Olivie Blacke: A Fatal Groove

Record Shop #2

This kick ass new series delivers on plot, character and setting.  I was a fan of book one (Vinyl Resting Place), and this sophomore effort from Blacke is just as strong.  Set in small town Texas, sisters Junie, Tansy and Maggie run a combo coffee-vinyl record shop, drawing collectors from nearby music capital, Austin.  As this book opens, Sip & Spin is manning a booth at the local bluebonnet festival (google an image, Texas bluebonnets are stunning), selling coffee and DJing in between live music sets. read more

Vivien Chien: Misfortune Cookie

Noodle Shop #9

Misfortune Cookie by Vivian Chien is the ninth book in the Noodle Shop Mystery series. Doughnut enthusiast and seeker of justice, Lanna Lee, is off to sunny California with her big sister Anna May to visit their Aunt Grace. But it isn’t all fun and games: Lanna has to attend a restaurant convention to hopefully learn some new things and better their family restaurant. The Lee sisters overall goals are to learn, relax, and enjoy themselves. To ensure this, Anna May starts the trip off sternly reminding Lanna to keep to her promise of trying to stay out of trouble. To her credit, Lanna does want to keep said promise. Misfortune Cookie gives readers a very accurate depiction of two very different siblings getting along, while also giving each other lots of sass. The sisters have very different personalities and are both rather stubborn, but over all they love and care for one another, which is why Lanna is so determined to keep her promise, not only to keep safe but to keep her family from worrying. read more

Jane K. Cleland: Jane Austen’s Lost Letters

Long ago in a village named St. Mary Meade lived a spinster named Miss Marple, who could, through her knowledge of human nature, solve crimes.  Thanks to her status as an older lady who knitted and gardened, she was frequently overlooked and underestimated.  This was an asset to Miss Marple.  Fast forward to the present day.  The slew of amateur female detectives at work in the form of the contemporary cozy novel are not overlooked (though many of them are starting over).  They are strong women who in general run their own businesses and have successful relationships.  It’s no longer an asset to be overlooked – in fact, one of the characters in Jane Cleland’s new book has “Be Bold” tattooed on her arm. read more

Rachel Kapelke-Dale: The Ballerinas

This is a delicious swoon of a book.  It’s not a mystery though there are some (very) low level crimes involved, but it’s mostly a story about ballet, female friendship, and the efforts women make to be heard and acknowledged in their lives, professional and personal.  The central character is Delphine Legere, and as the book opens, she’s a young student at the Paris Opera Ballet (POB), an elite dance training school.  Delphine and her best friend, the tempestuous Margaux, are challenged by the arrival of the beautiful American student, Lindsay. read more

Cate Conte: Christmas Traditions

Author Cate Conte/Liz Mugavero joins us with this nostalgic look at Christmases of her childhood and Christmas as it appears in her Cat Cafe books.  Time to get in the holiday spirit…A Whisker of a Doubt will be published on December 1st.

Christmas, to many people, means the most wonderful time of the year. (Note: in my view Halloween takes that award, but I’ve always been a bit off-the-beaten-path…)

Regardless, I understand the appeal and I do love Christmas myself. Growing up, my family always made sure we had the best holiday season, full of traditions, family, and yes, gifts galore. I was very blessed. read more