Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Blood of the Rose

Date Published: February 2018

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Jesse Fairlane is missing. 
Max Larkin and Special Agent Michaels are unsure if this is related to a recent case involving human trafficking or something else. On top of trying to locate his partner, Max has to make a decision as to whether he leaves Rockton to work with the FBI or stays to become captain at the local police department. 
As Larkin, Michaels, and the other detectives work furiously to find Jesse before it's too late, Max finds himself despairing they'll find her alive. He struggles to maintain his relationship with Veronica and trying to be a friend to Jesse's girlfriend, Melissa, all while following a maze of clues to Jesse. 

I read mysteries. I read a certain type of crime stories. I admit I am more of a light weight and picked up this book because of its connection to Rockton, Illinois. This book has a darker, more sinister edge than my typical reads. The topic would be perfect for fans of television's Criminal Minds. 
The writing reminds me of John W Mefford. If you are made of sterner stuff than I am, you might rate this a full 5 stars. As I said, I am a wimp so I will give it 4.5 yet I found the way this book reads fascinating.
We are placed inside the mind of not only the killer but also the victim. We ride along with the detective on the case, who is also the partner of one of the victims. 
After reading this book, no matter how tired I am and how trusting of my surroundings, I want to believe I will still be more alert and aware when venturing out alone. Scared straight????

I mentioned I know something of Rockton, IL. After reading this book I checked crime rate averages. Rockton is rated 20% lower than the national average. For violent crimes, Rockton, IL shows a crime rate that is 79% lower than the Illinois average and 76% lower than the National average. 
Now think about flower shows. Gardeners are not violent people, are they? Gardens should be places that reduce our stress. They are beautiful and smell good. Thousands of people look forward to spring garden shows each year. I learned that a rose convention can be more competitive and deadly than a major dog show! All because humans are involved.

So if you want a fascinating dark read and can stomach some violent content, I am betting you will appreciate this series. It takes some surprising twists. 

About the Author

Perhaps you wouldn't characterize the Finance Manager of your local automobile dealership as an Amazon best-selling author--until you get to know Todd Thiede. 
He has worked for the past decade at Elmhurst Toyota, but Thiede is in the driver's seat as the writer of a murder mystery series featuring his hero Detective, Max Larkin. "Time Killer," which Kirkus Reviews deemed "a fast-paced thriller" that will "keep crime and thriller fans wrapped up in its twisting plot, fast pace and memorable detective,", "Lies To Die For" (which reached No. 1 on Amazon in the "Serial Killer" category), Miss Me? (3rd in the series) and Slashtag (4th in the series) are available via Amazon Kindle.

Go to for more info on Todd and his books.

According to Kirkus reviews (the toughest book reviewer in the business):
A fast-paced thriller centered on a brutal, time-obsessed serial killer.
The expression "killing time" rarely means murder, but here, the victims of a serial killer must pay for time they've wasted, often with both their money and their lives. 
In a brutal scene from the opening chapter, an entire family is murdered after a stranger invades the family's home and accuses the patriarch of wasting his time. Veteran cop Max Larkin is on the case. Unfortunately, he's also been assigned a new partner; though she's green in the field--she has "very sad eyes" and prays upon arriving at the first crime scene--she gives the hardened old detective a new perspective he never knew he needed. But as the serial killer claims more victims, a pattern emerges that neither Max nor his new partner can ignore. 
With brisk pacing, Thiede's debut brims with action, violence and, occasionally, emotion. Though the book takes a while to find its heart, procedural fans will feel right at home. Larkin feels like a guy worth rooting for, despite filling the shoes of the beaten-down, grizzled, old loner cop trope a little too well. 
His interactions with his new partner, plus the twists and revelations regarding his past, give him enough of a pass to get readers invested in the story
and looking forward to his next outing. 
Larkin's story doesn't break any boundaries, but it'll keep crime and thriller fans wrapped up in its twisting plot, fast pace and memorable detective. 
Plenty of shock value and a charismatic, if formulaic, male lead.

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Friday, March 16, 2018


Women’s Fiction
Date Published: February 2018
Publisher: Threekookaburras

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When Rosie's marriage suddenly ends one night in Sydney, nothing makes sense any more. She doesn't know what to do next. Her sister, Juliette, suggests she come and live where she is — in Lucknow,  a town in Central Victoria, that they knew in their childhood. It doesn't seem to offer much at first. But her life changes in ways she had not thought possible. Lucknow isn't just a romance, it's about life in a small country Australian town.

Praise for Lucknow:

"Heartbreak, comedy, tragedy, farce, romance, secrets, even love. Annie Hall lifts the lid on the way things are in this Australian country town with the beguiling name of Lucknow." — Carmel Bird


While Hamish was being minded by Mrs Pickett for a couple of hours, Juliette and Rosie grabbed their bathers and headed out to the old reservoir. It was the perfect time for a swim, the sun had real warmth, the wind held its breath, there was a clarity of light in the air and the fragrance of eucalyptus and spice. The old reservoir shimmered and sang with bird calls that afternoon. Save for two fishermen sitting on the levee wall mute and still as statues, Juliette and Rosie had the place to themselves. Near the water’s edge they baked on bare rock like lizards, their towels rolled under their heads for pillows. Juliette lay on her back staring at the sky while Rosie lay on her front gazing at the water.

‘I heard about your quiet night at the pub,’ Juliette said. ‘Jade said you were announced on stage as single. Really putting it out there, aren’t you Rosie? Next it will be an ad in the local paper.’

‘I had no idea Eloise would do that,’ Rosie said. ‘It was so embarrassing.’

‘You don’t know the half of it,’ Juliette said. ‘If you heard what they were saying about you.’

‘Like what?’

Juliette looked at her sister, and didn’t want to hurt her feelings. ‘It’s a wonder you weren’t raffled off like a tray of meat.’

There was a pause.

‘Eloise grew up here. People know her, they don’t know you. You’ve just arrived.’

She looked at her sister, always slight, like a teenager in her blue bikini with yellow buttercups. She didn’t look strong enough to have had Hamish or gone through a torrid marriage breakdown. She is tougher than she looks, Juliette thought. If she didn’t physically show signs of suffering she must have felt it somewhere. But where did Rosie feel it? wondered Juliette.

‘I know I’ve just arrived, Juliette,’ Rosie said, yawning. ‘To another age, it seems, as well as another place.’

‘In Lucknow, you must take care,’ Juliette said earnestly. ‘Gossip spreads faster than a virus, it’s more invisible than hepatitis. It just floats around and somewhere decisions are made about you, your reputation is decided. It might not be the truth but it is what will pass as the truth.

‘You will be stuck with it. And, and,’ Juliette said, warming to her point, ‘it will be very hard once your reputation is fixed to change it. It will stick with you no matter what you do. If people find that you vary from your reputation then they will find it curious, but they won’t disbelieve the gossip.’

Rosie thought about what Juliette was saying. ‘If people can’t distinguish the truth from gossip then why is their opinion of any value?’

‘They only know what they hear,’ Juliette said. ‘You need to take care.’

The smooth grey rocks were hot beneath their bodies. Rosie felt sweat beginning to trickle and the water looked invitingly cool.

‘I’m going in,’ she told Juliette. ‘Race you.’

As warm and brown as a bottle of beer in the shallows, the water was chilly and fizzy as champagne at waist height. Rosie dived under and came up tingling with shock at how cold it was. Juliette was already ahead, arms and legs slicing cleanly through the water. Rosie set off like a threshing machine, churning the water white as she overtook Juliette and raced the one kilometre to the other side. She stood in the shallows, her ribs heaving and subsiding as she gasped for air, her body bent, head down near her knees, eyes swimming with red, brain nearly blacking out from a lack of oxygen. Juliette came up behind her, the water draining off her body in silvery rivulets and watched her sister.

‘You always push things,’ she said, casually. ‘You always go too far.’

About the Author

Annie Hall has worked as a journalist in country towns as well as Sydney and Melbourne. She lived for a number of years in the Goldfields area of Victoria.

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Six Feet Under (A Kenni Lowry Mystery) by Tonya Kappes

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 4th in Series 
Setting - Kentucky 
Henery Press (March 13, 2018) 
Paperback: 268 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1635113082

Looking to relocate? 
Give Cottenwood a try!
by Tonya Kappes


Welcome to Cottonwood! We are thrilled you have chosen to vacation with us. Isn’t the steeple of our courthouse beautiful? We hope you take a tour and enjoy the marble floors and marble walls.

By 1798 plans for a town were laid out by local Reverend John Calf. The town’s name honors Revolutionary War Colonel George Cotton. You will find Colonel’s framed portrait near the rotunda leading up to the clock in the watchtower.

Just a forty-five south from Lexington, Kentucky, you’ll find Cottonwood home to a truly unique blend of carefully preserved historical and natural landmarks, numerous cultural and historical events, over 100,000 acres of fertile diverse land bordered by more miles of Kentucky River shoreline than any other Kentucky county and, of course, friendly folks who are happy to share their love of the area with visitors.

Please stop in and introduce yourself to me. I’d love to know what you think about our fine town. 

Please, take your time and wander in our local shops and restaurants. Stay in one of the two fine lodging Inns.

Rest assured that Cottonwood is safe. There’s only been one murder in the last. . .ummm. . .forever and that was just a few months ago. Sheriff Lowry has everything under control and solved that murder, though it was a pickle. Anyways, enjoy your stay! Don’t forget to meet down on the front of the courthouse lawn on Monday, March 20 where you’ll meet your tour guide for your first stop in and around Cottonwood!

Mayor Chance Ryland

SHOPS (that paid to be mentioned in this welcome packet):

Ruby’s Antiques

White’s Jewelry

Dixon’s Foodtown

Luke Jones Basement Movie Theater-Call 859-mov-iess to get a listing of show times.

Lulu’s Boutique

RESTAURANTS (that paid to be mentioned in this welcome packet):

Jolee’s On the Run Food Truck

Kim’s Buffett

Ben’s Diner

Cowboy’s Catfish


Tattered Cover Book and Inn

Nanette Rodriguez Proprietor – Call 859-882-0001 for reservations
Wanting to stay downtown Cottonwood? Tattered Book and Inn is the place for you. Stay in one of the six rooms that has all the comforts of home. Each bed is filled with feathers and plumped up each night for your sleep. The double layered goose-down comforters are perfect for any body temperature and are made right here in Cottonwood. Enjoy a nice breakfast on your very own balcony overlooking Main Street or come down to the fine dining room where you’ll enjoy a homecooked country breakfast.

The Inn

Darby Gray Proprietor- Call 859-881-0001 for reservations
Enjoy the view of the beautiful Kentucky River and our famous Kentucky Bluegrass where the tint really is a hint of blue. You’ll enjoy the limestone walls that keep our grass so healthy and feed our racehorses.

You can enjoy a glass of sweet ice tea while sitting in one of the many rockers on the wrap around porch. You might find yourself having a conversation with Kiwi, the Inn’s Macaw mascot. Kiwi is known to pack a tell or two, so pretty  much everything he’ll tell you is gossip.

Stay in one of the ten rooms at the Inn. Come into the communal room for a snack anytime of the day or night. Or just open your room window and listen to the sweet sounds of the Kentucky River and the Kentucky state bird, the Cardinal sing a lovely song.


Cottonwood Baptist Church- 859-885-0000

Dr. Camille Shively- 859-887-0000

Sheriff Kendrick Lowry- Dispatch number 911

Deputy Finley Vincent- Dispatch number 911

Cottonwood Chronicle Newspaper-Edna Easterly EIC – 859-885-0001

A paranormal cozy mystery
Kenni Lowry Mystery Series
Book 4

Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth. And let me tell you, this broth is in trouble. Get ready for a Southern showdown.
The residents of Cottonwood, Kentucky are sent into a tizzy when the Culinary Channel comes to town to film an episode of Southern Home Cookin’ with celebrity chef Frank Von Lee.
Especially Sheriff Kenni Lowry.
Her mama’s award-winning chicken pot pie is what brought Frank to town, and they don’t make hair in the South bigger than her mama’s ego after the news.
When Frank Von Lee is found dead from food poisoning and the most likely culprit is Mama’s chicken pot pie, Kenni’s poppa, the former sheriff, comes back from the Great Beyond to assist in the investigation.
But nothing’s prepared Kenni for such a personal tie to a case, and she finds herself pushing the limits of the laws she’s sworn to protect.
This book’s so delicious it’ll make your mouth water and leave you hankerin’ for more.

 Not only is there always something exciting happening in Cottonwood, Kentucky but there is always the best gossip. It might be about someone's romantic relationship (or is it just for status and money?) or when the town women have had "a little work done." 
Sheriff Kenni Lowrey's Mama Viv won the food truck competition in the previous book of this fun series and to celebrate a TV cooking show is coming to town with a celebrity chef.  Now the local diner wants " a little work done" too.
Add to that some mysterious PINK handicap parking placards making the rounds and Kenni and Deputy Finn have plenty to investigate. With the reappearance of Sheriff Kenni's deceased Poppa, the former sheriff, she knows something bigger will be coming into play. 
I enjoy the characters and settings of this series. The nosy neighbors as well as how, no matter what their differences, the townsfolk have each others' backs. 
The mysterious death and entangled investigations hit too close to home for Sheriff Kenni. She still has time to take a baking class! Murder shouldn't be this much fun!

About the Author

 For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been publishing numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success.
She is famous not only for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.
Sign up for her newsletter on her website at .
  Visit Tonya: Facebook at Author Tonya Kappes,
Kappes Krew Street Team

  Purchase Links: Amazon B&N kobo

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Thursday, March 15, 2018


Killer Tied (Eve Appel Mystery) by Lesley A. Diehl

About the Book

Cozy Mystery 6th in Series Camel Press (March 15, 2018) 
Paperback: 264 pages ISBN-13: 978-1603813198 Digital ASIN: B0789824WQ 

Eve Appel Egret is adjusting to married life with Sammy and their three adopted sons in Sabal Bay, Florida. While still running her consignment stores, she is going pro with her sleuthing by becoming an apprentice to a private detective.
Until her marriage, Eve’s only “family” was her grandmother Grandy, who raised her after her parents died in a boating accident. Now, in addition to her husband and sons, she has a father-in-law who clearly dislikes her. Sammy’s father, a full-blooded Miccosukee Indian long presumed dead, has emerged from the swamps where he’s been living like a hermit, and he isn’t happy about Eve's marriage to his half-Miccosukee, half-white son.
As for Eve’s family, are her parents really dead? A woman named Eleanor claims to be Eve’s half-sister, born after her mother faked a boating accident to escape her abusive husband, Eve’s father. Then Eleanor’s father turns up dead in the swamps, stabbed by a Bowie knife belonging to Sammy’s father, Lionel. Strange as Lionel Egret is, Eve knows he had no motive to kill this stranger. In order to clear him, Eve must investigate Eleanor's claims, and she might not like what digging around in her family’s past uncovers.

About the Author

Lesley is a country gal through and through, from her childhood on a dairy farm in Illinois to college in a cornfield in Iowa.
 Lesley creates sassy, snoopy protagonists who embrace chasing killers in country settings. 
Lesley writes several series: the Big Lake Murder mysteries and the Eve Appel mysteries both set in rural Florida; the Laura Murphy mysteries located on a lake in upstate New York; and short stories, some featuring a few of Lesley’s unique relatives from back on the farm (Aunt Nozzie and the Grandmothers). 
She is inspired by an odd set of literary muses: a ghost named Fred and a coyote as yet unnamed.
  Killer Tied is the sixth mystery in the Eve Appel Mysteries. 

To read more about Lesley’s unusual and humorous cozy mysteries, go to

Author Links
  Visit her on her website:
  Twitter: @lesleydiehl
 Facebook Fan Page:
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