Monday, August 6, 2012

Bruja Brouhaha by Rochelle Staab (Review, Guest Blog, and Book Giveaway!)

Cozy Paranormal Mystery


Berkley Prime Crime Mystery

Release Date:
August 7, 2012 (Yes, tomorrow!)

Psychologist Liz Cooper believes in science and facts. Occult professor Nick Garfield believes in the supernatural. They couldn’t be more opposite, but the old saying is that opposites attract and that’s certainly the case with these two. However, when tragedy strikes a family friend, their beliefs quickly clash.

Lucia Rojas, a Santeria priestess, is devastated by the loss and in a moment of seeking justice – she puts an evil hex on the entire community. She blames all of them for the tragedy and the crime that has taken over the town she loves so much. When accidents begin to happen to the locals and one local citizen mysteriously disappears, Lucia is called bruja – the Spanish term for witch – and now Lucia finds herself in danger.

Liz and Nick adore Lucia and vow to protect her from the town’s viciousness and her own declining health. Nick wants to stop the hex, while Liz wants to look for a more practical explanation. Together, they pray they can find answers and maybe even a little romance along the way.

This is the second book in Rochelle Staab’s “A Mind for Murder Mystery”. I reviewed the first one Who Do, Voodoo? and I absolutely loved it. This one is no different. In fact, if possible, I loved this one even more. Probably because I was more familiar with the characters. Liz and Nick are so good together.

The story moves at a fast-pace and has everything you’d want in a cozy mystery – great characters, a quaint small town, a baffling mystery and even some romance thrown into the mix. I devoured this book over the weekend and am anxiously awaiting for book #3. Rochelle Staab is proving she isn’t a one-book wonder, she’s the real deal!

The book will be released tomorrow! Plus, scroll down for a chance to win this fun book!

5 out of 5 kitties!

FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Guest Blog Post with Rochelle Staab

Yvonne, thank you so much for inviting me to Socrates today—I’m thrilled to be back! Since this is the eve of the BRUJA BROUHAHA release, I’d like to share a little behind-the-scenes on the evolution of the plot.

Story develops from character, and one of my favorite tasks is creating backstory for the major and secondary characters in my novels. I write each history with free-flow abandon, rarely knowing how a character’s background will affect the story. An enlightening experience where bad guys can end up as misunderstood good guys, and good guys might reveal themselves as dark-hearted criminals in disguise. Their profiles provide wonderful plot ideas and surprises.

Originally, when I selected an occult theme for the Mind For Murder series, I gave my main character—psychologist Liz Cooper—a strong opposition to the supernatural. As I developed her profile, I wanted to give Liz a reason to shun superstition and magical thinking that extended beyond an educated, purely scientific viewpoint. I decided she would grow up in a home where her mother’s superstitions kept shoes off the table to avoid fights, daily tarot reads predicted the future, and Mercury Retrograde dictated the timing of family vacations. Instead of being an entertaining pastime, her mother’s supernatural beliefs created an embarrassing annoyance during Liz’s childhood. Voila!—a core source for Liz’s adult disbelief.

Liz’s mother, Vivian Gordon, made her entrance in the opening chapter of my first novel, WHO DO, VOODOO? Viv’s unrelenting belief in the supernatural combined with a narcissistic personality made Vivian the most polarizing and commented on character in the book. Love her or hate her, Viv created an impression.

In Vivian’s character profile, the years before she started a family with sensible and stable Walter Cooper opened another avenue for me to explore. Viv spent her late teens as a Cherry Twist, the go-go dance troupe on Hollywood Hop, a local Los Angeles variety TV show. I envisioned teen Viv on a pedestal shaking her tail feather in a fringed mini-skirt and white vinyl go-go boots while Tommy James sang “Hanky Panky” into the microphone or the Lovin’ Spoonful lip-synced “Do You Believe In Magic” onstage. Once I recognized Viv’s need to be in the spotlight, I knew she’d be fun character to write.

The dancers in the Cherry Twists actually seeded the idea for the plot of BRUJA BROUHAHA. I wondered: What if the Cherries remained close friends after they left their wild past behind, then matured into respected citizens? What if the respectable adult Cherries banded to host fundraisers for worthy causes? And what if the organization benefitting from an upcoming Cherry Twist fundraiser became shrouded in mystery?

And so evolved BRUJA BROUHAHA, a story set near historic MacArthur Park in Westlake, the multi-cultural Los Angeles community with a strong Santeria (Cuban voodoo) presence. Liz Cooper accepts a part-time position at Park Clinic, the medical facility operated by her mentor Dr. Carmen Perez. Carmen is the Cherry Twist who used Hollywood Hop earnings to help pay her way through medical school. Now in her sixties, Carmen’s dedication to the local community inspired the Cherries to host a dinner-dance to raise funds for new plumbing and showers at Park Clinic. Ten days before the fundraiser, Liz and new beau/occult expert Nick Garfield attend a dinner with Carmen and her partner at the home of Paco and Lucia Rojas, elderly owners of the Santeria botanica across the street from the clinic. The result? All hell breaks loose.

Now that you have a peek into the history, I hope you enjoy the mystery!

Author Bio

Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning Top 40 radio programmer and Warner Bros. Records advertising and marketing executive, blends her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in her award-nominated, bestselling Mind for Murder Mystery series. BRUJA BROUHAHA, her second novel featuring psychologist Liz Cooper and professor Nick Garfield, will be released on Tuesday, August 7.

Rochelle Staab's website
Rochelle's Facebook
Rochelle's Twitter
Rochelle's Goodreads

BRUJA BROUHAHA—Mind For Murder Mystery #2

Amazon link 
Barnes & Noble link 
IndieBound link
Books-A-Million link

Book Giveaway!

And now...thanks to Berkley and Rochelle - I can offer one book to one lucky reader in a book giveaway.

Here are a few simple rules!

1) U.S. Residents Only!

2) Fill out the form below with a valid email address.

3) For an extra entry, leave a comment for Rochelle here.

4) For an extra entry, please follow this blog (please let me know how you follow - older followers are fine, too!)

5) For an extra two entries, post this giveaway on your blog.

That's it...the giveaway begins on Monday, August 6th (midnight est time) and ends on Monday, August 13th.

A winner will be chosen using Rafflecopter. I will send an email to the winner, who must respond within 3 days or a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For reading challenge:

A to Z Reading Challenge


  1. I so enjoyed WHO DO, VOODOO? Your characters are supurb! I'm looking forward to the deveopment of the Liz/Nick romance, and Viv is a hoot. I hope this is a long series!

  2. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find the first book in this series. Neither of the local libraries (Brooklyn, Queens County) have seen fit to order copies for circulation.

    I do love the Paranormal Cozy genre very much and would love to win this book so that I can enjoy it, and share it with my kids.

    1. Have you tried Interlibrary loan? I have found some books that way.

  3. I've read great comments on GR re this series. Would love to win.

  4. I would enjoy winning this book. What a fun series. Thank you for the chance.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

  5. This sounds like my next series to read....looking forward to it.

  6. My computer closed the part on Rafflecopter as I was typing! I follow with GFC as Carol N Wong and with e-mail as CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com.

    I would love to win and read this book, I love cozies so much!!!


  7. 5 kitties :D Another cozy that I want to read

  8. Hey Rochelle, loved reading your comments and hearing from an author. Your book sounds great, and I am anxious to read it. Thanks!

  9. These paranormal cozies are new to me---I didn't think I'd like them, but I just fell in love with Who Do VooDoo---now I want to try more of this subgenre.

  10. Thank you, everyone! So happy you stopped by to comment. I have so much fun writing Liz and Nick, I feel like I've known them forever. And Viv is just one of those characters who has no problem stirring things up.

    There's at least one more novel in the series after BRUJA BROUHAHA, and I have some entertaining ideas for a fourth. Great feedback like this keeps me going :)

  11. Love the intrerview. I love learning how an author gets ideas for a book and series.

  12. I love how you develop your characters.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  13. This does sound like a fun series!

  14. Nancy, Lag, and Naida, thank you so much for your lovely comments!

    I hope you enjoy BRUJA BROUHAHA.

  15. Love the cover of the book. Can't wait to read it.


  16. Both my Mother and I loved the first book...can't wait to get my hands on this one.

  17. Yvonne, I had so much fun being here with you and your readers today. Thank you from my heart for welcoming me and BRUJA BROUHAHA. A perfect way to launch its release. *Happy Reading!*
    ~ Rochelle

    1. Thank you so much for joining us...Socrates thanks you too :)

      Good luck today!!!

  18. I have a copy of Who Do Voodoo that I will be reading soon and would I love to win a copy of BRUJA BROUHAHA. Thanks for the chance to win!

  19. I loved Who Do Voodoo! Really enjoyed Ms. Staab's guest post, I enjoy cozies with good character development.

  20. I have both on my wishlist, and if I don't get them for my birthday, I'm going to just go buy them - tired of waiting. Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. Looks like a good read. I have Who Do Voodoo on my endless TBR and need to add this one.

  22. This sounds great! Have definitely added to my TBR list! Looking forward to reading this entire series. Thanks for the opportunity to win!


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