03 September 2023

Review - Donna MacDonald's 40 Ways to Say Goodbye

40 Ways to Say Goodbye: A Paranormal Women's Fiction Novel (Tales of a Midlife Witch Book 1

 It's been a long time since I've read a Donna MacDonald book. I've loved her books since I first started reading with the Never Too Late series. I lost touch with this wonderful author until I read her FB post that she had a new series out.

Reading 40 Ways To Say Goodbye has reawakened my love of her work. Aran Derringer marries against her parent's best advice, has a beautiful daughter, and ten years later, the rat she married has her thrown in prison. Fiends like that, who needs enemas. But then again, Aran has a demon for a familiar and is the child of Celtic Gods. After seven years, a representative of the very people who put in her that magickal prison comes to give her a way out. If she'll do them a favor.

All I know is that I started reading and didn't put the book down until I'd finished. The characters are fresh and intriguing. Aran is a strong woman who takes no guff off any man, not even her male familiar. But he's also a good woman and a powerful witch. She takes on the task at hand with a will and no one is going to stand in her way. The plot is engaging and filled with twists and turns. I finished the book and I'm ready to go on to the next.

There are three books in this series and I will be finishing every one of them. I love Donna MacDonald and I love her books. Wow I've missed them. 

***** out of five stars, a must read!!!

02 April 2023

Review -- Death by Greed by Abigail Keam -- Josiah Reynolds is still "Bullish" on Murder!!

***** / 5 stars out of 5

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Worker Bee Press (March 27, 2023)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ March 27, 2023
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English

 As murder cozies go, the Josiah Reynolds series by Abigail Keam is the best story telling around. And Death By Greed just continues the streak of wonderful writing and a taut storyline that'll keep you hooked from the first word to the last word.

Josiah, out tending to her bees, gets a visitor -- a very large, very angry longhorn bull that comes very close to turning her and Baby--her English Mastiff "guard dog"--into a mash. The vet that comes to tend the animal tells Josiah that he knows the owner. And of course, Josie is going with him to talk to the man. But--surprise, surprise--they arrive in time to see the other animals fending for themselves and in terrible shape. Along with the dead owner. Another job for Josiah Reynolds, Amateur Sleuth and Scourge of the Lexington Police Department. And this is going to be an all hands on deck sort of investigation.

The plot is complicated and riveting. I quit trying to figure it out and just went with the flow -- and by the way, the flow was exciting and kept me hooked. The characters in this novel are once again real, as if they exist in the real world. Josiah tends to be just as complicated as the plots; one minute, I truly like her and the next, I'm having problems with her sense of Kentucky Justice. She's like us all, a deep desire to do the right thing and make sure the real criminal is punished, but sometimes taking short cuts and telling a little white lie to do it. And yet, I can't help but root for her as she goes about it. And you wondered where her daughter Asa got it from. 

I love this series and the latest book is no different. Great plot, great characters. Excellent pacing--never too quick or too slow to keep the story going. I can see it all as if it were happening in front of me. I'm getting to know these people intimately and only a great writer can do that. I'm never bored. I keep thinking that the latest is Ms. Keam's best and then a new one comes out and I'm hooked all over again.  Death by Greed is certainly the current BEST in this series and a damn fine read. I hope The Josiah Reynolds Murder Mysteries never end. I'm too invested.

Available through:

Amazon at https://amz.run/6Xee
Barnes & Noble at https://bityl.co/Hz1L

20 January 2023

Review of Abigail Keam's Death by Drama -- and Oh, the Thrills Galore


Abigail Keam does it again.

Madison Smythe, leading lady of the play Josiah Reynold's amateur theater group is doing, drops dead and Jo's friend Franklin Wickliffe is arrested for a charge of Murder in the First. Jo makes a panicked call to the one person she can count on to find the real killer -- her daughter, Asa. And from there, the plot carried me along and the tension never lets go till the bitter end when the killer is finally revealed.

This is a first, exploring other points of view. We get to see through Josiah's eyes but also through Asa's as the Professional carries on the real investigation. Asa is part temptress and part cold blooded investigator, but her instincts are dead on. No pun intended.

I love Keam's strong women who are anything but stereotypical. They live and breathe, and they are as real as any of us are. Everyone has a story here and everyone has a motive. And EVERYONE is lying for some reason. To watch the mother/daughter team find the answers is a pure joy. And when I tell you that the thrills never stop, I mean that in a way that gives a breather now and again, but I couldn't stop reading. I had to know. I had to find out. I hated every moment I had to spend away from this novel.

Hunter Wickliffe is fast becoming my "Boyfriend of Choice". It's nice to see Jo with an older man. I am loving following their romance.

Another 5 out of 5 stars and truly an amazing read. Well done, Mrs. Keam! Well done!

*** Available through all online bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Bookstore***

22 December 2022

Review of Abigail Keam's Death By Malice: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery

 I'm telling you, Abigail Keam is the Heir Apparent to Agatha Christie! That's how good these books truly are. 

Sandy Sloan stops at the bank and withdraws every cent from her account. Then shows up on the doorstep of our intrepid beekeeper and sometime amateur sleuth, Josiah Reynolds, and leaves her dog in Jo's custody with a BS reason, then goes home to scatter money and set the place on fire. 

Thus begins Death By Malice, number 10 in the series. As always, the story is engaging and addictive. I have such a hard time putting the book down just to sleep at night. I usually have to read these on the weekends so that I can devote the entire day. The disappearance of Sandy Sloan and her husband, Toby, draws Josiah in to find out what happened to them. Is this a murder? Is this a case of arson? Josiah, for the first time, seems to be stumped and a bit vulnerable. 

Josiah is a complicated woman and cynical, but something about this woman just keeps on going and refuses to completely give up. Her wonderful friends -- Matt, June (Lady Elsemere), and Franklin -- still stand by her side, helping her when the drama gets a little beyond her. And now, a new member of the friends, Hunter Wickliffe, joins the crew. The sparks fly between Hunter and Josiah as a possible new love interest. 

A great story, a satisfying conclusion, and once again, Abigail Keam has written one hell of a story. Five out of five stars. 

08 December 2022

REVIEW -- Guinevere's Revenge by Lucy Blue


  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07CWK61PD
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Falstaff Crush (May 6, 2018)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ May 6, 2018
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English

  • Out of five stars: * * * * *

Love love love murder cozies, especially historical murder cozies. And if they happen to occur in Britain, all the more. The home of the murder cozy.

Stella Hart makes good an escape from an unwanted suitor, Tony, by heading towards her mother and stepfather's home in England. But when said suitor chases after her, step-cuz/crush George--who's already engaged to another woman, Mavis--comes up with the idea to pretend to be engaged themselves and he'll go away. All of the family is pressed into the charade, including Mavis. But then, things begin to fall apart. Overheard conversations and a dead body on the grounds lead to more complications and it's up to Stella to sort it all out. 

I love the characters in this book. Stella is as feisty as a girl in the 20's can be. George is a misunderstood hero in disguise and yet fits the profile of the cad that his fiancee and future in-laws try to make him out to be. Mavis is the woman scorned as the charade continues and yet, a thoroughly likeable woman scorned. Parents and friends gathered for a weekend and they all keep things lively. Everyone seems to be more than what they are. 

Plot was great. Absolutely fantastic. I couldn't help myself; I couldn't stop reading. I was hooked from the first paragraph to the last. It moves along but never goes too fast and never bogs down. I didn't even see that ending coming and yet, if I look back now, it makes perfect sense. Brilliant writing all around, Lucy Blue.  

I loved it so much, I bought the other three in the series and I can't wait to read them as well.  Definitely five out of five stars and a must read for anyone who loves Agatha Christie and Abigail Keam.

11 June 2022

REVIEW -- "Death by Design" by Abigail Keam

 I know it seems that I'm only reading this series but that's because I am. And working on my own series on another genre. But for now....


I've only read one other series that was so satisfying, so full of plot and real people. Action. Mystery. And a plucky heroine that even at her worst, you can't help but adore her. Josiah Reynolds is still recovering from her 40 foot fall by the hands of a sick twisted cop. She's in NYC, getting her head together after finding out disturbing news on that score. She also gets accosted by an acquaintance -- help Bunny Witt of the Philadelphia Witts find whoever is stalking her. But Jo gets a very bad feeling about this. Too many lies being told by too many people. And Jo has her own fish to fry. Matt's home with the baby. Lady Elsmere and Liam are on the outs. And a very handsome, urbane British man is bent on seducing our Ms. Reynolds. And then comes the first murder. Of Bunny Witt. Abigail Keam is literally the Queen of the Murder Cozy. This series is engaging and engrossing to the point that I can't put them down. I have to read first page to last in one sitting. I can't read fast enough to find out what's happening next but I can't read slow enough to savor every single word, action, and reaction. I can't stop. And woe to the idiot who tries to interrupt me. Josiah is a soul in transition, recovering phyisically and emotionally. She can be bitter and arrogant in turns, but vulnerable and kind. She's a convoluted woman, which makes her conflicted but fascinating. She makes a great heroine because she's so real. You can't help but liker her, even at her naughtiest. A strong woman. I love her. And because of her, I love these books. Another five out of five stars for author Abigail Keam and Josiah Reynolds. Long may they write!

Click here to find the whole Josiah Reynolds Mystery series. And grab your copies. 

Next review -- Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli by Mark Seal

07 May 2022

Review of Abigail Keam's "Death By Derby" -- And the hits just keep on coming!

 The book I didn't even know I'd been waiting for arrived. And, holy cow, I was hooked deep.

  A bad man gets his just desserts in the air, in a hot air balloon, when it explodes practically overhead of the Kentucky Derby. And this time, the alleged culprit is none other than Josiah Reynold's attorney, Miss Shaneika Mary Todd. So. Josiah calls in the cavalry, in the person of one Asa Reynolds--her daughter, the Black Ops Security expert. Of course, as the truth comes out and as the players assemble, it all goes to hell in a handbasket and Josiah has to figure it out. Step by step, piece of evidence by piece of evidence. And before the dust settles, we'll get to meet the major players and finally find out who we've been dealing with. And oh, honey. Does it get juicy!!

These people are fascinating and the truths that play out show just how fascinating they truly are. Ms. Keam has assembled a very diverse cast of characters that felt so real to me. The story is just as diverse as the cast, just as spell binding, and just as deep. Once I sit down to read, I really can't stop. That was the same here. I stayed hooked until I found I'd finished the story and it was bloody 4 am.

Another five out of five stars for Abigail Keam!!! This whole series is must have.

21 April 2022

A Splash of the Paranormal Adds to the Sinister Quality to a Brilliant Mystery

 Damn, woman!! Abigail Keam is the new Goddess of the Cozy Mystery. A bit of well-earned, well-deserved hyperbole. I just finished the 7th Book, Death By Haunting, in the #AJosiahReynoldsMystery series and I swear, I'm still in a state of tense.

Brilliant story line -- Terry Bailey wakes one night to see his deceased mother-in-law standing in the corner of the bedroom he shares with his wife. A short time later, he drops dead of a heart attack. One thing leads to another, things are adding up that don't make sense, and Josiah Reynolds is on the case. Especially when one of those things leads to an international art theft and what did Terry Bailey have to do with it?
I know, I know, I gush about all of these books. If you read them for yourself, you'd not only understand but agree with me. Abigail Keam is a natural at these stories. Every single one of them keeps me hooked from first page to last and I have to know how they end. I love Josiah, she's a feisty lady that just don't take shite from nobody, especially a murderer. Or a thief. Or a cop. Forget the matronly Miss Marple. Here comes hell on two feet Mrs. Reynolds. She's better than the Mounties. Or the Texas Rangers. She gets her culprit with sass and subterfuge, not ashamed to break the rules on occasion. But then, she doesn't have to follow rules.
Can't and won't stop reading 'em. And I can't and won't stop gushing over them. Seriously, you want a great series with lots of plot twists and red herrings, with a strong female lead, and a cast of characters that are pure Kentucky, the A Josiah Reynolds Mystery series is the one you want. And then add her Mona Moon Mysteries on top of that.
Five out of five stars, kids!

17 April 2022

'Death By Poison' just might be the cure to the COVID blues!

**I received an Advanced Reading Copy for review.**

The latest in A Josiah Reynolds Mystery is undoubtedly the best of the series. But then I say that with every book, and quite frankly, I mean it too. These books get more and more intricate, the plotting gets more and more involved, and Josiah keeps me endlessly intrigued with her life as an amateur sleuth. 

In Death by Poison, Josiah has entered her American Paint horse, Morning Glory, in a parade to celebrate Kentucky’s Horse Capital of the World title. But just as she’s gotten the rambunctious pony hitched up and in the queue, infamous local horse whisperer, Velvet Maddox gives her a very grave pronouncement. “I see death around this horse.” What to do. It’s either pull the horse out of the line up or ignore all the hard work Josiah and boyfriend, Hunter Wickliffe, have put into the outing. 

Josiah decides, this time, Velvet is wrong and nudges the pony along. Which is when it all goes to hell and then something drops down just in time for the horse and cart to run over it. When Jo sees a leg protruding from beneath the cart—a human leg—the realization of Velvet’s assessment being right on the money comes too late.When the realization that it’s the bane of Josiah’s existence, it’s a matter of self-preservation that sets her on the path to finding out who killed the victim.

These characters are so real, so vivid, that they should be walking about in front of me. My own private movie and I sit with popcorn, reading until I’ve finished. The pacing is right on, keeping me drawn in but never slow enough to lose my attention. Twists and turns are a fact of the game but sometimes can be contrived. Not in the hands of a skilled author like Abigail Keam. Things happen organically, naturally, and the red herrings are plentiful and just as possible. When I say I couldn’t put this down, it’s not hyperbole. I had to know. I had to know what was coming next and how the hell she was going to piece this together. And when she finally did, the ending was very satisfying and I felt as if I’d been put through the ringer.

Another five star reading from an amazing and talented author. A definite must read, as is the rest of the series. 

Death by Poison by Abigail Keam is $4.99 for the ebook and $15.00 for the paperback. Set to be released on Monday, April 18, Preorder your copy today. You won’t be sorry. 

17 February 2022

FLASH FICTION -- Unsuspecting Love


This piece was originally written for the Flash of Valentine's Day fiction group and published on their website.


Your best friend just set you up on a blind date. You just know this is an exercise in futility. And then you see the one man you've always wanted to get to know. What do you do?


Unsuspecting Love


Marlene stepped out of the shower, wrapping the towel around her long chestnut curls, and using the other to dry herself off. She stepped into the bedroom, trying to think what the hell she was going to wear…and stopped in front of her full length mirror. She managed to drop the towel to the floor without making some kind of remark about the woman in the reflection. She wanted to. Mirrors were not her friends. And this one surely wasn’t.

She stared at the overly curvy woman and wondered what kind of fool would want to date her. Forty pounds overweight, what the hell was she thinking? Breasts that were saggy at best, and even that was being kind. No decent guy was going to find her attractive. Probably a good thing that Natalie hadn’t given her the guy’s number or she’d be doing a quick phone call to cancel this blind date.

Marlie tilted her head, first one way and then the other. Well. Maybe she might be able to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear. Sow’s ear, she thought with a huff. How appropriate for the pig in the mirror. Okay, guys loved big boobs. Maybe she could wear the dark purple dress that would show off the cleavage. Yeah, the shirred sides accentuated her curves even more. She didn’t look quite so fat when she wore it. The amethyst necklace and matching earrings would give her a bit of a sparkle too. She didn’t look so bad when she wore that. Maybe pile her hair on top of her head and let the curls cascade down over her shoulders.

It can work. I can at least be presentable. Hopefully, he’s a good conversationalist. Because he’s damn sure not getting a beauty queen.

She went to her makeup first, a flattering base that put some color in her face. A lovely shade of blush that put the roses in her cheeks. Blessed with long, thick eyelashes, she added just the lightest hint of plum to her lids and then went to town with the mascara. Her lips were a bit thin to worry about lipstick but, she could add a shimmer thanks to the gloss that she had purchased. She used her fingers to shake the curls loose and then a pair of tortoise shell combs to pile the hair just as she wanted. Marlie stepped back to look at that hateful image again and decided, maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. She started to feel a little confidence building.

By the time she’d added the shaping underwear and her strapless bra, she was in the dress and zipping it up the side. She smiled at herself, her reflection smiling back. There was just enough emphasis on the cleavage and her eyes were smoky and sultry. Maybe… Maybe…

She drove to the restaurant, one minute petrified that this was a stupid idea. The next minute telling herself that she had nothing to lose. One night, at least, where she wasn’t going to be alone. She wasn’t going to sit with another Lean Cuisine and watching NCIS reruns. And in between, trying to decide what they’d talk about. She could sound like she knew something. Not just a brainless Administrative Assistant. This is stupid. I should just go home. I want to go home.

Valet parking? Oh God, it was that kind of restaurant. Did she have enough money in the checking account to cover her dinner? The valet helped her out of the car, and for the briefest moment, he almost seemed to be checking her out. But then, he jumped in her car to park it and she was immediately forgotten. She went inside to the host’s station.


She suddenly realized that she had no idea whose name was on the reservation. That panic rose up again.

“Miss? Is your name Marlene Wallace?”

Marlie glanced up. “How did you know that?”

The host held out a card with her name on it, the time of the reservation, and Lily’s name. She’d put the reservation under her own name.

“Come with me, Ms. Wallace. I’ll take you to your table.”

Lily Harry was her best friend. And worried about Marlie constantly. It was rather nice but she could take care of herself. And yet, Lily worried about her being alone. Lily had been the one to set up this blind date. Nothing like a pity date, she told herself. Lily’s heart was in the right place.

Marlie carried her clutch under her arm, pressed close to her side by her elbow. She followed the host, every step digging into her self-confidence a little more. She was a few steps from the table when she saw him. Oh shit, it had to be him. He isn’t interested in me. He won’t even look at me. Damn, Lily. Why him?

