Love is in the air in Aspen Hills, and it’s making a terrible mess of Cat Latimer’s writers’ retreat—especially when blood stains the plot . . .
Ever since her business partner, Shauna, fell for a wealthy landowner in town, Cat has been working double time to keep her writers’ retreat running. And with the January session almost underway, that spells trouble. As if scheduling mishaps aren’t disastrous enough, Shauna skips out on kitchen duties one morning, forcing Cat to serve unsuspecting guests store-bought muffins . . .
But best laid plans really go awry when Shauna discovers her beau missing from their bed. When his body later turns up in the horse barn, they quickly find out the victim’s scandalous lifestyle left many dying for revenge. While balancing an eccentric group of aspiring writers and a suspect list for the record books, Cat soon finds herself on the heels of a killer—and authoring her most deadly conclusion yet . . .
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I own the first two, but I haven’t had a chance to read them. This is the first in the series that I’ve been able to read. It was a great storyline and kept me guessing until the end.
I enjoyed the characters quite a bit. Cat is a lot like me and I’m enjoying getting to know her and Shauna and Seth. It was also nice to see some tie-ins to Ms. Cahoon’s other series, the Tourist Trap mysteries.
The setting sounds lovely. I’ve been to Colorado once and it’s definitely a state I’d like to visit again!
This was a light, fun read and I recommend it. I didn’t feel at all lost even tho’ I was starting with book #3 but I will probably also go back and re-read the first two. Pick it up and enjoy!
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Welcome to my stop on this particular blog tour! Today I’m featuring “Color Me Dead” by Teresa Trent, which is the first in the Henry Park series. I really enjoyed this book and I’m already excited for the second book in the series!!
Artist Gabby Wolfe has the ability to see not only the beauty of the living, but the despair of the dead. When she returns to her childhood home in Henry Park Colorado, she is forced to bring along her younger brother Mitch. He is on a “break” from college where he was majoring in wine, women and song. If that isn’t enough they also have Mitch’s rambunctious beagle Luigi along who prefers to spend his days wallowing in junk food. When Gabby draws the death of a young woman before it happens, she knows she must tell someone and risk a new job and her professional credibility. Will she reveal her secret in time to save the woman in the water or will it be too late?
From the beginning, I was absolutely riveted by this book. It was very hard to read this when I was at work (breaks and lunch) because I did NOT want to put it down and go back out to the public desks. Mind you, I love my job and most of the time I love being out on the desks and helping people. That’s why I went to library school, so I could be a reference librarian and help people find the information they need/want. I was just so riveted to this book that I didn’t want to put it down, though because of life it did take longer to read than something like this usually does.
I thought the characters were very well-rounded and surprisingly complex for this being only the first book in the series. Often times, when the book is the first in a new series, the author leaves some background out to release in the other volumes and the characters end up somewhat flat and two-dimensional. These characters, however, fully came to life in my head. I’m certainly looking forward to learning more about them in the next book(s) in the series. I love all the side characters too, not just the main characters. Those add so much life to the book and the story. I had absolutely NO idea who the killer was until it was revealed and I love that in a mystery.
The setting descriptions were “just right” for me. There was enough detail that I could easily imagine the scene and yet I didn’t feel like the level of description was overwhelming and boring. Also, the setting sounds absolutely beautiful. I love living here in Michigan, but Henry Park, Colorado sounds like a beautiful place to live.
The plot line moved along at a pretty steady pace. As I said above, I had absolutely NO idea of who the killer was until the author revealed it. I tend to lose interest in a book if I know “who done it” early in the story line, so I was happy to be surprised.
I highly recommend this book to those who like cozy mysteries. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series to see where Gabby and Mitch lead us!
** I received a free ecopy of this book from the author. All opinions and conclusions are my own. **
About the Author
Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer. She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.
Hardened billionaire Chase Parker lost his home tragically at a young age. Will sweet and sassy businesswoman Moira Hale be able to convince him he can make a home with her and trust in something as sweet as love?
