Tag Archives: cozy mystery

Headlines, Deadlines, and Lies by Stephanie LaVigne Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A single mother struggling to find her footing as a writer finds herself uncovering more secrets than she could have imagined while investigating genealogy studies in author Stephanie LaVigne’s “Headlines, Deadlines, and Lies”. 

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The Synopsis

“It’s all in the genes, darling!” A witty quip…or a clue?

Piper Harrington is determined to find out.

As a single mom living back in her quaint hometown nestled along Florida’s Gulf Coast, Piper has all but abandoned her dream of ever becoming a professional writer. So when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity opens up at the small beach town paper where she works, she has to make a split-second decision: Go for it (even if it requires a little fib) or give up a shot at her lifelong goal.

To complicate things, in waltzes a worldly crime reporter who is easy to talk to and even easier on the eyes. Add in a demanding editor, alongside a theatrical best friend, a lively family, and co-workers who run the gamut from supportive to conniving, and things start getting tricky.

Scrambling for a topic that could keep readers hooked, Piper dives into the world of genealogy…something she knows absolutely nothing about. When her investigation turns up more questions than answers, her findings threaten to open up a Pandora’s box that can’t be closed.

A story about friendship, family, finding your passion…and the lengths we go to protect those we love.

•••

What do Bogie & Bacall, a goldfish, and a never-ending mountain of laundry have in common? There’s only one way to find out! If you love a fun, beachy read with a lovable female amateur sleuth, then you will have a blast with Headlines Deadlines and Lies; a Florida twist on a cozy mystery!

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The Review

This was a truly marvelous mystery! The author perfectly captures the warmth and wit that the cozy mystery genre often has. The relationship between the protagonist and the cast of characters felt real and relatable all at once. Getting an intimate look into the protagonist’s life as a single mother and aspiring writer was emotional and heartfelt, and the author really captured the author’s mental and physical journey as she underwent this adventure. 

The real defining moment or aspect of this novel had to be the setting of the novel. The cozy mystery novel typically conjures up a cold, wintery setting in some small New England or English town. Yet the author has flipped the script in the best way possible, taking readers to a sunny destination like Florida and still keeping the theme and tone of coziness and suspense that the genre is known for.

The Verdict

A masterful, expertly crafted, and engaging read, author Stephanie LaVigne’s “Headlines, Deadlines, and Lies” is a must-read and satisfying read. The characters immediately draw the reader in with their authenticity and charm, and the evolving mystery keeps readers invested in this narrative wholeheartedly. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Stephanie LaVigne comes from a long line of mystery lovers. Her books combine quirkiness, intrigue, and adventure…plus a healthy dose of humor and wit.

She has published over 50 popular novels under her pen names in both romance and mystery, and is a regular Amazon Bestseller.

After spending years in the NYC film industry, then as a professional photographer, she eventually traded in her cameras to pursue life as a full-time writer. From hopping trains across the US to crewing a sailboat on a trans-Atlantic crossing, from mushing dogs on a Canadian dogsled to unwittingly hiking Mount Washington, she’s seen a few things and lived to tell about them. If nothing else, her life has never been dull.

She currently lives in her favorite South Florida neighborhood surrounded by palm trees, peacocks, a few wild kids, one wild husband, and a handful of incredible family members and friends. 

https://stephanielavigne.com/

https://www.bookbub.com/books/headlines-deadlines-and-lies-the-sunshine-state-cozy-crime-by-stephanie-lavigne

Broomsticks and Board Games (Spooky Games Club #1) by Amy McNulty Audiobook Tour & Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young witch in a town full of supernaturals must balance keeping her neighbors human nephew oblivious of the supernatural community around them, keeping the curse beset on her from claiming her as a victim, and an old town mystery surrounding a former games club that turned deadly in author Amy McNulty’s “Broomsticks and Board Games”, the first in the Spooky Games Club series.

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The Synopsis

Dahlia Poplar is a genuine witch, an unofficial gofer, and Luna Lane’s only cursed resident.

With a werewolf best friend, a vampire ex-boyfriend, and a ghost for a hanger-on, Dahlia is far from the most unusual dweller of her sleepy small town, but she’s the only one unable to leave. Dahlia has to perform at least one good deed per day—or she’s one step closer to turning to stone.

Fortunately, the residents of Luna Lane have plenty of tasks for Dahlia to complete to avert the curse until Cable Woodward, fetching professor and nephew of her elderly neighbor, stops by for the semester on sabbatical. Attempting to help Cable’s uncle work through the trauma of losing his wife, Dahlia uncovers the man’s collection of board games, which leads to him reminiscing about the long-forgotten Luna Lane Games Club.

Dahlia reestablishes Games Club, only to find evidence of a number of horrible demises connected to the original group. While trying to uncover the truth about the deaths, Dahlia has to fight off her curse, protect her elderly neighbor from becoming the next victim, and most vexing of all, keep Cable from figuring out Luna Lane’s supernatural secrets. Only with eerie board games like these, there may not be a loser—or even a winner—who survives. 

The Review

This was the perfect blend of a cozy mystery, YA fantasy, and paranormal thriller. The book builds intrigue by slowly introducing the protagonist and the mystery surrounding the paranormal community of Luna Lane. Quickly however the novel takes readers on a series of twists and turns that not only introduce some memorable members of this cast of characters but keep the reader on the edge of their seat as both personal and grander threats push Dahlia to the edge. 

The audiobook did a great job of drawing the reader in. Between the amazing world-building author Amy McNulty does and the genre-fusion that this story becomes and the soothing yet commanding voice work of narrator Danielle Daly that kept the reader invested, this audiobook was both entertaining and enthralling all at once. 

The Verdict

A thrilling, memorable, and engaging read, author Amy McNulty’s “Broomsticks and Board Games” is a fantastic start to the Spooky Games Club series. The cast of characters is quite remarkable and both humorous and entertaining, while the chilling mystery behind both the games club and Dahlia’s curse keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. With a powerful story and equally powerful narrator, this is one audiobook you won’t want to miss. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Amy McNulty

Narrator: Danielle Daly

Length: 7 hours 4 minutes

Series: A Spooky Games Club Mystery, Book 1

Publisher: Crimson Fox Publishing

Released: Jan. 5, 2021

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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The Light Tower by Laurie Lisa Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman must take a journey to discover not only herself but the mother she never knew after she was born under tragic circumstances in author Laurie Lisa’s mystery novel, “The Light Tower”. 

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The Synopsis

In this dramatic mystery, a daughter returns to Chicago to find the truth about a mother she never knew–and her tragic death. Will her journey bring answers or more questions?

Thirty years ago in Chicago, a troubled, full-term pregnant woman escapes from the maternity ward of a hospital and climbs to the top of a 100-foot light tower in an abandoned railway yard. Melody Arnold is convinced that her baby is dead, and neither reassurances from her doctor nor the fact that she is a nurse can convince her otherwise. She jumps. Melody doesn’t survive, but miraculously, when the paramedics arrive, a tiny foot protrudes from the woman’s stomach, twitching.

Now, Kat Flowers is living in Arizona and celebrating her thirtieth birthday. Stuck in a rut of dead-end jobs and a failed relationship, she receives a cryptic birthday card from a father she ran away from fourteen years ago. Desperate for answers, Kat takes a journey back to Illinois—to see a family she left behind and learn the truth about a mother she never knew.

Kat shares the journey with the charismatic Zen, who has his own reasons for returning home. There, Kat tries to solve the complicated mystery of her mother’s identity . . . and then understand why she made that tragic leap.

A compelling novel about a mother’s dark secrets, The Light Tower explores the lasting connection between a mother and her daughter, even when they never knew each other. This story about one family’s hidden past is a riveting must-read for your book club.

The Review

This was a truly powerful, emotionally-driven narrative. Author Laurie Lisa once again shines through with this incredibly tragic yet real and loving story of a mother and her daughter, whose lives were tragically torn apart one fateful day. As Kat works to solve the mystery of why her mother Melody met such a tragic fate, readers are given a glimpse into some powerful storytelling that touches on the struggles so many faces in our world today.

From mental health and addiction to family and love, the author does a brilliant job of bringing these themes to life within the core story. The best and most engaging aspect of this novel however is the characters, as their arcs and the slow unraveling of the mystery surrounding this horrific event are heightened by the growth they undergo as time goes on. The anger and pain Kat feels at her mother’s fate and Melody’s despair and helplessness as time goes on are all traits so many people can identify with, and allows the reader to feel these emotions as the story progresses. 

The Verdict

A moving, evenly-paced, and emotionally-driven narrative, author Laurie Lisa’s “The Light Tower” is a must-read mystery and drama read of 2021. The depth of character development the author presents and the heartfelt emotions that are poured into the themes of this narrative are truly engaging on every level. If you haven’t yet, preorder or grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Laurie was born and raised in Southern Illinois. She obtained her B.S. in English Education from the University of Illinois (Champaign), where she also met and then married her husband Steve Lisa. Laurie earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from Arizona State University (20th Century American Literature), where she also taught literature and composition. After her time spent in Academia and raising her three children (Anthony, Michelle, and Caitlin), Laurie returned to her passion for writing fiction.

Laurie is a prolific writer and has completed eight novels in the genre of literary women’s fiction. Each of her books follows its own distinct and sophisticated plot with well-developed characters. In addition to her novels, Laurie has published two academic books, several short stories and poems, and edited other’s works. Laurie resides with her husband, Steve, in Paradise Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona.

You can read more about Laurie and her novels at her website, LaurieLisa.com

Finn-agled: A Finn’s Finds Mystery by Kristine Raymond Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A mysterious box with an even more mysterious secret code sends a young woman and a novelist on a dangerous quest to unravel its secrets in author Kristine Raymond’s “Finn-agled: A Finn’s Finds Mystery”. 

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The Synopsis

A secret message hidden inside of an antique wooden box, an unidentified dead body, and a mother determined to marry her off to the high school crush whom she hasn’t seen since…well…high school. There’s no doubt about it; Finn Bartusiak’s life in the seaside town of Port New is about to get interesting.

Coming into possession of a 19th-century, bronze and mahogany writing box under somewhat suspicious circumstances, Finn’s accidental discovery of a coded note leads her and Spencer Dane, bestselling novelist and love of her life (though he doesn’t know it yet), on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the jumble of letters. But they’re not the only ones interested in the cryptic message. There’s a con man on their trail, and he’ll stop at nothing, including murder, to claim the ‘treasure’ for himself.

The Review

This was a perfect blend of quirky characters and suspense. The author does a fantastic job of creating a grand mystery set within a very self-contained community within this narrative. The pacing is incredible and the tone maintains that lightness yet suspense one expects from a cozy mystery. 

The star of the novel of course was the protagonist, Finn. Her journey sees her struggling with everything from her dog, her nosy mother, a high school crush returned to throw some unexpected romance into her life, and a dangerous individual and con man who will stop at nothing to get his prize. Yet her quirky demeanor is evenly matched by strength and determination that makes her interactions with family and everyone else fiery and entertaining. 

The Verdict

Memorable, engaging, and short yet enthralling all at once, author Kristine Raymond’s “Finn-agled: A Finn’s Finds Mystery” is the perfect winter cozy mystery. A heartwarming cast of characters that are both humorous and close-knit combine with a strong and resilient protagonist and an entertaining mystery that will keep readers invested until the book’s end, and leaves this reviewer hoping for more stories within this series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing story today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Kristine Raymond didn’t figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up until later in life. You guessed it! It’s being an author. Since writing and publishing her first book in 2013, she’s gone on to complete two romance series – one historical western and one contemporary; a humorous non-fiction story; a collection of seasonally-themed short stories; and a contemporary erotic drama. She also hosts a podcast called Word Play with Kristine Raymond.

When not writing, she’s navigating the publishing and promotional side of the business. When not doing that, she enjoys spending time with her husband and furry family, reading, gardening, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.

Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Book + Main, and BookBub. You can also visit her website at www.kristineraymond.com to keep up with her latest news.