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Tuesday Review* How the Finch Stole Christmas

Lisa * My Everyday Life

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The Newest book in the : Bird Lover’s Mystery Series

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and the only things on Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms’s wish list are peace, quiet, and birding beside her beau.  But in small town Ruby Lake, ‘tis the season to solve murders . . .

Before Amy can get into the holiday spirit, she meets Franklin Finch—the cocky new owner of Christmas House Village, one of the most beloved attractions in town. Locals have been squawking over his decision to sack veteran staff members for cheaper help. And when Finch blows off a business deal with Amy, it confirms that he’s the biggest scrooge around. Still, she’s stunned the night his dead body is found swinging in the attic of a festive Victorian . . .

Clashing against Chief Kennedy once again, Amy sets off to prove that Finch…

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Weird Hotel Stories from Crime Bake

Wicked Cozy Authors

by Barb, who is soooo tired after attending the New England Crime Bake

Thankful for Our Readers Giveaway: I’ll give an advance reader copy to one lucky commenter on today’s blog.

I’ve just returned from a weekend with my mystery community friends at the New England Crime Bake, my hometown conference. It’s learning experience, a reunion of old friends and a chance to meet new ones.

I was reflecting that I’ve had a couple of weird experiences at the hotel when I’ve been at Crime Bake. (You’ll see why in a minute.)

The first one was in the hotel when Crime Bake was in Dedham, MA. The conference occupied pretty much the entire hotel on Saturday, but on Sunday other groups would come in as we were leaving.

One Sunday mid-morning when I got on the hotel elevator there was a single woman already on it. She was exotically beautiful…

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Cozy Review – Blackberry Burial by Sharon Farrow

The Book's the Thing

Blackberry Burial (A Berry Basket Mystery #2)Between a booming art scene and elaborate Independence Day festivities, July in lakeshore Oriole Point, Michigan, is always a blast. Especially when an explosive murder case crashes the fun . . .

As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point. So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School’s centenary celebration. While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race–despite rumors that the land is cursed . . .

But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble. It’s a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who’s convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier. As…

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Watercolor painting by Karen Rose Smith

After my dad retired, he took up acrylic and watercolor painting. When he passed on, I kept his paints and decided to try my hand at both. I found I enjoyed the watercolor medium best. There is a challenge in using different kinds of paper, combining colors that take on a life of their own when mixed with water, and creating just the right effect. Life got busy back then, and writing took up more and more of my time. I left the art behind for years.

But last year, with my love of cats a major passion, I decided to pick up my brushes again and try feline portraits. For me, the fur is the most difficult aspect. The eyes which are the easiest for me are truly the windows to their souls. Since we have six rescued inside cats (Halo, Paddy, Zoie Joy, Zander, Freya and London) as well as care for two ferals, I’m constantly around cats.  I love them like children.  I have studied them for hours and hours and constantly photographed them.  That helps when trying to catch their expressions, their fur variations and their beauty.

Painting with music or an audio book playing in the background is relaxing. I forget about everything else and focus on the cat or cat photo in front of me. Since family and friends are cat lovers too, the watercolor paintings make wonderful presents.

Continue reading “Watercolor painting by Karen Rose Smith”

Staff Pick! The Astonishing Thing: A Novel by Sandi Ward

Staff Review by Michaela H.

As an editor with a full roster of authors, I rarely get to read outside my own list.  But when Kensington editor-in-chief John Scognamiglio presented THE ASTONISHING THING, I knew I had to read it.  Besides being a book-lover, I am also a cat-lover. Ranger, shown in this photo, is one of my three fabulous felines who keep me company as I read my manuscripts.

When John said the book is a family story told from the point of view of the family cat, I knew it would be something special. And it is!  Sweet, loving Boo, with her cream-colored fur and her heart of gold, is the emotional glue that holds her family together. When something goes wrong in the family, Boo is determined to find out what happened – and how she can fix the problem.

This little kitty will take you on a journey of love and laughter, sorrow and forgiveness, and the unlimited affection that only pets can give.  This delightful novel, written by a cat-lover for fellow cat-lovers, is not to be missed.

CLICK TO READ A CHAPTER / BUY NOW

Isis – The Goddess Who Still Reigns by Catherine Cavendish – Author Post 4

In the most ancient of Egyptian traditions, Isis was a relatively minor goddess but she rose to be one of the most important and enduring of them all. Even today, she is worshipped and venerated by members of such organisations as the Fellowship of Isis (formed in 1976). She was adopted by the Greeks, and by the Romans who renamed her Serapis. Cleopatra (herself Greek by birth) proclaimed herself to be the reincarnation of Isis, and temples to the goddess sprang up all over the ancient world.

Isis was married to the god Osiris who also happened to be her brother. Another brother – the god of chaos, Set – who features in my novel Wrath of the Ancients – murdered Osiris and hacked his body to pieces. Isis, goddess of marriage, wisdom and healing, searched for the pieces. With the help of Nepthys, her sister, and the god Anubis, she magically put him back together – all except for one critical part which could never be found. His penis. Still being a resourceful goddess, she magically conceived a child with him anyway. From then on, Osiris was neither living nor dead. As such he assumed the role of god of the dead and the underworld. Isis herself is often referred to as Queen of the Underworld. She also ruled over the moon, love and magic, rebirth and reincarnation. A busy goddess indeed!

Many myths are associated with Isis. When, every year, the Nile flooded, people believed the water was the tears of the goddess as she wept for the slain Osiris. Her name means ‘Throne’ and her headdress is depicted as a throne on which the Pharaoh would sit. She was said to be a friend to the downtrodden and desperate but would also listen to the prayers of the rich. She was the epitome of motherhood and wifely virtue and often depicted with the Pharaoh as a child in her lap.

She could be brave and fearless when needed, protecting her son from attacks by snakes and scorpions and lying low with him in the marshes until he was fully grown and could assume his father’s throne. She also, it is said, taught Egyptian women their ‘wifely duties’ of brewing beer, baking and weaving. In short, she was the role model all Egyptian women of the ancient world aspired to. Continue reading “Isis – The Goddess Who Still Reigns by Catherine Cavendish – Author Post 4”

Review of That Olde White Magick

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That Olde White Magick

An Abracadabra Mystery, Book #2

Sharon Pape

5 Stars

34306240Synopsis:

It’s time to work her crime-solving magic again . . .

Kailyn Wilde enjoys running her shop, Abracadabra, in the quaint New York hamlet of New Camel, where she lives with her six cats. Her family’s been here for centuries, and she’d like to keep up the tradition. But the place may never be the same if a big hotel gets built, so she does her civic duty and attends a town meeting along with her aunt Tilly . . . and Merlin. Yes, that Merlin—though he gets introduced to folks as her “distant English cousin.” The wizard is pretty grumpy about being transported here, but there are things about the modern world he doesn’t mind—like pizza.

Kailyn was prepared for a heated debate about the hotel, but she wasn’t expecting murder. When Tilly finds the…

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The Dog Maiden of Schallaburg by Catherine Cavendish – Author Post 3

My latest novel – Wrath of the Ancients – is largely set in Vienna, Austria’s imperial capital and surely one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities in the world. Its streets team with culture and its proud residents are almost fiercely protective of their enigmatic, sometimes quirky, and endlessly fascinating home, where everyone from Strauss to Klimt and Freud lived and worked.

Vienna is also home to a large number of ghosts and phantoms but today I’m taking you to the neighbouring region of Lower Austria and to the glorious Wachau valley where a castle called Schallaburg has an interesting story to tell.

Today the castle houses a museum dedicated to the history and people of the region but it was originally built in the fifteenth century in the German Renaissance style and was in the possession of the von Losenstein family until the 17th century when, until the 20th, it changed hands a number of times. It was still private property when it was confiscated by the Russians in 1945 at the time when Austria was divided up into four occupation zones by the Allies. When the occupation ended in 1955, the castle was handed over to the Austrian state and subsequently to the regional government of Lower Austria. The museum opened in 1967. Continue reading “The Dog Maiden of Schallaburg by Catherine Cavendish – Author Post 3”

Meet the Girlfriend!

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The #1 UK Bestseller

A mother. A son. His girlfriend. And the lie they’ll wish had never been told.

Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but hasn’t led Laura’s golden life. And she wants it.

When tragedy strikes, a decision is made and a lie is told. A lie so terrible it changes their lives forever…

The Girlfriend is a taut and wickedly twisted debut psychological thriller—a novel of subtle sabotage, retaliation, jealousy and fear, which pivots on an unforgivable lie, and examines the mother–son–daughter-in-law relationship in a chilling new light.

Praise for The Girlfriend

“One of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. I loved The Girlfriend!” –Lisa Jackson, New York Times bestselling author

The Girlfriend is a taut psychological thriller, the evil chillingly drawn. Every character is layered and beautifully twisted. Makes me consider running background checks on any potential spouses my children bring home!” –Karen Rose, New York Times bestselling author

“A juicy thriller and utterly compulsive reading.” –Jenny Blackhurst, author of How I Lost You

“An original and chilling portrayal of twisted relationships.” –Debbie Howells, author of The Bones of You

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