by Kathleen Costa
& Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens
This week we have a review of the perfect book for beach reading, Beachboy Murders by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens. Sally and Jean also share some memories from Hawaii and a recipe for a Mai Tai. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either print or kindle copies of Beachboy Murders and the first book in the series, Murder on the Aloha Express, and a links to purchase them from Amazon.
Beachboy Murders: Gemma Halliday Publishing Aloha Lagoon Mystery By Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens
Review by Kathleen Costa
Book Your Hawaiian Vacation with Smith & Steffens!
Several popular Gemma Halliday Publishing authors have gathered together to write books in a series with the same tropical setting…Aloha Lagoon Resort nestled on the coast of Kauai. Thirteen books so far from eight authors are entertaining cozy fans with a café waitress by Catherine Bruns, photographer by Dana McCaslin, surfing instructor by Beth Prentice, ukulele virtuoso by Leslie Langtry, hotel manager by Aimee Gilchrist, boutique manager by Anne Marie Stoddard, a left-at-the-altar bride by Mary Jo Burke, and travel agency owner by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, my favorite writing team. Smith & Steffens joined the group in August 2016 with their first book, “Murder on the Aloha Express,” introducing Gabrielle “Gabby” LeClair who left Chicago and an ex-husband behind to open up Gabby’s Island Adventures. Her ‘up and coming’ business is in the resort where she is enjoying the tropics, making new friends, enjoying a maybe-romance with a hunky helicopter pilot, and finding murder has booked an adventure!
There’s trouble in paradise! Visit alohalagoonmysteries.com.
Beachboy Murders earns 5/5 Tropical Troubles…Terrific!
Gabby LeClair is excited to have Janet Belinski, her mentor/friend from Chicago, coming to the resort, and with her she brings an interesting bunch of tourists and some potential buyers of Gabby’s travel agency. Selling? No, not after she’s made a home for herself with friends and a hunky helicopter pilot, but it doesn’t hurt to listen, right? Also arriving at the resort is Val Markson, a hired “plus one” with a dubious reputation. Not a stranger to the Islands, he had lived, worked, loved, and left a few broken hearts in his wake. So, when he is found dead in Gabby’s backyard, whispers turn to accusations, secrets are revealed, motives abound, and suspects are too close to home. Gabby puts on her amateur detective hat to find jealousies, greed, and a bit of personal peril. Another day in paradise!
Excellent! The wait is over! It’s been two years since we first enjoyed Gabby and the Murder on the Aloha Express, which made me an immediate fan of Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens’ work, and this new adventure was well worth the wait. I was thrilled to have the signature clever twist and turns, dead ends and misdirection that made me think I had it figured out, but was hit with a couple of “Oh, Wow-s!” to make it very exciting. Background and character connections are revisited, so no one is left confused, but don’t forget to read the first book…it is a great companion story! The mystery was well organized, realistically unfolding clues, and leading to another exciting island chase with bumps, bruises, and a scare or two concerning who will survive. Gabby is a delightful character easily identified with as she finds comfort in her ‘island girl’ personae embracing the ‘aloha’ way to leave her past hurts behind and embrace her ‘helicopter hunk.’ The other characters are fun, quirky, and all the epitome of family. On the side, I continued to enjoy reminiscing about my own visits to the “Garden Isle” and efforts to be an ‘island girl.” And to make everyone feel the “aloha,” they have added a bit on the “Hawaiian Language—a crash course on how to put together all those syllables.” Mahalo, Sally and Jean!
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This entertaining writing team, part of my Top Ten all-time favorite, also pens the three-book Mystic Isle Mystery series (book four Mystic Deception out in the Fall), and along with joining several Gemma Halliday Publishing authors to pen the two books in this Aloha Lagoon Mystery series, they have penned two books in the Danger Cove Mystery series with their Danger Cove Pet Sitting mysteries. And every one is clever, entertaining, and loaded with few giggles!
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Gemma Halliday Publishing
By Jean Steffens & Sally J. Smith
Jean has fond memories of going to the beach on her Hawaiian honeymoon. The cool feel of the waves splashing against her sun-warmed legs and the wet sand squishing between her toes. When she’s had enough fun in the sun, relaxing under an umbrella watching the waves roll in with a Mai Tai and cheeseburger works wonders. After a delicious meal, a good mystery to read is certainly a great way to finish out a day at the beach. And she just happens to know one to recommend—wink, wink!
How ’bout a tropical drink to sip while you and Gabby LeClair are solving a murder?
Sally has been to Hawaii several times and finds so many things to love about the islands (besides Jean’s divine Mai Tais). The white sand shorelines, no more pristine than the sparkling diamonds of the black sand beaches. The mountain ridges carpeted in cool green velvet that rise above valleys teeming with crops and civilization. The lush tropical vegetation, rich with color, edging dark-water pools and streams fed by cascading waterfalls. The foamy surf, rolling hypnotically on a calm day or pounding the shore with stormy rage when the trades whip into frenzy. The rich legends that tease the imagination. The melodic music lulling you to sleep or setting your hips to swaying. But of all the amazing things about the islands, the most wonderful are the islanders themselves, instilled with the spirt of aloha, that undefinable something, that element of warmth and heart and joy, a generosity and tranquility of the soul. Of course, if we all woke up in paradise every morning, we’d probably be blessed with the spirit of aloha too. Sadly, most of us will never know for certain, but we can always dream of it and visit the islands vicariously on a virtual trip to Aloha Lagoon.
Hawaiian Mai Tai
1/2 c. light rum
1/2 c. dark rum
1/2 c. fresh lime juice
1/2 c. fresh pineapple juice
3 Tbsp. orange curaçao (or Grand Marnier works, too)
3 Tbsp. orgeat syrup (almond syrup with orange or rose flavoring—buy it in the mixer section)
1 oz. simple syrup (clear, also in mixer section)
Crushed or shaved ice (kept in freezer until you’re ready to pour the cocktail over it)
4 slices pineapple, cut into wedges (for garnish)
Fresh mint leaves (hand-bruised for garnish)
Lime wedge (to garnish if it strikes your fancy)
Put all liquid ingredients into a pitcher or cocktail shaker. Shake it up or stir well. Really mix the ingredients. Shaved or crushed ice goes into the highball glasses. Mai tai goes on top of the ice. Really bruise those mint leaves between your fingers and float them on the top of the drink. Hang the pineapple slices on the edge of the glass. The lime wedges are nice too, but the mint leaves and pineapple are key to bringing all the incredible flavors together…Oh, and don’t forget the tiny paper umbrella!
To enter to win either print or kindle copies of Beachboy Murders and the first book in the series, Murder on the Aloha Express, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “aloha,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 30, 2018. U.S. residents only for the print copy. If entering via email please include your mailing address so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. PLEASE STATE IN ENTRY WHETHER YOU WANT PRINT OR KINDLE. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.