Two mini reviews: And Justice for Mall and Twice in a Lifetime #minireviews #cozymysteries #timetravel

I’ve been out of pocket due to work and watching grandkids, but I’m back now and I wanted to share some mini reviews with you. They’re both four stars, or will be rounded to four stars on sites with no partial star option. I am going to occasionally do mini-reviews more in the future. My mini reviews will include overall impressions and do not have an author bio. Click on the covers to buy the books. My impressions are below.

AND JUSTICE FOR MALL

BOOK DESCRIPTION

When Riley Schoenberg strides into family lawyer Sandy Moss’s office without knocking and coolly sits down, Sandy’s more irritated than amused. She has a client meeting to prepare for, and being interrupted by an eleven-year-old girl is not on her to-do list.

But then Sandy hears Riley’s pitch, and it’s a killer one: Riley’s father’s been convicted of murdering her mother … and the oddly intimidating pre-teen will do anything to get him out of jail.

Sandy, in turn, will do anything to get Riley out of her office. Which includes agreeing to look into her dad’s case for free. A decision she regrets when it turns out Riley’s inheritance has made her a multi-millionaire.

Still, Sandy’s determined to get Riley the answers she needs. There’s just one tiny problem: Riley might be convinced her father’s innocent, but Jack Schoenberg is insisting he did it.

MINI REVIEW

This is the fourth Jersey Girl mystery series and the first I’ve read. The characters were engaging, and there was a bit of humor running through the book, even in dangerous situations. The book had a great tone that kept me intrigued. The plot was interesting and the mystery had some twists and turns that were fun to figure out.

My rating is 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions are my own.

TWICE IN A LIFETIME

AUDIOBOOK DESCRIPTION

Isla has fled the city for small-town Missouri in the wake of a painful and exhausting year. With her chronic anxiety at a fever pitch, the last thing she expects is to meet a genuine romantic prospect. And she doesn’t. But she does get a text from a man who seems to think he’s her husband. Obviously, a wrong number—except when she points this out, the mystery texter sends back a picture. Of them—on their wedding day.
 
Isla cautiously starts up a texting relationship with her maybe-hoax, maybe-husband Ewan, who claims to be reaching out from a few years into the future. Ewan knows Isla incredibly well, and seems to love her exactly as she is, which she can hardly fathom. But he’s also grieving because in the future, he and Isla are no longer together.
 
Ewan is texting back through time to save her from a fate he is unwilling to share—and all she can do to prevent that fate is to learn to be happy, now, in the body she has, with the mind she has. The only trouble is the steps she takes in that direction might be steps away from a future with Ewan.
 
Melissa Baron’s time-crossed romance features a quintessentially endearing and brave protagonist, and an engrossing plot that will keep you turning pages until its breathtaking finish.

AUDIOBOOK MINI REVIEW

This time slip story has a little bit of a vibe of the Sandra Bullock movie The Lake House, a bit of The Butterfly Effect, and situations that show that changing the future has consequences.

Twice in a Lifetime is not exactly a time travel story, but more of an exchange of messages from one time to the other, which is what reminds me of Sandra Bullock’s movie The Lake House. The rules set by the author give consequences for changing the future. I liked the whole premise. There are also serious themes of traumatic brain injury and depression that are well presented.

Megan Tusing does a good job with the narration, and I liked the conclusion. My rating is 4.2 stars, rounded down to 4 stars on sites with no partial star option.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from Dreamscape Media via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

BUY LINKS: Remember to click the covers for the buy links.

Indie Weekend: Two of a Kind by Gail Meath #cozymystery #christmas #germanshepherds @gailmeathauthor

Indie Weekend is my effort to help Indie and Self-Published authors market their books. Indie authors have a lot on their plate, so if I can help with the daunting task of marketing, I’m happy to do it. You can help as well by sharing this post with all of your social media followers.

This week’s review is for a book close to my heart, and I must disclose I am also the editor. Actually, the author is gracious to let me help her with editing. That’s my sneaky way of getting to read it first! Gail Meath is putting out a Christmas Novella in her Jax Diamond series. It’s a prequel, and it will be available on Black Friday. I’m so excited about it! Read my review below.

BOOK DESCRIPTION (From Amazon)

How did Jax meet Ace? Find out in this Christmas novella.

The Christmas holiday hinges on a dicey game of chance.

Officer Jax Diamond doesn’t always play by the rules, and he’s in the hot seat again with the captain of his precinct. So, when a brazen little puppy alerts him of a crime, Jax is ordered to stand down or get canned.

On the city streets, broke and alone, Jax beats himself up for making the wrong decision. Even the little tramp who keeps trailing him everywhere can’t lift his spirits. But crime never stops in New York City and a string of deadly Christmas capers spirals out of control.

Hang on to your seat as Jax and his new pint-sized partner, Ace, team up to save the Christmas holidays during the Roaring Twenties, an era of fun and frolic, song and dance, speakeasies, gangsters, bootlegging, and bribes.

BOOK REVIEW

I love a good prequel, and this is a great one as we learn how Detective Jax Diamond met his sidekick, the wily German Shepherd, Ace.

