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Monday, June 26, 2017

Author Guest Post - Juliette Blackwell

Ms. Blackwell has been a guest of this blog since the beginning.  We are excited to welcome her back to share how she came up with the fascinating setting of her newest book in the series.

On Ideas, Lighthouses, and Strong Women

“Where do you get your ideas?”

This is one of the most common questions a writer is asked, and I wish I had a good
answer.

The truth is, I can’t stop with the ideas. Whether people-watching in parks or on public transportation, from stories in the newspaper or on the radio, or sparked by some overheard bit of conversation or a strange turn of phrase ….no matter what, in the course of my everyday life I see waaaay more ideas than I could ever use in my books.

Case in point: several years ago I noticed a want-ad for a couple interested in running the historic East Brother lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, which had been turned into a rather idiosyncratic bed and breakfast. The ad specifically asked for two people, and at least one had to have a Coast Guard boat piloting license.  Further, they should enjoy “cooking, history, basic maintenance, and hospitality.”

A want-ad for a lighthouse keeper/B&B host? What a great set-up for a novel!  Also…who knew there was a functioning lighthouse in San Francisco Bay?

I spoke to my sister, the historian, who mentioned that many women became lighthouse keepers back in the day. In fact, this was one of the only professions in which women could earn the same money as their male counterparts. Usually the women had been the wives or daughters of the original male keeper, had served as his unofficial assistants, and then inherited the demanding job when the man died or
was incapacitated.

Fascinated, I made my way to Point San Pablo, the
secluded houseboat community that serves as the departure dock for the lighthouse island, and –my notepad always
at the ready-- talked to a few of the residents before climbing aboard the small boat that ferries passengers over to the island to roam the grounds. The island location is gorgeous, of course, and the Victorian lighthouse and residence is stunning. Also, lighthouse keepers kept careful logs – a rich font of information. (Read more about East Brother Lighthouse, and see some great photos, here: http://www.ebls.org/)

This was years ago, mind you, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the charming little lighthouse in the Bay, which most people whiz by on the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge without even noticing. Finally, I found the perfect opportunity to put the locale to use, in my latest Haunted Home Renovation book, A GHOSTLY LIGHT.

Of course, I took a bit of artistic license with East Brother Lighthouse and Point San Pablo, and as I wrote the story began to careen and twist the way all good mysteries
do. But how better to use the setting and history of the East Brother Lighthouse than to create the fictional need for its thorough renovation?

In A GHOSTLY LIGHT, Mel Turner, general contractor extraordinaire, steps in to fix up a dilapidated lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay when her friend, Alicia, gets the
financial backing to transform it into an inn. But Mel’s not only gifted with a hammer; she’s also able to see ghosts. And who’s ever heard of a lighthouse without a resident ghost (or two?) Soon Mel’s trying to figure out how to placate the island’s agitated spirit – a woman lighthouse keeper-- while searching for buried treasure, uncovering the fate of a long-ago missing boy, and exonerating her friend Alicia, who
now stands accused of killing her violent ex-husband.

Just a week in the life of Mel Turner, reluctant ghost-buster.

And now I have a few ideas for the next book…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thank you Ms. Blackwell, always a pleasure to have you visit!  I loved the setting of the lighthouse island for this mystery.  My review will be coming in a few days.



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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

International Bookmark Swap

I found this fascinating website that I want to share with you.  For the many people who love print books, the bookmark is more than a place holder but artistic and a personal expression.  

Now you can swap bookmarks with people around the world.  International Friends of Bookmarks has created a website where you can sign up and give particulars of what sort of bookmarks you are interested in receiving and what kind you have to send (click here).  You can then browse by country and see who is looking for bookmarks that you can send.  

What a fantastic way to reach out and share the love of reading and a sense of community.  It is simple and easy that deserves to be shared.  I hope it spreads and catches on to be a huge success.   


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Review - French Fried

This is the second book in a new series - and the first that I have read.  I had no problem understanding it without reading the debut novel.  The author provided us with a guest post (click here) that goes into the cafe in the series.  Find out what my thoughts are on this new book.

