BLOG TOUR – Calamity at the Continental Club – REVIEW

Large banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Calamity at the Continental Club by Colleen J. Shogan - July 15-July 28, 2017 - includes photo of author and book cover

4 out of 5 stars

Today I’m happy to be bringing you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours blog tour for Calamity at the Continental Club by Colleen J. Shogan. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and look forward to reading more from this author!

Book Cover: Calamity at the Continental Club by Colleen J. Shogan: A Washington Whodunit - a woman dressed in black with a fedora hat with a drink in hand standing in front of a window with cream shades

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Synopsis

The Mayflower Society is about to hold its annual meeting at Washington D.C.’s swanky gathering place for the elite, the Continental Club. That means Kit Marshall’s upper-crust future in-laws, Buffy and Winston Hollingsworth, are coming for a visit. Annoyed that Kit has not set a date to marry Doug, Buffy wants her to commit to a high society wedding at the club. Kit, though chief of staff for a congresswoman, feels uncomfortable with Buffy and Winston’s crowd.

Kit receives an unexpected reprieve in the form of murder. En route to her morning jog, she encounters the corpse of the leader of the Mayflower Society, conservative multimedia tycoon Grayson Bancroft. On the security cameras, no one was seen entering or leaving the club, which means the culprit had to be an overnight guest. Little love was lost on Bancroft, but the police have their prime suspect: Doug’s father.

Buffy and Winston, formerly disdainful of Kit’s sleuthing, urge her to investigate. With her future in-laws’ freedom and reputations at stake, Kit sets out once again to solve a murder mystery, this time aided by her fiancé Doug in addition to her friends Meg and Trevor and her dog Clarence. Her search for clues will take her from the club to the Smithsonian Museum, the National Archives, and Mount Vernon.

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Review

This was an interesting and fascinating book. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series!

I enjoyed Kit, Doug, Trevor, Meg and all the other characters in this book. They’re rich, complex, and well-developed. Their antics and their chemistry kept me interested in the story throughout. I’m not a fan of the rich elite, so some of the side characters got on my nerves, but they were well-written. It was just my personal preferences getting in the way.

The plot line moved along at a steady pace, though it did seem a bit slow at times. I still enjoyed the story, but there were a couple of places where it just seemed to drag and I wanted it to move faster. However, I had no idea who was the villain until the end of the book, so the pace didn’t change that at all.

While still considered a cozy, I felt more like I was reading a logic puzzle than a cozy mystery. I don’t mean this in a bad way. I enjoyed the fact that it was more of a puzzle than other mysteries I’ve read. It felt a lot like Agatha Christie’s mysteries. I’m looking forward to reading the others in the series.

I highly recommend this series to cozy lovers and especially to those who love Agatha Christie’s mysteries!

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About the Author

Author photo: Colleen Shogan - middle aged white woman with long brown hair parted down the middle, wearing a sleeveless pink shirt and pretty pink stone necklace

Colleen Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked in the United States Senate and for the Congressional Research Service. She’s currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress, working on great outreach initiatives such as the National Book Festival. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob Raffety and their beagle mutt, Conan.

Author Links

Webpage – www.colleenshogan.com

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

Twitter –  www.twitter.com/cshogan276

GoodReads –  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1269678.Colleen_J_Shogan

 

Thanks for joining me today on another great blog tour adventure! If you want to visit the other stops on the blog tour, please click on the banner below! It’ll take you to the main tour page!

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Fiesta Burger Murder – REVIEW

3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Fiesta Burger Murder is the first installment in the Burger Bar Mystery series by Rosie A. Point. This book is actually novella length and was a fun read, though I wish it had been longer.

Book Cover: The Fiesta Burger Murder: A Burger Bar Mystery by Rosie A. Point - photo of a burger with barbecue sauce, bacon, onion, lettuce, and tomato on a bun with a jalapeno pepper next to it

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Synopsis

Boston Homicide Detective, Christie Watson, wants nothing less than to bury her head in the sand in her hometown, Sleepy Creek, Ohio. Placed on sabbatical for a little ‘over-enthusiasm,’ Chris has to stay out of trouble or risk losing her job for good, and Sleepy Creek, with its clapboard homes and peaceful milieu, seems just the place to do that. But returning to Sleepy Creek means facing the one cold case she’s never solved: her mother’s murder.

