BLOG TOUR – Shadow Girl – REVIEW REPOST

Welcome! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Blast Tour for Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt. I’ll be re-posting my review that I wrote last summer when the hardcover first came out. This book blast is in honor of the trade paperback coming out!

About the Book


Shadow Girl (An Afton Tangler Thriller)

Suspense/Thriller
2nd in Series
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281789
Paperback: 320 pages (May 1, 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-0425281796
Kindle ASIN: B01MXHV6CL
Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

ShadowGirl2

Synopsis

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree…

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage…

Review Repost 4 out of 5 stars

This was definitely a non-cozy mystery and definitely suspenseful, but I’m not sure I’d consider it a thriller. It didn’t really have the fast-paced story line that I’m used to having in a thriller. It moved along steadily, it just didn’t seem as fast-paced as most thrillers I’ve read. Overall, it’s a good book, but it wasn’t real fast-paced (tho’ it wasn’t slow either) and I felt the ending was a bit anti-climatic, which is why I only gave it a 4-star rating.

While this is actually the 2nd book in the series, it is the first one I’ve read, and I will be going back to read the first one in the series at some point. I enjoyed the characters a lot. Max and Afton seem to play off of each other well as far as figuring things out. Technically, Afton’s not supposed to be doing that type of police work as she’s not officially an officer, but they work really well together so Max lets her tag along a lot more than he’s “supposed” to. They’re both well-rounded and developed characters. I think the more the series progresses, the more complexity we’ll see in them.

The plot line definitely was interesting! I was not at all bored reading this book which is a definite plus. It moves along steadily and has some sub-plots going on to help keep it moving along, but as I stated above, I felt the ending was a bit anti-climatic for the suspense level throughout the book. I don’t want to spoil it though.

Overall, this is a well-written, good book and I would recommend it as a suspense novel if you’re at all interested in that genre. If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your opinion on the ending!

CopGunShadow

About The Author

Gerry Schmitt is the author of the Afton Tangler Thrillers, and, writing under the pseudonym Laura Childs, the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-five novels, the Tea Shop, Scrapbooking, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. She is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won TV and radio awards, and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy collecting art, travel, and their two Shar-Pei dogs.

Author Links –
WebsiteFacebook

gun-divider-640x181

Thank you for stopping by today and joining me for this Book Blast & Review Re-post! If you wish to visit other spots on the Book Blast tour, please click the banner below!

shadow girl book blast 184

BOOK BLITZ – Father Figure – EXCERPT & AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Blitz Banner

** Tuesday, 11:13 PM – ACK!!! I wrote this post Monday night for posting so it’d be up right after midnight and just figured out it never posted! 😦 😦 I’m so sorry Jay and Shannon!!! 😦 😦 **

Welcome! Today I am SUPER excited!! Today, I get to host a spot on the Book Blitz tour for my friend, Jay’s, second book, Father Figure!! I was honored to be able to help Jay with this book by beta reading several versions. Jay and I met through our blogs. If you haven’t checked out his blog, This is My Truth Now, you definitely should. It’s awesome!  Even more awesome tho’ is this new book from him! I’ll be hosting a review on Father Figure during the review tour in June.

FatherFigure
Publication Date: April 2, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama

GoodReads Button

Purchase Link: Amazon

Giveaway!!!

Father Figure will be available FREE from 5/6 thru 5/10! Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Also, if you haven’t read James’ fantastic debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, pick it up on sale for only $0.99 on Amazon from 5/6 thru 5/10!!!

You can also try to win a digital copy of “Father Figure” early during the book blitz!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

butterflyline3

Synopsis

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.

bluefancydivider

Excerpt from Father Figure

Brianna wants answers and often acts childish to get them. In this scene, she tries to apologize and convince someone why she needs to know who her father is.

After leaving the coffee shop, Brianna approached her apartment building and waved to Lenny who sat at a small table outside the entrance to his club. “I’m sorry.” A small amount of guilt scratched at her conscience for the way she’d treated him. “I was immature the other night.” Her eyes dropped to the pavement with embarrassment over her behavior.

“Darling, you’re still young. It’s all you know how to do.” He dropped a packing receipt on the table and smiled at her. “What’s your end goal with all these questions?”

Brianna cocked her head to the side. “What do you mean?”

“Why do you need to know who your father is? What’s eating you up inside about not knowing?” He leaned back in the chair and crossed his arms. “A lotta good people don’t have relationships with their father.”

Brianna considered his words, certain she knew the answer but unwilling at first to tell him the truth. “Maybe I just don’t like secrets being kept from me.”

“Nah, that’s not the reason. No one likes it when other people know more than they do. Dig deeper, kiddo.” He busied himself with paperwork while she pondered the question.

Brianna let it rip. If he wanted to experience her reality, she’d drown him with it. “I’m alone. I don’t know where I come from. I’m scared to admit what I might be feeling for someone else. I feel like I’m not worth having a father. I worry that no one will ever love me. I keep asking if I did something wrong when I was a baby to make him leave. It’s like I live in this fucked-up fake life where I don’t belong, and no one’s ever gonna rescue me.” Brianna breathed in deeply, closed her eyes, and trudged up the steps. “Pick any one of them while I disappear into the Land of Lies suffocating me upstairs.”

“Sounds rough. Possibly an exaggeration, but I can see how much this is hurting you.” Lenny shuffled toward the metal railing that prevented him from hugging her even though Brianna desperately needed someone paternal to provide comfort. Or smack her. Either way, it wasn’t his job. “I’ll answer one question for you, but then you have to discuss the rest with your mother. And don’t ask me who your father is because that’s not something I can tell you.”

butterflyline3

Author Interview with James J. Cudney

I’m so pleased to be bringing you this interview with my friend, Jay. He’s an amazing author and I’m honored that he was willing to answer so many questions! Thank you, Jay!

Q1: 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?

Jay’s Response: I worked in technology at a few entertainment, sports, and media companies for about fifteen years before I left in the fall of 2016 to focus on a writing career. I enjoyed my job, but I also worked way too many hours and took very few days off. I miss the positive aspects of working in a corporate environment and interview on occasion when the right fit or company surfaces. I may still go back assuming it leaves me enough time to continue writing on nights and weekends. Money is also important, as I do have to support myself with part-time or consulting work until writing books earns me enough to make that my only focus.


Q2: 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?

Jay’s Response: Each cycle for writing a book has taken me about 6 months. During that time, I have four days each week where I focus solely on writing and editing, then marketing on the fifth day. My approach and process evolves as I automate some social media and blogging features and find help with a few agencies or consultants. I do keep a strict outline in terms of which chapters and scenes need to be written each day. I won’t let myself fall behind unless it’s during editing. I will take as much time as I need during that final process to perfect (as much as possible) my final copy before it goes to the editor and the publisher.

I also need absolute silence to write or I get easily distracted. No music, social media or internet during those 5 to 6 hours each day. Then I’m a little bit like a hamster running on his or her wheel trying to catch up on whatever I missed throughout the day.


Q3: 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?

Jay’s Response: I got lucky, and I fully acknowledge it. I began blogging about 4 months before I shared my writing with any beta readers. During that time, I also sent around 50 query letters to agents. I received a few responses with interest, but nothing came to fruition. After 3 months, I stopped and focused on building up my blog to become noticed in a different way. I wanted readers to know I am consistent, persistent and open-minded. I met a wonderful blogger and author, Melanie Mole, who read my work. She introduced me to her publisher, and after a few conversations, we struck a deal!

I do think about quitting but it’s only for a few brief moments either when I think about the bank account being drained too low or a particularly negative review is posted. I’ve got a phenomenal support system who kick my backside just enough to get me to realize I’m living my dream at the moment. I need to make it work for as long as I can or as long as is possible because I absolutely love my life.

bluefancydivider

Q4: 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?

Jay’s Response: Great questions. I tend to write a full first draft that matches the original outline in about two months. I then edit the story and ensure the full plot and characters are fleshed out in that third month. The last three months are the editing and beta reader process. I’ve connected with ten readers who have been instrumental in identifying small to medium issues that need resolution, as well as help with proofreading. I trust their voices to help shape the story where it needs some guidance.

My editing process is about 10 different machinations ranging from looking for repeated words to weak works, spelling errors to poor grammar, dialog quality and detail of narrative descriptions. From there, I have a list of 20 things that turn your writing from ‘good’ to ‘great’ – these are where I re-write sentence to reduce words, to add imagery, to fix awkwardness, etc. At that point, it goes to the editor where she finds oodles of things I missed! By then, beta readers have read twice, sometimes a few parts get a third read, and then it goes to the publisher. I’ve never set it aside for more than two weeks because I like to be busy and push through to the next project.


Q5: 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?

Jay’s Response:  I wish… well, I don’t really. I am surrounded by wonderful people, so all my villains are entirely made up. I will admit that some of the things villains have said or done are things that crossed my mind whenever I was hurt or disappointed. No… nothing bad like Riley or Janet, but who hasn’t wanted to strangle someone at some point? And you think about it in your head for a brief second and then forget it. That’s where I draw from reality and include the evil nature that lurks around us sometimes. But I promise, I have not ever nor will I ever be as mean as the characters I put in the books!

As for how I get in touch with them, I’ve spent so much time in my head that I think about what really makes a person tick. I put my place in the shoes of the character and ask what I would do if I could get away with it. Imagination can be a blessing and a curse. At the end of the day, I feel the emotions from everyone I create, so I often find myself getting sad or scared or depressed for a few minutes up to a few hours… luckily, I have someone at home who can make me snap out of it easily.


Q6: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

Jay’s Response: What a great question! I use surnames from my family tree, as I’m a big genealogist. I like having those connections. I did include a few friends’ names who helped with marketing or beta reading on both books, just as a fun ode to them. There are a couple of scenes or phrases in each book that were said by someone in real life. I’ve added to the appropriate character… and I wait for friends to stumble upon them and either laugh or roast me! Other than little things, everything is entirely fictional. Although I have some interesting friends and family members with stories, no one is quite like the characters I’ve created.

butterflyline3

Q7: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Jay’s Response: I had an Agatha Christie Readathon on my blog in April where we read 4 of her best books. I love sharing that experience with my blogger buddies and friends. I’m hosting another one in July, but we’ll focus on children’s books next time. I’ve become a huge fan of Fredrik Backman after reading his book, Beartown, last year. I just read A Man Called Ove and Us Against Them. I will be reading the author’s other 4 works this summer. And then there’s Lisa Jewell, Kate Morton, and Ken Follett who just absolutely make me love reading more than anything else in the world.


Q8: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Jay’s Response: It used to be Olivia Glass from Watching Glass Shatter, but now it’s Amalia Graeme from Father Figure. I’d want to be her friend in Brant, Mississippi and steer her away from all the problems she encountered after leaving for college. Sometimes it only takes one good connection to help change a life. And maybe it wouldn’t stop everything, but the poor girl deserved a break much sooner than she ever got one. Yes, I blame myself, since as the author I caused the problems… but I would also want to help fix them in some other fantasy world. We’d spend the day together cooking, talking about a book, having discussions about the purpose of life, and building the strength for her to survive.


Q9: 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?

Jay’s Response: I read every single one on Amazon and Goodreads, and if I stumble upon a review on a blog or social media, I read it. I can’t help it. It’s like desserts. If there is a cake, I eat the whole thing. If I open a box of cookies, I throw the empty bag or box in the garbage the same day after eating every single one of them. I’m a bit compulsive about those things. With reviews, I want to know what people think so I can improve. I try to find the constructive feedback in the review so that I can incorporate my own reactions and ideas into future work.

I have seen two things in my negative reviews that I agreed with and have made a conscious effort to fix. I didn’t edit the first book as well as I needed to edit it. I hired someone to fix it and then re-issued the book shortly after it was published. I no longer see any reviews citing proofreading issues. The same editor also polished my second book and it shines! The other area I agree with is that I can be overly descriptive and need to tone it down. From book one to book two, there’s a dramatic and positive difference. I will always be descriptive, but I know when to stop now.

I’ve seen some negative reviews that are from people who seem to prefer being mean and pointing out bad things, never saying anything good. I try to forget those, but they still hurt. I’ve got a thick skin, but it does bother me from time to time. Luckily, I’ve had ~90% positive reviews and ~10% negative reviews. In the negative ones, it’s clear a few didn’t give the book a chance, but it’s also clear people have different tastes and reading styles. I respect that… especially when someone clarifies why a book didn’t work for them rather than just trash it without any examples or reasoning. I’ve reviewed ~600 books in the last 2 years, so I am very conscious of being helpful rather than hurtful. I aim to deliver quality and useful feedback without penalizing the author for something that I’m not particularly fond of.

Author Links

James J. Cudney| Blog | Amazon | Twitter

Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | LinkedIn

bluefancydivider

Thank you again Jay for answering my questions!! It’s been fun to read your answers! And thank YOU for joining me today to celebrate this awesome new book from James J. Cudney! Pick it up from Amazon either as an e-book or paperback version! I beta read it and am in the middle of reading the final version – it’s brilliant! Enjoy!

 

R&RButto200x200

BLOG TOUR – The Silver Gun – GUEST POST, REVIEW

THE-SILVER-GUN-BANNER-640

Welcome! Today I’m featuring a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for The Silver Gun, which is the first book in the new Art Deco Mystery series by L.A. Chandlar. It was phenomenal!  Before we get to my review, Ms. Chandlar has graciously written a guest post for today!  The review and information about the book (including purchase links and Rafflecopter giveaway) will be after the guest post.

gun-divider-640x181

Historical Antics of the Mayor: Fact or Fiction?

In The Art Deco Mysteries, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, the ninety-ninth mayor of New York City, is one of the main characters and I’m sure it’s clear that I personally adore him. I’ve romanticized him a little bit – but his character really is true to form. In the midst of a fictitious story-line, I have a lot of real history woven into the series. In fact, people are often surprised that the most sensational antics are actually the real ones.

My favorite thing about historical fiction is that you get to live in the pocket of a certain time and place. Readers discover things that you just can’t get in a history book. We tend to learn history in pockets, so we don’t realize what else was going on at the same time. Also, I think history books can take all the humanity out of a story. Especially the humor. That’s a pet peeve of mine. So many books have not a whisper of a smile in them, whereas I think humor is essential to a fully realized human being. Fictitious or not.

Many of Fiorello’s antics were taken out of real life. For instance, (this is not a spoiler) there is a scene where Lane and Valerie watch Fio suddenly bound down the steps of City Hall and then look wildly around for his car and driver. Not seeing them and yet needing to get to a fire (he made it a habit to be at the scene of every major fire, car crash, and crime), he pounces on the nearest form of conveyance: a policeman on a motorcycle with a sidecar. As they drive off, he yells to the stunned and chuckling onlookers, “I am not a sissy!” Totally true. It really happened and it still cracks me up as I’m writing this.

I mention often that Fio was loud. He definitely was. He was a bellower with a unique and screechy voice. He did create an office in his car complete with police radio, desk, and gun compartment. The Fire Commissioner gave him an honorary fire coat because he showed up to most fires as a first responder. The Commissioner was noted as often yelling at major fires, “Get the mayor out of there!” because the swashbuckling mayor had joined in the rescue efforts. And Fio was a lover of art and music. He often guest-conducted at symphonies around the city. He played the coronet and using his horn-blowing skill in a particularly humorous way. He quashed the powerful gangster, the Artichoke King, and his monopoly on artichokes with a police escort, a lordly scroll Fio unrolled to declare the King out of business, and two trumpeters on hand to give the whole thing a little panache.

Fiorello was a five-foot-two firecracker of a guy. He was a fighter pilot in WWI, a congressman, and then the ninety-ninth mayor of New York City. He was a minority on both sides: half-Jewish, half-Italian. I love the tension of Fio. He was loud, abrasive and rude, yet he was a total romantic, loved music and art dearly, and always fought for the little guy. Fiorello attended in-person the petitioners that queued up in his office at the beginning of every work day. He was rude and brash, yet he had an incredibly dear heart and fought for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. People who grew up back then always remember him and his voice. The most memorable moment of him that people bring up to me all the time is Fiorello reading the funny papers over the radio for the kids when the newspapers went on strike.

To find out more of the real history, and what parts I created, be sure to read the Author Notes at the end of my books. It’s so fun to find out that reality truly can be stranger than fiction.

mysterypic

About the Book

The Silver Gun (An Art Deco Mystery) by L.A. Chandlar
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Kensington (August 29, 2017)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496713414
Digital ASIN: B01MQSAJO7
Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

gun-divider-640x181

Synopsis

New York City, 1936. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Big Apple is defiantly striving toward an era infused with art, architecture, and economic progress under the dynamic Mayor La Guardia. But those in City Hall know that tumultuous times can inspire both optimism and deadly danger . . .

It’s been six months since Lane Sanders was appointed Mayor Fiorello “Fio” La Guardia’s new personal aide, and the twenty-three-year-old is sprinting in her Mary Janes to match her boss’s pace. Despite dealing with vitriol from the Tammany Hall political machine and managing endless revitalization efforts, Fio hasn’t slowed down a bit during his years in office. And luckily for Lane, his unpredictable antics are a welcome distraction from the childhood memories that haunt her dreams—and the silver gun she’ll never forget.

When Lane gets attacked and threatened by an assailant tied to one of most notorious gangsters in the city, even the mayor can’t promise her safety. The corrupt city officials seem to be using Lane as a pawn against Fio for disgracing their party in the prior election. But why was the assailant wielding the exact same gun from her nightmares?

Balancing a clandestine love affair and a mounting list of suspects, Lane must figure out how the secrets of her past are connected to the city’s underground crime network—before someone pulls the trigger on the most explosive revenge plot in New York history . . .

mysterypic

Review – 5 out of 5 stars.

Wow. This book was just phenomenal. I don’t give 5 stars lightly, but I think this first book in the new Art Deco Mystery series deserves it. I was a little concerned at first as I had a hard time getting into it, but as I do with every book, I gave it 50 pages. It didn’t need that long before it grabbed me and never let go. There was so much action and intrigue in this book. I told my mom at one point that I had thought I was getting to the climax only to find that I was only halfway done with the book!

The characters are awesome. I love Lane and Evelyn and Mr. Kirkland and Finn and all of them! I cannot wait to get to know them further in other books. They’re well-rounded characters and complex.  There are so many things that you learn about them just in this first book!

The plot was brilliant. I read a “professional” review that said it was too formulaic but I think they were wrong. These days it’s hard to find a book that doesn’t follow at least some formula to a degree.  In romance, you’re going to have the getting together, then the problem/break-up and then the reunion and happy ever after. It’s just inevitable. In mysteries, you’re going to have the heroine trying to figure out how to save the day at the end, either by finding the killer/robber/arsonist or by stopping some horrible event from happening. It’s just part of story writing. However, in my opinion, this story had so many ups and downs, so many little climaxes and then ratcheting up the action more that it kept it from being too formulaic.

I’d still consider this a cozy – even with the amount of suspense and intrigue that there was. There still wasn’t much language or physical displays of affection. We had a young, female heroine who wasn’t part of the police or other crime stopping team, though she certainly had plenty of ties there. Plus, when there was a death or killing, there wasn’t a lot of discussion dealing with blood and gore. Nonetheless, this was definitely hopping more with suspense than your traditional cozy.

I absolutely loved this book and HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who is a mystery lover. You should seriously let your fingers run, not walk, to one of the online retailers or to a brick and mortar store and buy this book in some format.

If you do, I’d love to hear your opinion of the book!

gun-divider-640x181

About the Author

L .A. Chandlar is the author of the Art Deco Mystery Series with Kensington Publishing featuring Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and a fresh take on the innovation and liveliness of 1930s New York City. Her debut novel, The Silver Gun released August 29, 2017, and the sequel, The Gold Pawn, will release September 25th, 2018. Laurie has been living and writing in New York City for 16 years and has been speaking for a wide variety of audiences for over 20 years including a women’s group with the United Nations. Her talks range from NYC history, the psychology of creativity, and the history of holiday traditions. Laurie has also worked in PR for General Motors, writes and fund-raises for a global nonprofit is the mother of two boys, and has toured the nation managing a rock band.

Author Links

Website: http://www.lachandlar.com

Social Media Quick Link to all my social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Newsletter): http://www.lachandlar.com/social

YouTube for Behind the Scenes Tours: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOc8aw0RmT-MTKuCGKJ7dOw?view_as=subscriber

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7656965.L_A_Chandlar

mysterypic

Thanks for joining me today! If you wish to visit other sites on the tour, please click on the banner below which will take you to the main tour page where there is a list of tour participants!

THE-SILVER-GUN-BANNER-184

BLOG TOUR – Killing at Kadaire House – GUEST POST

the-killing-at-kildaire-house-banner-640

Welcome! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for The Killing at Kaldaire House by Kate Parker. This is the first in the new Milliner Mystery series. Ms. Parker has been kind enough to provide a guest post for today’s post. Information about the book, including synopsis and purchase links will be below the guest post.

MulticolorThreadSpoolLineLarge

The Art of Edwardian Ladies’ Hats

I’ve always been fascinated by hats. There is something so stylish about an outfit topped off with a brimmed hat. I’ve never been particularly stylish myself. As much as I’d like to wear hats, my head is too big for one size fits most due to a thick skull, not increased brain power. But the cloches in the last seasons of Downton Abbey and the wide brims on the hats in the first seasons held my attention far better than the question of who will go to jail next, Bates or Anna?

In The Killing at Kaldaire House, I knew my sleuth would be a talented milliner as well as an observant student of human nature. But if Emily Gates, my milliner, was going to run her shop, I needed to learn something about hat making techniques at the dawn of the twentieth century. That’s when I found the perfect book: Edwardian Hats, The Art of Millinery (1909) by Anna Ben-Yusuf.

Madame Ben-Yusuf worked in both Paris and London before she settled in New York and taught hat making in Brooklyn. She wrote articles for magazines in the trade which formed the basis for this book.

She spends a lot of time describing how to curl feathers, and the illustration of the feather curling knife gave me the weapon for a future murder. There is a whole section on making different types of flowers out of ribbon and all the practice needed to learn this art. Bows of ribbon, silk flowers, and the use of lace to cover a hat are all special skills.

These delicate touches also had to be cleaned, as clothing wasn’t as disposable then as it is today, and milliners did this work, too. Hot irons were used, along with, depending on the material, steam, soap, alcohol, gum arabic, and gasoline.

Before a designer or maker can make the trimming, however, they first have to make the hat. Hats back then were designed to fit the head and hairstyle of the particular wearer, so they were made individually or in different sizes. Wire frames are made first, and this is where knowledge of geometry was useful. Then material was cut to the pattern so the grain of the fabric all went in the same direction and sewn on. Different stitches were used for the very different materials used to cover hats, such as straw or velvet. This is where Noah and the hat workshop across the alley come in to the story.

As I read this book, I realized how much training Emily would have gone through to reach the point in her career where her hats are sought after. I also found ideas for the story, such as the French style of mourning hat that Lady Kaldaire requires.

I hope as you read The Killing at Kaldaire House, you’ll find where I’ve woven bits of Emily’s profession into the story. Her business becomes a conflict between Emily and Lady Kaldaire, a lady of leisure who doesn’t understand the time required to do all the work required. But with the two of them on the case, they have a chance to catch the killer.

MulticolorThreadSpoolLineLarge

About the Book


The Killing at Kaldaire House

(The Milliner Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
New Series
Self-Published
Release Date – April 2, 2018
Paperback: 318 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0997663716
Digital ASIN: B079ZBJ935

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo
Rafflecopter Giveaway

MulticolorThreadSpoolLineLarge

Synopsis

A dying man. The painting within her reach. What’s a thief to do?

Talented London milliner Emily Gates creates amazing hats for Society ladies, but to collect from those who don’t pay her bill, she burglarizes their homes. She needs every penny to send her deaf brother to school. Late one night, she sneaks in to find Lord Kaldaire badly injured in his study. Unwilling to abandon him, she calls for help.

When Kaldaire dies without revealing who attacked him, his widow agrees to keep Emily’s secrets ― if Emily will help find her husband’s killer. A bigger danger is a Scotland Yard inspector who threatens to arrest Emily — unless she spies on her father’s family of swindlers and conmen. Worst of all are the attacks from an unknown assailant. What will Emily face first, jail or death?

This cozy mystery is set in the era of My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins, of early automobiles and aeroplanes, and of King Edward VII and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you enjoyed the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, you’ll like Emily Gates and the collection of aristocrats and thieves in her world as they step into the 20th century.

MulticolorThreadSpoolLineLarge

About the Author

Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.

Author Links:

Website: www.KateParkerbooks.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Author.Kate.Parker/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KateParkerbooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7123001.Kate_Parker

MulticolorThreadSpoolLineLarge
©Graphic Garden

Thanks for joining me today! If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, please click on the banner below to be taken to the main tour page where there is a list of tour participants.

the-killing-at-kildaire-house-banner-184

BOOK REVIEW – Pressing the Issue

4 out of 5 stars.

Welcome! I’m still working on getting caught up on reviews. Today’s review is for Pressing the Issue, the sixth book in the Cookbook Nook mystery series by Daryl Wood Gerber. I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time and it did not disappoint at all!

PressingTheIssue

Pressing the Issue (A Cookbook Nook Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in the series
Beyond the Page Publishing (February 20, 2018)
Print version: 350 pages
ASIN: B07955HXRS
GoodReads Button

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo

Prince & Princess Bears together
©Graphic Garden

Synopsis

As the annual Renaissance Fair comes to Crystal Cove, Jenna Hart’s Cookbook Nook is packed with tasty treats and all things medieval, while her pal Bailey is ready to swoon over her upcoming nuptials at a local vineyard. But when the two friends discover the body of the vineyard’s owner bludgeoned by a winepress, all their merriment fades, along with their hopes for a vintage year.

Which churlish varlet did the deed? Was it the victim’s errant brother, who stood to inherit the vineyards? Or the owner’s crestfallen ex-girlfriend? Mayhap it was the newly arrived comely wench, or her jealous husband. Fie on them all! Verily, Jenna can’t rest until justice is served, and she vows to track down the killer. But can she sniff out the truth before the villainous culprit strikes again?

Prince Bear with sword fighting dragon with pot of gold
©Graphic Garden

Review

I was waiting for this book to come out ever since the fifth one, Grilling the Subject had been published in August 2016. I’m thrilled that Daryl Wood Gerber found another publisher to continue the series as I really enjoy it. Even though I’d had a long wait between books, this newest installment in the series did not disappoint at all!

It was so good to be back in Crystal Cove with Jenna, Aunt Vera, Bailey, Katie, Rhett, and the rest of the townspeople. It’s one thing I love about reading series – the characters start to feel like they’re old friends that you’re visiting. These are great characters. Daryl Wood Gerber has done a great job creating well-developed and complex characters. They’re fun to come back to book after book.

This plotline had several red herrings. I did wonder about the villain but I wasn’t sure about my wonderings until just before they were revealed in the end.  I was sorry the victim had to die. We’d met him in other books and I kinda liked him as a character. But alas, what’s a mystery without a victim of some sort?

This is definitely a series that you want to read from the beginning, starting with Final Sentence, the first book in the series. Each of the mysteries are stand-alone but there’s a lot of back story that will make MUCH more sense if you read the books in order.

I do recommend the series for cozy mystery fans. Come join the fun in Crystal Cove and get to know this great cast of characters!

Prince & Princess Bears together

About the Author

DarylWoodGerber.jpgAgatha Award-winning and nationally bestselling author DARYL WOOD GERBER crosses genres again with her second stand-alone suspense thriller, DAY OF SECRETS. Daryl also writes the bestselling COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERIES and will soon debut the new FRENCH BISTRO MYSTERIES. As Avery Aames, she pens the bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES. Little known fact: Daryl has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and she has hitchhiked around Ireland by herself. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to read, cook, and golf. She has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!