Author: Kylie Logan

Copyright: June 2017 (Berkley) 304 pgs

Series: 2nd in Ethnic Eats Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Laurel Inwood, former personal chef to a Hollywood movie star

Setting: Modern day, Hubbard Ohio

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From book cover "The Statue of Liberty is 130 years old, and for the struggling residents of Hubbard, Ohio, any opportunity to bring in tourists is reason enough for a celebration. Laurel Inwood and her aunt, Sophie, are pitching in. Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks, a former greasy spoon turned charming ethnic eatery, will be offering French cuisine for the entire week.

For expert help with their quiche and escargot, the ladies turn to Raquel “Rocky” Arnaud, a former French chef and friend of Sophie. What looks like a match made in heaven turns rank as quickly as buttermilk on a summer’s day. Rocky turns up dead and when her nightly red wine shows notes of oak, cinnamon, and poison, Laurel turns from soufflĂ© to sleuth."

Laurel is torn between the growing attachment for the town (particularly Declan), and getting back to high profile personal chef jobs.  This is the main aspect of Laurel.  Aunt Sophie, owner of a small cafe, is the closest thing to family that Laurel has left - and she is ever hopeful that Laurel will stay long term.  Declan is the romantic interest and owner of the Irish shop is set on Laurel being his gal. The victim - Raquel - is fascinating and not your typical victim in that she was a pretty cool person.  But she had lived quite a life, and the past came back with a vengeance.

The setting is standard small town, with the exception of Rocky's property, Pacifique, which is idyllic.  The beauty of Rocky's property turns scary since the murder occurred there.

I really like tense and thrilling killer reveals, and this was mild.  It answered all the questions without any harrowing chills.  It worked, but I miss the blood pumping finish.

The mystery aspect was good, I appreciated the motive as not typical. But, since Laurel is keeping just how hard she is looking to leave town and actively seeking personal chef jobs, she is deceptive to her aunt about her activities.  That was a bit cold-hearted as her aunt's hopes are growing that she will stay.  That put a crimp on fully enjoying the character for me.  I enjoyed the victim Rocky and her fascinating life, I even felt sorry for her as personal things are dug up during the investigation.  I liked how the author made the victim more likable, although that made the murder even more emotional - which I felt was a good thing. 

This second entry in the series provided an interesting mystery with a victim you want to provide justice for, mixed with small town characters.  

Ratings: Good - A fun mystery, good beach reading


 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have written and published my first cozy mystery - Iced
(Resort to Murder #1) by Avery Daniels.

What a reviewer said: "The mystery is relentless, the characters alive and funny, and for the lack of a better expression, the novel is a page-turner. A must read for all those who enjoy getting lost in a well-crafted story."  5 Stars Joss Landry

ICED
Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime. 

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice. 

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

Amazon ebook and print (click here)
Barnes and Noble print book (click here)
IndieBound print book (click here)  
Audio book is due shortly, I will include link then.

Oh, and if you have a blog and would like to do a spotlight or a review, just leave me a comment.



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Monday, June 12, 2017

Author Guest Post - Kylie Logan

Kylie Logan visits us today.  You may also know her other pen names  of Casey Daniels, Zoe Daniels and Miranda Bliss.  She writes the Ethnic Eats Mystery series, Chili Cook-Off Series, League of Literary Ladies, Button Box Mystery, and the Pepper Martin mystery series.  Before that she wrote romance novels under different pen names.  

She studied English Literature at Queen's College in Oxford, England (UK).  She married her childhood sweetheart, and they live in a suburb of Cleveland with their two children, and an oversized Airedale named Hoover.

I read somewhere that if you live in the Midwest, there’s no doubt you’ve eaten in a restaurant located in an old railroad station.

I can’t say whether that’s true or not, but I do know that here in northeast Ohio, we have at least two former railway stations that are now restaurants, and something tells me if I searched, I’d find even more.

So what’s the allure? What do people like about old train stations?  I think that all depends on who you ask.

Some people are train buffs and in one of those restaurants
I’ve been to, trains still rattle by just outside the back windows and people stop eating and point and stare. It’s a railroad lover’s dream.

Other people enjoy the thought of the leisurely travel we associate with trains. No muss, no fuss, just sit back and relax. Of course, those same people forget the coal dust and the soot and the bumpety-bump ride!

Then there are people like me who are fascinated with historic buildings, no matter their original purpose. The architecture is always amazing and the craftsmanship is beyond compare.

I suppose those are just some of the reasons Sophie Charnowski in my Ethnic Eats mysteries loves her restaurant, the Terminal at the Tracks, so much. The Terminal is a hometown sort of place with basic, stick-to-your-ribs meals and it’s Sophie’s pride and joy.

The series premiered with “Irish Stewed” and this month, “French Fried” hits the shelves. What’s with the ethnic titles? Well, Laurel Inwood, once a former Hollywood chef, arrives to help out at the Terminal and realizes that the place is going downhill fast. People just aren’t as into fried baloney as they used to be, and Laurel knows she needs to add some excitement to the menu. She introduces a new ethnic food specialty each month.

Of course there’s no way she can know that wonderful food is always going to be served with a side of murder!

In “French Fried,” Rocky Arnaud, a friend of both Sophie and Laurel, dies mysteriously. The cops are sure it’s suicide. Laurel isn’t convinced. Her investigation involves her in the town’s Statue of Liberty celebration, allows her to meet a famous French romance novelist, and pulls her in deeper to the boisterous family of handsome attorney, Declan Fury.

Of course there are a couple recipes in the book, too, including one for a simple cassoulet (a sausage/bean stew) I often serve when company’s coming. Talk about no muss, no fuss! The stew is a hit at the Terminal, too, and easy enough to prepare to keep even the cranky cook, George, happy. Now if only it was as simple to keep murder off the menu!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thank you Ms. Logan for that introduction to your newest novel in the Ethnic Eats mystery series.  We in the Rocky Mountains have an old train depot that is now an Italian restaurant.  


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Monday, June 5, 2017

2017 Edgar & Agatha Awards

Award nominees and winners are great for finding new books to try.  Below you will find finalists for both the Edgar Awards and the Agatha awards.  The winners are noted by a double asterisk.  I have reviewed two of the books here, so those have a link to my review as well.  Happy reading! 



Best Novel

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley **
What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin
The Ex by Alafair Burke 
Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Best First Novel

Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry**
The Lost Girls by Heather Young
Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright
The Drifter by Nicholas Petrie
IQ by Joe Ide
Dodgers by Bill Beverly

Best Paperback Original

Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty**
The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni
Heart of Stone by James W. Ziskin
Come Twilight by Tyler Dilts
Shot in Detroit by Patricia Abbott
A Brilliant Death by Robin Yocum



The Simon & Schuster –Mary Higgins Clark Award

The Shattered Tree by Charles Todd**
Blue Moon by Wendy Corsi Staub
The Other Sister by Dianne Dixon
Quiet Neighbors: A Novel by Catriona McPherson
Say No More: A Jane Ryland Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Best Juvenile

OCDaniel by Wesley King**


Best Young Adult

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse**



Best Novel

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny**
Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross
Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron
Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson

Best First Novel

The Semester of Our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn**
Design for Dying by Renee Patrick
Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettman (click here for review)
Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper
Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon

Best Historical Novel

The Reek of Red Herrings by Catriona McPherson**
Murder in Morningside Heights by Victoria Thompson 
Delivering the Truth by Edith Maxwell 
Get Me to the Grave on Time by D. E. Ireland 
Whispers Beyond the Veil by Jessican Estevao (click here for review)

I found these listings on CriminalElement.com.  
Hopefully this will provide a few new authors or books to your reading list.  Always happy to expand your TBR pile :-)


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Monday, May 29, 2017

Guest Author Post - Kathleen Bridge

Please welcome Kathleen Bridge.  Kathleen, author of the Hamptons Home and Garden mystery, started her writing career working a the Michigan State University news in East Lansing, Michigan. 

She is also the author and photographer of an antiques reference guide, lithographed paper toys, books, and games, and a creative writing instructor at the William Cullen Bryant Library in Roslyn, New York.  Additionally, she is an antiques and vintage dealer in Long Island, New York.

Rare Books for Free

In my third Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery, Ghostal Living, rare books take center stage, which got me thinking about all the “rare” books I’ve found over the years in my local library. In Ghostal Living, a wealthy, rare book collector opens the Bibliophile Bed & Breakfast in Sag Harbor, New York. Each suite in the B & B is named after a famous author. My protagonist, interior designer and fixer-upper Meg Barrett has the lucky chore of filling the suites with books and antiques from the time period the authors were alive—as if they’d just stepped out for a bit of fresh air after a long day of writing.

A few years ago, I spent the weekend in Sag Harbor, picture
taking and soaking up the history and beauty of the historic old whaling village that would be the setting for my next mystery. As soon as I saw the John Jermain Memorial Library, I knew it would be the perfect location for my novel’s first annual Sag Harbor Antiquarian Book and Ephemera Fair. The library was built in 1910 and is a wonderful example of Classical Revival architecture with its pediment and four towering Doric columns, reminiscent of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue—all that’s missing are the stone lions, Patience and Fortitude.

When I first entered the lobby of the John Jermain Memorial Library, I couldn’t help but wonder if Sag Harbor resident John Steinbeck had spent time inside. I could imagine him checking out a volume on King Arthurian legends, one of his favorite subjects. Or perhaps hiding between the stacks of books to read Shakespeare’s, Richard III, the play that gave him the inspiration and name for his novel, The Winter of Our Discontent that he wrote from his little glass hut overlooking Sag Harbor’s Noyac Bay. And I’m sure another Sag Harbor favorite son, James Fenimore Cooper would be proud to know his books are safely stored in the new humidity and temperature controlled archive in the third-floor History Room.

In Ghostal Living there is a Gatsby-style cocktail party to celebrate the opening of the Sag Harbor Antiquarian Book and Ephemera Fair. I used poetic license to say that a portion of the proceeds from the 1920s cocktail party would go to SAIL, an acronym I made up for Save America’s Invaluable Libraries. The name, SAIL, might be fictitious, but please count on me to do anything I can to promote our public libraries where “rare” accessible books are available to everyone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you Ms. Bridge.  I enjoyed your visit and guest post.


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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Review - Study in Scarlet Women

Sherry Thomas is an acclaimed romance author - regularly receiving starred reviews from trade publications. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA® Award.  

It is a supreme challenge to come up with a new angle for a Sherlock novel, let alone pull any new attempt off successfully.  Ms. Thomas has ventured out from the romance genre and devised and brilliant angle - that Sherlock was actually a woman and she used different methods to conceal it, the stories written by sidekick Watson being only one trick.


Author: Sherry Thomas

Copyright: Oct 2016 (Berkley) 336 pgs

Series: 1st in Lady Sherlock Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild - Adult topics discussed

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Charlotte Holmes, disgraced upper class woman who creates the Sherlock Holmes identity

Setting: 1886, Devonshire and London England

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From the cover: "With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind."

Charlotte Holmes is blond, pretty, feminine, and too smart to be accepted easily in society. Olivia is her loving sister who knows her better than any other. Mrs. John Watson, a retired stage actress initially employs Charlotte as a ladies' companion but quickly becomes her sidekick. Lord Ingram Ashburton, a long time friend and first love, is the go-between for "Sherlock" and a police inspector.  Inspector Robert Treadles is a fan of Sherlock and his advice on several cases, but the case of three society deaths makes him want to consult with Sherlock in person.

In 1886 women were still expected to marry and produce children and weren't considered suited for deep thought or much past a simple painting and playing the piano. Into this setting Charlotte hits the scene with a whip sharp intellect, little desire for domesticity, and little regard for societal mores limiting her.  The setting is the era and it's impact that fashions a lovely - even cherubic looking woman - into the legendary Sherlock. 

The plot is mainly the making of Sherlock with a tantalizing murder mystery to show us how Charlotte deducts and leads the police while maintaining her cover as Sherlock.  The murder is clever and likely wouldn't have been uncovered or even suspected as a murder, if it weren't for Charlotte.  The pacing picks up once Charlotte finds Watson, so the beginning sets the stage.

You likely know how I love a suspenseful killer confrontation, but this was a killer reveal that explains the three deaths and the understanding is such a twist that it serves as it's own suspense.  The wrap-up introduces the re-imagined Moriarty that promises more twists on the established Sherlock mythos.  

This story is pure genius.  Charlotte is so counter to the image of Sherlock and yet it works beautifully.  I feel as though Ms. Thomas, to whom English is a second language, was born to write this and it will be her crowning character and series.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Couldn't put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I have written and published my first cozy mystery - Iced (Resort to Murder #1) by Avery Daniels is on pre-sale for a whopping low price of .99. This low price will be for a limited time only.  The official release day is May 31st. 

ICED
Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime. 

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice. 

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

Preorder the kindle edition for .99 (click here.)  
Print book and audio is due shortly, I will include link then.


Oh, and if you have a blog and would like to do a spotlight or a review, just leave me a comment.




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Monday, May 22, 2017

Author Guest Post - Julia Buckley

I reviewed the debut book in this new series, A Dark and Stormy Murder (click here) and just reviewed the newest release, Death in Dark Blue (click here.)  Now we are honored to have the author visit us with a guest post.

Horace Bick, The Grizzly Bear, and The Joy of Old Hardware Stores

Readers who enjoyed my first Writer’s Apprentice mystery, A DARK AND STORMY MURDER, don’t have to wait much longer for the sequel. DEATH IN DARK BLUE debuts on May 2. Since I don’t want to delve too deeply into the storyline and risk spoilers, I thought I’d talk a little more about Blue Lake, the fictional town where all the mystery happens.

Blue Lake is an amalgam of any number of Midwestern small towns I’ve visited, and even Bick’s Hardware has shades of other hardware stores I’ve seen over fifty years. One in particular stands out. It was a wonderful old store in Valparaiso, Indiana—my college town!—and I happened to wander into this place when I was twenty and searching, just before Christmas break, for family Christmas gifts. I had chosen my brother Christopher’s name in the family grab bag, and I wanted to buy him a saw and a flannel shirt (both on his list). So I walked the mile from campus to Valpo’s downtown strip, and I stumbled across an amazing place called Wark’s Hardware. The interior was dim, dusty, wonderfully fragrant of cut wood and mixed paint and varnish. Like Bick’s Hardware, Wark’s had shelves that went all the way to the ceiling, and in fact it had a dizzying effect, giving me a sense of vertigo until I adapted to the sheer volume of stuff on the walls.

It didn’t take me long to realize I loved the place, especially after asking Mr. Wark for some help and finding that although he hadn’t smiled much, he was quite friendly and attentive, and spoke in a scratchy voice that grew on me, too.  I bought a saw from him, and when my family came to pick me up a day later, I insisted that they visit Wark’s Hardware with me just to revel in its wonderful eccentricity.

Wark’s is no longer there, and it’s likely that Mr. Wark is no longer with us, either, but the store lives in my imagination. The great thing about writing is that we can borrow bits and pieces from every memory that we have. We then embellish those memories with our own little decorations. For example, there was no giant grizzly bear at Wark’s Hardware, but I did see a lot of things like that when I visited South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. I decided to borrow this bit of whimsy and place a giant stuffed Grizzly in the porch lobby of Bick’s Hardware, and that Mr. Horace Bick, showing a bit of humor, placed a sign in his clawed hands that said “Bick’s is Best.”

