Book Review: Broom Mates by Morgana Best (Seven Pets for Seven Witches: A Collection of Paranormal Cozy Shorts)

51ih1e-g8oL._SY346_Broom Mates is the fun, gripping and witty prequel installment from the immensely talented Morgana Best 
in Seven Pets for Seven Witches: A Collection of Paranormal Cozy Shorts.

Best kicks off her Sea Witch Cozy Mystery Series by introducing readers to her newest character, the charming and sassy, Goldie Bloom.

Best’s playful dialogue, hilarious characters, sharp narrative, and on point whodunit delivery cements her further in the cozy mystery sphere with this stellar standout.

Best is a writer who runs the breadth delighting and hooking a diverse gathering of readers from the most discerning mystery aficionado to the sleuth snob.

Best has a lil’ something-something goin’ on down under for a smorgasbord of readers to lose themselves in, get swept away by and tickle their funny bones.

Best not only has the goods but the chops to dip it and do it and express it in a sundry of ways with a wide array of books available for every palate.

Copyright © 2018 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved.

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Book Review: Live and Let Diet: Cozy Mystery Series (Australian Amateur Sleuth Book 1) by Morgana Best


Live-and-Let-Diet-1Synopsis:

 Sybil Potts moves to Little Tatterford, a small town in the middle of nowhere in Australia, seeking to find peace and quiet after the upheaval of her divorce. 

Although the town is sleepy and nothing has ever happened, her arrival coincides with a murder in the property adjacent to her cottage. Sybil soon finds she is at odds with the attractive Blake Wessley, the exasperated police officer who is trying to solve the murder.

 After Sibyl narrowly misses becoming the next victim, she turns her attention to the suspects. Is it the English gentleman, Mr. Buttons, who serves everyone tea and cucumber sandwiches, or her landlord, Cressida Upthorpe, who is convinced that her fat cat, Lord Farringdon, speaks to her? Or is it someone else entirely?

My thoughts: Unequivocally, Live and Let Diet is proof Best is the heir apparent to Dame Agatha. Hmmm…I wonder if Best has done an Ancestry DNA to see if there are some roots stemming from her Aussie lineage to Christie’s English branches?

Best’s writing is as smooth as Australian Whiskey, as pulled together as a sailor’s knot and as hilarious as a natural comedian fresh out the stable. Genius!

Best knows not only how to sketch life in a small town but relocates the reader there on a magic carpet weaved together by letters of savory goodness. Best does not deliver watery soup disguised as a ‘cozy mystery’ but serves up an alphabet stew of aromatic scenes with piping hot paragraphs and a salted caramel dessert of laughter that is like its namesake, both salty and sweet.

When it comes to characters, Best is an equal opportunity scribe. She powerfully crafts them all. She does not drop the ball when it comes to secondary players or those passing through town or those created as scene fillers. If Best does write characters as “scene fillers” Live and Let Diet does not demonstrate that the gifted Best is capable of diluting characters, scenes or her captivating tale to plow through the weeds. Live and Let Diet has no weeds. Live and Let Diet is a splendid garden of produced magnificence from characters to setting to whodunit with fun, laughter and murder sprinkled in to give you a juicy escape.

In a nutshell, Best is an expert minstrel.

NOTE: THIS IS THE 2nd EDITION, RE-RELEASE OF the 2014 A CEREAL KILLER. IT IS THE LENGTHENED BOOK WITH A NEW TITLE AND COVER AND ADDITIONAL CHAPTERS.

Copyright © 2018 by Diane Morasco. All Rights Reserved.

Book Review: ‘The Alpha Drive (The Alpha Drive, #1)’ by Kristen Martin

kmthe-alpha-drive-final-front-coverSynopsis: In Kristen Martin’s The Alpha Drive (The Alpha Drive, #1), it’s the year 2055 and an anarchist organization has taken control with the aim to create a world-class society. Half of humankind is unknowingly living in an alternate reality called Dormance . . . and there are no plans to wake them up.

Sixteen-year-old introvert Emery Parker is one such dormant. An academic scholar who avoids ruffling feathers at all costs, Emery finds herself being transferred to a boarding school on the outskirts of Arizona. Little does she know; a family secret has the power to change the course of the future. When she’s approached with an opportunity to free the dormants, she sees no other choice but to accept, even though failure could mean having her memory wiped clean.

But when tech-savvy Torin Porter reaches out to her from the other side, Emery begins to question everything she was told about Dormance. If her family’s secret falls into the wrong hands, the world as she knows it will be faced with irreversible consequences. Now Emery must play both sides to uncover the truth about her family’s past or risk leaving mankind to live in an unconscious reality.

My thoughts: Word on Alphabet Street is The Alpha Drive is comparable in some way for fans of The Matrix and Divergent. NOOO, HONEY! It isn’t. Kristen Martin hasn’t just smashed the proverbial glass ceiling with her stunning YA debut – she obliterated it. Thanks to the incredibly gifted Martin the genre will never be the same. Nope, it won’t. Ever. Hallelujah! In fact, Martin’s contemporaries’ may soon find themselves getting scratched on the glass the new Princess of Fantasy has shattered to bits as they struggle to catch up to this ingénue’s level of commanding storytelling. Martin has writing skills, Martin has world building skills and Martin has character designing skills. Pfft! Martin has skills. Period.

Martin’s first outing is brimming with dynamic, intriguing and pulsating characters who take the reader along for the exhilarating ride – so readers, ya better buckle up. Martin’s strength glistens radiantly with the imagined world she detailed with expertise and grace. The Alpha Drive is a breathtaking cinematic adventure.

Readers, take heed, this is an extremely difficult book to put down. I started it at night and did not go to sleep until I finished it after two the next morning. I was snuggled in with my trio of blessings – two dogs and a cat – and flipped my Voyage like the book was going to vanish from my Kindle. Hey! Ya never know.

The Alpha Drive is brimming with a sundry of twists which smoothly propel the action. It is exciting, stirring and laced beautifully. Martin’s brilliantly crafted tension keeps the pages turning. YESSS, HONEY!

The Alpha Drive is a must-read for readers of all genres because it is such a compelling read. Martin’s style is impressive and the fact that she will only get better with each book she writes is an incredible gift to readers of epic fantasy and good ol’ storytelling.

There hasn’t been a writer in this genre to leave an imprint as powerful as Martin since Rowling. Yes, cookie cakes, that Rowling. J.K. Rowling. Marie Lu came semi-close with her Legend series, but semi-close is like the color beige – it’s just there. But when a vibrant color like turquoise or aquamarine – nope, not the same color, cookie cakes, not at all – comes along, beige blends into the background and tastes as bland as tapioca. Martin is turquoise. Martin is aquamarine. However, Martin is not Rowling. Martin is Martin – Kristen Martin.

Martin’s enchanting writing created its own imprint in this inundated arena. Let’s be honest, cookie cakes, there is one Rowling, one Serling, one Lucas, one Spielberg, and now there are two Martin’s – George and Kristen.

Welcome, Kristen Martin, to your throne and your new Kingdom. And to think, this is her first novel. Her debut! WOW! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of the second installment in this ingenious and intricately plotted trilogy, The Order of Omega. I cannot wait until November 8th.

And if she heads east on a book tour – I am going to be putting out a Call to Action for smelling salts. Kristen Martin is an auto-buy, an inspiration and a friend in my head. Hey, if Wendy Williams can have them, so can this New York/ Jersey hybrid. Just sayin’!

Here’s to many, many many, more books from Kristen Martin. Embrace your moments, Kristen Martin, the best is yet to come.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Review first appeared on Blogcritics.

eBook Review ‘Haunted Cruise: The Shakedown’ by Tanya R. Taylor

HAUNTED CRUISE COVER (jpg)Synopsis: Dellie Hayworth has landed a job with one of the largest shipbuilding companies after years of unemployment. She is sent off to sea with her marriage in shambles and seemingly beyond repair. For two weeks, she will reside in the luxury vessel, ‘The Caesar’, in anticipation of what awaits her when she returns home. However, she, nor any other member of the crew, can fathom what awaits them in the middle of the ocean.

My thoughts: Tanya R. Taylor knows how to take a nugget in her brilliant mind and make it shine like stars in a cobalt sky. Haunted Cruise: The Shakedown is delectably dark and wickedly scrumptious. This is what a thriller is supposed to evoke in readers – chills, imaginations on overload, licks of fear pulsating up and down their spines, and whispers of terror summoning to come, all the while knowing you should bolt.

Taylor delivers an ending that is as expertly crafted as the beginning. Unfortunately, far too many authors are rushing their endings and it has become the shoddy norm. If you want to be an author who delivers dreck that is your choice, but when a gem enters the scene, you learn to appreciate the gift for all it’s worth and Taylor is that gem. Taylor does not toss shoddy endings at readers to “get it done” and to hit the “publish” button. This selfless action showcases not only her impeccable writing skills, but that she truly cares about her readers.

Unequivocally, Taylor is a prolific storytelling phenomenon who not only gets your attention, but holds it. She knows how to write a story and keep it propelling forward without losing steam.

Tanya R. Taylor is the possessor of one of the most ingenious and infinite minds in the horror genre to come along since Clive Barker, Stephen King and Ruth Rendell.

Haunted Cruise: The Shakedown is disturbing, evocative, well-written, with a fast-paced twisty plot, and Dellie is a remarkable protagonist you will not soon forget – this novel is Tanya R. Taylor inheriting the crown from the legendary Ruth Rendell and doing her proud.

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Review first appeared in Blogcritics.

eBook Review: Wisdom Keys for LIFE by Tanya R Taylor

TRT WKFL.pngSynopsis: Unfortunately, many people live their lives trying to be someone else. What they don’t understand is that every person is a truly unique individual. In other words: You are uniquely you. If God wanted you to be just like others, He would have made robots instead of human beings. Embrace who you are as a special individual who has something to offer this world that no one else quite has. You can aspire to do good and excel as others have, but recognize also the goodness and talents within yourself. Use what you have been given to follow your own destiny and purpose in life that others can someday admire. Your purpose in life bears YOUR NAME ONLY. It is uniquely yours just as you are uniquely you.

Wisdom Keys for Life is a handy guide of more than one hundred thought-provoking nuggets to give you daily inspiration and help you through life’s most difficult moments.

My thoughts: Move over Ms. O. Slide to the side Pastor Osteen. Step back a smidge Bishop Jakes. There is a new inspirational juggernaut in the house – Tanya R. Taylor. Taylor’s Wisdom Keys for LIFE will fill your spirit with oxygen. You will feel the comfort wash over your being like waves in the ocean – refreshing, restorative and revitalizing.

Taylor’s stirring gem will center you, navigate you and transform your thoughts with every key you read. This little guide packs a POWERFUL punch. Wisdom Keys for LIFE will infuse growth into your soul.

Wisdom Keys for LIFE will stir you up, nourish you and hydrate your parched life-force. Taylor does a remarkable job of illustrating through her profound keys where our individual strengths reside – inside of us.

Wisdom Keys for LIFE is rich with rousing bits of spiritual rejuvenation. Readers can’t help but feel the fire blazing in their belly, the churning in their soul and the roar that they are enough percolating through their veins.  Taylor targets the dark places with a blast of sunshine inside this little snack bite of inspiration.

Wisdom Keys for LIFE is brimming with encouragement to guide you to excel and succeed from where you are planted…and that is a beautiful place to dwell!

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco

Review first appeared in Blogcritics.

eBook Review: Amaretto Amber by Traci Andrighetti

SPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]ynopsis: Private investigator Franki Amato has just turned thirty, and she feels anything but festive. For starters, she can’t have cake because she’s given up sweets, and one of her teeth is torturing her. To add insult to birthday injury, she has to investigate a surreal strip club homicide—with her sixtyish ex-stripper landlady. Then her Sicilian grandma crashes the New Orleans non-party and insists that she steal a lemon to land a husband. Unfortunately for Franki, the man she has in mind has his mind somewhere else, and their relationship seems to have soured. Adding to her troubles, she has to figure out what a missing amber pendant and a mysterious amaretto bottle have to do with the murder, not to mention why she’s being followed. When a second dancer goes down and a third is threatened, Franki turns to a weird witch to crack the case and cancel a curse before someone blows out her candles for good.

 

My thoughts: Look out world, our enchanting, uproarious leading lady is celebrating the big three-o! Yes, our gal, Franki Amato has entered her third decade and she is not feeling celebratory at all. Again, look out world…and readers.

 

Andrighetti’s Franki Amato series gets crisper, smarter and wittier with each installment. Her storytelling skills are superior, her characters are so vivaciously sketched they jump off the page, her dialogue is authentically carved, her setting is accurately designed, and the way she delivers a mystery is brilliantly sculpted.

Andrighetti’s third outing cements her firmly as the newest heir to the comedy mystery throne. In fact, not since 2002, when Laura Levine released This Pen for Hire, has there been a mystery scribe who impeccably fuses the flawless mix of comedy, mystery and prose like Andrighetti.

Amaretto Amber deftly glides along without losing its sidesplitting momentum as it reaches its action-filled, ingeniously crafted and unforeseen climax.

 

Amaretto Amber is deliciously addicting, wickedly exciting, skillfully well-written, and her best Franki Amato outing to date.

 

Amaretto Amber authenticates Andrighetti is one of the best mystery writers of all-time.
 

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco
Review first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.

eBook Review: Clambake Murder by Summer Prescott

 

SPCBMSynopsis: Clambake Caterer Becca Rogers is back from her Caribbean vacation ready to plunge headlong into the busy season. With back to back weddings and more beachfront clambakes than she can handle, Becca has no idea of the heart-pounding thrills and chills she’s about to experience, and how grateful she’ll be to be rescued by her hero-in-residence, the handsome and shy Detective Lance Reynolds.

My thoughts: It is evident with this second outing Summer Prescott is a talent to watch. Clambake Murder is an entertaining blend of courage, fun, homicide, mystery, quirkiness, and tenderness nestled in a novella.

Clambake Murder showcases the wide range Prescott has as a storyteller. With Clambake Murder it is clear Prescott found both her confidence and footing to deliver to readers the goods by digging deeper with character, plot and setting. She blew the first book in the series out of the water and I LOVED that one. Kudos to Prescott for writing in panoramic view as opposed to a simple snapshot on an old Fuji.

 

I have no doubt that the talented Prescott’s storytelling skills are akin to fine wine – she will only get better with age…as in with each book she writes.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco