Coached to Death
November 4th, 2019 by diane92345

The sister of the Psychic Eye cozy series, Cat, pairs up with the sidekick from the Ghost Hunter Mysteries, Gilley, in the first book in the Life Coach Mysteries, Coached to Death.

Heather is what happens when a bully grows up. She becomes even more vindictive and vicious. After all, what had Cat done other than build her new mansion next door? Heather decides to return the favor by humiliating Cat at a party with all of the East Hampton socialites in attendance.

At least, Cat has a dinner date with the suave Maks, who is also her newest tenant. Plus she has her first client’s messed up life to fix. Unfortunately, when Heather is bashed in the head with the punchbowl that Cat brought to the party, handsome Detective Steve suspects Cat. It could be because Cat threatened to leave Heather “a bloody mess” before storming out.

I’ve read every book in the Ghost Hunter series. My favorite part is Gilley, whose humorous take on life is the best part of any book he is in. It was a sad day for me when he mentioned that M.J. and her new husband, Heath, have given up ghost hunting. However, this new series has the same humor and distinct characters. It’s just missing the paranormal subject matter.

Coached to Death is a good first book in this new cozy mystery series. I believe it is the only cozy exploring life coaching. Also, Cat is a strong female lead with a backstory of starting and running a successful marketing firm. Plus she is rich, which always helps.

Still, the star here is Gilley. He is still fluttery and anxious. But he seems more adult and less frantic with no ghosts to worry about. Of course, his over-the-top humor is always welcome. If you like funny cozy mysteries, you should pick up this book. 4 stars!

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

November 3rd, 2019 by diane92345

The burning and partial destruction of Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral in April 2019 was shown on television worldwide. People everywhere were grief-stricken and shocked that such a monument to mankind’s ingenuity and perseverance could fall. But it impacted Ken Follett, best-selling author of The Pillars of the Earth, even more. After all, his book was about the fall and rebuilding of a fictional cathedral. He had researched gothic cathedrals extensively. After receiving repeated requests from journalists for his comments on the fire, he decided to write this heartfelt book about the history of Notre-Dame. He also pledged all of this book’s royalties, including his advance, to the French rebuilding fund.

In 1163, the rebuilding of the original Romanesque cathedral was started. It would take almost a hundred years, hundreds of workers, and a fortune to construct the new Gothic building. The people of Paris were rightly proud of the result.

Over the years since then, the cathedral has seen the highs of public sentiment for it ebb and flow. The French Revolution wasn’t kind to it. More than sixty statues affixed to its exterior were decapitated just as France’s monarchs had been. Victor Hugo’s famous book about a hunchback inspired Parisians to repair the damage and restore the cathedral. Ultimately, the site has been razed by fire and other events before but always rose to even greater heights.

I was moved emotionally by both the fire and this book. Notre-Dame has meaning to people worldwide regardless of their religion. If you are want to learn more about its history, and even more importantly, contribute to its future, pick up this little homage to mankind’s resilience against nature. 5 stars!

Thanks to Viking and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with:

Apple Cider Slaying
November 2nd, 2019 by diane92345

Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider Shop Mystery)
by Julie Anne Lindsey

My Review

Set in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, Apple Cider Slaying is the first book in the Cider Shop Mystery series. And it’s a great start!

Winnie and her Granny Smythe are trying to save the family orchard by persuading a local banker to fund a loan to open a cider shop in their barn. But when Granny’s nearest, and definitely not dearest, neighbor, Nadine, is found dead in their cider press, the new, and hot, Sheriff Colton states that Granny is suspect number one. Immediately after arriving at the crime scene, the Sheriff says this to Granny,

“You’re free to go, but I’d consider getting a good lawyer.”

Worrying that the Sheriff won’t look further than her Granny, Winnie is determined to prove her Granny’s innocence by finding the real killer.

This book is chockful of descriptions of small town life in rural America. The residents of Blossom Valley are gossipy but also kind and look after one another. You can picture the beautiful fall countryside in your mind easily. It is a wonderful and relaxing escape to a completely different lifestyle for this born and bred Southern Californian.

Winnie is motivated. She is extending the selling season of the orchard by booking fall bus tours to taste samples and have a hay ride to see the property’s inner workings. She also sells her Granny’s jams and pies to the locals and the tourists from their existing fruit stand. To help with expenses, Winnie works as a part-time waitress while attending community college to acquire a business degree. She uses her business education to create a business plan to turn one barn into a cider shop. To do so, Winnie needs to convince local banker, Sherman, to give her a loan. Too bad he was touring the property with her when she found Nadine. 

