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Better off Thread Book Review

Better off Thread Book Review

If you are like me, and like to read Christmas themed books through the month of December, Better off Thread by Amanda Lee is a great one to keep you full of Christmas cheer. Marcy and her dog Angus steal the show in this cozy mystery.better-off-thread

I could tell there had been books in this series before this one (quite a few by the look of the inside front cover), but you didn’t feel that you were coming into the party late. You did feel you were coming in during a happy time in Marcy’s life. I don’t know what Marcy went through in other books, but her personal life was relatively problem free (minus trying to impress the prospective in-laws).

I enjoyed this book and thought it was a perfect December read. It even made me want to go find a shop that sells embroidery kits like Marcy has and figure out how the heck she’s been making these adorable sounding Christmas tree ornaments all book long.

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

First Degree Mudder Book Review

First Degree Mudder Book Review

We just got back from visiting extended family in Ohio for the Thanksgiving holiday. When I was packing for the trip, I had to decide what book I wanted to take with me. I wanted to take along a light and fun read and First Degree Mudder by Kate Dyer-Seeley was a perfect choice. This is the fourth book in the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series, but it was new to me. However, the author is not. I love Kate’s Bakeshop Mystery books that she writes under the name Ellie Alexander.

This series follows journalist Meg Reed on her adventures working for an adventure magazine in Portland, mudderOregon. Although I was new to the series, I did not feel left behind starting at book four. I immediately connected with Meg’s enthusiasm for her family, friends, and life in general.

One thing I thought was very cool about this series is I almost felt like the murder was a sub-plot to more complex storylines going on in Meg’s life (she is investigating the death of her father who was also a journalist working on a expose when he died). Meg’s journey through processing her father’s death and trying to find answers is a great story that I’m excited to read more about in future books. It was nice to have a mystery follow the protagonist that makes you want to keep reading – something that is unique in cozy mysteries I’ve come across.

I am honored to kick off the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for this book. Today through December 7th a crew of top book bloggers will be featuring this great book on their sites. They will be letting you know their thoughts, providing interviews with the author, guest features, and more. Stop by their sites and check out all the exciting elements they have to offer.

And now, for a giveaway. Kate is giving away a prize pack including signed copy of each of her Pacific Northwest Mystery books. Enter today. This is a series you want to have on your reading list!

 
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A Whole Latte Murder Book Review

A Whole Latte Murder Book Review

This was a wild weekend around our house. What better way to unwind than with a book set in a coffee shop? A Whole Latte Murder by Caroline Fardig chronicles the life and adventures of Juliet Langley who runs a coffee shop in Nashville. Juliet is a power house of a protagonist. She takes charge and is always ready to stand up for what she thinks is right.

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I was drawn to the cover and title of this book. It just sounded like a fun read and made me anxious to give this new series a chance. (What’s not to love about a coffee inspired book title?) Not having read this series, I sensed that there were a few things I was missing in the back story, but could follow along reasonably well. The book was full of twists and turns and leaves you guessing until the end.

It is a little different than some of the more traditional cozy mysteries. If you enjoy Carmela and Eva in Laura Child’s Scrapbook Mystery books, you’ll enjoy Juliet. She has the same fire and passion to her and a heart for helping those who cross her path.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Send in the Clowns Book Review

Send in the Clowns Book Review

True Confession – The Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours have had so many awesome book review opportunities recently, I may have said yes to too many in a short amount of time. When this review was coming due, I was worried. I only had a couple days to read the book and write my review.

Well, I shouldn’t have been worried at all because Send in the Clowns by Julie Mulhern was such a great read that I had it completed in 24 hours. This book is a great read for the Halloween season. Ellison has enough to deal with in her personal life, but when she finds yet another dead body, things really get out of control. Which Ellison’s mother thinks is quite inconvenient and she should just stop doing.

This book is full of quick wit and humor, combined with a heroine you can’t help but root for. It is easy to find elements to identify with Ellison and I found myself relating to her and rooting for her as I read on.

Do yourself a favor. Pick up a copy of this book today. It’s the perfect read while you are waiting for Trick-or-Treaters to come by your house in a couple of days. Julie has also kindly agreed to give away five e-book copies of another installment of her Country Club Murders Series, “The Deep End.” Enter below for your chance to win.

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Book Review: Crepe Factor + A Giveaway

Book Review: Crepe Factor + A Giveaway

Trying to decide what to read next? I have a new release for you to check out. I just finished, Crepe Factor by Laura Childs (with Terrie Farley Moran). It is the image004 (1)perfect read for those cool October nights when you just want to curl up with a good book.

This is the fourteenth book in the “Scrapbook Mystery Series” but the first one I’ve read. I am a fan of Laura’s “Tea Shop Mystery Series,” thus when I heard this book was coming out (and the next Tea Shop Mystery is still a ways off), I had to give it a try.

The series follows scrapbook shop owner, Carmella Bertrand and her friend Eva as through life, love, and murder in New Orleans. In this book, the two witness a murder at the Winter Solace Festival and have to clear the name of their pal Quigg who becomes the number one suspect.

This tone of these books is a little different than the Tea Shop Mysteries. I enjoyed main characters, Carmella and Ava. They were fun, quirky, and full of adventure. I appreciated that I could come into book fourteen as a new reader and not feel left behind in the series. I’m not a scrapbooker (or what I would define as crafty), so I wondered if I would feel left out of a good portion of the book’s story line, but that wasn’t the case. It was actually fun to see how many different things people bought within the shop and the different classes that Carmella taught to her customers. It even gave me a couple ideas for some simple DIY projects I may want to try at home.

Overall it was a quick, fun, and entertaining read. Check it out and let me know what you think! Oh, and enter below to win your own copy.

 
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Thank you to Great Escapes Book Tours for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Masking for Trouble Book Review + Giveaway

Masking for Trouble Book Review + Giveaway

Halloween season with small kiddos ensures that one of the big items on my family’s October to-do list is picking out the perfect Halloween costumes. It is always a tough process for me. Finding one that fits them just right, will stand up to the weather (Halloween can be cold in Iowa), and works for school classroom parties. I usually end up at Target or Wal-Mart with the boys encouraging them to jusmasking-for-trouble-1t pick something!

Margo Tamblyn, the protagonist in this book, would be shaking her head in horror at me. Margo and her father own a costume shop, Disguise DeLimit. Margo is an interesting main character. The book is written from her perspective. She self-identifies as being shy and reserved. Yet she has no problem dressing in costume everyday. (Her dad never had time to buy her clothes growing up, so she just used costumes she found around the shop). Margo says the costumes help her hide behind the characters she has created. I think having the confidence to step out and be different than everyone else, makes her more confident than she gives herself credit for.

Masking for Trouble is the second book in the “Costume Shop Mystery” series. It is a fun book that keeps you guessing both the mystery, as well as what crazy costume Margo will come up with next. If you are looking for something to put you in the Halloween spirit (and maybe help you think up ideas for your costume or upcoming Halloween Party), this book is sure to entertain, while getting your creative juices flowing.

The author has included a super fun giveaway to help get you in the spirit of the season. A Haunted House jigsaw puzzle. Enter to win below.

 
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Thank you to Great Escapes Book Tours and Berkley Prime Crime Books for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Tangled Up in Brew Book Review + Giveaway

Tangled Up in Brew Book Review + Giveaway

I can’t get enough of fall themed mysteries this time of year. I just finished Tangled Up In Brew by Joyce Tremel and wanted to share a little about this perfect fall read. And give you the chance to win a copy for yourself!

This is the second book in the “A Brewing Trouble Mystery” series and follows the adventures of Max, image003a female brewpub owner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During this adventure (the first one I’ve read in the series), Max finds herself investigating the murder of a much disliked local restaurant critic who dies after taking a bite of Max’s boyfriends entry in the Three Rivers Brew & Burgers Festival burger contest. In her attempt to clear Jake’s name, Max finds that this critic has things in his past that he’s worked to keep hidden and she is determined to find out the whole story and save the day.

I found myself instantly drawn to many of Max’s family and friends in this book. She has a delegation of family that lives close by, including her parents and a couple brothers. Add in some fellow brewery buddies and fellow shop owners around her pub, and there is a heavy contingent of likable background characters that you can see playing a larger role in future books.cooking-by-the-books

I was oddly excited to read a cozy mystery that focused around a brewpub. It haven’t read any cozy mysteries with that setting before and it was a nice change. I also liked that this inspired a few heartier recipes being included in the back of the book. I just tried out the Caramel Pecan Brownies and Jake’s Brew Burgers last night. They were a hit with the hubby and my three boys!

So sit back, crack open a cold one, and enjoy. And don’t forget to enter this great contest to win a free copy.

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Thank you to Great Escapes Book Tours and Berkley Prime Crime Books for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

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A March to Remember + A Giveaway

A March to Remember + A Giveaway

image004Do the election season blues have you down? Don’t think you can possibly handle one more political commercial, debate, or phone call? I have the solution. Pick up a copy of Anna Loan-Wilsey’s new book, A March to Remember and read a fun, fictional account set in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

There was a lot I liked about this book. One of those items was the main character, Hattie is a list maker like me! She would write out and organize her thoughts throughout the book. So in honor of Hattie (and list makers everywhere), here are my top five favorite takeaways from this historical cozy mystery.

I appreciated that this book was easy to follow.

This was the first Hattie Davis Mystery I have read. Sometimes coming into a pre-existing series in the middle is tough. There are so many characters with old storylines being brought up that you feel left out. I didn’t feel like I was “late to the party” at all with this series and I appreciated that.

It made me want to go to Washington, DC.

In my early married life, the hubby and I lived in the greater Washington, DC area. I enjoyed the imagery of the city this book painted. It brought back fond memories of days past and made me itch to start planning a family vacation to our National’s Capital sometime in the future.

I immediately connected with the main character.

For me, connecting with the protagonist on some level is critical to my enjoyment of a book. I connected with Hattie’s determined and organized personality right away. She was submissive, yet confident. Discreet, yet bold. There were a lot of levels of this character that worked well for her.

It made me want to learn more about history.

When one reads historical fiction, you many times find yourself wondering just how much about the backstory is factual. Several parts of the book drew out this curiosity, causing me to head over to ever trusty Google and search for more information on the historical events that the story used as its base.

It made me want to read more of Hattie’s adventures.

By the end of the book, I was including the first books in this series on my Goodreads reading list. I look forward to continuing onto other adventures in this series and seeing what trouble Hattie manages to find in other books.

Want to read it yourself? For FREE?

Enter this super awesome giveaway and win a complete autographed set of all five Hattie Davish Mystery Books!

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I would like to thank Great Escapes Book Tours and Kensington Publishing Corporation for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.