Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Whisker in the Dark by Leighann Dobbs

A Whisker In The Dark (Oyster Cove Guesthouse, #2)
Happy last day of July!  The Women of Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke will be out tomorrow along with The Healing Jar by Wanda E. BrunstetterThe Cat Caper by Molly Fitz releases on August 8.  It is the fifth book in Pet Whisperer PI series.  
Old run down Mansion | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
A Whisker in the Dark by Leighann Dobbs returns readers to Oyster Cove.  Josie Waters, owner of the Oyster Cove Guesthouse, has the entire Biddeford clan staying with her for the town’s 250th anniversary celebration.  Josie is serving breakfast when she hears an urgent meow coming from the west wing that is under construction.  She rushes to the ballroom, with the Biddeford clan on her heels, to find Ed O’Hara, her carpenter, staring at a skeleton in the newly exposed section of wall.  The skeleton is identified as Jedediah Biddeford, shipping tycoon, who disappeared three hundred years ago.  The Biddeford clan believes that the old curse must be true about hidden treasure on the property and they rush to the local hardware store to purchase shovels.  That night the Biddeford clan along with many local townspeople are digging up the grounds using flashlights and headlamps.  The next morning, Mike Sullivan finds Bob Biddeford dead by the pond with a shovel laying nearby.  Josie worries that her guesthouse will get a bad reputation with a second murder occurring on her property.  Josie with her two sidekicks, Millie and Rose, dig in to expose the killer.  Thankfully, Marlowe and Nero are also on the case along with their feline friends. 

Halloween decorations: Spooky Skeletons
A Whisker in the Dark is the second book in The Oyster Cove Guesthouse series.  I recommend reading A Twist in the Tail before starting this latest tale.  Josie Waters needed a new start after her divorce and purchased the guesthouse from Millie Sullivan even though she cannot cook (plus cannot keep the books and lacks marketing knowledge).  Josie’s cooking skills have not improved despite having Millie’s recipes (she really needs to invest in a timer too).  I enjoy Leighann Dobbs relaxed writing style and the fact that the story progresses at a zippy pace (which makes for an easy to read story).  I enjoy the sections told from the cat’s perspective.  They are intelligent and perceptive felines who are working to train Josie.  The cat’s sniff out clues that they share with the humans.  It is cute that there is a network of cat’s around town who help to solve the mysteries.  The modern whodunit has multiple suspects (the whole Biddeford clan) and misdirection.  Flora, Josie’s maid who prefers to watch television to cleaning, is at the top of the suspect list.  Millie has known Flora for decades and knows she would not commit murder.  But they need solid proof for Sheriff Seth Chamberlain. Solving the mystery is child’s play, but readers will enjoy following the characters as they work to expose the truth.  We are left to wonder, though, about what really happened to Jedidiah Biddeford and is there a treasure.  We will have to wait for A Purrfect Alibi to get answers.    A Whisker in the Dark is a lighthearted caper with quirky characters, zany antics, and madcap humor.  A Whisker in the Dark has old bones, hidden treasure, friendly felines, bickering Biddeford’s, burnt bread, and three nosey parkers.

⊰ 𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑡 ~ 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑤𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑦𝑚𝑢𝑟𝑙𝑘 | 𝑖𝑔 ~ 𝑚𝑙𝑘𝑎𝑢𝑟𝑖 ⊱
A Whisker in the Dark is available through Amazon plus it on the Kindle Unlimited program.  The first book in The Oyster Cove Guesthouse series A Twist in the Tail.  The third novel A Purrfect Alibi will be out on September 18.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will return tomorrow with my review of The Healing Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter which is the third book in The Prayer Jar series.  I hope you have a stellar day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
  Skeleton Reading at Desk Photographic Print at

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton

Mrs. Morris and the Ghost (A Salem B&B Mystery #1)
Julie Svendsen painting depicting what Phantom Manor would have looked like before it fell into ruin.
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton is the first novel in A Salem B&B Mystery series.  Charlene Morris is a widow who is moving from Chicago to Salem, Massachusetts for a fresh start.  She purchased an 8,000 square foot mansion, sight unseen, and plans to open Charlene’s Bed and Breakfast by Halloween.  After getting the furniture moved in and enjoying a meal at a local Italian restaurant, Charlene drifts off to sleep.  She awakens in the middle of a stormy night to find an elegantly attired man in her bedroom.  Dr. Jack Strathmore IV introduces himself and asks for Charlene’s assistance in proving he was murdered three years ago.  Charlene is the first person that can see Jack and he cannot move on until this is resolved.  If Charlene wants to get her new bed and breakfast ready for occupancy in a month and not have her new guests scared away by Jack, she will need to investigate.  It is one way to get to know Salem and its residents!
#INPRNT #illustration #print #poster #art
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost is an enjoyable new cozy mystery.  Charlene Morris lost the love of her life eighteen months ago and every where she goes in Chicago there are reminders.  She has purchased a massive mansion in Salem, based on pictures sent to her by the realtor, where she plans on opening a bed and breakfast.  She wants it to be an elegant establishment.  Having a resident ghost was not the plans even if he is handsome and charming.  Dr. Jack Strathmore IV is convinced he was murdered three years ago and believes it is the reason for why he is unable to move on to the great beyond.  Charlene is the first person who can see Jack and he needs her help.  I like Traci Wilton’s conversational writing style.   It is engaging and made this new cozy mystery easy to read. Charlene is a strong protagonist who is ready to move forward with her life away from her meddlesome mother.  I found Charlene’s first reaction to Jack to be realistic and humorous.  Jack is a great character.  He has charm, wit, twinkling blue eyes and is a snappy dresser.  Charlene sets out to discover who harmed Jack by talking with his wife, old friends, Detective Sam Holden, and the coroner.  Charlene has all the subtly of a bulldozer.  She is direct and pushy which leads to some ticked off individuals (but it is just her first time investigating). This whodunit can be solved before the reveal courtesy of the less than subtle clues.  Charlene has a couple of men interested in her including Sam Holden.  I would like less romance in future books (lots of flirting) and a more action packed mystery.  I thought the story lagged during the middle and could have benefited from a peppier pace.  The ending was a delight and left me smiling.  A Persian named Silva joins Charlene in her new home.  The cat’s antics had me giggling and I thought Traci Wilton captured a cat’s demeanor perfectly.  I enjoyed the descriptions of Charlene’s beautiful new home, the furniture and the sights of Salem.  The author took the time to establish the main characters and setting the stage for the series (wonderful world building).  The first chapter of Mrs. Morris and the Witch is at the end of the book.  Mrs. Morris and the Ghost has a magnificent mansion, a pretty Persian, flirtatious fellows, a gallant ghost, and a reluctant gumshoe.
Salem Witch Museum; Salem, Massachusetts..... I love Salem. Went there when I was around 14, it was amazing.  You can feel the history in the air! Can't wait to go back.
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost is available on Amazon today.  Mrs. Morris and the Witch comes out April 28, 2020. Thank you for stopping by today.  I am featuring A Whisker in the Dark by Leighann Dobbs tomorrow.  It is the second novel in The Oyster Cove Guesthouse series.  May you have a sunny day (we are experiencing an abnormal amount of rain lately in my area).  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Young Puritan Woman Reading While Spinning at her Wheel

Monday, July 29, 2019

Death in a Budapest Butterfly by Julia Buckley

Death in a Budapest Butterfly (A Hungarian Tea House Mystery #1)
Greetings!  A Whisker in the Dark by Leighann Dobbs releases on July 31.  It is the second novel in The Oystercove Guest House seriesPride, Prejudice and Poison by Elizabeth Blake will be out on August 13.  It is the debut of A Jane Austen Society Mystery series.  All He'll Ever Need by Loree Lough publishes on August 27.  It is the premiere of A Little Child Shall Lead Them series.  How do you keep track of book that you want to read?  Notebook, Goodreads, or a spreadsheet?
Anna Weatherley Butterfly Handle Cup & Saucer
Death in a Budapest Butterfly by Julia Buckley takes readers to Riverwood in September.  Hana Keller co-runs Maggie’s Tea House with her Hungarian mother and grandmother which features the European-style tea service.  They are hosting a tea for St. Stephen’s Magyar Women group that day, and Hana will be featuring her newly acquired Anna Weatherley butterfly teacup in the decorations.  Hana uses the butterfly teacup as the centerpiece to the table where her grandmother, Juliana will be reading tea leaves for the guests.  While the guests are enjoying the scrumptious pastries and drinking their tea, Hana notices Ava Novak sipping from her butterfly cup.  Ava is later found outside the ladies’ room by Hana and she has indulged in her last cup of tea.  Detective Erik Wolf quickly arrives and takes charge of the investigation.  The butterfly teacup is taken away as evidence when a warning is found written inside it and Detective Wolf shuts down Maggie’s.  When the ladies start getting cancelations, they know they need to solve Ava’s murder, or their business will go down the drain like day old tea.  
The Hungarian Fairy Book compiled by Nándor Pogány, illustrated by Willy Pogány,1913
Death in a Budapest Butterfly is the first novel in A Hungarian Tea House Mystery series written by Julia Buckley (A Writer’s Apprentice Mystery series).  Hana Keller is twenty-six years old and of Hungarian descent.  Hungarian food and the culture are a big part of the family’s lives.  We get a comprehensive account of the various Hungarian dishes prepared. It was interesting to learn more about the Hungarian culture, cuisine, traditions and folklore.  I wish, though, that the Hungarian words had come with a pronunciation guide (next to each word).  Hana works with her mother (Maggie Keller) and her grandmother (Juliana Horvath) to run Maggie’s Tea House which features high tea and delicious pastries made by Francois, a French culinary student.  I enjoyed hearing about Hana’s teacup collection.  The mystery starts off with a bang early in the book.  Since many of the suspects are Hungarian, Detective Wolf asks them to be present while he conducts interviews to help with translations.  This allows readers to be introduced to various characters plus we find out what they knew about the victim.  Hana stays involved in the case as she uncovers information and relays it to Det. Wolf.  While I was able to pinpoint the who, I did not know the why.  Clues are revealed as Hana talks to various people in the community. I appreciated that we are given all the details of the murder for a complete wrap-up.  There were instant sparks between the single Hana and the fetching detective.  Hana’s grandmother is happy to give them nudge or two since she would like to see Hana wed.  Erik Wolf needs more fleshing out because I thought he was one-dimensional (lacks life).  There is a hint that Hana and her grandmother have special psychic abilities.  I hope this will feature more prominently in future books.  Julia Buckley is a detail oriented writer.  She needs to find a balance between not enough and too much which would greatly help the flow and pacing of the book (in my opinion).  My favorite phrase was when Detective Wolf said to Hana, “You’ve got the bug, haven’t you?  Solving puzzles exhilarates you.”  I can certainly understand the feeling.  There are recipes at the end for Chicken Paprikash, dumplings and stuffed cabbage.  Death in a Budapest Butterfly has Hungarian charm, dainty teacups, a poisoned patsy, a canny killer, a dashing detective, and a neophyte sleuth.
Hungarian Kifli Cookies - Rich and flaky traditional Hungarian cookies filled with a light walnut filling. Perfect Christmas cookies!
Death in a Budapest Butterfly will be out on Tuesday, July 30 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.  Thank you for joining me today.  I will share my review of Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton tomorrow.  I hope you have a stellar day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Cozy reading nook for kids hanging chair for kids home. Featuring Happy Dreamer inspirational children's book.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Telegrams and Teacakes by Amy Miller

Telegrams and Teacakes (Wartime Bakery #3)

Happy Sunday!  The beginning of the last week of July.  Penne Dreadful by Catherine Bruns, And Then There Were Crumbs by Eve Calder, and Knot on Her Life by Mary Marks come out July 30.  Mountains of Grace by Kelly Irvin releases August 6 along with A Perfect Silhouette by Judith MillerDesolate Shores by Daryl Wood Gerber will be out on August 13.  So many books and so little time available to read!
Childs ration book
Telegrams and Teacakes by Amy Miller takes readers to Bournemouth in the spring of 1942.  A pregnant Audrey Barton is holding down the fort at the Barton Bakery while her husband, Charlie is off fighting.  Betty Mitchell discovered her husband has another family and she departs for Bournemouth for a fresh start.  Betty feels fortunate when she obtains a job as a shop girl at the Barton Bakery.  But the past has a way of resurfacing whether you want it to or not.  Audrey’s stepsister, Lily receives a telegram from Jacques.  He has escaped the POW camp and is still very much in love with her.  Lily is afraid Jacques will change his mind when she shares her secret.  William has been having nightmares since his return from the front where he learned that actions have consequences.  Elsie wants to him share what his bothering him, but William is fearful of what she will think of him after hearing his tale.  Rationing is becoming stricter and customers are not happy with the new National Loaf that Audrey must bake.  The ladies at the Barton Bakery struggle to keep the bakery running while taking care of their families and each other as the war wages on. 
The National Loaf for WW2
The National Loaf
Telegrams and Teacakes is the third novel in A Wartime Bakery series.  I thought the story was realistic in its portrayal of life at home during World War II.  It depicts how individuals at home did not have it easy (not as rough as a soldier of course).  They kept the shops and factories operating while the soldiers were off fighting.  Rationing in effect and new items are added frequently, bombs hitting the area, and spending nights in air raid or Anderson shelters. I like how the people in the community banded together to help each other out.  They did not leave a person to struggle on their own.  I thought Wartime Brides and Wedding Cakes is a beautifully written novel with genuine characters.   I love the characters in this story with Audrey Barton being my favorite.    Audrey is a strong woman who is the mother figure for many as well as a confidant and pillar of strength. She has backbone, grit, strong moral character and a loving heart.  Each character is different with a story of their own.  Telegrams and Teacakes should be read after the first two books in the series.  Each story builds upon the previous in A Wartime Bakery series.   Telegrams and Teacakes is an emotional tale (have a hanky handy).  The characters emotions poured from pages and enveloped me.  Amy Miller has a special touch.  The people during this time had to have grit in order to survive.  I like how they look for the bright spots to help them overcome adversity.  I hope this is not the last tale in A Wartime Bakery series.  I want to follow the characters stories through the end of the war.  Telegrams and Teacakes is a heartwarming, expressive and endearing story. 
The Pavilion, Bournemouth, Hampshire, c.1940s - Agfa RP Postcard
The Pavilion, Bournemouth
The first two novels in A Wartime Bakery series are Heartaches and Christmas Cakes plus Wartime Brides and Wedding Cakes.  Amy Miller's latest release is They Call Me the Cat Lady.  Thank you for reading my review.  Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on Death in a Budapest Butterfly by Julia Buckley.  I hope you have a relaxing and joyful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader  
This might either be me reading Harry Potter or the pool bar menu. @bevhillshotel #DCMoments #BeverlyHillsHotel

Saturday, July 27, 2019

And Then There Were Crumbs by Eve Calder: Review & Excerpt

And Then There Were Crumbs: A Cookie House Mystery by [Calder, Eve]
Welcome!  Summer is the time to sit beside the pool, ocean or lake and read a relaxing book.  If you like Amish fiction, I recommend Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston.  It contains four Amish novellas which is perfect for light reading.  The Healing Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter releases August 1.  It is the third book in The Prayer Jar series.  A Song of Joy by Lauraine Snelling will be out on August 6.  It is the fourth book in Under Northern Skies series.
Image result for summer decorated cookies
These are cookies!

And Then There Were Crumbs by Eve Calder takes readers south to Coral Cay, Florida.  Kate McGuire lost her job, apartment and dumped her fiancé all on the same day.  She decided a fresh start was in order.  Kate finds herself in Coral Cay without a place to live, without a job and a dead car.  But the locals are friendly, the days are sunny, the beach is at her doorstep and a Help Wanted sign in the window of The Cookie House.  Kate is a graduate of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and her superpower is the ability to tell what type of cookie a person will enjoy.  Unfortunately, Sam Hepplewhite, the owner of The Cookie House, refuses to sell anything except bread and rolls (he is known for his amazing sourdough bread).  Kate manages to get hired as a salesclerk and finagles a place to live above the shop.  That night someone breaks into the shop, but nothing is stolen.  Stewart Lord, a slimy real estate developer, enters the shop the next day.  He wants to buy The Cookie House and Sam refuses to sell.  Stewart Lord insists on getting one of Sam’s cinnamon rolls that he made for himself.  A little while later, Stewart Lord turns up dead and Sam is arrested for murdering him.  Sam may be a little crusty, but he would not murder someone.  Kate, with help from Maxi and the Coral Cay Irregulars, sets out to identify Stewart Lord’s killer.  Can they accomplish the task in time, or will Sam end up baking bread in the big house?
Smathers Beach - Key West, Florida

