Guest Post: Tina Kashian – ONE FETA IN THE GRAVE

Good day, my fellow book lovers. As I’ve said before, and will probably say again and again, I’m always excited to host visits from authors, fellow bloggers, and other book people. Today’s bookish person is another character, and she’s stepping off the pages from the Kebab Kitchen Mystery series, including the latest One Feta in the Grave by Tina Kashian, Lucy Berberian. Lucy is the manager of the Kebab Kitchen restaurant and the featured amateur sleuth in this series. This morning, Ms. Berberian will be introducing herself to us via a little Q&A. Thank you, Ms. Berberian, for stopping by and I’ll turn the blog over to you.

First, I’d like to thank The Book Diva’s Reads for inviting me as a guest today to celebrate the release of One Feta in the Grave. I’m happy to be here!

What is your name?


Lucy Anahid Berberian

How old are you?
I’m thirty-two.

What is your occupation?
I’m the manager of my family’s Mediterranean restaurant, Kebab Kitchen, at the Jersey Shore.

How did you come to be a restaurant manager?
I didn’t plan to be a restaurant manager. I’m a refugee of a Philadelphia law firm. I returned home only to find myself sucked back into my family’s Mediterranean restaurant. But after realizing the business isn’t so bad and my true friends are in Ocean Crest, I stepped up and decided to manage the restaurant so my parents could ease into retirement. It’s been challenging work, but I love it. 

Tell us about your Jersey Shore town.
Ocean Crest is a small town that triples in population during the summer season. It’s quaint and has a mile-long boardwalk that brags a pier with an old-fashioned wooden roller coaster and Ferris wheel. It’s a perfect place to vacation with your family—minus any murders.

Tell us more about that famous boardwalk.
The Jersey Shore boardwalk is iconic! The first boardwalk was created by Andrew Boardman in 1870 in Atlantic City, NJ. Over the years, the boardwalk spread to the neighboring Jersey Shore beach towns. These sprawling boardwalks with dozens of eateries, shops, and amusement piers have become famous. 

 I jog the Ocean Crest boardwalk three times a week. Working with food all day makes exercise a necessity. It’s an eclectic mix of shops and eateries. I love the frozen custard, perusing the T-shirt and novelty shops, and riding the Ferris wheel. Also, my encounters with boardwalk shop owners, tattoo parlors, and a psychic medium all make for interesting witnesses and suspects.

Amateur sleuth of profession?
Amateur! The word sleuth makes me nervous. I didn’t set out to solve crime, but I have an inquisitive mind. Other’s say I’m nosy. I blame it on my law school education.

Who’s your sleuthing partner?
Katie Watson has been my best friend since grade school. She is also married to an Ocean Crest beat cop and I’ve been living in their guest bedroom in their cozy rancher since returning home. She’s also my sleuthing partner and we investigate crimes together.

Do you have a significant other?
I’ve recently started dating my head chef, Azad. We have a long history, and he broke my heart after college, but since I’ve returned home, he’s convinced me to give him a second chance. Azad has shown he has changed and he even quit his fancy Atlantic City job as a sous chef to help me and work as a head chef for Kebab Kitchen. At first, things were as sticky as baklava syrup between us, and I wasn’t sure mixing business with pleasure was a good idea. But so far, things have been heating up between us in and out of the kitchen…

I also have to mention Kebab Kitchen’s business neighbor. Michael Citteroni runs the bicycle rental shop next door, and he is one of my close confidants. Even though he could grace the cover of a men’s fashion magazine, I feel a kinship with him. Just like me, he has an overbearing ethnic father. Michael owns a Harley-Davidson, and against better judgment, I rode with him for the first time a month ago. Turns out, I loved it and we have gone on more than one ride to the boardwalk. Michael and Azad don’t see eye-to-eye, but they have managed to co-exist as business neighbors. 

Are there any four-legged animals in your life?
Yes! My family has adopted an outdoor restaurant cat named Gadoo, which means cat in Armenian. Not very original, I know. Gadoo is orange and black and feisty, and I always stock his favorite treats from the local grocery store. 

Who are the other people in your life?
My parents, Angela and Raffi Berberian, play an important role in my life. We are a tight-knit Armenian, Lebanese and Greek family. That also means that everyone is in everyone else’s business. My matchmaking mama has been driving me nuts.

Kebab Kitchen’s waitresses are my older sister, Emma, and a long-time restaurant employee, Sally. Then there’s Investigator Calvin Clemmons. We haven’t always gotten along and he hasn’t been encouraging of my sleuthing.

Favorite Food?
Shish kebab, hummus, and baklava. I did grow up in a Mediterranean restaurant and manage it now.

Favorite pastime?
Jogging the Ocean Crest Boardwalk.

What’s going on in your life right now?
Well, things haven’t gone exactly as I’ve planned. To celebrate a successful summer season, the town plans a beach festival. I feel indebted to Ocean Crest and I volunteered to run the wine and food portion of the festival on the boardwalk. But things take a turn for the worse when an arrogant businessman, Archie, gets in a screaming match with my best friend, Katie, over judging a sand castle contest. And when Archie is found shot dead under the boardwalk, things don’t look good for Katie. I know Katie’s innocent and I won’t let my friend take the fall for murder. It’s up to us to investigate before another person gets skewered.

Thank you for letting me chat with you today!

One Feta in the Grave

(A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
by Tina Kashian

About the Book

One Feta in the Grave (A Kebab Kitchen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (February 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713516
ISBN-13: 978-1496713513

As summer comes to an end in her Jersey Shore town, Lucy Berberian continues to manage her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. The Kebab Kitchen also has a food tent at this year’s beach festival. But now a local businessman is under the boardwalk—dead by the sea …


With a sand castle contest and live music, Ocean Crest bids a bittersweet farewell to tourist season. Summer will return next year … but Archie Kincaid won’t. The full-of-himself store owner has been fatally shot, soon after a screaming match with Lucy’s best friend. Katie’s far from the only suspect, though, since Archie had some bitter rivals—as well as some relationships no one knew about. It’s up to Lucy to look into some seedy characters and solve the case before the wrong person gets skewered …

Recipes included!

Purchase Links

Amazon –   iBooks –  Barnes & Noble –  Kobo –   Google Books

About the Author

Tina Kashian spent her childhood summers at the New Jersey shore, building sand castles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business where her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. She worked almost every job—rolling silverware and wiping down tables as a tween, to hosting and waitressing as a teenager.

After college, Tina worked as an NJ Deputy Attorney General, a patent attorney, and a mechanical engineer. Her law cases inspired an inquiring mind of crime, and since then, Tina has been hooked on mysteries. The Kebab Kitchen Cozy Mystery series launches with Hummus and Homicide, followed by Stabbed in the Baklava and One Feta in the Grave by Kensington Books. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters. Please visit and join her Newsletter to enter free contests to win books, get delicious recipes, and to learn when her books will be released.

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    Character Guest Post: PAST DUE FOR MURDER by Victoria Gilbert

    Good day, my book people. I’m always happy to welcome fellow book people to my blog and today I’m happy to announce a nice change of pace as I’m hosting a visit by the character Zelda Shoemaker from the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, including the latest Past Due for Murder. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing about Taylorsford, Virginia from the one and only Zelda Shoemaker. Thank you, Ms. Shoemaker, for enlightening us all about your town and it’s residents. 

    Hello everyone! It looks like I finally get my own guest post. It’s about time, I have to say. Honestly, I’m the person who really knows what’s going on in Taylorsford, but I rarely get the opportunity to share everything I know.

    Now my significant other, Walt Adams, would tell you that I do plenty of talking. Maybe he’s right—I am a very social person. Well, I had to be, didn’t I, when I was postmistress for the town for all those years? I had to know everyone, and where they lived, and who lived with them, and that sort of thing. It helped me to do my job. 

    Now that I’m retired, I still like to keep up with the latest news. (Walt would call it “gossip,” but I don’t consider it as such). Taylorsford remains a fairly small town, and even though there’s been a lot of growth on the outskirts over the years, I still know almost everyone. Not by name, maybe, but I do recognize who’s a resident and who’s not. Now, don’t think I discriminate against newcomers or anything. I try to be friendly to all our new residents and visitors, which is not something everyone in town appreciates. There’s a few, like that snooty Elspeth Blackstone, the current mayor’s wife, who thinks that we should restrict who moves into Taylorsford, so that the “wrong sort,” as she calls it, don’t “bring down the tone” of the town. I say that’s a lot of nonsense. Even if those Blackstones have lived here forever, I’d take a whole boatload of new folks over them. In fact, I’m currently acting as the campaign manager for a fine young lady called Sunshine Fields, who’s running for mayor of Taylorsford. Honestly, I’d support anyone opposing Bob Blackstone, but I also think Sunny would make a fantastic leader.

    Oh, you want to know more about me? Well, all right, I’ll tell you, although it’s not a very exciting story. The truth is, I’ve lived in Taylorsford all my life. I’ve even had the same best friend since childhood— Lydia Litton Talbot. She and Walt and I all rode the same bus to elementary school, and have been friends ever since. Of course, since Walt was one of the few African-Americans living in the area when we were young (that’s changed since then, thank goodness) he and I couldn’t date when we were in our teens, even though we wanted to. I mean, you have to understand—that was back in the sixties when there was a lot of racial tension in our county high school. I guess we could’ve stood up to the prejudice back then, but we were both too concerned about how our families would feel, or how they might be affected by the stupid behavior of others, to fight against that taboo.

    So we both ended up marrying other people. It wasn’t a tragedy, by any means—he loved his wife just like I loved my husband—and we always remained friends. Then, after his kids were grown (I couldn’t have any, sadly) and his wife died, we started dating. Of course, I was a widow by that point. We kept our relationship secret for a while. Just out of habit, I guess. But then Sunny and her friend, Amy Webber—who’s Lydia’s niece, by that way—convinced us to go public. And I must say, much to our surprise, no one seems to have a problem with our relationship. Which just goes to show that sometimes the “good old days” weren’t quite as rosy as some people seem to think. Today is better, in a lot of ways.

    Now I spend my time taking care of my house and garden, dating Walt, and spending time with Lydia and some other friends. I also volunteer at the public library where Amy works. She’s the library director in Taylorsford, you know. A smart girl, and quite sweet, although she does seem to have a nose for trouble. I mean, she’s always stumbling over dead bodies—can you imagine? I’m just happy she’s escaped some of the dangerous situations she’s gotten herself into, and found herself a good man along the way. That Richard of hers is as nice as he is good-looking, and that’s a rare combination, let me tell you. Now, if we could just find Sunny someone just as fine. I mean, even Lydia is dating again, and she seems to have lucked out and hooked quite a catch later in life, just like I did with Walt. So now there’s just Sunny. Poor lamb, she tends to date a lot of people but it never seems to work out. But she’s such a dear, beautiful, girl I’m sure she’ll meet someone special someday. 

    Anyway, that’s enough chatter from me. I don’t want to prove Walt right about all that talking. I’ll just wish you a great day, and remind you to tell everyone who’s eligible to vote for Sunny for mayor! I really believe she’ll bring some wonderful, and much-needed, change to my lovely old town.

    Oh, and if you hear or see anything interesting when you’re visiting Taylorsford, please share! I’m always happy to hear all the latest news. 

    About  the Author

    Raised in a historic small town in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian.

    Victoria’s first cozy mystery series, the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, garnered her a three-book deal with Crooked Lane Books, which has since been expanded to five books. The first two books in the series have been optioned by Sony Pictures Television, and the first three were or will be produced in audiobook by Tantor Media.

    Victoria also just inked a 2-book deal with Crooked Lane for a new cozy series, the Booklovers B & B series, set in historic Beaufort, NC.

    A member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel.

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    Past Due for Murder:
    A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
    by Victoria Gilbert

    About the Book

    Past Due for Murder: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery
    Cozy Mystery
    3rd in Series
    Crooked Lane Books (February 12, 2019)
    Hardcover: 304 pages
    ISBN-10: 1683318749
    ISBN-13: 978-1683318743
    Digital ASIN: B07D2GYM25

    Has a curse fallen on the small town of Taylorsford, Virginia? After a young woman goes missing during a spring bonfire, library director Amy Webber must wade through the web of lies only to find a truth that she may not want to untangle.

    Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire.

    The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy.

    When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth in Past Due for Murder, Victoria Gilbert’s third charming Blue Ridge Library mystery.

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    Guest Post: Eleanor Kuhns – THE SHAKER MURDERS

    Good day, book people. Today, I’m honored to introduce you all to Eleanor Kuhns, author of the Will Rees Mysteries including the latest addition to this historical fiction series, The Shaker Murders. Ms. Kuhns will be sharing with us insight into the much slower pace of communication in the Eighteenth Century versus the instantaneous connections we seek and crave today. Thank you, Ms. Kuhns, for stopping by and sharing this information with us today. I hope you will all add The Shaker Murders to your TBR list.

    Communication – Eighteenth Century

    In this hyper-connected world where information is just a few clicks away and communication with another person, even one in another state is as close as a text, it is hard for us to imagine how isolated people were in the eighteenth century. 

    In fact, I’ve had questions about this very topic, not just about The Shaker Murders but about all the books in the series.

    Why I’ve been asked, isn’t Will Rees hurrying to communicate with the constable? There’s a killer on the loose. (Well, it was night time.)

    How can he take out that poor horse again? That horse is worked so hard. (He could walk or use the horse or a mule. There are no other choices.)

    Why is Rees driving into town again? (How else is he going to speak to the constable and others?)

    Email as a common form of communication is less than thirty years old and texting is even more recent. So, let’s go old school. Telephone. Alexander Graham Bell put in a patent for the telephone in 1876. Welcome to the world of the switchboard and party line. By 1904 there were three million phones in the United States. Cell phones were proposed in 1947 but the technology did not exist then and didn’t until the 1960s. It took several more decades before the cell phone (or the mobile phone) became ubiquitous.

    What about the telegraph? Although the telegraph was posited in 1774, the technology didn’t exist at that time. It was not until the early 1800s when several scientists built varying forms of the telegraph. It came into use in the United States in 1861, (using the Morse code) and putting the end to the Pony Express.

    Both the telephone and the telegraph were dependent on another nineteenth-century invention: electricity.

    The Pony Express was a service that delivered messages, newspapers, and mail and was not an arm of the Post Office. It was instead a private business set up by three men:  William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell. By utilizing a short route and using mounted riders rather than stagecoaches (which were used by the post office) they proposed to establish a fast mail service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, with letters delivered in ten days.  In these days of instantaneous communication, ten days seems slow. But at that time it was considered too fast to be possible. They did succeed, however.

    From April 3, 1860, to October 1861, it became the West’s most direct means of east-west communication before the telegraph was established (October 24, 1861), and was vital for tying California to the Eastern United States.

    All of these methods happened decades after Will Rees did his detecting. So, there were only two avenues of communication available to him: the Post Office or face to face.

    Yes, there was mail. During the Colonial period, most of the mail went back and forth between the colonies and Great Britain. It took months. In 1775 Ben Franklin was the postmaster who began setting up a postal service to take the place of the Crown Post. He set a standardized rate and set up routes from Maine to Florida. At this point, there were no post offices and mail was delivered to inns and taverns. (By 1789 there were 75 post offices in the United States.) The U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1788, gave Congress the power to set up a Postal Service. In 1789 George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood to the Postmaster’s General position, which he held until 1791.

    So, Rees would have had to meet with every person he wishes to question. And he is limited by time of day (no electricity so he does not often drive at night) and weather. In The Shaker Murders, I avoid this problem by setting the murder where Rees and his family are living so they are on-site. But as soon as he wishes to speak to the constable of investigating elsewhere, he must take himself physically to them.

    He would be astonished by the variety of rapid communication methods we enjoy.

    About Eleanor Kuhns

    Photo by Rana Faure
    Eleanor Kuhns is the 2011 winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel. A lifelong librarian, she received her Masters from Columbia University and is currently the Assistant Director of the Goshen Public Library in Orange County New York. 

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    The Shaker Murders A Will Rees Mystery by Eleanor Kuhns
    ISBN: 9780727888372 (hardcover)
    ISBN: 9781448301720 (ebook)
    ISBN: 9781974930661 (audiobook)
    ASIN: B07KX3C1WZ (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Severn House Publishers
    Publication Date: February 1, 2019

    A peaceful Shaker community is rocked by a series of bizarre accidents, but is there more to them than first appears? 

    Fresh from facing allegations of witchcraft and murder, traveling weaver Will Rees, his heavily pregnant wife Lydia and six adopted children take refuge in Zion, a Shaker community in rural Maine. Shortly after their arrival, screams in the night reveal a drowned body … but is it murder or an unfortunate accident? The Shaker Elders argue it was just an accident, but Rees believes otherwise.

    As Will investigates further, more deaths follow and a young girl vanishes from the community. Haunted by nightmares for his family’s safety, Rees must rush to uncover the truth before the dreams can become reality and more lives are lost. Yet can the Shaker Elders be trusted, or is an outsider involved?

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    Book Spotlight: SUGAR RUN by Mesha Maren

    Sugar Run by Mesha Maren
    ISBN: 9781616206215 (hardcover)
    ISBN: 9781616208882 (ebook)
    ISBN: 9781684416417 (audiobook)
    ASIN: B079VTHG8J (Kindle edition)
    Publisher: Algonquin Books
    Release Date: January 8, 2019

    On the far side the view was nothing but ridgelines, the craggy silhouettes rising up against the night sky like the body of some dormant god. Jodi felt her breath go tight in her chest. This road went only one way, it seemed, in under the mountains until you were circled.

    In 1989, Jodi McCarty is seventeen years old when she’s sentenced to life in prison for manslaughter. She’s released eighteen years later and finds herself at a Greyhound bus stop, reeling from the shock of unexpected freedom. Not yet able to return to her lost home in the Appalachian mountains, she goes searching for someone she left behind, but on the way, she meets and falls in love with Miranda, a troubled young mother. Together, they try to make a fresh start, but is that even possible in a town that refuses to change? 

    Set within the charged insularity of rural West Virginia, Sugar Run is a searing and gritty debut about making a run for another life.

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    Read an excerpt from Sugar Run here.

    Praise for Sugar Run

    “The literary lineages here are hard-boiled fiction and film noir, but on every page of her debut novel, Mesha Maren creates bold new takes on those venerable genres, a much-needed refresh of worn tropes and clichés. Maren is masterly at describing America’s modern wastelands, the blasted towns not yet and maybe never-to-be the beneficiaries of rehabilitation and reoccupation. You can almost see Maren—like Raymond Chandler—cutting each typed page into three strips and requiring each strip to contain something delightful (startling simile, clever dialogue, brilliant description) offered to the reader as a recompense for a world that presses up against you all raw and aggressive and dangerous. A language that fully owns its power to capture just that ‘heart-wild magic.’ ” —Charles Frazier, The New York Times Book Review

    “A darkly steamy first novel . . . ravishingly rugged . . . a literary page-turner, hair-raising in both plot and prose. Maren writes with windswept grace and stark sensuality.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

    Sugar Run is a shining debut, with a heady admixture of explosive plot and taut, burnished prose. This is a book that loves its wounded characters and troubled places, and in so deeply loving, it finds a terrible truth and beauty where other writers wouldn’t have found the courage to look. I’m glad to be among the first to sing the praise of this young writer when I say that Mesha Maren writes like a force of nature.” —Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies

    “We love Mesha Maren’s Sugar Run, a gritty noir novel like you’ve never read before.” —Entertainment Weekly  Sugar Run throttles . . . The clip is fast and exciting.” —Wall Street Journal

    “In Masha Maren’s impressive debut, Jodi McCarty is released from prison after an 18-year sentence and is determined not to repeat past mistakes. While wandering around the South, she meets a young woman named Miranda, who has just left an abusive relationship. Together, they go looking for someone from Jodi’s past and head to West Virginia—followed by the demons that haunt them both. This slow-burning novel asks if we can ever really escape the past and start over.” —

    “The interlocked and heartbreaking stories of Jodi and Miranda and Lee and Paula and Paula’s simple, badly used brother unfold in language that is just plain grittily gorgeous. These are stories of violence and passion and squashed hope . . . and you will feel every word. A highly recommended debut.” —Library Journal (starred review)

    “There’s an awful lot of talk about the underrepresentation of rural (or suburban, or urban) working-class life in the higher echelons of American literary culture. And while to some extent that might be true, the stories are there, as are the writers, we just need to pay attention. To wit, Mesha Maren’s debut novel, about a young woman’s return to rural West Virginia after 18 years in prison, deserves your attention.” —Lit Hub

    “In Maren’s darkly engrossing debut novel, two women yearning for freedom fall in love, but the secrets of the past and betrayals in the present threaten to crush them. [She] skillfully handles a dual plot, alternating chapters set in the near-present and 20 years before. The novel’s noir tone and taut suspense are enriched by Maren’s often lovely prose, especially in descriptions of the natural world, and sharp observations . . . This impressive first novel combines beautifully crafted language and a steamy Southern noir plot to fine effect.” —Kirkus Reviews

    “Dread and a lush natural world infuse Maren’s noir-tinged debut as she carefully relays soul-crushing realities and myths of poverty and privilege, luck and rehabilitation, and the human needs that can precede criminality through love-starved loner Jodi and her band of fellow hungry souls.”Booklist

    Sugar Run, the strong and insightful first novel from Mesha Maren, puts stories to lives that are ordinarily overlooked, exploring damaged souls and damaged land, the need for that redemptive sense of connection to places and people. Maren writes prose that moves us ever deeper into her world without strain, but with sureness and vivid details. Drugs and flaring tempers, old wounds, and people who feel without hope but still dream of hope.” —Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone

    “With Sugar Run, Mesha Maren announces herself as a wholly original voice in contemporary fiction. Full of diamond-sharp sentences and perfect pacing, the novel runs wild like a mountain flash flood. In Jodi and Miranda and Paula, Maren gives us something we’ve needed for a long time now. Something new.” —Scott McClanahan, author of Crapalachia

    “A heady admixture of explosive plot and taut, burnished prose . . . Mesha Maren writes like a force of nature.” —Lauren Groff, author of Florida

    Meet the author

    Mesha Maren’s short stories and essays have appeared in Tin House, the Oxford American, Southern Culture, Hobart, Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, a 2014 Elizabeth George Foundation grant, an Appalachian Writing Fellowship from Lincoln Memorial University, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation. She is the 2018-2019 Kenan Visiting Writer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing Fellow at the Beckley Federal Correctional Institution.

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    Book Spotlight: DEATH BY A WHISKER by T. C. LoTempio

    Death by a Whisker: A Cat Rescue Mystery

    by T. C. LoTempio – Paperback Edition

    About the Book

    Cozy Mystery
    2nd in Series
    Crooked Lane Books (February 13, 2018)
    Paperback: 320 pages
    ISBN-10: 1683319494
    ISBN-13: 978-1683319498
    Digital ASIN: B072395VJN

    Getting used to life back home in Deer Park, North Carolina, Sydney McCall and her right-hand tabby, Toby, are helping her sister Kat run the local animal shelter. Syd and Kat are all excited about the prospect of the shelter’s newest fundraiser: shopping channel queen Ulla Townsend. Shelter admin Maggie Shayne vehemently refuses to have anything to do with the woman, but the fundraiser ensues as planned. That is, until Ulla turns up dead in the middle of the event.

    The cause of death is determined to be an allergic reaction, but Syd and Toby are sniffing out something fishy. When Syd met Ulla, it was clear she was distasteful and rude. And right before the event, Syd spotted some behind-the-scenes drama between Ulla and her manager. As they begin to investigate, they realize there is no shortage of suspects, and Maggie is at the top of the list.

    Now Syd and Toby must claw their way to the truth before everything goes paws up at their animal shelter in Death by a Whisker by national bestselling author T. C. LoTempio.

    About the Author

    While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

    Where to find them:

    ROCCO’s blog:



    Twitter: @RoccoBlogger –

    Purchase Links:

    Amazon    B&N    Google Play


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    Death By A Whisker Tour Participants

    February 12 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

    February 12 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

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    February 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW*

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    Guest Post: Susan Hunter – DANGEROUS FLAWS

    Good day, book people. I’m pleased to announce that today’s special guest is a return guest and none other than the award-winning journalist and author of the Leah Nash mystery series including the recently released Dangerous Flaws, Susan Hunter. Ms. Hunter will be discussing with us the importance of reaching out to authors with your feedback. Thank you, Ms. Hunter, for taking the time to return to the Book Diva’s Reads today and sharing your thoughts with us, it is greatly appreciated. 

    Readers and Writers

    For me, and I think for many authors, one of the most fun things about writing is reader engagement. That can come in the form of a review, a response to a blog post, or a comment on social media. Occasionally a reader will run through the discussion questions I put at the end of a book for use by book clubs and send me the answers to each one from his or her perspective. I love to learn those detailed reactions to a story. Actually, all of the outreach from readers is nice—OK, the occasional negative reviews that come with the territory aren’t “nice” exactly, though they are often food for thought. 

    But my favorite connection with readers comes from the emails I receive. It’s a very kind gesture for a reader to take time out of a busy day to write a note that says something you did, gave them pleasure. 

    Sometimes the notes I receive are gently instructive as in this one, “I think Coop and Leah should get together—but do what you feel you need to.” Sometimes they’re more direct, “I like the series, but you should kill Courtnee, I can’t stand her.” And occasionally, they read as though my mother had written them, “Loved everything about Dangerous Habits, the writing style, the characters & the ending that I did not expect.  We read all the big names, Kellerman, Patterson, Iles, Gerritsen etc., but you rate up there with the best.” Full disclosure, I keep that one in my “save” file and sometimes pull it out when I’ve read a one-star review that was a little brutal.

    I feel especially fortunate to have forged a long-distance kinship with a few readers who share with me not only their reactions to my books, but also their favorites written by authors. Sometimes they recommend a good film version of a favorite book. I love it when they share their “a-ha!” moments, when what I’ve written strikes a chord of recognition for them—either because they share a character’s take on a situation, or because they see in one of the characters a resemblance to a friend or relative or work colleague. One reader in particular has been very helpful with her thoughts on character development and an email conversation with her actually gave me the idea for a clue to use in my most recent book Dangerous Flaws.

    Perhaps I enjoy the email give and take so much because as a charter member of Introverts International, I’m not by nature a joiner of clubs or striker-up of conversations with strangers. I enjoy social interaction, but outside of public speaking where I don the mantle of a situational extrovert, I prefer one-to-one or small group get-togethers with friends and family. Email exchanges with readers have that nice personal connection I like—plus the added benefit of allowing me to expand my circle of acquaintances without leaving the comforts of my couch.

    So, if you read a book that touches you in some way—makes you laugh, or cry, or think “yes, that’s exactly how I feel,”—go ahead and let the author know. Writing can be a lonely profession. Hearing from readers reminds both writer and reader that we’re all in this together. 

    Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter Banner

    Dangerous Flaws

    by Susan Hunter

    on Tour February 1 – March 31, 2019


    Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter

    A chilling murder shocks a small Wisconsin town.

    True crime writer Leah Nash is stunned when police investigating the murder of a beautiful young college professor focus on her ex-husband Nick. Leah has no illusions about her ex, but despite his flaws, she just can’t see him as a killer. Reluctantly, she agrees to help Nick’s attorney prove that he isn’t.

    But Nick’s lies make it hard to find the truth, and when a damning piece of evidence surfaces, Leah plunges into doubt. Is she defending an innocent man or helping a murderer escape? She pushes on to find out, uncovering hidden motives and getting hit by twists she never saw coming. Leah’s own flaws impede her search for the truth. When she finds it, will it be too late to prevent a devastating confrontation?

    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery
    Published by: Himmel River Press
    Publication Date: December 11th 2018
    Number of Pages: 392
    ASIN: B07KK2HM6M
    Series: Leah Nash Mysteries, Book 5
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

    Author Bio:

    Susan Hunter

    Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

    Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

    During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, looking for clues, stopping for a meal at the Elite Cafe, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.

    Catch Up With Ms. Hunter On:, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!

    Tour Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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    Book Spotlight: DEATH BY COMMITTEE by Alexis Morgan

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    Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
    by Alexis Morgan

    About the Book

    Death by Committee (An Abby McCree Mystery)
    Cozy Mystery
    1st in Series
    Kensington (January 29, 2019)
    Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
    ISBN-10: 1496719530
    ISBN-13: 978-1496719539
    Digital ASIN: B07CWF6QBL

    When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!

    After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!

    Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

    About the Author

    USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

    Author Links –

    Website –      Facebook –

    Twitter –    Blog –

    Purchase Links – AmazonB&N –  KoboGooglePlay  –  IndieBound


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    February 5 – Jody’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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    February 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

    February 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

    February 7 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

    February 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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    February 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

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    February 10 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

    February 11 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

    February 12 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST

    February 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

    February 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

    February 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

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    2019 Book 41: THE LAST ROMANTICS by Tara Conklin

    The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin
    ISBN: 9780062358202 (hardcover)
    ISBN: 9780062358226 (ebook)
    ISBN: 9780062898166 (audiobook)
    ASIN: B072F14LGX (Kindle edition)
    Publication date: February 5, 2019 
    Publisher: William Morrow 

    “The greatest works of poetry, what makes each of us a poet, are the stories we tell about ourselves. We create them out of family and blood and friends and love and hate and what we’ve read and watched and witnessed. Longing and regret, illness, broken bones, broken hearts, achievements, money won and lost, palm readings and visions. We tell these stories until we believe them.”

    When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

    It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected.  Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love. 

    A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.

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    The Skinners were once a typical suburban family, a working father, a stay-at-home mother, and four well-behaved children. All of that changed when their father died and the Pause occurred, or the years their mother gave into grief and the children were left on their own. Renee, the eldest, became the surrogate mother, feeding and caring for all of her siblings. Caroline, the next oldest, was the most timid of them all and afraid of everything. Joe, the only boy, ran wild, and the youngest, Fiona, became his shadow. Things changed as they grew older and their mother shook off the Pause. Renee became a doctor, a renowned transplant surgeon, and eventually married a renowned wood artist. Caroline married her childhood sweetheart and had three children. Joe became a baseball phenom in high school, played ball in college until disaster struck, worked for a college buddy, got engaged, moved to Miami, and disaster struck again. Fiona is a struggling wordsmith most of her life and in her early twenties became a blogger of some renown for her writings about sexual exploits. She works for an environmental group, eventually becoming the head of that group but also becomes a well-known poet. The story begins with Fiona at a question and answer period after a reading and she’s asked if there was a real Luna for the basis of the Luna in her poem. The person asking is a young woman named Luna in honor of the poem. Can Fiona reveal the hidden history of her family to this audience? Is it necessary for an author to tell the truth about everything when it comes to their art?

    First, let me say that I had previously read The House Girl by Tara Conklin and when I heard she had a new book coming out I was super excited. I found The Last Romantics to be an engaging and fast-paced read about love and family and all the befores and afters we encounter with our families and in life. The Skinner family has a slew of before and afters in their lives, before and after their father died, before and after the Pause, before and after Joe (read the book to understand that statement), before and after each siblings’ marriages/relationships. The three sisters are all close in their own way but they are all satellites, if you will, around their brother Joe and make every attempt to protect his shenanigans from ever reaching their mother’s ears. Needless to say, this has an impact by itself on their individual lives, before and after Joe (again, read the book to understand this better). I loved the way Ms. Conklin wove the future storyline into the more contemporary storyline and presumed that the reason for the power outages and alarms was due to society not heading the warnings of global warming (ahem…this will make more sense if you read the book). I enjoyed all of the characters and the action in this story, okay, I enjoyed pretty much everything about this story. We learn what family means to the Skinners and just how far they’re willing to go for one another. Ms. Conklin has a way of pulling this reader into the story and I become invested in the lives of each character and want to know what’s next. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Romantics and strongly encourage you to grab a copy to read as soon as possible. 

    Disclaimer:  I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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    The Last Romantics: A Novel

    The Last Romantics


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    The Last Romantics