Sunday, April 19, 2015

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: A Fright To The Death



A Fright to the Death (A Family Fortune Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (April 7, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0425264485
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK3WG
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Synopsis
From the author of Be Careful What You Witch For, here is the newest Family Fortune Mystery, starring former cop Clyde Fortune, who—snowbound with her kooky family in a creepy castle—is climbing the walls and combing the halls, looking for a cold-blooded killer…
After their flight to Mexico is cancelled, Clyde and her detective boyfriend, Mac, end up snowed in with their families at a supposedly haunted hotel. Clyde’s tarot card reading mother, Rose, is making dire predictions for the weekend, and self-proclaimed pet psychic Aunt Vi is enchanted by the legend of the hotel’s ghost—until the power goes out and a body turns up.
With a hotel full of stranded suspects, Clyde will have to draw on all her skills—both the police ones she’d rather forget and the psychic ones she’d rather ignore—to solve the bone-chilling mystery before someone else gets iced…

Review: I discovered this series last year and I'm glad I did. This is another one the paranormal cozy series that I love.

I've mentioned that for the most part I'm burned out on most things paranormal, except when the relate to cozy mysteries.

This book is a little different from the last one as it is set at a haunted hotel! Such Fun!

I also loved that this is a "snowbound book," which was fun to read as we are bidding goodbye to that nasty kind of weather.

I love Clyde and Mac and their families. I also love that there's not a love triangle involved here, as that seems to be an "In" thing with cozy mysteries.

Can't wait for the next book.

Review: 5 flowers
headshot dawn eastmanAbout This Author
When I was ten years old, my two favorite things were climbing trees and reading. As a bonus, I discovered if I combined the two, I could hide from my mother when she wanted me to clean my room. Nancy Drew and I spent many afternoons solving crimes and avoiding chores. Eventually, I moved on to Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and Stephanie Plum. I improved my housework-dodging ploys.
After many years in Michigan, I now live in Iowa with my husband, son and daughter. When I’m not writing or chauffeuring kids, I keep busy catering to the whims of a bossy bichon-shih tzu mix who wants to rule the world.
Author Links:
Twitter – @DawnAEastman
Purchase Links
Amazon     B&N      Book Depository     Kobo     Google Play

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
April 6 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – Review, Giveaway
April 7 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview
April 8 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
April 9 – Musings and Ramblings – Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
April 10 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf; – Review, Giveaway
April 11 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
April 12 – Girl Lost In a Book – Review, Giveaway
April 13 – Book-n-Kisses – Review, Giveaway
April 14 – Griperang’s Bookmarks – Review, Giveaway
April 15 – deal sharing aunt – Review, Interview, Giveaway
April 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Guest Post
April 17 – fuonlyknew – Review, Giveaway
April 18 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview
April 19 – A Chick Who Reads – Review

Saturday, April 18, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Hurricane Sisters

The Hurricane Sisters PBAbout The Hurricane Sisters

 Paperback: 352 pages
 Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 7, 2015)


Hurricane season begins early and rumbles all summer long, well into September. Often people's lives reflect the weather and The Hurricane Sisters is just such a story.

Once again Dorothea Benton Frank takes us deep into the heart of her magical South Carolina Lowcountry on a tumultuous journey filled with longings, disappointments, and, finally, a road toward happiness that is hard earned. There we meet three generations of women buried in secrets. The determined matriarch, Maisie Pringle, at eighty, is a force to be reckoned with because she will have the final word on everything, especially when she's dead wrong. Her daughter, Liz, is caught up in the classic maelstrom of being middle-age and in an emotionally demanding career that will eventually open all their eyes to a terrible truth. And Liz's beautiful twenty-something daughter, Ashley, whose dreamy ambitions of her unlikely future keeps them all at odds.

Luckily for Ashley, her wonderful older brother, Ivy, is her fierce champion but he can only do so much from San Francisco where he resides with his partner. And Mary Beth, her dearest friend, tries to have her back but even she can't talk headstrong Ashley out of a relationship with an ambitious politician who seems slightly too old for her.

Actually, Ashley and Mary Beth have yet to launch themselves into solvency. Their prospects seem bleak. So while they wait for the world to discover them and deliver them from a ramen-based existence, they placate themselves with a hare-brained scheme to make money but one that threatens to land them in huge trouble with the authorities.

So where is Clayton, Liz's husband? He seems more distracted than usual. Ashley desperately needs her father's love and attention but what kind of a parent can he be to Ashley with one foot in Manhattan and the other one planted in indiscretion? And Liz, who's an expert in the field of troubled domestic life, refuses to acknowledge Ashley's precarious situation. Who's in charge of this family? The wake-up call is about to arrive.

The Lowcountry has endured its share of war and bloodshed like the rest of the South, but this storm season we watch Maisie, Liz, Ashley, and Mary Beth deal with challenges that demand they face the truth about themselves. After a terrible confrontation they are forced to rise to forgiveness, but can they establish a new order for the future of them all?

Frank, with her hallmark scintillating wit and crisp insight, captures how a complex family of disparate characters and their close friends can overcome anything through the power of love and reconciliation. This is the often hilarious, sometimes sobering, but always entertaining story of how these unforgettable women became The Hurricane Sisters.

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Review: Dorothea Benton Frank is one of my favorite authors, and one that can't rightly explain to anyone the why of it. I find many of her novels to follow a formula, yet I gobble them up like a good bag of potato chips.

I love the Lowcountry setting. It always makes me wish that I were there.

There's always some huge drama in Frank's books and this one is no different. She's tackling date rape/domestic abuse here.

I preferred when her heroines were stronger, though I'll give her credit for writing characters that are absolute jerks. Ashley's senator boyfriend, gave the word jerk a new meaning.

Maisie was the only character I really liked and when you have a novel that revolves around three women, it makes the reading a bit hard.

So, yeah, this wasn't my favorite of Frank's books, but it won't stop me from waiting for the next.

Rating: 3 flowers




Dorothea Benton FrankAbout Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She is the author of many New York Times bestselling novels, including Lowcountry Summer and Return to Sullivans Island. She resides in the New York area with her husband. Find her on the web at www.dotfrank.com, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Dead Girl Blues



Dead Girl Blues
By Joyce and Jim Lavene
• Genre – Cozy Mystery (PARANORMAL)
When Nashville cop Skye Mertz and her husband, Jacob, are killed in a wreck, Skye is given the opportunity to come back for twenty years to raise her five-year-old daughter, Kate. With her ghostly mother-in-law’s help, Skye hopes to be there until Kate is old enough to take care of herself.
But three years into her twenty-year service to Abraham Lincoln Jones, the man who gave her the extra time, Skye is beginning to think life might have been easier before she died.
Abe asks her to investigate the murder of his sorcerer, Harold the Great, a man who was a victim of too many snakes. And the Life Extended People (LEPs – a nice term for zombies) who work for Abe have begun turning into ghosts and disappearing. Only Lucas, the possibly evil, amnesiac sorcerer who lives with Skye and her family, can save her from being the next victim of the deadly curse.
To make matters more complicated, Skye has found a lead in solving the riddle of her husband’s death. She has never believed Jacob died as a result of the crash, but hasn’t been able to prove it. Many other people have lost their lives in the same lonely stretch of highway that he did three years before. Skye goes against Abe’s express wishes to discover the truth with a crazy man bent on vengeance.

Review: Another great series by my favorite cozy author duo. I don't know how they do it. I really don't. This is book two in the "Taxi For The Dead" series.

This book is more a paranormal mystery. I like to dip my toes in something different every now and then and I don't read much in the paranormal genre anymore, so I thought I'd give this series a go, because I love the authors so much.

I'm glad I did. They prove again that they can write anything.

Oh and then there's kind of Zombies.

This is really a different take on a cozy mystery and even Zombies.

Rating: 5 flowers
joycejimAbout The Authors
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Author Links
Purchase Link:
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Book Review: The Amish Bride Of Ice Mountain

Author: Kelly Long
Title: The Amish Bride Of Ice Mountain
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publish Date: Nov 14, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
The Amish Bride

Like most Mountain Amish girls, Mary King has always dreamed of her wedding day. But she never imagined that a sudden, irresistible kiss would result in marriage to the handsome Englischer professor studying her unique community. Or that doing the truly honorable thing means keeping their relationship chaste so both she and Dr. Jude Lyons can someday go their separate ways.

But when Mary accompanies her husband-in-name-only to Atlanta to meet his wealthy, overbearing family, she's tempted more than ever by Jude's kindness, humor--and vulnerability. And when a wrenching misunderstanding causes her to return heartbroken to her remote Appalachian home, she's certain she's lost the real love they have found...and the shared future she's come to want so much. But a crisis of more than faith will work surprising miracles--and show Mary that love is strong enough to make the impossible come true.


Review: The Amish Bride Of Ice Mountain isn't your typical Amish fiction. This book deals with real issues and even intimacy between a man and his wife. Because most Amish fiction falls under "Christian fiction" you don't get much beyond a kiss in those books.

Don't get me wrong, there's no hot and heavy Amish sex scenes going on here, but Kelly does allow you to see that Amish people have romantic/and sensual feelings too.

It wasn't always an easy read, because the Amish in this community aren't like the Amish you read about from places like Lancaster, PA or Sugarcreek, OH. These people are mountain people and some of their ideas are very backwards. Mary and Jude are married because he had the audacity to kiss her.

Mary was really a unique character. She embodied innocence in most things,except her feelings for Jude.

The story itself is full of family drama for both characters, from a near rape to strange family issues with both mother and father and ex girlfriends.

That in itself should prove to you that this isn't your typical Amish setting. So if you are looking for a book where everything is peachy keen, then you might want to look elsewhere. Some might describe this book as edgy, but I don't really think so. In more ways it is real or at least the blinders are taken away. Not all Amish people are nice and Long portrays that well with the scene with Isaac, even though things change at the end.

Some things are wrapped up to easily for me though. I felt that some drama could have been cut back or more explanations given. I found this to really be the case with Josh's father Ted, and even his ex, Carol. I would have also enjoyed getting to know Mary and Jude's families a bit better.

I did love the Ice Mountain setting, which is a real place in PA, and one that I hope to visit at some point in my life.

This was an enjoyable read for those that want a little more from their Amish fiction. I look forward to reading Joseph's story next.

Rating: 4 flowers


Monday, April 13, 2015

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Chef Maurice & A Spot of Truffle






CHEF MAURICE and a Spot of Truffle
by J.A. LANG
Cozy Mystery (British, Culinary)
Number of Pages  228
Release Date: April 7, 2014
There is a free prequel available on Amazon right now.Chef Maurice and the Rather Fishy Tale: A Chef Maurice Mystery Short Story
Synopsis:
It’s autumn in the Cotswolds, and Chef Maurice is facing a problem of mushrooming proportion.
Not only has his wild herb and mushroom supplier, Ollie Meadows, missed his weekly delivery—he’s missing vital signs too, when he turns up dead in the woods near Beakley village.
Soon, Chef Maurice is up to his nose in some seriously rotten business—complete with threatening notes, a pignapping, and an extremely well-catered stake-out.
Can he solve Ollie’s murder before his home-made investigation brings the killer out for second helpings?

Review: There's so much to say about this short little cozy.

1. OMG the cover is precious. I would have picked this book up based on the cover alone! Really! How adorable is it!!!!

2. It is a quick read. Perfect for a lazy afternoon or late night reading.

3. Chef Maurice is really awesome, especially for people that like foodie fiction. He's a bit self centered, but he's oh so lovable.

4. Its the first book in the series, so no guilt about starting into an established series and getting lost. (There is a short story that's a prequel to the series though)

5. As you might have guessed from the cover, there is a pig!!!!! And the parts of the story written in Hamilton's point of view are fabulous.

6. There's a great relationship between Patrick and PC Lucy. Their first date is really laughale!

All I can say, is this British cozy is really not one to miss.

Rating: 5 flowers


JALang_250w_sq
About This Author
J.A. Lang is a British mystery writer, and author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries series.
She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.


Author Links:
Webpage: www.jalang.net
Purchase Links:

Giveaway details
Chef Maurice Book 1 Giveaway
Prize: Win a signed copy of Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle, as well as an extremely cuddly Pillow Pet Pig (RRP $19.99)!
Open to US and UK residents.
Further details at: http://www.jalang.net/chef-maurice-giveaway/
TOUR PARTICIPANTS
April 8 – Shelley’s Book Case - Review, Interview
April 9 – Babs Book Bistro - Review
April 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Interview
April 11 – readalot – Review
April 12 – Melina’s Book Blog  Review
April 13 – Back Porchervations – Review
April 13 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
April 14 – The Gal in the Blue Mask – Review
April 15 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
April 16 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review
April 17 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview
April 18 – Community Bookstop – Review
April 18 – A Cozy Girl Reads – Review

Thursday, April 9, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Bookseller

The BooksellerAbout The Bookseller

Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 3, 2015)
A mesmerizingly powerful debut novel about the ways in which past choices can irrevocably define the present—and the bittersweet confrontation of what might have been

1962: It may be the Swinging Sixties in New York, but in Denver it's different: being a single gal over thirty in this city is almost bohemian. Still, thirty-eight-year-old Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She was involved, once—with a doctor named Kevin—but when things didn't work out the way she had hoped, she decided to chart her own path. Now she dedicates herself to the bookstore she runs with her best friend, Frieda, returning home each evening to her cozy apartment. Without a husband expecting dinner, she can enjoy last-minute drinks after work with her friends; without children who need to get ready for school, she can stay up all night reading with her beloved cat, Aslan, by her side.

Then the dreams begin.

1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They live in a picture-perfect home in a suburban area of Denver, close to their circle of friends. It's the ideal place in which to raise their children. Katharyn's world is exactly what Kitty once believed she wanted . . . but it exists only when she sleeps.

At first, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. Even though there is no Frieda, no bookstore, no other familiar face, Kitty becomes increasingly reluctant to open her eyes and abandon Katharyn's alluring life.

But with each visit to her dreamworld, it grows more real. As the lines between the two worlds begin to blur, Kitty faces an uncertain future. What price must she pay to stay? What is the cost of letting go?

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Review:  I finished this book this morning, and actually I am hard pressed to know what to say about it. This doesn't happen to me very often.

I have mixed emotions about this one and I can't pinpoint what it is.

I enjoyed the book, but it didn't wow me like some book do. In fact, it kind of left me confused.

I think I will edit this review once I have time to let the story settle in my mind.

~  edit 4/11/15

I'm still very undecided about this book. It is an enjoyable read, but it left me with far more questions then answers. There are a whole lot of plot holes in this one that really just make it hard to grasp what was going on.

I think the best way to explain this book is to look at it in science fiction terms.

Kitty life in 1962 as a single woman and a bookshop owner and her life in 1963 as Katharyn Andersson, wife and mother.

The book explains her "other" life as a dream, but one that feels real, and one that has root in people that she really knows.

The way Kitty deals with trying to find answers for her dreams works. It feels like something that anyone that might be having dreams that felt that real, might do. But I couldn't really understand a lot about her, especially her not sharing this sort of dream with her best friend and partner.

And then towards the end when she couldn't figure out which world was reality, I found myself getting more and more baffled. There was no explanation for the second life she was experiencing or how she was getting out of it.

The way she treated Freida in her alternate married life, didn't sit well with me either, not did her treatment of her autistic son. Another plot hole if you ask me. I wondered if there was any significance in her son having this disease and her double life, but again, we were left without any answers.

I can't say it enough, that this book left me wondering more than it satisfied me.

Rating: 3 flowers




Cynthia Swanson About Cynthia Swanson


Cynthia Swanson is a writer and a designer of the midcentury modern style. She has published short fiction in 13th Moon, Kalliope, Sojourner, and other periodicals; her story in 13th Moon was a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and three children. The Bookseller is her first novel.

Find out more about Cynthia at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Wicked Stich



Wicked Stitch:
An Embroidery Mystery

Series: Embroidery Mystery (Book 8)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Signet (April 7, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0451467409
E-Book ASIN: B00MNN7GXQ
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Synopsis:

When murder strikes the small town of Tallulah Falls, embroidery shop owner Marcy Singer isn’t afraid of getting into the knitty-gritty to clear her own name…
For most small-business owners in Tallulah Falls, the upcoming Renaissance Faire is a wonderful way to promote their specialty shops. For Marcy’s nemesis, Nellie, and her sister Clara, it’s an opportunity to finally put Marcy and her shop, the Seven-Year Stitch, out of business. Apparently the sisters like to keep their grudges all in the family and have set up a competing booth right next to Marcy’s at the Faire.
When Clara is discovered dead in her own booth—strangled by the scarf she had almost finished knitting—Marcy becomes the prime suspect. Now she has to do whatever it takes to keep her reputation from unraveling and get to the bottom of a most deadly yarn…

Review: I love cozy mysteries and I wish that the picturesque towns actually exist. That would be so awesome. Life would be so much more cozy if that were true.

Tallulah Falls is now going to have two shops selling knitting supplies and Marcy's rival in business is her nemesis' sister.

I love it when relatively normal folks have a nemesis!

And she can't get away from them, even at the Ren Faire. (Have I mentioned how much I love ren faires?)

Then Clara ends up dead and Marcy find''s  That makes Marcy the prime suspect in the eyes of her sister Nellie, who doesn't care for Marcy one bit.

The story starts out a little bit slow, but that's usually the case with established series. You spend a bit of time getting in touch with your old friends, and then the excitement starts.

This is book 8 inn the series, and it can be read as a stand alone, though it would have been nice to know a little be more about Nellie and why she hates Marcy so much, so for new readers it does leave questions, but not enough to spoil the enjoyment of a good story.

Clara's personality rubbed everyone the wrong way, and because of this, Ted isn't officially allowed to work the case.

It really doesn't get much better than this. You really can't figure out who the killer is with this one.

This was a totally fun cozy, and the animals make everything better too. I really love Clover and Angus together. I hope they remain friends in the future.

Highly Recommended
Rating: 5 flowers
GC4
About This Author
Gayle Trent (writing as Amanda Lee) writes the embroidery mystery series. The series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back. Gayle/Amanda lives in Virginia when she’s not inhabiting the fictional world of Tallulah Falls.
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