Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Knot My Sister's Keeper: A Quilting Mystery plus a Giveaway!

Knot My Sister's Keeper (A Quilting Mystery)

by Mary Marks

About the Book

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496701848
Digital ASIN: B0776GV62J

In tracing her ancestry, quilter Martha Rose discovers a ritzy half-sister, a stash of family secrets, and a decades-old mystery that only she can unravel . . .
Martha Rose is shocked to find she has a half-sister, especially one so different from her. Giselle Cole is wealthy, widowed, and lives a glamorous life in West Los Angeles. At least her grandmother was a quilter! But Giselle can’t answer Martha’s many questions about their father—he disappeared when she was only a child and the few clues left behind indicate he may have been murdered. So Martha and Giselle team up on an investigation that weaves them through the streets of L.A., their father’s hidden love affairs, and into some mysterious unfinished Cole family business . . .

About the Author

Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at www.nyjournalofbooks.com.

Purchase Links
Amazon – B&N   Google Play     Kobo      BookBub

My Thoughts

Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks is the sixth novel in A Quilting Mystery series.  Martha Rose is bewildered when she receives a DNA kit in the mail from Deep Roots.  Her daughter, Quincy sent it as a surprise, so Martha can find out more about the father she never knew.  Martha is shocked when she learns she has a half-sister.  Giselle Cole, Martha’s half-sister, is a wealthy widow living in Los Angeles and is looking forward to meeting Martha.  Giselle is a forthright woman with expensive tastes and an over-the-top personality.  Martha learns her grandmother was a quilter and she passed away leaving an unfinished quilt.  Martha learns her father was Jacob Quinn Maguire, a painter who disappeared in 1980.  Martha and Giselle want to learn what happened to Jacob and set out to get answers.  Martha with the aid of her friends stitch together the clues.

Knot My Sister’s Keeper may be the sixth book in the series, but it can be read alone.  I thought the story was well-written with a nice steady pace.  I thought the story was well thought out and it contains a complex main character with a charming case of secondary characters.  Martha is a strong, sassy smart woman with a gift for quilting and knack for solving crimes.  I like that Martha Rose is a mature woman who has Fibromyalgia.  Many people do not understand the disease or believe it is not real.  We get to see what can trigger an episode and the pain Martha experiences.  It was interesting to learn more about the Jewish culture and their traditions.  It was a nice touch and allowed us to get to know Martha in a different way.  Giselle is a dynamic woman, and I was happy to see her outlook changing towards the end of the story.  The mystery was multifaceted and there was active investigating (no sitting back and waiting for clues to come to them).  I do enjoy a complex mystery (I like the challenge).  There are good clues to aid in solving the 32-year-old crime and it was clever how the author incorporated the clues for Martha  into the story. I did miss Birdie in this Knot My Sister’s Keeper.  There are references to her, but she is not present in the story (she is my favorite secondary character).  Quincy is in town, but she is spending her time with Detective Noah Kaplan much to Martha’s dismay.  Quincy has a special announcement for the family (oh no).  The ending is just beautiful and will leave you smiling.  The history of needles is included at the end of the book which I found fascinating. I am eager for the next installment in A Quilting Mystery series.  I wonder if Martha will marry Yossi soon?

Before you depart, take the time to enter the giveaway.  You can enter below or click here.  I also hope you will visit the other stops on the Knot My Sister's Keeper Great Escapes Tour (see schedule below the giveaway).  There are author interviews, guest posts, reviews and spotlights.  I will return on August 1 with my review of Poppy Harmon Investigates by Lee Hollis (out today).  The first book in A Desert Flowers Mystery series.  I hope you have a delightful day.  Stay cool (it is hot out there) and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
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July 31 - The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 31 - Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 - Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

August 2 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 3 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

August 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT  

August 5 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – Sapphyria's Books – REVIEW

August 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

August 9 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW

August 9 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

August 10 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Maureen's Musings – REVIEW

August 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Monday, July 30, 2018

Murder, She Reported: A New Novel by Peg Cochran

Murder, She Reported
by Peg Cochran

About the Book

Murder, She Reported
Cozy Mystery (Historical)
Setting – New York
Alibi (July 31, 2018)
Print Length – 230 Pages
Digital ASIN: B0776JSR44
Manhattan, 1938. Tired of being trapped in the gilded cage of her family’s expectations, Elizabeth Adams has done what no self-respecting socialite would think to do: She’s gotten herself a job. Although Elizabeth’s dream is to one day see her photographs on the front page of the Daily Trumpet, for now she’s working her way up as the newsroom’s gal Friday.
But fetching coffee isn’t exactly her idea of fun. So when veteran reporter Ralph Kaminsky needs a photographer to fill in for a last-minute assignment, Elizabeth jumps at the chance. At the Waldorf Hotel, Elizabeth is tasked with tracking down the season’s “It girl,” Gloria DeWitt, who will be making her society debut. Working her own connections to New York’s upper crust, Elizabeth manages to land an exclusive interview with Gloria.
Then Gloria’s stepmother is shot dead in a Waldorf bathroom, placing Elizabeth at the scene of a headline-worthy scandal: “Murder of a Society Dame.” Now Elizabeth will have to get the scoop on the killer before her good name gets dragged through the gossip columns—or worse. . . .

About the Author

Mystery writing lets Peg indulge her curiosity under the guise of “work” (aka research). As a kid, she read the entire set of children’s encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.
When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading, cooking, spoiling her granddaughter and checking her books’ stats on Amazon.
A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series, the Cranberry Cove series,   and the Farmer’s Daughter series.
Author Links:
Purchase Links:

My Thoughts

Murder, She Reported by Peg Cochran takes us back to 1938 in New York City.  Elizabeth “Biz” Adams comes from a well-to-do family, but she is not content to follow in her mother’s footsteps (marriage and hosting charity events).  Elizabeth obtained a job as a Gal Friday at the Daily Trumpet, but her goal is to have her photographs appear in the paper.  On the night of Gloria DeWitt’s debut ball, reporter Ralph Kaminsky finds himself without a photographer and Elizabeth gets her break.  Elizabeth (shortened to Biz by Ralph) goes searching for Gloria so Ralph can get an interview.  She finds Gloria crying in the ladies’ room of the Waldorf Astoria over a fight with her stepmother and accidentally snaps a pic.  Later in the evening, Gloria stumbles out of another ladies’ room with blood on her dress and her stepmother, Frances is dead inside.  Ralph is thrilled at getting the scoop and Elizabeth’s picture of Gloria crying makes the front page (Biz promised not to use that one).  Gloria wants Elizabeth to help prove her innocence or she will ruin her socially.  Can Elizabeth get the scoop on Frances’ murder or will Kaminsky get an exclusive on her death?

Murder, She Reported is a delightful story.  I was drawn into the book immediately and I did not wish it to end.  Ms. Cochran set the stage for the era with her references to music (Andrew Sisters), books (Gone with the Wind), food, hats, buildings, dances, makeup, clothing, and the slang.  It felt like 1938 in bustling Manhattan (great world building).  I thought the story to be nicely written with good transitions.  Biz Adams is a great character with her intelligence and go-getter attitude.  Elizabeth finds herself straddling two worlds.  She is a socialite, but she is also a working woman.  Her social connections aid her in investigating the crime.  Ralph Kaminsky was a fun character.  He is a great counterpart to Elizabeth with his rough edges and he has a different outlook from Biz.  Murder, She Reported has a steady pace and I enjoyed the authors writing style (conversational).  The mystery was complex with misdirection and good clues to aid the reader in solving the whodunit.  There are a few items that could have been handled better (reworked).  When the mother breaks her leg and needs help (she is quite demanding), the younger daughter takes care of her until she falls ill with pneumonia.  The housekeeper/cook tries to cater to the mother’s every whim, but she is soon run ragged.  The father does not believe in spending money unnecessarily, but, in this case, a nurse should have been hired.  Especially since Elizabeth had polio as a child which left her with a limp and she tires easily (and is in a great deal of pain).   There was an incident with another photographer who threatened Elizabeth.  As Elizabeth gets more photography work, I thought he would pop up again.  Instead, they smile across the newsroom.  A little polishing would have made this a five-star novel.  Peg Cochran is currently working on the second Biz Adams novel.  It is titled Murder, She Uncovered!

Thank you for visiting today.  I will return tomorrow with my review of Knot My Sister's Keeper by Mary Marks.  It is the sixth book in A Quilting Mystery series.  I am one of the stops on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.  May you have whimsical day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

July 30 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
July 30 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
July 31 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
July 31 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW
August 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
August 2 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
August 2 – Bibliophile Reviews – INTERVIEW
August 3 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
August 3 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
August 4 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
August 4 – MJB Reviewers – INTERVIEW
August 5 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
August 6 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
August 7 – Mysteries with Character – INTERVIEW
August 7 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 8 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
August 9 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
August 10 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
August 11 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
August 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
August 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Forests, Fishing and Forgery: A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery

Hello!  Premeditated Peppermint by Amanda Flower comes out on September 25.  It is the third book in An Amish Candy Shop Mystery seriesA Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon comes out on September 4 along with Die Me A River by Denise Swanson.  

Forests, Fishing and Forgery by Tonya Kappes is the third installment in A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery series.  Mae West owns the Happy Trails Campground in Normal, Kentucky.  With it being Labor Day weekend, the campground is full plus they are hosting their monthly party.  Mae gets the honor of checking in a rowdy bachelor party group who will be staying for the weekend.  Willian Hinson and his groomsmen have been overindulging in alcoholic beverages.  William ends up in an argument with Ranger Corbin Ashbrook and a warning from Mae to settle down or they will be tossed out.  The next morning, William is missing, but they are hopeful that he just passed out in the forest and will soon return to the camp.  Mae is enjoying a hike with Ty when she has to tinkle.  She nips behind a tree and encounters a dead Ranger Ashbrook (at least she looked down before she did her business).  Did William kill him and take off?  Mae does not need another murder associated with Happy Trails, so she begins fishing for information.  She is hoping William’s distraught fiancé can provide some helpful intel.  Mae is also dealing with the potential closing of Daniel Boone National Park due to drought conditions, rivalry between Hank and Ty, a pregnant Fifi and finding a way to get out of her hair appointment.  Come along to Normal, Kentucky to join Mae as she casts a line to reel in the killer in Forests, Fishing and Forgery.

Forests, Fishing and Forgery is a light-hearted, humorous cozy mystery.  The book is well-written and has a steady pace which makes it easy to read.  Mae West is a fun main character with her mass of curls, her humor, compassion, curiosity, and desire to help others.  There are several quirky characters which make up The Laundry Club.  They are in the book, but the ladies are not prevalent this time around.  I thought Forests, Fishing and Forgery was toned down compared to the first two books in the series (I liked it).  There is still plenty of wit along with small town Southern charm.  I just love the description of downtown Normal, Kentucky (such a quaint and welcoming city).  The mystery was not complicated and identifying the guilty party is duck soup.  I like the direction Mae’s love life is headed.  I believe this individual is suited to Mae’s personality (if I told you who it would spoil it for you).  Little Fifi is having a rough time of it as she nears her due date.  Mae will soon have the patter of little paws in her small trailer (I can just imagine the trouble they will cause).  It is lovely to see Mae thriving in her new home and to see Happy Trails Campground flourishing.  There are recipes and RV hacks included at the end of the book.  I wonder what mischief Mae will get up to in the next A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery! Forests, Fishing and Forgery will be out on July 31 and it is on Kindle Unlimited.

The first two books in A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery are Beaches, Bungalows and Burglaries and Deserts, Driving and Derelicts.  The next Tonya Kappes book is Tangled up in Tinsel which will be published on September 25.  Thank so much for stopping by today.  Tomorrow is my stop on the Great Escapes Murder, She Reported Virtual Book Tour.  May you have a day filled with sweet treats (I am on a Hershey Kiss kick).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
This reminds me of when I was a kid and would hide somewhere so I could finish my book.  I wanted to avoid being forced outside to play. I was an unusual child!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier is set in Seattle, Washington.  Fourteen years ago, Angela Wong disappeared without a trace and now her dismembered body has been found in the woods near Georgina “Geo” Shaw’s home.  Detective Kaiser Brody, Geo’s best friend in high school, never suspected Geo was involved in such a heinous crime.  They learn that Calvin James, Geo’s high school boyfriend, killed Angela and has since murdered three more women.  Geo has kept the events of the night Angela was killed a secret, but, after reaching a plea deal, she testifies against Calvin at his trial.  Geo is sentenced to five years at Hazelwood Correctional Institute.  Towards the end of her stay she is visited by Kaiser and told that Calvin has escaped.  Then new bodies start turning up in the woods killed in the exact manner at Angela.  Geo is released, and she returns to her childhood home much to the neighbors’ dismay.  As the body count rises, Geo recalls the events that led up to that fateful night. What really happened the night Angela died?

Jar of Hearts had a good beginning that drew me in (the first third).  After a while, though, the story took a downhill turn.  The pace became slow and the story felt flat.  I thought the story lacked depth and I found it to be predictable (reminded me of many other books that I have read). I wanted twists and turns that would surprise me and give me an OMG moment.  The back and forth from the present to the past did not help. The characters lacked development and were one dimensional.  I never felt the characters emotions (there should be hatred, anger, love, joy).  I also wanted to know why Geo did the things she did.  Geo is an unlikeable and unsympathetic character as were most of the individuals in the Jar of Hearts.  I wanted to know why Geo was obsessed with Calvin (just one of my questions).  Teenage naivete is an excuse that will only take a person so far.  If a four-year-old knows the difference between right and wrong so should a teenager.  I also felt Geo should have grown more as a person.  One would hope that she would learn from her bad decisions and time in prison.  The romance was unnecessary and did not add to the story.  The ending was incomplete and anticlimactic.  We are not given satisfactory answers that would wrap up the book and epilogue was unbelievable.   I want to warn readers that the Jar of Hearts is a graphic story that contains extreme violence, crude comments, rape and foul language.  Jar of Hearts was not the right book for me (I am in the minority on my opinion).  Obtain a sample of the Jar of Hearts to see if it is it appeals to you.  The cover for Jar of Hearts is beautiful and it is what drew me to the book.  My rating for Jar of Hearts is 2 out of 5 stars. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my review.  If you find my reviews helpful, please consider following my blog (upper right--by email or Google). Tomorrow I will be sharing my thoughts on Forests, Fishing and Forgery by Tonya Kappes.  It is the third installment in A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery series.  I hope that you have a pleasing day.  Take care, stay cool and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, July 27, 2018

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder: A Countess of Harleigh Mystery

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman is the first edition in A Countess at Harleigh Mystery series.  Frances Price Wynn, a widow, has just finished her year of mourning and is ready to embrace color once again.  Frances is also ready to leave her money hungry in-laws behind and move to London.  She has leased a place in Belgravia and is surprised to discover her new neighbor is George Hazelton.  Only one of three people who know the truth of what happened the night her husband died. Frances has barely moved in when she receives a letter from her mother announcing she is sending Frances’ sister, Lily along with her Aunt Hetty to London.  She wants Frances to usher Lily into London society and help find her a suitable husband.  Luckily, she has included a generous check to help with the expenses.  Her in-laws did not take her departure well and have filed a lawsuit.  While her lawyer assures her that the case does not have merit, her account has been frozen until the case is settled by the courts.  Frances is surprised when an Inspector Delaney pays her a visit. Evidently the police received an anonymous letter regarding Reggie’s demise and it points the finger at Frances.  Lily gains several admirers at her first social event leaving Frances to figure out which one is suitable and who is just after Lily’s dowry.  Frances learns that there is a thief attacking the homes of the wealthy and when a stolen item finds its way into her reticule, she sets out to discover the thief’s identity.  Frances is in for a busy social season in A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder.

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder is a light, historical cozy mystery.  The story begins in April of 1899 at Harleigh Manor.  There is a similarity to Downton Abbey with the big estates, London society, and Frances is from a wealthy American family who married a titled British aristocrat.  Frances is an interesting character.  This is the first time she is on her own without her domineering mother or her husband.  She comes across as a typical lady of that time-period.  I would have preferred her to be a little more out of the box.  Lily, on the other hand, is outspoken, headstrong, smart but naïve in the way of men (and the rules of British society).  Aunt Hetty provides levity to the story.  There is quite a bit going on in the story (as you can see from my summary).  Despite the number of storylines, there is a lack of action.  More time is spent drinking tea and discussing the various issues.  I could have done with less speculation and repetition. The beginning of the book did engage my attention, but it began to wane after a while as the pace slows down.  Dianne Freeman is an overly descriptive writer.  Frances’ daily life is described in detail.  The mysteries lacked development.  It was not a challenge to identify the guilty parties especially for the burglaries. I liked that the author did not push the romance between George and Frances.  The attraction is there between them, but Frances is not ready for a new romance. My rating for A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette andMurder is 3 out of 5 stars (it was okay). This was the first book in the series and I am hopeful there will be improvement in the next book. If you enjoy light-hearted, historical cozy mysteries, then pick up the debut novel in A Countess of Harleigh Mystery series A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder. 

I appreciate you reading my review.  I will be sharing my thoughts on Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier tomorrow.  I hope that you have a good day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader