Synopsis: When Lizzie Jones, pet sitter extraordinaire, is asked to watch over her best friend’s two spoiled dogs at the posh gated community of Craggy Hill Estates, the last thing she expects is to wind up in the middle of a homicide. But that’s exactly what happens when she finds her best friend’s cheating husband and Danger Cove’s celebrity bodybuilder champ, Mr. Jupiter, floating face down in his hot tub. To make matters worse, the police aren’t looking any further than the wife for a suspect—isn’t it always the wife? Well, not in this case—at least Lizzie refuses to believe it.
Between dealing with Craggy Hill’s hot security guard, Tino Morales—who also just happens to be the man who broke Lizzie’s heart in high school, caring for her grieving friend, and watching three rambunctious dogs, Lizzie has her hands full. So she recruits her famous granddad, retired network field correspondent, Jimmy John Jones, to help her put two and two together to find the real killer. Was Mr. Jupiter murdered by one of his women on the side? A jealous, disgruntled employee? Or someone with a bitter and deep-seated hatred of the superstar? It’s up to Lizzie, Jimmy John, and Lizzie’s own pug, Vader, to crack the case before the killer claims another victim…this one much closer to Lizzie’s own heart!
My thoughts: If Jessica Fletcher were to ever pull up stakes and leave Cabot Cove due to a decline in body count, I know she would end up in Danger Cove where the bodies are plentiful!
Move over Batman and Robin, Smith and Steffens are the coolest, sharpest and wittiest crime fighting duo to come along since you donned your tights! Ba-Bam!
This series installment written by the extremely gifted Smith and Steffens team reveals just the precise meld of animal adoration, juicy storytelling goodness and a well-plotted mystery to hook readers to the Danger Cove series and the pair’s well-stocked backlist.
Passion, Poison & Puppy Dogs introduces an intriguing new sleuth with the energizing Lizzie Jones and endearing sidekicks guaranteed to charm readers of all genres and leave them famished for more.
The duo’s captivating Pet Sitter installment does an outstanding job at further layering the foundation in the Danger Cove community.
Passion, Poison & Puppy Dogs is littered with rollicking laughter, a dazzlingly romance with delectable banter, a cache of whimsical characters to showcase interminable and untapped opportunities while superbly illustrating just what makes a cozy a cozy.
Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco
Synopsis: Andy Buckland is determined that nothing will interrupt her first Christmas with Malcolm Jones and her last holiday spent in her childhood home. When the family recipe book disappears from the Bowtie Angel, and Aunt Cecily threatens to put “The Eye” on the entire population of Beaverton if it isn’t returned, Andy and Jones decide to put the eggnog on hold for a little old fashioned sleuthing. But as one secret leads to another, and rumors are served up along with hot buttered penne, Andy can’t shake the suspicion that her life is about to change forever.
My thoughts: Despite the minor editing flaws my eyes detected, but my mind swiftly modified, Christmas Al Dente is not only an entertaining holiday read, but a heart-stirring tale beautifully laced with family, friends and small-town living. Readers are able to follow along even without having read the previous Southern Pasta Shop Mysteries; however, please be prepared to rush over to your favorite retailer to purchase Hart’s backlist.
Andy, Hart’s protagonist, is authentic, compassionate, openly flawed and a winner when it comes to fictional leads.
Hart crafts emotionally multifaceted relationships and constructs remarkable secondary characters who enrich and smoothly propel Christmas Al Dente along while brilliantly weaving a clever mystery.
This holiday short story is a must for your bookshelf and leaves readers clamoring for more!
Review first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.
Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco
My heart is broken. My tears are plentiful. My spirit is sad. Today the doves carried the iconic Prince Rogers Nelson home to heaven to play his music for his Creator. When I turned on CNBC I was shocked to see Melissa Lee on my screen discussing the passing of Prince. I broke down in tears, uttered the words, “Not you, too!” and called out to my significant other, “Prince has died.” Prince’s passing is doubly heart for me to digest because it comes on the heels of my mom’s untimely death. My mom and I were colossal fans. My mom would record his “latest exclusive new single” on Z-100 if I wasn’t home to listen to it and she would do the same with a VHS for the debut videos on MTV. My mom was a February baby and Amethyst was her birthstone. She loved the color purple. I would tease her she was Prince’s older sister because of her love of purple. Last year I decided to surprise my mom when I picked out my new frames – they were purple. I didn’t plan on choosing them when I went to my appointment. I was sitting in the chair looking at frames and something nudged me to the purple one. I decided to try them on a whim and they looked amazing. I was shocked because it was something far from my norm, yet, they fit as if they were designed just for me. I ordered them and picked them up a couple of days later. I didn’t say anything to my mom until she saw me model them for her. She loved them. She said they looked good on me and I looked even more beautiful. She was quiet for a second and then she said it was, “to remind you of your mommy and Prince.” We laughed and I said she was silly. Two months later, my world changed tremendously when my mom was struck and killed by a vehicle. I often wonder why I chose purple frames, yet, something inside tells me I was guided by a power greater than myself that afternoon. My glasses are a constant reminder of my mom, her adoration for the color purple and our love for Prince. My mom and I attended a Prince concert in my teens and it was absolutely mind-blowing! We loved the movie Purple Rain. We sang and danced along to Purple Rain, When Doves Cry and Kiss to name a few in his immense discography. We even loved the Batdance video. The Beautiful Ones is one of my absolute favorites. Prince was a timeless musical virtuoso. Prince was a mastermind when it came to business. Prince didn’t just spit rhetoric when it came to social issues and injustice, he jumped in to do his part to make a difference and to add his link to the chain to make a change. Prince was a magical musician, an intrinsically humorous being and a visionary who touched all walks of life. Prince was relevant and beat to the rhythm of his own drum.
Prince, one of the world’s most ingenious and powerful musicians of all-time with smashes counting Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret and When Doves Cry, was found dead at his home on Thursday in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The legend was 57.
His publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure, communicated to The Associated Press that the icon “died at his home this morning at Paisley Park.” The local sheriff said deputies found Prince unresponsive in an elevator late Thursday morning after being called to his home, but that first-responders couldn’t revive him.
No specifics about what may have caused his death have been released. Prince postponed a concert in Atlanta on April 7, after coming down with the flu, and he apologized to fans during a makeup concert last week.
The magnificently brilliant and charismatic arranger, instrumentalist, singer and songwriter taught himself to play the piano at age 7, the guitar at 13 and the drums at 14. He was also ferociously protective of his sovereignty, disputing his record company over control of his body of work— and even his name, for a period requesting that he be referred to as “TAFKAP,” or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and identified with a key-like symbol. Prince once wrote “slave” on his face in protest of not owning his material. He visibly battled and then separated from his label, Warner Bros., before returning a few years ago.
In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, which extoled him as a musical and social pioneer.
Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his Piano and a Microphone tour, a minimalist illustration that has included a fusion of his melodies and some B-sides from his extensive library. Prince had THE BEST B-sides of any musical performer to ever gift the world with their brilliance.
Just last month in New York City he announced he was writing his memoir, The Beautiful Ones. The memoir was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau.
I am listening to Purple Rain and can barely read the words as the tears fall and my heart aches.
Good night darling, Prince, sweet dreams.
Story first appeared in Blogcritics.
Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco