Monday, August 10, 2020


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author Bio,
Unique Character Interview & Giveaway~ 

The Key Lime Crime: A Key West Food Critic Mystery by Lucy Burdette


About The Key Lime Crime


Cozy Mystery 10th in Series  
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)  
Hardcover: 320 pages 
ISBN-10: 1643853082 ISBN-13: 978-1643853086 ASIN: B07Z2TR2Z2

National bestselling author Lucy Burdette's tenth Key West Food Critic mystery is piping hot with pie-enthusiasts and murder suspects.
When a fierce rivalry between key lime pie bakers leads to a pastry chef's murder, food critic Hayley Snow is fit to be pied.
During the week between Christmas and New Year's, the year-round population of Key West, Florida, faces a tsunami of tourists and snowbirds. It doesn't help that outrageously wealthy key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his pie-baking contest. Every pie purveyor on the island is out to win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City and Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is on the scene to report it.
Meanwhile, Hayley's home life is turning more tart than sweet. Hayley's new hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that her intimidating mother-in-law is bearing down on the island for a surprise visit. Hayley offers to escort Nathan's crusty mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island's holiday lights, but it becomes a recipe for disaster when they find a corpse among the glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos. The victim--Au Citron Vert's controversial new pastry chef--was a frontrunner in Sloan's contest.
It's bad enough that Hayley's too-curious mother-in-law is cooking up trouble. Now, the murderer is out to take a slice out of Hayley. Can she handle the heat of a killer's kitchen?

Character Interview 

with Hayley Snow

June: Hello, Hayley. Thanks for chatting with me here on Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic. Since we've not met before, please share with us what qualifies you to be a food critic. Do you have any training or experience as a gourmet chef or pastry chef?

Hayley: So nice to be here with you, thanks for inviting me! It’s a little embarrassing to admit but my main qualification is loving to eat, plus talking about what I’ve eaten and writing about it too. I come by this perfectly honestly, as both my mother and grandmother were foodies and wonderful cooks. When I’m not eating out for my job, my favorite thing to do is to cook something delicious for my family and friends.

June: What are the best parts of your job? What are the toughest parts of your job?

Hayley: The best part of my job is definitely eating at wonderful Key West restaurants. We have the most amazing seafood on our island, and lots of creative chefs. I love when I first sit down at a table and look over the menu, and start to choose the dishes that I will try. I also love being able to report on what I’ve eaten to my readers, to help help them decide where to spend their money.

The hardest part is definitely if I don’t enjoy a meal. I hate writing negative reviews, but on the other hand it’s not fair to readers to say something was delicious if it wasn’t. I don’t get free meals so I don’t feel obligated to fib. But it would be awful to think that my review contributed to torpedoing some chef’s dream

June: If you could travel anywhere in the world to taste food at a variety of restaurants, where would you want to go? Why did you chose this locale?

Hayley: Another thing that’s a little embarrassing to admit: I came to Key West because I was invited by a man. I thought we had fallen in love and were serious, but we didn’t know each other well at all. The six weeks I spent with him were enough to help me fall in love with the island, and decide I’d do anything to stay.

I would always choose Paris – the romance, the croissants, the cafΓ© au lait, the exquisitely perfect roast chickens. And romance, don’t forget that because I am a newlywed!

June: If you were not a food critic, what other journalistic assignments might you want to be assigned? Travel? Lifestyle? Investigative reporting for true crimes? Human interest? Please explain.

Hayley: How about all of the above? I’m not only passionate about food, but I love figuring out what makes people tick. And lately, I’ve come across more than my share of murders. My new husband Nathan thinks I’m just nosy, or possibly have a death wish, but I tell him people need my help and I’m good at it.

June: You may not be able to answer this next question because you're expected to be impartial when you're reviewing restaurants, but can you give us some insight into your personal favorites when it comes to food?

Hayley: Oh I don’t have to be impartial! In fact, it’s my job to have opinions. One of the famous desserts on our island is a Key lime pie. And I’ll be very busy helping to judge the Key lime pie contest over the next week. To me the perfect pie involves a graham cracker crust, absolutely no food coloring in the filling, and a mound of whipper cream on top. But I’ll keep an open mind and try them all for sure!

June: Thank you for your time, Hayley!

About Lucy Burdette

Courtesy Carol Tedesco
Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writersand shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at  

Author Links: Facebook:  

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Sunday, August 9, 2020


--  'INDIAN NO MORE'  --

Winner of the 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle-Grade Book!

Regina Petit's family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina's tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes "Indian no more" overnight--even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina's father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She's never met kids of other races, and they've never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it's not that easy. It's 1957 during the Civil Rights Era. The family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis's own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian? Is she American? And will she and her family ever be okay?


The late Charlene Willing McManis (1953-2018) was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in Los Angeles. She was of Umpqua tribal heritage and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Charlene served in the U.S. Navy and later received her Bachelor’s degree in Native American Education. She lived with her family in Vermont and served on that state’s Commission on Native American Affairs. In 2016, Charlene received a mentorship with award-winning poet and author Margarita Engle through We Need Diverse Books. That manuscript became the novel Indian No More, which is based on her family’s experiences after their tribe was terminated in 1954. She passed away in 2018, knowing that her friend Traci Sorell would complete the revisions Charlene was unable to finish.
Traci Sorell writes poems as well as fiction and nonfiction works for children and teens featuring contemporary characters and compelling biographies—the type of books she sought out in her school and public libraries as a child.

Traci’s debut nonfiction picture book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, was awarded a 2019 Sibert Honor, a 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor and a 2019 Orbis Picture Honor. Illustrated by FranΓ© Lessac and published by Charlesbridge Publishing, it also received four starred reviews (Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Shelf Awareness). An audio book is available from Live Oak Media.

Her debut fiction picture book, At the Mountain's Base, is illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre and published by Kokila/Penguin.

Traci is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in northeastern Oklahoma, where her tribe is located and her relatives still live. Find out more about Traci at





This moving story, based upon Author Charlene Willing McManis's childhood, reminded me of how I felt after reading Author Lauren Wolk's 'Wolf Hollow' and Author Kirby Larson's 'Dash'. These stories all remained on my mind for a long time after I finished reading them because they are so powerful . . .

'Indian No More' describes, in great detail, events in American history which I knew nothing about prior to picking up this book.

In 1954, President Eisenhower signed Public Law 588. "The law said the government didn't need to provide for our education, health care, of anything else as promised in the treaties. The government declared us only Americans now instead of our own nation. We didn't need a reservation anymore." (page 20)

In 1956, Congress passed the Indian Relocation Act. "This removed many more Native people from their reservation homelands and relocated them to big cities like Chicago, Minneapolos, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The government promised moving costs, jobs, higher education, and housing." (page 180)

The Petit family in the story moved to Los Angeles. They moved into a diverse neighborhood with black and Cuban families. I shed tears at the many ways in which these diverse groups were treated unfairly and unkindly in the community, in the schools, and in society, in general.

One of the uplifting scenes in the book that I could personally relate to was when Regina's grandmother taught her to sew. They worked together from start to finish on remaking a man's jacket into a jacket for one of the neighbor boys. Regina's grandmother taught her how to draft patterns, cut out the fabric pieces, sew the garment together using their Singer sewing machine, and then handsew the finishing touches.

This brought back so many happy memories of my Grandma McCrary and I sewing together in the summer before I began sixth grade. Grandma shared all of her knowledge and expertise with me, but I know I enjoyed the love and time she shared with me even more.

The Back Matter is excellent -- Definitions; Author's Note; Photographs of the author's family and significant locations mentioned in the book; Co-Author's Note, Editor's Note; and the text of an Umpqua story mentioned in the novel, 'The Beaver and the Coyote', are included.

There are so many layers to this book. There is the historical perspective of what the government did and effect it had upon these native peoples. There are the feelings of prejudice experienced by these diverse groups. Most importantly, since the story is told by an eight-year-old girl, we are given the insight of the magnitude of these two laws and the ensuing events they caused from the perspective of an innocent child.

I highly-recommend this book to children and adults. This book would make a great classroom or family read-aloud. Many events in the story will require open discussion about sensitive topics. There are a lot of emotions and issues to digest, but I felt richly-rewarded by having read this book.

I borrowed this book from the local public library.


Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.


Find the links to more great 'It's Monday! What Are You Reading?' (#IMWAYR) posts for children's and Young Adult books over at the Unleashing Readers website.




Thursday, August 6, 2020



--  'TEA & TREACHERY'  --
~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, 
Author Bio & Giveaway~

Tea & Treachery (Tea by the Sea Mysteries) by Vicki Delany



About Tea & Treachery


Cozy Mystery 1st in Series Publisher: Kensington (July 28, 2020)  
Hardcover: 304 pages 
ISBN-10: 1496725069 ISBN-13: 978-1496725066  
Digital ASIN: B07ZPKGT3R

In this charming new cozy mystery series from nationally bestselling author, Vicki Delany, a New York City expat-turned-Cape Cod tea shop owner must solve the murder of a local real estate developer to help her feisty grandmother out of a jam . . .
As the proud proprietor and head pastry chef of Tea by the Sea, a traditional English tearoom on the picturesque bluffs of Cape Cod, Roberts has her hands full, often literally. But nothing keeps her busier than steering her sassy grandmother, Rose, away from trouble. Rose operates the grand old Victorian B & B adjacent to Lily’s tea shop . . . for now. An aggressive real estate developer, Jack Ford, is pushing hard to rezone nearby land, with an eye toward building a sprawling golf resort, which would drive Rose and Lily out of business.
Tempers are already steaming, but things really get sticky when Ford is found dead at the foot of Rose’s property and the police think she had something to do with his dramatic demise. Lily can’t let her grandmother get burned by a false murder charge. So she starts her own investigation and discovers Ford’s been brewing bad blood all over town, from his jilted lover to his trophy wife to his shady business partners. Now, it’s down to Lily to stir up some clues, sift through the suspects, and uncover the real killer before Rose is left holding the tea bag.

About Vicki Delany

Made with Repix ( 

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty-five books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. She is the 2019 recipient of the Derrick Murdoch award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. Vicki lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Author Links:  
Facebook – 
Twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor  
Instagram: vickidelany 
Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle PlayIndieBound 


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Wednesday, August 5, 2020


~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Link
to Excerpt, Author Bio, Review &



Where you come from matters far less than where you're going
Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory. In the shadow of the Black Hills, she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid--despite being only twenty-four. But the past has a way of catching up with people.

When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie's pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves--but he is precisely the one person who can never know.

Can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can't seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?


"Rachel Fordham has crafted a tender tale of compassion and grace that authentically depicts a mother's heart and touches on questions of family and identity and the nature of real love." -- Carolyn Miller, award-winning author of the Regency Brides series


Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs and Yours Truly, Thomas. She started writing when her children began begging her for stories at night. She'd pull a book from the shelf, but they'd insist she make one up. Finally, she paired her love of good stories with her love of writing and hasn't stopped since. She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.


A unique historical romance written by Rachel Fordham . . .

This story is set in the Dakota Territory beginning in the mid-1870s. Eighteen-year-old Agnes Pratt has left her warm, loving home in Buffalo, New York, to take a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Penance. For reasons known to her parents, Agnes flees the only life she's ever known to venture out on her own and to support herself by teaching in a one-room schoolhouse.

The supporting characters in the story, particularly Aggie's friend, Hannah, are amazing women. They work hard to put food on the table for their families, raise their children, and reach out to their friends and neighbors in times of crisis and need. The citizens of this small town pull together on many occasions to make a positive difference for members of their community as well as newcomers to their town.

Aggie's best friend from Buffalo, James Harris, arrives on the scene to become the town's physician. The two have not seen each other or communicated for six years, and there are many awkward scenes between the two of them as they try to redefine the boundaries and guidelines for their new relationship. Many misunderstandings ensue throughout the novel because of Aggie's reluctance to open up to James about why she left her Buffalo home in the first place.

The book includes a strong Christian faith thread throughout the entire story. Prayer is mentioned frequently and is practiced by the lead character on many occasions. I appreciated the manner in which Aggie felt that certain events which occurred in her life were God's way of calling her to act on His behalf in situations involving other individuals, including babies and children. Aggie was a loving, kind, compassionate woman whom I would be pleased to have as my friend. She was accepting of people's differences in a manner in which many people in the town and during that time period were not.

When I reached the end of the story, I was delighted to read the Epilogue which gave us a peek into the lives of the main characters eleven years on. I felt that the Discussion Questions included at the end of the book were high-quality and would lead to many valuable interactions to a book group.

I recommend this book for fans of Christian fiction, Christian historical fiction, and Christian romance.

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Disclosure from blogger: I received a paperback copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review to be posted on my blog and on retailer sites and Goodreads. I received no compensation for my review or posts here or on any other site.