Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Kym Roberts | Cozy Corner: The Best of 2019
Author Guest / December 23, 2019

It’s that time of year when I must pick the best mysteries I’ve had the pleasure of featuring on the Cozy Corner throughout the year. I’m not going to lie, it’s my favorite, and least favorite part of this blog. I obviously can’t choose them all, yet every one was featured because it spoke to me in a special way. This year brought us some wonderful who-dun-it to enjoy; favorite series of the past, along with a bunch of new mysteries full of diversity that kept our days and nights busy with memorable characters. There were also so many novels I couldn’t feature due to scheduling and space constraints—so how did I choose from such a large pool of incredible mysteries which released this year?  With high spirits, and a glass of wine to toast each and every author;) *** Singapore Sapphire was featured on Cozy Corner blog titled New and Tried and True in September, 2019. A.M. Stuart has a winning start to this series! SINGAPORE SAPPHIRE by A.M. Stuart Early twentieth-century Singapore is a place where a person can disappear, and Harriet Gordon hopes to make a new life for herself there, leaving her tragic memories behind her–but murder gets in the…

Sonya Weiss | Reader to Reader
Author Guest / November 29, 2019

I spend a lot of time writing because I always have ideas and characters whose story I can’t wait to tell. These ideas can be sparked by something I see in the news, or it stems from me playing the what-if game. Like what if that soccer mom is really a spy? Or what if that guy walking his dog just got left at the altar? Because I’m a pantser, meaning I don’t plot out the story first, I don’t always know how the story will play out. So it’s like I’m reading the story as I write it. But I also spend a lot of time reading and I love to recommend great books to others. I also love discovering new authors and reading books that I just can’t put down. I’ve read in every genre under the sun though I do have some favorites. I love romance novels. Contemporary, paranormal, historical. Someone mentioned Duchess Wars by Courtney Milan to me today and I just put that one on my to-be-read list. I also love to read sci-fi. I loved the original Roswell, The 100, and the X-Files. I’m a big fan of Star Trek. Someone gifted me a…

Debbie Wiley | Spooky Halloween Reads
Author Guest / October 24, 2019

October is the month when it’s fun to be scared! Halloween movies play on the tv stations, while readers turn to Halloween, creepy or paranormal themed books to get into the mood for October 31. For me, October is always the time to pull out a Stephen King book as his stories set the perfect atmosphere for an eerie October night. I’ve also discovered a few other reads this October that are perfect for the season. Here are some of my recommendations for creepy October reads this Halloween season: DIABHAL by Kathleen Kaufman is a deliciously dark occult thriller focusing on a matriarchal cult called The Society. Things go awry when 10-year-old Ceit Robertson’s mother is attacked by restless spirits called Sluagh and she’s placed in a foster home called MacLaren Hall. While the story itself is fictional, MacLaren Hall isn’t and has a disturbing history that only serves to heighten the creepy atmosphere Kathleen Kaufman creates.  DIABHAL is the kind of book that you can’t put down even as you wonder what will happen next- it’s classic horror at its finest! A.J. Hackwith puts a whole new diabolical spin on libraries in THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN! Claire is…

Kym Roberts | Cozy Corner: What Lola Wants – We Love!
Author Guest , Cozy Corner / August 26, 2019

I think every reader has run across a series or two (or three or four) they didn’t want to end, with heroines they wanted to go to battle with, and heroes they couldn’t help but love. That was the way I felt about the Lola Cruz Mysteries. Lola was feisty and fun, and the series gave readers one caper after another. But then it ended, and tears were shed. How could I say goodbye to these wonderful characters? The good news? Not all good things must come to an end! Books one through three were re-released earlier this year, and when that happened, I immediately pre-ordered book four–what a treat to finally get What Lola Wants in my library! And what better way to celebrate than to interview the creator, Melissa Bourbon;) Kym: Welcome back to the Cozy Corner! For fans of Lola Cruz and Camacho and Associates, thank you for bringing back this awesome Latina PI! Did you have the fourth book in the series plotted out in your mind during the last couple of years she’s been on hiatus? Melissa: I’m so excited Lola’s back, too! I actually had plotted part of What Lola Wants a few years ago,…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: The Renaissance, A Lush Splendor
Author Guest / August 21, 2019

Complex as its luxurious brocaded gowns in rich colors, the Renaissance abounds in stories of intrigue, political maneuvering, lust, and murder, and features larger-than-life historical figures.  In this month’s column, we will look at four novels exploring this world of splendor and violence. We begin with THE VATICAN PRINCESS by C.W. Gortner, which features one of the Renaissance’s most fascinating characters, Lucrezia Borgia.  This novel, narrated in her own voice, deals with the central portion of her life, after her father, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, becomes Pope Alexander VI.  The beautiful Lucrezia and her brothers Cesare and Juan are stars of the Papal court–but also pawns in the political power games that seek to maintain the Borgias as the dominant family of Renaissance Italy. Her first marriage is annulled when the winds of fortune change, after which she is allied to a Prince of Naples.  His later death, and the convoluted scheming between marriages, lead to charges by her enemies that she was involved in murder and even incest. A third marriage to the Duke of Ferrara, scion of the equally powerful d’Este family, finally provides a measure of stability for a girl who has been forced to survive in a…

Miranda Owen | Weddings In Romance Novels – Divine or Disastrous?
Author Guest / August 5, 2019

by Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen  “I’ve never been the one. Not for anybody.” He closed the distance between them. “You’ll get used to it.” He tipped her face up to his, kissed her. “Why? Why am I the one?” “Because my life opened up, and it flooded with color when you walked back into it.” –Nora Roberts, VISION IN WHITE Weddings are a common occurrence in romance novels, whether they are contemporary, historical, or paranormal. More often than not, they happen near the end of a story as a happy conclusion. While I adore a happy ending just as much as any romance fan, I find stories more interesting when the wedding takes place near the opening of a story. I prefer to think of a wedding as a point in a discussion rather than the conclusion to an exercise. One of my favorite authors is Mary Balogh. In a Mary Balogh novel, there are joyous endings, but no “happily ever afters.” Happiness is something that is an ongoing process that evolves over time and is something that you must work at. In this article, I discuss weddings in some recent romance novels, along with some of my…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Daring and Danger – A Tribute to WWII
Author Guest , History / July 17, 2019

Continuing with WWII fiction in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we’ll focus on stories that illumine some fascinating but lesser-known people and events in the war, most based in historical fact. We begin with THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM by Marie Benedict.  In pre-WWII Austria, beautiful—Jewish–actress Hedwig Keistler catches the eye of the wealthiest man in Austria, arms dealer Fritz Mandl.  Knowing that marriage to the powerful Mandl may keep her and her family safe from the rising tide of anti-Semitism, after a short courtship, Hedwig weds him.  Certain his glamorous wife doesn’t care about or understand the weapons he develops and sells, Mandl discusses them freely around her with his business partners.  But Hedwig is brilliant as well as beautiful, with a life-long interest in science nurtured by her father. When Mendl becomes ever more abusive and controlling, Hedwig flees from him, first to London and then to America—where she becomes film star Hedy Lamarr.  But she also carried with her the plans for the Nazi’s weapons systems—and an invention of her own that will pave the way for secure communications and cellphone technology. A look behind the glamorous façade, Benedict’s book reveals a woman as…

Miranda Owen | A Killer POV
Author Guest / July 8, 2019

You can read more about Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen and her reviews here! “But sometimes, the things you wanted most were the things that would destroy you.” Cynthia Eden, BOUND IN SIN In general, I’m a cozy mystery kind of a girl. I don’t usually go for movies or books that promise “high suspense.” That’s usually a turn-off for me. If a book has dog tags or a pistol on the cover the odds are that it’s probably not for me. Likewise, a film trailer or poster with some intense music or describing how the hero/heroine has a limited amount of time to defuse a bomb, rescue so-and-so, or recover the lost jewel of blah blah blah does nothing for me. I like scary movies, but usually with the violence that is cheesy and obviously fake rather than what I think of as “torture porn” – gratuitous torture scenes that don’t further the story or have us learn anything new about the baddies and generally just stick in my head like some toxic sludge that resurfaces even years later. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. I do read some mysteries and some romances with a few…

N.J. Walters | Top 5 Romantic Suspense Series for your Summer Reading Pleasure
Author Guest / July 4, 2019

Summer is a great time to catch up on your reading. Relax on the patio with a cool drink and a book and let your problems drift away. Maybe you’re doing your reading at the beach or at a secluded cabin in the woods. The days are longer and most of us will take some time away from the job to recharge. And even if you decide to stay at home, a good book is the ideal way to unwind and enjoy a few summer hours. It’s also the perfect time to dig into a series. Read the first book and get hooked, and you have time to devour the rest of them. There are so many wonderful series out there to enjoy, but here are a few suggestions to get you started. These are my FIVE picks. All are great romantic suspense series that will leave your heart pumping and you needing a fan to cool down. The KGI series by Maya Banks. The KGI (Kelly Group International) series is centered around the six Kelly brothers, all of who served in different branches of the military. They now have their own elite, top secret business. This is romantic suspense…

Debbie Wiley | Summer is Here and a Trip to Florida is Just a Book Away!
Author Guest / June 6, 2019

Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley is here to take us on a tour of one of the hottest summer vacation destinations: FLORIDA. All of these great summer reads are set in the Sunshine State!!  Summer is here, and vacation mode is in full swing for many. Florida is one of the hot spots for summer travel. Not everyone can travel in person, however, so traveling to Florida through books is a great alternative. Here are some books to help you tour Florida this summer: We start out our adventure in Key West with Lucy Burdette and A DEADLY FEAST. Amateur sleuth Hayley Snow has a new mystery on her hands when someone dies during a seafood walking tour. Lucy Burdette takes readers to real restaurants in the Keys, giving readers a guide to locate all the scrumptious and tasty treats. I’m not kidding when I say I not only love the Key West Food Critic series but that I also use the series as a travel guide for my visits. While we are down in the Keys, don’t forget to stop in No Name Key and visit the No Name Pub. Tim Dorsey visits the Keys and No Name…