In addition to my love of hardware stores, I am mad for antique shops. My husband and sons do not share this love, and so I am often a lonely wanderer on family vacations, trying to suss out likely-looking places that might hold dusty treasures when all the boys are ever looking for is a good hamburger joint and perhaps a place that sells guitars. Some of my cool antique shop finds have also made it into Bick’s Hardware, but I’m thinking that in a future book I might just let Lena wander into an antique shop and get lost in the wonderful objects that take her to other times and places.

Thanks for reading! Book two is available for pre-order now. Here’s the Amazon link. https://tinyurl.com/ksl6oxc

Oh, and assuming I write about one, what’s a good name for an antique shop? 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thank you Ms. Buckley.  A good name for an antique shop... Aged Memories,  Aged Whispers...Whispered Memories


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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Review - Death in Dark Blue

I reviewed the debut novel, A Dark and Stormy Murder (click here), and was honored to have a guest post by author Ms. Buckley (click here) that shares her love of Gothic books.  I hope you enjoy this look into the second book of this new series that specifically gives homage to the classic Gothic books of Mary Stewart and others like Victoria Holt and Phyllis A Whitney.


Author: Julia Buckley

Copyright: May 2017 (Berkley) 304 pgs

Series: 2nd in Writer's Apprentice Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Lena London, new writing assistant to a best-selling author

Setting: Modern day, Blue Lake Indiana

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From the book cover:  "In the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana, Lena London is settling into her dream job, but someone is making her life a nightmare…

Things are beginning to go right for Lena. She’s got a new job assisting suspense novelist and friend, Camilla Graham. She lives rent-free in Camilla’s beautiful, Gothic house. She even has a handsome new boyfriend, Sam West.

After being under attack by the media and his neighbors, Sam has recently been cleared of suspicion for murder. Journalists and townsfolk alike are remorseful, and one blogger would even like to apologize to him in person. But when she’s found dead behind Sam’s house, Lena must dodge paparazzi as she unravels the many mysteries that threaten to darken the skies of her little town and her new found love with Sam."

The gang from the debut book are back.  Lena is back as Camilla's assistance, Sam is looking for his missing wife Victoria with new clues, Policeman Doug Heller is moving on from Lena, BFF Allison and hubby John make a few appearances, and of course the animals - Lena's cat Lestrade and Camilla's German Sheperds Rochester and Heathcliff.  Belinda Frailey, the research librarian extraordinaire, is the breakout character in this addition to the series. 

Blue Lake in the winter adds a gray and blustery atmosphere to contrast with the Greek Iles search for Victoria. The invasive nature of paparazzi adds to the isolated feeling of the cold.

The plot kept a good clip between the popular blogger's death and the ramping-up sub plot of finding Victoria - who is likely held against her will. 

The two part climax is suspenseful and delivers quite a twist in the second part.  The scope is big and bold with the international search for the missing Victoria.  The wrap up promises that the intensity will continue in the next book.

I enjoyed this novel more than the debut book.  Lena seemed more cohesive and stronger and Sam is emerging from his snarly tendencies as he finds townspeople accepting him.  Ms. Buckley stepped up her game on the plot and it has certainly paid off.  There are many emotions that run deep throughout the story that provides some poignancy.   

Rating:  Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend. 


 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My first cozy mystery ever - Iced (Resort to Murder #1) by Avery Daniels is on pre-sale for a whopping
low price of .99. This low price will be for a limited time only.  The official release day is May 31st. 

ICED
Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime. 

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice. 

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

Preorder the kindle edition (click here.)
Print book is due shortly, I will include link then.

Oh, and if you have a blog and would like to do a spotlight or a review, just leave me a comment.



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Friday, May 19, 2017

Review - Where the Dead Lie

I have been following this series since the sixth book in the series and became an instant fan.  I have even been going back and picking up the first books.  I have reviewed When Falcons Fall (click here), Who Buries the Dead (click here), Why Kings Confess" (click here), "What Darkness Brings" (click here), "When Maidens Mourn" (click here), and "Where Shadows Dance" (click here).  We were also honored to interview C.S. Harris (click here.)  As a side note, I also reviewed a modern thriller, The Archangel Project (click here) by this author under the pen name CS Graham.  Let's see how the series is doing now that we are into the twelfth book.

Author: CS Harris

Copyright: April 2017 (Berkley) 347 pgs

Series: 12th in Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery series

Sensuality:  Serial killer subject matter, children victims

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Detective

Main Characters: Sebastian St. Cyr (Viscount Devlin) a veteran of the Peninsula wars with Napoleon and a nobleman.

Setting: 1813, London England

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From book cover: "London, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he’s never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a fifteen-year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory.

One of London’s many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin’s fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished.

Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world. As he follows a grim trail that leads from the writings of the debauched Marquis de Sade to the city’s most notorious brothels, he comes to a horrifying realization: someone from society’s upper echelon is preying upon the city’s most vulnerable. And though dark, powerful forces are moving against him, Sebastian will risk his reputation and his life to keep more innocents from harm..."

We have Sebastian and new wife Hero front and center again.  But Hero is dealing with emotional upheaval with her seriously ill mother and can't assist in the investigation. Sebastian, newly a father, takes this case particularly personal as his heart breaks for these unfortunate street children meeting evil ends. Sebastian faces emotional issues with his father too.  

Gibson, Sebastian's dear friend who essentially performs the duties of a medical examiner, joins the cast again still fighting his personal demons.  Hero's father Jarvis is somehow involved - even if it's the possibility that he could know the killer's identity but doesn't divulge it for his own manipulations, which causes tension to build even further with Sebastian.  They seem to be building to an explosive show-down at some point.  Tom is especially at risk because he fits the profile of the abducted children and Sebastian tries to keep him safely at home, which Tom takes offence to being excluded.  Homeless former soldier Rory Inchbald and street kid Toby Dancing are just a few of the many sad people Sebastian interviews.  Then there are the people who try to aid the street children Reverend Filby and Icarus Cantrell.  Cantrell, aka The Professor, is considered a fence for stolen items and is the breakout character in this novel.

The subject matter is a bit darker than the usual with many atmospheric touches to ratchet the tension rather than dwell on details of the killings.  Abandoned factories, back alleys, brothels that cater to more sadistic tastes, and so forth are the myriad of settings.  

The plot exposes the calloused side of society towards the defenseless without being preachy. I do have to say that the multiple visits to the same suspects seemed (IMHO) to slow the action a bit.  The climax was filled with tension and danger, a real nail-biter.  This particular story leaves the reader with a threat close to Sebastian's family that will no doubt be carried into the next book.  

This addition to the series is a little darker than prior books in the series.  But I didn't feel it was gruesome rather enough to get a sense of the torture done.  That said, because the victims are children I am giving a trigger warning.  This book in the series shows considerable emotional changes for both Sebastian and Hero, a seemingly impossible to solve serial killer, and dark brooding settings.  I feel it is a well crafted story although rather somber.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My first cozy mystery ever Iced (Resort to Murder #1) by Avery Daniels is on pre-sale for a whopping low price of .99. This low price will be for a limited time only.  The official release day is May 31st. 

ICED


Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime. 

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who knows what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice. 

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

Preorder the kindle edition (click here.)
Print book is due shortly, I will include link then.

Oh, and if you have a blog and would like to do a spotlight or a review, just leave me a comment.


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spotlight - Iced

My first cozy mystery ever Iced (Resort to Murder #1) by Avery Daniels is on pre-sale for a whopping low price of .99.  This low price will be for a limited time only.  The official release day is May 31st.  Recognize the pen name?  I had done a poll asking for which of several names you guys liked, and Avery Daniels won.

ICED

Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime. 

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who know what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice. 

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

Preorder the kindle edition (click here.)
Print book is due shortly, I will include link then.
The audio book is in the pipeline and I will keep you posted on that.

I am just over the moon with getting this book done and published.  I will have some swag for a giveaway in the next few weeks.

Oh, and if you have a blog and would like to do a spotlight or a review, just leave me a comment.


Bookmark and Share

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