The past becomes the least of her worries, however, when a man is murdered in her best friend’s back yard. Griselda, awesome human being all-round and owner of the local Burger Bar – serving scrumptious delights like the Mexican Fiesta Burger – is the prime suspect. To make matters worse, the handsome detective in charge of the case won’t quit asking questions or drop the icy professionalism whenever Chris counters with her own.

Det. Watson can’t let this one slide – sabbatical or not, she won’t let her friend wind up behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit. Equipped with her cop skills, and that thirst for truth, she sets off to solve the murder before it’s too late.

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Review

This was a fun read, but I felt it was way too short. At the end, we’re left with more questions than answers, which isn’t generally how I like to end a cozy mystery.

The characters are well-written and complex. I love Griselda. She’s awesome! I’m not sure how I feel about Christie. She’s a little too impulsive for my taste, but I want to see what she’s like in additional books before really making a decision.

The setting descriptions that were included were well done, I just wish there had been more. I can easily visualize Griselda’s house and the Burger Bar, but the rest of the small town, not so much. It would’ve been great to see other things happening in town besides just the murder, giving us more locales to imagine and to put the town together in our minds.

The story line moved along very quickly given the shortness of the book. I was able to follow the story line, so it wasn’t too quick in that regard, I just wish we had gotten more background information on Christie and Griselda, more information about the killer, just more information in general. That’s why I only gave it a 3.5 out of 5 rating. It just needed more.

I’m still looking forward to the second book and hoping that we get more of that missing information then.

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New beginnings

As we start a new year as Americans, I’m also starting a few new things in my life. Some of it I started last month, but I’m counting those as still new enough to include in this post.

I’m actually starting to feel like I’m finally getting used to and flourishing as an adult. I’m a little slow on the uptake being that I’m already 41, but it’s still a good feeling!

In the last month, I’ve started cleaning out clutter and reorganizing my room, creating an art/photography workspace in the basement, working with a financial counselor to get my finances in better shape, and finally getting a combination of medications to really help with my mental illnesses (it’s difficult to find the right combination because you have to try each med and they can take a minimum of 4-6 weeks to really work and then you have to hope you can tolerate the side effects).  My room is coming along slowly but surely. I didn’t get much done this past weekend, but I plan on tackling it this coming weekend and trying to work through another section.

The biggest news is that I’m getting a NEW JOB!!! 😀 😀  I’m super, super excited about it. I’m still working at Ann Arbor District Library, but I’ll be taking a position in the Acquisitions/Cataloging department instead of on the public desks. Right now (through the end of July), I’m training during the first half of my day and then after lunch/dinner, I’m working on one of the public desks. August 1st, I will take over in the position. It is a lateral move in the company as far as pay is concerned so I won’t be getting a raise, but it will hopefully mean a lot less stress.

I’m really excited because my concentration in library school was cataloging. While I may not be doing a lot of original cataloging (creating records from scratch), there’s lots of copy cataloging to do (downloading catalog records from reputable sources) and cleaning up records. I’ll also be putting in the orders for items and processing them when we receive them. I’m not the person choosing what gets purchased, I’m just the one making the purchase orders and actually ordering/receiving the materials. 🙂

While I will miss some aspects of working at the public desk, I’m looking forward to having less stress in my life. Working with the public makes me so exhausted that I can’t really do much of anything else. By working in an area that doesn’t have to deal with the public, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to “have a life” outside of work, or at the very least have the energy to enjoy painting ceramics and taking nature walks again!

Do Fairies Bring the Spring? – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Do Fairies Bring the Spring? by Liza Gardner Walsh, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell is an absolutely delightful and charming picture book about fairies and spring.

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Synopsis

Everyone knows fairies love spring flowers and summer sun, but is it the fairies who wake up the earth as the snow melts? Do they entice the trees to turn green and the flowers to grow? In this charming follow-up to Where Do Fairies Go When It Snows, Liza Gardner Walsh, acclaimed author of the Fairy House Handbook and Fairy Garden Handbook, explores the matter in a children’s picture book of rhyming questions. Combined with delightful illustrations by Hazel Mitchell this whimsical book will help children discover the world of fairies and learn to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors.

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Review

This book has wormed its way right into my heart! Now, I will admit that I love fairies anyway, but this book is absolutely charming!

The text rhymes and is nice and lyrical. The pictures are just beautiful, engaging, and full of little surprises. If you really take the time to look through all the pictures, you’ll see little ladybugs, snails, bees, other little bugs, and woodland creatures. There’s a decent amount of diversity within the fairy ranks, including a boy fairy, and our main fairy is black.

I cannot say enough about the illustrations! I’m absolutely charmed by them. They’re delightful! One page talks about using tiny brushes and oil pastels to paint the flowers and some of the fairies are holding little oil pastels that they’re clearly using to color the flowers. It’s just lovely.

The text is very lyrical. A few times the rhyming words were stretching it a bit, but they never broke the lyrical pace and flow. It’s also obvious that the illustrator really paid attention to the text when she made the illustrations.

I highly recommend this book for any fairy lover in your life! It’s just delightful!


*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. ***

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BLOG TOUR – Stuck – REVIEW

Large banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents "Stuck: The Penningtons Investigate" by C.T. Collier - June 20-July 3, 2017 - includes a photo of the author and the book cover

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Today, I’m happy to be bringing you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Stuck: The Penningtons Investigate by C.T. Collier. This was a great read and tho’ it didn’t quite hit a “5” on my scale, it’s a solid “4.5”!

Book Cover: "Stuck: The Penningtons Investigate" by C.T. Collier - green background with brown lettering - a stiletto is seen standing straight up in a wooden desk

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brown bag with gold coins spilling out from the top and in a pile on the floor next to the bag.

Synopsis

Meet the Penningtons: Lyssa, Ph.D. Economics, and her husband “the handsome Brit” Kyle, Ph.D. Computer Science. When their clever minds ask questions, clever killers can’t hide.

Murder never entered the picture until Fritz Van Derzee decided, at long last, to clear his name. Who stuck a jeweled stiletto into his desktop after stabbing him to death? Fritz’s daughter, Emma, recruits her former professor Lyssa Pennington to find the killer.

But where’s the ten million Fritz was falsely accused of embezzling? Tompkins College President, Justin Cushman, hires his old friend Kyle Pennington to trace the missing money.

While Lyssa uses charm and tenacity on the long list of suspects, Kyle reconstructs the college’s old homegrown finance system. As they converge on the killer, Lyssa and Kyle may be the next two casualties.

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Review

This book was a lot of fun for me. I had planned on reading the first book in the series before tackling this one, but life happened and that didn’t. Thankfully, I didn’t feel like I was missing a ton of important back story, maybe a little bit, but not too much.

I enjoyed the characters in this book. Lyssa and Kyle seem like people who I’d want to be friends with. They’re intelligent, inquisitive and yet they seem down-to-earth and fun. There were a couple of times that I felt Lyssa was overreacting about something, but then again, I didn’t read the escapades that happened in the first book, so perhaps she had reason. The supporting characters were great too.

The plot line moved along steadily and it kept me guessing right until the end. We all knew one of the villains, but I didn’t see the other one coming until it happened at the end. I also enjoyed the side visits that the Penningtons made. I liked the blending of Kyle’s business along with Lyssa’s career at the college.  I really enjoyed their visit to Iceland and the time the book spent there.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I would definitely highly recommend this series to other cozy mystery enthusiasts!

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About the Author

C. T. Collier was born to solve logic puzzles, wear tweed, and drink Earl Grey tea. Her professional experience in cutthroat high-tech and backstabbing higher education gave her endless opportunity to study intrigue. Add to that her longtime love of mysteries, and it’s no wonder she writes academic mysteries that draw inspiration from traditional whodunits. Her setting is entirely fictional: Tompkins College is no college and every college, and Tompkins Falls is a blend of several Finger Lakes towns, including her hometown, Seneca Falls, NY (AKA Bedford Falls from It’s a Wonderful Life).

Author Links

Website: https://drkatecollier.wordpress.com

Facebook: kate.collier.315

Twitter: @TompkinsFalls

brown bag with gold coins spilling out from the top and in a pile on the floor next to the bag.

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Medium Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents "Stuck: The Penningtons Investigate" by C.T. Collier - June 20-July 3, 2017 - includes the book cover