Bloody Mary Cocktails and Bloody Murder Books

Happy National Bloody Mary Day

January 1 is a fitting day for Bloody Mary Day as the cocktail is reported to be an excellent hangover cure, which may be helpful to those that may have over imbibed on New Year’s Eve.

This drink dates back to the 1920s when a bartender in Paris, named Fernand Petiot, mixed equal parts of tomato juice and vodka. A customer suggested calling the drink “Bloody Mary” as it “reminded him of the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago, and a girl he knew there named Mary” (

The story behind the Bloody Mary Cocktail struck a chord with me and I thought it was a great way to kick off the new year. I lived in the Chicago area for a couple decades and all Chicagoans share a pride Chicago foods. In fact, it is celebrated every summer in a food-lover’s bonanza known as the Taste of Chicago. Also, my debut novel is set in Chicago and includes many scenes at a fictious bar. See excerpt Overruling Judgment. Besides writing the novel, I enjoy creating images that reflect the setting of book. See Book Inspiration

Bloody Mary Cocktails aren’t just for hangover cures. The drink is extremely popular for brunch or any time of the day. While some people choose to pair their drinks with food, I like to pair drinks with books. Every reader needs a drink by their side. Finding the perfect pairing is quintessential to the reading experience.

What pairs well with a Bloody Mary Cocktail? Books about bloody murder of course!

Bloody Mary Cocktail Recipe:

Doctoring the Perfect Bloody Mary Mix and Cocktails

Ingredients for Bloody Mary Mix:

1 12oz can tomato juice

juice of one lime (or lemon)

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 Tbsp hot sauce (Cholula or anything similar like Tapatio, Valentina, or even Tabasco will do) 

1/2 Tbsp horseradish

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce


Mix all ingredients (This recipe can easily be scaled. If you’re having brunch, it’s worth making a whole pitcher.)

Wipe the rim of a pint glass with the lime rind and dip it into a mixture of salt and a chili pepper condiment like Tajin. Fill with ice, and add 1.5 oz of vodka and 3-4oz of mix. Stir, garnish, and serve. Popular garnishes include: celery stick, pickled beans or asparagus, olives, a slice of bacon, or a lemon wedge.

Options: This mix also works well with other kinds of alcohol. Use tequila and you’ve got a Bloody Maria. Or try bourbon for a Bloody Derby. Gin makes a Red Snapper. One can even use beef stock for a virgin version! Another alternative is “bloody beer”with a good IPA (Use equal amounts of beer and mix. Still serve over ice in a pint glass with a salted rim.)

Bloody Murder Books to read along with your Bloody Mary Cocktail:

The Twenty-One-Year Contract

by L.B. Griffin

Fourteen-year-old Kathleen Gray— talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family. Suddenly, they are gone, she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her. Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.

Broken Toys

by Glenda Thompson

Texas Ranger Noah Morgan has his life together–with a great job and the girl of his dreams. Too bad it’s all based on a lie. A single phone call threatens to bring it all crashing down. After an irate citizen complains shoddy workmanship has left him with a booby-trapped driveway, and the local sheriff’s office is too busy to respond, Noah takes the call. The body pieces discovered in the driveway leads to an investigation of local scam artists which uncovers a human trafficking ring. Noah fights to avoid being swept back into the sights of his murderous family–people he escaped at the age of seventeen. Can he keep his past a secret or will his carefully crafted life come to a violent end?

Why 319?

by Mark Love

A serial killer is on the loose in metro Detroit. Three female victims have been discovered in motel rooms in different suburban cities surrounding Motown. The only connection is that each body is found in Room 319 and the killer leaves the taunting message “Why 319?” on the bathroom mirror, written with the victim’s lipstick. 

Detective Jefferson Chene heads up an elite squad of detectives assigned to the case. With no home life, he devotes every waking moment to catching killers. But this one is more elusive than most. With no clues and no apparent link between the victims, Chene is at a dead end. But a startling revelation busts the case wide open. He’s closing in on the murderer, but will it be before another young woman loses her life?

