Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs

Blurb: Theodosia Browning’s dear friend, Delaine Dish, has asked her to be a bridesmaid for her wedding. But when the big day arrives, everything seems to be going wrong. First, a massive storm is brewing over Charleston. A bad omen? Second, Delaine’s maid of honor is late for the ceremony. And finally, the groom not only has cold feet—his whole body is cold. A murderer has crashed the wedding.

As Theodosia comforts a devastated Delaine, she needs to sort out the suspects on the groom’s side from the suspects on the bride’s side. One thing soon becomes apparent—revenge won’t be the only dish served cold at this wedding. And if Theodosia doesn’t watch her step, a cold-blooded killer may have a rude reception in store for her…

My Review: Laura Child's Tea Shop mystery series is one of the very first I started collecting when I became obsessed with cozies about 10 years ago. Sadly, as the saying goes, so many books, so little time, and as more and more new series hit the shelves I fell hopelessly behind in trying to keep up with many of the initial ones I loved so much. Sweet Tea Revenge is now book 14, and picking it up after a long hiatus was like reuniting with old friends.

One of my favorite parts about this series is the's like a feast for the senses. From the sights and sounds of Charleston to the descriptions of tea shop delicacies so vivid you can practically taste them. In this particular book an abandoned cemetery and a possibly haunted Inn descended upon by ghost hunters left me with a chill as well!

If you're a long time reader of this series, a newcomer, or someone like me just rediscovering it after a hiatus, plan to make a visit to the Indigo Tea Shop...the setting for one of the longest running, best loved series on the shelves today.

Full Disclosure: The author sent me a copy of this book with the request for a review.

Win your own autographed copy of Sweet Tea Revenge as part of a mystery lot prize pack in my Christmas in July Giveaway...ends tonight at midnight eastern!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Opt to Adopt: Helen & Milo

Dogs N Pawz

Welcome to Tuesday's Tails, sponsored by Dogs N Pawz. We are a group of bloggers who want to bring awareness to an animal each week who is need of a home of their own.

I wish I could hop in the car, drive to Houston, and adopt these babies myself. (I just looked it up on's only 2,000 miles!) Helen is a partially blind tortie (I desperately want another tortie) and her best friend/adopted son Milo helps her to "see", so they must be adopted together. They are available through Save A Cat Rescue. Here are their Petfinder profiles:


Look at Milo's baby pictures...doesn't he look exactly like Tigger from Daryl Wood Gerber's Final Sentence???

* All photos courtesy of Save a Cat Rescue

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Corpse with the Golden Nose Book Tour with Cathy Ace: Guest Blog/Prequel

great escape tour banner large corpse with the golden nose 640
I’d just opened up a few pages about BC’s wine country on my laptop, when Fred Winterton knocked on my half-open office door. He was the last person I wanted to see. I only had an hour between lectures, and I’d wanted to find out some more about the area that Bud and I would be visiting over the forthcoming Easter weekend.
                “Come in,” I said. I wondered if Fred would pick up on the fact that I was sighing heavily as I spoke. The brightness of his expression as his wooly-haired head popped around the door suggested he hadn’t.

                “Ah. Hello Professor Morgan, I was wondering if I could borrow a copy of ‘Anatomy of Motive’? I’m guessing you’ve got one.” He grinned. My heart sank. Fred was about thirty, and a newly appointed Associate Professor here in the Faculty of Criminology at the University of Vancouver. Sadly, he and I had managed to get off on the wrong foot when I’d done a little observation and analysis of him during a faculty meeting, the first time we’d met. He seemed to be quite the sensitive type. He specializes in internet crime. A growth area, you might say.

                “Please, it’s Cait,” I replied, as I pushed back from my desk, stood—making little wheezing noises, as you do when you’re forty seven—and stepped over to a stuffed bookshelf, shoving my reading cheats onto my nose—I even need them to read spine titles these days.

                Fred, wearing his trade mark sandals and socks (oh dear!), shuffled into my little office and smiled sheepishly as he said, “Oh, okay. Cait. You do have one, right?”

                “Yes, here it is.” I smiled as patiently as I could, and politely handed him the book.

                “Off to wine country?” enquired Fred cheerily as he took the volume, and nodded toward the screen on my desk.

                “Yes,” I replied, “this weekend. I thought I’d find out a bit more about the place before I visited.”

                “It’s where I’m from. You know, back in the day. Where I grew up until I was about ten. Then we moved to Regina. The different weather was a shock—the snow seemed to last forever in Saskatchewan, not like in the Okanagan, where it disappears fast, and you’re left with a summer that lingers for months and months. I go up there whenever I can. Still got some folks living there.”

                “Has it changed much since you were young?”

                Fred glanced at the ceiling, then ran his fingers, absentmindedly, along the edges of the pages of the book in his hand, as he reminisced.

                “When you’re little everything seems so big, so far away, and . . . spaced out. There were lots of vineyards there twenty years ago, of course, but nothing like it is today.”

                “So what’s it like today?” Getting someone’s insights about their home can tell you as much about the person as the place they are describing, so I thought I’d get to know Fred a bit better. I could tell by the way he chewed at his lip that he was sorting data, and trying to put opinions and feelings into words.

                “Different, but the same.” He nodded, pleased with his choice of description, tough I suspected it was what every adult would say about the place where they grew up, then visited years later after an extended absence. “It all feels a lot smaller, of course, but it’s changed in real ways too, not just my perception of it. You know they’ve been growing grapes there since the mid-1800’s? My Mom . . .” he paused and half-smiled, his lips narrowing to a thin line as he pressed them together, “. . . she used to work at one of the old vineyards in the early 1980’s, before she had me. There were only about 30 or so then, now there are almost 200. And, because it’s hotter there now than it used to be, they grow more varieties of grapes. To have heard Mom talk you’d think it was all north American vines and sweet table wines back in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, which I guess it might have been, but they ripped up most of the old vines and planted new, imported ones in the late 1980’s so they could grow quality stuff, and it all just went KABOOM after that.” His free hand illustrated, making an explosive motion.


                “Yeah, you know, kinda nuts. When they set up the Vintners Quality Assurance, you know, the VQA . . .” I nodded, “. . . well, that meant people couldn’t just shove any old grape in a bottle and call it whatever they liked. Mom said it wasn’t until the growers took themselves seriously that the world started to. And she was right. She was always right, my Mom, about so many things. They have a lot of internationally acclaimed wines now, you know. The foodies flock to the place. Well foodies, and people who love watersports, and sailing, and just sitting around on the beach with a cooler. Around the lakes in the Okanagan Valley, there’s about 250 miles of vineyards, beachfront properties, large and small hotels, B&B’s, campsites, fantastic restaurants of all sorts—all using the local produce of course—and hundreds of orchards too. I love peach season. Peaches from the Okanagan—you can’t beat them, and the cherries, and all the apples.” Fred Winterton was looking positively wistful, and I could feel my tummy growl.

                He looked at me as though the reality of my office was painful. “You’ll have a great weekend, Professor Mor . . . Cait.” He smiled. “Even if you don’t like wine it’s a great place to go . . . all that food, great places to hike, kayak.  You know.” Did he think I looked like someone who enjoyed hiking or kayaking? Good grief, his powers of perception weren’t all that well-developed.

His eyes misted again. I needed to get on.

                “Thanks Fred, that was helpful. Just between you and me, I love wine, and food. All types.” I hesitated, but decided to follow my instincts. “By the way, was your Mom’s death recent? I didn’t know. I’m so sorry.”

                Fred looked shocked, horrified. “I didn’t say my Mom was . . . how do you know? I haven’t told anyone. What did I say? Did you do that ‘reading’ thing you do?” He looked like a cornered animal—alarmed, searching for a way out. I felt for him. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. Sometimes I’m not too good at editing my thoughts.

                “Sorry, Fred, I can’t help myself. It was the way you hesitated when you spoke of her, what you said when you did, your micro-expressions, and the warmth in your voice when you said she was always right. It all told me you’re mourning her loss, and that loss is still raw and difficult for you. Don’t worry—I won’t mention it to anyone. I’ll keep it private.”

