BLOG TOUR – That Olde White Magick – REVIEW

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4 out of 5 stars.

Greetings! Today I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for That Olde White Magick by Sharon Pape. This is the 2nd book in the Abracadabra Mystery series. It was a fun read and I did like it more than the first book in the series.

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Synopsis

Kailyn Wilde enjoys running her shop, Abracadabra, in the quaint New York hamlet of New Camel, where she lives with her six cats. Her family’s been here for centuries, and she’d like to keep up the tradition. But the place may never be the same if a big hotel gets built, so she does her civic duty and attends a town meeting along with her aunt Tilly . . . and Merlin. Yes, that Merlin—though he gets introduced to folks as her “distant English cousin.” The wizard is pretty grumpy about being transported here, but there are things about the modern world he doesn’t mind—like pizza.

Kailyn was prepared for a heated debate about the hotel, but she wasn’t expecting murder. When Tilly finds the body of a board member outside the schoolhouse, Kailyn doesn’t want any suspicion cast on the wrong person. She plans to crack this case, even if she has to talk to every living soul in town—plus a few departed ones . .

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Review

As I stated above, I definitely enjoyed this book more than the first one. Ms. Pape has definitely started to find her own style of writing and I didn’t have the problem of the first book where it seemed totally disjointed for the first half of the book. This book flowed much more smoothly.

I still love our main characters, Kailyn, Tilly, and Merlin. They’re fun, developed characters and we keep learning more about them as we delve deeper into their lives. In this book, the reason why Kailyn seemed so interested in this case is a bit more logical in my thinking than it was in the first book, which is good. I’m not generally keen on heroines who butt in just for curiosity’s sake. I prefer they have a good reason.

The setting descriptions were slightly better in this book. I found myself more able to imagine Kailyn’s shop and house much better than I could in the first book of the series.

The plot line moved along at a decent pace. I was semi-surprised by the villain. He didn’t enter my mind until just before he was revealed. I did kind of wonder earlier in the book why he was playing such a big role, but it’s a small town and I just figured that yes, while he was semi-central to the case, he wasn’t that important. Boy was I wrong! It was only towards the end that I started to put it together.

I definitely would recommend this book. You don’t even have to read the first book in the series first (though I do recommend it because there is some background information in book one that will make some things easier to understand).

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About the Author

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Sharon describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they ever condensed. Then life brought her an unexpected challenge, by the name of breast cancer. After treatment she and her oncologist started a not-for-profit to provide information and peer support to breast cancer patients. With the organization up and running, she returned to her first love – writing. This time around she’s been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. That Olde White Magick is the second book in her Abracadabra Mysteries.

Author Links

Webpage – http://sharonpape.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharon.pape.94

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbpape

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BLOG TOUR – Broken Promises – REVIEW

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4 out of 5 stars!

Welcome! Today, I’m hosting a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Broken Promises, the first in the Past Imperfect Mystery series by Anne Willow. I found this to be an easy, fun read and a good start to a new series!

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Synopsis

Julia was in a search of a way out…a way back to herself. The passing of her favorite aunt sends her to the small artist town of Grand Marais, nestled along the northern coast of Lake Superior. There she starts to weave the tattered threads of a new life, rediscovering her love of sketching, while running the antique shop, Past Imperfect. Everything is finally going right. Until a mysterious package arrives, tucked inside is an ornate Victorian silver letter opener bearing the initials E.C. along with an even more mysterious note. Julia’s natural curiosity peaked, but before she can discover who sent the letter opener, it’s found embedded in Tom Peterson’s chest. The tapestry of her new life begins to unravel as she is named a prime suspect. Now, left with few clues and a past not willing to let her go, Julia works to solve the mystery and the murder.

Infidelity through time and a curse that only she can break – once she figures out how.

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Review

As I stated above, I found this to be a fun, light read and a good start to a new series. I really enjoyed our main character, Julia.  She seemed very well-rounded, complex, and even grew a bit of a spine in this book, which is good because while I, myself, am not the greatest at standing up for myself, I like the heroines in the books I read to be strong.

While she did take some risks in this book, they were thought out and not just off-the-cuff, who cares about the risk, moments. Also a good thing because I really hate heroes or heroines who are “too stupid to live” and are reckless with their sleuthing.

The setting seemed nice. I will admit to being slightly confused at first. I missed the little detail that we were in Minnesota. Michigan (where I live) also has a Grand Marais and it’s also on the shore of Lake Superior. However, it’s nowhere near Thunder Bay like the one in Minnesota so when I read that people were passing through on their way to Thunder Bay, I knew I’d missed something. I like the town and the store. For the most part I was able to imagine the settings. A tiny bit more detail would’ve been nice, but I’d rather an author err on the side of too little detail rather than too much.

The plot line was well-written and moved along at a decent pace. I did have some idea of the villain fairly early in the book, but the rest of the story kept me intrigued, so it didn’t really spoil it to know so early.

All in all, it was a fun read and I’d recommend it to cozy mystery lovers. I’m looking forward to the next one in the series!

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About the Author

Anne has always loved the North Shore, especially Lake Superior near Grand Marais. She lives there with her husband and two children. When bringing the Past Imperfect series together, Anne couldn’t think of a better place to have Julia’s shop. If you find yourself traveling through, stop by Artist Point, you may just find her sitting on the rocks.

Author Links

Blog – https://www.annewillowauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/annewillowauthor

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/cozymysteryanne

GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17076742.Anne_Willow

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Thanks for joining me today for this stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour! If you wish to visit other stops, please click on the banner below. It will take you to the main tour page where there is a listing of all tour participants!

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Vangie Vale and the Corpseless Custard – REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars.

Today, my review is not part of a blog tour, but I’m happy to be bringing you a review of Vangie Vale and the Corpseless Custard by R.L. Syme. This is the 2nd book in the Matchbaker Mystery series. I did enjoy the book, but not quite as well as the first book.

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Synopsis

What could be wrong with bringing a few fancy custard tarts to your Bunco group to impress a guest of honor?

Nothing at all…except that guest of honor never shows up. And when her body is discovered, everyone at the Bunco group is a murder suspect.

Vangie Vale finds herself in another predicament trying to solve a murder in a neighboring small town before her mugshot shows up in the local anonymous gossip blog. And just when she hoped her Sherlocking days were done. No rest for the wicked…or the clergy.

Pick up your second book in The Matchbaker Mysteries today. You’ll never guess whodunit.

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Review

I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but something was just missing that was in the first book. I can’t even quantify it with words; it just was missing something which is why it received 4 stars instead of 4.5 stars like the first book.

I enjoy Vangie. I love Malcolm and Derek. The new side characters introduced in this book were very interesting and brought new life into the scenes, which is always a plus! One thing I am hoping is that Derek has a little bit of a calming influence on Vangie. She’s a little bit too impulsive for my taste, putting herself in harm’s way without even thinking.  I know some of that comes from her personality and it will never change significantly, but I am hoping that Derek can help rein her in on her more outlandish plans.

The plot line moved along smoothly. I did suspect who the killer was before the end, but it was still a good mystery. I’m definitely looking forward to the next one being released in November or December!

All in all, it’s a fun read and definitely one I enjoyed and recommend! Check out this series! It’s a lot of fun!

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About the Author

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Rebecca Syme writes small town romance as Becca Boyd and cozy mystery as R.L. Syme. She is a long-time foodie and loves fancy cheese. Becca calls the mountains of Montana her home and draws inspiration from the beautiful vistas and heartwarming people. She is the USA Today bestselling author of the Line of Fire series of sweet romances and part of the Chick Tales series set in Somewhere, TX. You can find her on Twitter talking #fancycheese or #Chopped, and on Facebook with her fans in Becca Nation.

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Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you pick up and enjoy this latest installment in the Matchbaker Mysteries by R.L. Syme!

 

 

BLOG TOUR – Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort – REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars.

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Today I’m happy to be bringing you another Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. This time, I’m featuring Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort by Stan Schatt. For the most part, I really enjoyed this book.

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Synopsis

When a very disagreeable resident of the exclusive River Bend Retirement Resort is murdered, bestselling mystery writer Miriam Lipsky has to find the real killer to save her dear friend from prison. She finds the retirement home seethes with intrigue, passion, and jealousy. To make matters worse, it’s hard to distinguish what residents actually saw from what they imagined.

Miriam finds she has to search for the killer while juggling an autistic grandson, a divorced daughter with a tendency to choose the wrong man, her best friend’s overly friendly husband, and a stalker who leaves her more and more threatening notes. To make matters worse, her rabbi who won’t take no for an answer when it comes to fixing her up.

Miriam, a widow after a disastrous marriage, has given up on love. Just when she is sure that part of her life is over, someone new appears from a very unexpected place.

Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort is a cozy mystery with a sleuth who has to learn on the job. Despite her best intentions, Miriam makes mistake after mistake and yet moves ever closer to discovering a cold-blooded killer who has no remorse.

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Review

For the most part, I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun read.

I enjoyed our two major characters, Miriam and the sheriff. They play well off of each other and it was a change to have a sheriff who was okay with the amateur talking to people and trying to gather clues. That was a refreshing change. It was nice not to have the sheriff/police chief at odds with the amateur detective.

The plot line was good, but I did feel that it bogged down a little in the middle. I felt as tho’ there were places where the subplot got in the way of the main story. That’s why I only rated it a 4 star book.

It was still a fun book to read and I’ll read more in the series as I really like Miriam and Sheriff Rhodes.

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About the Author

stan

Stan is the author of over 40 books including the Frankie and Josh mysteries. He has published books on career changing, technology, and writers that include Michael Connelly and Daniel Silva.

Author Links

Webpage: www.stanschatt.com

Twitter: @stanschatt

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=Stan+Schatt

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BLOG TOUR – Body on Baker Street – REVIEW & GUEST POST

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Today, I’m happy to bring you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours tour for Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany. We’ll start off with a guest post from Ms. Delany and then my review and purchase links will be after that.

Guest Post

Creating a Whole New Town

By Vicki Delany

Some books are set in real places. My Lighthouse Library series written under the pen name of Eva Gates is set not just in a real town, but in a specific, real-life building. The Bodie Island Lighthouse near Nags Head, North Carolina.  You can visit it yourself, have a look around, go inside the lighthouse, even climb the spiral iron staircase 200 steps to the top.  It’s all real.

Except it doesn’t contain a library, offices, meeting rooms, and certainly not an apartment on the 4th floor.  Those I added myself.

But sometimes a real place won’t do, and then the imagination comes in.  For the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, I needed a street called Baker Street, and a town with a name that relates to London or to England.  I wanted it to be in New England, and I wanted a tourist destination, which is always convenient for providing a steady stream of victims and suspects.

So I created West London, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, and named the main shopping street Baker Street.  At 222 Baker Street, I put the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, and next door at number 220, I opened Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room.

I put my town on a peninsula with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Nantucket Sound on the other, to make it a popular tourist spot and to provide the books with lots of atmosphere.

Now that I had my store, I had to stock it. Books mostly, Conan Doyle originals, modern pastiche novels, non-fiction to do with Conan Doyle and his life and times and contemporaries, a gaslight shelf full of mysteries set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.  And merchandise of course, anything and everything to do with the Great Detective and his imitators, from posters and DVDs to tea cups and sewing thimbles.  Next door at Mrs. Hudson’s they got busy making scones, sandwiches, and small pastries and serving afternoon tea.

Now that I had my town and my shops, it was time to populate it.  Gemma Doyle is a thirty-something Englishwoman, come to Cape Cod to manage her great uncle’s store. She is smart, highly perceptive, has a great memory (for things she wants to remember) and is occasionally lacking in some of the social graces. Her best friend Jayne Wilson owns and operates the tea room. As Gemma pokes her nose in murder cases, Jayne is always loyal but often confused.  We have not one, but two, handsome men. Rare book dealer Grant Thompson and Detective Ryan Ashburton. Ryan and Gemma were once in a relationship, but he found it hard to be with a woman who always seemed to know what he was thinking.  More cops, dedicated Sherlockians, an intrepid newspaper reporter, fellow shop-owners, and Great Uncle Arthur who never seems to be at home, round out the cast.

The joy of writing cozies, I have found, is the pure fun in it.  I’ve had great fun creating the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium and the people of West London, and I hope you enjoy reading about their adventures.

Thank you, Ms. Delany for providing a guest post for my blog today! It was interesting reading about your thought processes behind creating the town.

Body on Baker Street is the second book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series. While it’s definitely possible to read this as a stand-alone book, I highly recommend reading the first book, Elementary, She Read as it’s a great start to the series!

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Review

I enjoyed this latest installment of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery series.

Gemma is a fascinating, yet sometimes annoying character, much like Sherlock Holmes himself. She’s well-rounded and complex, but sometimes her mannerisms are just a little too over the top for me.  I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but there’s a particular spot in this book that I wanted to give Gemma a “Gibbs-slap” (from NCIS for you non-tv watchers) to the back of the head to try to get her common sense going again before she attempted something totally idiotic!

I love the side characters too. Jayne and Ryan are wonderful. I’m liking Ashleigh more and more as each book goes on. I even like Louise more and more as the series goes on.

The setting descriptions are always well-done. I feel like there’s enough for us to be able to imagine the setting in our mind, but not so much that we’re overwhelmed as readers. That’s a hard balance to find, but I think Ms. Delany does it well in this book.

The plot moves along well. I had no idea who the villain was until he/she was revealed. As Gemma explained her logic behind her deduction, I could see the way the clues lined up, but the villain definitely wasn’t on my radar before that.

All in all, it was a good book. It didn’t have that pizzazz that I look for in a 5-star book and Gemma’s stupidity in some things caused me to give it a 4, but I still recommend it to cozy mystery lovers!

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