What are you reading?
I hear this question frequently and never quite know how to respond. I am a voracious reader and used to be able to read almost a book a day. Of course, that was before I began writing fiction. Now I am lucky if I read a book a week between writing my cozies, working full time and caring for a 10-week-old puppy. The puppy makes reading difficult as he wants to chew the pages while I turn them.
With all these demands, I still try to make time to read and am deep into several different books.
And, many of the books I am reading are research for the cozies I am working on. Right now on my nightstand, I have several books about the Vanderbilts, including the Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt by Arthur Vanderbilt and the First Tycoon: the Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. If you’ve read my antique hunters mystery series, you can guess based on these titles where my heroines, Anne and CC, are traveling to next.
We recently spent a week in Asheville, N.C., home of the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore estate. Of course, my mind started spinning with ideas of the trouble that Anne and CC could get into within these amazing grounds and walls. Anne, of course, is particularly enthralled with the setting. The estate has a marvelous history and would create an elegant setting for a book on antiques.
Then on the bookshelf in my office I have the newly published Romanovs, Stories of Famous Precious Stones and measuring at 700+ pages A Lifelong Passion: the letters of Nicholas and Alexandra Romanov. These are research for the second book in the Alex Kustodia mystery series. Alex is Russian, a gem hunter and I find the perfect inspiration within these books for scenarios that might lead her closer to finding the lost Romanov fortune.
Those are my upstairs bookshelves. Now on the lower level I have my lighter selections. I am halfway through John Grisham’s the Testament. I keep starting and stopping it as I believe I have already read it but cannot quite remember. I am reading a Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan. I love the way she weaves Chinese history with modern-day Chinese American immigrants. It wasn’t until I saw the movie the Joy Luck Club that I fully appreciated her writing.
On my kindle app, I have a number of cozy mysteries that I breeze through typically when I am waiting places such as doctor’s offices and other appointments. I have no patience for waiting so I appreciate having books that I can carry around with me to pass the time.
It never seems like there is enough time to do all the reading that I would like to do. Sometimes I would like to lock myself away and spend my day reading. When I was younger and didn’t have responsibilities, I used to do that. I would take a book and go sit by the river or lock myself in my bedroom. Now unfortunately life gets in the way.
BTB’s Review of Killer Finds
If you think shopping for expensive and one of a kind antique for your clients is stressful, you should sit next to a dead guy on an airplane for six hours straight. So much for enjoying your wine in first class, right? Poor Anne Hillstrom just wanted to get some good deals for her and fellow Spoon Sister, CC, to be able to tell their antique fan base about. This is what she has to endure on the ride home from Paris.
Back from their extravagant Paris trip, something seems odd about the death of Bernie Gladstone as increasingly strange things start to occur around Anne and CC. First, Anne finds and item in her orange Prada bag. Honestly, I was drooling over the bag because I have wanted a replica of this exact bag for forever! Sure, the mystery item is fascinating, but that bag! Delicious Anne!
From broken locks to being followed on antique trips ,the ladies realize something strange is going on. This would be a good time for CC’s young cousin from Munich, Ingrid, to come for a visit, right? Of course! The excitement increases when they get an opportunity to go to the estate sale of Bernie’s and buy a few items that look unimportant. Isn’t that always the case? Read this part carefully. It’s really good and detailed. I feel like I was going through the items with Anne and CC without it becoming wordy or boring which can be hard for a writer I imagine. The choices of words were perfect.
If you love antique sales, you get to attend some with the Spoon Sisters and see some behind the scene action and drama. Oh yes, Betsy Buttersworth comes in and does some major mental damage to Anne and the scenes are so well played. I was embarrassed, enthralled and clasping my hand over my mouth. Buttersworth! She’s quite a piece of work and I love her a lot. What a troublemaker you are lady. Never change.
So we are given a dead guy at the beginning but Ms. Vass gives us a bonus dead body to help with the plot. Isn’t that sweet of her? That was a hint by the way. You’ll have to read the book, come back and look at this statement again to get the joke. Then, laugh really hard. It’s funny.
I also liked that I got some real art history thrown in with art fiction and a conspiracy theory via an antique they find and bring back from Paris. I actually went and did research to see if this was fact or fiction. Well-played Vicki! I love it when reality and fiction collide so well and you don’t know when one starts and the other ends. This part of the story makes you scratch you head. Loved it!
Some romance is thrown in the story, but I didn’t see that it did much for the story line. Of course, that’s just me. I’m not a big romance fan. I just want to find the dead bodies and who put them there. My poor husband. Anyway, the rest was perfection and was needed for everything to come together. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to another Spoon Sister adventure. This book was a killer find. See what I did there?
With a passion for shopping and antiques, Vicki Vass turned in her reporter’s notebook to chronicle the adventures of Anne and CC, two antique hunters who use their skills to solve a murder case.
Vicki has written more than 1,400 stories for the Chicago Tribune as well as other commercial publications including Home & Away, the Lutheran and Woman’s World. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, draws on her experience in Sudan while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief.
She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, writer and musician Brian Tedeschi, son Tony, Australian shepherd Bandit, kittens Terra and Pixel, seven koi and Gary the turtle.
Website – http://www.vickivass.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/vickivassauthor
Now it’s time for you to enter a little contest. Just click the link below and thank for joining me and Vicki on her Great Escapes virtual book tour here at Booth Talks Books!