I really enjoyed Apple Cider Slaying. It was a nice relaxing fall evening read visiting Winnie and her friends and family. The Sheriff and Winnie seem to have a mutual attraction that hopefully will grow in subsequent books. Winnie’s method of using local gossip to lead her investigation is innovative. The killer’s identity totally blind-sided me because the clues were carefully hidden among numerous red herrings. If you would like to spend a few hours, saving a family orchard, defending a Granny from murder, and visiting the residents of Blossom Valley, pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed. 5 stars!

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Don’t forget about entering the giveaway for one of five print copies listed below!

About Apple Cider Slaying

Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (October 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496723473
ISBN-13: 978-1496723475

Apples are at the core of the family business run by Winona Mae Montgomery and her Granny Smythe. But this year’s crop is unseasonably ripe with murder . . .


Blossom Valley, West Virginia, is home to Smythe Orchards, Winnie and her Granny’s beloved twenty-five-acre farm and family business. But any way you slice it, it’s struggling. That’s why they’re trying to drum up business with the “First Annual Christmas at the Orchard,” a good old-fashioned holiday festival with enough delicious draw to satisfy apple-picking locals and cider-loving tourists alike—until the whole endeavor takes a sour turn when the body of Nadine Cooper, Granny’s long-time, grudge-holding nemesis, is found lodged in the apple press. Now, with Granny the number one suspect, Winnie is hard-pressed to prove her innocence before the real killer delivers another murder . .

Includes Recipes!

About Julie Anne Lindsey

Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. When she’s not creating new worlds and organizing the epic adventures of fictional characters, Julie can be found carpooling her three kids around Northeastern Ohio and plotting with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

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Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGooglePlayIndie Bound


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The Hard Times
November 1st, 2019 by diane92345

You don’t have to be a punk to enjoy The Hard Times—but it helps.

Why is it funny that The Ramones forced their studio’s janitor to change his name to Gary Ramone? Because none of The Ramones were related in real life and all changed their name to enter the band. Why did a punk survive the Kool-Aid at Jonestown? Practice, practice, practice (of ingesting all manner of substances at punk rock concerts).

The articles collected here are actual reprints from the magazine during the past four decades. In between the original stories are a behind-the-scenes look at the zine’s creation and a bit of punk’s evolution over the years. Beginning with the 90s, the zine began covering emo, grunge, and alternative rock bands too.

I was pretty heavily into the LA punk scene from the late 70s through the 80s so I really enjoyed The Hard Times. It reminded me of bands I haven’t thought of in decades. Even if you are not into punk, the stories frequently have a Mad Magazine sense of parody that is enjoyable. 4 stars!

Thanks to Mariner Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Humor Tagged with: , ,

Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece
October 30th, 2019 by diane92345

In Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece, Celeste Cabot, with her Chihuahua Van Gogh, is embarking on a new life as a freelance artist. Living in her tiny bright pink trailer, Celeste has good sales at her first craft fair until she finds the organizer murdered and she is the number one suspect.

Murder Can Mess Up Your Masterpiece but so can her first sales return. The customer says the painting is haunted. Celeste thinks that’s absurd until she sees the ghostly Victorian women from the painting appear that night in her trailer. It couldn’t be her imagination if Van Gogh also saw it too, right?

Celeste has the perfect amount of chutzpah without stupidly stumbling into dumb situations. Handsome potential love interest Caleb is a good match for her—provided he is not the killer. They both are dog people and artists after all. I also enjoyed the ghostly elements. It was fun to have two mysteries to solve. However, I was disappointed that the three female suspects within the fair—Ruth, Shar, and Carly—were not fully fleshed out so I didn’t really care if one of them was the murderer. In addition, the travel trailer tips beginning each chapter were kind of corny. I also felt the mystery was too easy to solve. 3 stars.

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Animals Reviewed
October 30th, 2019 by diane92345

When would you need Animals Reviewed? Before you hire two skunks as house protection, read the included 2-star review suggesting guard rabbits instead. If you need a CrossFit instructor, you could do worse than the 5-star rhinoceros described here.

Animals Reviewed is a perfect zoo or aquarium gift shop purchase. The photographs are excellent and highlight the quirky natures of some of the animals. They are clearly labeled with both the animal’s common and Latin name. Most of the reviews will make you smile. For example, a black bear is rated at 4 stars as a great value for size but mislabeled—they’re brown.

Overall, it’s a cute book to have to remember or anticipate a zoo or aquarium visit. 4 stars!

Thanks to Timber Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: