Tag Archive | Book Review

Book Review- A Whole Latte Murder

a-whole-latte-murderI like coffee.  I like tea. I like the Java Jive, and it likes me.

Ah yes, let’s head to the coffee shop for a cup of joe and a slice of murder! This cozy mystery takes place in Nashville and so, of course, the amateur sleuth is an aspiring singer with a grande dose of stage fright. A Whole Latte of Murder is the third book in Caroline Fardig’s Java Jive series published by Alibi, and after reading this one, I’m going to need to go back and read the other two.  There is some mild language in this one, but you will find the pacing of the story is excellent.

 

Meet the Author:

Caroline Fardig Author

Caroline Fardig
Author

Caroline Fardig is the author of Death Before Decaf and the Lizzie Hart series. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

My Review

5 Stars

Juliet Langley, a coffee shop manager in Nashville tries to return a scarf and finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery. Even though she’s dating cop, Ryder Hamilton, she sets on her road to discovery along with old love and best friend Pete Bennet.  Readers are never sure just which guy Juliet really cares for in the story and that adds to the suspense. Juliet is all over the place solving the crime, and there was a pretty funny scene where she was signing up to be an escort in the name of investigation. The characters, the pacing and the crime are set up well.  The cover for this cozy mystery drew me in and the writing kept me there. Now I need to go back and read books 1 and 2 of the Java Jive Series.

 

Book Review: The Cat, The Collector and The Killer

True confession. I’m not much of a cat person. I think they’re beautiful, but they make me sneeze and then wheeze.  I have always been a dog lover starting with my rascally beagle, Goliath, who I used to take with me on my paper route. How Norman Rockwell can I get here?

When the opportunity came up to review LeAnn Sweeney’s latest book in her Cats in Trouble Series I had to grab it, even if I did have to take a Claritan. Many years ago when I was deciding if I wanted to try this writing thing for real, Leann came to my local library for a book talk. She was the first cozy mystery writer I had ever met, and I found her charming. She answered all my questions and even recommended a book on police procedure. After meeting her, I realized I could write a book. I needed to learn some things, and still do, but I felt ready to finally finish my first novel, A Dash of Murder.

So, thanks Leann for planting a seed and growing a writer. You have been an inspiration to me.

Here is my review of The Cat, The Collectorcatcollectorcover and The Killer:

5 Stars

I really enjoyed this mystery with its many twists and turns. The is a lot happening and plenty of characters to line up as suspects. I especially enjoyed how Leann slowly unraveled the mystery as with each chapter the characters revealed a little bit more. The small town of Mercy, South Carolina must be crawling with cats and unsolved murders! Great series.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Bluebonnet Betrayal

TheBluebonnetBetrayalThe Bluebonnet Betrayal, a great addition to the Potting Shed Mystery Series by Marty Wingate, just came out on Amazon.  Living in Texas, and a lover of flowers, I was drawn to the cover featuring bluebonnets and Pru’s dog, Boris. Marty’s main character, Pru Park, talks about driving around the Hill Country of Texas looking for bluebonnets, and I immediately identified with it! Yes, I’ve done that with my family.  It’s quite a treat when you all of a sudden come upon a giant patch of deep blue flowers.  It’s just one of the reasons I love Springtime!  Like that sapphire field over the next hill, this book was a found treasure.

My Review: 5 Stars

Bluebonnets are one of my favorite flowers, so I was excited to see them in the title of a cozy mystery.
Pru Parke, a Texan living in England gets the chance to work with a group of women from Austin to create a unique Texas garden display at the Chelsea Garden Show. The flower that will be featured will be the beautiful bluebonnets of Texas. When one of the members of the Texas group is found dead, Pru and her loveable English husband investigate the murder. There were so many things I liked about this story!  This well-written mystery is a challenge to solve although the murderer was on my “possible suspect” list. I especially loved the ending chapters. Marty Wingate had me at bluebonnets!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Cranberry Bluff- A Cozy Mystery Review

One of the things I  enjoy in an Agatha Christie mystery is the character with a secret. I love how when you get to the end of the story, half of the characters are related, in business or are in bed with the other half of the characters. Good stuff.

In Deborah Garner’s Cranberry Bluff, the main character has just inherited a bed and breakfast, something that I think many readers would like to do. I entertained the thought for about five minutes once until I realized I would have to get up every day and bake. But wait, employing the Agatha Christie model of character development, things aren’t what they seem.

Here is my review posted on Amazon:

4 Stars

I enjoyed this mystery!  Molly Elliot is running a newly inherited B&B and is also running from a terrible mixup in Florida. She was caught in a bank robbery and just happened to look like the bank robber. Molly checks in are a honeymoon couple, an eccentric older lady, and a good looking guy at her Bed and Breakfast. At first, these people seem so average! Cranberry Bluff was an entertaining mystery from start to finish.

 

Book Review: The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum

Theperfectlyproperparanormalmuseum_coverIt’s no secret- I love books about the business side of the paranormal, so, of course, I couldn’t wait to read The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss. From her GD Cat to the creepy doll room, this is pretty interesting concept.  Here are some questions Kirsten was kind enough to answer for me!

1. What inspired you to write this book? 
This idea percolated for a couple years. I’d read a Wall Street Journal article on a paranormal museum attached to a hot dog joint. The museum made more money than the hot dogs. The business concept was wacky enough to make an intriguing setting for a cozy murder mystery, where off-beat characters and quirky, small-town settings rule the day. Of course, I switched the details. In The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, the museum used to be attached to Chuck’s Chicken Shack before its owner sold out. The book opens with a tea room going in next door and the museum’s fate in limbo.
2. What was your favorite part of the book after you finished it? Was it a character, a scene or a plot twist? KirstenWeiss_Author
I think my favorite part was the end, where everything tied up so neatly. As I was writing the book, I wasn’t sure I was going to pull that off. And it’s definitely a “feel good” ending, which I wanted. But I’ve also came to appreciate GD Cat, who sort of operates as the heroine’s id. The heroine, Maddie, is a nice person, but GD Cat… is a cat.
3. What authors do you like to read? 
Ian Rankin is currently my favorite mystery writer. His characters and situations are dark and a bit gritty, but he really knows how to write believable, likable characters — even when they’re not behaving in such a likable way. And I love Charlaine Harris’ new, Midnight Texas, series.
4. Is this a part of a series? 
Yes! Currently, three books are planned. The second is with my publisher right now, and I’m starting work on book three this March.
5. Where can readers find your book?
Aside from on the usual Internet suspects — Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc. — readers can find The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum in bookstores.
My Review–4 Stars
I really enjoyed this mystery. The idea of a museum dedicated to the paranormal and cat named Ghost Detector (GD) made this a fun read. You root through the entire book for Maddie to keep the museum and solve the mystery. I’d love it if a friend sold me a paranormal museum for $1!

An Uplifting Story for Caregivers

While I was on tour, I needed to talk about my books, but now that I’m off, I can talk about someone else’s book!

At the recommendation of a friend I read Adam: God’s Beloved by Henri Nouwen. This is a true story of a Catholic priest in Canada who is assigned to take care of a group of disabled adults.  Nouwen, who wrote more than 40 books and taught at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard, becomes friends with a man who is totally dependent on others.  Being a caregiver myself, I found Henri and Adam’s story uplifting and encouraging.  His life with Adam becomes so simple and yet so meaningful.

I know I have readers who are also blessed with special children, so I wanted to share this treasure.  Reading the reviews of Adam: God’s Beloved his many other books are similar to this one, but it is so wonderful to find a positive message in the challenges we face every day.

New Review for Murder for a Rainy Day at Kaisy Daisy’s Corner

MFRD_New ReviewMurder for a Rainy Day was reviewed at Kaisy Daisy’s Corner!

Here is some of what Kaisy Daisy had to say:

Once you start reading this book you will not be able to put it down. You will fall in love with this series as I did. 

Just a note to my readers- if you missed my free days for this book, good news!  It will be free again on December 4-5.  THANK YOU to everyone who downloaded the book.  Your response to my free days was wonderful.

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Psst…don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Go to Kaisy Daisy’s to Enter!

 

Giveaway, Interview and Review for Granny Skewers a Scoundrel

GRANNY SKEWERS SMALL BANNERToday we are being visited by Julie Seedorf on her book tour for her latest book, Granny Skewers a Scoundrel. I had the chance to interview Julie and one of the most interesting things I found about her is that she also has a young readers series!

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I write because I breathe. I have always been a writer although in my teenage years it was a diary. Recently I found my diary from 1965 and the details of my first love and my first kiss. After reading my diary entries from 1965 my mind started putting them together as a story so I guess the dreams of a young teenager were the start of my crazy old age fantasies. I took some classes in creative writing in college, got married, had kids and put my writing on the backburner except for volunteer activities such as writing Christmas and Lenten services for church. When I became an empty nester I was offered a job at a Computer Sales and Service business as an office manager. It fell into my lap. After I had worked there for a few years the owner thought I had skills to be a technician and paid for my training and employed me as a technician in his computer business. He then encouraged me when he was ready to retire to start my own computer business. I was 60 years old, I had become a technician at the ripe old age of 55. I owned my own business for three years, until the past year when I decided to go for my dream and write full time. Also, about eight years ago an area paper offered me a job as their Monday columnist, and I have a column called Something About Nothing. Along with writing my Cozy Mystery, Fuchsia Minnesota Series, I have a young reader series called the Granny Is In Trouble Series. I have a wacky way of thinking so perhaps that is why some of my book characters are a little out of this world. I believe we need things to laugh about including ourselves and the world we live in. Part of my motivation for writing is my grandchildren. Although my cozy mysteries are for adults I don’t ever want to write anything that they could not pick up and look through or read. My young reader series which is about grandparents and grandchildren, also has touched the hearts of some adults. I believe we need to remember who we were when we were young and let our grandchildren know that part of us. I also believe that we need to keep the child in us alive. It makes life more interesting.

What inspired the idea behind your book?

The idea behind my Fuchsia Minnesota series just happened. It happened at a time when I was having health problems which led me to a depression. I started writing not knowing what it was going to be and where it was going to end up. I didn’t have any intention of going for my writing dream and publishing it. I would wake up each morning with a chapter in my head. I learned to let my Granny character take the lead. She surprises me and it brought me out of my depression and changed the way I look at life. Writing the Fuchsia Minnesota Series took away my fear and taught me that it is time to embrace my wackiness and be who God created me to be.

DSC_0358Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

The books Granny Hooks A Crook and Granny Skewers A Scoundre,l are pure fantasy. I can’t say there are any real life experiences for me in there except for loving coffee, wine and chocolate. My character, Hermiony Vidalia Criony Fiddlestadt, better known as Granny, does have some characteristics of my mother. Many people have criticized the over the top character, but my mom at 90 years old, was patching her own roof, sawing wood with a table saw, trying to rent a car when she wasn’t supposed to be driving anymore, and was still strong and could out lift all of us. She eventually at the age of 92 had to be moved to a nursing home because of dementia. There were days she did not know who I was, and so I chose to find the humor in the situation. I always tried to guess who she would decide I was on any given day. I knew my mother, I was an only child, would never choose to forget me. I had to find the humor and it was easier when I did that to enjoy my visits and have some fun with her. She defied everything people think about old age. That is why Granny has her forgetful moments and we have a little fun with that. If you look through the tears of sorrow you will find some joy and laughter.

Who is your favorite character to create scenes for in the book?

I love writing for my main character Granny. There is so much leeway with her. She watches her neighbors, she is tough on crime, she has softness for animals, and underneath her crusty exterior she hurts and mourns but picks herself up and moves on. Many people see only the far out person she is, but if they look deeper there is a depth to Granny that is there if you look for it. The story may be over the top, but the way she cares for her neighbors and her animals, and Franklin, is there underneath her snappy wit and crusty exterior. That is what I hope people can see. When I wrote the last chapter in this book I actually had tears because I knew what it cost Granny to say some of those last lines. I knew her heart. My heart and hers are connected no matter how over the top she is. In the following excerpt from Granny Skewers AScoundrel, after Granny found Sally’s body, readers may see crustiness, silliness of animals popping on her head, but in between the lines I want the readers to see a woman that feels she failed her friend, a woman that is devastated that someone got past her and hurt her friend.

Granny held up the knitting needle again in defense. “She’s dead, Franklin, she’s dead. I failed. I failed. I was supposed to be keeping an eye on Sally. Every day I get my binoculars out and I check on them––George, Mavis and Sally. And last night with all the hoopla of hooking the crooks, I must have forgotten, and now Sally is dead; she’s dead.” Granny dropped the knitting needle, dropped to the ground, uncharacteristically sobbing uncontrollably. Baskerville came over beside her and started howling his saddest howl. Fish started licking her face, little white poodle climbed into her lap and started nuzzling her hand, Furball jumped on her head and started purring to comfort her, and Tank rolled over on his back, which was a hard thing to do for such a hefty lug of a dog, right next to her side to give her comfort.

How can readers find your books and are there more coming in this series?

Readers can find my books on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes and Noble.com and other independent books sellers. Granny Hooks A Crook and Whatchamacallit? Thingamajig? are also available for the Nook. Granny Skewers A Scoundrel and Snicklefritz will soon be available on the nook. They are all available for the Kindle. Right now I am working on the third book in the Fuchsia Minnesota Series, a book of my columns, and another children’s book.

 

My Review:  4 Stars

Granny is crazy.  The main character in this book is deceiving with her pink cane and her penchant for dressing in “Red Hat Club” fashions but don’t let that fool you.  This character is as sharp as a tack!  This cozy mystery excels in lovable characters and zany situations.  I especially like the idea of the tunnels under the town.  When Granny’s neighbor tells her that the grass is no longer talking to her and then dies a mysterious death, Granny is on the case.  This is a fun time in Fuschia, Minnesota!

 

Enter Julie’s Giveaway and get your very own copy of Granny Skewers a Scoundrel!

Click Here to Enter!

 

Book Review: The Fate of Mercy Alban

The Fate of Mercy AlbanThe Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! Take a beautiful old house, rich people, ghosts, secret passageways, a haunted past and murder and you have this well-told story. It had me guessing. The Fate of Mercy Alban reminded me in some ways of Ammie Come Home-not so much in the story as the coming together of the main characters to solve the mystery. Loved it! Perfect stormy night summer read!

 

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Limoncello Yellow – A Great New Orleans Mystery

LimoncelloyellowOn my recent book tour I had the pleasure of visiting Traci Andrighetti and picked up a copy of her book Limoncello Yellow.  I thoroughly enjoyed the story and wanted to review it as a reader and a writer.

As a reader:   I’ve been to New Orleans countless times.  After reading Limoncello Yellow, I want to go back.  Ms. Andrighetti really touched on the best parts of the town-the people and … the food.    The book opens with Franki Amato, a patrol woman with a disgusting, gassy, condescending idiot of a partner.  I liked her from that scene on.  She goes on to join her best friend Veronica in a PI firm in New Orleans.  I enjoyed the mystery as it traveled through the worlds of fashion, Italian families, Catholicism and Voodoo.   Franki and Ronnie must solve a murder that revolves around a Limoncello scarf , meanwhile Franki is constantly dodging Italian suitors sent her way by her well-meaning  Nana.   Just hilarious!  I can’t wait to see what happens with Franki’s love life in the next book 🙂

As a writer:  I loved the characters in this book.  My favorite was Glenda the good stripper.  She was so well described as a ancient woman walking around in stripper clothes and then Andrighetti backed her up with a house where she rented rooms decorated like the inside of a bordello.  I got to the point where I hoped she would be in another scene.  I could even hear her gutteral over-smoked voice.

In contrast we had a Goth-dressing messed up teenager, a voodoo queen with some wonderful dialogue, and Franki’s Italian family.  These characters were vivid and clearly illustrated.  There were things about Franki that I liked as a main character.  She isn’t skinny, she isn’t young and she emotionally eats.  She also has a great eye for clues and her police training comes to the front when she needs it.  How could I not love a woman who buys six lemon pastries planning to eat them all in one sitting?  I would if I could, Franki!

The pacing of the mystery had a good flow and keeps you turning the pages.  I loved the clue Franki picked up on with the picture of Stuart and how it was used to lead to the climax.  Great read!

I give this book 5 Stars!