Blog Tour – Cat Got Your Cash

Large Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents Cat Got Your Cash by Julie Chase - April 11-April 24, 2017 - Contains a picture of the author and the book cover as well

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Today, I’m excited to be the latest stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Cat Got Your Cash by Julie Chase. This post contains a review of the book and an interview with the author, Julie Chase, at the end!

Book Cover: Cat Got Your Cash by Julie Chase - Shop decorated for fall in background - counter with money, scissors, cash register and 2 siamese kittens sitting on it in foreground

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Brief Synopsis

Lacy Marie Crocker’s whimsical pet couture has gained a following in New Orleans’s cozy Garden District, and word of mouth has traveled all the way to her favorite fashion designer, Annie Lane. Lacy’s thrilled when Annie schedules a private session at her home to discuss a companion line for her evening wear, but when Lacy arrives for the appointment, she enters the kitchen to two mewling Siamese cats–and one very dead Annie.

Lacy takes the kittens home to care for them until they can be properly claimed by Annie’s family or friends, but after a busy day of work, she returns home to find them missing. And when Lacy learns the cats are set to inherit Annie’s fortune, she begins to wonder if the killer was after the kittens all along. Now Lacy will stop at nothing to save the Siamese and find justice for Annie–if the killer doesn’t sink his claws into her first.

Luckily, Lacy has the help of handsome NOLA PD homicide detective Jack Oliver to help her catch the cat-napper before it’s too late! (Source: Goodreads)

Review

Cat Got Your Cash is the 2nd book in the Kitty Couture mystery series by Julie Chase and it was great! While it didn’t have that extra pizzazz or emotional hook in it to push it up to a 5-star rating, it was still a delightful read!

In this book, we get to know Lacy a little bit more and also our two heroes – Chase, the handsome lawyer and Lacy’s schoolgirl crush and Jack, our dashing detective, who may just have the hots for Lacy. All of these characters are fun and exciting and well-developed. I’ll be honest and admit I’m rooting for Jack, but should Lacy choose Chase, I wouldn’t be overly disappointed. I just like Jack better! Lacy can be a little head strong and sometimes does things that makes me cringe (note to Lacy: When the hot detective tells you to stay put somewhere – STAY PUT!), but I still enjoy reading her stories.

The setting finds us in New Orleans and while the descriptions of the settings aren’t overly flowery, they are described well enough that I’m able to imagine most of the places in the book. I think Lacy’s shop sounds charming and while I don’t have any pets to dress up or pamper, I can easily imagine it being a place that would fit right in down in New Orleans, or even up here in Ann Arbor, near where I live! I know many pet owners who would love to shop somewhere that made organic treats for their pets!

The plot line in this book moved along at a pretty good pace. There was a small section in the middle where I felt it dragged a bit, but it quickly picked back up and was steady throughout the rest of the book. I had no idea who the villain was before Lacy figured it out so that was fun! I just couldn’t figure out who would want the victim dead. While it turned out that she wasn’t the great person that Lacy always idolized, it still was hard to imagine someone killing her. Once the villain was revealed and it was explained, it was easy to see. I love when mysteries surprise me with the villain, so that was a plus in my eyes!

All in all it was a delightful read. While the story can definitely stand on its own, this is a series and you’ll understand the personal relationships and interactions better if you read the first book, Cat Got Your Diamonds, before you read this one! Get out there and buy both books or borrow them from your local library today!

Interview With Julie Chase, author of ‘Cat Got Your Cash’

Before I get started sharing the questions and answers that I asked and Ms. Chase answered, I just wanted to say a big “Thank you!” to Ms. Chase for being willing to answer my questions for today’s post!

Author photo: Fall wooded background, young white woman with oval-shaped face, shoulder-length brown hair, no glasses, wearing a white top with a brown/tan cardigan and a gold necklace

Question #1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?  Do you enjoy your day job?

J.C.’s Answer: Writing is my day job. My night job. The reason I rarely sleep….


Question #2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?

J.C.’s Answer: I write everyday while my children are at school, often after they go to bed at night as well and nearly every morning beginning at 5, before the family begins to stir. I write in complete silence because it’s loud enough in my head already. And I write 1 chapter a day, roughly 2500 – 3300 words.

For the most part, it’s a well-oiled machine over here. Granted, it can be a bizarre, Dr. Seuss looking thing, but it works.


Question #3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reigns” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

J.C.’s Answer: I’m a dedicated outliner. It helps me stay on schedule and easily predict when each project will end, when I can begin a new one and how soon that will also be finished. That said, my characters can make any changes they want, so long as they stay within the confines of the genre. I’m all for creative freedom, until my cozy heroine wants to time travel or have a wild night out, then I have to rein it in because readers don’t want those things in a cozy, and I don’t want to upset my readers.


Question #4: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

J.C.’s Answer: I don’t feel as if I’ve broken in. I’ve been at it a while, but I’m still looking for readers and trying to make a place for myself in this industry. Not an easy task. Today’s authors are among the very best in history, I think.  Still, it’s my dream to make it in this business, so I’m trying every day.

I’ve received countless rejections. Hundreds. And believe me, it’s depressing. I’ve quit writing FOREVER at least once a year since I started. The problem was that even when I wasn’t writing for publication, I was still writing. Fan fiction. Personal journals. Writing. Writing. Writing. Finally, I realized I’m a writer. I can’t turn it off, and I can’t walk away so stopped quitting and started revising my plan.


Question #5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?

J.C.’s Answer: I spend about 2 weeks writing a full synopsis and detailed outline for my novels. Then, I begin writing. I write one chapter a day. Reread it for clean up, then, send it on to two published authors who read for me. They provide feedback, I clean it up some more and move on to the next chapter. Using this process, I can write a novel in 6-8 weeks. When it’s finished, I reread from start to finish looking for places to improve, then it goes to my agent. She’ll give it a read and let me know if she sees any issues. I make her suggested changes in about a day, then off it goes to the publisher where it will be given an editorial letter for overall revisions, then several rounds of general and copy edits before being queued for production.


Question #6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

J.C.’s Answer: This villain in Cat Got Your Cash was really fun to write. He’s a little different than some of my others because he isn’t bad-bad as much as just not really “good.” He’s made a series of terrible and selfish choices, which has led him to desperation while trying to cover his tracks. My villain in this story is as new to villainy as my heroine is to sleuthing and together I think it’s hilarious.  A nice reprieve, in my opinion, from the innately evil bad guys we see all too often in the real world.


Question #7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

J.C.’s Answer: My characters are all fictional. I mostly steal names and attributes from the people I know and put them together in interesting new ways on the page.


Question #8: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

J.C.’s Answer: I’ve been reading lots of Harlequin Intrigue novels lately. Those are romantic suspense. Very very good. I recently read The Girl on the Train and The Woman in Cabin 10, psychological thrillers, for my book club. Wow. My head is still rattling from those. Next up on my TBR pile is Marla Cooper’s Terror in Taffeta. She’s a lovely cozy author and I can’t wait to dig in.


Question #9: What books have influenced your life the most?

J.C.’s Answer: Every book I’ve ever read has influenced my life. I fell in love with the colorful imagination of Dr. Seuss as a young reader, then the marvelous adventures of Anne of Green Gables as a tween. The sleuthing prowess of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew taught me to think outside the box and try to beat them to solving the crime. In college, I fell in love with the melodious prose of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. More recently, I found my zest for humor in Janet Evanovich. Books have molded and shaped me, my personality and my life from the very start.


Question #10: If you could spend one day with a character from your book, who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

J.C.’s Answer: I would love to spend a day in the Garden District, working with Lacy at Furry Godmother. I’d meet her friends, share her lunch and just hang out to see what we could get into. Her life is great, even when it’s a literal hot mess.


Question #11: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?

J.C.’s Answer: I ALWAYS read my reviews. Everyone says not to, but if the reader took the time to read my book and even more time to say something about it, I feel like I should take the time to hear them. On the other hand, I never want a reader to feel like I’m spying or invading their space, so I don’t respond no matter how kind or malicious the review may be. I mean, no one asked me what I thought of their opinion. Right? So, I will keep it to myself. Besides, reviews aren’t meant for me anyway. They’re for other readers and the reviewer.

That said, I take every review to heart. If there’s a way I can do better the next time, I want to know. And if I’m doing something right, I want to keep it up. More reasons reviews are so important.  So, please keep them coming.

Thank you again to Julie Chase for being willing to answer my questions today! With all the parts to each one, it’s far more than just 11 questions and I appreciate her taking the time! And thank you for joining me on this stop in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour! The banner below takes you to the main Tour Page where you can visit other stops along the tour and all of the author’s links!

 

cat-got-your-cash-large-banner336

 

Of Books and Bagpipes – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Of Books and Bagpipes is the second book in the Scottish Bookshop mystery series by Paige Shelton and it’s as delightful as the first!

Book Cover: Of Books and Bagpipes - A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton: Teal plaid with white lettering, a drawing of a castle on a hill with a messenger bag, stack of books, and small brown/black dog in foreground.

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Brief Synopsis

Delaney Nichols has settled so comfortably into her new life in Edinburgh that she truly feels it’s become more home than her once beloved Kansas. Her job at the Cracked Spine, a bookshop that specializes in rare manuscripts as well as other sundry valuable historical objects, is everything she had dreamed, with her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, entrusting her more and more with bigger jobs. Her latest task includes a trip to Castle Doune, a castle not far out of Edinburgh, to retrieve a hard-to-find edition of an old Scottish comic, an “Oor Wullie,” in a cloak and dagger transaction that Edwin has orchestrated.

While taking in the sights of the distant Highlands from the castle’s ramparts, Delaney is startled when she spots a sandal-clad foot at the other end of the roof. Unfortunately, the foot’s owner is very much dead and, based on the William Wallace costume he’s wearing, perfectly matches the description of the man who was supposed to bring the Oor Wullie. As Delaney rushes to call off some approaching tourists and find the police, she comes across the Oor Wullie, its pages torn and fluttering around a side wall of the castle. Instinct tells her to take the pages and hide them under her jacket. It’s not until she returns to the Cracked Spine that she realizes just how complicated this story is and endeavors to untangle the tricky plot of why someone wanted this man dead, all before getting herself booked for murder. (Source: Goodreads)

Review

Of Books and Bagpipes is a delightful 2nd installment in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series by Paige Shelton. While it didn’t have that extra emotional hook to push it up to 5 stars, it’s still a really great book.

This book finds us back with all of our old friends, Delaney, Elias & Aggie, Tom, and The Cracked Spine crew. In this installment we learn more about Edwin and his college days. It’s a tangled web of mysteries, deceit, and intrigue. Delaney is still a bit too apt to run head-long into danger without thinking, but at least most of the time now, she doesn’t go off by herself, which makes me less upset with her when she does those things!

We find more of those lovely descriptions of the Scottish setting, the castle, the library, the countryside. It really just makes me want to sell everything and go there! Alas, not possible for me at this time, but Ms. Shelton really makes it sound lovely and wonderful!

The plot line moves along at a steady pace in this one. Thankfully, it is not too fast as there are so many intersecting angles in the story and so many details to remember. The pace allows you to remember all those things and yet doesn’t feel like it’s too slow. That takes serious talent and Ms. Shelton delivers!

The only downside for me right now is that I’ve even finished the novella that came between The Cracked Spine and this book and now I have to wait for the third to appear!

While the individual stories in the series can stand alone, I highly recommend reading this series in order as the interpersonal relationships are so important within the series! Check out The Cracked Spine first and then enjoy this newest installment and the novella, A Christmas Tartan!

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

About the Author

Paige Shelton is the New York Times bestselling author of the Farmers’ Market Mysteries and the Country Cooking School Mysteries. She’s lived in many places but currently resides in Arizona. Visit her at paigeshelton.com(Source: Amazon)

Blog Tour – Death By Chocolate Lab

Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake - March 6-March 17, 2017 - Banner includes photo of the author and the book cover

4 out of 5 stars.

Today, I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Death by Chocolate Lab which is the first book in the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery series by Bethany Blake. The book was a great read and a good start to a new series.

Book Cover: A Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery: Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake - sidewalk outside a bookstore - books flying out the window and a brown labrador sniffing at them - basset hound looking on

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Brief Synopsis

Pet sitter Daphne Templeton has a soft spot for every stray and misfit who wanders into the quaint, lakeside village of Sylvan Creek. But even Daphne doesn’t like arrogant, womanizing Steve Beamus, the controversial owner of Blue Ribbon K-9 Academy. When Steve turns up dead during a dog agility trial, Daphne can think of a long list of people with motives for homicide, and so can the police. Unfortunately, at the top of the list is Daphne’s sister, Piper—Steve’s latest wronged girlfriend.

Certain that Piper is innocent, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary, Daphne sets out to clear her sister’s name—and find Axis, Steve’s prize-winning chocolate Labrador, who went missing the night of Steve’s death. Aided by Socrates, her taciturn basset hound, and a hyperactive one-eared Chihuahua named Artie, Daphne quickly runs afoul of Detective Jonathan Black, a handsome and enigmatic newcomer to town, who has no appreciation for Daphne’s unorthodox sleuthing.

Can a free-spirited pet sitter, armed only with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and her two incompatible dogs, find the real killer before she becomes the next victim?

Review

For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. It’s the first in a new series and a solid, delightful start to the series. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because a) it didn’t have that extra pizzazz that I look for in a 5-star book and b) the heroine annoyed me at times with her tendency to just go full steam ahead into something without thinking about it first (which is something that *REALLY* tends to bother me in cozies).

Outside of that, this is a great book. The characters are solid, developed and complex. We know there are things about the various characters that we don’t know yet, but that makes them interesting and not boring.

The setting descriptions were okay. I could imagine the farm and each individual location but I couldn’t really see in my head where they were in relation to each other. Part of that could be my own spatial relations deficiency, but I think the descriptions of the places could have been a little more detailed.

The story moved along at a good pace. It wasn’t slow but it wasn’t so fast that you couldn’t keep up with what was happening. The villain was a complete surprise to me, which I like. I totally did not see that plot twist coming!

All in all, this is a great start to the series and I do recommend it. I’ve already pre-ordered the second one myself!

About the Author

Bethany Blake lives in a small, quaint town in Pennsylvania with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing or riding horses, she’s wrangling a menagerie of furry family members that includes a nervous pit bull, a fearsome feline, a blind goldfish, and an attack cardinal named Robert. Like Daphne Templeton, the heroine of her Lucky Paws Mysteries, Bethany holds a Ph.D. and operates a pet sitting business called Barkley’s Premium Pet Care.

Author Links

Bethany Blake’s Website

Bethany Blake on Facebook

Bethany Blake on Twitter

Tour Participants

March 6 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 6 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

March 7 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

March 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 8 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

March 9 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 9 – Texas Book-aholic – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

March 10 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

March 10 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Bookworm Mom – REVIEW

March 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 11 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

March 13 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy – INTERVIEW

March 13 – The Power of Words – SPOTLIGHT – Review coming soon. 

March 14 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 14 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

March 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT 

March 16 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW

March 16 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

March 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 17 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Death by Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake - March 6-March 17, 2017 - includes book cover

Blog Tour – Elementary, She Read

Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents "Elementary, She Read" by Vicki Delaney; March 13-March 26, 2017 - Includes Author photo and Book cover

Today I’m very excited to be the host of a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany. This is a wonderful book in a brand-new series!

Elementary, She Read: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery by Vicki Delany book cover - bookstore setting, red easy chair with a black cat on the back of it and a copy of Adventure of Sherlock Holmes on the seat.

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                  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

Brief Synopsis

Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

Review

5 out of 5 stars.

I loved this book and am thrilled that I had the opportunity to read it and host a spot for this blog tour!

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Vicki Delany (including the Lighthouse Library series she wrote under the pen name, Eva Gates), so I was excited when I heard there was a new series coming out. This book did not disappoint in the least!

I’ve already fallen in love with the town of West London and its inhabitants. Gemma, Jayne, Ryan, Louise, and the rest are all well-developed, complex characters and while we don’t know everything about them, they come across as realistic and still leave a little mystery to be discovered in other books in this series. I love the way Gemma’s mind works. I’m not quite as good at my powers of observation as Gemma is, but a lot of her logic I totally understood. It’s always great when I can identify with a heroine in the story.

The plot line moved along at a decent pace. It wasn’t slow, but yet not so fast that you didn’t understand what was going on. I had absolutely NO idea who the villain was until it was revealed. I can see now in hindsight how someone with astute powers of observation of details could put the clues together, but I didn’t do that, so it was a complete surprise to me.

Some of the interpersonal relationships in the story were strained and it’ll be interesting to see how those relationships develop and play out throughout the series. I don’t want to give away any details of the story though, so if you want to know more, read the book!

The setting sounds absolutely beautiful and I could easily imagine myself there in West London. I love when I can imagine the scene and yet the author hasn’t provided too many details. If there’s too many details, I feel over saturated and it becomes harder to imagine the setting. Ms. Delany is a master at balancing that mixture of detail and imagination.

A wonderful start to a new series and if you like cozy mysteries or even mysteries in general, I highly recommend it!

** Many thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

                 Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

About the Author

vicki-delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.

Vicki Delany’s Links

Website: www.vickidelany.com  

Facebook:  Vicki Delany & Eva Gates 

Twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor

                  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass   Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass  Clip art of Sherlock Holmes hat, pipe & magnifying glass

Tour Participants

March 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW

March 13 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – SPOTLIGHT

March 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 14 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – REVIEW

March 15 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

March 15 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 16 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

March 16 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 18 – Girl with Book Lungs – GUEST POST  

March 19 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 20 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

March 20 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 21 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 21 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

March 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

March 22 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW

March 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

March 23 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

March 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

March 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

March 25 – Island Confidential – spotlight

March 26 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

March 26 – Girl Lost In a Book – REVIEW

Blog Tour – Pekoe Most Poison

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs; March 6-March 19, 2017 - banner includes author photo and book cover photo

Today, I’m super excited to bring to you the latest stop for Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs! I love the Tea Shop mysteries and look forward to the newest one every spring. This one didn’t disappoint, either!

Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs book cover - A Tea Shop Mystery - border of daffodils - picture of a table set for tea with tarts, tea pots, flowers, fresh oranges, and quiche.

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Brief Synopsis

When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued.  As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.

The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse…

Review

5 out of 5 stars.

I think this is one of my favorites of the Tea Shop series so far! I really enjoyed this one. The mystery itself was great. I didn’t figure out who the killer was until very close to the end where it was revealed. Plus, this time around we had a new method and a new way of delivering that method. Sometimes having the victim shot or stabbed gets a little old, so this one was a refreshing change.

I absolutely love the characters in this series. Reading about Theodosia, Drayton, and Haley is like visiting with old friends. Their characters are so well-rounded, developed, and complex. It’s a pleasure visiting them in each book and getting to know them just that little bit more. It’s a pleasure to see how their relationships with each other and with others in the community grow and develop.

I love all the descriptions of Charleston. I’ve never been there but with as many of these books I’ve read, I feel like I have. I can easily visualize all the alleys and cemeteries and old mansions that are there. I feel like if I ever make it down there to visit, I’m going to feel right at home! It takes a skilled author to do that without boring the reader with the descriptions. Ms. Childs’ does this excellently.

The pace of these books has always been good and this one is no exception. It was never boring and kept moving along at a good clip, but yet not too fast that you couldn’t keep up.

This is a great installment in the Tea Shop Mystery series and I highly recommend it! Pick it up and enjoy! If you’ve never read the series, you don’t have to know the back story to enjoy this one, but I highly recommend the rest of the series as well!

** I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

About the Author

Photo of Laura Childs - Middle-aged woman with blond hair, no glasses, wearing a black sweater or coat

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund-raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links:

Webpage – http://www.laurachilds.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31

If you would like to be a host for a Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour, click on the banner at the bottom of the page!

Tour Participants

March 6 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – REVIEW

March 6 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

March 7 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

March 8 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 8 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

March 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

March 9 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

March 9 – My Journey Back – REVIEW  

March 10 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

March 11 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW  

March 11 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 12 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 13 – Queen of All She Reads –  SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 14 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

March 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 15 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

March 16 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW

March 17 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 18 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW  

March 19 – 3  Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

March 19 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs - March 6-March 19, 2017 Banner with Book cover

A Tale of Two Mommies – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager (author) & Mike Blanc (illustrator) is a charming book about a young boy talking with another boy and girl about his two mommies, Mommy and Momma.

A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager (author) and Mike Blanc (illustrator) book cover - beach background with two white women from the waist down in shorts and sandals. A young black boy is holding one hand of each and swinging legs

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Purchase Links: AmazonB&NBAM

 

Brief Synopsis

A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too.
True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? / Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. / Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”

Review

I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t give it five stars because I felt that it began and ended really abruptly. Perhaps that’s how the author intended it to be, but it felt awkward to me. Outside of that, I really enjoyed this book.

The illustrations are brightly colored, engaging, and delightful. There is a diversity in the characters. The two mothers appear to be caucasian, as is the little girl the young boy is talking to. The protagonist of the story is a little black boy and the other little boy is Asian. I appreciate that the author/illustrator took the time to make the characters diverse.

I also loved how the questions were very much kid-oriented. They’re great questions and answers as far as which Mom helps the child with various things.

I would definitely recommend this book as a good LGBTQ resource!

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

Sea floor with kelp growing and fish swimming, including 3 clown fish, 2 seahorses, 2 angelfish and 1 trout

© Irene’s Graphics

Blog Tour – Kneaded To Death

Banner - Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer - February 27 - March 12, 2017 - Photo of author & Cover of book included

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Today I’m hosting the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer. This is the first in the brand-new series, Bread Shop Mystery series. It was a wonderful beginning to this new series!

Kneaded to Death: A Bread Shop Mystery by Winnie Archer book cover - Features the front of the bread shop, Yeast of Eden, which has a display window full of various types of bread, a cafe table with chairs on the front sidewalk, and a pug sitting on one of the chairs

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Purchase Links: AmazonB&NBAMKobo

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Brief Synopsis

Everyone swears by Yeast of Eden, the Mexican bread shop in town. But tonight, the only thing on the menu is la muerte . . .

Struggling photographer Ivy Culpepper has lots of soul-searching to do since returning to seaside Santa Linda, California. That is, until the thirty-one-year-old enters a bread making class at Yeast of Eden. Whether it’s the aroma of fresh conchas in the oven, or her instant connection with owner Olaya Dias and her sisters, Ivy just knows the missing ingredients in her life are hidden among the secrets of Olaya’s bakery . . .

But Ivy’s spirits crumble when a missing classmate is suddenly discovered dead in her car, riddled with stab wounds. Even more devastating, the prime suspects are the Dias sisters themselves. Doubting the women could commit such a crime, Ivy embarks on a murder investigation of her own to prove their innocence and seize the real killer. As she follows a deadly trail of crumbs around town, Ivy must trust her gut like never before—or someone else could be toast!

Review

I really enjoyed this first installment of this brand-new Bread Shop Mystery series.

The characters in this series are unique, complex, and delightful. It’s always hard to come back to where you were raised and even harder after a tragedy has struck, but I thought Ivy handled seeing old friends/boyfriends and dealing with her grief very well. I like the fact that it’s Ivy’s friend who is part of the police force and not her romantic interest. It makes for a nice change.

The setting descriptions were okay, but not quite as detailed as I would have liked. Other than the bakery itself, I had a hard time imagining the various places in the book.

The story line was clever and interesting. It moved along at a decent pace. There were plenty of suspects to choose from and I didn’t figure out the culprit before it was revealed (yay!).

I didn’t give this 5 stars partially because while I enjoyed it, I doubt this will be a book I read more than once. The other reason was my thought that there should be more description if the settings. However, I did enjoy the book and would definitely recommend it! I look forward to the next book in the series.

** I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. **

About the Author

Winnie Archer, author, aka Melissa Bourbon-Ramirez - Middle-aged white woman with blond hair done in an up-twist, no glasses, wearing a grey shirt and dark grey blazerThe indefatigable Winnie Archer is a middle school teacher by day, and a writer by night. Born in a beach town in California, she now lives in an inspiring century old house in North Texas and loves being surrounded by real-life history. She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with both yoga and chocolate, adores pumpkin spice lattes, is devoted to her five kids and husband, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.

 

 

Author Links

Website: WinnieArcher.com

Winnie Archer is the pseudonym for national bestselling author Melissa Bourbon. Learn more at Melissa Bourbon-Ramirez.

Twitter: @MelissaBourbon

 

Tour Participants

February 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

February 27 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW

February 28 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW

February 28 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

March 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 1 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

March 1 – Bookworm Mom – REVIEW

March 2 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

March 2 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – INTERVIEW

March 3 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 3 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

March 4 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 4 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

March 5 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 5 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

March 6 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 6 – Book Babble – REVIEW

March 7 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW  

March 8 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 8 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

March 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

March 10 – Becky’s Bookcase – REVIEW

March 10 – Readeropolis – REVIEW

March 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 11 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST

March 12 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

Small Tour Banner - Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Kneaded to Death by Winnie Archer: February 27-March 12, 2017 - Book cover included