Blog Tour – The Connecticut Corpse Caper – REVIEW & INTERVIEW

Large Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents "The Connecticut Corpse Caper" by Tyler Colins - May 15-May 28, 2017 - includes a picture of the author and the book cover

4 out of 5 stars

Hello! Today I’m honored to bring you a stop along the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for the book The Connecticut Corpse Caper by Tyler Colins. Not only will I be featuring a review of the book, but I will also be presenting an interview with the author, Tyler Colins!

Book Cover: A Triple Threat Mystery - Book 1 - The Connecticut Corpse Caper by Tyler Colins - Three computer-generated women standing in front of a mansion or several story building
Triple Threat #1

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Synopsis

The antics of seven inheritance recipients during a week-long stay at a haunted Connecticut estate are detailed by Jill Jocasta Fonne. The will of a deceased relative, wacky Aunt Mat, stipulates that if anyone leaves early, his or her share will be divided among those remaining. As it happens, one does leave permanently when he dies hours after arrival. Disappearing corpses, hidden passageways, and ghoulish pranks have Jill and best friends, Rey and Linda, seeking clues as to the person responsible for the mysterious goings-on. Others soon join in the sleuthing, and the bumbling and stumbling-and mayhem-begin.

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Review

The Connecticut Corpse Caper is the first book in the new Triple Threat Mystery series by Tyler Colins. It’s a good, solid start to the series.

I like the three main characters in this series, though in this first book, they were just three of several viable murder suspects and potential victims. I think Rey, Jill, and Linda will make an excellent private investigative team and I look forward to reading more about them. I did know who the villain was fairly early on – or at least one of them. It was nice to get to see that I was right in the end, though.

This book really needed the more in-depth style of setting descriptions and Ms. Colins delivered beautifully. There was only one time I was a little confused about which secret passageway led to which room, but for the most part, Ms. Colins’ descriptions made it easy to follow.

I felt the plot line dragged a bit here and there, but it wasn’t horrible. It was, however, part of the reason I only gave the book 4 stars instead of 5. All in all it was a decent start to the series and I do look forward to reading more from this author.

*** Thank you to Tyler Colins for an ARC of this title. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. ***

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Interview with Tyler Colins

First, let me say a huge “Thank You!” to Ms. Colins for being willing to answer my questions. Enjoy!

  • 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 work in HR, handling contractors.  To be perfectly frank, I don’t enjoy it, but I don’t not enjoy it.  It’s not very challenging, but it has its moments; I do learn new things, which is great.  And I’m very grateful that it pays the bills.

  • 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?

    • I try to write a little every morning before the work day begins and either aim for a scene or a revision/edit of a previously written scene.  Little bothers me when I’m writing (I can usually tune things/people out).

  • 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?

    • I never have an outline because I know it will never be adhered to, but I always have an all-encompassing idea/image in mind.  My characters have definitely (!) hijacked many scenes—in fact, some have even rewritten them.  <LOL>

  • 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?

    • I broke in by e-publishing.  The traditional route seemed limited.  Rejections from publishers and agents were growing wearisome (and they don’t do much for the ego, I must say).  I’m no James Joyce, but my writing isn’t bad, either.  I believe I have [good/fun] stories to tell.  . . . No!  I’ve never thought about quitting—ever.  I’ve been writing since I was twelve and it’s who I am.  To stay hopeful and focused, I keep the faith and tell myself that if it’s meant to be, it will happen.  Everything has its time.  Patience and perseverance—and belief—are musts.

  • 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?

    • Many!  It’s the editor in me; a scene, a book, has to feel right and everything has to tie logically together.  Yes, I have set aside books . . . and I’m glad I have.  They now serve as fodder for new ones.  And one I put in a drawer nearly two decades ago (my, time does fly), I am now revising and placing on Wattpad in weekly installments.

  • 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?

    • For The Connecticut Corpse Caper, the villain came easily.  The book had been written as an ode to all those wonderful, fun/funny B&W mystery movies I’d grown up with.  I applied some typical villain traits, but the characters really “created” themselves.

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

    • All my characters are truly fictional.  I don’t know why, but I’ve never been inclined or inspired to develop one based on someone I know.

  • If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

    • A great question!  Wow.  I suppose I’d like to write about a pirate, a real or fictitious one.  They’ve always intrigued me, rogues that they can be.

  • What are some great books you’ve read recently?

    • Given my full-time job, and taking care of Mom, and trying to get my own books written, I find it very difficult to read any these days (and I was always an avid reader).  The last one I read, though, was by Janet Evanovich. I thoroughly enjoy her Stephanie Plum series; the characters and situations are crazy-funny.

  • What books have influenced your life the most?

    • In terms of my writing, I’d have to (again) say that Nancy Drew put the mystery-solving bug in me at a very young age.  I always wanted to be a detective like her, and now, I guess I am.  J

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

    • Another great question!  I’d probably want to spend the day with Rey; she’s brash and melodramatic, and isn’t scared to say what’s on her mind.  She’s also willing to do whatever is necessary to get a job done, even if it means some B&E.  I think I’d like to do something totally “girly”, something I don’t normally do, and that would be spending an afternoon at the mall with her (that gal is one heckuva shopper).

  • 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’ve only had one so far, but I’ve not really put myself out there yet.  I’m trying to get a blog going (that’s a story in itself) and make a Facebook page related to my Triple Threat Investigation Agency private eyes less static.  I have so much to learn, though, and time is so limited.  But it will come.  And, hopefully, so will the reviews—be they good or bad.

 

Once again, I’m very thankful that Ms. Colins was willing to answer my questions! I hope you all enjoyed today’s stop on the tour. To get a list of tour participants, click on the banner below.

 

Medium banner - Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents - The Connecticut Corpse Caper by Tyler Colins - May 15-May 28, 2017 - includes book cover

Prose and Cons – REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 stars

Prose and Cons is the 2nd book in the Magical Bookshop mystery series by Amanda Flower. It was fun and entertaining to read. 🙂

Book Cover: Prose and Cons: A Magical Bookshop Mystery by Agatha Award-Winning Author Amanda Flower - Front porch of a bookshop with books stacked on the floor of the porch and on a bench; Black & White cat with crow sitting next to him and swirling autumn leaves shimmering with magic

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Brief Synopsis

October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe on the shop’s front porch to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.

Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead in the shop moments before the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore… (Source: Goodreads)

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Review

I definitely enjoyed this book better than the first one in the series. We get to know the characters a little better and I’m liking Violet more and more. This time around it’s the Food and Wine festival along with the murder of one of their writing group members. While the victim was not well liked in town, Violet still feels for her as no one deserves to die like that.

Through the use of Poe’s works of literary prose, the bookshop seems to be telling Violet to look for someone hiding in plain sight. I totally didn’t see the villain coming until the very end when they reveal themselves (I don’t want to give it away!). It was a complete surprise to me and I’m looking forward to seeing how this changes dynamics among the main characters in the next book.

I have my personal favorite out of the two suitors that Violet has and I’ve enjoyed the interactions in this one as they seem to be going his way. Woo hoo! But then again, something at the end of the book (again, no spoilers!) makes me think that she won’t end up choosing him. Boo. 😦

All in all it’s a fun read and I look forward to reading more in the series!

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About the Author

Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an adult services librarian for a public library near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. (Source: Goodreads)

Blog Tour – Pekoe Most Poison – REVIEW

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…

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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. **

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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

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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