Moira and Chase are both strong, independent personalities. Watching them learn how to balance trust and love with still remaining independent was fascinating. I loved the fact that when Chase was opening up his heart and soul to Moira, she didn’t try to use platitudes or pat answers to make things better. Instead, she sat with him, held him when he cried, and was just there. As a survivor of trauma, I can testify that there is no better feeling than to have someone you love, whether relative, friend, or significant other, just be there. There’s no need for words or reassurance. There’s just a need to have someone to listen. That’s exactly what Moira does for Chase and it’s one of the greatest gifts she could give him.
Being back in the familiar setting of Dare Valley was lovely. When you read a book in a favorite series, it’s like “coming home” in a sense. This book was no exception to that. Similarly, it was great to see the majority of the extended Dare Valley family.
The only thing I didn’t like in this one is that I didn’t like how Evan was “handling” Chase. Forcing someone to face their past is not always a good thing; it’s easy for such “good intentions” to backfire and for the intended person to become even more embittered and hardened. Luckily, it worked out this time around and Chase was able to heal, not only from this newer trauma, but from the trauma in his earlier life.
As is usually the case, we got a “sneak peek” at the next book in the series by seeing interactions between the next couple to be featured. After seeing how J.T. & Caroline interacted together, I’m very excited for their book!
All-in-all, it was a great book and I highly recommend it!
** I received an eBook copy from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all opinions and conclusions are my own.**
International photojournalist Lucy O’Brien returns to her hometown of Dare Valley after a devastating trauma that threatens her livelihood. When her mother asks her to do a photo shoot for a Calendar Girls-like calendar to raise money for breast cancer, she can’t take their…ahem…ribald photos fast enough. Too bad her involvement stirs up her childhood best friend, Boy-Next-Door and widower Andy Hale, in all the wrong ways.
The Calendar of New Beginnings by Ava Miles is the ninth in the Dare Valley series. This book finds us spending time with Andy Hale and Lucy O’Brien, who have been best friends since kindergarten. How many people in this world can say they’re lucky enough to have remained friends with someone from kindergarten, much less a best friend? I’m thankful that I can say I still have a friend from kindergarten. We’ve lost contact a couple of times but we always find each other again. It’s so wonderful!
I really enjoyed Andy & Lucy’s story about that scary transition between friendship and love. I thought Ms. Miles handled all the worries and fears that one faces in that situation quite well. It was shown and talked about, but it didn’t over-power the scenes or the book. I also thought how the characters took the needs and feelings of Danny, Andy’s son, was authentic.
I found all the things that Lucy is going through with being a photographer but having her vision damaged to be very fascinating as well. I’m a photographer, albeit an amateur one, and learning about the way Lucy has honed her skills and how she’s dealing with the adversity of having her vision damaged felt real, raw, and honest to me. My main job is in a library. I can only imagine how I’d feel if through some freak accident, I wasn’t able to work in a library anymore. It’s daunting to think about and that anguish shines through in Lucy without over-taking the story.
I’m thrilled that Ms. Miles has started including a map of the town in her Dare Valley series as well. I love maps in general. The use of them for fictitious places helps me get into the story better as I’m able to visualize where people are moving to and from around the town.
Yet, despite how well-written it is and how wonderful the story line is, there’s something about the book that just feels “off” to me. I’m not even sure what it is. There is more family conflict in this one which may be setting off my inner anxiety about such things. Also, Moira, Andy’s sister, who is also the main heroine in the next Dare Valley novel, was more active in this one, but she has a pretty substantial role in the story so it’s not like she’s showing up with no purpose. I don’t know what it is that I’m feeling; it’s just “off” somehow. That’s why I only gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
I certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in a good romance novel. It is well-written, it is highly enjoyable, and it’s entirely probable that you won’t feel like it’s “off” at all. All in all it’s another great addition to the Dare Valley series.
[** I received a free ebook copy of this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review. My review was not influenced by this, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions and conclusions are my own. **]
Since I won’t have another review for you to read for another few days, I thought I’d update you with what’s coming up in the world of Valerie’s Musings.
I’ve included links to the Amazon descriptions as that’s easier for everyone to access than Goodreads is. These are roughly in the order they’ll be read/reviewed in but I might mix ’em up here and there.
As you can see, there’s a good mix of genres included here (e.g. woman’s fiction, romance, non-fiction, etc.), so hopefully there will be something for everyone! If you have any author friends who would like their book reviewed, please feel free to give them my blog address! There’s a contact me page that will email me with their information. Thanks!