Sunday, April 11, 2021

#Spotlight and #Recipe: The Hasidic Rebbe's Son by Joan Lipinsky Cochran #cozymysteries

Cozy Mystery

2nd in Series

Setting - Florida

Perricot Publishing (March 30, 2021)

Number of Pages - 318 pages

Digital - ASIN : B08ZVF86VF


Boca Raton reporter Becks Ruchinsky is stunned when her son, Gabe, brings an ultra-Orthodox friend home from college and asks her to hide him. Six days later, his body is found floating in a canal. When police deem his death an accident, Becks launches her own inquiry—a journey that takes her from secretive Hasidic enclaves to the seedy underbelly of South Beach’s glitzy club scene—to find his killer. What she discovers jeopardizes her son’s life and challenges her religious conviction.

The Hasidic Rebbe’s Son is an intriguing and compulsively readable mystery that contrasts the beauty of Hasidic tradition with the unbending rules that may lead to desperation and murder.

Review: Coming soon. 

Recipe from the book:

Becks Ruchinsky loves cooking almost as much as she enjoys poking her nose in other people’s business. She should know better, especially since her curiosity often draws her into murder investigations. Fortunately, Becks’ background as an investigative reporter provided her with the skills and connections she needs when looking into a suspicious death. In The Hasidic Rebbe’s Son, for example, a newspaper colleague-turned- private eye and, oddly enough, an elderly ultra-Orthodox yenta, helped Becks uncover the secrets that led to a Hasidic young man’s murder.  Becks has been a food writer and cookbook author since her son’s disability forced her to abandon her newspaper career and is now working on a collection of Southern desert recipes, most of them handed down by her Savannah-born mother. Here’s a recipe for Haggard Cake, one of Becks’ sons favorites. Despite the rather dismal name, it’s delicious and pretty easy to make. Enjoy! You can sign up for my mailing list to receive a free collection of Jewish recipes entitled “Homemade Jewish Cooking.”


Haggard Cake

By Becks Ruchinsky

Even though I was raised in Miami, I grew up under the influence of a Southern cook, my mother, who was raised in Savannah, Georgia. On special occasions like birthdays and school graduations, she’d go all out, making sweet tea, fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Dessert was almost always Haggard Cake. I rarely make it anymore – I struggle with my weight – but like to have it waiting when the boys visit. It’s classic Southern cooking in the sense that it includes coconut, pineapple and pecans. One of the best parts of making this cake is the easy icing. You cook a few ingredients on the stove for three minutes and pour that over the warm cake. Perfect for the lazy and time-pressed cook. And trust me, as weird as this recipe appears to be – no butter or eggs in the batter – it works.


Haggard Cake



2 cups of flour

1½ cups of sugar

2 teaspoons of baking soda

Dash of salt

20 ounce can of crushed pineapple, undrained

1.       Preheat oven 20 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 inch pan.

2.       Pour everything into a large bowl and mix well with a spoon. Pour into the pan and bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick or knife placed in the cake comes out clean. Leave in pan.


1 small can of evaporated milk

1 stick of butter or margarine

1½ cups sugar

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

Dash of salt


1.       While the cake is baking, melt the butter and milk in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, stirring constantly.

2.    2.  Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and stir to combine. Beat for two minutes in the saucepan with an immersion blender or hand-held mixer. A whisk is probably fine.  Add the vanilla, salt, coconut and chopped pecans.

3.       Pour over the cake while both are warm, and let the cake sit a few hours to absorb the liquid. 

About the author:

Joan Lipinsky Cochran is a South Florida-based writer whose crime and mystery novels focus on subcultures of American Judaism. In her latest novel, The Hasidic Rebbe’s Son, her protagonist is compelled to explore the glitzy South Beach nightclub scene and the secretive world of Hasidic Judaism to find a killer. It is the second in The Becks Ruchinsky Mystery Series. The first, The Yiddish Gangster’s Daughter, is the story of a woman whose world is upended – and life threatened – when she discovers her father was a member of the Jewish mafia.



Purchase Link - Amazon



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Book Reviewers Wanted!

I am looking for book reviewers for several clients I represent. If you love to read books, review, and can post to at least Goodreads and Amazon; then I am looking for you!  I have children's books, pulp fiction/horror, and YA available.

Contact me at or tweet message me @mmhudson1968

Thank you in advance.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Haunted Hibiscus (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs #spotlight #Giveaway


Haunted Hibiscus (A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

About Haunted Hibiscus

Cozy Mystery 22nd in Series

Publisher: Berkley (March 2, 2021)

Hardcover: 336 pages

Tea maven Theodosia Browning brews up trouble in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.


It is the week before Halloween and Theodosia Browning, proprietor of the Indigo Tea Shop, and her tea sommelier, Drayton, are ghosting through the dusk of a cool Charleston evening on their way to the old Bouchard Mansion. Known as the Gray Ghost, this dilapidated place was recently bequeathed to the Heritage Society, and tonight heralds the grand opening of their literary and historical themed haunted house.


Though Timothy Neville, the patriarch of the Heritage Society, is not thrilled with the fund-raising idea, it is the perfect venue for his grandniece, Willow French, to sign copies of her new book, Carolina Crimes & Creepers.


But amid a parade of characters dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, Lady Macbeth, and the Headless Horseman, Willow's body is suddenly tossed from the third-floor tower room and left to dangle at the end of a rope. Police come screaming in and Theodosia's boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, is sent to Willow's apartment to investigate. But minutes later, he is shot and wounded by a shadowy intruder.


Timothy begs Theodosia to investigate, and shaken by Riley's assault, she readily agrees. Now, she questions members of the Heritage Society and a man who claims the mansion is rightfully his, as well as Willow's book publisher and her fiancé, all while hosting a Sherlock Holmes tea and catering several others.


But the Gray Ghost holds many secrets, as do several other key suspects, while this murder mystery plays out on the eve of Halloween.




About Laura Childs

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links: Website – 
Purchase Links Amazon B&N



Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Desire Factor by Christy Whitman #review #giveaway #selfhelp


Desire Factor by Christy Whitman

Publisher:  Beyond Words Publishing (April 21, 2021)

Category: Self-help, Motivational, Creativity, Inspirational, Non-Fiction

ISBN: 978-1582707594

208 pages

The Desire Factor

About the book:

There is no limit to the amount of happiness that we, as human beings, can experience. There is no limit to how much love, laughter, excitement, or satisfaction we can feel. This universe is unendingly abundant, which means that it has the ability to yield to us whatever experiences we desire. Why, then, do some people manifest their desires so fluidly and naturally, while others are living lives of struggle, mediocrity, or quiet desperation?

Hard work alone does not guarantee a positive result.  In fact, pushing forward with determination and effort when things are not going as planned usually only makes a bad situation worse. 

My review:

I have read The Secret  and other books about manifesting your own desires. If you would like to learn about manifesting and could use a step by step guide, then this is the book for you. This book builds on those other books but also supports them.

The book is based on seven prime principles which are:

  • The Principle of Alignment
  • The Principle of Focus
  • The Principle of Joyful Expectancy
  • The Principle of Having
  • The Principle of Loving
  • The Principle of Surrender
  • The Principle of Action
Each principle is built on top of one another to gain maximum manifestation. The author uses her own life stories to engage the reader in each principle. I was fascinated and (humored) when she wrote about desiring a particular high-end handbag. Again, she wrote step by step, simple language, and guided this reader how to make that happen.

The truth of the matter is, it isn't rocket science!
If you want something as small as a purse or as big as a house, you can have it but you have to do a little work, the first is desiring it. Then make it happen.

Terrific book. 4 stars.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle

About Christy WhitmanThe Desire Factor by Christy Whitman

Christy Whitman is a Transformational Leader, Celebrity Coach and Law of Attraction expert, as well as the two-time New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Having It All and Taming Your Alpha Bitch. She is also the author of the international bestseller Quantum Success. Her forthcoming book The Desire Factor will be released April 21, 2021.

Christy has appeared on the news, The Today Show, The Morning Show, Ted X, and The Hallmark Channel and her work has been featured in the media in various publications. She’s been featured in Goalcast, People Magazine, Seventeen, Woman’s Day, Hollywood Life, and Teen Vogue, to name a few.

Christy is the CEO and founder of the Quantum Success Learning Academy & Quantum Success Coaching Academy, a 10-month Law of Attraction coaching certification program. Christy has helped certify over 3,000 life coaches and has helped countless others to unlock their power to manifest. She lives in Scottsdale with her husband Frederic and her two boys Alex and Maxim.

Websites: and

Amazon Book to be released in  April 2021


This giveaway is for 1 print copy each for 3 winners and is open to Canada and the U.S. only.  This giveaway ends on April 29, 2021 at midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Friday, February 19, 2021

Battle of the Bullies by Fenyx Blue #review #yalit #yabooks #youngadultfiction #yafiction #giveaway


Book Details:

Book Title:  Battle of the Bullies by Fenyx Blue
CategoryYA Fiction (Ages 13-17),  301 pages
Genre:  Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
PublisherWisdom Works, LLC.
Release date:   October 29, 2020
Content Rating:  G. There are not any explicit sex scenes or any excessive use of bad language

Book Description:

Ebony, Eris, and Emani Robertson have been through so much more than most high school freshman. When they were younger, they survived a school shooting that killed their friends and left their oldest sister unable to speak. After giving home-schooling a try, they enroll in a promising new academy, hoping for the best. The Robertsons soon discover, however, that their new classmates are anything but kind. A mysterious group of bullies known as the Dimes rules the hallways and spreads fear everywhere they go. All three sisters end up being targets of the gang and have to find a way to defend themselves. The triplets couldn't be more different, but their loyalty to each other and to their school never fails. Along with a diverse group of friends, the Robertsons do everything they can to uncover their identity of the Dimes and restore order to the school. As if their lives weren't complicated enough, they also get sucked in to a much bigger game-discovering who was responsible for the attack on their old school. Can they bring down the Dimes and bring the murderer to justice, all while trying to make it through ninth grade? 

My Review:

Since I was someone who got bullied in Elementary school, this book resonated with me. The tale told here is a high school drama about three sisters who are the main characters but others in the school who are also being bullied. As you read, you find out just who is being not only bullied but threatened even with their life. The reader will find it somewhat surprising.

I did not know that this book was part of a trilogy when I first began reading it. In fact, it is the  second book but, there is enough pre-information written that it becomes a stand alone book. There is a prologue in the beginning which intrigued this reader and did help set up the book. That was a cool beginning.

The main part of the book set up the mysteries Dimes and the murderer mentioned in the "about" section. It was a back and forth which kept the book interesting enough to keep going. Some of the scenario were far fetched but the characters that belonged to them were also interesting.

There was also an "afterwards" in the back. I did not think it was necessary per se, but it did help to know what happened to all of the characters and gave a taste of what book three will be like.

Just a note: I liked the cover on this book. However, it did not give any indication of what was inside the book, other than the title itself. If the author in the future changes the book cover, I think I would like to see all three of the triplets on the cover and maybe even some minor characters in the background. Also, found a couple of typos but that was not that big of deal for me.

Overall, a terrific read 4 stars!

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book (and a blue feather-awesome) from the author. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle

Buy the Book
add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

BLUE: Bold, Loving, Unapologetic, and Evolving are words to describe Fenyx Blue. Ms. Blue is an author, Youtuber (FENYX BLUE INK), speaker, ministry leader, mentor, instructional coach and her school district’s former “Those Who Excel” Teacher of the Year. Ms. Blue is a soldier in the Blue Fenyx movement encouraging every phoenix in the world to rise up. Blue’s mission is to inspire, motivate and educate. Blue speaks to audiences about their purpose and power and works to coach other authors through their journey to become published. Her novels are tools for teachers while being candy for students. Fenyx Blue has penned four books in her poetic collection in which she shares true life tales and lessons: Her first Young Adult novel entitled Who Failed Johnny? (Book 1 of The Triplet Trilogy), second YA novel Battle of the Bullies, a Children’s book called Worth the Weight: A Rare Gem, and a Poetry Book by the name of The Blue Ink Movement. With the help of her extended family and friends network, her self-published books will touch many lives this year.

connect with the author:  website ~ facebook 


Enter the Giveaway:

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Monday, February 8, 2021

It's Me by Jeff Kubiak #review #giveaway #middlegrade #multicultural #kindness #diversity


Book Details:

Book Title:  It's Me by Jeff Kubiak
CategoryMiddle-Grade Non-Fiction (Ages 8-12),  57 pages
GenreChildren's/Middle Grade, Non-fiction, own voices
PublisherEduMatch Publishing
Release date:   November 14, 2020
Content Rating:  PG. Although the book reads like a graphic novel, it does contain topics dealing with racism and other social issues.

Book Description:

It's Me is dedicated to every person who has ever felt less about who they are or want to be because of someone else’s opinion, feelings, or prejudice. Let's ditch the prejudiced labeling, and embrace our Human Race for the diversity, inclusivity, equity, and individuality we all deserve.

My Review:

As someone who is "different" in the "normal" society, I am able to resonate with this book quite well.

The book attempts to remove labels projected on different people throughout the book, unfortunately to do that, the labels have to be seen in order to remove them. 

Each page is about a real person who is still struggling to find their place in society. Most all of the colorful photos have names changed to protect them but still their feelings are heard through each individual's own words. In any case, the reader clearly is able to see the adults and children and the labeling that has been thrust upon them. Each persons words are then ended by the words, "It's Me" thus the title of the book.

I do want to mention that there are several topics addressed in this book that often we as society will quarrel about. I think that the book opens opportunity for conversations that are not only on point in today's world, but an opportunity to show kindness.

I liked what the author was trying to do and I do think it works to an extent. At least the point of the book is that even with struggles, each person depicted might just be like you and to give them a chance.

This book is not aimed at children younger than eight and it is understandable why. However, with the resources included in the back, which are several, including a glossary, parents can still talk to the younger set and begin to instill those conversations that I mentioned above.

Terrific book that I think should be included in all homeschool and classroom settings.

5 stars

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book from the author. The review presented here is 100% my own opinions that may differ from yours. ~Michelle

Buy the Book

Meet the Author:

Jeff loves children's literature , “One Drop of Kindness” is Jeff's first published children's book. It's Me reads like a fun graphic novel, but it is entirely non fiction. Every character in the book is a real student, or educator. It is so important for us to give access, equity, inclusion, and compassion to all those we meet. "Seeing" each other and embracing our differences are jewels to life! Jeff taught for ten years as an elementary school teacher in grades 4, 5, and 6 and has seven years of administrative experience. He's always looked at education from a different lens: from someone who hated and struggled with school. Jeff vows to always do his best to help increase opportunities for all students to feel heard, noticed, celebrated, challenged and safe. Jeff works hard to push back against the old model of “Industrialized Education” and fight compliance. There is not a day that goes by that he is not looking ahead to improve teacher pedagogy, student engagement and digital access for all. Being a former world class swimmer and coach and looks at education from perspectives that others don’t. Jeff knows what it takes to fail, struggle, win and go through the daily challenges that we all face. 

connect with author:  website ~ facebook  ~ goodreads

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