Slain Over Spumoni

by Tessa Floreano

In SLAIN OVER SPUMONI, a woman is accused of murdering her uncle, The Gelato King of Italy. She sets out to find the killer at the same time a mysterious American soldier offers to help. In the process, romance blooms, but will their sleuthing succeed before her family’s gelateria’s hard-won title is lost forever? Set in 1920s Italy, near Venice, this gelato-themed romantic mystery keeps you guessing until the end and have you sampling spumoni soon after.

Kat Out of the Bag

by Wendy Kendall

When celebrated international purse designer, Katherine Watson, hosts a gala for her Purse-onality Museum, she never expected the next day’s headline to read: ‘Murder at the Gala Premiere.’ But after a dead body is found during the event, that’s exactly what happened. Working to solve the murder, Katherine matches wits with local cop Jason Holmes and his K-9 partner, Hobbs. Although Holmes and Watson disagree often, they discover an undeniable attraction building between them. But they’ll have to put their feelings on hold and focus on solving the murder, before Katherine becomes the killer’s next knock off.

Fatal Hunt

by Michelle Godard-Richer

After being widowed and surviving the wrath of a serial killer, Jessica believes her misfortunes are over. She’s reunited with her first love, Jon, and together, with her son Bryce, and a baby on the way, they’re living their happily ever after on their ranch in Montana. That is until secrets, lies, and a formidable foe from Jon’s past emerge to shake the foundation of their relationship, forcing them to flee for their lives.

A decade earlier, Jon worked undercover for the FBI. He infiltrated Hugh Jones’ Kansas City Mob, and almost destroyed his empire. Unaware of the breach in his own defenses, Hugh, obsessed with revenge, unleashes every weapon in his arsenal, targeting those Jon loves the most. 

Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams

by Kimberly Baer

When Annie Barkley discovers a boy living in the attic of her cookie shop, she’s stunned—and oddly elated. She can almost believe the universe is giving her back the infant son she lost eleven years ago.

Annie senses that something bad happened to the boy, but he won’t talk. All she knows is that he’s terrified of being found. When her long-ago crush, police captain Sam Stern, stops by to inquire about a missing boy, Annie says she hasn’t seen him.

Big mistake. Because that lie might cost her more than a romance with Sam. It also leaves her vulnerable
to a ruthless pursuer, one who’s determined to silence the boy for good.

The Shiver in Her Eyes

by Brian Anderson

Hired by a mob-controlled pornographer to investigate a grisly murder, Minneapolis PI Lyle Dahms faces murderous gunmen, merciless gang members, and a massive ex-professional wrestler who, besotted with the dead man’s wife, insists on tagging along. The real mystery involves the pornographer’s mistress, a dark and vulnerable beauty who steals Lyle’s heart and who may not be everything she seems. As the lies continue to mount and loyalties change like the Midwest weather, Dahms risks his life to seek justice and protect the woman he loves.

Death By Sample Size

by Susie Black

Everyone wanted her dead…but who actually killed her?

“The last thing swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected was to discover ruthless buying office big wig Bunny Frank’s corpse trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey with a bikini stuffed down her throat. When Holly’s colleague is arrested for Bunny’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth jumps into action to find the real killer. Nothing turns out the way Holly thinks it will as she matches
wits with a wily killer hellbent on revenge.”

Samantha A Cole – Absolving His Sins



Finally!! Carter’s story!! :))) Admittedly, I’m a huge fan of this series and there’s a special place in my heart for Carter.  Needless to say, my expectations for this book were high. Samantha A Cole absolutely delivered and met all expectations.

Once again, the author does an excellent job of balancing the romance and the suspense. I love how the history between the characters had been introduced in crumbs throughout the past couple of books. No need to worry, there is plenty of recap in this book that if you hopped into this series, you would have all the information you needed to enjoy the story.

Carter is the epitome hotness and heartfelt. It was going to take a very special female character to satisfy my criteria for what I thought was his perfect mate. Jordyn filled the bill wonderfully. She’s strong and doesn’t fall at Carter’s feet. She’s careful and aggressive at the same time.

My only negative feeling about the book is the fact that we as readers may never read about another Carter threesome. That is a tragedy!


The book Trident Security fans have been waiting for!

The huntress has become the hunted, in more ways than one. Jordyn Alvarez works for the United States government—a fact no one in authority will admit. She does Uncle Sam’s dirty work. Some might call her an agent, but few know her real title—Assassin.

Trained by one of the best black operatives in the world, she wants nothing more than to add him to the long list of people she has sent straight to hell. But she doesn’t dare get close to him ever again. If she did, she couldn’t be sure her body wouldn’t betray her once more and wind up in bed with him. But with her cover blown, she may not have a choice.

Who is he? He’s a ghost. A man with one name—Carter.

The Trident Security Series:
Book 1 – Leather & Lace (Devon & Kristen)
Book 2 – His Angel (Ian & Angie)
Book 3 – Waiting For Him
Book 3.5 – Not Negotiable: A Novella (Parker & Shelby)
Book 4 – Topping the Alpha (Jake & Nick)
Book 5 – Watching From the Shadows (Marco & Harper)
Book 5.5 – Whiskey Tribute: A Novella (Curt & Dana)
Book 6 – Tickle His Fancy (Brody & Fancy)
Book 7 – Absolving His Sins (Carter & Jordyn)

The books of the Trident Security Series can be read as stand-alones, however, for optimum enjoyment they are best read in order.



Samantha Cole – His Angel

Samantha A. Cole – The Devil’s Spare Change

Samantha Cole – Leather and Lace

Samantha Cole – Not Negotiable

Samantha A. Cole – Take the Money and Run

Samantha Cole – Topping the Alpha

Samantha Cole – Waiting For Him

Samantha Cole – Watching from the Shadows

Samantha A. Cole – Whiskey Tribute

Thank You Arc to Samantha A. Cole!


Dani René – Between Lust & Tears (Backstage Series Book #2)



This is a short book packed with a lot of heat. I’m not usually a fan of short books because I like to have time to get know a character for a while.  This books jumps right in and I couldn’t help but get attached to the characters quickly.

I like how this Rock Star is in his thirties. It makes the story feel more realistic, because he’s reached an age and maturity where he is tamable.

There was suspense element to this book that I wasn’t expecting. It ties in really well to the first book in this series. I love the continuity between the books in this series.

I’m eagerly looking forward to the next in the series.



Irresistible. Bad Boy. Manwhore.

That’s what they call him.
But I know better.

You can’t change someone
who doesn’t want to be changed,
but it didn’t stop me trying.

Can I really be the person
to break down those walls?


Innocent. Sweet. Beautiful.

That’s what she is.
I know her better than she knows herself.

You can’t make someone stay,
but you can show them your truth
and let them choose.

Can I ever be enough for her?
Can I be the man worthy of her heart?

*This story is for mature audiences only. Contains explicit scenes intended for adults 18+




Thank You Arc to Dani René!

Author Bio

Hey darlings,

I am an indie author and freelance graphic designer. I started focusing on writing in January 2015 and after a few fan fiction stories, I decided to publish Ace of Harts it was my first full length novella. On a daily basis I have a few hundred characters, storylines, and ideas floating around in my mind. If I am not on Pinterest or Instagram looking for my next muse, you can find me on Twitter or Facebook. So head on over, I love meeting new readers and authors.

When I am in the cave, I am happiest. If you can’t find me sitting behind my trusty MacBook writing about hot alpha males, I am probably drinking coffee at a coffee shop, or wine tasting one of the few hundred wine farms in my home city of Cape Town, in South Africa.

I have an addiction to reading (who doesn’t?), TV series, music, tattoos, chocolate, and ice cream. I am constantly looking for a new book to get lost in and new book boyfriend to fall in love with. My favorite authors include – M Never, K Webster, KL Kreig, Meghan March, and that’s just to name a few!

Chat soon xo

Author Links





Samantha A. Cole – The Devil’s Spare Change (Malone Brothers – Book 2)



This book reads like a snowball rolling down a mountain. The pace of the book really picks up after the beginning until there’s no way that you can stop reading. (sorry about the winter reference during fall)

The author’s background in law enforcement brings an exceptional level of authenticity to the killer’s madness. I enjoyed how the profiler added a better understanding to the workings of the character.

The banter between the brothers offered up some comedic relief in contrast to the intensity of the murder case.

The romance is uncomplicated and satisfying.  There is a natural feel that compliments the tension of the suspense elements, which leaves the reader interested but not feeling unnerved.


FBI agent Sean Malone put in a transfer to return home to North Carolina in order to be closer to his expanding family. What he didn’t expect was a pleasant surprise from his youth. Little Gracie Whitman is all grown up now and drop-dead gorgeous, and he finds himself thinking about her in ways he’d never done before.

When Grace’s parents retire to Arizona from New York, she decides to follow her dream of opening her own physical therapy center. Whisper, North Carolina, where her aunt lives and where Grace had spent her summers, is the perfect place for it—especially when she finds her childhood crush has returned to Whisper as well.

As the two get to know each other all over again, Sean’s month-long planned vacation is brutally interrupted. A deranged serial killer has settled in Dare County, North Carolina, and after three victims, the local law enforcement is bringing in all the help they can. Are the killings over or have they just begun? And if they continue, who will be the next victim?

The Malone Brothers series can be read as stand alones but they follow a timeline and are best read in order.

Book 1 – Take the Money and Run (KC & Moriah)

Amazon –


Amy Deason – Angel in the Shadows



Great characters and interesting, twisted plot.  I really enjoyed a few of the unexpected plot shifts.  It read like a good action novel without being weighed down by unnecessary extended violent scenes.

Seth is mysterious and good looking.  I could clearly conjure an image of him as if I were watching a crime show.  He is calculating, but yet sensitive.  The extended background on his character made him more likable.

Madison is very strong willed.  I liked how she fought to stay smart even in the worst of moments.

This is a fast paced novel.  I read it quite quickly for 90k word novel.  Based on that alone, I would give it a thumbs up.  The more I like a book, the faster I read.


Never Turn Your Back . . .

Never Reveal Your Name . . .

Never surrender Your Heart . . .

Madison Sinclair is a smart-mouthed photographer who enjoys the simple things in life. Recently landing a job at one of Manhattan’s top imaging companies, she works hard to prove herself but often falls short of the mark. Taking pictures of the New York scenery, relaxing at home with a glass of wine, and caring for her stray cat are the highlights of her day. But when her best friend convinces her into covering a charity event thrown by a handsome billionaire, Madison’s life suddenly becomes anything but simple as she finds herself in a constant race for survival. There is nowhere she can turn, no one she can trust.

Seth Reynolds has been in the game a long time. He knows how to get in, get a job done, and get out with no complications and no witnesses. Trained to be cold and heartless, he is committed to follow through with this mission no matter what. Racing against an impossible time table, everything is in place to take out the madman intent on destroying New York City. But when the naIve Madison Sinclair stumbles into his world, all of his carefully laid plans go to hell.

Determined to do what is right at all costs, Seth must choose between the rules he’s lived by his entire life or saving Madison from a fate worse than death. If he follows orders, he will be an unsung hero, saving millions of innocent people. But if he risks his own life for Madison’s, the entire city will be in jeopardy. The choice should be easy. Risk one to save many. That’s the unbreakable code of The Perfect Order. But now, without even trying, Madison has gotten under his skin and inside his heart. With the fate of the city resting in his hands, how he can do the right thing when he no longer knows what that is?

Thank You Arc to Amy Deason!


Samantha A. Cole – Tickle His Fancy (Trident Security Book 6)



BEST of the Trident Security Series!! Samantha Cole is one of the few authors that gets how to balance Romance and Suspense perfectly.  She keeps the two elements distinct, but gives equal importance to each.  The romantic side is HOT! She also has an extreme talent for writing gritty crime scenes without crossing the lines that make romance readers want to stop reading.

Brody has two fantastic sides: a hard chiseled body and a soft caring side. He’s incredibly patient, too.  I love how he recognizes the difference between making love and passionate sex.

Fancy, short for Francine, is baker.  A girl after my own heart as I love to bake.  I found it easy to relate to her and therefore immediately got sucked into the story.

I really respect how the author incorporated the side characters.  I won’t give away spoilers.  Even though their lines were minimal their roles were significant.  For me, the use of these characters make this my favorite book in the series!

Of course Trident Security Book 7 (CARTER’S STORY) is set to be released in Oct. 2016. YES! Sigh! Drool! Heart Flutter, 😉


All around him, Brody ‘Egghead’ Evans’s Trident Security teammates have fallen in love and gotten their happily ever after. Ironically, they had always thought the charismatic Dominant would be the first one to fall—not the last. While helping his boss’s fiancée find a new bakery for their wedding cake, he finds himself drooling—not over the delicious confections, but the sweet baker who’d created them.

The lone survivor, Francine ‘Fancy’ Maguire’s world was destroyed when her husband and unborn baby perished in a horrific car accident. Three years later, she is finally shedding the dark shroud she was existing under and starting to live once more. When a handsome customer takes an interest in her, he sparks something deep within her that she never expected to feel again. But will she dare to give love another try?

With a killer on the loose and an unknown vandal targeting Fancy’s business, Brody finds plenty of reasons to keep her close. Can he break through the steel barrier she has wrapped around her heart? Or will he lose her before he can convince her to take a second chance on love?


Samantha Cole – Leather and Lace

Samantha Cole – His Angel

Samantha Cole – Waiting For Him

Samantha Cole – Topping the Alpha

Samantha Cole – Watching from the Shadows

Samantha A. Cole – Whiskey Tribute

Thank You Arc to Samantha A. Cole!

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Molly McAdams – Forgiving Lies



This audiobook is read by Sophie Eastlake and Kris Koscheski.  First off, Sophie is phenomenal!  She’s one of the few female artists that can pull off a male voice successfully    (and more importantly without irritating me).  I also liked Kris’s voice.  I think it is a bit ironic that he spells his name with a “K” like the character Kash.

The book starts off with some graphic violence, that I really didn’t like.  I understand the need to create fear and an emotional experience, but I wish romance authors would simply fade to black.

After that incident, I really enjoyed the story between Kash and Rachel.  Their relationship seemed to grow at a perfect rate.

I thought that after the incident that Rachel and her roommate would have more confrontation or at least Rachel would more openly struggle to forgive her.

Beware!  Ends with a Cliffhanger.


Undercover cop Logan ”Kash” Ryan can’t afford a distraction like his new neighbor Rachel Masters, even if she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. And Rachel would rather be a single, crazy cat lady than trust another guy, especially a gorgeous, tattooed bad boy with a Harley, like Kash. But when his liquid-steel eyes meet hers, it takes all of Rachel’s willpower to stop herself from exploring his hot body with her own. As much as they try to keep it platonic, the friction between them sparks an irresistible heat that soon consumes them. Can Kash keep Rachel’s heart and her life safe even as he risks his own? Will she be able to forgive his lies . . . or will she run when she discovers the dangerous truth?

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 8.55.28 AM Molly McAdams!


J.L. Leslie – Finding Dawn



I have an extreme love/hate relationship with this book.  As a stand-alone book, it is a great dark romance with plenty of twists.  However, the dark aspects of this book are not even remotely alluded to in the book blurb, which initially made me react quite negatively to the story.  I truly enjoyed the book that preceded this novel (giving it 5 stars) and described it as a “feel good” book.  Finding Dawn takes on a drastically different tone.  This book is very gritty, including some graphic violence.

If I work hard at trying to parse out my initial negative reactions, I think this is a compelling story.   I liked how a lot of the unexpected twists contrast the overly predictable beginning.  I find that this pacing strategy enhanced the drama.


Moving to California is the best decision I’ve ever made. I no longer work for my ex-fiancé’s father. I’m hundreds of miles away from my ex-fiancé. And I met a woman who completely intrigues me. Dawn. No last name.

Yeah…moving to California was a great idea.

Only I can’t seem to get Dawn out of my head. The way we met. The way she acts. The night we had together. Now she’s just gone.

She bailed on me. But I don’t give up so easily. I’ll find her.

I just wasn’t expecting what I’d find…or who…

**Due to mature language, adult content, drug abuse, and strong sexual content this book is intended for mature audiences only.**

(Finding Dawn is Drew’s story from Let The Waves Come In, but is a stand-alone full length novel. It is not necessary to read Let The Waves Come In prior to reading Finding Dawn.)

See Related Posts:

J.L. Leslie – Let the Waves Come In

Misleading Book Blurbs Lead to Bad Reviews

Thank You Arc to J.L. Leslie!


Abbi Glines – Up in Flames


Good book, but deviates greatly from the standard tone of the series.

I could have enjoyed the book more if this book was part of a spin-off series and not included in the original Rosemary Beach series.  Let me explain.  As stated in other posts, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Rosemary Beach series.  It’s fun and romantic.  But this book takes on a completely different feel.  There’s more suspense.  It’s equally as enjoyable, but in an intriguing way more than a carefree fun way.  Some of the other “mini-series” within the Rosemary Beach Series were given a distinguishing name.  That was fine and great because each mini-series concentrated on a couple of characters.  But in Up in Flames, while the book centers around the character Nan, who showed up in the entire series, the tone of the book was considerably different.

In general, I love to read series.  I get emotionally attached to the characters and feel of the author’s words.  When I open to page one of each individual book, I go in with a particular mindset and expectations.  When the book deviates or fails to meet those expectations, I’m left with a taste of dissatisfaction.  Unfortunately, that’s where I was left after reading Up in Flames.  However, if I had known prior to starting the book that it was going to go in a much darker direction, I would have felt differently.  In fact, I would most definitely have rated the book higher.

See Related

Misleading Book Blurbs Lead to Bad  Reviews

Tessa Bailey – Raw Redemption



Sometimes I worry that my reviews can’t possible convey how exceptional some books are written.  It is much easier to articulate things one doesn’t like about a book.  This is my second Tessa Bailey book.  She has mastered the art of writing explosively hot steamy scenes.  They come often – the scenes, that is. 😉

The book passes muster for being a great suspense, as well.  I’m a huge Law and Order fan, which means I set the bar rather high for legal issues in books.  There are great twists to the plot.  I love it when an author can catch me with unexpected surprises.  More importantly, the twists support the character development and don’t seem out of place.

The balance between romance and suspense is incredibly enticing and makes this a 5 star book.


Loving her might cost him everything…

Disgraced cop Henrik Vance is having a shit year. Banished to a derelict undercover squad, he’s been tasked with hunting down the daughter of Chicago’s most dangerous criminal. His obsession with saving the beautiful girl destroyed his career. And this time, it might cost his life.

Ailish O’Kelly doesn’t need a hero. She’ll save herself from her father’s violent criminal dynasty, thank you very much. Unfortunately, the sexy as sin cop who crashes her hideout isn’t hearing reason—especially not after the kiss that becomes much more.

His boss wants her as an informant. Ailish wants Henrik to keep whispering filthy things against her skin. But she knows too well the evil they’re up against, and when it comes down to protecting the man who owns her body and soul, she only has one choice…

Purchase: Amazon | Paperback | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&NKobo | iBooks




See Related Posts:

Tessa Bailey – Boiling Point (A Crossing the Line Novel)


Raw Redemption

Thank You Arc to Tessa Bailey!



Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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