Book Review: A Toast to Murder


As Milwaukee counts down to New Year’s Eve, bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has but one resolution—unmask the dangerous mastermind who has been taunting her and killed bouncer Gary Gunderson. Mack and her fellow barflies have fleshed out a suspect and arranged an invite-only party to put a cork in the murderer’s game for good. But when the clock strikes midnight and their suspect is found cold and stiff on the basement stairs, it seems the celebration may have come too soon. Now Mack must rely on her special talents to find the real criminal among the crowd of revelers—or someone won’t survive until last call . . .

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This book was an interesting read.  I don’t mean that in a good way.  I had a difficult time reading the book because the MC: Mack was very self-centered.  I mean every three chapters we heard about her background, how she got her gift and on and on. . . .I almost made it a three, but the author did such a nice time in writing the book and I did like her friend that help her solve the mystery.


Book Review: Balancing Act

Rita Bellamy has had great success as an author, but it came at the expense of her marriage. Now she’s starting over in a small lakeside cottage, slowly rebuilding the confidence that was shattered.

Dory has moved to Washington D.C. to be with Griff.  This should be the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Dory’s life. Yet there are adjustments too, and sacrifices she never expected. And soon Dory must weigh the price of love against everything she hoped to gain. .

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This is a hard book to read, because Ms. Michaels writes in such a real manner.  It is almost as if your next door neighbor, your best friend or you are going through this section of the journey in life.  It is so hard!  So be prepared to live in your head and deal with the MC problems and you will come out of  it . . .

Book Review: Nic & Nigel Mysteries by Tracy Kiely

 A Perfect Manhattan MurderScreenshot 2017-09-07 17.03.07


Thrilled that their playwright friend’s Broadway debut was a rousing success, Nic and Nigel are trying to enjoy the A-list after-party with their pal Harper. Unfortunately, all the champagne and repartee in the world aren’t enough to overlook the churlish behavior of Harper’s theater-critic husband, Dan. (Not a nice person) Nic is shocked the next morning when she learns that Dan’s been murdered. Nigel thinks the world may be a better place without him.

Still, Harper is their friend and they’re intent on helping her any way they can.

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I did like this book and felt so sorry for Harper.  He was not a nice man.  He took full advantage over the fact that his wife was a lovely, well connected and RICH person.  Harper’s friends weren’t to happy with Dan, but well.  . . . read the book and enjoy!!!


Murder with a TwistScreenshot 2017-09-07 17.02.06


Visiting New York to attend a cousin’s birthday gala, Nic and Nigel Martini are looking forward to cocktails with old friends and a pampered stay at the Ritz. But when the birthday girl’s gold-digging cad of a husband goes missing, the Martini family worries that the social event of the season may turn into a story for the scandal sheets.

Nigel’s condescending aunt begs former detective Nic to find sleazy Leo, despite the fact that it would be better for everyone if he just stayed lost. Trailing a “married bachelor” with a penchant for trouble isn’t pretty; in fact it’s downright deadly. Assisted by Nigel and their newly adopted Bullmastiff, Nic must tangle with her old underworld connections if she hopes to hunt down the dirtiest Martini

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The Bullmastiff made that story.  He sounds like such a cute dog.  I kid you not.  Every time Nic was supposed to be doing something that dog bailed him out.  He is a huge dog by the description, however, I digress.  I felt same way about the missing husband as Nic did and I really didn’t blame him for his lack of care towards him.  But you have to read the story, if only to get to know the Bullmastiff. 

Killer Cocktail Screenshot 2017-09-07 17.01.11 


Walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards with a bow-tied Bullmastiff draws Nic and Nigel Martini plenty of attention from the press. But that’s nothing compared to the attention they receive at the A-list after party, when Hollywood royalty learn they’ve discovered behind-the-scenes footage from an acclaimed film that left one of its stars dead.

Returning home after the party, Nic and Nigel find their house in shambles and their employee DeDee Evans beaten within an inch of her life. And when the weapon used to pummel DeDee implicates a beloved actress, Nic and Nigel drink and banter their way into a modern-day version of a golden-age crime caper.

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These books are so much fund and Tracy Kiely really know how to connect the two main charcters.  It was a lovely story and and the series just gets better and better.  Can’t wait for the next book.

Book Review: Book 4 Murder


Sophie “Phee” Kimball is not a cop. She’s a divorced, middle-aged mom who works as an account clerk for the police department in a small city in Minnesota. But her retired mother, Harriet Plunkett, is convinced Phee is the only one who can solve the mystery of a cursed book. According to Harriet, four members of her book club have already succumbed to the deadly curse. Harriet insists Phee catch the next plane to her retirement community in Sun City West, Arizona, to investigate.

Phee is certain that their book club selection isn’t cursed, but is somebody really knocking off the ladies? As Phee starts to uncover dark secrets hidden in plain sight under the blazing Arizona sun, she’ll need to read between the lines before it’s someone else’s final chapter….

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This book is perfect for the over 55 crowd and anyone connected with them. The authors nailed it. Lots of twists and the culprit I guessed early on, turned out to be someone totally different. If you’re to know what goes on in a senior community anywhere in the country, this is the book to read. Great first book in a series. I truly enjoyed it, especially since the MC is from Minnesota.  This is book I could relate to, understand and truly get.  You will love it!!

Book Review: Two Nights

Two Nights by Kathy Reiche


Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .
Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

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I rarely give 5 book reviews to any books.  I mean I like the books usually and I want them to be successful, but this book struck me at a time when I have been battling some demons of my own.  I still have them, but at least I needed to hear that it would be worth something to do that.  I strongly encourage you to read the book.  You will enjoy it!!!


I was given this book by the publisher, via Netgalley, for an honest review.Two Nights_Reichs_ecard_v2_pull quote 4


Death Around the Bend by T.E. Kinsey


September 1909, and Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, have been invited to Lord Riddlethorpe’s country estate for a week of motor racing and parties. They both agree that it sounds like a perfectly charming holiday. But when one of the drivers dies in a crash during the very first race, they discover that what seemed like an uncharacteristic error in judgement, reveals that the driver’s car was sabotaged—and the driver murdered.

Book Review plus 4.7 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed the story.  This story illustrates the difference in classes among those who live above the stairs and those who live below the stairs.  It is interesting to see the difference among the servants below the stairs .  Florence is a ladies maid who gets the information for her lady as their investigate.  It is just so thoroughly enjoyalbe story!!!

Carol Childs’ Mysteries by Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy Cole Nancy Cole silvermanSilverman’s new series, the Carol Childs Mysteries (Henery Press) takes place inside a busy Los Angles Radio station. Carol Childs is a radio reporter who works a for a local radio station.

Book Reviewsfor eacy of Nancy Cole Silverman’s Carol Childs’ Mysteries


A top Hollywood Agent is found poisoned in the bathtub of her home and the police suspect one of her two nieces. Carol Childs, a reporter for a local talk radio station, doesn’t believe it, she knows these people and knows that they could not have committed Carol knows she must save her friend from being tried in the court of public opinion.
shadow of a doubt
Carol must challenge both her friendship and the facts, and the only thing she knows for certain is that the killer is still out there.

Book Review and 3.8 stars

This cozy mystery was an interesting read, however, I stayed with until the end.  I didn’t give it my usual 4 because I thought some aspects of the story were cliche, but for the most part I did enjoy this book.

Synopsisbeyond a doubt

Carol Childs is called to the scene of a murder, where she has no idea she’s about to uncover a connection to a string of missing girls.  A judge’s daughter leaves behind a clue and a trip down Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame reveals a connection to a high powered real estate mogul and to a cartel targeting girls for human trafficking.

As Carol Childs investigation gets to close, she finds herself  at odds with powers that threaten to undo her career and like the very girls she’s seeking, make her disappear.

Book Review and 4.3 stars

I liked this story a lot better. It was interesting to watch how the connection to past was illustrated to a series of murders that had occurred in Hollywood.  I think that the author put the information together in a very sequential manner.

without a doubtSynopsis

Our favorite radio reporter Carol Childs investigates a series of Beverly Hills jewelry heists, when she realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, is working the same case. Even worse, she may have inadvertently helped the suspect escape.  Now Carol is faced with the difficult choice of choosing between her job and her personal relationships. It was just a coincidence that Carol and Eric were investigating the same case, now before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, they are leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them.

Book Review and 4.5

This was a great sophmore follow up in the series.  I think that it was good to explore the relationship, but I wish the author had spent more time on this aspect. However, it is a mystery not necessarily a romance.



Let’s Salute the Week

This week has begun on a high note:

There was a falcon on the bird bath and moose out by the side of road eating his breakfast.


This will be illustrating some new authors TO ME and their books.  Most of them are on their sophomore book.  I got that expression from the Drew Carey show.  He stated that the third show is considered the sophmore show, so I borrowed it for my description of the books.


I decided that I will address some aspects of the book that really irritate me (my pet peeves):

Here are a few:

  • a sludgy middle
  • too much from the previous story/book
  • a character switch (I remember this quote, but not who said it; “the reader should know as much as the author.”  Translation:  I don’t like transition that come out of no where just to satisfy the ending.

My blog plans are listed above.

Finally . . .

I am going add another page to this blog for my story.  I will be writing a mystery (not a big surprise) story.  After reading the interviews from Mystery Thriller Week, I think it would be interesting to illustrate the process.

Let it all begin!!!





Mystery Thriller Week Interview: Rose Fedele



How old were you when you wrote your first story?

screenshot-2017-02-12-17-51-31-pngOther than some creative writing as a child, I didn’t sit down to write seriously until about five years ago.

I think I needed a trigger, and it came in the form of a beautiful old house. But it was more than a house; the magnificent old building riveted and mesmerised me and in the following weeks I was drawn back to the site, over and over. The mansion was fronted by a brightly painted door, a glossy façade, and I imagined what the door might mask and what it could have concealed over the last 150 years: nasty, shameful secrets, possibly a poor family’s misfortune and tragedy, rotten crimes and heaven knows what other unholy messes … and a story began to form.

Funnily enough, when first I started, I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I was so embarrassed that I started the project in secret, waiting until the house was empty and I was sure to be completely alone.

What genre was that?

Being a great lover of psychological thrillers and suspense, it wasn’t going to go any other way!

Do you think that or do you have another series in mind?  Where would it be located?

My books are set in Sydney and always built around a central theme: an iconic old house or building in need of restoration. THE RED DOOR is the story of a woman who purchases and restores a beautiful old mansion ‘Rosalind’, but soon begins to believe that one of her tenants is watching her; a reclusive man who happens to share his name with two teenage sisters, victims of a sinister and brutal murder.

As the tale unfolds, you’ll find paintings and drawings I’ve created to illustrate exactly how our main protagonist appears in my mind, to show what the chair in Beadles’ shop window looks like or the iconic Balmain Garage, before developers tore it down.

Here’s one:

The second book, again based on an historic building, is in editing stage and I’m preparing the illustrations now, hopefully to be released later this year. And yes, there will be a third.

Do you enjoy any sport? Crafts? Other?

My passion, and a significant part of my life, is art: by profession I am an artist and portrait painter, with a quirky penchant for painting vintage cars.

I don’t play sport but walk for miles every day, and it’s during my walks that my stories germinate.

Where do you write from? Place in your emotions?

My stories are drawn from life, from observation and from experience.

Visually: I love old architecture, and sometimes my heart profoundly aches at the sheer beauty of a building and I will stop and stare dumbly at the shimmering tarnished Gothic copper roof of a turret, the sun flashing off stained glass windows or the swirling ochres and russets of a Sydney sandstone wall. This is why my stories are always centred on a building.

Emotions: With every experience there is an emotion attached, whether it’s joy or excitement, nostalgia or yearning, anger or fear, and I try to tap into those emotions, using them to illustrate the story.

Observation: Having a portraitist’s eye helps, watching how people integrate with their environment and each other, the inter-personal dynamics, mannerisms, the tilt of a head, a finger rubbed nervously across a philtrum.

I believe everyone could sit down and spin a yarn based on their experiences, if they chose to.

Place in your house? From your organizations? if so what organizations:

I write in my studio, where I also paint and prepare the illustrations for the books. It’s a lovely room, south-facing with a big window and, although I live in inner city Sydney, it has a beautiful tree-filled vista. The walls are covered with paintings and sketches, an easel that holds a large board covered in post-it notes for storyline plotting, and a few vintage cars waiting to go to the next exhibition. Here’s a photo:

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

As explained, I’m actually an artist and that’s what I’d do if I wasn’t writing.  Also, I’ve always fancied the idea of being a landscape gardener!

How much support do you receive in relation to your writing and eventual publication? From where and whom? 

Emotionally – my family are my greatest supporters and cheer squad (and my biggest critics!)

Financially – THE RED DOOR was self-published and self-funded.

If you could do only one form of writing, would you write stories or keep a blog? Why?

If I could only do one form of writing, I would probably keep writing my stories. Now that I’ve started, I’ve unleashed a monster and words are spilling out of me.

My blog is a very visual medium, keeping my followers up to date with new works as well as sneak peeks and excerpts from the next book. Many also follow me on Facebook or Instagram @rosafedele where I invite my readers/art lovers to come along on the journey, watch the images develop, laugh with me as I discard the rejects, and encourage feedback.

How did you find your niche?

I have always known that one day I would write and illustrate my own books, so I think my niche found me!

How much research do you do for your books?

Because my stories are based on actual historic houses in Sydney, much research is needed about the building, architectural drawings, style etc. I explore the process of building and renovation, interior design, fittings, fixtures and furnishings and draw on my own knowledge and tales from the art world. Also, as do many other mystery writers, I study crime, forensics and legal proceedings. I would hate for anyone to look at my Google search history – it would be quite horrific!

What surprised you most about the publishing process?

Two things:

The amount of editing, re-writing, re-editing, proofreading, over and over, required to produce a high quality book; and

The exhausting amount of self-promotion required. The thing is, Australians are a humble and self-effacing lot; in our culture any tendency to “blow your own horn” is sneered at, almost considered abhorrent. It took a long time to overcome that.

What do you want your obituary to say? What do you want engraved on your headstone?

Probably something silly, like: “I told you I was sick.”

Contact Information:



Michelle Dragalin

 Freelance Writer and Educator


Mystery Thriller Week Interview: Janice Richardson


How old you when you wrote your first story?

I must have been in Grade 2 or 3, so I might have been 7 or 8 years old.  That was very long time ago.

What genre was that ?

*laughing:  We were raised on Dick and Jane in public school, so its safe to say it was non-specific genre, probably fiction.

Do you think that or do you have another series in mind?  Where would it be located?

Another series is probably not on the radar. We write what we know. Funeral Service was a part of my life, there are many “parts”. I can’t answer that question yet, I am hoping to write two or three more books in The Spencer Funeral Home Niagara series. Should I do another series, it would be located in northern Canada

Where do write from?

There is an old recliner in my bedroom where I sit much of the day with my laptop. Physically that is the space I use, where I fell safe and productive.

When I am writing a book my emotions are constantly active. Writing the first draft is relatively easy, the books, so far, have almost written themselves. My characters seem real to me and I have been known to call my friends by my character’s names. I see the every detail of funeral home, and I can visualize my characters down to what they are wearing. The “town” the series is set in is similar to the one I live in, close to Niagara Falls.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

Volunteering. I wasn’t to keep busy. Reading, I want to keep my mind sharp. I am a news junkie and I enjoy non-fiction. Cozies are a guilty pleasure. Walking. Living in the Niagara Region, a temperate climate area for Canada has allowed me to get out and about.

 How much support do you receive in relation to your writing and eventual publication? From where and whom?

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My first book, the Making of  a Funeral Director was non-fiction. I had no support. I just assumed I could self-publish. I did my own editing, proofing, used a photo I had taken when digital cameras were new for the cover and more or less bubbled my through the uploading to Amazon and Kobo. I paid $5 on Fivver for the lettering. I got the ISBN and copyright myself.

I hit a brick wall with Smashwords meta data process. That formatting completely eluded me, in spite of reading the booklet over and over. I had to get a company to do the formatting. Entire cost of publishing was under $100. That was a lofty sum for a retiree like me.

The old saying—no man is an island rings true. I made a choice to ask for help for Casket Cache. Wise decision on my part. Family and friends are not as excited about my writing as I am and I try not to burden them with my enthusiasm. An editor was recommended, she offers services at an exceptional price, I pick what I can afford. By Winter’s Mourning, we had become good friends and partners, I depended on her expertise for creative content critique, formatting, uploading and editing, proofing, cover assistance. Cost for each book—around $450. I borrowed the money.

Grave Mistake (Book 3) may be a bit longer coming out, I will save again until I can use her services. It would foolish of me to attempt to go it along. What MJ can do in ten minutes takes me hours. She told me her as editor was to work with emerging writers, freeing them to write.  I appreciate and need her mentorship.

If you could do only one form of writing, would you write stories or keep a blog? Why?

Write stories. Blogging is not my cup of tea. I enjoy reading good blogs. My twin sister blogged long before it was fashionable, she was very good at it  (she is a retired journalist). It gave her purpose and she used the platform to educate others.

How did you find your niche?

Believe it or not, a few years ago I didn’t know cozy mysteries were a niche. (smile)

I like to escape when I read. The news is full of violence and inhumanity. When I was little I was orphaned. Life wasn’t kind. I disappeared into books, nice safe places that made me forget where I really was I wasn’t athletic, I failed miserable at sports. Even fantasy, such as C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series scared me. I prefer memoirs and historical fiction. Diana Xarissa’s Aunt Bessie series was my first “ah ha” introduction to cozy mysteries. Aunt Bessie gets cranky and hungry and tired and she is smart and engaging. Course in the real world, female protagonists don’t work with the police.

How much research do you do for your books?

My series has to be current and factual, everyone at some point will need a funeral director. It’s very important to me that my readers are educated as well as entertained. I did call the police for procedural information. They were mostly helpful, I approached some funeral homes to check on the latest procedures and found one was very welcoming, others not so much. I approached a lawyer’s office about legal procedures and they were not very nice.

Most of my research is done online and it ones ongoing as I write.

What surprised you most about the publishing process?

Marketing is work, books don’t sell themselves. There are more books than readers. I learned that once a book goes to press, whether it be self-published or with a publisher, the real work begins. I spend up two hours or more hours a day on Twitter, blogs, Facebook. i check Goodreads and Twitter often throughout the day and respond as quickly as possible to anyone who contacts me. I had to learn to use Twitter and navigate Goodreads and look for ways to stay in touch with potential readers. I seldom promote my books, my tweets entertain and garner followers and I review every book I read.

What do you want your obituary to say? What do you want engraved on your headstone?

Tough question. I suspect my grave marker won’t say anything, I expect I will be cremated and buried in the family plot on the other side o the province. If it could, it would probably say “she was nice. I hear that a lot now. It me sixty years to become nice. My obituary? I don’t want one. I am a special needs mom,  two of my children cannot read or write. I moved south to Niagara several years ago and while I have good friends here, an obituary will not matter.

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