                Fred looked somewhat mollified. “Thanks. Yes, please don’t tell anyone. I don’t want to . . . I can’t talk about her, or her . . . passing, yet. The funeral was over the Christmas break, back in Regina, so I didn’t have to tell anyone. One day I will.” Spotting a way to escape, he added, “Gotta get to this book—thanks, and . . . thanks. See ya!”

                As the door closed behind Fred I looked back at the pages displayed on the screen of my laptop. Sun-soaked grapes clung to regimented, neatly trimmed vines, apples shone on knotty branches, blue skies lit velvet golf greens, and glasses of red and white wine glowed in front of perfect sunsets, all with the backdrop of the magnificent Lake Okanagan. I involuntarily licked my lips. I knew I’d been saving a bottle of Icewine for a special occasion, maybe tonight I’d open it and share it with Bud, who was coming over to my little house on Burnaby Mountain for dinner. We could share it as we finalized our plans for the weekend. The idea that, in order to make Icewine, the vintner has to take the ultimate gamble of leaving the grapes on the vine, unpicked, until the temperature drops below minus 8 degrees celcius, then harvest and transport them very quickly to be pressed, releasing the best, most concentrated, if small, yield, has always seemed bizarre, and yet romantic, to me. I’m not a huge fan of sweeter wines, but I knew I had a chunk of Roquefort leftover from the porcini mushroom and pasta dish I’d made at the weekend, and they’d pair well. As I allowed my eyes to drink in the wine on the screen, I looked forward to the weekend that lay ahead of me: an invite to an exclusive event any foodie would give at least one limb to attend; my beloved Bud beside me, for a whole three days; and just one little twelve-month-old murder to investigate . . . or had it really been a suicide, as Bud believed? Ah well, the weekend would tell . . . 


Book Details:
Genre: Traditional/Cozy Mystery
Published by: Touchwood Editions
Release Date: (March 12, 2013)
Number of Pages: 233
2nd in Series

A heartfelt plea to look into the death of a world-famous vintner goes hand in hand with the opportunity to attend an exclusive gourmet event in British Columbia’s stunning wine country. How can overindulgent foodie and criminologist Cait Morgan resist?
Sure that the award-winning owner of a family-run vineyard was murdered, Cait shares her findings with Bud Anderson, a retired homicide cop. But he is convinced that the woman took her own life, whatever her grief-stricken sister might say. That is, until death strikes once again, in the neat rows of grapevines that clamber up the banks of magnificent Lake Okanagan.
Uncovering obsessions that might have fuelled murderous thoughts among the victim’s wacky neighbours is a start, but as Cait unravels the clues, she realizes that more lives are at stake. Can she think, and act, quickly enough to thwart the killer?
The Corpse with the Golden Nose is the second book in the Cait Morgan Mysteries, a classic whodunit series featuring the eccentric Professor Cait Morgan.


About Cathy Ace

Welsh Canadian mystery author Cathy Ace is the creator of the Cait Morgan Mysteries, which include The Corpse with the Silver Tongue and The Corpse with the Golden Nose. Born, raised, and educated in Wales, Cathy enjoyed a successful career in marketing and training across Europe, before immigrating to Vancouver, Canada, where she taught on MBA and undergraduate marketing programs at various universities. Her eclectic tastes in art, music, food, and drink have been developed during her decades of extensive travel, which she continues whenever possible. Now a full-time author, Cathy’s short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies, as well as on BBC Radio 4. She and her husband are keen gardeners, who enjoy being helped out around their acreage by their green-pawed Labradors.


Cathy Reads From Corpse With The Golden Nose.
Purchase From Amazon   B&N    Book World   Powell’s Books   Book Depository

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Sunday Post #52

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

      Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cat Detective Joe Grey Kindle Ebook Sale

Anyone who's a connoisseur of cat cozies knows Joe Grey, the feline P.I. star of Shirley Rousseau Murphy's bestselling series. This series is extra special to me because one of Joe Grey's sidekicks is a tortie named Kit.

Every book in this series is currently on sale for Kindle for $0.99 to $2.99!!! The Amazon link is here.

I'm actually wondering if it would be stupid for me to re-buy the entire series in ebook form.
*clicks over to Amazon*

Have you read any of the Joe Grey books? Which one is your favorite? Mine is Cat Deck the Halls.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lunch with Connie Archer

What's the most exciting thing you can imagine that could happen to a cozy mystery fanatic? Getting to meet a favorite author, right? Well on Tuesday afternoon that's exactly what I did...I had lunch with Connie Archer, author of the wonderful Soup Lover's Mystery series.

Connie and I actually started corresponding last summer. It was a natural fit since her series is set in Vermont, my home state. She has done two wonderful guest blogs for me: Creating Snowflake, Vermont and The Missing.

Earlier this month she emailed me with the exciting news that she and her husband were planning to vacation in Vermont the week of the 20th, and was wondering if I would like to meet up with her for lunch. I responded that I would be absolutely delighted, but since at that point I was on 24/7 vigil with Tara, I said that we would have to play things by ear. As it turned out Tara passed away later that same night.

We arranged to meet up Tuesday afternoon and had lunch at Chipotle. Connie and her husband are just the sweetest people; it was like chatting with old friends. We talked about books, ThrillerFest, and swapped cat stories. (Her adorable kitty Basil will be featured in an upcoming Whiskers Behind the Words.)

It was a wonderful day that I will never forget, and I thank Connie so much for spending part of her vacation having lunch with a fan. Cozy mystery authors are just the greatest, aren't they???

Here we are!!!

I also got my books signed and she gave me the cutest Broth of Betrayal keychains!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christmas in July Giveaway

I'm a Christmas fanatic. I'm that girl who is thrilled to see holiday merchandise hitting the stores in August and tree goes up before Thanksgiving and doesn't come down until mid to late January. It's the happiest, most beautiful time of the year and each year I intend to enjoy each and every moment of it for as long as I possibly can. (Five months from today...squeee!!!)

On the other hand, I despise summer. I hate heat, humidity, and summer storms. Therefore I'm always excited when Christmas in July events start taking shape. So I decided to get in the spirit and create my own Christmas in July Giveaway this year.

I've cleaned 10 books off my bookshelves and divided them into 3 different lots: mystery, historical romance, and Christian fiction. These books are a mixture of hardcovers, paperbacks, and review copies. Just leave a comment with your email address and tell me which lot you want to win. Earn an extra entry by sharing the giveaway on your favorite social media channel...just tell me in a separate comment that you did. (US entries only, ending 7/31/13)

Mystery Lot
Assaulted Pretzel Death Rides Again (Jocelyn Shore Series#3) You Cannoli Die Once Sweet Tea Revenge (Tea Shop Series #14)

Historical Romance Lot
Seven Nights to Forever Pieces of Sky 

Christian Fiction Lot
A Claim of Her Own Love on a Dime A Vote of Confidence (Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series #1)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Interview with Max McCoy, Author of the Ophelia Wylde Mystery Series

Thank you so much for joining me today, Max. Can you tell us about the Ophelia Wylde Mysteries?
Melissa, thanks so much for asking. OF GRAVE CONCERN is the first book in my new paranormal mystery series. It’s set in 1877 in Dodge City, Kansas, and as a matter of fact I’m sitting in a hotel in Dodge City as I write this. I’m here for the book launch, which will take place tomorrow at the Boot Hill Museum Complex. I’m pleased that the Brent Harris, the official marshal of Dodge City, thought enough of an advance copy of the book to invite me here.

What makes OF GRAVE CONCERN a different kind of paranormal mystery is that it’s grounded in a very specific time and place, and against an authentic background. There were a lot of spiritualists in the Victorian West, and like Ophelia, most of them were feminists… and sometimes con artists. Ophelia, of course, reforms after she discovers she really can talk to the dead.

What made you decide to write a cozy mystery series set in the Old West?
I was in Guthrie, Oklahoma, three or four years ago, doing research for the last book in my HELLFIRE western noir trilogy, when I came across a newspaper clipping about the restless ghost of a murdered Cyprian haunting the railroad tracks in the 1890s. There was no place for the story in the novel I was writing, but I filed a copy of the article away, because I knew I wanted to write a paranormal series set in the old west. A year or so later, I made a trip to Dodge City to do some research to see if the series might be set there, and the character of Ophelia Wylde came to me… a woman on the run, a former con artist and fake spiritualist who discovers she really can talk to the dead. Frankly, I was a bit tired of all the violence in the HELLFIRE trilogy, and wanted to write a character who knows very little about guns, and never picks one up. Also, I’ve always been interested in offbeat subjects, and Victorian spiritualism is a very rich background for a fictional detective.

Did people believe in the paranormal in those days?
Just as much as they do now, if not more. The Fox sisters started the craze in 1848 in Hydesville, N.Y., and soon Spiritualism grew into a movement, and gained added momentum by the massive loss of life during the Civil War, because so many people wanted proof that their loved ones had survived death. In researching the period, I was struck by how little had changed. A modern psychic would feel right at home in a Victorian séance. There was even photographic “proof,” in the form of spirit photographs, most notably the Lincoln hoax photos by William Mumler. Also, belief in an afterlife seemed to have a liberating effect on many, and the story of feminism and woman’s suffrage is inextricably linked to the Spiritualist movement. A Victorian Spiritualist and trance medium, Victorian Woodhull, even ran for president in 1872.

Which actress can you picture portraying Ophelia?
Great question. Kristen Stewart or Anne Hathaway.

Can you tell us more about Ophelia's pet raven on the cover?
His name is Eddie and he quotes Edgar Allan Poe. Ophelia had formerly used Eddie in her stage act, and he is one of the few things she carries with her from her former life as a con woman. Eddie isn’t human, but at times he seems to know more than any bird has a right to. But, when you talk to the dead on a regular basis, that doesn’t seem so strange.

What's next for Ophelia?
I’m wrapping up the next book in the series, which will take Ophelia to the wide-open mining town of Leadville, Colorado. She is still based in Dodge City, and has just now establishing herself as a consulting detective, but is called to the mountains for a murder investigation. Also involved is an overdue and very haunted library book – and that’s probably all I should give away.

Thanks for the interview. It was great fun.


About Of Grave Concern:
Dead Men Tell No Lies - The Civil War is over, and many a young widow has turned to spiritualism to contact their husbands on "the other side." But Ophelia Wylde won't be fooled twice. After wasting her money on a phoney psychic, she decides if she can't beat 'em, join 'em. She leaves New Orleans and heads West, selling her services as a spiritual medium who speaks to the dead. By the time she reaches Dodge City, business is booming. Except for a handsome but skeptical bounty hunter named Jack Calder, no one suspects Ophelia of running a con game - until an unfortunate "reading" of a girl who's still living exposes her to a townfull of angry customers. As punishment, the mob drags Ophelia to Boot Hill and buries her alive in a fresh grave overnight. That's when the dead start speaking. To her. For real. And for dead people, they've got lots to say.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Opt to Adopt: Mittens

Dogs N Pawz

Welcome to Tuesday's Tails, sponsored by Dogs N Pawz.
We are a group of bloggers who want to bring awareness to an animal each week who is need of a home of their own.

This is my very first Opt to Adopt post and I'm featuring a little lady with quite a story to tell.

Mittens is at the Humane Society of Chittenden County in Burlington, Vermont (my local shelter). She's quite famous around these parts, being featured in the Burlington Free Press after having been found clinging to the Burlington Community Boathouse dock about to fall into Lake Champlain!!! Luckily a brave security guard was able to rescue her. Her owner wasn't found so she's currently up for adoption.

You can read her profile here.

(Photo courtesy of the Humane Society of Chittenden County. The shelter's absolutely amazing photographer is Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography. She donates her time each week to photograph the animals newly up for of charge!)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blog Tour: A Bandit's Broken Heart by Michelle McLean

Fish Out of Water

I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for several years now, a mere three hours from New York City. And until recently, I’d never been to visit the Big Apple. Never really had a desire to, to be honest. Oh, I like to say I like big cities…all the culture and things to do. And it’s true to a degree. It would be fun to have all those museums and stores and theaters at my fingertips. But deep down, I’m really just a small town girl. It wasn’t really that the big city scared me. It just didn’t sound fun.

But a few weeks ago, my step-daughter came to visit and she wanted to go to New York City. I really didn’t have a good excuse not to go. So I took a deep breath and headed into the big unknown.

And you know what…I had a blast :) Oh sure, I definitely stuck out like a tourist. The crowds were a bit claustrophobic at times (though we went on a good day and the crowds were minimal). I was a fish out of water to be sure.

But, I think I did pretty well. I even managed to ride the subway a few times! Luckily the first time we were accompanied by a good friend and seasoned New Yorker (who showed us a few tricks to visiting the city on a budget and introduced to the Metro). But even after she went home, we did pretty well on our own :) In the end, I’m glad I went. And I’m definitely more confident about going again.

Brynne, the main character in my new release, A Bandit’s Broken Heart, has her own fish out of water experience. Trying for a new start, she and her daughter move away from their tiny Californian town to bustling Boston. Things don’t quite go as she planned. Especially when she meets a handsome doctor who gets under her skin :) Check it out to see how she finally finds her place in the world…and who she finds it with. :)
  About the book:

A Bandit’s Broken Heart by Michelle McLean
A Blood Blade Sisters Novel: Book Two

Publisher: Entangled: Scandalous Imprint
Genre: Historical Romance
Number of pages: 167

ISBN: 978-1-62266-228-9


A woman with a past

Widowed mother, Brynne Richardson, gave up her bandit activities when she left California to make a fresh start with her young daughter in Boston. Working for a handsome doctor fulfills her need to be useful and independent, but he creates another yearning she cant deny.

A man with a purpose

Dr. Richard Oliver assumes Brynne is just another debutante hunting for a rich husband, until she intrigues him with her steady hand for stitchesand guns. He cant put her out of his mind, but the young widow has mysteries hes determined to unravel.

A love in danger

When smugglers raid the much-needed supplies from the clinic, Brynne must resurrect her bandit persona for the good of the sick and the poor. Her secret life threatens to destroy everything shes worked so hard to protecther life, her family and her heart.

Amazon Buy Link:

* * *

About the author:

Romance and non-fiction author Michelle McLean spent 98% of her formative years with her nose in a book indulging in her love of reading and research. Expanding that love into writing was inevitable. Michelle has a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, and tends to be a bit of an organized mess with an insatiable love of books and more weird quirks than you can shake a stick at.

She is the author of the historical romances To Trust a Thief and the Blood Blade Sisters trilogy, the non-fiction Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers, and several upcoming historical, paranormal, and contemporary romances. She is also a contributor on The Naked Hero, and the Operation Awesome, Scene 13, and Scandalous book blogs as well as maintaining her personal blog. If she's not editing, reading or chasing her kids around, she can usually be found in a quiet corner working on her next book. Michelle resides in PA with her husband and two young children, an insanely hyper dog, and two very spoiled cats.

If you would like Michelle's signature, you can request one for her ebooks through or request a signed bookplate through her website.


For this tour, Michelle is giving away a $20 gift card and a Blood Blade Sister necklace (US Only), which has the sisters' signature red poppy and a dagger pendant.

To visit Michelle's other stops, click here.

Enter through Rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cats in Hats: Sashi the Red Hat Lady

My friends at the Tabby Cat Club are hosting a fun event today: Cats in Hats Day. As soon as I read about it I immediately knew which photo I had to use.

Even though Tara was the center of my universe for the past 6 years, I did have other cats in my life before her. Sashi, her predecessor, was a classy and dignified older lady, who was in my life during the height of the Red Hat Lady craze. That was the inspiration for this photo, which has become a lives permanently on my upright piano where I memorialize beloved pets that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. (Notice the cats in hats on the blanket behind her, too!)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Sunday Post #51

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Through Frankie's Eyes Frankie, The Walk 'N Roll Dog Frankie, The Walk 'N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby's House