Tag Archive | book review

It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To by Vickie Fee

Review:
Nothing says woman’s business retreat like a ghost hunt, pagans dancing naked around its-your-partythe fire and the dead body of a community member whose had an affair with just about every man in town. Dang Vickie! What was in your tea when you were writing this? It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To is a non-stop trip of having your mouth hanging open and I loved it!

Small towns are amazing because there is always something going on and everyone knows about it. Dixie Tennessee is just like any other small southern town except a lot more scandalous. Liv McKay, a party planner and her friend, Di Souther, the local mail carrier are in the perfect professions to know everyone’s business in a more intimate way. And can I just say the names, Liv and Di for murder mystery characters are brilliant! I love that to the moon and back.

During the Professional Women’s Alliance of Dixie retreat (PWAD), one of their members who “gets around town”, if you catch my drift, ends up dead with a look on her face that would turn ones blood cold. All this happens during a ghost hunt and the homecoming of Dixie’s very own celebrity ghost hunter, Lucinda Grable. With this twist in the retreat, no one is allowed to leave and everyone starts pointing fingers at each other. Between Liv and Di, they come up with a plan to ensnare the killer at the Halloween fundraiser during a stage performance of “Clue” after Di notes several clues of her own along the way.

These characters were sassy and not afraid to show their crazy at all. When that happens, the reader can’t tell who is naturally crazy and who is mentally crazy and needs to be put in a mental ward. Between the bickering, joking, unusual alliances and backstabbing, I just couldn’t keep up. Have I met these people before? Nah…..okay, maybe.

The ending was just as climatic as my first Clue game. My mouth was hanging open; I was fidgeting and really nervous as the plot was revealed. It was exciting, the dialogue that occurred between them all as the guilty parties were outed.

The details that Vickie uses throughout the book to describe the scenes are what make the book really come to life. I felt like I was at the parties. I could envision everything around me, smell the food and felt like I was right in with Liv and Holly doing the decorating and mingling. I was anxious with them as they were preparing each location for the big night. I learned about a new poison I had never heard about and that fascinated me. How Agatha Christie is that? She didn’t just tell a story that was entertaining, she kept me informed, involved me as a reader and even educated me.

its-your-party2This story went above and beyond just a story. Yes, it was a cozy mystery, but it has so many layers. It was like watching a movie in my head more so than some of the books I read. I love detail and love it when writers use it to help me along. I am not in their head when they are writing so it helps me understand their vision. So, if you don’t like a lot of description and detail, this wouldn’t be the book for you. But if you do, Vickie Fee is your author. It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To needs to be on your bookshelf.

About Vickie Fee:
Vickie Fee grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew, daydreams and sweet iced tea. Like vickiefeemost people born and raised in Memphis, she didn’t tour Graceland until she was in her 30s – and then only as a host to out-of-town guests. She now lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with her husband, John. If she cranes her neck slightly, she can see Lake Superior from her office/guestroom window.

After earning a journalism degree from the University of Memphis, she spent many years as a reporter covering small Southern towns populated with colorful characters, much like those in her books’ fictional town of Dixie, Tennessee. She’s a past president of the Malice in Memphis chapter of Sisters in Crime and current member of the Wisconsin Sisters in Crime and the Guppies chapter. When not writing, Vickie enjoys reading mysteries and watching B movies from the 1930s and ‘40s.

She’s currently working on the next book in the Liv and Di in Dixie mystery series, published by Kensington.

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Spotlight on Death Among The Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan

Death Among The Doilies

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Excerpt:  For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life. Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women’s shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents—and most of her savings—into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian . . .

But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian’s disturbing demise. Because if the killer’s patterns aren’t pinned, Cora’s handiwork could end up in stitches . . .

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About The Author:

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Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbooking mystery series. 

She is also author of two cookbooks, the regional bestseller Mrs. Rowe’s Little Book of Southern Pies and Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley . An award-winning journalist and poet, she currently blogs, cooks, and scrapbooks in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Scrapbook of Secrets was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

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Author Links:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/molliecoxbryan

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/molliecoxbryanauthor

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/molliecoxbryan/

Webpage – http://molliecoxbryan.com/

Buy “Death Among The Doilies”-http://amzn.to/2cRTE5X

 

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—>Click HERE to enter to win death-among-the-doiliesone of two print copies<—

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On the Chopping Block by Jenny Kales

on-the-chopping-block-dollCallie’s Kitchen and its owner Callie Costas is dating the winning chef of the Taste of Crystal Bay contest, Drew Staven. All seemed to be going well until she shows up at his house for a date only to find him dead on the floor. And the kicker is that she finds out she is next in line to win the contest prize money. Well, that doesn’t look good.

We meet Callie, and from the beginning we are thrown into chaos along with her. She is grieving her new boyfriend, questioned by the authorities; the British accented, Detective Sands, and is the only suspect with motive as it so appears. Panic emanates from the pages…or screen if you’re reading on your e-reader. I know my heart was racing. I wondered what in the world she was going to do.

In an effort to clear her name and save her business from certain death, Callie goes on an investigation of her own that leads to the realization that Drew was not who she realized nor are many of the people in her community. Lies, deceit and underhanded living have seemed to make up this small town.

In addition to the wild goose chases Jenny takes us on with Callie, she also made me crave Greek and Mediterranean food like mad. Thank goodness she includes some of those recipes in the back of the book. I loved how her family and friends got involved although I didn’t fully trust them at times. That was what kept me guessing. At times, all of the characters were suspects in my mind. They all were acting fishy, secretive or just not being involved or caring enough. The killer, in the end, was not who I thought it would have been. I did see their motive after they were revealed however. What a nice surprise!

On The Chopping Block is a book that proves you can’t always know the people you think you know and those you might not trust might be the most trustworthy of all. Talk about confusing! Good job Jenny. This was a great sleuthing book.

Buy On The Chopping Block

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Visit Jenny Kales

WordPress:https://jennykales.wordpress.com/

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Jenny-Kales/e/B01BRTKL9W/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.kales.author?fref=ts

 

PARADISE is here and so is a Giveaway from Kathi Daley!

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Are you ready to party in Paradise?  I know I am.  There is nothing more beautiful to me than a gorgeous cover and wonderful writing contained within.  That’s what you are getting with the TJ Jensen series that Kathi is relaunching with Henry Press!  So, what are the books within the series?

Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mysteries

Pumpkins in Paradise

Snowmen in Paradise

Bikinis in Paradise

Christmas in Paradise

Puppies in Paradise

Halloween in Paradise

Treasure in Paradise – coming April 2017

So, let’s go party!  But, before you go, let’s give away a little something, okay?

Click To ENTER Our GIVEAWAY

Click the link above to be entered to win your choice of any Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Book – paperback or Kindle – Non US, Kindle only.  You can enter EVERY DAY from September 1-September 6.  Invite your friends to party with you in Paradise.

In addition to the party (we’ll go in a minute, I PROMISE) and book releases, there are other ways to get involved with Kathi and the Kathi Daley fan community!

Pumpkins in ParadisePumpkins in Paradise Book Club

Kathi Daley Books Facebook Page

Now, go to the party.  Click on Bikinis in Paradise Cover —>paradise bikinis

Kathi Daley PicAbout Kathi Daley

Kathi lives in the beautiful alpine community of Lake Tahoe with her husband Ken and dog Echo. When she’s not writing she enjoys hanging out on the beach with her children and grandchildren. During the summer she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, wake-boarding, and sunset cruises on the lake. During the winter she enjoys cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling up by a fire with a good book.
Kathi uses her mountain home as inspiration for her books, all which include appearances by the wildlife she shares her life with. 

Visit Kathi! www.kathidaley.com
Come for the Murder, Stay for the Romance

Review: Betting Off Dead by Tonya Kappes

Betting off Dead Cover

I can’t imagine that keeping one’s identity, as a witch in a southern town in Kentucky can be very easy. Southern ladies love to gossip you know. I know. I have lived in Kentucky most all of my life. That’s why I am pretty impressed with how clever Maggie Parks and her family have been, hiding out in Belgravia Court in Louisville all these years. Perfect setting to become a spy, right? Let’s just pile more secrets on. Anyway, if it weren’t for that flying owl, Miss Kitty, and a few other things, maybe Mrs. Hubbard would lay off them. Okay, may not.

Betting off Dead is the second in the Spies and Spells series from the Kentucky native, Tonya Kappes. She captures southern culture to a tee. Between the close knit family to the nosy neighbor, she has this witch family sitting pretty in one of the pretties cities in the state.

In this second installment, we join Maggie after she has found out what her life calling is suppose to be and just like all southern moms, mama isn’t having it. Mom Parks is going to do everything she can to protect her daughter from danger and that handsome, shall I say smoking hot guy, that keeps popping up that everyone in the family says is going to cause her nothing but trouble. What’s a daughter to do? After all, Mick Jasper is her co-worker and partner. Well, get dressed and go get into danger with the guy of course! It’s horse city and there is something fishing going on down at the Derby. With her familiar, a 1965 AC Cobra named Vinnie, and some witchy know-how, Maggie tries to help the horses of the Blue Grass state.

Not all goes smoothly of course. In the process, she loses a dear friend, faces a death she doesn’t realize would hit her so hard and starts to own who she really is. Maggie comes into herself in this second book. Tonya helps us journey with not only Maggie, but Aunt Mimi, Ms. Parks, Lilith and Abram. It’s a tough transition to watch, but well worth it once everything is revealed in the end.

Betting off Dead was an amazing book, so I can’t imagine how book three will be. Maggie is now aware of who she is and I am hoping fully accepted by her family. This is for a sure a coming of age story that so many people can relate to. Maggie is the one who is different from the rest of her family and they have to learn to accept her differences and I think they do. I hope they do. Beautiful book Tonya. The action and adventure in the book are fantastic, but the take away for me was the acceptance Maggie finds.

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About the Author:

For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been publishing numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.

Tonya lives in Kentucky with  husband, four grown sons and two schnauzers.

Betting off Dead Cover

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Guest Post, Review and GIVEAWAY-A Story To Kill by Lynn Cahoon

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Cat’s Entryway

By Lynn Cahoon:

So excited to be here today. So what shall we discuss? Books, crafts, photography? I love talking with creative people, no matter their medium.

In most of my books, I talk a lot about food. So it was no surprise when I wrote A Story to Kill, I have an amateur chef serving as Cat’s best friend and partner in the writer’s retreat business. Shauna has a bit of the Irish in her so she makes a mean Shepard’s pie. I went to my first Irish pub on last year’s trip to the Big Apple, and we hit two that trip. Loved the food, except for smooshed peas. I’m going to have to add that experience to a book, because that stuff is awful. Maybe Shauna loves the stuff? It’s little facts that bring the characters to life for me. And things I love to play with.

Food is my comfort. I learned that from my mother. She didn’t have a lot of money, but she always made dinner a meal. Especially on Sunday’s. We typically had chicken fried in lard in the iron skillet. She had to make it in batches since the pan wasn’t big enough to feed all of us. And she fried everything, including the gizzards and heart. I never understood why she loved those. Mashed potatoes, milk gravy, and corn we’d cut off the cob and frozen the summer before.

And she always had dessert. A cake, cookies, or homemade ice cream. Yum.

So I always add meals into my stories. Mostly because I believe people need to share the food experience. And it’s always the best place to catch up on the gossip of the day.

In A Story to Kill, the writer’s retreat serves breakfast to the participants, but Shauna’s always setting out cookies or treats in the dining room. Running sugar highs is one way to assure a high word count. At least in my opinion.

I’m also a big Top Chef fan. Well, that and the other chef competitions. I can watch those shows over and over, always learning something new I can use in my own kitchen. Unfortunately, my husband is less than adventuresome in his meal choices. I have to ease new food into the rotation. And the guy loves packaged foods. Like Kraft Shells and Cheese. It’s plastic food, but he loves it. Which is another characterization I may have to add to one of my future characters. Or maybe Seth has grown fond of the stuff since he’s been single for a while?

This is why I love writing. It’s an adventure.

So what is your favorite dinner? Homemade or pre-packaged?

Thanks for stopping by Lynn!  I personally love food of all kinds, both homemade and pre-packaged depending on what I have going on that evening.  With kids, you do what you can when you can.  If I have a choice though,  though, I love homemade better than anything.  I grew up eating good homemade food from just about every culture I can think of.  From southern food to food from the far east, I have a taste for it all. Can I borrow Shauna by the way?

Review of A Story To Kill :

Author, Cat Latimer, wants to open up a monthly writer’s retreat where writers of all walks of life and styles can get away for a week and focus on their writing. After acquiring back her beautiful home in Colorado in the will of her ex-husband, she turns the home into just that. But, not everything is going according to plan as one of the authors die during the retreat and secrets from the past start to come out of the woodwork itself. Between rekindling an old romance and discovering secrets the home holds, Cat is finding it hard to concentrate on making the retreat the relaxing refuge it was meant to be.

I never knew it took so much quiet to be a writer. I could feel Cat struggling with all the chaos around her. I am not sure if all writers are introverts, but Cat feels like one to me. Maybe she was not always though. I am still left with so many unanswered questions. I am intrigued by the personalities that Lynn throws together at this retreat for Cat and her best friend and co-owner, Shauna, to deal with. What a great team they make.

The book was interlaced with suspense, humor and inside information about being a writer that the reader will be able to chew on. I believe Lynn was trying to give us a sneak peak at her and other writer’s lives and what they go through, minus the dead body of course. I loved how one of the characters, even though in peril, uses the opportunity to research for her next book while being locked away in jail. How cheeky this character is. She might have been my favorite because when she first comes onto the scene at the first of the book, I did indeed blush a bit and might have lost my coffee. Oh Lynn!

I don’t see how anyone could not enjoy this journey with these writers, professors and the mystery they are all involved in together. And, this book is just the beginning as we are left with unanswered questions at the end. Come now book two. Out with you!

“To the Warm Springs Writers Retreat. May it survive, thrive and prosper.”

–A Story To Kill

Buy NOW!

—>WIN an AUDIOBOOK from LYNN and BTB<—–

About the Author:

Lynn Cahoon is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Tourist Trap Cahoonmystery series, including Guidebook to Murder, Mission to Murder, A Shoe to Kill, Dressed to Kill, Killer Run, Murder on Wheels, and Tea Cups and Carnage (releasing June 2016) She’s also the author of the Cat Latimer mystery series with the first book, A Story to Kill releasing August 2016. Guidebook to Murder won the 2015 Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction.

She’s an active member of MORWA (local RWA chapter), MWA, and International Thriller Writers.

Lynn’s contemporary romance series, The Bull Rider Series, includes The Bull Rider’s Brother, The Bull Rider’s Manager, and The Bull Rider’s Keeper (a 2015 RONE finalist.) She is also the author of The Council Series — A Member of the Council, Return of the Fae (a 2014 RONE finalist), and The Salem Gathering. The Castle View series, includes Wild Hearts and Roadside Attraction. The third book in the series, Project Detour, will be released Summer 2016.

Terror In Taffeta by Marla Cooper

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“Maybe I should have been a funeral planner instead…”

Kelsey McKenna is a wedding coordinator by most standards. She schedules the church or beach for the big day, destination of the couple’s dreams, helps with the dresses and even deters some of the drama every wedding party is bound to have. It’s a piece of wedding cake, as she has seen and done and seen it all. Not so fast there.   At her most recent ceremony held in the beautiful San Miguel de Allende, Kelsey never imagined she would be responsible for handling the mystery of a death, make that two.  The worst part?  The mother of the bride is the one holding her to it. That’s what she’s paid for, right?

Terror in Taffeta is just that, one terror and problem after another and poor Kelsey is the one who is having to do all the foot work with absolutely no thanks from the horrid mother of the bride. I loved hating the character of Mrs. Abernathy.  She was haughty, cold, filthy rich and the perfect mother-zilla in this story. Kelsey and Mrs. Abernathy butt heads the entire book. It’s gets pretty ridiculous.  I kept waiting for Kelsey to take her out.  I found myself saying this aloud while reading.  (My husband just looked at me strangely and let me be.)  Thank goodness for Kelsey’s best friend and photographer, Brody. This dynamic duo work their magic to not only get into more trouble but to eventually solve a very complex mystery. And, Kelsey might have a love interest along the way, maybe.  That’s up in the air several times.  I’m not sure what to make of him honestly.  You’ll see what I mean.

I am not a big fan of weddings or wedding stories. There I said it. I worked as a wedding photographer for many years after college. I know how crazy they can be and so when I first saw this was about weddings, I was cautious. Well, I am so glad I read this because Marla’s writing style and voice made me laugh, cover my mouth with shock and scratch my head many times. The sarcasm and humor in this is amazing. I love it. There was never a moment where I was bored or wishing I was reading something else. I could relate to the crazy family members brought up in this. Oh, Mrs. Abernathy…..Bless her heart.

Marla did a great job making me look another direction while she was hiding the real murderer in another location. The plot twists were fantastic and kept me guessing. Honestly, it would be hard for another wedding coordinator book to top this. Kelsey is amazing and I just might want to hang out with her and snap a few shots with Brody.  Now where is my SLR?

Buy “Terror In Taffeta” :http://amzn.to/2bcXUdu

About the Author

MARLA COOPER was astonished when, at the age of 18, she realized people could actually get paid to write things. So she switched her major from business to advertising—much to the relief of her accounting professor—and began her career as an advertising copywriter. She later became a freelancer so she could take advantage of perks like working in her pajamas, and now she writes a little bit of everything. It was while she was ghostwriting a book on destination weddings that she found inspiration for her first novel, Terror in Taffeta. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.