Posted in historical fiction, Reviews

Review: The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

As a librarian and fan of historical fiction, it was my pleasure to read Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray’s novel, The Personal Librarian. On Tuesday, March 29, Ms. Benedict will participate in a virtual author event to discuss her latest book, Her Hidden Genius. The event is hosted by the Valley Stream Book Club and co-hosted by seven Nassau County, Long Island libraries including mine.

*****5 stars

Marie Benedict, noted for her historical fiction, has co-written an excellent fictional, semi-biographical account of Belle da Costa Greene, the personal librarian for J. P. Morgan, who pretended to be white to secure her position as a successful businesswoman during the time that being both female and black were strong strikes against you.

Belle’s story is one of racial inequality through the ages. Due to her lighter skin, she was able to keep up the pretense of her race. But what it gained her in professional success, she lost in other areas.

Benedict and Murray, the co-authors, of the book, researched Greene’s life and included notes describing how they worked together during the pandemic and how writing Belle’s story changed their lives. Benedict stated that it made her more aware of the injustices against blacks, known and referred to as “colored” people to reflect the language of the period.

How Greene helped establish the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City is an absorbing tale of courage and determination that is an extraordinary read.


Posted in Cozy Mystery, Reviews

Review of THE GHOST CAMPER’S TALL TALES, A Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic Cozy Mystery, by Elizabeth Pantley


The third book of Elizabeth Pantley’s Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic is a fun tale that continues the story of Hayden, her cat Latifa, and the magical world of Destiny Falls and its wonderful characters. In this installment, Hayden finds the body of a man she believed to have been killed in the previous book. She also discovers a letter from Gladstone, the neighboring island off Destiny Falls, that can only be reached by ferry with a special ticket. The letter is supposedly from her mother who she thought abandoned her as a child but now learns was possibly taken against her will.

As Hayden delves deeper into the mystery with Latifa, her cat who she communicates with via telepathy; her brother Axel; the sheriff; and her romantic interest, Han, she learns some strange things about the three businessmen who own shops near the newspaper office where she works. She also befriends a ghost who appears to her alone and shares some tales that turn out to be history lessons about Gladstone.

This is a delightful addition to the series. One of my favorite parts was when Hayden visited the Destiny Falls Library. As a librarian, I would love to work in such an enchanted place. I enjoyed every page of the book and look forward to reading the others. I highly recommend them to cozy mystery fans, cat lovers, and everyone who likes magical tales.

See my Review of the first book in the series, FALLING INTO MAGIC: and my interview with the author about her second book, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF EMILY:

Latifa and Chanel, two of the cats, were also interviewed on my cat character’s blog:

Posted in Cats, Contest

Hermione Made it to the Quarter Finals!

Thanks so much for those who voted for my cat, Hermione, in America’s Favorite Pet Contest. She’s moved into the quarter finals, so needs your votes even more at this point. You can vote for free once a day and/or pay for PAWS votes that go toward the PAWS Foundation to help animals. Every so often, the PAWS votes double. When this happens, it’s indicated on the voting page:

Hermione is a sweet and beautiful cat who will be four years old this summer. We adopted her and her brother, Harry, when they were three-month-old kittens. It was after our family had suffered a double loss. We’d lost our senior Siamese and my mother. The two kittens have given us so much joy and helped heal our sadness. They joined our older cat, Stripey.

I’m honored that so many people have been voting for Hermione, but the competition is tough. She went neck to neck with another contestant in a previous round.

On my other blog, she posted why she deserves your vote. Check out what she wrote here:

Her brother, Harry, also blogged in support of his sister. Here’s his post:

The Quarter Finals end on March 24. If Hermione receives enough votes, she’ll move on to the semi-finals. If she makes it to the finals and wins, she’ll appear in Catster Magazine and receive valuable awards.

We appreciate all your support. daily votes, and PAWS vote donations. Vote here to help Hermione become America’s Favorite Pet:

Posted in Anthology, Freebies and Special Offers

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A Gift and a Way for You to Help Pets and the Ukraine

Even if you’re not Irish, I’d like to give you a St. Patrick’s Day gift. My cozy mystery story, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, is free today, March 17, through the weekend. Pick up your copy here:

Would you like to help support a good cause? Red Penguin Books is publishing “Where Flowers Bloom: Poems and Essays of Strength, Hope, and Resilience,” to raise funds to aid the Ukraine people. They’re seeking submissions until March 25 and also have a Kickstarter campaign.

For details, see:

Thanks to those who voted for Hermione in America’s Favorite Pet Contest. She’s now #1 in her group but still needs more votes until 6 PM PDT time on March 17 to stay in the contest and enter the quarter finals.

You can vote once each day for free or buy votes that raise funds for the PAWS Foundation to help pets. Please make St. Patrick’s Day and St. Gertrude’s Day (Saint of Cats) lucky for Miss Hermione on March 17.

Posted in Uncategorized

Harry’s Kitty Korner #25: Please Vote for my Sister

Sneaky The Library Cat's Blog

Meow, there. It’s Harry aka Harold. For those who aren’t aware, despite my lady’s constant posting and messaging, my sister, Hermione, is running for America’s Favorite Pet. Now I don’t hold a grudge about why she was chosen to enter and not me. In fact, I support her all the way and encourage you to vote for her daily with a free vote and also buy PAWS votes that raise funds for animals. The PAWS votes count double today (Tuesday, March 15).  They make your money go further to help Hermione and other pets.

I honestly think my Sis deserves to win. Take a look at these photos of her. Isn’t she adorable? Not as adorable as me, but quite cute. It runs in the family.


So please don’t delay. Hermione needs your vote to remain in the race. The next cut will be March 17…

View original post 29 more words

Posted in author news

Mid-March Updates, W.I.P’s, and More

I hope you’re all doing well and looking forward to spring. I know I am. Although the weather’s been back and forth this month so far, it should settle into a steadier pattern soon. Don’t forget to turn your clocks forward this Sunday for Daylight Savings Time if you’re in an area that observes it.

I wanted to post some updates about my writing. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a cover for the first book of my new cozy series, The Case of the Cat Crazy Lady, and I’m also still waiting for edits to start. However, during my wait, I’ve completed another standalone novel that I’m editing and will submit to an agent or publisher soon. It’s too early for me to share any details except that it involves time travel.

I’m also reprinting my cat book, Pet Posts: the Cat Chats, with a new cover and title. This book will also be published in hardcover, large print, paperback, audio, and eBook with wide distribution. In addition, I’m about to begin work on another Cobble Cove story, tentatively titled Sneaky’s Supernatural Mystery. I’m considering using this as the main story in a print collection of the previous five stories (the collection will also be available as eBooks and free on Kindle Unlimited), but I know some readers still prefer print and have asked for these stories in that format.

Talking about collections, I’ve also submitted a poem and an essay to Red Penguin Books for their Ukraine fundraiser, Where Flowers Bloom: Poems and Essays of Strength, Hope, and Resilience. They are still seeking stories until March 25 and also have a Kickstarter campaign. For details, see

I’ll also be writing something for the first Long Island Authors Group anthology.

In April, I’m planning an Easter giveaway. More on that in my April newsletter. To subscribe, complete the pop-up form at, or send me your email.

