Doctor Kallie Collins is a veterinarian and truly loves her job. She does, however, possess a talent that makes her an asset to her patients as well as Medford’s law enforcement. Kallie communicates with animals. She is able to hear their thoughts and pick up on any number of clues to their conditions as well as clues that can lead to solving crimes. Her skills are unmatched, and there is no one else around who can do what Kallie does. And then… Evie Branagan shows up in Medford.
Undercover Kittens: A Kallie Collins Cozy Mystery, by Lisa Shay, is the third installment in the Kallie Collins Cozy Mystery series. Main character, Dr. Kallie Collins, prides herself on her ability to communicate easily with the animals she treats in her office. Depending on their willingness to share their thoughts, she is able to diagnose, treat, and prepare owners for their aftercare much more easily. She is alone in this field with her talents until the day she hears that another animal communicator has opened up shop in her little town. Word travels fast, and she soon begins to hear more than she wants about her potential competition.
The premise of Shay’s book is fascinating–a psychic veterinarian who can extract clues from animal witnesses to crimes. From the first chapter, Shay sets the stage and pulls readers into Kallie’s life as both a dedicated veterinarian and an, at times, not-so willing detective. I have to say it is a unique take on the mystery genre and does entertain as much as it engages readers.
This third installment of Shay’s series is a quick read with very few parallel storylines. Readers will be able to get straight to the heart of the matter as the action moves rapidly once the initial crime is committed. Kallie’s personal struggles are a nice addition to the main plot of the book. She is a relatable character with quirks that help readers get to know her and her friend circle quickly. It is worth noting that the cover and title can be somewhat misleading when it comes to the genre of Shay’s books. Both cover and title would lead one to believe that these stories are written with younger readers in mind, and that is simply not the case.
I highly recommend Shay’s series to any animal lover who enjoys a good mystery. Readers who have pets of their own will appreciate the research and detail Shay puts into her books. The cast of memorable characters makes the Kallie Collins Cozy Mystery series a must-read.
Pages: 230 | ASIN: B09NMXZS5N
Tags: animals, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, cozy mystery, crime fiction, ebook, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Lisa Shay, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, Undercover Kittens, whodunit, writer, writing, young adult
Holly Jackson, a scholarship student at Shellesby College, has been entrusted with organizing the Night Lights Ball, which will include a number of renowned botanists as well as donors to the college’s greenhouses. Amidst the father-daughter Berkeley duo, inclined to throw out Holly any chance, at this night ball event Holly must not only save the last thread of her scholarship from snagging but also secure an internship at Boston Botanical College. But will she succeed in evading her tendency to attract trouble this time? Or is she to witness a murder right in front of her eyes, but also to act to prevent another one from occurring?
The author Kira Seamon, who grew up in a greenery infused home in Hawaii, colored the setting of her novel Dead Cereus with diverse greenhouses, an idea she got while visiting Wellesley College in Boston. The enchanting description she gives of botany in her novel seems as natural and explicit as if written while seated in the same place.
Throughout the mystery thriller, the characters reflect human feelings in different ways and emerge as unpredictable at times. There are many delightful botany puns within the witty conversations between William, the admired and brilliant young botanist, and Holly, the impulsive and powerful woman which greatly contributes to the romance thriller. The story turns out to show a significant social transformation in Ivy Berkeley, who transitions from being a stuck cocoon set up by his father and societal norms into a freed butterfly with full wings for flight.
The action-packed story and descriptions of college greenhouse residents, as well as the fresh foods straight from the greenery surrounding the campus do not let the limited setting of the book, in and around the college campus, get in the way. Throughout this enchanting story, readers will enjoy the puns used by the botanists, especially in naming their pets and loved ones.
In a disturbing scene, the author describes a murder which takes place in a greenhouse. The murder, exposed amid the beauty of botany around, gives an upsetting picture, which is both surprising and unusual. By describing the various plants and flowers species in the novel, the author reveals and emphasizes the danger and magnificence of botany while setting the plot in the middle of it. Besides the beautiful illustration of the Cereus flower blooming, there is also a warning of possible fatal damage of plant species.
If you are seeking a humorous romance thriller, or cozy mystery novel, Dead Cereus will herb your enthusiasm with its ardent characters and thrilling plot.
Pages: 243 | ASIN : B09LPJPWSL
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Chick-lit, college romance, cozy mystery, Dead Cereus, ebook, goodreads, kindle, Kira Seamon, kobo, literature, mystery, Mystery Romance, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, thriller, writer, writing
The Good Book follows the Polish Dragon on a hunt for a missing bible that holds a devastating secret for the Russian Orthodox Church. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
There have been many books and news stories about the Roman Catholic Church and all of its mysteries and accusations of wrongdoing but I had never really seen anything about the Eastern or Russian Orthodox Church. Perhaps the reason is because there is a much smaller following than the Roman Catholic Church. So I thought, why not do a mystery which includes them and a mysterious bible that could bring embarrassment to the church if the secret is ever discovered. I tried to include the similarities and the difference of both churches so the reader could get an idea of how similar they are yet very different.
Do you follow a formula for your mystery novels or do you try to make them all different?
I try to follow the plan that something happens that the police or law enforcement can’t really deal with or the statute of limitations has run out and the only recourse is to hire the Polish Dragon P. I. to help solve the case. Although on occasion it is necessary for law enforcement to be involved and the Polish Dragon must learn to sidestep those investigations so as not to interfere and at the same time use some former contacts to aid his investigation. And as I am sure that my books are read by many age groups I try to limit the profanity and the sexual overtones.
What are is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and how have you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges I face is how to make my stories longer and get them to a full novel. I have taken several courses and spoken with several well-known authors on how I can do that. Hopefully my books will begin to get longer and I can finally get to the point of publishing a full novel rather than novellas. The other challenge is marketing, as I am a self-published author, all of that falls on my shoulders. So I am taking classes and workshops on how to maneuver that aspect of publishing my books.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on another Polish Dragon mystery that deals with the Native American so called Voluntary Relocation Program by the Bureau of Indian Affair back in the 1950s. It will involve a missing person and conspiracy to defraud the government and Native Americans.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, cozy mystery, crime fiction, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, novella, read, reader, reading, short story, Steve Zimcosky, story, The Good Book, writer, writing
Polish Dragon P.I.: The Good Book follows Suzie and Tom, a pair of investigators who are attempting to track down a Bible that was stolen from Andy, Suzie’s friend. What starts as a typical crime/mystery story quickly turns fantastic and thrilling when the investigators discover that Andy’s father was killed by someone looking for the book. A mysterious caller who is seemingly following Tom’s every step also adds to the intrigue. Can the investigators find this book and protect the rest of Andy’s family before it’s too late, or will the power players involved get their way? Most importantly, what is this book holding that has the attention of so many?
This book is a quick but no less thrilling read. It is smooth from cover to cover, which speaks to the quality of writing. This is a straightforward cozy mystery, but the entertainment value and revelation of information will keep readers engaged throughout the story. While the mystery at the heart of the story is uncomplicated, the story is well-structured, so you will be able to turn pages easily.
Where the story really excels is the escalation of the stakes. I don’t want to ruin anything, but there is much more than a simple bible at the crux of the plot, and the way that the author reveals the rising tension is masterful. As those pages turn, you will feel the rising tension in your chest, hoping that the characters are successful by the end.
This is a fantastic installment that fans of author Steve Zimcosky will surely enjoy. Polish Dragon P.I.: The Good Book is quick and fun entertainment that is easily consumed. I really enjoyed the strong, straightforward writing style.
Pages: 221 | ASIN: B09DN3QPG5
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, cozy mystery, crime fiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, novella, Polish Dragon P. I. (The Good Book), read, reader, reading, Steve Zimcosky, story, suspense, thriller, whodunit, writer, writing
Texas Dead by William Gensburger follows cunning Detective Maxie who is tasked with solving a murder case that proves to be much more complex the more she digs. Maxie and her detective partner are investigating the death of a well-respected and liked citizen of Corpus Christi, Texas. The town is under a lethal threat of international terrorists and the council is compromised. No one can be trusted and Maxie is left on thin ice.
This story takes readers on an odyssey of love and friendship amidst the chaos of a harrowing crime. Maxie, the young detective thriving in her field of work, along with her good friend and colleague Jameson must work together with the victims’ cousin Devin, who might be a little more than friends with her.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not your average gritty murder mystery. There is plenty of humor injected into the story to make this hard-boiled mystery feel light and fun as well as deeply intriguing. The book uses real-life references like Covid-19 and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to keep the story feeling relevant. I can not hold back from appreciating the author’s talent in conveying a traumatic experience like paralysis in a motivational and rather cutesy way. The impossible romance between a handicapped person and a gorgeous woman has been depicted as so seamless, which makes me dream about a world without discrimination.
We are provided with vivid scenes and backdrops that really bring the story to life, but I felt they were sometimes lengthy. There is a variety of interesting characters in the story, but the number can be a bit to wrap your head around at first. But the story grows more interesting because of it, so I was enthralled with the story be the end.
Texas Dead kept me curious and captivated the whole time. This is a thrilling crime fiction novel with brave-hearted characters, intelligent decisions, and shocking revelations.
Pages: 286 | ASIN: B093FZFMRH
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The Memory Bell follows a woman who is gifted an old family heirloom. But when a dead body is found outside of town and the heirloom is broken, things start going awry very quickly. In attempting to piece together the broken family heirloom Grace realizes that some pieces are missing. The hunt for those missing pieces will lead Grace down a dark road filled with shocking family secrets.
I was all set for a cozy mystery set in a small town. A simple mystery, a quirky character, a quick wrap up. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a deeply emotional and complex family drama at the heart of this crime fiction novel. This is a thrilling murder mystery that is effortlessly combined with a compelling family saga.
Author Kat Flannery provides readers with a fast paced story with a well defined mystery at the heart of the novel that slowly unravels as the story progresses, ensuring readers are constantly engaged with this spellbinding book. I’m from a big city, so the small town setting felt exotic to me (odd to say I know), but Author Kat Flannery is able to imbue the town with a mix of beauty and intrigue that serves as a fantastic backdrop to this intriguing whodunit story.
Grace and detective Bennet are well defined characters. Grace is a bit naïve at first, but this, to me, is what makes her character charming and what makes her easily endearing. This sets her up to be a character that is fun to follow because you always want to see how she’s going to react to the dramatic events and revelations.
The Memory Bell is a suspenseful murder mystery that will appeal to readers looking for a dramatic crime novel that plumbs the depths of a family with dark secrets.
Pages: 251 | ASIN: B094S7DJH3
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At first glance, the murder of University Administrator Rupert Hunter-York seems too good to be true. All roads lead to one Professor Babbington, an alcoholic professor with a less-than-savory personality (to say the least). With the mountain of evidence falling on Detective Joe Rafferty’s lap, he thinks that this is an open-and-shut case. It could have been if it weren’t for his right-hand man Sergeant Llewellyn. Now it turns out that the case is far more complicated than what anyone could ever imagine.
Geraldine Evans’ 18th installment to the Rafferty & Llewellyn British Mysteries begins with a warning for its heavy use of British slang, and even offers a handy list in the back to familiarize readers. I’m happy to report that this is a smooth and readable novel, even for non-British readers. Anyone with a grasp of context clues can easily understand the narration and the inner workings of Rafferty’s mind.
It’s him that we follow throughout the novel, and what a surprisingly cozy place it is for a grizzled detective. While he fusses over the case almost non-stop, we also see him worrying about his baby sister and yearning to get home to his beloved daughter Neeve. He is a flawed man, as we see how his biases can sometimes get in the way of the investigation. But that’s precisely what makes him lovable in the first place. He’s relatable and human and a well-rounded character.
Speaking of well-rounded characters, Game of Bones is full of them. We’ve talked about Rafferty, but we can’t forget supporting characters like his partner Llewelyn and the babbling suspect Professor Babbington. Each character has such unique personalities reflected in their mannerisms and dialogue that they become imprinted in your mind despite how brief their roles may be. This applies even to minor characters like the icy Ms. Harriet Temple and the tight-lipped Professor Curtis.
It’s the characters that truly shine in the novel, but I felt that the pacing could have been improved. While it starts in medias res and grabs the reader’s attention from the first sentence, the excitement level fluctuates. Fortunately, the characters that populate the Game of Bones makes it a worthy addition not just to the Rafferty & Llewellyn British Mysteries but to the canon of mystery fiction as a whole. This is a gripping mystery novel that I highly recommend.
Pages: 286 | ASIN: B079K6CNDM
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, cozy mystery, crime fiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, Game of Bones, Geraldine Evans, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, murder mystery, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing
The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets follows a fae seeking a quiet life in a small town when she’s accused of murder and must unravel the pharmacist’s secrets before she’s arrested. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I had just finished the last book in a series and wanted to start a new one using the same world but tweak the genre to include one of my favorites—cozy mystery. Sloan, a side character in the first series, was the natural choice as a protagonist for the new series. Readers loved her, and her personality made her perfect to fill the role of amateur sleuth.
As far as the secrets she uncovers—My husband and I owned a Home Care business for years. During that time I came across several examples of adult children treating their parent rather poorly. Those of us in the office would scratch our heads and wonder ‘how could they treat their mother or father like that?’ Well, come to find out, sometimes the parent had mistreated their kids in the past. Most people assume everyone loves their parents, so I thought this would make an interesting story.
Sloan is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?
Thank you! Sloan is one of my favorite characters. I love her sassy attitude.
She first appeared in Xander’s Folly, the second book of my urban fantasy series, The King’s Jewel. I based my world-building in that series on the Celtic Mythology of the four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann.
I started developing Sloan by researching the mythology around the Irish god Lugh of the Long Arm, whom she represents in the series. Lugh was the master of all arts and came to the Tuatha de Danaan as an outsider.
At first the character was going to be a boy, but I thought switching that up would make her even more interesting. Then I looked at her age, that fact she lived on her own and thought about how that would shape her personality. Although Sloan is in her twenties, the Sidhe are long lived and look much younger and their age compared to humans, so she is often mistaken for a teenager. But, she is an adolescent by Sidhe standards and often acts that way.
I wrote a about her character development in more detail on my website. If anyone is interested, they can read it here: https://www.belinda-gordon.com/readers-questions/where-did-sloan-murrays-character-come-from/
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
People aren’t always what they appear to be. This is true of Sloan and many other characters in the book. They are keeping secrets—hiding something from the rest of the world.
Another theme that always pops up in my books is family; what makes people family—it isn’t always blood relations—and how do they come together.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
A second Findale Fae Mystery is in the works, so Sloan and her cohorts will be back. But it won’t be my next release. My next book, coming out in November, is something totally different. No fantasy or mystery in this one. I would classify it as women’s fiction.
The title is Having It All and that’s kind of what it’s about. Dalia, a career woman in the ‘90s juggling her job, motherhood and marriage, believes she should be able to have it all with no need for give and take. After all, that’s what the women of her generation have been told to expect! Devote 100% to everything and do it all perfectly. And it’s working… until it isn’t. When things begin to fall apart, Dalia needs to decide what’s really important and what she can live without.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, Belinda M Gordon, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, cozy mystery, crime fiction, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, murder mystery, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, The Good Pharmacist’s Deadly Secrets, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing, young adult