At the annual Victorian Home and Garden Tour, Lighthouse Cove, California’s premier contractor, Shannon Hammer, realizes that the competition is about to turn deadly….
Shannon is in high demand among rival homeowners, who will do anything to win Best in Show. One-upmanship and even espionage break out among neighbors, construction crews, decorators, and landscapers. Thanks to several new hires, Shannon is sure she can handle the extra load–until murder throws a wrench in the works.
The small town’s corrupt building inspector is found dead on one of Shannon’s jobsites, and soon plenty of suspects are coming out of the woodwork. When another body is discovered, Shannon calls on her team of close friends and devilishly astute thriller writer Mac to help her nail down the details and build a case against the killer before the door shuts on someone else–for good.
Generally, when you think of a Home and Garden tour, murder is NOT the first thing that comes to mind, but we’ve got plenty of it in Lighthouse Cove this time around! It’ll take serious sleuthing by Shannon, Mac, and their friends to find the culprit this time around. Villains abound where you least expect them.
Well-written, interesting characters are what keep me reading a series and the characters in this series are great. I enjoy Shannon and Mac tremendously. Shannon’s crew are also great. I’m looking forward to getting to know the newest member more as well.
While I had wondered about the actual villain, I really didn’t focus on them until closer to the end. There were plenty of red herrings in this book to keep you guessing on who the villain really was. However, the book still moved along at a decent pace and wasn’t too slow, even with all those extra misleading clues.
I can’t wait for the next one in the series next year! I do recommend starting at the beginning of the series if you want to read the series. Each book can be read as a stand-alone but you’ll understand the interpersonal dynamics a little better if you read from the beginning, starting with A High-End Finish.
Welcome! Today, I’m beyond excited to be featuring a stop on the blog tour for my friend, Jay’s, new book, Watching Glass Shatter. This book is phenomenal! I don’t say that lightly. Yes, Jay is my friend, but the writing totally lives up to the hype and is well-deserving of a 5-star rating!
*** Also, this weekend, November 10 – November 14, the eBook version of Watching Glass Shatter is free on Amazon! You can check out this phenomenal book for FREE! ***
The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.
Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.
We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family.
Olivia and her sons and the rest of the characters are well-rounded, developed, complex characters. There were points where I wanted to “Gibbs’ slap” each of them in turn, but they’re all terrific characters. I can also identify with each of them in turn as they deal with the various pressures and secrets in their lives. Zach and Caleb are my favorites. They seem to have a hidden depth to them and I want to get to know them even more than we do in this book.
The character development in this novel is wonderful. We watch several characters go from being obsessed with their own lives and their own feelings, to the exclusion of others, to reaching out and enjoying the fact that they have a family to rely on. Everyone grows to some degree, some more than others, but everyone grows and changes a little in this book and it’s fabulous to watch.
The setting descriptions were slightly wordier than I tend to like, but they worked in this book. I didn’t feel as though they pulled me out of the story as setting descriptions sometimes do. I tend to prefer more basic descriptions, but the wordiness worked in this novel and it didn’t detract from anything at all.
The plot line is incredibly dramatic and amazing. How Ben’s secret affected Olivia, how the secrets of the boys affected their relationships in the family, everything was excellent. There was just the right amount of suspense for a dramatic novel without there being too much suspense.
All in all, I’m totally in love with this book and it’s definitely in my top 5 books of 2017. It’s phenomenal, amazing, and you really need to read it! I’m also very excited to hear that Jay’s planning on writing a sequel!
About the Author
Jay wears many hats and has had a variety of experiences in life, all of which he combines into his writing. He grew up on Long Island, went to college in Pennsylvania, has lived various places and now lives in New York City. He spent about 15 years working in technology in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries, but writing has been apart of his life since he was a child.
In 2016, he left his work in the technology industry and started re-focusing on reading and writing which are his true passion. He’s written over 500 book reviews on Goodreads and he has a blog called This Is My Truth Now with over 3000 followers.
Outside of reading and writing, Jay’s interest include genealogy, cooking, and his 10-year-old Shiba Inu, Ryder. Ryder even has his own segment each week on Jay’s blog called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about Jay.
Watching Glass Shatter is Jay’s debut novel. His second novel, Father Figure, will be published in early 2018.
Thanks for joining me today! I’m so excited about this book! I hope you hop over to Amazon, pick up a copy and enjoy it! Thank you, Jay, for letting me be a part of your blog tour. It’s an amazing book!
