Book Review: Talk to the Paw by Melinda Metz

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Title: Talk to the Paw

Author: By Melinda Metz

Publisher: Kensington

Genre: Fiction

Date on the Shelves: Jan. 30, 2018

Format: Trade paperback

Pages: 281

Cost: $9.95 US/$10.95 CAN

Received this book for an honest review.

Jamie Snyder is at a crossroads in her life. All her relationships with men turned out to be short term. One didn’t want to propose. One thought he needed to take care of himself first. Another didn’t think it necessary to mention he was married. Then her mother became ill and passed away.

It’s time for a new beginning and that meant following her own dreams and changing her life to what “she” wanted. Jamie leaves Avella, PA and heads out to LA with her tabby, Mac Gyver and her inheritance. She finds a vacant bungalow on Storybook Court in old Hollywood and looked forward to designing her future. Her neighbors, Al and Marie add her to their adopted extended family, whether she’s interested or not.  Marie and their neighbor Helen immediately take on the responsibility of being her matchmaker and if that wasn’t bad enough, her tabby has the same plan. Not only does he want to partner his lonely human with another lonely human, he is determined to sneak out of the house and match up other people, as well. He does this by taking one of their possessions and dropping it off on a neighbor’s door mat during the night. He becomes a cat thief and matchmaker, but a former TV detective really thinks its Jamie. So begins an adorable, realistic story of a cat who really cares if his neighbors are happy.

Talk to the Paw is a great animal lover book. Mac Gyver is a clever cat on a mission, but he has a difficult time. David, the man he chose for Jamie, can’t seem to let go of the connection he had with his late wife. He is a devoted husband and she was a big part of his life. Jamie also has a difficult time committing because she needs to learn who she is. So, there was this tension between the two of them and sooner or later they had to realize they were more than friends. Loved the interaction with David’s dog and Mac Gyver, as well.

I see the neighbors as part of a community quilt. Though most would consider Marie and Helen as nosy meddling women, I just think they wanted people to be couples so no one would be alone. That’s how it was for generations. Ruby has a lot to offer, too. The people that naturally involve themselves are unique individuals. The majority of the people in this world follow the rule of “personal space” and that’s how we remain strangers and uncaring. More power to these people.

Four out of five well-meaning cats

Denise Fleischer

Gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

May 13, 2018

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A little Squawking and a Lot of Love

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Two yellow-sided turquoise conures contently perched and watching the crowd during Rolling Meadows Bird Fair & Show on Saturday, April 14. (Denise Fleischer/The Journal)

The following article was published in the Journal & Topics Newspapers, (in Illinois) where I work as the Lifestyle Editor. Though there’s constant deadlines, there’s a nearly daily opportunity to learn about people’s lives and contributions to society. There’s never a boring day.  I hope to share a number of articles that I’ve written and my thoughts on writing. It all depends on free time.

By DENISE FLEISCHER

GWN Blogger & Author of Deadly Reservations      

A well-attended bird fair hosted by Midwest Shows takes flight every month at the Rolling Meadows Community Center. If you love birds, this is the place to be.

In the center’s gym, experienced breeders, vendors and artists greeted fair goers Saturday, April 14. Row upon row of bird-specific seeds and mixes, appropriate toys, cages, bedding, perches, food cups and bird-related jewelry were sold.

The fair provides the perfect opportunity to learn about birds’ needs and how to provide the best environment for each breed. Here you will find in traveling cages a variety of finches, parakeets, conures, love birds, cockatiels, bourkes, parrolets, doves, macaws, eclectus, English budgies and a toucan. A word to the wise: Respect the birds and don’t try to pet them. They might not show it but the crowd can be overwhelming. They could bite or fly away.

Fair-goers learned that birds are not simply pretty pets that you feed and change their gravel paper. Many bond with one person and require as much interaction as a young child. Some never wish to be held while others are highly social. Some have a shrilling squawk while others peep. Lifespans vary with each species as well as the care needed.
The Rolling Meadows Community Center is located at 3705 Pheasant Drive. There is a nominal admission fee for the monthly bird fair. The next one will be held Saturday, May 12.

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A cage filled with young parakeets awaiting their new families. (Denise Fleischer/The Journal)

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Walter from Alsip talks to bird fair shoppers and bird lovers about his cockatoo, Clancy. (Denise Fleischer/The Journal)

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An Indian Ringneck loves being cuddled. Gwen, Nicole and Scarlet Nelson of WI learn from the breeder about the bird’s behavior. (Denise Fleischer/The Journal)

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Ten-year old Umbrella Cockatoo, Tolek, shows off his white crest with a little coaxing from his family, John and Kasia. (Denise Fleischer/The Journal)

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Two yellow-headed Amazon’s grooming on large perches not minding fair goers. (Denise Fleischer/The Journal)

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Eighteen-year-old Princess is a Moluccan Cockatoo, a rescue from Michigan.

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A baby cockatiel rests on Ahtziri Santiago of Glendale Heights.

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Aketo and Ishtar are Eclectus parrots.

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Row upon row of bird-specific seeds and mixes, appropriate toys, cages, bedding, perches, food cups and bird-related jewelry were sold. (Denise Fleischer/The Journal)

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I adopted this beautiful green cheek conure and named him/her Cody. My 15-year-old sun conure, passed away a month ago. Marley was the sweetest bird I ever had. I couldn’t be without another conure.

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My article as it appeared in the Journal.

5 Amazing Reasons Why Lenny Loves Spring…and Your Dog Does Too

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By Rebecca Adler 

Here in Texas, spring has sprung! The beautiful dogwood and redbud trees are in bloom on every block. My heart is singing with the possibility of new beginnings.

If spring has made an appearance in your neck of the woods, you probably aren’t the only one jumping for joy. How about your pets? In Cinco de Murder, the third book in my Taste of Texas mystery series, reporter-turned-Tex-Mex-waitress Josie Callahan and her spunky long-haired Chihuahua Lenny are gearing up for that beloved Texas celebration of Mexican culture, Cinco de Mayo. I love that Lenny and I both find spring to be our favorite season of the year. And since we both jump for joy at the sight of dogwood blossoms, I began to wonder about the positive effects of spring on our pets, especially dogs.

Here’s what I found in a wonderful article by K9 Magazine entitled “5 Reasons to Love Spring If You’re a Dog.” (Not that our cats and other pets don’t enjoy the joys of spring too!)

Banish the winter blues! Did you know that recent research shows pets can suffer from seasonal affective disorder just like humans? The lighter mornings and longer days mean more time for you and your dog in the great outdoors—always a great way to enjoy a more active, healthy regime.

More opportunities to socialize with friends! With more time outside in the great outdoors it follows that dogs, and owners, will widen their social circle.

More crops of fresh produce! With more fresh fruit and vegetables available, you and your dog can add more healthy treats to your diet.

Winter skin is banished!  If harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on our own skin, you know it can harm our pets’ skin. Colder weather can mean our dogs and other pets suffer from dry skin during the winter months, too.

More Vitamin D! With warmer weather, your dog and other pets can soak up more natural goodness from the sun just simply by being outdoors for longer – vitamin D helps to build immunity and strong bones.

Here in Texas, spring is synonymous with Cinco de Mayo, a celebration to show pride for the wonderful Mexican culture with dancing, bright colored costumes, parades, traditional music, and eating lots of yummy Tex-Mex. In Cinco de Murder, my amateur sleuth Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela,and her spunky long-haired Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their traditional folklóricodances for Saturday’s big Cinco de Mayo parade. (If you’ve never had the delight of seeing a dog dance while wearing a mariachi costume, then this book if for you.)

Not to be outdone, Josie’s Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot’s First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off. But Uncle Eddie’s hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when a cantankerous chili cook is found dead in his tent. And when Josie’s beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead’s life–before another cook kicks the bucket.

One of the joys of writing the Taste of Texas mystery series has been sharing with readers my love of dogs especially my fictional fur baby, Lenny, the long-haired Chi. Why are mysteries with dogs, cats, birds, and even a hamster named Rex so appealing to readers? Why not? Pets are such an important part of our life, sharing with us unconditional love and affection. How could we possibly leave them out of our books?

May you have a beautiful spring, wherever you call home. And if you’re in the mood for a tasty, fun-filled mystery—with Tex-Mex recipes—I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Cinco de Murder (A Berkley Prime Crime Book, 286 pages, $7.99 US/$10.99 Canada)

 

Guest Blog Post: Shot in the Dark: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle

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A divorced single mom in her forties, Clare Cosi is a coffeehouse manager by day and a relentless snoop by night. SHOT IN THE DARK is her 17thadventure, and like every entry in our Coffeehouse Mystery series, Clare sleuths with the help of her quirky staff of baristas, her beloved octogenarian employer, and her globetrotting ex-husband—who also happens to be the shop’s coffee hunter.

In Clare’s latest case, a hot, new dating app is boosting the Village Blend’s bottom line, but with so many high-octane matches taking place in her shop, plenty of couples are bound to get burned. One night, a date’s disappointment turns deadly. First a shot rings out in Clare’s coffeehouse, and later the corpse of a sweet, young female customer is found floating in the Hudson River. Soon Clare is sparing with the NYPD Harbor Patrol, prowling a night-shrouded park in search of clues, and sneaking into an exclusive health club for the rich and beautiful.

Most of SHOT IN THE DARK’s New York locations are real, some of our favorite offbeat places in the city: from an expansive Manhattan greenspace alongside the turbulent, mile-wide Hudson, to the foggy wharves of Red Hook Brooklyn, to a battered railroad barge transformed into a lively, outdoor restaurant.

If you are a newcomer to our long-running Coffeehouse series, don’t hesitate to pick up our latest title. All of our mysteries can be read as stand-alone stories. And, if you like one, you’ll have sixteen more to enjoy. But don’t miss our latest: SHOT IN THE DARK!

Praise for SHOT IN THE DARK
A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle

Mystery Pick of the Month!
“A gripping and entertaining mystery…”
Library Journal  (Starred Review)

“Penetrating insights…” —Kirkus

“Sure to delight old fans and garner new ones…”
Publishers Weekly

Coffeehouse Mysteries Book Trailer

Link to YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmgZXq8Gqjs

 

FREE RECIPE GUIDE:

SHOT IN THE DARK is also a culinary mystery, with an appendix of more than 25 recipes. To see the Recipe Guide, click here  after the book publishes on April 17, 2018, or stop by Cleo Coyle’s online coffeehouse at CoffeehouseMystery.comto download a free copy.

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FREE CHECKLIST OF TITLES (Books in Order):

Get a title checklist with mini summaries of all 17 Coffeehouse Mysteries and links to free recipe guides. To download the list as a PDF document, click here.

Click-for-Free-Checklist-of-Cleo-Coyle-Books

 

CLEO’S NEWSLETTER: Fun contests, bonus recipes, book news, and videos. To sign up, simply write an e-mail that says “sign me up” and send it to CoffeehouseMystery@gmail.com.

 

Cleo Coyle (aka Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini)

Alice Alfonsi and her husband, Marc Cerasini, who write as Cleo Coyle.

About the author

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, now celebrating fifteen years in print. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York City, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together, including the popular Haunted Bookshop Mysteries. Look for a brand new entry in their Haunted Bookshop Mysteries this October: The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller.

Visit their website at www.coffeehousemystery.com.

Guest Blog Post: Vintage clothes, Haight Street, and the birth of a series

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Shopping in vintage stores has always been a little frustrating for me, because so many of the clothes are meant for women who aren’t as…*ahem*…voluptuous as I am. But I’ve always enjoyed looking, and getting a sense of different times and approaches to wardrobes.

So, years ago I was meandering through the aisles of a vintage clothing store on Haight Street in San Francisco, enjoying watching the colorful characters both in the store and out on the street, and I thought to myself: what if a certain natural-born witch was searching for a home? Wouldn’t this be a great place for her to settle? The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood may have changed a lot over the decades, but it continues to be a haven for iconoclasts and outcasts, artists and outsiders of all types. It would take a lot for a person to stand out as odd on these streets.

Thus came the first inkling of what would become the Witchcraft mysteries: a misfit witch might well feel welcome in a neighborhood like this one.

As I flipped through old silk gowns and taffeta skirts, crinkly blouses and sequined dresses, I kept feeling the tiniest sense of the people who had worn these items: a young person out on the town, a career woman dressing for an interview, a mother dressing up for a school meeting. How fun would it be if one could really sense the vibrations of the people who had worn these clothes? Or…would there be cases in which one would definitely notwant to sense the history of a particular wardrobe choice?

As a mystery author, my next thoughts quite naturally turned to…murder.

(Some mystery authors feel awkward about their frequent daydreams about homicide, and it doesgive my boyfriend pause when I point out how easily one might push someone down a stairwell, or the best places to hide a body, for example. But I’ll own it.)

Aaaanywaaaay, once I decided that a Haight Street vintage clothing store was the perfect setting for a witch trying to fit in, the next item on the agenda was a witch’s familiar. I considered the proverbial black cat, but as I was researching folklore about witches I read that pigs were often considered suspect because they “root” around and dug things up, and rootwork is a powerful form of botanical witchcraft. My housemate kept threatening to get us a miniature Vietnamese pig, “just like George Clooney” – and voila! Lily-the-witch’s familiar, Oscar-the-pig, was born. Gargoyle-like, Oscar has taken on more than one role in Lily’s Haight Street vintage clothing store.

Looking back, it seems hard to believe that I’m already up to #9 in the Witchcraft Mystery series! In A Magical Match, Lily is up to her witchy ears in trouble when she starts seeing double, and her fiancé Sailor winds up in jail, accused of murder. I hope you’ll follow along with the series, and discover the world of magical mayhem, vintage clothes, and Oscar-the-pig.

And if you find it hard to fit into vintage clothes, just remember: there are always hats, jewelry, and purses!

So, what’s your favorite vintage item?

 

Book Review – Death Below Stairs

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Death Below Stairs

By Jennifer Ashley

A Kat Holloway Mystery #1

Berkley Prime Crime Book

Historical Mystery

Paperback, 329 pages

$15.00 USA

Setting: 1881 London, England

 

Jennifer Ashley introduces us to Kat Holloway, a talented young cook who accepts a new position in the house of Lord Rankin. No sooner does she get the tour of their home and begin preparing dinner for his family, does Lady Cynthia, Rankin’s sister-in-law, nearly run down a man while driving a new rig. Being a relative of one of the wealthiest men in London, it could easily drift toward scandal. If that isn’t a sign of a problem with her new employer, his request for, Sinead, the young Irish cook’s assistant to bring him coffee to his chambers, should have signaled trouble. Believing the situation would have been one of force, Kat brings the coffee herself. Not only does she have to deal with the aggressive nature of the lord of the manor, she recognizes the man he was speaking with. Daniel McAdam’s mysterious presence in Rankin’s home has her silently questioning why he is truly there.

The next morning, Kat stumbles in the pantry and is heartbroken to learn that the young assistant is dead. She immediately feels guilty for not watching over Sinead. The constable is summoned and Lord Rankin and his wife are informed of the situation. Rankin tries to fire Kat, but his sister-in-law stands up for her. This begins a friendship not influenced by their rank in society. Kat also realizes that the housekeeper is overcome by the young woman’s death.

Kat, Daniel, Cynthia and a love-struck math whiz work together to try in figure out who killed Sinead and why. Kat’s intuition leads her to believe that Daniel is either a detective or he has a higher position within the Queen’s realm. What would seem like an isolated murder turns into something devious that could very well lead to war.

I don’t know where to begin with this one. Downton Abbey fans are going to recognize the connection between the wealthy family and the individuals that devote every moment around the clock to serving them. There’s the reality of Kat’s frustrating situation that has denied her a life with her daughter and may even be severed further. There’s the mystery behind Sinead’s friendship with some troubling young men. Add another measure of mystery in trying to figure out Daniel’s identity. His responsibilities, which he never mentions, put him and his son in constant danger and the boy seems to know his way about the city, better than Kat. Then there’s the relationship between Cynthia and her friend. Cynthia wants the freedom men are allowed, will even dress like a man, but you sense she draws the line at going beyond friendship with the other woman. This is another book I loved. I was even reading it at a Mariano’s hot buffet bar because I couldn’t wait to read the ending. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

Four cook’s aprons out of five

gottawritenetwork.wordpress.com

April 15, 2018

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog Post: Introducing TwoSpells, A Magical Tale About An Ancient Realm

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Mark & Sarah

Mark and his daughter, Sarah, whom the phenomenal heroine of TwoSpells is based. She’s beautiful, tough and clever.

Hello Everyone,

I’m Mark Morrison. I’m originally from a teeny-tiny town in Ohio called Salem. My father used to say that it was the armpit of the country. Peeuuw! I have seven brothers and sisters, a slew of nieces and nephews and a couple dozen great nieces and nephews. I now live in Florida with my loving wife, four children and two beautiful grand-babes. It’s hot, but it’s just a sticky, obnoxiously wet heat. Hahaha.

My father used to say that I was definitely an uneducated genius. I’m not exactly sure what he meant by that. I suppose it was because I spent most of my time in school more involved in sports and art classes growing up than mathematics, history or science. I did, however, sneak in several elective credits as a librarian’s assistant. That was a whole lot of fun and I was able to read a ton of awesome books.

As a boy I grew up reading things like The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew mysteries, and the classics, like Huckleberry Finn and Charlotte’s Web. I also read some outstanding comics and MAD magazines. But as I got older my taste changed. I was big into Isaac Asimov, George Orwell and Edgar Allen Poe. I didn’t just read. I watched a little television as well. Star Trek, Dark Shadows, The Twilight Zone, Dr. Who, Andy Griffith, Mary Tyler Moore, the Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island rounded out some dull afternoons.

As most folks with large families know, board games are an inexpensive way to entertain ourselves. We’d always get a batch of new games at Christmas along with a new pair of socks and underwear. On one particular low budget Christmas, my father introduced us to a game he claimed he’d invented called, “Uh!”

We’d all gather in the living room and one of us was elected to start. That person would have to create a totally fictitious story out of thin air. They’d pause mid-sentence and let the next player take over from there. This continued around the room until someone hesitated or said “uh”. That player was out and the game continued until only one person was left. The stories were creative and often incredibly strange, each of us attempting to make the next in line chuckle and fumble. It was an awesome game of improvisation and I credit my love of storytelling to that silly game.

Every night my mind is inundated with a fresh batch of unusual dreams and nightmares, always in outlandish worlds and dimensions fraught with bizarre characters who can do wondrous things. But through my writings, I’ve allowed some of them to escape onto the freedom of the blank pages and into my first novel, Twospells. I’ll pardon another batch of weird mind games and characters in future books.

TwoSpells is a magical tale about a set of teenage twins, Sarah and Jon, who find out that they are heirs to an ancient, magical realm containing an enchanted library that can transport a reader to anywhere or anytime the author has written into the story.

They are soon caught up in an inter-dimensional war between good and evil, both sides looking to claim the library’s unique magical enchantment. Along the way, the twins meet astonishing and fascinating characters who can do amazing things, but not all are good. Some are of unspeakably horrific creation and are bent on one thing: destroying the two strange intruders who have entered and disrupted their sacred two-dimensional domain.

Sarah and Jon must leave behind their much simpler life as Regulars and embrace their new positions as successors to a very special kingdom designed for their kind only, the Irregulars. I truly believe you’ll enjoy every moment of this story.

 I’ve attached a snapshot of me and my daughter Sarah, whom the phenomenal heroine of TwoSpells is based. She’s beautiful, tough and clever.

Here’s a link to TwoSpells on Amazon:

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079ZBBSPM

 Thanks for listening,

 Mark Morrison

Guest Blog Post – Wedding Cake Crumble

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PRODUCT DETAILS Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 Published by Berkley Apr 03, 2018 | 288 Pages | 4-3/16 x 6-3/4 | ISBN 9780399583834

By Jenn McKinlay

It was late at night, I’d been writing all day, so I decided to hit the social media interwebs to distract my brain from plot and character and all that jazz for a while. The plain truth is I’m a sucker for animal videos. I follow all the popular Twitter feeds like Cute Emergency and Fluff Society and when an adorable video comes up that makes me laugh or say “Aw”, it’s like a mini therapy session, or a shot of sunshine on a dark day. I never imagined, however, that it would change the plot of one of my books!

Why am I telling you this? Well, when I wrote the synopsis for WEDDING CAKE CRUMBLE, there was no dog adoption in it. None. But on one of those late night breaks, I watched a video about a Boston terrier, who had gone to town on a feather pillow, ripping it open and leaving a knee deep pile of feathers in the house. OMG! It was madness, delightful, hilarious, unbelievable madness!

Of course the best part was the dog’s sheer joy with the disaster. She raced around the sofa, kicking up feathers and I swear she was smiling when she did it. There was no regret, no remorse, just a zest for life that was impossible to resist. She circled the couch at top speed again and again, only stopping when she wiped out and skidded across the floor, leaving a cloud of feathers in her wake. I laughed so hard, I just knew I had to add her, or a fictional version of her, to the book.

Enter Peanut, a puppy that Mel and Joe find in the apartment of one of the murder victims. Of course, they already have a rescue kitten named Captain Jack, so the merging of the pets adds more chaos that is their best friend’s wedding, a murder investigation, and running the bakery. It is a real test for Mel and Joe to see if they can get the canine and the feline to cohabit without the fur flying. So, does Peanut get to stay? Does Captain Jack warm up to his new roommate? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Here’s brief description to give you more details about this upcoming release! With Angie and Tate’s wedding just around the corner, it’s a happy time for Melanie Cooper and the bakery crew. Not only are they finessing the last minute details of the big day, but their bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes, has just been hired to bake cupcakes for the blockbuster book signing of a controversial author who wrote a steamy bestseller filled with juicy local gossip.

But one by one, the people Angie has hired to work at the wedding begin turning up dead. As the body count rises, the bestselling author is the next to bite the dust. Mel quickly realizes she needs to figure out how the murders are connected and why–before the killer brings the entire cupcake crew crumbling down. After all, Angie and Tate deserve their sweet happily ever after.

Happy Reading!

Jenn

 

 

 

Put a Little Spring in your step with new mysteries from Berkley!

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9780451488848ABOUT SHOT IN THE DARK

From Cleo Coyle, the New York Times bestselling author of Dead Cold Brew, comes a delicious new entry in the “fun and gripping” (The Huffington Post) Coffeehouse Mystery series.

A smartphone dating game turns the Village Blend into a hookup hotspot–until a gunshot turns the landmark coffeehouse into a crime scene.

As Village Blend manager Clare Cosi fixes a date for her wedding, her ex-husband is making dates through smartphone swipes. Clare has mixed feelings about these match-ups happening in her coffeehouse. Even her octogenarian employer is selecting suitors by screenshot! But business is booming, and Clare works hard to keep the espresso shots flowing. Then one night, another kind of shot leaves a dead body for her to find.

The corpse is an entrepreneur who used dating apps with reckless abandon–breaking hearts along the way. The NYPD quickly arrests one of the heartbreaker’s recent conquests. But the suspect’s sister tearfully swears her sibling was framed. Clare not only finds reason to believe it, she fears the real killer will strike again.

Now Clare is “swiping” through suspects in her own shop–with the help of her globetrotting ex-husband, a man who’s spent his life hunting for coffee and women. Together they’re determined to find justice before another shot rings out.

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ABOUT CINCO DE MURDER

Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan serves up more Lone Star justice in this spicy mystery from the author of The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole.

It’s fiesta time in Broken Boot, Texas, and tourists are pouring into town faster than free beer at a bull roping for the mouthwatering Cinco de Mayo festivities. Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their folklórico dances for Saturday’s big parade, while Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot’s First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.

But Uncle Eddie’s hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when cantankerous chili cook Lucky Straw is found dead in his tent. And when Josie’s beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead’s life– before another cook kicks the bucket.

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ABOUT A MAGICAL MATCH

Witch and vintage store owner Lily Ivory faces her most difficult mystery to date with a case of mistaken identity that hits close to home…

Lily Ivory and her friends are planning a 1950s-themed brunch to benefit the local women’s shelter. When a figure from her past shows up unannounced, threatening her unless she returns something that belonged to him, Lily’s fiancé, Sailor, steps in to defend her. After the same man is found dead later that day, Sailor is the primary suspect. He swears he’s innocent, but multiple witnesses ID him as the perpetrator of the assault. Lily vows to clear his name…only she’s not sure where to start with the mounting evidence against him.

When she sees Sailor in the neighborhood despite knowing he’s in jail, Lily starts to wonder if there could be a doppelganger in San Francisco. When she’s not busy helping customers find matching outfits for the upcoming event, searching for a vintage wedding dress for her own nuptials, and dealing with an ill-timed magical cold, Lily begins to suspect one of her magical foes is targeting her loved ones in attempt to weaken her.

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ABOUT WEDDING CAKE CRUMBLE

For the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew, wedding bells turn to death knells in this latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling series.

With Angie and Tate’s wedding just around the corner, it’s a happy time for Melanie Cooper and the bakery crew. Not only are they finessing the last minute details of the big day, but their bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes, has just been hired to bake cupcakes for the blockbuster book signing of a controversial author who wrote a steamy bestseller filled with juicy local gossip.

But one by one, the people Angie has hired to work at the wedding begin turning up dead. As the body count rises, the bestselling author is the next to bite the dust. Mel quickly realizes she needs to figure out how the murders are connected and why–before the killer brings the entire cupcake crew crumbling down. After all, Angie and Tate deserve their sweet happily ever after.

 

 

New Title: Queen Anne’s Lace

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queen anne's laceABOUT QUEEN ANNE’S LACE

A present day ghost leads China Bayles to a secret from Pecan Springs’s past in this haunting mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert.

While helping Ruby Wilcox clean up the loft above their shops, China comes upon a box of antique handcrafted lace and old photographs. Following the discovery, she hears a woman humming an old Scottish ballad and smells the delicate scent of lavender….

Soon, strange happenings start to occur in Thyme and Seasons: misplaced items, a ringing bell, and the appearance of lavender sprigs in odd places. When a customer mentions seeing a mysterious woman picking flowers nearby and then suddenly disappearing, China must finally admit what Ruby has always known–their building is haunted. But by whom?

As China investigates, the tragic story of a woman in one of the old photographs unfolds. Annie Laurie was a young widow who’d lost both her husband and her child in the same day. She manages to survive through her lace-making business and finds happiness again only to have a suspicious death overshadow her new life.

China delves into Annie’s century-old mystery and realizes that solving it could have unimaginable repercussions in the here and now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 SUSAN WITTIG ALBERT grew up on a farm in Illinois and earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. A former professor of English and a university administrator and vice president, she is the New York Times bestselling author of the China Bayles Mysteries, the Darling Dahlias Mysteries, and the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. She and her husband, Bill, co-author a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries under the name Robin Paige. The Alberts live near Austin, Texas.