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

Add to Goodreads button

Purchase Links: AmazonB&N

WashingtonDC

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.

July4thBears
© Graphic Garden

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!

8985190_orig

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!

CALAMITY-CONTINENTAL-CLUB-large-banner337

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

Add to Goodreads button

Purchase Links: Amazon

Fast food meal - burger, fries, and drink
©Graphic Garden

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.

Graphic of silver and red grill utensils - spatulas and skewers

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.

Fast food meal - burger, fries, and drink
©Graphic Garden

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

Add to Goodreads button

Purchase Links: AmazonB&N

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.

piles of coins

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!

piles of coins

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.

Thanks for joining me today on this blog tour stop! Click the banner below to visit the other places along this tour!

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

 

The Witch and the Dead – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

I realized the other day when I started re-reading The Witch and the Dead, I never wrote a review for it when I read it in the fall. So I’m remedying that now!

Book Cover: The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake - purple background on top and bottom of the cover where the text is - middle section shows an illustration of a young white lady with dark hair sitting on a tree stump under a willow tree with a black cat at her feet.

Add to Goodreads button

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Synopsis

When Darcy moved to Salem, Massachusetts, she never expected her life to change as drastically as it did. But within a short time, the Enchanted Village has become her home, its mystical residents have become her family, and As You Wish, the personal concierge business formerly run by her Aunt Ve, has become her calling. Still, the time has come for change—and for Darcy to move out of Aunt Ve’s house.

Darcy’s belongings are stashed in Aunt Ve’s garage, alongside a mess of memories, forgotten possessions, and, to both Ve and Darcy’s horror, a pile of old bones. It turns out they belong to Ve’s long missing second husband. Now Darcy must unpack old secrets to solve a cold case—and make sure her aunt isn’t looking at a spell behind bars.

Review

This is a wonderful, delightful read!

We learn so much about the villagers and their pasts in this book! It’s amazing how many connections there are between the villagers. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. If your Craft has been hunted for thousands of years and misunderstood as evil, it’s probably a small gene pool that exists, but nonetheless, I was surprised. 🙂 I won’t spoil it for you tho’. You’ll have to find out all the connections yourself!

The plot line in this book moves along at a steady to quick pace. The prose flows well and there wasn’t a single time where I felt pulled out of the book by the wording or description of something. That’s not easy to do and Ms. Blake does it wonderfully in the majority of her books. I wondered about the villain, but I wasn’t sure until the end when he was revealed.

I really enjoy this series. I’ve enjoyed watching the characters grow over the course of the seven (7) current books. It appears that the series will continue under a different publisher so #8 should be out in Spring 2018! 🙂

If you’re going to read the series, I highly suggest you start with the first title in the series, It Takes a Witch. This is one of those series that you really should read in order to get the full experience of it. And I highly recommend reading it!

 

 

Blog Tour – All Signs Point to Murder – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Large Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco - June 24-July 8, 2017 - also contains the author's photo and the book cover

Today, I’m thrilled to be bringing you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco! This was an absolutely delightful book to read!

Book Cover: All Signs Point to Murder - a Zodiac Mystery by Connie Di Marco - Study setting with a window overlooking a garden set up for a wedding - foreground has a white table full of candles, astrological charts and a bridal bouquet

Add to Goodreads button

Purchase Links: AmazonB&N

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Astrology chart with a yin-yang in the center, the symbols around the edges and the constellations on the outside of the circular chart

Synopsis

Julia Bonatti is alarmed by the astrological signs looming over Geneva Leary’s wedding day, but nobody asked Julia’s opinion and being a bridesmaid means supporting the bride no matter what. Even with the foreboding Moon-Mars-Pluto lineup in the heavens, no one’s prepared for the catastrophes that strike: a no-show sister, a passed-out wedding planner, and a lethal shooting in the dead of night.

With anger and grief threatening to tear the Leary family part, Julia is determined to understand how such a terrible tragedy could occur. As she digs deeper into the family’s secrets, her astrological insights will lead her to the truth about a criminal enterprise that stretches far beyond the California coast.

Zodiac symbols in watercolor

Review

This is a delightfully fun book to read! It is the second in the Zodiac Mystery series and I get the feeling that if I’d read the series in order, I might understand a couple of things a little better, but this time I don’t feel like that detracted from the book or diminished my ability to enjoy it.

Our heroine, Julia, is great. For the most part, while she lets her emotions get her into bad situations at times, she doesn’t seem to go deliberately looking for trouble. She might ask questions and talk to people, but she’s not out there deliberately putting herself in harm’s way most of the time (tho’ harm’s way finds her, unfortunately). I enjoyed the supporting characters as well. I’d like to see more of Gail and Cheryl in the next book, but I realize they weren’t really part of this particular story line.

Speaking of story lines, this one was fantastic! There were enough red herrings to keep me from accurately guessing the person until right near the end. Even then, I wasn’t positive I was right until the climax of the book. The prose flowed well and the pace was steady, but not too fast nor too slow.

I could have used a little more setting descriptions, but I’d rather an author err on the side of being too cautious and not giving me enough description rather than being extra wordy about them.

All in all, I highly recommend this book! I’ve already grabbed the first one in the series from my library and plan to indulge over the weekend! Enjoy!

Astrology chart with a yin-yang in the center, the symbols around the edges and the constellations on the outside of the circular chart

About the Author

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti.  The first in the series, The Madness of Mercury, was released in June 2016 and the second, All Signs Point to Murder, available for pre-order now, will be released on August 8, 2017.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.  Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook  and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.  Connie is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Website:  http://www.conniedimarco.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmysteries/

Twitter:  @askzodia

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14751339.Connie_Di_Marco

Author Central:  amazon.com/author/conniedimarco

Zodiac symbols in watercolor

Thanks for joining me for today’s stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. If you wish to visit other participants’ stops, please click on the banner below. It will take you to the main tour page which has a list of participants!

Medium banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco - June 24-July 8, 2017 - banner includes the book cover.