Him was the attorney in the office. Him was David Manning, a tall and well-built man with golden blond hair and the deepest chocolate brown eyes she’d ever seen. He looked like Robert Redford in Sneakers, but a bit younger. She had been smitten with him since she’d come to work in that office. But he never looked at her. Never gave her the time of day. And always seemed to have a hot model on his arm. Lily fixed her up with him? That was cold and cruel.

David looked up at her as she got even closer and for a moment, he stared at her. Forgetting his manners. He opened his mouth to say something and she knew it. She just knew it. He was trying to find some way to let her down easy and make his exit. The rock dropped in her stomach and she stood with the clutch her hand, trying not to burst into tears.

“Marlie? Please sit.”

He was standing next to her, holding the chair for her. She met his gaze and nodded, sitting down. He scooted her to the table and came back to his seat.

“Let me guess,” she started. “You were hoping for Jackie in reception. She is a former Miss Kentucky.”

He poured a glass of sparkling wine and held it out to her. “I’m not sure which one of us has been insulted here. You for not realizing how beautiful you are…or me, thinking I’m that superficial.”

The shock had to be showing on her face. He…he… He thinks I’m beautiful?

“I’m sorry. I didn’t…mean it that way. I just…” Marlie took a sip of the wine. Chilled and absolutely delicious. “I didn’t think you were the blind date type.”

“I’m not really,” he answered, sipping his own glass. “I hope you like chardonnay.”

For the first time since she’d sat down, she smiled. A genuine smile. And felt something…go away. “I do,” she answered. “This is wonderful.”

“I don’t know much,” he explained, “but I do know good wine. This is a small local vintner. I usually buy several bottles when I can. I like to support local businesses.”

“Me too.”


“Yeah. A bit.”

“I’m kinda glad that Lily booked this place. It’s my favorite. They have great Italian here. Fresh made pasta and the sauces are pure heaven.”

“I love seafood alfredo,” she answered.

The surprise on his face was hilarious. Like he’d been expecting her to say something else. It suddenly dawned on her that he was just as nervous as she was. There was a light sheen of perspiration on his face and his fingers moved restlessly on the tablecloth. Why are you nervous?

“It’s my favorite dish here.” He winked at her, a teasing gesture. “Have you been spying on me?” When she started to bluster at that, he put a hand out to touch hers. “Hey, I was just teasing. Are you okay?”

Marlie lifted the glass to her lips again and was surprised that it was empty. She’d drunk that entire thing without paying attention. She stared at it stupidly but he was already refilling it. For a moment, she had a sense it was a really dumb idea and moved to put the glass back down. Only to have it to her lips again, taking another small sip. And feeling suddenly very bold.

“No. I’m scared.”


She shook her head. “I don’t belong here. I’m not your type, David. I’m not young and thin and pretty. I burp my wine, I eat too much, and… and….”

She was surprised to find out that he was still holding her hand.

“And what, Marlie?”

“When Lily set this up, did she tell you it was me?”

“No,” he answered. The smile was lighting up his eyes into warm chocolate pools. “She just told me it was going to be someone I’d been wanting to be with for a long while.”

Surprise turned to shock.

“Wait…you wanted to be with me?”

David chuckled again, his cheeks turning a light shade of pink. “She never told you? God, you’re all I talked about. Feels like you’re all I ever talk about…when I’m not talking about the legal aspects of the company.”


David raised his glass in a toast to her, then sipped. “For what? Having a saucy mouth? I love that about you. It’s one of the things that made me want to get to know you. I figured a woman with a saucy mouth was going to be a real woman with spirit.”

“But I’m…I’m…damn it, I’m fat. Why would you be interested in a fat woman?”

“First off, you’re not fat. You have more curves and they are delicious. If I want to make love to a bag of sticks, I’ll go date one.”

“But what about all those models?”

David blushed again. “They asked me out. I was arm candy. Besides, all they talked about was themselves. And their careers. They didn’t give a damn about me.”

The stone in the pit of her stomach was gone. It sounded like he was lonely too. Marlie turned her hand in his so that she could thread her fingers in his. “I do.”

It was his turn to be surprised. “You do? Really?”

She giggled. “I do. I give a damn about you. And movies. And manga. And anime.”

“I love anime. And manga. And movies.” He raised her hand to his lips, raising up just enough to kiss that hand. “I really did want to go out with you. I think you’re sexy and funny. I just didn’t know how to talk to you. What to say.”

“I wanted to talk to you too. But I just figured I wasn’t your type. That you’d never be interested in me.”

“I am.”

She smiled, a real smile. Feeling sexier than she’d ever felt before. Knowing that he thought she was made it all worthwhile.

“I think we need to give Lily a special present. To thank her for this evening.”

They raised their glasses in salute to their friend. And to each other.