And Then There Were Crumbs by Eve Calder is the first novel in A Cookie House Mystery series.  I like the authors casual writing style which made the book easy to read. Kate McGuire has a bad day when the restaurant where she works goes out of business, her apartment building is sold and going condo, and she broke off her engagement to a cheating louse.  Kate relocates to Coral Cay and gets a non-baking position at The Cookie House.  When her new boss is accused of murder, Kate works to prove his innocence.  I like that Kate is a strong, independent character.  Her new best friend, Maxi Mas-Buchanan is a delight along with her large family.  She is a florist who works magic with blooms.  There is a cast of secondary characters that enliven the story and help in solving the case.  Oliver is a large, friendly puppy that belongs to the town.  The mystery was clever.  It was a unique whodunit which I just loved.  It can be solved before the reveal thanks to the clues sprinkled throughout the story.  I like how Maxi and Kate work together and get help from the other townspeople.  I hope the author keeps providing unique mysteries in future installments of A Cookie House Mystery series.  I did feel, though, that the book was too long (352 pages).  Fifty pages could have easily been edited which would have enhanced the book (tightened it up) and improved the sluggish pace in the middle of And Then There Were Crumbs.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful new cozy mystery.  There were humorous situations, tasty cookies, tempting sourdough bread (yum) and jovial moments.  I was tickled pink that there was not a hint of a romance for Kate.  One of my favorite lines from the book is “I can’t believe I have my very own kitchen elf.  Look out Harry Potter.”  And Then There Were Crumbs is a tempting cozy mystery with appetizing pastries, a cozy southern Florida town, Francine the sourdough starter, a clever canine, and two nosey busybodies.  
bike and sea. would like it too be me one day - but less thin.
To read an excerpt from And Then There Were Crumbs, click here.  And Then There Were Crumbs will be out on Tuesday, July 30 and it can be pre-ordered on Amazon. The next book in A Cookie House Mystery series is Sugar and Vice.  I will be sharing my review of Telegrams and Teacakes by Amy Miller tomorrow.  I hope you have a lovely day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Anatomy of a Beach Read Plus Summer Recommendations

Friday, July 26, 2019

Thread of Darkness by Sally Goldenbaum

A Thread of Darkness (Queen Bees Quilt Shop #2)
Good Day!  Penne Dreadful by Catherine Bruns releases on July 30 along with Needled to Death by Annelise Ryan and A Family for Gracie by Amy Lillard A Whisker in the Dark by Leighann Dobbs comes out July 31 as well as The Cat Caper by Molly Fitz.  There are some delightful new books coming out in the upcoming months!
Pre-Fab Patterns for Fabric Collage | Susan Carlson Quilts

A Thread of Darkness by Sally Goldenbaum returns readers to Crestwood, Kansas.  Po Paltrow and the other members of the Crestwood Quilters are enjoying their evening meal at The French Quarter.  The French restaurant was opened six months prior by Jacques and Laurel St. Pierre and it has been a hit thanks to Pierre’s delectable cuisine.  The quilters were quick to embrace Jacques, but Laurel is a little more standoffish.  The next day, P.J. Flanigan stops by Po’s house and tells him about the odd domestic violence call they received from Laurel St. Pierre in the middle of the night.  It sounds fishy to Po.  Kate is in the local park taking pictures when spots Laurel in an intimate embrace with a man.  However, the encounter soon ends when Laurel delivers a hard smack to the man’s face.  On Saturday, the quilters are meeting at Parker’s Dry Good Shop to quilt when they hear that Laurel was found dead in the river and Jacques is the prime suspect in her death.  Po know that kind Frenchman would not harm the wife he clearly adored.  Po, with help from Kate and the other ladies in the quilting group, gather the clues and stitch them together to reveal the killer.
A Thread of Darkness is the second novel in A Queen Bees Quilt Shop Mystery series.  A Thread of Darkness is easy to read and progresses at a nice pace.  There is a good flow as the story moves from scene to scene. While A Thread of Darkness can be read alone, I recommend reading the series in order.  It will help you to learn the characters and keep them straight.  Po Paltrow, Kate Simpson, P.J. Flanigan, Maggie Helmers, Eleanor Canterbury, Phoebe Mellon, Max Elliott, and Selma Parker are in this charming cozy mystery.  Po is the main protagonist.  Po is an active woman in her 60s who is happy that her goddaughter, Kate has returned to Crestwood.  Kate is settling into town and working as a substitute teacher.  She has discovered a passion for photography and Kate is very talented.  Kate is also dating P.J. Flanigan, a local police officer.  The Crestwood Quilters are working on a quilt for The French Quarter, the new French restaurant in town that offers a mouthwatering bouillabaisse.  The author continues to develop the characters.  They are a friendly bunch who reach out to newcomers in town.  The characters are relatable and the dialogue realistic.    Crestwood is like other small towns with cozy shops and gossip runs faster than butter on a hot stack of pancakes.  I like the authors vivid descriptions especially of the quilts.  There are many cozy moments with quilting, cooking, coffee drinking, and eating.  The mystery had a couple of suspects, good clues and misdirection.  I like that there were various incidents after the initial murder.  This action made the story more intriguing.  However, I knew the identity of the victim, killer and patsy before the murder took place.  A Thread of Darkness is a pleasing cozy mystery with an affable French chef, a fishy murder, rampant rumors, an applique quilt, and a group of curious quilters. 
Queen Bees Quilt Shop

The first novel in A Queen Bees Quilt Shop Mystery series is A Patchwork of Clues and the third novel is A Bias for Murder which releases August 6.  Thank you for visiting today.  I plan on reviewing And Then There Were Crumbs by Eve Calder tomorrow.  It is the first book in A Cookie House Mystery series.  May you have a lighthearted day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 
A thought Closer | Inactive 👌

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Riptide Rumors by Melody Carlson

Good Day!  Melody Carlson has written over 200 books for womens, teens and children.  Ms. Carlson considers herself a storyteller.  Her young adult novels like Diary of a Teenage Girl and True Colors appeal to teenage girls around the world.  Her annual Christmas novellas are more popular each year (The Christmas Joy Ride, Christmas at Harrington's, The Christmas Cat).  Ms. Carlson has won a number of awards and some of her books have been optioned for television/film.  Ms. Carlson lives with her husband and yellow Lab dog in the Pacific Northwest.  She also has two grown sons.  Christmas in Winter Hill (this years Christmas novella) releases on September 3.

Author Links

Readers can follow Melody Carlson on Amazon Author Page, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Cannon Beach, Oregon If Seaside is Oregon’s Atlantic City (think packed boardwalks and kitschy souvenir shops), then Cannon Beach, just 15 minutes south, is its Cape Cod. Charming shingled shops line the Main Street.
My Summary

Riptide Rumors by Melody Carlson returns readers to Sunset Cove in the autumn of 1916.  Life is settling down after the arrests of the rum runners, but then Albert Krauss is broken out of jail.  Albert’s wife, Clara and his daughter, Ellen are once again under police protection and return to Lucille’s house.  Anna McDowell, editor-in-chief of Sunset Times, is busy capturing the latest events for the paper along with her second-in-command, Jim Stafford.  They want to get to the bottom of the corrupt dealings in the town which has Jim becoming a shadow to one of their suspects. Katy McDowell, Anna’s sixteen year old daughter, is dissatisfied with the local high school and is ready to move on with her life.  Katy has come up with a plan with help from her grandmother, Lucille, but Anna is not going to like it.  The mayoral election is coming up in a month and Katy is busy organizing Wally Morris’s campaign.  The last thing the McDowell family wants is for the unscrupulous Mayor Snyder to get re-elected.  Snyder has openly shared his opinion about prohibition and has even opened a social club. As time passes, Anna wonders if they will ever eradicate the corruption that has invaded their once peaceful town. They hatch a plan that will catch the shady players in the act.  Anna just hopes it does not blow up in their faces.  
A design of Madame Jeanne Paquin from 1904-1903. V&A. Accession Number: E.740-1957
My Thoughts

Riptide Rumors is the second novel The Legacy of Sunset Cove series.  You do need to read Harbor Secrets before embarking on Riptide Rumors.  I thought the story was well-written with interesting characters and situations.  The author captured the time period and included references to the presidential election, Battle of Somme, and current fashions.  The pacing was a little slower than I would have liked, but it suited the story.  I did feel that some details regarding the corruption scandal were repetitious.  I enjoyed Melody Carlson’s vivid descriptions of the charming beach town, the characters and the lovely fashions.  Anna McDowell is a strong, intelligent and stubborn female protagonist and she has raised her daughter, Katy to be an independent young woman who is equally stubborn.  Katy is growing up and she no longer wants to follow her mother’s plan to attend college.  She is artistic and loves fashion.  While Katy would love to venture to Paris to study with Jeanne Paquin, it is impossible with the ongoing war.  Katy conspires with her grandmother, Lucille, but she does not know how her mother will react.  Mac is recovering from his stroke, and he is enjoying the return of Anna and getting to know Katy.  Lucille is a flamboyant character who has her own opinions. With prohibition the law in Oregon, making and distributing illegal hooch is a popular occupation.  It has invaded the small town of Sunset Cove and many residents are unhappy about it.  They know that Mayor Snyder is involved, but Police Chief Rollins cannot catch him in the act.  Anna and Jim are digging for the truth and uncover the main players.  The mystery was not the focus of Riptide Rumors.  Romance is blossoming for Anna, Katy, Clara and Lucille.  Anna started out with three suitors, and we must wonder which gentleman is the right one for her.  Riptide Rumors is a charming historical novel with a controversial mayoral election, rum runners, family drama, an escaped convict, and budding romances.
Surf Smugglers Cover
Riptide Rumors is available on Amazon along with Harbor Secrets.  The next book in The Legacy of Sunset Cove series is Surf Smugglers which releases August 15.  I will feature Surf Smugglers as part of the Celebrate Lit Tour on August 31 and there will be a giveaway for all three books in the series.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope that you have a spellbinding day.  Take care, stay cool and hydrated (it is very hot outside) and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Marie Bracquemond (1840–1916) was a French Impressionist

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Parks: Review and a Giveaway!

About the Book

Book: Fragments of Fear

Author: Carrie Stuart Parks

Genre: Suspense

Release date: July 23, 2019

From award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks comes a new novel with danger that reaches from a New Mexico Anasazi archaeological dig to micro- and nano-chip technology.

Evelyn Yvonne McTavish-Tavish to her friends-had her almost perfect world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, come to a crashing end with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she’s given the news that her dog is about to be destroyed at the dog pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine-with her name and address-makes it hers.
Tavish recognizes the dog as one owned by an archaeologist named Pat Caron because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them months earlier. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner, but she arrives only to discover Caron’s murdered body.
After meeting undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price the mystery deepens as more people start disappearing and Tavish becomes a target as well. Her only solution is to find the links between microchip technology, an Anasazi site in the desert, her fiancé’s death, a late-night radio show, and the dog. And the clock is ticking.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol Award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

More from Carrie

Using Art to Solve Crime: Techniques Used by Forensic Artists
Lois Gibson--Forensic Artist
Since 1981, I’ve been a forensic artist—an amazing feat since I’m only . . .um. . . well, younger than that. In those years, I’ve seen some shifts and trends, but some things have never changed. Despite the overwhelming prevalence of computers in almost every other field, they have never been able to replace a trained forensic artist. Artists have an amazing toolbox of techniques we use to gather the information we need to help solve crime.

  1. The pencil. Any forensic artist worth her weight in graphite knows the power of the lowly pencil and a sketchpad. Law enforcement would love a photographic image of the suspect, but all we have to work with is memory…and memory is faulty. The more the image looks perfect, the more imperfect it is for helping to identify a suspect. We want the drawing to just suggest a likeness and eliminate those not similar.

  2. Now that we brought up the subject of memory, a forensic artist needs to understand how memory works. The average witness will remember between four and five facial features. When they describe the person they saw, they will do so from their strongest memory to their weakest memory, from most important to least important. We listen carefully to the order of facial features.

  3. Whole vs Parts. We don’t look at faces as individual parts, although a particularly outstanding nose or Marty Feldman eyes might catch our attention. We will remember the face as a whole, with the proportions of the face an unacknowledged part of that. Forensic artist prefer to use reference photographs where the whole face is viewed.
Want more? Check out the rest of my article at The Strand Magazine
Sketching suspects: Pencil and paper still tools in arsenal of forensic police artists |

My Summary

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Parks has readers journeying to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Evelyn “Tavish” McTavish receives a phone call from a local shelter stating they have found her dog.  Tavish does not own a dog, but she does not want the little fellow to be put to sleep.  It turns out to be Marley, a pure bred Puli that belonged to client, John Coyote.  When Tavish arrives at John’s home, she finds him dead from torture.  But then a fake cop arrives, takes a shot at Tavish, and he departs with the body.  Tavish anonymously notifies the police.  When they check out the scene, John’s house has been emptied out.  There is no record of a John Coyote and Tavish is admonished for filing a false police report.  It does not help that a few weeks ago, Tavish tried to convince the police that her fiancé, Andrew James was murdered and that he did not commit suicide.  Sawyer Price, an FBI Agent, meets Tavish at her art gallery opening and soon their paths cross again.  Tavish spills her story to Sawyer and he finds connections to his current case.  Then Tavish is shot at again.  Sawyer and Tavish need to stay out of harms while piecing together the clues.  Will they make it out alive?
Force Recon Marines let bullets fly in prep for deployment

My Thoughts

Fragments of Fear is a fast-paced Christian suspense novel.  Evelyn “Tavish” McTavish is an artist with a variety of problems (nail biting, anxiety, panic attacks, self-confidence issues).  Tavish lives in the guest house on her mother’s estate and is an heiress thanks to her grandmother.   Just before her first gallery showing, Tavish finds herself drawn into a dangerous mystery.  Sawyer Price is an FBI Agent who finds himself attracted to Tavish and tries to keep her safe which is not an easy task.  Fragments of fear is an action packed mystery full of twists and turns.  You never know what is going to happen next.  Tavish finds herself out of her comfort zone and in unknown territory as she tries to unravel the clues and keep herself from being killed.  I like that Tavish does not give up and she continues to dig for the truth. She learns more about herself and God whom she has ignored for most of her life.  I appreciate that the mystery is wrapped up at the end with complete details.  Marley was just a delight.  Such a sweet, loving yet plucky dog.  The romance is present, but it does not dominate the story.  Fragments of Fear has unknown villains, art thefts, explosive situations, missing artifacts, microchips, a spunky Puli, a concerned FBI agent, and an apprehensive heroine.   
(1) hungarian puli - Twitter Search

Fragments of Fear is available at Amazon.  To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away a grand prize of her book.  Be sure to comment on the blog stops (schedule below) for nine extra entries into the giveaway.  Click here to enter.  Thank you for visiting today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Riptide Rumors by Melody Carlson.  It is the second book in The Legacy of Sunset Cove series.  I hope you have a relaxing day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, July 24
CarpeDiem, July 24
Livin’ Lit, July 26
The Becca Files, July 26
Cathe Swanson, July 27
Bigreadersite, July 29
Simple Harvest Reads, July 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, July 29
EmpowerMoms, July 30
By The Book, August 1
Remembrancy, August 2
amandainpa, August 2
Pause for Tales, August 3
Hallie Reads, August 4
book-nook-reading-kids ~ LOL! Looks like my daughter when she was young! <3 #reading #read #library #books #cozy