Lastly, I’d like to ask a favor. If you’re on Facebook, could you please vote for my cat Hermione, who is running in America’s Favorite Pet Contest? She’s already passed through two rounds but needs votes to get into the quarter finals on March 17. You can vote every day for free and/or purchase PAWS votes that raise funds for the PAWS Foundation that helps animals. PAWS votes sometimes count double for a short time, as indicated on the voting page. I would also appreciate any shares of her campaign link:

To read why Hermione thinks she deserves your vote, check out her post here:

Posted in Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery, Recipe

Blog Tour, Spotlight, and Recipe for Casino Queen, the first Night Hawk Casino Cozy Mystery, by Cara Bertoia

Casino Queen (Night Hawk Casino Series)
by Cara Bertoia

I was born in the South, Charleston, SC to be exact, so I learned at a young age that everything goes better with Coke, but a Pepsi is also fine. When I saw this recipe, I had to try it, I don’t know if it’s the sugar in the Coke or the bubbles, but this is the tenderest brisket ever. I make a holiday dinner for twelve and it disappears as soon as I set it on the table. It was also great for potlucks at the casino. The best part, there are only four ingredients and minimal preparation. I prefer to cook this in a slow cooker, but you can also roast in in the oven at 350 degrees.


Coca- Cola Brisket:


Brisket: I would recommend buying a pound for every person. There will be shrinkage.

1 jar of Heinz chili sauce, (if you can’t find this I have substituted Thai chili sauce)

1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix

1 can of Coca-Cola, Pepsi can be substituted

The night before pierce the brisket with a fork and marinate it in the Coke.

Early the next morning mix the other ingredients together. Place everything in the slow cooker for 10 hours low, or 5 hours high. Really you can do taste tests until the brisket is so tender it melts in your mouth. Let me know what you think.

About Casino Queen

Casino Queen (Night Hawk Casino Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Wild Rose Press (March 16, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 260 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1509240918
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1509240913
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09PJWMG9Z

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino where she is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert of Southern California. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of often unique guests, and growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. Because it often does.

I love to see any of you out there reading Casino Queen. Send me a picture to, and I will post it to social media.

About Cara Bertoia

Growing up in a strait-laced Southern family, I was always fascinated with casinos. In my twenties on a summer hiatus from teaching in North Carolina, I drove to California and became a dealer at Caesars in Lake Tahoe. Well, I can tell you that after teaching high school, handling an unruly gambler was a piece of cake. My mother highly disapproved of my working in a casino, “a place so bad it has ‘sin’ in the middle.”

Eventually, I succumbed to pressure from the family and returned east to take a high-tech job in Boston. I also began working on my MFA in writing at Emerson. I wanted to write the first realistic novel about casino life from the perspective of an experienced table games dealer. I am always amazed that normal and sometimes quite intelligent players become absolutely clueless in the casino. They repeat superstitious nonsense and no amount of logic can change their position, maybe my novel will.

While in Boston I was offered the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. Jumping at the chance, I spent the next five years circling the globe. Sometimes life exceeds your dreams. I was awed by the wonders of Venice, the fjords of Norway, and the Northern Lights in Leningrad.

I returned from ships with a very special souvenir, my Scottish husband Ray. We went to work at the Spa Casino in Palm Springs. We now live in Hollywood, Florida, where I write about my casino years while wistfully gazing out at the ocean.

Author Links

Cara Bertoia’s Blog


Cara Bertoia – Author (

Cara Bertoia (@carabertoia) • Instagram photos and videos



GoodReads Cara Bertoia 

BookBub Cara Bertoia

Purchase Links

AmazonBarnes and Noble


March 7 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST


March 8 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

March 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 11 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE

March 11 – Girl with Pen – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 13 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 14 – I Read What You Write – CHARACTER GUEST POST

March 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

March 16 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 18 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

March 20 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!


Posted in Reviews A Unique New Book Recommendation Site

Have you discovered If you enjoy reading books and are looking for some great recommendations or are an author who would like to find another way to promote your work, check out this site created by entrepreneur Ben Fox as an alternative to Amazon and Goodreads.

