to be here.

Not really.

Crown Prince Maximilian Steiner-Wolf, known to his friends as Max, sat in the back seat of his sports utility vehicle as one of his three bodyguards maneuvered it along the windy road in the Swiss Alps. His bodyguard and friend, Roc, sat in the passenger seat while Shaun, a bodyguard of similar stature and looks, sat next to him. He couldn’t go anywhere without at least a small security detail.

Being the crown prince came with certain nonnegotiable restrictions. One of them was his safety. He may insist on traveling but the king demanded that his safety always be taken into consideration. It was a hassle but the guards were very good at becoming invisible unless their presence was required.

Max turned his head to the window and stared out at the snowy landscape of the mountainous region with some of the best slopes in all Europe. He was planning to spend a week or two skiing at Mont Coeur before returning to the palace in the European principality of Ostania.

He hadn’t been home in months, but the approaching holidays were a big thing, not only at the palace but also throughout Ostania. And his mother had called, insisting he spend Christmas with them. After all, he was still the crown prince, even though he would never be king. However, the royal family was still keeping up appearances with the public.

Though Max was the firstborn and had been groomed from birth to take the throne of the small European country, no one had foreseen that he would be diagnosed with cancer in his teens. Although his treatment had been successful, doctors informed him that the cure had very likely rendered him sterile. Royal decree stated that the ruler of Ostania must produce an heir verified by a paternity test. From then on, Max knew it was impossible for him to take the throne.

So as not to cause the nation to panic over the future of Ostania, the palace had kept Max’s infertility quiet while attentions turned to preparing his younger brother, Tobias, to become the future ruler of Ostania. No one outside of the court circle knew, and meanwhile, to the world, Max was still the crown prince.

While all of his parents’ attention was showered on his little brother, Max roamed the world. He wasn’t as much of a party animal as the press claimed him to be, but he did know how to have a good time. However, that was all about to change.

Freebie


Go to Jennifer's Contact Page HERE and order your bookmark(s)!

Other Books in the Series


About the Author


Award-winning author, Jennifer Faye pens fun, heartwarming contemporary romances with rugged cowboys, sexy billionaires and enchanting royalty. Internationally published with books translated into nine languages. She is a two-time winner of the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, named a TOP PICK author, and been nominated for numerous other awards.


Tour Schedule

November 5th:
Launch
It's All About the Romance
underneath the covers
November 6th:
Wishful Endings
Andi's Book Reviews
November 7th:
Locks, Hooks and Books
E-Romance News
Reading On The Edge
Bri's Book Nook
Colorimetry
November 8th:
Inside The Mind of an Avid Reader
Book Lover in Florida
November 9th:
Jorie Loves A Story
My Devotional Thoughts
Harlie's Books
Rockin' Book Reviews
November 10th:
Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway


1 winner will recieve a $25 Amazon Gift Card + print copy of Cinderella's New York Christmas (The Cattaneos' Christmas Miracles Book 1) + swag
US only
Ends November 14, 2018

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Out of This World Sci-Fi and Fantasy Free Reads and Huge Giveaway


Did someone say free books? This one is for all of my fans of sci-fi and fantasy reads. You get your choice of SIXTEEN books, plus chances to enter this amazing giveaway below. Happy reading and best of luck entering!


Get 16 FREE Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy reads for FREE
& Participate in the giveaway (just follow the rules - so easy!)
and you could win a chance at this amazing prize pack worth more than $200!
(Including $50 Amazon GC!)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Review of A Very Merry Murder by Mary Angela with Giveaway


Welcome to the review tour for A Very Merry Murder by Mary Angela! This is the third book in the Professor Prather Mystery Series, but the first one I have read. Find out what I thought about it. You can also read an excerpt and then follow the tour to see what others think of the book as well. Leave comments and questions for Mary along the way. And then be sure to enter the giveaway!

Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support my websites at no additional cost to you. I also received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


A Very Merry Murder

It’s December in Copper Bluff, and from hillside to hallowed hall, everyone is merry—or will be as soon as semester break arrives. Students are studying, professors are grading, and Emmeline Prather is anticipating the university-sponsored holiday concert. Friend and colleague Lenny Jenkins will be accompanying the visiting quartet, Jazz Underground, and Em can’t think of a better way to kick-start the holiday season.

But before she can say “Jingle Bell Rock,” trouble arrives at Candlelight Inn, the bed and breakfast where the quartet is staying. One of the band members dies unexpectedly, and suspicion falls on Em, whose altercation with the man ends with him on the floor. He never recovers, and now she’s worried her reputation might not either.

When Emmeline starts to see parallels between an Agatha Christie novel she’s teaching and the victim, Lenny claims she’s read one too many mysteries. But as the clues unravel, so does the murderer’s patience. Em is close to finding the truth, but will the truth—or the murderer—push her over the edge? It will take a Christmas miracle to solve this case, but if there’s one thing in surplus this time of year, it’s faith.

Book Three of the Professor Prather Mystery Series


Read an excerpt:
When we were on the highway, the Candlelight Inn safely in the distance, Lenny began to talk. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I had no idea that creep would try anything like that.”

“Don’t be. It wasn’t that big of a deal.”

He gave me a look.

“I mean, I know it turned into a big deal when he died, but up until then, I had things under control.”

His hands tightened on the wheel. “Still, it pisses me off.”

“Well, I wouldn’t be too angry. Obviously he got what was coming to him.”

“God, Prather. Don’t say things like that out loud.”

I shrugged. “It’s only us. Granted, Miles was self-centered and arrogant, more than a little caddish with women, but that doesn’t mean I thought he deserved to die. Someone thought so, though. Someone decided to give him what they saw as his comeuppance. I just wonder who.”

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t just hear you say that.”

“What? You think he just died suddenly at the ripe old age of fifty-something? Obviously, this is murder.”

“Come on, Em. It’s Christmas.”

I looked out the window at the white snow covering the fields. “A very merry murder, then.”

Buy links


**My thoughts**
Em is an interesting character. While she focuses on being an English professor, she has inadvertently ended up becoming an amateur sleuth for three different murders. This third story in the series is a lot more personal for her, as she is actually one of the top suspects. So she is eager to try to clear her own name. 

As with a lot of cozy mysteries, the law enforcement agency seems to be lacking in some respects, with the amateur one being more adept at putting together the pieces of the puzzle. In some ways, I kept thinking about Jessica Fletcher, despite the few decades of difference in age. And of course you can't help but think of some Agatha Christie novels, especially as Em's class is currently studying the Hercule Poirot short stories. Plus there are parallels between the fictional stories and the one happening in real life in the book. 

Then there's the matter of her friend Lenny, to whom she is greatly attracted. Their romance/not-romance-but-friendship is a very familiar situation. The beautiful Belle, who is part of the group in which the deceased Miles was also a member, is some potential competition. 

Em also has an eclectic group of friends who try to help her, such as Sophie, her former student and an officer, and a few people who like to stand in her way, like Jane, who just seems to want to be nasty all the time. They all help with a few twists and turns along the way.

The story is a Christmas cozy, because it takes place during the holiday season. I think this is the first time I have read such a combination. Most Christmas stories seem to be those warm and fuzzy romances. That made for a fun twist. This book is the third one in the series. I haven't read the first two in the series, but this book pretty much worked as a standalone for me. I would love to know more about Em's history with Lenny and the other two murders she helped solve, but those weren't crucial to enjoying this book.


About Mary Angela

Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic mystery series, which has been called “enjoyable” and “clever” by Publishers Weekly. She is also an educator and has taught English and humanities at South Dakota’s public and private universities for over ten years. When Mary isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. For more information about Mary or the series, go to MaryAngelaBooks.com.

Website: www.maryangelabooks.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/maryangelabooks

Twitter: @maryangelabooks


Mary Angela will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway