Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Book Review: Poisoned Prose by Ellery Adams

Title: Poisoned Prose
Author: Ellery Adams
Series: Book 5, Books by the Bay Mysteries
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley Prime Crime
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Reviewed by: Tess
Purchase from Amazon.

Summary from Amazon:
When Olivia Limoges and other Oyster Bay patrons of the arts sponsor a retreat for famous storytellers, one of them is going to have a very unhappy ending…

Olivia thought gathering some of the most renowned storytellers in one place would be a nice, simple way for herself and the Bayside Book Writers to appreciate their talents. But things take a dark turn when the most famous storyteller in the nation—the captivating performer Violetta Devereaux—announces onstage that she will meet her end in Oyster Bay.

When Violetta is discovered murdered after the show, everyone involved with the retreat becomes a suspect. There are rumors that Violetta, who grew up in extreme poverty in the Appalachian Mountains, possessed an invaluable treasure. Now Chief Rawlings and the Bayside Book Writers must work at a frenzied pace to solve the crime before someone closes the book on them.

Our Review:
It is always so nice to touch base with Olivia and the writer's club. Captain Havaland, the beautiful poodle, adds charm all of his own to the story. Dixie, the lovable owner/waitress of the local diner, is still her charming self, dressed in roller skates, striped socks and tutus.

Ellery Adams is one of my favorite authors, she writes this series and also the Charmed Pie Shoppeseries under the name of Ellery Adams. Under the name of J.B. Stanley, she writes the Supper Club books and also the Collectible Mysteries. I have read all of Ellery's books and have enjoyed them very much. If I had to chose a favorite series, I would pick the Collectible Mysteries, just because I love antiques and the hunt for them. If you plan to buy a new book, and who doesn't, please try one of Ellery's.

My Best Books of 2013

I wasn't planning on posting a "Best Books of 2013". Why? Because I read lots of amazing books this year and I find it hard to pick just a Top 10. However, there are many books and authors that deserve recognition, so I'm doing this albeit a little differently.

I discovered audiobooks late 2012, but 2013 was really the year that rocked my ears. I discovered many new authors and narrators thanks to audiobooks. Here are my Top 5 books and narrators for audios.

The Witchcraft Mysteries by Juliet Blackwell and narrated by Xe Sands.
Xe Sands brings this series alive and if you only get to listen to one cozy mystery series on audio in 2014 definitely let it be this one.

Before I was a mystery-nerd I was a Dune-nerd and I read this series every year. I opted to listen to it this year and found that narrators Euan Morton, Katherine Kellgren, Scott Brick, and Simon Vance truly added a new love for me to this series. This was really my first introduction to Scott Brick and Simon Vance and I plan to listen to more books narrated by them.

Laini Taylor published one of my favorite YA fantasy series in 2012 and Khristine Hvam zoomed into my Top 5 narrators with her narration of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight and more recently Night of Cake and Puppets. She has a unique voice that I love.

Penelope Keith! I think that's all I need to say. I was raised on british comedy and I loved her in "To The Manor Born". Finding out that she narrated a british cozy mystery series was like finding gold. She will forever be the voice of Agatha Raisin for me, and I love what she brings to this cozy mystery series.

I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan. I'm also a Black Adder fan. Finding out that Tony Robinson (who plays Baldrick in Black Adder) was narrating Raising Steam. Well I had high expectations and thankfully he delivered. This was a fun audio and I hope Tony Robinson narrates more books by Terry Pratchett.

Every month Kensington, Penguin (Berkley Prime Crime) and many more publishers put out new cozy mystery series, and like a reader with a addiction I flock to them. So here are my Top 10 new series that I discovered in 2013. 

Ghosts! Sisters and a whole lot of murder. I'm so glad Lizbeth Lipperman wrote this story. It spoke volumes to me as a only child that always wondered what it would be like to have that many sisters. This is going to be a great series.

An Irish Mystery! Sheila Connolly, I adore you for this. I love British mysteries and I found this one so adorable with all it small town wonderful-ness (yes that is a word, I just made it up!)

Ghosts! Yarn! I read this and instantly wanted to move into the "Thank Goodness It's Fiber" shop. This was a great mystery.

Cookbooks and Cats! This was a great debut and I'm hoping its the start of a really long series as this first one was so fun.

I discovered Amish Mysteries in 2012 and I was thrilled to discover this series in 2013. I'm learning that Amish Mysteries are definitely my thing.

I don't think I've laughed so hard reading a cozy mystery before. The Goddaughter was so funny, and its sequel was even funnier!

Food! Good food! Amazing food! Death Al Dente appealed to my tastebuds and I plan to read the next book in the series.

Pies and Prejudice was one of my very favorite books of the year. This series is pure magic!

Sid the Skeleton completely stole my heart in this series. Sid and the whole family were so wonderful and I really thing this series is going somewhere big and definitely deserves a spot in my Top 10.

Agatha Christie! This mystery was full of books and mysteries and Agatha Christie and this series is now on my must-read list.

Okay so that's my Top 15 really. I read a lot of mysteries in 2013 and I listened to a lot of audiobooks. Due a ongoing illness I'm only going to be listening to audios in 2014. However I don't think I will be missing out since there are so many cozy mysteries on audio and I plan to listen to a lot of Agatha Christie's. My fellow reviewers, Tina, Tess, Melina and Anna will be reviewing lots of ebooks and paperbacks, so I'm pretty sure together we have all our bases covered!

Now at the end of this post I want to add a big THANK YOU. Personally 2013 was a tough year for me. It was also a great year. I discovered new authors and interacted with so many fantastic cozy mystery readers. I took a two month break for health reasons and I was thrilled that four devoted readers were willing to help me get the blog back up and running. I couldn't have done this without my readers though. So many emailed and messaged me and encouraged to get back to blogging and I'm so thankful for the motivation. Thank you to each of you and I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years celebration and I look forward to 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Review: Cat-Eye Witness by Patricia Fry

Title: Cat-Eye Witness
Author: Patricia Fry
Series: A Klepto Cat Mystery
Publisher: Matilija Press
Format: eBook
Source: Received for Review from Author
Reviewed by: Tess

Savannah Jordan opens her beautiful home and gardens to the Hammond Cat Alliance, who is hosting a charity event, to benefit neglected and abused horses. Money that has been raised has mysteriously disappears. Who and why would anyone steal money that has been earmarked for the horses? How did they gain entrance to the bedroom where the money was placed? Who knew where the money was, except Savannah's friend Iris? Did Iris fake the burglary, or was it one of the many other guests who was in attendance? Who might have witnessed the theft?

Rags, Savannah's cat, seems to be the only one that was around at the time. Too bad cats can't speak, he would have made and excellent witness. Not only did Rags possibly see the theft , but did he also witness the murder that takes place? Who was the man that was murdered? How did he gain entrance to the bedroom that used to belong to Savannah's aunt? How was he murdered? Why was he murdered? What else might happen to ruin this fund raiser?

Savannah and her fiance Michael, along with Iris, set out to "help" the police solve the case, even though they were told not to. Soon they discover that key items are missing from the scene of the murder, who and how did this happen? What part did Rags play in this? Why were the police so interested in Iris's oldest son? So many questions, and not many answers.

I was happy to have been given this book to review. I had not read the first book, but was glad that this series didn't have to be read in order. Cozy mystery lovers should enjoy this book, as well as the first book, Catnapped, and the upcoming book, Sleight of Paw. Cat lovers, horse lovers, and animal lovers will enjoy this tale.

Book Review: Murder She Barked by Krista Davis

Title: Murder She Barked
Author: Krista Davis
Series: Book 1, Paws and Claws Mystery
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley Prime Crime
Format: Paperback
Source: Received for Review from Author
Reviewed by: Tina

When Holly Miller loses her job, she feels like a dog without a bone. Her boyfriend's ex girlfriend is nosing her way back into his life. Holly then receives a call that changes her life, Her grandmother is in trouble so Holly hurries to rush to be by her side in Wagstail, Virginia to her grandmother, Oma's inn. Along the way Holly meets up with a lost Jack Russel Terrier, whom Holly rescues and grudgingly takes with her.

When Holly gets there she discovers that Wagstail and her Oma's Sugar Maple Inn has changed into a world where they cater to animals, The Jack Russel Terrier who Holly affectionately name's, Trixie and takes under her wing, Holly finds that an employee is murdered and her Oma is the alleged victim. Then the Mayor turns up dead in his home and Holly along with her furry friends that live in the inn and some humans try to piece together who would have in for her beloved Oma, As they all wonder who the killer is and try to discover who could want Oma dead they could only wonder who will end up in the dog house.

I love Krista's "Domestic Diva" mysteries and when I first saw this book I knew I would love it and when I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it. I was thrilled when I received it to review. Krista has a way of drawing you into her books, like they are worlds within themselves and you feel like you are part of that world. Like her Domestic Diva mysteries it didn't fail to do that with her characters and picturesque settings. I can't wait for the second book in this series. I'm sure readerswill feel the same if they open up a book by Krista Davis, and that's why I read her books and you should too.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book Review: Murder in the Rue Dumas by M.L. Longworth

Title: Murder in the Rue Dumas
Author: M.L. Longworth
Series: Book 2 of Verlaque and Bonnet Provencal Mysteries
Publisher: Penguin
Format: eBook
Source: Received for Review from Publisher
Reviewed by: Anna
Purchase from Amazon.

Judge Verlaque has another mystery on his hands. This time, its the director of the theology department at the university in Aix found dead. Professor Moutte was about to announce who won the fellowship and replacement of his position of Director. Verlaque has a long list of suspects in mind, including those that could have won the fellowship, and starts to investigate.

I love european mysteries. It goes back to my other love of French food, especially French cheese.Earlier this year I discovered the first book in this series, Death at the Chateau Bremont, and I really enjoyed the first book. I enjoyed watching Judge Verlaque solve the mystery and was looking forward to more books in the series.

The second book in this series was even better than the first and left me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who killed Professor Moutte. The mystery was well crafted and the food and people, oh my! Let's just say I think I need to hop on the first flight to Aix-en-Provence to experience it for myself.

If you're looking for a new, tantalizing series to try this winter, I recommend picking up this lovely French cozy mystery series.

Cozy Mystery Book Club in January, 2014


In 2014 we are bringing back our Cozy Mystery Book Club and we're pleased to announce that our January author is Ellery Adams.

Ellery writes the Books by the Bay Mysteries and the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries. As J.B. Stanley she writes the Supper Club Mysteries.

Books by the Bay Mysteries:
1. A Killer Plot
Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries:
1. Pie and Prejudice
2. Peach Pies and Alibis
3. Pecan Pies and Homicide (January 7, 2014 release)
Supper Club Mysteries:
1. Carbs & Cadavers
2. Fit to Die
3. Chili Con Corpse
4. Stiffs and Swine
5. The Battered Body
6. Black Beans and Vice
Collectible Mysteries:
1. A Killer Collection
2. A Fatal Appraisal
3. A Deadly Dealer

Want to join in the fun? If you've started any of these series, then join in the discussion in January. If you haven't read any of these books why no start with Pies and Prejudice or A Killer Plot and take part in the discussion.

Ellery Adams will be stopping by to answer any questions and she's kindly donated a fantastic prize of a Charming Apron, Enchanted Lotion sets, and signed books. Additionally we will also be giving away a prize to one person who joins in the discussion as well. 

So grab your books and get ready to join us with Ellery Adams for the Cozy Mystery Book Club.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Season Greetings from the A Prairie Girl Reads Team

From the team here at A Prairie Girl Reads we hope all our readers and authors have a fantastic holiday season filled with lots of books, especially all those mysteries we love. Have a safe and happy holiday and we will back tomorrow with reviews and details about the January Cozy Mystery Book Club.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: Staged to Death by Karen Rose Smith

Title: Staged to Death
Author: Karen Rose Smith
Series: Book 1, Caprice de Luca Mysteries
Publisher: Kensington
Format: Paperback
Source: Received for Review from Publisher
Reviewed by: Tess

What a delightful new series! There isn't a better time to be releasing a book about home staging.

Meet Caprice De Luca home stager and all around nice person. Caprice is in the midst of staging a home for a high school friend Roz and her husband Ted Winslow. Roz and Ted are putting their home on the market, so they have hired Caprice to work her magic, before their open house so their home will show better.

What Caprice didn't expect was the murder of Ted shortly after the open house. Caprice and Roz find his body in his own "sword room" where his priceless collection of antique swords and knives are displayed. Bad enough to find his body, but he had been murdered with one of his own pieces.

Of course, the cops start to believe, that what is true in many cases, may apply in this case. They always look at the spouse first. Caprice convinces Roz to stay with her for a while, at least until the murderer is caught. Caprice does not believe that her friend is guilty of murder, Roz would never kill the husband that she loved so much. Caprice decides that the only way to prove Roz innocent is to give the police the real killer.

With all the home shows now on television, the publisher was very wise to release it now. This book will delight cozy readers, and also home decorators. Karen will soon find a place for herself at the top in this much loved genre.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Review: Four Play by Cindy Blackburn

Title: Four Play
Author: Cindy Blackburn
Series: Book 4 of Cue Ball Mysteries
Publisher: Amazon Digital Editions
Format: eBook
Source: Received for Review from Author
Reviewed by: Tess

Book Four in this series, Foul Play, a cue ball mystery, caught my interest just like the first three books did. Jessie has finally become engaged to Wilson, but will not commit to a wedding date. Jessie would much rather concentrate on the newest book she is writing, A Singular Seduction, which has hit a wall.

Jessie agrees to loan her car, her precious Porsche, to young Frankie, to take his girl friend, Lizzie, out for the evening. But how does a well liked teacher end up dead, at the school, and on top of the Porsche? Of course Jessie will not keep her nose out of this murder. At the insistence of the girl's mother and the school superintendent Jessie begins to dig where she shouldn't.

With Jessie's nemesis, reporter Jimmy Beak and local coffee shop owner Alistar Pritt, staging a demonstration in front of her home, Jessie sets out to prove the innocence of Frankie and Lizzie and to help the police, whether they want it or not, solve the case. If you're looking for a quick read this may be the series for you to pick up.

Cindy Blackburn writes with humor and compassion, and just the right touch of the local pool hall thrown in.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Review: Lending a Paw by Laurie Cass

Title: Lending a Paw
Author: Laurie Cass
Series: Book 1 of a Bookmobile Cat Mystery
Publisher: Penguin, Signet
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Reviewed by: Tina
Purchase from Amazon.

Books and cats.... what bibliophile and animal lover could not love them, not me for one and neither could librarian, Minnie Hamilton in the first book of a bookmobile cat mystery. She stumbles upon a stray cat whom she names Eddie and his antics throughout the book had me in stitches. Minnie dreams of getting a bookmobile for the library up and running but with limited funds to do so, she turns to Stan Larabee, richest business man in town and not well liked. On the very first run of the bookmobile Minnie finds that Eddie snuck on the bookmobile and is loved by all the patrons that come aboard.

Eddie then daringly jumps off the bookmobile and Minnie then finds him an abandoned farmhouse along with too Minnie's surprise the body of a murdered, Stan Larabee. It seems Minnie is the only person that has seen the good in Stan as the townspeople even the police don't seem to be taking the murder seriously, so Minnie decides to take justice into her own hands and tries to find who killed Stan. Stan having had the reputation of a bad business man had alot of people out for his blood.

Eddie seemed to have a sixth sense of when Minnie was in trouble and the way that Minnie and Eddie interacted in the book kept me reading, I often find myself talking to my cats the way she did and I found it comical the similarities between Minnie and Eddie and myself and my cats. I love to read first in a new series books because of the promise of a new series, new characters, and a new storylines and this book didn't disappoint especially if you love books and cats like I do !!!

And in the wise words of Eddie "Mrrr".

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: Merry Market Murder by Paige Shelton

Title: Merry Market Murder
Author: Paige Shelton
Series: Book 5, Farmer's Market Mysteries
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley Prime Crime
Format: e-Book
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Reviewed by: Melina

Publisher's Summary:
Bailey’s Farmers’ Market is this season’s go-to holiday destination, but not all the vendors are feeling the Christmas spirit...

Jam and preserve maker Becca Robins is excited about the extra business that the Ridgeway Christmas Tree Farm is bringing to the market this holiday season. But when a competing tree farmer, Reggie Stuckey, arrives with a truck full of trees, angrily barking that he has exclusive selling rights at the market, Becca finds herself pining for more goodwill toward men.

After Reggie is found with a tree stake in his chest, she wonders when the Christmas tree business turned so deadly. Now Becca has to use the only clues she has to the killer’s identity—mysterious ornaments that begin to show up in her stall—to hook a sinister Scrooge who will go to any lengths to drive home a point…

Our Review:
This was my first visit to Bailey’s Farmers Market, but it sure won’t be my last. I would actually like to visit Bailey’s Farmers Market for real, I just hope there wouldn’t be a murder if I did get to visit. I don’t know if I would like Becca’s Jalapeno Mint Jelly or not, as I don’t like jalapenos, but I would try her other preserves.

This was a very good cozy that kept me guessing till the very end. It was filled with quirky characters. Two rival Christmas tree farmers claim they had the exclusive rights to sell their trees at Bailey’s for the Christmas season. When Reggie Stuckey, one of the Christmas tree farmers, is found dead in the back of his truck, Becca goes all out to help her boyfriend, policeman Sam, to solve the crime. The two uncover a lot of secrets from the past, including two failed marriages and a politician who walked away from her office. Throw in the town of Monson getting ready for their annual Christmas tree parade and Becca is very busy indeed. This cozy kept me intrigued and I kind of suspected the killer, but wasn’t quite sure, it left me guessing for sure. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a great holiday read that is also a great cozy mystery.

Day 12 of 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas Giveaway


It's the 12th day of our 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas giveaway event. Over the previous 11 days we've given away some awesome cozy mysteries and we will draw winners tomorrow. However, for today we have something special. Amazon is our favorite place to buy both paperback and Kindle books, so we are giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card today.

Have you already finished your Christmas shopping? Then why not spoil yourself with some cozy mysteries for yourself or anything else that you might like at Amazon.

To enter:
1. Complete this form. This is our final giveaway for this event so there will be no bonus entries, just one simple entry.
2. Giveaway ends on December 21 at midnight.
3. Giveaway is open international and will be delivered by Amazon.com.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Day 11 of 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas Giveaway


It's the 11th day of our 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas giveaway event. Check out the two fantastic cozies that you could win today.


At a local Chinese restaurant, it's the owner who gets taken out...

Most folks aren’t forced by court order to attend a library-book discussion group, but that’s just what happens to B and B proprietor and ex-Manhattanite Bea Cartwright, hippy cat lover Chandra Morrisey, and winery owner Kate Wilder after a small-town magistrate has had enough of their squabbling. South Bass, an island on Lake Erie, is home to an idyllic summer resort, but these three ladies keep disturbing the peace.

The initial book choice is Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, and that sets their mouths to watering. The Orient Express is the island’s newest Chinese restaurant. They might not agree about much, but the ladies all love the orange chicken on the menu. But their meal is spoiled when the restaurant’s owner, Peter Chan, has the bad fortune of getting murdered. Now, with Christie as their inspiration, the League of Literary Ladies has a real mystery to solve…if they can somehow catch a killer without killing each other first.[summary via Amazon]


Murder is nothing novel for the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society—but this time the police want to throw the book at one of their own…

It’s time to celebrate when club member Molly Mathews’s childhood friend, Teensy Coldicutt, moves back to town—complete with a published book. But as the club plans Teensy’s book launch, Molly is attacked and Teensy’s books are stolen. Who would be so desperate for 150 copies of a sexy novel written by an elderly widow? Then Ashton Corners is hit with another shock when Teensy’s publisher turns up dead—and fellow club member and former police chief Bob Miller is taken into custody.

Convinced that Teensy’s missing books hold the key to the murder, Lizzie Turner and her band of readers are determined to hunt them down. But the plot thickens when their search leads them straight into a counterfeiting ring. Now they must unravel this surprise twist before the killer gets the chance to write someone else off…[summary via Amazon]

To enter:
1. Complete this form. Bonus entries will be given for sharing the giveaway and following via social media.
2. Giveaway ends on December 21 at midnight.
3. Giveaway is open internationally and all books will be delivered via Book Depository.
Disclaimer: All books have been purchased (not donated) thanks to authors that have supported this site via advertising throughout this year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day 10 of 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas Giveaway


It's the 10th day of our 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas giveaway event. Check out the two fantastic cozies that you could win today.


Trying to escape her overbearing mother, vintage kitchenware enthusiast and soon-to-be columnist Jaymie Leighton retreats to her family’s cottage on Heartbreak Island. While there she hopes to write an article about the Ice House restaurant, owned by good friends and neighbors, siblings Ruby and Garnet Redmond. Once an actual icehouse, the restaurant is charmingly decorated with antique tools of the trade, including a collection of ice picks.

One night, while working on her article, Jaymie overhears an argument and, ever the sleuth, sets out to explore. But when she stumbles upon a dead body her blood runs cold. It’s Urban Dobrinskie, whose feud with the Redmonds is no secret, and he’s got an ice pick through his heart. Now Jaymie’s got to sharpen her sleuthing skills to chip away at the mystery and prove her neighbors’ innocence—before someone else gets picked off…[summary via Amazon]


Allie McMurphy is up to her neck in renovations at the grand old hotel that's been in her family for generations. With its quaint Victorian charm - and world-famous fudge shop - the place is one of Mackinac Island's most beloved landmarks. Sure, every family has a skeleton or two in the closet. But Allie didn't expect to find an actual corpse inside hers, especially one Joe Jessup, who had a long-running feud with her dear departed grandfather. Which makes Allie the number-one suspect. Can she sniff out the culprit before another victim checks in?[summary via Amazon]

To enter:
1. Complete this form. Bonus entries will be given for sharing the giveaway and following via social media.
2. Giveaway ends on December 21 at midnight.
3. Giveaway is open internationally and all books will be delivered via Book Depository.
Disclaimer: All books have been purchased (not donated) thanks to authors that have supported this site via advertising throughout this year.

Book Review: Battered to Death by Gayle Trent

Title: Battered to Death
Author: Gayle Trent
Series: Book 4 in A Daphne Martin Cake Mystery
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Reviewed by: Tina
Purchase from Amazon.

Cakes Cakes and more Cakes, that's what Cake Decorator, Daphne Martin lives for, she decides to take a master class from a first class, arrogant celebrity chef, Jordan Richards who came to town for a cake competition and she never dreams what the future has in store for her. With her romance with Ben blooming, she thinks she is living a life as sweet as one of her cakes, when after the first class with Chef Jordan Richards, he is found bashed over the head with his own cake stand and drowned in a bowl of frosting.

Daphne has entered cakes in the competition and so has her niece, Leslie but Ben gets a job offer in Kentucky that Daphne is afraid that he can't say no too because it came from an ex fiance that he was once in love with, with the worry over that and her cakes placing in the competition and winning and the fact that her finger prints and another class mates were found on the cake stand used to kill Chef Jordan Richards, Are Daphne's days of baking cakes over?

As the competition goes on Daphne, Ben and family and friends try to help Daphne find a killer, It seems everyone has a motive to kill Chef Jordan Richards, and everyone is a suspect including Daphne. But they don't stop until the killer is found and brought to justice and their last cake will be baked.

I loved this mystery and how knowledgeable the author seemed to be about cake decoration. I loved also how descriptive and how in detail it went, being a fan of culinary mysteries that's what I loved most about it. It was all about the cakes and the whole process of decoration and the competition itself made it a real page turner, I love cozies with competitions and contests and I love a good murder, what cozy mystery fan doesn't? Can't wait to go back and read the first three books in this series.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: Heartache Motel by Terri L. Austin, LynDee Walker and Larissa Reinhart

Title: Heartache Motel
Author: Terri L Austin, LynDee Walker and Larissa Reinhart
Publisher: Henery Press
Format: eBook
Source: Received for Review from Publisher
Reviewed by: Tess
Purchase from Amazon.

Publisher's Summary:
THREE TIMES THE FUN AND MYSTERY…
Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE)
When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY)
Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.

DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Headline in Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS)
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King's home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight—and the thief's crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.

Our Review:
Terri Austin, Larissa Reinhart and LynDee Walker have a sure fire hit on their hands. They have come together to write 1 book, with each of them delivering their own spin on it. Heartache Motel is set in Memphis very close to Graceland, with each author penning her own characters and lives into one enjoyable book. I have read books by all three authors and was pleased with how this book jumped from one to the other.

In Diners Keepers, Losers Weepers we once again meet up with Ma, Roxy, Rose and Axton in a delightful romp through Memphis and Graceland. We should not be surprised that we are into twists and turns with this bunch of adorable people. I love Terri's characters and was happy to be an ARC for this book.

In Quick Sketch Larissa, once again reunites us with Cherry and her friend hunky Todd, no Sullivan this time, which is probably a good thing, what with all the lovely "ladies" who inhabit Heartache Motel. Cherry and Todd end up in Memphis, on their way from Halo, Ga. to Las Vegas. A stop where once again, Cherry can't help not to get involved with another mystery.

Dateline Memphis, finds Nichelle and her loveable toy Pomeranian, Darcy stopping for just one night at the Heartache. Nichelle realizes that crime reporting has no bonds and is soon smack dab in the middle of a lock-down while on a quick trip to Graceland, when a belt once worn by Elvis disappears from the museum while it is packed with sightseers. How this happened, and who is involved leaves Nichelle on a mission that gets more complicated ad time goes by.

I loved the premise of the book and was happy to once again meet up with old friends from each of these authors. Each author kept up with the secondary players of the other authors in such a way that I never felt confused at all. Good job ladies, is there more like this to come in the future?

Day 9 of 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas Giveaway


It's the 9th day of our 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas giveaway event. Check out the two fantastic cozies that you could win today.


Jordan Kelly is delighted to make money tracking down rare and valuable mystery novels for her employer, Vera Van Alst, an avid collector and the most difficult woman in Harrison Falls, New York. But now her boss’s complete set of Dorothy Sayers is missing, and finding them may lead Jordan to a murder suitable for Sayers’s esteemed sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey…

When Jordan manages to locate her boss’s missing books, they are in the possession of Randolph Adams, an elderly man in a nearby town. Offering a valuable Hemingway first edition as an incentive, Jordan thinks she’s about to seal the deal—but some of Randolph’s relatives think he should hold out for more.

Then the entire family disappears—and a dead body shows up. It’s up to Jordan to collect the clues—and make sure a killer gets booked.[summary via Amazon]


When Olivia Limoges and other Oyster Bay patrons of the arts sponsor a retreat for famous storytellers, one of them is going to have a very unhappy ending…

Olivia thought gathering some of the most renowned storytellers in one place would be a nice, simple way for herself and the Bayside Book Writers to appreciate their talents. But things take a dark turn when the most famous storyteller in the nation—the captivating performer Violetta Devereaux—announces onstage that she will meet her end in Oyster Bay.

When Violetta is discovered murdered after the show, everyone involved with the retreat becomes a suspect. There are rumors that Violetta, who grew up in extreme poverty in the Appalachian Mountains, possessed an invaluable treasure. Now Chief Rawlings and the Bayside Book Writers must work at a frenzied pace to solve the crime before someone closes the book on them.[summary via Amazon]

To enter:
1. Complete this form. Bonus entries will be given for sharing the giveaway and following via social media.
2. Giveaway ends on December 21 at midnight.
3. Giveaway is open internationally and all books will be delivered via Book Depository.
Disclaimer: All books have been purchased (not donated) thanks to authors that have supported this site via advertising throughout this year.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Day 8 of 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas Giveaway


It's the 8th day of our 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas giveaway event. Check out the two fantastic cozies that you could win today.


Welcome to Kismet, PA, where home stager Caprice De Luca helps her clients shine in a lackluster real estate market--and where someone may only be in the market for murder. . .

Caprice De Luca has successfully parlayed her skills as an interior designer into a thriving home staging business. So when her old high school friend Roz Winslow asks her to spruce up her mess of a mansion to perk up a slow buyer's market, Caprice is more than happy to share her skills. But when Roz's husband Ted is found skewered by one of his sword room's prized possessions, it appears the Winslows may have a few skeletons in their palatial closets. With the stage set for murder, Caprice will discover she can track down an antique tapestry and a cold-blooded killer with equal aplomb--as long as she's not the next victim. . .[summary via Amazon]



THREE TIMES THE FUN AND MYSTERY…

Elvis has left the building, but he’s forever memorialized at the Heartache Motel. Filled with drag queens, Rock-a-Hula cocktails, and a vibrating velveteen bed, these three novellas tell the tales of three amateur sleuths who spend their holidays at the King’s beloved home.

DINERS KEEPERS, LOSERS WEEPERS by Terri L. Austin
A Rose Strickland Mystery Novella (follows DINER IMPOSSIBLE)
When Rose and the gang head to Graceland right before Christmas, they get all shook up: the motel is a seedy dump and an Elvis impersonator turns up dead. Rose discovers missing jewels tie into the death and her suspicious mind flips into overdrive, questioning her fellow guests, the staff, and even a cute impersonator who keeps popping up. Will Rose be able to find the murderer and get home by Christmas day? It’s now or never.

QUICK SKETCH by Larissa Reinhart
A Cherry Tucker Mystery Novella (prequel to PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY)
Sassy Southern artist Cherry Tucker and her poker-loving boyfriend, Todd, pop into Memphis to help Todd’s cousin who’s been hustled out of his savings, right before Christmas. Staying at the shady Heartache Motel, Cherry can’t tell a shill from a mark and fears everyone is playing them for chumps. Cherry and Todd quickly find themselves in a dangerous sting that could send them to the slammer or mark them as pigeons from cons looking for an even bigger score.

DATELINE MEMPHIS by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Headline in Heels Mystery Novella (follows BURIED LEADS)
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke thinks she’s going home for Christmas. But a quick stop at Graceland proves news breaks in the strangest places. When the King's home gets locked down with Nichelle inside, she chases this headline into the national spotlight—and the thief's crosshairs. Christmas dreams of blue suede Manolos fade, and all Nichelle wants from Santa is to land the story before the thief cuts off her news feed for good.[summary via Amazon]

To enter:
1. Complete this form. Bonus entries will be given for sharing the giveaway and following via social media.
2. Giveaway ends on December 21 at midnight.
3. Giveaway is open internationally and all books will be delivered via Book Depository.
Disclaimer: All books have been purchased (not donated) thanks to authors that have supported this site via advertising throughout this year.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Spotlight & Giveaway with Pete Prown, author of Thimble Down

Today I'd like to welcome Pete Prown to the blog. Pete is the author of Thimble Down.

Thimble Down, by Pete Prown, is a fantasy adventure novel, written to challenge and engage young adults ages 10 to 18. The book is recommended for readers who enjoy The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, The Wind in the Willows, Redwall, Artemis Fowl, and other timeless tales set in landscapes and cultures that bring to mind England, Ireland, Scotland, and the British Isles.

Thimble Down is a country village where death and malice lurk the quiet lanes. When the vile, drunken Bing Rumple acquires a gem-laden treasure, violence begins to follow him everywhere. Where did Bing find such a precious jewel, and worse, is someone willing to kill to possess it? In this fast-paced adventure, the village bookmaster, Mr. Dorro, and his young companions Wyll Underfoot and Cheeryup Tunbridge are in a desperate race to find the answer—before death comes to Thimble Down.

Thimble Down is the first book in the “Chronicles of Dorro” young adult mystery series, which follows Dorro, Wyll, and Cheeryup, on their exciting, but dangerous, mystery adventures.

Reviews for Thimble Down:
“A fun read. Choose your favorite chair and settle down for a lighthearted, fast-paced tale of thievery and intrigue in the faraway and long ago village of Thimble Down. You’ll meet some unlikely heroes among the town’s inhabitants, the “Halflings,” who love a good mystery almost–but not quite–as much as they enjoy their creature comforts. This book is part mystery and part fantasy with a tasty smattering of cooking, gardening, and fishing tips thrown in. Enjoy!”

“Perfect for the tween in your life. Ordered this book for my twin, 12 y/o nephews for Christmas and they both devoured it. Can’t wait for the next one!”

Thimble Down is available on Amazon | iBooks and Barnes & Noble .

Pete Prown is a noted American writer of Young Adult fantasy books, as well as a magazine and book editor, and journalist. He’s written both fiction and non-fiction books, including THIMBLE DOWN and a series of instructional titles about guitars. Also a talented musician and recording artist, his Guitar Garden music is available on CDBaby.com and iTunes. For more information, go to http://peteprown.com/.
* * * * *


Now for a EXTRACT to give readers a taste of Thimble Down:

The next morning, Bing Rumple was in full stride. He’d been walking in and out of shops, a chop house, pony stables, and many of the other burrows and houses that composed the center of Thimble Down, bragging about his exploits in the east. With his brother Farroot and Bill Thistle following him like a pair of leering weasels, Bing was enjoying his moment in the sun.
“How do you kill a ferocious goblin?” A youngling had just asked him this very question, and now he was preparing a grandly entertaining response. “Why, you can do it many ways, my boy-o,” he said in a tough voice, but trying to stifle a grin. “You can stick him in the throat with an arrow at fifty paces, or sneak up from behind and garrote the bugger with a sturdy piece of rope. Me, I generally just cut ‘em to pieces with this elvish saber. Look!” he said, drawing the glimmering blade out of his scabbard, “you can even see bits of dried, black goblin blood, and burnt flesh in the crevices.” At this, the Halfling children screamed with a mix of fright and glee and ran off to tell their horrified mothers. Bing and his pals roared with laughter.
As he expected, most people in Thimble Down had never even seen a goblin or troll up close. “What do they look like? Do they have bloody fangs?” asked young Tom Talbo, quivering with delight. Bing seemed to think for a moment before replying, “Oh course they do, young sir. And they have large bulbous eyes, thick grey-green or black skin covered with festering sores, long muscled arms, and meaty hands with claws on the end. They are fearsome to be sure, and if you get too close, they can shred yer intestines in a mere flash.” Bing embellished his tale each time someone asked. He’d never been a celebrity before, and he rather liked it.
“The worst of it was when me ‘n’ the lads were trapped with an elfin hunting party, pinned down by about a hundred and fifty goblins that outnumbered us mightily,” he rambled on. “We were on the top of a small bluff with goblins and trolls all around us. The elves fought valiantly, but we saved the day. Let me tell you the whole story.”
“Ya see, goblins hate fire, and by a stroke of fortune, the top of the bluff was covered with dry, dead brambles and bushes. So I braved a rain of goblin arrows and ran over to the elf chieftain. I said, ‘Toldir’—that was his name—‘go ask yer men to gather all the brush and big rocks possible, and arrange them on rim,’ I says. Of course, Toldir got pretty steamed at me for calling his warriors Men, because of course, elves ain’t Men and Men ain’t elves, if you reckon my meaning. But in the heat o’ battle, these things happen. Anyway, the elves did as I asked, and soon the entire edge of our bluff was ringed with brush and big boulders. I’ll hand it to them elves—they are strong and can move quick-like, especially in a pinch.”
“As a further stroke of luck, the elfin hunters had leatherskin bags filled with deer and musk oil from their recent kills, which we used to drench the brush. At Toldir’s command, the oil was lit afire, creating a massive inferno around the perimeter. I gave a shout of ‘Heave-ho!’ and we used sticks and logs to push the big rocks and flaming brush over the lip and down onto the enemy, who were stricken with terror. Those goblins that weren’t killed outright by the boulders and stones were hit with the flaming brambles and verily burst into flames. And any demons that escaped this hell were soundly stuck with deadly elvish arrows or, might I modestly say, by the edge of my sword as we charged down the hill to destroy the enemy. With the goblins either dead or in complete disarray, our troop was able to escape and rejoin the larger elf forces to fight another day.”
“Huzzah! Hurrah for Bing!” applauded his audience. Bing, Farroot, and Bill tossed handfuls of pennies into the crowd to curry their favor even more, driving the children mad with joy. Still, some of the older Halflings at the edge of the crowd couldn’t put the image of the sniveling Bing Rumple of yester-year out of their minds. “How could that miserable excuse for a Halfling be such a hero?” they thought. But in general, the village folk were greatly entertained, and this was a great boon to local merchants who hadn’t seen crowds this big since the harvest festival of the previous year. Up and down the hard-packed dirt lanes in Thimble Down, sellers were bringing their wares into the open air, especially pies, cakes, and any variety of dried, candied meats on a stick, which only cost a penny or two and were gobbled down rapturously.
Many in the crowd were also ogling the gem-encrusted brooch pinned on Bing’s left breast. Indeed, more than a few secretly began to covet it. Among them was one Halfling who decided—at that very moment—to steal it.
Even if it meant someone had to die.
© 2013 Pete Prown

Now it's GIVEAWAY time! The publisher has kindly offered one lucky blog reader the chance to win a e-book copy of THIMBLE DOWN.
To enter:
2. There are no additional or complicated entries. 
3. Giveaway is open international and closes on December 18, 2013 at midnight.

Book Review: The Brim Reaper by Diane Vallere

Title: The Brim Reaper
Author: Diane Vallere
Series: A Style & Error Mystery
Publisher: Polyester Press
Format: e-Book
Source: Provided for Review by Publisher/Author
Reviewed by: Tess

Summary from Amazon:
When an over-the-top collection of vintage Hollywood costumes comes to Samantha Kidd’s hometown, it brings a hat box full of hype. Close friend Eddie is in charge of the exhibit but when hype turns to homicide, he turns to Samantha for help. Brimming with good intentions, she loops in the cops, but after one too many cloche calls, she’s soon in over her head. If she can tear the lid off the investigation, it might mean a feather in her fedora. And if she can’t? She might get capped.

Review:
The Brim Reaper was written by Diane Vallere. Although this was the third book in the series, and I have not read the first two, I didn't have any trouble sorting the people out right away. Some series are written so that you have to read them in order, and I was glad to find one that wasn't.
I think that Ms. Vallere has found her place in the cozy mystery home. I liked being taken behind the scenes in the retail business.

Day 7 of 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas Giveaway


It's the 7th day of our 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas giveaway event. Check out the two fantastic cozies that you could win today.

Whose ready to win some cozies?



Bailey’s Farmers’ Market is this season’s go-to holiday destination, but not all the vendors are feeling the Christmas spirit...

Jam and preserve maker Becca Robins is excited about the extra business that the Ridgeway Christmas Tree Farm is bringing to the market this holiday season. But when a competing tree farmer, Reggie Stuckey, arrives with a truck full of trees, angrily barking that he has exclusive selling rights at the market, Becca finds herself pining for more goodwill toward men.

After Reggie is found with a tree stake in his chest, she wonders when the Christmas tree business turned so deadly. Now Becca has to use the only clues she has to the killer’s identity—mysterious ornaments that begin to show up in her stall—to hook a sinister Scrooge who will go to any lengths to drive home a point…[summary via Amazon]


The only thing Eleanor Swift loves more then A Slice of Delight--her Timber Ridge, North Carolina pizzeria--is her sister Maddy. So when Maddy's cheating ex-husband Grant shows up with some pie-in-the-sky idea to win Maddy back, Eleanor is happy to see her sister swiftly show him the door. But they both know Grant isn't done yet. . .

Especially when he picks a fight with Maddy's fiancée Bob in front of the whole town at the annual Founder's Day Festival. Naturally, when Grant is later found stabbed in the heart with a barbeque skewer, Bob is featured on the police chief's menu as Suspect #1. And when it turns out that Maddy stands to gain a different kind of dough--and lots of it--from Grant exiting this world, she and Eleanor know it's up to them to cook up an investigation to find the real killer.

Was it that female singer at the festival who wanted a word with the recently deceased? Or maybe Grant's haughty sister, who's colder then a day-old pizza? Or Grant's "business partner," who seemingly had the opportunity, means, and motive to mortally skewer Maddy's ex-husband? Only one thing is for sure: Eleanor and Maddy need to turn up the heat and deliver this killer. . .or their next scrumptious pizza may be their last![summary via Amazon]

To enter:
1. Complete this form. Bonus entries will be given for sharing the giveaway and following via social media.
2. Giveaway ends on December 21 at midnight.
3. Giveaway is open internationally and all books will be delivered via Book Depository.
Disclaimer: All books have been purchased (not donated) thanks to authors that have supported this site via advertising throughout this year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Day 6 of 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas Giveaway


It's the 6th day of our 12 Days of Cozy Mysteries for Christmas giveaway event. Check out the two fantastic cozies that you could win today.

Today is all about crafty cozies...


Molly Pink and her crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, are always game for a new adventure. But when their newest member is accused of turning her wedding into happily-never-after for the groom, Molly’s chance to find the truth is hanging by a thread ...

When Molly is invited to a major society wedding, she expects some wedding drama. Though she never anticipated this much trouble. The bride is the daughter of Molly’s close friend Mason—and has been planning this wedding for a long time. But at the reception, things go amiss when the wealthy groom ends up dancing with the grim reaper.

To make matters worse, the bride’s mother is found holding the murder weapon—and, as the newest addition to a reality show, she’s happy to fuel the media frenzy. Molly agrees to open her home to Thursday, the distraught bride, who needs a little peace from the paparazzi. But when it turns out that Thursday and her groom were on shaky ground, the blushing bride takes the spotlight as the prime suspect.

Now Molly and the Hookers must quickly stitch together seemingly unrelated clues and high-profile suspects—before a killer strikes again…[summary via Amazon]


For Josie Giancola, owner of the Button Box shop, every button is a tiny work of art with its own story to tell—a story that just might end in murder…

Artist Forbis Parmenter has invited Josie to the opening of his latest exhibit of voodoo-inspired works. He plans to make a show of completing the centerpiece—a button- encrusted statue—when Josie arrives with the final button. But just as the big moment comes, Forbis bolts out of the gallery in panic. Is it another of his publicity stunts, or is something more sinister afoot?

Josie gets her answer when the eccentric artist is found dead—his lifeless body in the arms of a statue and his eyes and lips sealed with buttons. Now she’s using her expert eye to solve the mystery before a crafty killer slips through her fingers.

Includes tips on antique-button collecting![summary via Amazon]

To enter:
1. Complete this form. Bonus entries will be given for sharing the giveaway and following via social media.
2. Giveaway ends on December 21 at midnight.
3. Giveaway is open internationally and all books will be delivered via Book Depository.
Disclaimer: All books have been purchased (not donated) thanks to authors that have supported this site via advertising throughout this year.

Book Review: Duck the Halls by Donna Andrews

Title: Duck the Halls
Author: Donna Andrews
Series: Book 16, Meg Langslow
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Format: e-Book
Source: Received for Review from Publisher/Author
Reviewed by: Tess
Purchase from Amazon.

Summary from Goodreads:
A few nights before Christmas, Meg is awakened when volunteer fireman Michael is summoned to the New Life Baptist Church, where someone has rigged a cage full of skunks in the choir loft. The lengthy process of de-skunking the church requires its annual pre-Christmas concert to relocate to Trinity Episcopal, where Mother insists the show must go on, despite the budget-related protests of Mr. Vess, an elderly vestryman. Meanwhile, when Meg helps her grandfather take the skunks to the zoo, they discover that his boa has been stolen - only to turn up later during the concert, slithering out from the ribbon-bedecked evergreens. The next morning is Sunday, and the congregation of St. Byblig's, the local Catholic church, arrive to find it completely filled with several hundred ducks.

It's clear that some serious holiday pranksters are on the loose, and Meg is determined to find them. But before she can, a fire breaks out at Trinity, and Mr. Vess is discovered dead. Who would have murdered such a harmless - if slightly cranky - old man? Who has the time during the busy holiday season to herd all of these animals into the town's churches? And will Meg ever be able to finish all of her shopping, wrapping, cooking, caroling, and decorating in time for Christmas Eve?

Review:
This book was great! I love the way Ms. Andrews has with words. The book was funny, heart warming, and a joy to read! The entire series about Meg and her family is one of my favorites. If only the writers could write as fast as I can read them.

LEGAL

All reviews are copyrighted by Tina Diamond and Marlene Patterson. Tina Diamond's reviews also appear at Amazon.com and Goodreads.com.

Tina Diamond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Assiociates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed for a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com