Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns by: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Title: Gold-Diggers, Gamblers and Guns
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Publisher: DecoDame Press
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #3
Pages: 260
Format: ebook
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour


During Prohibition, Galveston Island was called the "Free State of Galveston" due to its lax laws and laissez-faire attitude toward gambling, gals and bootlegging. Young society reporter Jasmine (Jazz) Cross longs to cover hard news, but she's stuck between two clashing cultures: the world of gossip and glamour vs. gangsters and gamblers. 

After Downtown Gang leader Johnny Jack Nounes is released from jail, all hell breaks loose: Prohibition Agent James Burton’s life is threatened and he must go into hiding for his own safety. But when he’s framed for murder, he and Jazz work together to prove his innocence. Johnny Jack blames her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis speakeasy, for his arrest and forces him to work overtime in a variety of dangerous mob jobs as punishment. 

When a bookie is murdered, Jazz looks for clues linking the two murders and delves deeper into the underworld of gambling: poker games, slot machines and horse-racing. Meanwhile, Jazz tries to keep both Burton and her brother safe, and alive, while they face off against each other, as well as a common enemy. A soft-boiled mystery inspired by actual events.

My Thoughts:

This book picks up not long after Bathing Beauties leaves off.  Jazz and James Burton are at the Hollywood Club enjoying a night out together when someone takes a pot-shot at the young Prohibition Agent.

Then of course the next day is another murder which some Jazz cares about is on the line for.  It's up to Jazz and her  band of mates to figure out who had the juice to ice a bar owner?  And what is with these odd coins that keep showing up through the book?  Will Jazz rescue her man in time or is he about to be on the hook for murder?

I love this series so much fun going back to Prohibition era and seeing her friends as they go off to solve another murder.    I can only imagine the amount of crime and murder in this time in history, probably enough to fill a big book series like Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries.  I definitely find myself missing these characters as soon as the books end.  In some ways it makes me want to watch Boardwalk Empire or some other era inspired book or movie.  I just love the colorful characters who have so much personality.  The colorfulness of the characters is that on one hand we have Jazz's aunt who is against alot of what Jazz does in the earlier books, in this one she stretches the line in regards to James Burton the prohibition agent, and when she dealing with a cop she fancies she strikes me as a young teenager who shows a more fun side.

All Jazz's friends and acquaintances add something in this book each in their own way help Jazz solve the big crime, and help her nail the murder to the wall.   Jazz in these series shows us how she is dedicated to being a hard journalist and not just a society writer.   Time and again she goes to crime scenes and tries to find out who is killing various people and what they hope to gain with it.  It is unlike most cozy mysteries where the character kind of gets thrown into the murder by being a suspect.  In these books Jazz is trying to solve the crime so that her bosses and other newspaper writers will take her seriously in a world where men still dominate the work place.

Definitely a different time in history.  Also a time in history there aren't many books written about when so many could shed light on that time frame I can only hope others join in with Mrs. Collier and bring this time in history back into the present!
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's Monday What Are You Reading? #25

It’s Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we’ve read in the past week, what books we’re currently reading and what new books we’re planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It’s hosted by Sheila @One Person’s Journey through a World of Books

Paula Finished Reading:

Simay Finished Reading: 

Currently Reading:

Curiosity Thrilled The Cat by: Sophie Kelly
Death by Darjeeling by: Laura Childs
Gold-Diggers, Gamblers And Guns by: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Clam Wake by: Mary Daheim
A Deadly Grind by: Victoria Hamilton
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review - How Proust Can Change Your Life by: Alain de Botton

Title: How Proust Can Change Your Life
Author: Alain de Button
Publisher: Picador
Pages: 215
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase


'What a marvellous book this is . . . de Botton dissects what [Proust] had to say about friendship, reading, looking carefully, paying attention taking your time, being alive and adds his own delicious commentary. The result is an intoxicating as it is wise, amusing as well as stimulating, and presented in so fresh a fashion as to be unique . . . I could not stop, and now much start all over again.' Brian Masters, " Mail on Sunday"

'De Botton not only has a complete understanding of Proust's life . . . but what is particularly charming about this small, readable book is its tongue-in-cheek benignity, its lightly held erudition and its generous way of lending itself to what is not only the greatest book of the century but also the darkest and the most eccentric' Edmund White, " Observer"

'It contains more human interest and play of fancy than most fiction . . . de Botton, in emphasizing Proust's healing, advisory aspects, does us the service of rereading him on our behalf, providing of that vast sacred lake a sweet and lucid distillation.' John Updike, "New Yorker "

'De Botton's little book is so charming, amusing and sensible that it may even itself change your life.' Allan Massie, "Daily Telegraph"

'This engaging book is one of the most entertaining pieces of literary criticism I have read in a long while.' "Sunday Telegraph"

'A very enjoyable book' Sebastian Faulks

My thoughts:

One of my bookworm friends and I have been saying for a long time that we really should read Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. We're both after reading the books that are commonly referred to in modern literature and culture, classics that seem to have left a deep impact on everyone who read them. However, this time she read it, but I was defeated by fear-- I wasn't afraid of the book, but I was afraid of how big his sentences are. I must afraid the book still scared me. Yet I was lucky enough to get a copy of How Proust Can Change Your Life, which made me even more curious about Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time. I will read it when/if I get supersick or if I break a leg or something one day. And if you're going "what the hell?" here's why...

Written  by the crafty Alain de Button, How Proust Can Change Your Life is about Proust's life, his character and thoughts as well as his writing. As I haven't yet read anything of his, know only that he's French and likes to form very long sentences, it was a very enlightening book for me. The whole thing about reading it when I break my leg is actually in reference to something his brother said. He said sickness and broken legs were appropriate situations for reading Proust'a work. Actually, Proust explained everything in such a long way that there are competitions in England titled, "Summarize Proust." Those who take part need to summarize Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time in 15 seconds tops. The person who had the best score even though he needed more time was Harry Baggot. His summary goes like this:

Proust's novel ostensibly tells of the irrevocability of time lost, of innocence and experience, the reinstatement of extratemporal values and time regained. Ultimately the novel is both optimistic and set within the context of human religious experience. In the first volume, Swann visits--

Now, can you tell me you're not scared?

Proust is mostly portrayed as someone who doesn't go out much and spends most of his days in his bed. However, we see in How Proust Can Change Your Life, we see that he throws unbelievable parties and was known for the very big tips he used to leave at restaurants. I'm actually surprised that this born-wealthy man who figured out he's not the son his father dreamed of wasn't party hopping all the time. Instead, he chose to read, think and write.

In addition, when I learned that he was homosexual, all those things said about him about "not wanting to be among people" made sense. Unfortunately, homosexuals have a hard time in society even today, and I imagine it was even harder back then. What is love if you can't hold hands on the street with the person who means the world to you?

What I'm trying to say is that if you're afraid of reading Proust, aren't sure if he'll be worth the effort or if you need some reassuring like I did, this is the book for you.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Butterfly Cove by: Christina Skye

Title: Butterfly Cove
Author: Christina Skye
Publisher: Harlequin
Series: Summer Island #3
Pages: 336
Format: Nook e-book
Source: Purchase


Maybe opposites don't always attract. If they did, architect Olivia Sullivan would have run away with bad boy Rafe Russo when they were teenagers. Instead, Olivia has spent ten years dreaming up designs for a life that hasn't gone the way she planned. Still reeling from her career's implosion and her father's death, Olivia thanks her lucky stars for the support of her three lifelong friends. But this good girl is through sitting on the sidelines. When Rafe returns to the beautiful Oregon coast where they grew up, her former flame ignites a new desire. Now Olivia must take a walk on the wild side to show the new deputy that in matters of love, being bad can feel very good.

Freshly back from Afghanistan, rugged ex-Marine and new deputy Rafe is done breaking laws and hearts. He's always regretted leaving Olivia behind, but now she's after adventure and he'd better proceed with caution. Because wanting her again might be easy, but fighting for a future together will be his biggest risk yet.

My Thoughts: 

In this book Olivia Sullivan has headed home to Summer Island after loosing her job and dealing with the recent death of her father she has come home to go through his things and get the house ready to sell.  What she didn't count on was Rafe Russo being a cop in town and bumping into him so quickly.  What is Rafe doing back and how long is he around for?

Rafe has been the bad boy trying to win the love of a good girl Olivia. He has seen many things since he left Summer Island, but he found himself back in town unsure of his future what it will hold and whether he will ever find a way to fix things with Olivia.

This was a great love story including meeting characters from previous stories.  It was great to watching the chemistry between Rafe and Olivia and seeing what things Olivia will go to to win the bad boy in town.  This book was so quick I was able to read it in one sitting!  Can't wait to see what Christina Skye writes next!

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Review: Rosemary and Crime by: Gail Oust

Title: Rosemary and Crime
Author: Gail Oust
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Series: A Spice Shop Mystery
Pages: 288
Format: Nook e-book
Source: Purchase


Murder comes well-seasoned in this charming mystery featuring a smart and spunky new amateur sleuth, small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott.

Welcome to Brandywine, Georgia. Piper Prescott has decided to follow her dream and open Spice It Up! A shop that features the best spices from around the world. Her ex-husband predicts the idea will be huge failure but with a little help of her BBF, Reba Mae, and even her ex-mother in-law she is determined to make it a success.

But when she goes to meet with the chef she is featuring at her Grand Opening she finds he is not going to be cooking anything for her or anyone else. She finds him stabbed to death in his kitchen. The new police Chief Wyatt McBride quickly decides Piper makes a perfect prime suspect. Piper and Reba Mae will do anything to change his mind and go to great lengths to prove her innocence even putting their own lives in danger.

My Thoughts:

This was a great book featuring Georgia Spice Shop Owner Piper Prescott who is trying her hand at a spice shop called Spice It Up!  When on her opening day a  chef is found dead, and Piper finds herself in hot water as the main suspect.  She and her friend Reba Mae work to clear Piper's name.

Also Piper is dealing with her daughter who is having her own issues.  With her father having a new girlfriend and not her mother and father together.  Which leads to chaos in this book.

Then there is the new police Chief McBride who is everywhere Piper tries to investigate.  As the book goes on Piper wonders how McBride always knows to show up.  This book was full of so much mystery and intrigue it made you wonder who would figure out the killer's identity Piper or McBride?

Definitely a great book to read the author did a fabulous job with it can't wait to see what she comes up with next!
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Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's Monday what are you reading #24

It’s Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we’ve read in the past week, what books we’re currently reading and what new books we’re planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It’s hosted by Sheila @One Person’s Journey through a World of Books.  This week has been super busy with lots of time out in the sun and kids and doggies swimming in the pool.

Paula's Read Books:
This is bad since I haven't done a meme in quite a while I have a ton of books I've read but I'm going to just list this past week so not to confuse anyone thinking I'm a super reader who can read tons in one week.  Here goes:

Simay Read This Week:

Currently Reading: 

Clam Wake by: Mary Daheim

My Favorite Books for July so far are:

What I Plan To Read Next:

There are so many great books that honestly you will have to check back next week to see what I have read.  I have been spending alot of this summer catching up on my tbr list so it doesn't get out of control which it is.  I am hoping to make a huge dent in it this summer.
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Review - The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by: Catherynne M. Valente

Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Author: Catherynne M. Valente 
Series: Fairyland
Publisher: Corsair
Pages: 328
Format: Paperback 
Source: Personal purchase

Gather up your courage and your wishes; grab a little pinch of luck - and prepare to be swept away, in a ship of your own making, to a land unlike any other. September is a twelve-year-old girl, Somewhat Grown and Somewhat Heartless, and she longs for adventure. So when a Green Wind and a Leopard of Little Breezes invite her to Fairyland - well, of course, she accepts (mightn't you?).

When she gets there, she finds a land in crisis and confusion - crushed by the iron rule of a villainous Marquess - she soon discovers that she alone holds the key to restoring order. Having read enough books to know what a girl with a quest must do, September sets out to Fix Things.

As September forges her way through Fairyland, with a book-loving dragon and a partly human boy named Saturday by her side, she makes many friends and mistakes; loses her shadow, her shoes and her way. But she finds adventure, courage, a rather special Spoon, and a lot more besides . . .

My thoughts:

While reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, what I often found myself thinking was "I wish I were September!" I don't even know how to explain to you what a wonderful Fairyland this is without spoiling too much. Add in some Alice in Wonderland, and then some fairy dust from Tinkerbell, then stir that with ink from Neil Gaiman's LAMY fountain pen, boil it with Grimm's Fairytales and once it hits the boiling point, you probably will get Catherynn M. Valente's dream world.

September is a 12-year-old girl from Nebraska. She is very bored of washing the same pink and yellow cups. When he sees her like that, The Green Wind feels sorry for her and takes her away with him. (WARNING: That's when you'll start having jealousy fits). September takes off with him without saying goodbye to her mother and fathers. But then again, we shouldn't judge her because:

all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown.”

In Fairyland, September meets witches, befriends a dragon, has to do as the evil hearted Marquees says. She meets a boy named Saturday, who's the son of water. And the narrator, on the other hand, is someone we do not see, someone who fills in certain information for us. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is really one of those books that you need to read and live through yourself since it cannot be put into words other than than the author's own.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Review - Lean In by: Sheryl Sandberg

Title: Lean In: Women, Work and The Will to Lead
Author: Sheryl Sandberg
Publisher: WH Allen
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback 
Source: Personal purchase

Ask most women whether they have the right to equality at work and the answer will be a resounding yes, but ask the same women whether they'd feel confident asking for a raise, a promotion, or equal pay, and some reticence creeps in.

The statistics, although an improvement on previous decades, are certainly not in women's favour - of 197 heads of state, only twenty-two are women. Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally, and in the world of big business, a meagre eighteen of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO and one of Fortunemagazine's Most Powerful Women in Business - looks at what women can do to help themselves, and make the small changes in their life that can effect change on a more universal scale. She draws on her own experiences working in some of the world's most successful businesses, as well as academic research, to find practical answers to the problems facing women in the workplace.

Learning to 'lean in' is about tackling the anxieties and preconceptions that stop women reaching the top - taking a place at the table, and making yourself a part of the debate.

My thoughts:

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most successful and effective women in the world. I've always loved people who use their positions in business and society for the good of the general population, and Sandberg is kind of one of those people. Right from the beginning of her book, she confesses that even being born in the US, having a supportive and well off family has put her ahead of the game. I quite liked the fact that she admitted right off the bat that she started life lucky.

Lean In deals with how women are disadvantageous in the work place and how they MIGHT be able to change that. Drawing from personal experience, Sandberg touches upon how women aren't taken seriously in the work place, how men can have an attitude toward them, how they can be seen useless, how they get paid less than men and how a woman has to live with the fear of leaving her job if she gets pregnant and takes a step toward starting a family. While talking about these situations, she includes data from different research, mostly conducted by people at Harvard. But in the end, her book is both an academic and a social piece of writing.

I do like some of what Sandberg is preaching in the book, like the "think globally, act locally" attitude. But most of what she says women should do (and she does speak globally most of the time) made me cringe because considering where I am and what I do, there's just NO WAY. These were also the parts where you realize just how lucky Sandberg was in her life. I'm sure there are only a handful of women who have enough resources which allow them to take big risks, and I unfortunately am not one of them. 

For example, she grew up with a nanny. She's a Harvard graduate. She's worked in good places throughout her career. While she was taking a risk with Google, which was a startup at the time, she was already safe because her husband had a good job and she didn't have to worry about ending up on the street if she failed. I'm afraid a majority of us women, especially on my side of the world, aren't in a position to take that kind of risk.

I honestly consider myself lucky to have a job and a salary in today's Turkey. My friends and I all work long hours, we work hard, we get a lot done but none of us receive a deserving salary. We know we should ask for a raise, but we also know that we won't get one, so we just keep going, thankful that at least we do have a job. While reading Lean In, there were times when I went "I'm so doing this tomorrow," but then I realized how unrealistic most of it is. For me, at least. 
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Pretty, Hip & Dead by: Madison Johns

Title: Pretty, Hip & Dead
Author: Madison Johns
Publisher: Outrageous Books
Series: Agnes Barton/Kimberly Steele Mystery #1
Pages: 186
Format: Kindle e-book
Source: Purchase


Kimberly Steele had barely recovered from her wedding reception the day before, and now, she’s just discovered the body of her husband’s former girlfriend, Clare Barnett, someone whom she had argued with hours ago at a photo shoot for the Pretty and Hip perfume line. It’s no wonder she was the prime suspect, at least in the eyes of Deputy Danworth. 

Jeremy Preston wasn’t about to allow his new wife, Kimberly, to be railroaded, although he was upset that Kimberly had pushed Clare into Lake Huron right before Clare’s death, or so Clare said. He hired Agnes Barton, a senior-aged sleuth, from East Tawas, who had a high success rate of crime solving, never expecting that his pregnant wife would begin to traipse around with Agnes and her partner, Eleanor Mason, as they dug into the background of Clare that led all the way to Hollywood. 

Agnes and Eleanor were rooming at Mrs. Barry’s house during the case, the same beer-toting senior and mother of Sheriff Clay Barry who not long ago ran for sheriff in East Tawas, much to the chagrin of Agnes and Eleanor. But this time around Mrs. Barry had changed her tune and gave them the use of her car. 

My Thoughts: 

This book was a free book on amazon's site in this book we meet Kimberly Steele and her new husband Jeremy Preston.  During the reception of their wedding Jeremy's ex-girlfriend Clare Barnett is harassing Kimberly about how she will loose her husband.  When Clare winds up dead and the finger is pointed at Kimberly because she found the body it's up to her to prove her innocence by finding the real killer.

There are no shortage of people who had something to gain by killing Clare. Jeremy hires Agnes Barton and her partner in crime Eleanor Mason to dig around and find out who killed Clare so that his wife is off the hook.  There are definitely some funny moments in this book and a lot of action and adventure!  Definitely a great mystery readers will enjoy!
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Review: Be Careful What You Witch For by: Dawn Eastman

Title: Be Careful What You Witch For
Author: Dawn Eastman
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Pages: 293
Series: A Family Fortune Mystery #2
Format: Paperback
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour


Leaving a traumatic police career behind, Clyde Fortune has returned to her seemingly quiet hometown of Crystal Haven, Michigan. In spite of the psychic powers of its residents, there’s no telling what trouble is brewing in this burg…

The highlight of this year's fall festival in Crystal Haven is a bonfire with a witch’s cauldron resting over it. Clyde’s best friend, Diana, leads a ritual to divine the future, but it seems no one foresees that one of their own will drop dead—or that Diana will be a prime suspect.

Clyde already has her hands full with her eccentric family, runaway nephew, and burgeoning secret romance with a hunky homicide detective. But after another coven member is attacked, Clyde suspects there’s a witch hunt afoot and focuses her psychic and sleuthing skills to clear her friend’s name and catch a killer.

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Clyde Fortune who in the beginning is attending a pagan ceremony when not far into her best friend Diana's friend Rafe winds up having an allergic reaction and dying.  It's up to Clyde and Diana to figure out what is going on and who gave Rafe the fatal peanuts that triggered his allergies.

Also Seth Clyde's nephew shows up after he left his home to visit her.  Seth has something to hide but what could it be?  Something that has even his mother concerned about his welfare but not enough to track him down.

This book like most cozy books is full of twists and turns and finding out what is going.  This one is different in the aspect that the theme is witches, and Wicca which makes it unique to most books out there.  I think this would be a great book to read in the fall and that most cozy readers will love the journey Ms. Eastman takes them on.
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Title: Death In Perspective by: Larissa Reinhart

Title: Death In Perspective
Author: Larissa Reinhart
Publisher: Henery Press
Pages: 292
Series: A Cherry Tucker Mystery, #4
Format: ebook
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour


The curtain rises on Cherry Tucker’s debut as a high school set designer at the posh Peerless Day Academy. Cherry’s been hired for an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, but the drama director is hoping Cherry can also turn the spotlight on a malicious social media bully who’s sending poisonous texts to the faculty. The director’s got his own drama to hide, and the phantom texter seems eager to spill school secrets. When the principal’s secretary commits suicide, Cherry suspects foul play. 

Deputy Luke Harper is ready to return as Cherry’s leading man. He’s eager to assist in finding the phantom culprit, but Cherry fears family secrets offstage may doom them to the role as star-crossed lovers. With the bully waiting for a murderous encore and her own family skeletons to hide, Cherry scrambles to find her brother and the mysterious texter before the phantom decides it’s curtains for Cherry and forces her to take a final bow.

My Thoughts:

This is the fourth book in the Cherry Tucker series.  Cherry Tucker is a artist and is hired by Terry Tinsley from Peerless Day Academy, but on the day she arrives at this elite academy she finds out that the principal's secretary Miss Pringle,  has died the police suspect suicide but after listening to a parent volunteer Cherry begins to wonder if it has to do with a ghost of a texter who has gotten another student to commit suicide due the heinous texts the drama teacher who hired Cherry also wants her to check into the texter to find out who it is and what they really know.  Cherry is up for the job but will she survive the posh academy?

I really enjoyed this book it was different then many cozy books as the amateur sleuth is an artist and not a cook or book person in anyway.  I loved meeting all the various characters in this book and seeing what this town has to offer with it's colorful residents.  Especially the fighting between Cherry's family and Deputy Luke Harper's family.

As this book progress we find that more and more teachers are being threatened by the texter and the list of suspects is getting more confusing then someone else ends up dead by home invasion.  Meanwhile Cherry is having a lot of trouble keeping Luke Harper in the friendship circle.  And something is going on with Cherry's brother who seems to be out to cause more trouble.  

I loved this story for so many reasons the relationships the kids at the prep school and the nutty teachers.  I especially loved reading about Cherry trying to get to the bottom of things.  What a great journey to go on!  Can't wait to see what's in store next for Cherry Tucker!

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: Death of A Chocoholic by: Lee Hollis

Title: Death of A Chocoholic
Author: Lee Hollis
Publisher: Kensington
Series: A Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #4
Pages: 352
Format: Nook e-book
Source: Purchase


Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell is not looking for love this Valentine's Day. Of course she also isn't planning on looking for a murderer. . .

My Thoughts: 

Hayley Powell has her mind set on not dating after her boyfriend Lex left town to get work in Vermont which in Hayley's eyes means he's gone for good.

Hayley spends her time writing two columns now that Bruce the crime reporter is on vacation in Mexico.  Hayley has also been helping Bessie an overweight temper ridden cat loving woman who is trying to sell chocolates even though she lives life like a hoarder.

Also making a reappearance is Blueberry the pain in rear devil spawn cat from Death of A Coupon clipper.  Blueberry needs a home and Randy Hayley's brother is a sucker for lost causes and brings Blueberry to Hayley hoping to house Blueberry there until he can find a family for him.  At first Blueberry and Leroy hit it off horribly landing Leroy in the vet hospital where Hayley finds the vet she has known has retired and now there is a new hot dr. in town.

Hayley's daughter is upset about something and Hayley is determined to get to the bottom of it.  Which comes in time when Gemma finally comes clean to her mom about what is bothering her.  Meanwhile Bessie has wound up dead and everyone is quick to assume it was natural causes but something about Bessie's death has Hayley thinking it's anything but natural causes.  The more she digs the more she learns about people in town and Bessie herself.

I love this series it's great and refreshing to keep reading and enjoying these great characters like Liddy and Mona they crack me up with all their antics.  It's like visiting old friends and seeing what they are up to now.  I am looking forward to their next book in the series when it comes out.  I'm such a huge fan of this brother/sister writing team!  Keep up the great work!

Next in the series:

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Review: Death of A Coupon Clipper by: Lee Hollis

Title: Death of A Coupon Clipper
Author: Lee Hollis
Publisher: Kensington 
Series: A Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #3
Pages: 410
Format: Kindle ebook 
Source: Purchase


Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for Bar Harbor's Island Times, is. . .well, kind of broke. So when she's selected for that extreme coupon-clipping reality game show coming to town. . . . . . she's thrilled, especially when her competition is nasty nurse Candace Culpepper. But when Haley stumbles across a face-down-in-the-snow Candace--scissors gleaming between her shoulders--she knows the next thing she'll be selected for will probably be a police line-up.

Meanwhile, though Hayley's BFF Mona was only joking about "taking Candace out," Bruce Linney, the Island Times crime reporter, definitely isn't laughing. And what about the smarmy, cold-hearted host of the show, Drew Nickerson, who may have been having a steamy affair with the intentionally-iced nurse? Hayley needs to cut to the chase and find the killer. Everything may hinge on a stray coupon, but Hayley better keep her eyes on the real grand prize: staying out of permanent cold storage!

My Thoughts:

In this book Hayley Powell is having a bad week.  The snow is coming in heavy and her furnace died and she needs to replace it along with a car after her garage roof crashed onto her car, to make it even worse there is an issue with her insurance and they won't pay for the car.  When Hayley finds out a tv show is coming to town and will pay the winner money Hayley thinks someone must be smiling on her and she quickly enters the contest.

Not long after that Candace Culpepper winds up dead with scissors in her back.  Who wanted her dead?  And is it connected with the contest?  Will Hayley solve the murder or become it's next victim and will Hayley ever get her repairs done or live with her brother permanently?

Also we learn in this book about Hayley's boyfriend's boss and his estranged grandson Clark Hollingsworth who has come into town and driven Lex Hayley's boyfriend crazy working all sorts of hours while Lex's boss is laid up in a hospital bed in a coma.

So much was going on in this book I really enjoyed reading about what is going on in Bar Harbor and if Hayley will figure out the murder or will the culprit come after her?  This book was great to go back and see what everyone is up to now.  I really love this series can't wait to read more.  Next in this series:

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Death of A Country Fried Redneck by: Lee Hollis

Title: Death of A Country Fried Redneck
Author: Lee Hollis
Publisher: Kensington
Series:A Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery #2
Pages: 304
Format: Kindle e-book
Source: Purchase


Local food and drink writer Haley Powell thinks she’s done solving murders in scenic Bar Harbor, Maine. But when a taste of the South comes to New England, Haley’s following another recipe for disaster…

As a single mom, Hayley Powell already has a full plate—she’s got deadlines to make and a teenage daughter with eyes for an aspiring singer-songwriter. But when country music superstar Wade Springer rolls into town, Hayley spies an irresistible side gig: personal chef to her all-American idol. After he tries her home cooking, Wade’s so impressed that he hires her on the spot—and invites her to dine with him alone.

Hayley and Wade are hitting all the right notes…until a body turns up. Wade’s tour bus was torched overnight and a roadie named Mickey Pritchett came out well-done. But the real cause of death isn’t barbecue: Mickey was shot, his mouth stuffed with one of Hayley’s trademark chicken legs. An ornery drunk, Mickey had already made plenty of enemies in town, but Wade’s reputation is on the rocks. Hayley reckons it’s up to her to settle this mess—a charbroiled mystery with all the fixin’s.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Haley Powell series.  Haley is excited because her favorite singer is coming to Bar Harbor and she is determined to cook for him and meet him.  After a failed attempt at meeting him after cooking him breakfast, she tries again to meet him at the Hotel bar and finds that she is unable to get past his security only when a friend of her's Liddy sets up an interview with Wade  Springer of course that falls apart when Hayley admits her deceit.

Not long into this book a murder is committed and it's up to Hayley and her friends to find out what is going on.  A lot of people seem to have motive to kill Mickey Pritchett but who really killed him and why?

I love going back to Hayley Powell her friends and family.  They are such a colorful group of people you can really appreciate.  It's like going back and watching a Murder She Wrote episode in Cabot Cove you just want to go back and see what the gang is up too.  This book is the same way you get to see what everyone is up too and who's on the hook for a murder charge.

Next in the series is:

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials by: Ovidia Yu

Title: Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials
Author: Ovidia Yu
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 360
Series: Singaporean Mystery #2
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Request Review


Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home cooking restaurant, is back in another delectable, witty mystery involving scandal and murder among the city’s elite.

Few know more about what goes on in Singapore than Aunty Lee. When a scandal over illegal organ donation involving prominent citizens makes news, she already has a list of suspects. There’s no time to snoop, though—Aunty Lee’s Delights is catering a brunch for local socialites Henry and Mabel Sung at their opulent house.

Rumor has it that the Sung’s fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sung’s house, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is a storage house she discovers locked? What is the couple arguing about behind closed doors? Where is the guest of honor who never showed up?

Then, Mabel Sung and her son Leonard are found dead. The authorities blame it on Aunty Lee’s special stewed chicken with buah keluak, a local black nut that can be poisonous if cooked improperly. Aunty Lee has never carelessly prepared a dish. She’s certain the deaths are murder—and that they’re somehow linked to the organ donor scandal.

To save her business and her reputation, she’s got to prove it—and unmask a dangerous killer whose next victim may just be Aunty Lee.

My Thoughts: 

In this book Aunty Lee is catering a fancy party at the Sung's house as their daughter has made partner in her mother's law firm.  Early in this book there is a double murder or could it be a murder/suicide?  The only problem is everyone keeps trying to point the finger at Aunty Lee's food.  They even go so far as to try to shut her down.  

This book had so much going on like a victim early on who traveled to Singapore to donate an organ so he could get the money to marry his girlfriend only to find he disappeared in Singapore and his girlfriend is distraught over her missing boyfriend and commits suicide to be with her boyfriend.

Then adding the Sung situation which involves a healing prayer group praying for Mrs. Sungs sick son.  Regardless of the fact that the son has led a questionable life.  Rumors float around as to what caused him to come home what type of illness he really has.

This was such an intriguing book full of questions more than answers.  You go through the book wondering who really did it.  I was up late yesterday finishing this great story I couldn't put down!
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Sunday Morning Editorials #1

This is my Sunday morning rambling so don't mind me while I hang on my soap box for a bit.

Why Paula are you on a soapbox now are you really that dirty?

Uh no not really I have noticed something and no matter how many time you say it people still try to shove certain genre's your way.  I don't do a lot of non-fiction unless it is of my choosing.  Lately I keep getting contacted about non-fiction or self help books.  I don't do those cause usually they take forever to read and then you try to implement what is suggested to see if it works and if it doesn't well how can I tell if someone else might like it.

Well can't you just list that on your contact page?

I have been there and don't that so many times it's not funny.  Every time I put what I won't read I get like bombarded with emails for those genre's.  And when I don't list them I still get hit with them. What gives?

Since your on your soapbox although by the sound of it your kind of laying on the soapbox what else is bothering you?

Ah yes the other thing that baffles me is when people on like LinkedIn or Twitter want to know my review policy, now like most people those sites have links to my blog, which I have tried to set up similar to a library with circulation desk, staff, reference desk so here I will break down the categories and hope people understand it otherwise I think I may have to rename the tabs:

Circulation Desk--Review Policy basically
Reference Desk -- Past Reviews over the years
Staff -- About Us page where you can learn about the review team
Tours -- Book Tours I am currently involved with
Current Reviews-- Kind of self explanatory

That seems kind of simple why can't people just click to find out?

That is the big question why people can't check out the blog to figure that out I have no freakin' idea.  It seems like something doesn't connect with contacts and they forget to look on my blog for that information.  I just don't understand how people operate at times.

Well then do you reply to those messages?

Unfortunately I am horrible at this part.  I hate being known as someone who rejects authors so they sit in my LinkedIn email account until I can figure out a polite way of saying can't you read my review policy it's not rocket science.

I think I've done my soapbox damage for the weekend next time I will try to answer questions that readers ask.  So if you have a question you want posted here please fill out this form and we will share your questions here!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: Dearly Depotted by: Kate Collins

Title: Dearly Depotted
Author: Kate Collins
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: A Flower Shop Mystery #3
Format: ebook
Source: Purchase


Abby has her hands full at her cousin Jillian's wedding as florist, bridesmaid, and grandma-sitter-all while wearing a hideous dress. Then the groom's 90-year-old grandmother goes missing from the reception. On her search, Abby finds the corpse of guest Jack Snyder. Now she must find out who killed Jack in the pulpit. 

My Thoughts: 

In this book Abby is a very busy gal, she is helping her cousin Jillian's wedding being a bridesmaid and in charge of flowers.  Even trying to keep everything working right and keeping Jillian from flying the coop, no one could predict murder would be on the wedding menu.

There are no shortage of murder suspects from Grace's boyfriend Davis, who has a checkered past in Texas.  A missing busboy who has served time in prison with the victim.  Or there is always the father of the woman screwed over by the victim,  with so many victims how will Abby ever weed through them all?

I really enjoy Abby she's not your typical sleuth.  She has flaws that normally aren't shown in cozy mysteries, and she is fiercely loyal to her friends and will go above and beyond to protect her family.  The end of this book had a surprising twist I can't wait to see what happens next for Abby!  Next in the series is: 

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets by: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Title: Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Publisher: Decodame Press
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #2
Format: ebook
Source: Great Escapes


"Boardwalk Empire" meets "Miss Universe" in 1927 Galveston, Texas-the "Sin City of the Southwest." Jasmine ("Jazz") Cross is an ambitious 21-year-old society reporter for the Galveston Gazette who wants to be taken seriously by the good-old-boy staff, but the editors only assign her fluffy puff pieces, like writing profiles of bathing beauties.

The last thing Jazz wants to do is compare make-up tips with ditzy dames competing in the Miss Universe contest, known as the "International Pageant of Pulchritude and Bathing Girl Revue." She'd rather help solve the murders of young prostitutes who turn up all over town, but city officials insist on burying the stories during Splash Day festivities. After Jazz gets to know the bathing beauties, she realizes there's a lot more to them than just pretty faces and figures. 

Jazz becomes suspicious when she finds out the contest is also sponsored by the Maceos, aspiring Beach Gang leaders and co-owners of the Hollywood Dinner Club, where the girls will perform before the parade and pageant. Worse, her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis, a speakeasy on a rival gang's turf, asks her to call in a favor from handsome Prohibition Agent James Burton: He wants Agent Burton to raid the Hollywood Club during the bathing beauties dance routine--or risk revenge from the Downtown Gang leader. Her loyalties torn, Jazz is faced with an impossible task that could compromise both of their jobs and budding romance.

Meanwhile, Jazz fends off advances from Colin Ferris, an attractive but dangerous gangster who threatens Sammy as well as Burton. In the end, she must risk it all to save her friends from a violent killer hell-bent on vengeance. 

My Thoughts:

This book is the continuing story of Jazz and her colorful friends, Sammy, Amanda, Nathan and Agent James Burton.  Instead of getting her big break in the journalism world Jazz is covering The Bathing Beauties who are in the town for the Miss Universe and Miss USA contests.  Of course Jazz is less than thrilled at first, but overtime she learns about The Bathing Beauties which changes her opinion.

Sammy has his own issues with someone thinking Sammy is buddied up with Prohibition Agent Burton.  Of course he uses Jazz as a messenger of sorts which creates complications with James Burton.  Then girls are being found murdered but the coppers are quick to call it suicide and shut the book.  Is it really suicide or something more sinister?

I can't rave about these books enough they bring you to a different lifetime.  Things in some ways more fun hanging out with all sorts of people and spending time out in public and meeting new people.  I just love it and can't wait to read the next one in the series which I will be book touring at the end of July.

Next Up in this great series:

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: Flappers, Flasks, and Foul Play by: Ellen Mansoor Collier

Title: Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier
Publisher: Decodame Press
Series: A Jazz Age Mystery #1
Format: ebook
Source: Great Escapes


"The Great Gatsby" meets "Boardwalk Empire" in this soft-boiled Jazz Age mystery, inspired by actual events. Real-life rival gangs fight over booze and bars during Prohibition in 1920s Galveston, Texas—the “Sin City of the Southwest.” 

Jasmine Cross, a 21-year-old society reporter, feels caught between two clashing cultures: the seedy speakeasy underworld and the snooty social circles she covers in the Galveston Gazette. After a big-shot banker with a hidden past collapses at the Oasis—as speakeasy secretly owned by her black-sheep half-brother, Sammy Cook—Jazz suspects foul play. Was it an accident or a mob hit? 

Soon handsome young Prohibition Agent James Burton raids the Oasis, threatening to shut it down if Sammy doesn't cooperate. Suspicious, he pursues Jazz, hoping for information (and some romance), but she refuses to rat on Sammy.

As turf wars escalate between the Downtown and Beach gangs, Sammy is accused of murder. To find the killer, Jazz must risk her life and career, exposing the dark side of Galveston’s glittering society.

My Thoughts: 

I got this book as part of a book tour in July and loved this first book.  It opens we meet Jasmine Cross know as Jazz who is a society reporter trying to get her big break in the newspaper industry but in the meantime does society articles.  She has a brother named Sammy who runs a speakeasy and when the coppers are around it's a dinner.

Early in this book a local banker winds up dead but Jazz thinks something is up with Mr. Andrews.  To make matters worse the death happens in Sammy's speakeasy and Jazz finds herself knee deep in mucky waters where bootlegging is happening.  We also meet Agent James Burton who seems to fancy the young reporter.  

I loved everything about the jazz era, the language they use the clothes they wore and just everything about the time era was great to read it in a book.  Definitely a great spin on cozy mysteries I can't wait to read the next one in the series!  Up Next Is:

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