Fox explains his vision for the website. “I want Shepherd to be a place that makes book discovery fun online. I want it to evoke the same feeling that you get when you wander around your local bookstore, but in vastly different ways given the limitless nature of the internet. And, while doing this, I want to help authors bump into new readers who are the most likely to be interested in their book. It is a hard world for authors and I want to make it easier for them to connect with readers in some cool ways.” launched in April 2021. In January 2022, Fox and his team launched a new front page, search, and topic sections called bookshelves. Bookshelves help visitors browse through books with subjects such as World War 2, dragons, grief, and many other topics. Fox says that “The next step is to bring in genres so that on the bookshelves you can filter to see only historical fiction, history, or other genre types. And then we will also add genre pages where you can filter by topic. So you can be on a science fiction page and filter to see only books about cyborgs or artificial intelligence or other fun ways to discover amazing books. Once we have that base in place, I have a lot of plans to create more new and unique ways to find books. Slowly but surely, we will make book browsing online less like buying toothpaste :).”The way works is that an author can submit short recommendations of five book titles on a particular subject. For instance, I have a cozy mystery series, The Cobble Cove mysteries, that feature a librarian as the main character. I recommended five other first books of cozy mystery series that also include libraries and librarians. Here’s the link to my page on

Here is a list of a few other book recommendations featured on isn’t only for mysteries or fiction. Here are some other lists: had 67,000+ unique visitors last month. Fox works with a team that helps with different aspects of the site. Learn more about the Shepherd team here:, and check out the exciting plans for as outlined in its 2022 Roadmap:

Posted in Cats

Hermione’s Kitty Korner #25: Five Reasons Why I Should be America’s Favorite Pet — Sneaky The Library Cat’s Blog

Meow, there! This is Hermione. I don’t know if you’re aware, but I’m in the running for America’s Favorite Pet. Thanks to Debbie campaigning for me, I’ve already made it to the Top 10 (my current position is 4). But the competition is tough. That’s why I want to explain the reasons I should get […]

Hermione’s Kitty Korner #25: Five Reasons Why I Should be America’s Favorite Pet — Sneaky The Library Cat’s Blog
Posted in Reviews

Two Time-Travel Book Reviews

I read two very good but very different time-travel novels. Here are my reviews of Doorway to Murder by Carol Pouliot and When Are You Today? by Keith Carey.


Doorway to Murder is the first book in the Blackwell and Watson cozy time-travel mysteries. I really enjoyed this book and hope to read more of the series. It blended several genres from time travel to cozy mysteries to historical fiction.

The characters were described. Olivia Watson is a current-day freelance researcher with a kitten named Mr. Moto and three girlfriends. She lives alone in the small town of Knightsbridge. Detective Steven Blackwell lives in 1934 in the same place and in the same house. Somehow, through a trick of time, they are able to see one another and even visit their retrospective years.

Olivia ends up helping Steven on a murder case, but the outcome affects her present. There’s plenty of room for more mysteries in this excellent series that currently has three books. I highly recommend it for fans of cozy mysteries, time-travel tales, and historical fiction.

Purchase link:

Series Purchase link:

*****5 stars

When Are You Today? is the first novel by Keith Carey. It’s a time-travel tale with a Christian theme. The concept is unique, an alarm clock built in the 1930’s that present day siblings Carl and Sheila Jarliguez purchase and discover that it transports them to a different year in the past or future each day when they wake up.

Carl and Sheila are very close and recently lost their parents in an accident. As they rise each morning to a different tune reflective of the year in which they’ve arrived, they experience historical events in and around their hometown of Pasadena, California. They face danger and meet both friendly and hostile people. Their adventures include attending the first Rose Bowl Parade, meeting Albert Einstein, attempting to prevent Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, and traveling to Kuala Lumpur via future rocket.

This book contains both fun and serious moments and was well researched. There’s a twist at the end that some might see coming through clues left by the brother and sister’s mother. I recommend it for those who enjoy Christian and time-travel novels. A great first book, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

Purchase link:

If you’re in a time-travel reading mode, you might also consider my novel, Time’s Relative, and my short story, The Mistaken Mission.

Purchase link:

Purchase Link: