Friday, January 22, 2021

Hidden Treasure by Jane K. Cleland

Hidden Treasure by Jane K. Cleland

Hidden Treasure by Jane K. Cleland has Josie Prescott and her husband, Ty purchasing their dream home in Rocky Point.  It is a gorgeous Victorian named “Gingerbread House” that needs some work before the couple move in.  Josie receives a call from Celia, a niece of the former owner, stating that her aunt has gotten forgetful in her age.  Celia claims that her aunt, Maudie Wilson left behind a trunk containing a valuable family heirloom.  Josie promises to keep an eye out.  Josie is going through the house when Maudie’s other niece, Stacy arrives inquiring about the trunk.  Stacy wishes to look around the house one more time, but she has no luck even in the far recesses of the attic.  When the trunk is finally located, Josie will only turn it over to Maudie who is rightful owner.  She finds Maudie to be active, bright woman who regrets letting others push her into doing things such as moving into the retirement facility.  If the item in the trunk is as valuable as Josie expects, it will allow Maudie to travel as she has always dreamed (instead of handing it over to her greedy nieces).  Josie responds to a phone call to return to Maudie’s apartment where she finds a woman dead and Maudie has disappeared.  Josie sets out to solve the crime.  I thought Hidden Treasure was well-written with developed, realistic characters.  When not sleuthing, Josie is running her antiques business which allows us to get reacquainted with her staff, spending time with friends (Zoe needs her), dealing with the renovations of her new home, and spending time with her husband.  I enjoyed solving this entertaining whodunit.  There were viable suspects and good clues.  I liked the author’s descriptive writing that allowed me to visualize the characters and scenes.  The author provided just the right amount of detail (not too much to bog down the book nor too little).  I found the information provided on the antiques to be interesting.  Hidden Treasure is the 13th A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery. While this is the 13th book in the series, it can be read as a standalone if you are new to the series, but it will take you a couple of chapters to get acclimated.   This was a fast paced and engaging cozy mystery.  Hidden Treasure is a charming tale with covetous kin, renovation realties, a cat carving, a lost trunk, an absent aunt, and an anxious antiques authority.

Hidden Treasure can be purchased from Amazon* along with the other novels in A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series.  You can find all of Jane K. Cleland's novels here.  Thank you for reading my review.  Tomorrow I am a stop on the Celebrate Lit tour for The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep.  I hope you have a pleasant day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Girls in Blue by Fenella J. Miller: Excerpt & Review!

About the Book

They’ll come together to do their bit for the war.  Jane Hadley has nothing to lose when she runs away to join the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Whatever faces her in war-torn London can't be any worse than staying at home with her abusive father...

The city is nothing like she could have imagined, but she's soon on the move, travelling from base to base for her top-secret training. Making plenty of new friends along the way, it doesn't take long for Jane to embrace her growing confidence – especially under the attentive eye of dashing Officer Oscar Stanton.

Life as an independent woman is as rewarding as it is exciting, until Jane's father tracks her down and it crashes to a halt. Jane will need all her new-found strength to find her way back to the frontline – and to the man she's fallen for...

About the Author

Fenella J Miller was born in the Isle of Man. Her father was a Yorkshire man and her mother the daughter of a Rajah. She has worked as a nanny, cleaner, field worker, hotelier, chef, secondary and primary teacher and is now a full time writer.

She has over thirty eight Regency romantic adventures published plus four Jane Austen variations, three Victorian sagas and seven WW2 family sagas. She lives in a pretty, riverside village in Essex with her husband and British Shorthair cat. She has two adult children and three grandchildren.    

Author Links

 Facebook: @FenellaJMiller

Twitter: @fenellawriter

My Thoughts

The Girls in Blue by Fenella J. Miller transports readers back to 1939 when war is declared in England.  Jane Hadley has been waiting for this day.  Jane has been beaten by her father regularly for years.  With war declared and her eighteenth birthday the next day, Jane can finally escape.  With help from the vicar and his wife, Jane departs the next day for London where she volunteers for the Women’s Air Auxiliary Force (WAAF).  She trains with Charlotte and Nancy who become her close friends.  Unfortunately, Jane is given a different assignment after training. On the first day at her new location, she has an accident and meets a handsome RAF pilot.  Oscar Stanton would like to be more than friends, but Jane will not allow herself to get close to any man.  Jane trains for a top-secret position and enjoys life in the WAAf.  Her biggest worry is that her father will find her.  One day Jane’s biggest nightmare comes to true.  The Girls in Blue is an appealing and poignant historical novel.  The author has an engaging writing style.  I began reading and I was surprised by how quickly the book flew by.  I could tell the author did her research for this book.  I enjoyed an inside look at the WAAF.  Also included are details on RAF pilots, their assignments, and war events.  It is terrible what Jane endured at the hands of her father (it will have you in tears).   I liked the developed and charming characters.  The Girls in Blue focuses on Jane with chapters from Oscar’s point-of-view as well.  Oscar is a delightful character.  He is a cute RAF pilot with a big heart.  This is an emotional story that will touch your heart.  While I would have liked an epilogue, I understand why we did not get one (part of a series).  I hope we get updates on Jane, Oscar, and Charlotte in the next book.  I look forward to Nancy’s tale in The East End Girl in BlueThe Girls in Blue is a gratifying historical novel with a toast threat, dog drama, trust troubles, a vicious father, and horrendous hikes.  


Mrs. and Mrs. Jackson accompanied her to the station.  She’s avoided the early morning train man caught it to his bank in the nearby market town.

‘Good luck, my dear girl, you deserve it. I don’t know when we’ll see you again, but you have our good wishes to take with you.’ The vicar patted her on the shoulder but his wife embraced her.

‘I’ll keep an eye on your mother – don’t worry about her. You have our telephone number and can always ring and tell us your news and I can guarantee it will be passed on to her.’

‘I’ll do that. Thank you for your help. I couldn’t have done this without you. I expect you’ll be busy with evacuees any day now. Your house will be overflowing with children by the end of the week.’

‘Poor little mites, I expect there’ll be a lot of wet sheets to wash until they settle. Take care of yourself, Jane, and keep in touch if you can.’

The train steamed in and Jane clambered into a ladies’ only carriage. Everything seemed absolutely normal – one wouldn’t have known the country was at war from the way people were going about their business.

There were two other ladies in the compartment who turned to look at her with disapproval. Was her hat not on straight? Were her stocking seams crooked? She straightened her shoulders and ignored them. Whatever they didn’t like about her appearance it was nothing to do with them. Then she shrunk into her seat regretting her behaviour. If she offended these women they might remember her and tell that man.

It would have been more interesting to have had a window seat but they were both taken. From what she’d seen on her brief glance in their direction they were about mum’s age, but there the resemblance ended. Whereas Mum was tall, almost as thin as she was herself, with faded blonde hair and watery blue eyes, both of these matrons were stout, wearing tweed suits despite the weather, and sat as if they had an unpleasant smell under their noses.

They must think they were somehow superior to her – if that was so then surely they’d be travelling in first class? The vicar had kindly given her the book she’d started and she revelled in the opportunity to read without interruption.

An hour and a half later she was standing outside the station not entirely sure in what direction she should go to find Victory House in Westminster. A helpful policeman told her she could walk along the embankment or take an underground line called the District and Hammersmith.

It would be better to travel on the underground as her lack of an essential piece of equipment was less likely to be noticed. She joined a long queue to purchase a ticket and then got hopelessly lost looking for the correct platform. Eventually she arrived where she should be just as a train was due. The whoosh of air as it approached, the ominous rumbling noise, was almost too much. If she hadn’t been pressed forward by those eager to get on, she would have reversed and walked along the embankment instead.

There were no seats and people were packed in like sardines in a can. She’d never liked crowds and being crushed against complete strangers in this intimate fashion made her stomach roil. By the time she arrived her pulse was racing, her palms wet and her head was about to explode.

She threw herself out of the doors and pushed her way through the exiting crowd in a desperate rush to reach the surface and fresh air. Did her panic mean that she was claustrophobic? Most air raid shelters were underground. She would just have to pull herself together if she was going to fit into her new life.

When she arrived at the WAAF recruiting office she was horrified to see there was already a queue almost to Whitehall. Seeing so many eager to join was good for the country but not for her. They couldn’t possibly see everybody today.

The Girls in Blue is available from Amazon*, Kobo, Google Play, Bookshop, and iBooksThe Girls in Blue is on Kindle Unlimited (click to get more information on program).  The East End Girl in Blue releases May 6 and it gives us the story of Jane's WAAF friend, Nancy Evans.   You can find Fenella J. Miller's other novels here.  I hope you enjoy The Girls in Blue as much as I did.  I will return tomorrow with Hidden Treasure by Jane K. Cleland.  It is the 13th A Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery.  I was unable to feature this cozy mystery when it came out in December.  I hope that you have a delightful day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

All That We Carried by Erin Bartels

Book Summary

All That We Carried by Erin Bartels has Olivia Greene and her sister, Melanie embarking on a weeklong hiking trip in October in the Porcupine Mountain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The sisters have been estranged for the last ten years.  Melanie is hoping this trip will give the two of them a chance to reconnect plus she has something important to share with Olivia.  Olivia has planned out every detail of the trip including their route on a waterproof, tear-resistant map.  Melanie is the opposite of her casual sister with her vegan diet.  The trip does not go quite as planned which gives the sisters a chance to confront their fears, think about their belief systems, and decide the best way to move forward with their lives.  At the end of the excursion, the two people who left on the trip may not be the same women who departed on it.  

My Thoughts

All That We Carried is the first book that I have read by Erin Bartels.  The author’s descriptive writing allows the reader to visualize the scenes especially the Porcupine Mountains and the beautiful waterfalls.  The author created realistic characters.  Melanie and Olivia Greene are as different as two sisters can be.  Olivia is a prosecutor who is detail oriented and a planner while Melanie is a life coach and blogger.  Melanie embraces a variety of spiritual and religious concepts and practices which baffles Olivia.  The sisters bickering was realistic (speaking as someone who has bickered with her own sister).  The trip was stressful with both sisters holding grudges (which leads to squabbling).  The story is well-written, but it is slow paced (courtesy of the detail-oriented writing).  We get to see things from each sister’s perspective (it alternates point-of-view between Melanie and Olivia).  Melanie and Olivia get a chance to discuss their religious beliefs and if they believe in God.  Their hike through the mountains is a metaphorical representation of the obstacles in their relationship.  You wonder if they can resolve their conflicts before they finish their journey. I thought the ending was anticlimactic.  There could have been a better wrap-up.  Forgiveness is one of the main themes in the book.  Olivia has yet to forgive the man who killed their parents.  Her bitterness is holding her back.  The story has a parable quality to it with Josh who I believe is meant to be Jesus.  The get a little guidance during their journey from a kind man.  All That We Carried was not what I expected.  My journey through All That We Carried was not enjoyable.  I found myself bored, frustrated, and annoyed.  I have heard good things about Erin Bartels previous novels, though, I will check them out.  While All That We Carried did not work for me, I suggest you obtain a sample to check it out for yourself.  

All That We Carried can be obtained from Amazon*.  You can find Erin Bartels other novels here.  Thank you for visiting today and reading my review.  I am featuring The Girls in Blue by Fenella J. Miller next time.  For those of you who enjoy romantic paranormal novels, check out Vision of the Witch by Deanna Chase.  It is the 10th book in Witches of Keating Hollow series (each book can be read as a standalone).  I hope that you have a uplifting day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James: Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery) by Dorothy St. James

About The Broken Spine


The Broken Spine (A Beloved Bookroom Mystery) 


The first in an exciting new series featuring Trudell Becket, a spunky librarian who will stop at nothing to save her beloved books and catch a killer!

Trudell Becket, book-loving librarian, finds herself in a bind when the library where she works is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless library. In a rare move of rebellion, Trudell rescues hundreds of her library's beloved books slated for the recycle center. She sets up a secret book room in the library's basement and opens it to anyone who shares her love of the printed book.

When the town councilman, who was the vocal proponent of the library's transformation into a "futuristic technological center," is crushed under an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the police's prime suspect for his murder. She was the only person in the library at the time of his death, or so the police believe. But that's not true. For the past month, Trudell had been letting a few dozen residents into the building through the basement entrance so they could read and check out the printed books.

But if she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she'd have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. In order to protect herself from being arrested for a murder she didn't commit, Trudell--with the help of a group of dedicated readers--decides to investigate. She quickly discovers you can't always judge a book by its cover.


About Dorothy St. James

Mystery author Dorothy St. James was born in New York but raised in South Carolina. She makes her home on an artsy island community in South Carolina with her husband, a crazy dog, and fluffy cat. Though writing has always been a passion for her, she pursued an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a graduate degree in Public Administration and Urban Planning. She put her educational experience to use, having worked in all branches and all levels of government including local, regional, state, and federal. She even spent time during college working for a non-profit environmental watchdog organization.

Switching from government service and community planning to fiction writing wasn't as big of a change as some might think. Her government work was all about the stories of the people and the places where they live. As an urban planner, Dorothy loved telling the stories of the people she met. And from that, her desire to tell the tales that were so alive in her heart grew until she could not ignore it any longer. In 2001, she took a leap of faith and pursued her dream of writing fiction full-time.

Dorothy St. James is the alter-ego of award-winning multi-published author, Dorothy McFalls. She enjoys writing in several different genres. Her works have been nominated for many awards including: Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Reviewers International Organization Award, National Reader's Choice Award, CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award, and The Romance Reviews Today Perfect 10! Award. Reviewers have called her work: "amazing", "perfect", "filled with emotion", and "lined with danger."

Author Links

My Thoughts

The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James has Trudell Becket, assistant librarian, distraught that her beloved library in Cypress, South Carolina is becoming bookless.  The books are the heart of the library.  The library and its books helped Trudell get through some difficult times growing up.  When Trudell learns that the town manager, Duggar Hargrove is having the books tossed into the landfill, she comes up with a plan.  Trudell along with a couple of trusted friends are transporting books into the basement vault when she hears a large crash.  She rushes upstairs to find Duggar dead underneath a bookcase.  Trudell is surprised to discover that the lead detective is Jace who humiliated her in high school.  As if that is not bad enough, Trudell learns she is the prime suspect.  Trudell with help from two close friends works to prove her innocence by finding the guilty party.  The Broken Spine is the debut of A Beloved Bookroom Mystery series.  I thought The Broken Spine had an interesting premise.  A library with no books.  This is the first time that I had heard of this concept.  I found The Broken Spine was easy to read with some interesting characters.  I do hope the author will provide more background on Trudell in the next book.  I would like to see her fleshed out more (I want to know more about this book loving librarian) along with the other regular characters (Tori, Flossie, Jace, Charlie).   I just loved the cat, Dewey.  He is a cute and smart feline.  I also liked Charlie who is new to town and opening The Deckled Edge.  I thought that was a clever name for a bookstore.  The mystery was clear-cut.  There were a couple of suspects, a red herring, and direct clues. I would like to see that mystery in the next book to be more of a challenge.  I was not a fan of Jace and the way he treated Trudell.  I think Trudell deserves someone better as her romantic partner (maybe Jace will redeem himself in the next book).  I am curious to see if Trudell can keep her secret library hidden from her boss along with Dewey.  The Broken Spine is a unique cozy mystery with a bookless library, a clever cat, a demanding mayor, a bevy of beloved books, a determined detective, and a lockpicking librarian.  


No one in the moderately sized rurarl southern town of Cyrpess would ever suspect their stalwart assistant librarian of breaking into the library where she worked.  Why would they?  A bronze plaque hangs on my kitchen wall.  It was personally presented to me by Mayor Goodvale.  He declared me an assist to the town.  I’d received the award because I always performed my job with the highest level of pride and professionalism.  For the past thirteen years, I put the town and library first, often to the detriment of my personal life.

An even bigger honor occurred a few years ago when Mrs. Lida Farnsworth, the town’s head librarian, whispered (she always whispered) while we busily returned books to their shelves: “Trudell Becket, I couldn’t be more pleased to be wrong about my first impression of you. I would have hired any other candidate for the position. But, alas, the only other person who’d applied was that drunkard Cooper Berry. I honestly didn’t think you had it in you, honey. But, bless your heart, you’ve become the model of a perfect librarian.”

And she was right. I was perfect. Until . . .

Well, let’s just say someone needed to do this.

As a general rule, librarians don’t speak in loud voices. Librarians don’t exceed the speed limit when driving to work. And librarians certainly don’t dress head-to-toe in black ninja-wear while attempting to pick the library’s backdoor lock.

Yet, librarians can always be counted on to get things done.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I muttered to a lanky brown cat with black tiger stripes. It had emerged from the darkened back alleyway to stand next to library’s cool pearly-pink granite wall and watch me. “Someone needs to protect those books before they all end up destroyed. They’re sending them to the landfill.” The small metal flashlight clenched between my teeth caused the words to come out garbled. Both of my hands were busy working the lock.

A textbook for locksmiths that I’d borrowed from the library’s reference section sat open to the page featuring a diagram of a lock. Since I didn’t own a lockpick kit—why would I?—I’d improvised with a few sturdy paperclips bent to resemble the tools depicted on the book’s previous page. Every little sound, every scrape and rumble in Cypress’s quaint downtown, boomed in my ears. I jumped at the soft cough of a car engine. And with that cat watching me, I felt an itchy need to scurry into the nearest mousehole to hide.

But I couldn’t run. I had to finish what I’d set my mind to finishing.

After what felt like a million thundering heartbeats while I fumbled with the paperclips, the lock clicked. The door opened. I rose on shaky legs, gathering up the reference book and the stack of flattened moving boxes I’d brought with me. My gaze darted to the darkest corners of the alleyway before I slipped inside.

Just as the door started to close, the cat that had been watching with such a judgmental glare shimmied between my legs and into the library before the heavy metal back door clanked closed.

“Hey!” I called in a harsh whisper because shouting in a library simply wasn’t done. Whispering seemed even more important in the middle of the night as I sneaked inside on my clandestine mission.

The brown cat ignored me. With a yeow loud enough to have me instinctively hissing, “Shhhh!” the little beast darted upstairs and disappeared into the shadows of the stacks.

“Tru, you’re in for it now,” I muttered before dropping the stack of boxes. I sprinted after that darn cat.

Mrs. Farnsworth would have a heart attack if she discovered a flea-bitten kitty wandering among her books in the morning. I needed to get him out. The head librarian was already on edge with having to deal with the changes coming to the library. If I didn’t know the tough older woman better, I would have suspected she was busy plotting a murder.

The Broken Spine is available from AmazonIndieBoundBookshop, and B&N.  The next A Beloved Bookroom Mystery is A Perfect Bind which publishes on September 7.  You can find all of Dorothy St. James' novels here.  As part of the tour, the author is hosting a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card.  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Do not forget to leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Thank you for joining me today.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on All That We Carried by Erin Bartels.  I hope that you have sunny day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

January 19 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW 

January 19 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 

January 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

January 19 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW 

January 20 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 

January 20 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW 

January 20 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST 

January 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW 

January 20 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW 
January 21 – Here's How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT 

January 21 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

January 21 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW 

January 21 – MJB Reviewers - SPOTLIGHT 

January 22 – Books to the Ceiling - AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

January 22 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 

January 22 – Moonlight Rendezvous - REVIEW, GUEST POST 

January 22 – Cozy Up WIth Kathy - REVIEW 

January 22 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT 

January 23 – Baroness' Book Trove – CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
January 23 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW 

January 23 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT 

January 23 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT 

January 24 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic - GUEST POST 

January 24 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST 

January 24 – Brianne's Book Reviews – REVIEW 

January 24 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT 

January 24 – StoreyBook Reviews - REVIEW 

January 25 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT 
January 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 

January 25 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST 

January 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT 

January 25 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW 

January 25 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Monday, January 18, 2021

A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany


Book Summary

A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany has Gemma Doyle being asked to locate eleven-year-old, Lauren Tierney’s her missing cat, Snowball.  Gemma insists that she is not a consulting detective and cannot help Lauren.  Gemma is walking Violet that evening when the dog leads her to the neighbors shed.  Gemma finds the missing cat inside that she returns to a grateful Lauren.  Gemma believes that is the end of it until Lauren returns a few days later with $10 for a retainer.  Lauren’s mother, Sheila is the prime suspect in the murder of Anna Wentworth, her garden club rival with whom she had a very public incident.  Gemma, of course, cannot help but be curious about the case and decides to do a little digging which earns her the disapproval of her beau, Detective Ryan Ashburton.  Gemma along with her best friend, Jayne Wilson question members of the garden club plus uses her keen powers of observation to uncover some helpful clues.  The killer is not happy with Gemma’s sleuthing and decides to remove her from the game.  Will Gemma be alive long enough to prove Sheila Tierney’s innocence or will Ryan have two murder cases to solve?

My Thoughts

A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany is the 6th A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone for those new to the series or if you have missed a book or two.  I thought A Curious Incident was well-written with developed characters and steady pacing.  Gemma Doyle is a unique protagonist.  Gemma is an Englishwoman who lives in West London, Massachusetts where she manages the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, which she co-owns with her uncle Arthur.  Gemma has a keen eye for detail.  She notices things and makes connections that others miss.  I enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes references in the story as well.  West London is a charming small town filled with quaint shops.  There is a cast of residents that suit a small town (gossipy woman who compete against each other).  Lauren was a great addition to the story.  She is such a sweetie.  I enjoyed the interactions between Lauren and Gemma.  I also love Gemma’s sweet neighbor, Mrs. Ramsbatten.  She has such an interesting past.  The whodunit had several suspects, a red herring, and good clues.  There was one aspect of the case that I found unique.  I enjoyed following Gemma as she questioned people and discovered clues.  It is fascinating how her mind works.  The one thing I am not a fan of is the relationship between Ryan and Gemma.  I do not feel any sparks between them in this book and I did not like how Ryan treated Gemma.  I am hoping someone new will come to town who will be a better match for Gemma.  A Curious Incident was a delight to read.  I am eager for the next book in this engaging series.  A Curious Incident is an entertaining cozy mystery with a missing moggy, a troubled tween, a clever canine, a disgruntled detective, a grouchy gardener, and a snoopy shop owner.  

A Curious Incident can be obtained from Amazon*.  You can find the other five A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery novels here.  Vicki Delany has Murder in a Teacup coming out on July 27.  It is the 2nd A Tea by the Sea Mystery.  Thank you for stopping by today and reading my review.  I am a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour tomorrow for The Broken Spine by Dorothy St. James.  It is the debut of A Beloved Bookroom Mystery.  Make sure you visit to learn more about this new cozy mystery.  I hope that you have a day filled with smiles.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork by Rose Pressey



Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork 

A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery 

by Rose Pressey

About Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork


Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork

A Gilded Age ghost helps psychic painter Celeste Cabot catch a killer . .

Rising up against the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Biltmore Estate is a magnificent mansion in Asheville, North Carolina, built as a summer home for George Washington Vanderbilt II—yes, of those Vanderbilts—during the Gilded Age. Nowadays, it’s the site of an annual craft fair. Unfortunately, it’s also about to become a crime scene . . .

Celeste is hard to miss as she pulls up with her pink and white Shasta trailer and adorable Chihuahua, Van Gogh—Van for short. But before she can show off her artwork at the fair, a tour guide is found strangled by a velvet rope barrier and a valuable painting goes missing. With a rogues’ gallery of sketchy suspects, Celeste welcomes the help of a pair of handsome detectives—and a ghost with a special interest in the case . . .

Includes tips and recipes! 

About Rose Pressey

Rose Pressey is the USA Today bestselling author of the Haunted Craft Fair Mysteries and the Haunted Vintage Mystery Series. She enjoys writing quirky and fun novels with a paranormal twist. The paranormal has always captured her interest. The thought of finding answers to the unexplained fascinates her.

When she’s not writing about werewolves, vampires, and every other supernatural creature, she loves eating cupcakes with sprinkles, reading, spending time with family, and listening to oldies from the fifties. Yeah, she loves Elvis. She can’t help myself.

Rose lives in the beautiful commonwealth of Kentucky with her husband, son, and three sassy Chihuahuas.

Author Links

My Thoughts

Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork by Rose Pressey an amusing cozy mystery.  Celeste Cabot is on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina for the Fifth Annual Biltmore Estate Craft Fair.  She was touring the Biltmore Mansion with her family until her father and brothers got them kicked out.  Celeste realizes she has lost her keys and returns to look for them.  Instead of her keys, Celeste finds a strangled female employee.  Celeste returns to her pink-and-white trailer where she is compelled to paint a man from a time long past.  When the ghost of the man in the painting appears, Celeste knows that she must get answers regarding the murder.   Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork is the 3rd A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery.  Everything a new reader needs to know is included.  I thought Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork was easy to read thanks to Rose Pressey’s engaging writing style.  Celeste Cabot is a quirky main character who makes her living by selling her paintings at craft fairs.  She has a cute pink truck which pulls her pink-and-white vintage trailer.  Celeste has an adorable Chihuahua named Van (after Van Gogh because of his floppy ear).  Celeste’s family is in Asheville with her along with her best friend, Sammi and her two detective love interests, Caleb Ward and Pierce Meyer.  I do not know how Celeste puts up with her family.  The father and brothers would drive me crazy within five minutes (they are always getting into or causing trouble).  Celeste’s grandmother is a sweetie.  I liked the ghost, Mr. Vanderbilt.  He made some funnbily remarks.  I would have liked to know more about him and the reason for his appearance.  The mystery was straightforward.  There was a small suspect pool and pointed clues.  Celeste follows suspects, asks questions, and eavesdrops on conversations.  She is told repeatedly to stay out of the investigation by Caleb and Pierce (she ignores them both).   Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork is a droll cozy mystery with a mysterious manifestation, an executed employee, spooky paintings, a frenzied family, and a prying painter.  


A loud crash echoed across the expanse of the massive room. Screams soon followed. Somehow, I knew the sounds were related to my brothers and/or my father.

They were always in the middle of the chaos. If something destructive happened near them, then they were somehow typically involved.

I dashed around the corner and saw my brother Stevie standing behind the red velvet barrier rope. The space had been blocked off so that tourists would know to stay out. Either my brother chose to ignore the rope and the KEEP OUT warning signs, or he truly was clueless. Honestly, I thought he was just kind of oblivious. My brothers never meant harm. They just lived in their own little world.

My other brother, Hank, stood behind the rope barrier, too. Which one had knocked over the KEEP OUT sign? Fortunately, the large ceramic urn nearby, which I knew had to be an expensive piece of artwork, had survived the Cabot tornados. What did they think the KEEP OUT sign was there for, anyway? The piece had to be pricey and of significant importance, since it was featured on top of a pedestal column at the Biltmore Estate. Yes, my brothers were a walking disaster. It was no wonder, though. Their clumsiness combined with their muscular physiques made the right mix for disaster.

My family and I were currently touring the magnificent Biltmore mansion in Asheville, North Carolina. My family included my mother, father, grandmother, and two brothers. Now I questioned why I had agreed to come along with them for the tour. Obviously, I’d been wrong when I’d thought they could behave themselves, even for a short time.

My petite, gray-haired grandmother stood a good distance away from us, clinging to her brown pocketbook as if she might have to make a quick escape. Probably good thinking on her part. This wasn’t her first rodeo with this bunch.

My mother clutched her pearl necklace as if the jewelry would save her from fainting. I’d picked out the necklace that my father had given her for their thirtieth anniversary. She’d pretended she believed he’d chosen the pearls, but she’d winked at me, indicating that she thought I’d made a perfect selection. Sometimes when I saw my mother, it was like seeing my own reflection. The resemblance was uncanny, since we both have dark hair and big brown eyes the shade of one of my favorite things—decadent chocolate.

“I don’t know how I managed to get through over thirty years of this much chaos,” my mother said.


Are you ready to read Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork is available from AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play, and IndieBound.  You can find the other novels in A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery series here.  The 4th A Haunted Craft Fair Mystery is Murder Can Frost Your Donut which publishes September 28. Would you like to win a print copy (Sorry, but only open to those who live in the US) of Murder Can Haunt Your Handiwork?  You can enter here or use the Rafflecopter form below.  Do not forget to leave a comment for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Thank you for joining me today.  I will be back on Monday with A Curious Incident by Vicki Delany.  It is the 6th A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery.  I hope that you have a creative day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

January 15 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 

January 15 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW 

January 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews - REVIEW 

January 15 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT 

January 16 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
January 16 – The Avid Reader - REVIEW & EXCERPT 

January 16 – Literary Gold - SPOTLIGHT & EXCERPT 

January 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

January 17 – Baroness' Book Trove - CHARACTER INTERVIEW 

January 17 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 

January 18 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf - AUTHOR INTERVIEW 

January 18 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW 

January 19 – Diane Reviews Books – GUEST POST 

January 19 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST 

January 19 – Brooke Blogs - SPOTLIGHT 
January 20 – Celticlady's Reviews - SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT 

January 20 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic - SPOTLIGHT & EXCERPT 

January 20 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW 

January 21 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST 

January 21 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
January 21 – Author Elena Taylor's Blog – SPOTLIGHT 

January 22 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 

January 22 – I Read What You Write - SPOTLIGHT& EXCERPT 

January 22 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT 

January 22 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.