Today I’m happy to be presenting a review of The Convenient Cadaver, the first book in the Grandma Bertha Solving Murders series by Matt Ferraz. This was a delightful read and I’m glad that Matt contacted me and asked me if I would read and review it!
When Grandma Bertha moved to her son’s place, she brought along three dogs, several cases of beer and many, many horror film DVDs. While her daughter-in-law insists on the idea of sending Grandma Bertha to a retirement home, a dead girl appears near the house, shot three times in the back. Many years ago, Grandma Bertha let a murderer escape for not trusting in her own detective abilities. Now, armed with her wit and wisdom, she decides to solve that crime before the police. Could this crazy dog lady be a threat to a cold-blooded killer? And for how long can the family stand that situation?
This was an absolutely delightful read! While it lacked that little extra pizzazz I like to bump it up to a 5-star read, it’s a very strong 4.5-star read!
I’m already completely in love with Grandma Bertha as a character. She’s smart, witty, a huge smart ass, and funny. The more we learn about her and her past, the more I love her. The rest of the characters in the book were well-developed. I do not like Lydia. I tried and tried to put myself in her shoes, but I just couldn’t do it. However, I also think that to a point, we’re not supposed to like her and Mr. Ferraz makes her difficult and demanding and easy not to like so I’d say that’s a success!
The plot line moves along at a decent pace. I never felt that it was too slow. While I successfully guessed part of the ending, there was part that was also a surprise to me. I don’t want to give it away tho’ so I’m not going to say anymore about that.
The setting descriptions were great. A great balance of just enough that I could imagine things easily and not too much.
I think what I loved most about this book was not just the mystery, which was interesting, but the fact that Grandma Bertha just is who she is. She doesn’t hide her true form. She’s just herself even tho’ that makes Lydia and Todd frustrated with her. She’s not afraid to be her own person. Since that’s something I struggle with from time to time, it really resonated with me in this story.
I highly recommend this new cozy mystery and series. I’m excitedly awaiting the second book in the series!
Interview with Matt Ferraz
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?
I teach English to Brazilian kids in my hometown, and have plans to become a university lecturer. I actually took a masters in the UK, but have to validate it on Brazil to be able to pursue my academic career. But I like what I’m doing now, it’s more interesting than sitting in an office filling paperwork.
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?
Setting an aim is important to me, and I always do that, no matter what I’m writing. The Convenient Cadaver was written on a rush, because I was on the UK taking my masters and couldn’t afford flying home during the holidays. So I just wrote like crazy, always following a schedule. It works well for me.
Music doesn’t bother me that much, but I hate people chatting around me when I’m writing. I think it’s less because of the distraction, and more for knowing that they don’t respect my work enough to be quiet when I’m working, or at least go talk somewhere else.
3) Do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?
A bit of both. When I start a book, I still don’t know the characters well enough to know how they are going to turn out. Some authors write profiles of their characters before they even start writing the book – I could never do that! It’d be like writing a symphony on the sheets without actually listening to its sound. What I do is I write about fifteen thousand words and only then start to outline. By then I know what I want to do with each character.
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?
Fun fact: I got traditionally published in the UK and in Italy, but never in my home country Brazil. The closer I got was a publishing house that took two years to read my manuscript and then asked for 14.000 reais (around 4.300 dollars) out of my pocket to publish it!
My novel Killing Dr. Watson was released in 2016 by MX Publishing, an amazing British company that only deals with Sherlock Holmes-related books. Since my novel was built around Holmes fandom, they took me and did a great job with my book. While in the UK, I took a workshop about Amazon self-pubilshing and decided to try that with The Convenient Cadaver.
Thoughts of quitting? Not really. Writing is too deep inside me, and I couldn’t live without it. Sometimes I wish I was an engineer or an attorney so I could make more money than I do today, but I’d still be writing.
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?
I revise the first draft about three times before giving it to my best beta reader: my fiancée Alana. Then I need to have it edited and proofread – which is crucial, for I’m writing in a second tongue. I have a wonderful editor, Makenzi Crouch, who does that for me.
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?
How to answer this without spoiling the ending? Let’s say I don’t like villains who do bad stuff just because they’re evil. My villains are people who have qualities, but that are put in a situation where they have to do evil things.
7) Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?
Grandma Bertha is actually a composition of my two grandmothers and my friend Silvia. From my Grandma Edite, I took the whole situation of having an older relative living in one’s house, and how that can be difficult but also nice and funny. The tender relationship between Grandma Bertha and her grandson is taken from me and my Grandma Eva. And from Silvia, who sadly passed away before she could read the book, I took the part of an old lady who loves beer, dogs and horror movies.
8) If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?
My dissertation was about the life of a Russian painter named Elizabeth Shoumatoff, who escaped Russia during the February Revolution and became a painter for hire in the United States. She did the final portrait of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt – he had a stroke posing for her and died shortly after! I have a ton of material on Elizabeth, and hope to write a book on her one day.
9) What are some great books you’ve read recently?
I’ve been reading a lot of Agatha Christie this year, specially the Miss Marple novels. The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side and The Moving Finger are my favorites. I also read Colm Toibin’s amazing novel Brooklyn, which became a great movie with the talented Saoirse Ronan.
10) What books have influenced your life the most?
Stephen King’s books have always been very important to me. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if I’d be a writer today. Books like IT and Four Seasons made me realize that being a writer was not only a possibility, but a beautiful thing to aspire. Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile was also a landmark for me – the first novel for grown-ups I ever read. And we had a series of books in Brazil named Coleção Vagalume (Firefly Collection) which I devoured when I was a kid. They had everything, from adventure to sci-fi, mystery and even political thriller for young teens!
11) If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I’d like to spend some time with Lydia, Grandma Bertha’s daughter in law, sit down with her and listen to what she had to say. My readers usually think Lydia is a pain, but I think she’s going through a lot of pressure and could use a friend.
12) 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?
I read them very quickly, and usually just once. It’s enough for me to see something that needs to be improved on the next one, and also what I have done right so far.
13) Do you have any hobbies? What are they?
Not really hobbies, but I do have a ton of obsessions. They come and go. I do have a collection of porcelain penguins, if that counts.
14) Do you like to travel? What has been your favorite location so far?
I’ve never been much of a traveler, but I did some trips while I was living in the UK. The coolest place I’ve ever been, by far, was Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s home town, where I went to watch Hamlet on the stage. That was a blast! I had plans to visit the locations where the Miss Marple films with Margaret Rutherford were shot, but that didn’t work out. But now that I’m back in Brazil, there’s no shortage of beautiful places to go!
Shelby McGuinness, along with her sister, Sadie, wants to find her father who left their family when she was 2 and Sadie was just an infant. She hires Vander Montgomery, a private investigator in Nashville, to find him. Sparks fly between the two and a romance is born.
I absolutely loved this book. While I’m personally more like Sadie in temperament, I thoroughly enjoyed Shelby. She’s vivacious and daring without being too impulsive. Her personality just sparkles off the page. She and Vander are attracted to each other from the start, but Vander is resolute in his ethics and will not date her as long as she is a client. It makes for interesting meetings between the two of them at times. Both characters are well-developed, complex characters. We learn a lot about their beliefs and hopes and past lives. They rely on each other for support and comfort even when they don’t realize they’re doing so; even before they started dating.
The only thing that disappointed me was how shocked and appalled the characters were upon meeting someone who is morbidly obese. I realize that’s not how these characters choose to live their lives, but their reactions to me seemed too harsh. I would have thought that their mama, being a reverend, would have had them do service work in poor areas similar to the one this person lived in; that they would have been more used to dealing with those situations and feelings than they seemingly were. They did show compassion to the person, but their reactions almost seemed more harsh with that than they were towards the horrible reason why their father left (which was far worse, but I won’t spoil it).
However, that was just a short piece of the story. While it disappointed me, the story and the characters generally were just wonderful. That piece is the only reason why this story didn’t receive 5 full stars because I simply loved the rest of the story.
I enjoy the Dare River setting and characters. In fact, I think it’s my favorite out of the three series Ms. Miles writes, so I always enjoy “coming home” to these stories and characters. I enjoy the fact that even this particular story is about Shelby and Vander, we see the rest of the family from time to time. Some more than other of course, but we get a glimpse at all the extended family which made me happy.
The descriptions of the various settings in this book balance well with the descriptions of the characters. Ms. Miles is very talented in that way. She gives us enough detail that we can imagine the scene, but doesn’t over saturate the scene in our own imaginations.
The story line moved along at a decent pace. I was pleased that Vander didn’t ask Shelby out until after he’d finished with finding her father. It was one of his many fine qualities. I also appreciated the way the family gathered around each other upon learning the horrible reason their father left. I was very happy to see that they didn’t take their negative feelings out on one another, but rather found comfort from each other.
If you enjoy stories about family, people finding each other, friendship, and a bit of romance, I’d highly suggest picking up this title. Enjoy!
[I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.]