The action starts right away, as Jax happens to meet an unforgettable puppy and then goes through a heartbreaking situation that will change his life. Christmas in New York City in the early 1920s is on full display, and I was completely transported there. The department stores at that time are well described and the Christmas decorations and events are just so fun to read about. I enjoyed all the characters, but Puppy Ace steals the show, and he strutted right into my heart. The plot is full of clever twists and surprises. We visit famous department stores, investigate missing toys, and even get some cooking lessons! New hints are dropped about Jax’s background, which will be explored further in Book 5, coming out in 2023.

I pretty much demand that historical Christmas books deliver big on the “Christmas” and this one went over and above. I highly recommend it as both a great cozy and a Christmas read. Even though this is Book 4, it can be read first because it’s a prequel. This little novella is so fun I’m ready to read it again. You won’t be disappointed with this novella, or any book in the amazing Jax Diamond cozy mystery series.

I received a free copy of this book, but also purchased a copy. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Meath is the author of the multi-award winning Jax Diamond Mysteries series, the story of a wise-cracking ex-cop turned PI, his sweet German Shepherd partner, and Broadway singing heartthrob as they solve crazy crimes during the Roaring Twenties. “Think Sam Spade meets Judy Garland.”

Gail has always been dreamer and lover of romance and history, and she finally picked up the pen to write plot-twisting mysteries, heart-wrenching westerns, and powerful biographies of fascinating yet unknown heroines of the past. She lives with her fabulous husband and beloved Boston Terrier on their own golden pond in a small village in Upstate New York. Connect with Gail at GailMeath.com, on Facebook @GailMeathAuthor, or on Instagram @GailMeathAuthor. Get free books by Meath on her website.

BUY LINKS (Pre-Order Here)

AMAZON | AMAZON UK

BEFORE YOU GO

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your social media followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help Indie authors go a long way!

#BookTour and #BookReview: Daisy and the Dazzling #Dachshunds

BOOK DESCRIPTION

The discovery of a murdered woman with a rescued dog and her puppies on Bodmin Moor, hurtles Daisy, a shy retired librarian and her oddball friends, into another dangerous, yet comical escapade.
Daisy is on a mission to find the murdered woman’s killer, linking events to the puppy farm, and is suddenly thrust into a world of explosions, shootings and kidnappings!

Furthermore, family secrets come to light and Daisy discovers an unexpected revelation that will change her life forever. This newfound knowledge is difficult for Daisy to cope with and somewhat hinders the situation that befalls herself and her friends. And if that isn’t enough, the return of her ex-husband poses even more problems.

Daisy enlists the help of Cleo her cat, and Flora her puppy, both rescue animals, in her search for the puppy farm. However, the question remains, even with all the help she has, can Daisy manage to outwit the villains and save herself and the puppies from harm?

BOOK REVIEW

I enjoyed the fact that the main character Daisy and her group of friends (The Priory Five) are in their 40s or older. That’s my age group, and it’s great to see characters that I can identify with. The mystery involves dogs, which is right up my alley, and I liked that the group was investigating a puppy mill as well as a murder. Daisy’s ex-husband shows up, which is a nice twist, but even bigger surprises are in store.

I wasn’t fully connected or drawn in right away, possibly because it’s the second in a series and I hadn’t met the characters before. It also could use another edit and didn’t really showcase all the great characteristics of dachshunds that I know as a dachshund owner. Since the title and the cover feature dachshunds, I expected to see more of that. But as the story moves along, the plot twists and turns did begin to captivate me, especially Daisy’s family secret. The main character Daisy is very likable and I love the premise of this series. The secrets revealed in this book will set the series up nicely for the future.

I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. I also purchased a copy. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(In her own words)

Scottish born, I now live on the Jurassic coast of Dorset with my husband, and Monty our enormous Cavalier. Our two adult children live in Yorkshire and Germany. 

As a lifelong sufferer from E.D.S, I cope with my restricted mobility by reading and writing. I often scribbled stories from childhood, stemming from Scotland, Cornwall, Norfolk, Essex, and the Home Counties.

Now a teacher, tutor, and hotelier, I still scribble with each novel disappearing into a drawer!

Changing primary schools, five in total, meant that I was unable to read until given special lessons. This gave me a deep love of reading, and being an only child, I devoured books. Following this experience, when I became unable to teach because of mobility problems, I became a home tutor. After extra training, I specialised in children with reading difficulties.  Still an avid reader, I love cosy mysteries, where the murder doesn’t scare me to death!

The Open University helped with my exams, enabling me to continue studying. I had an amanuensis who wrote out my answers.  Of course, I did English and history, my great loves. Creative Writing was difficult as I love to write amusing and light pieces, and they preferred dark and dismal topics! I studied botanical art for many years and then got RSI. Determined to carry on with my art and writing, I now paint with my left hand and dictate all my novels. I still paint flowers trying to capture their beauty, it is hard work but so enjoyable.

JANEY CLARKE’S SOCIAL MEDIA

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BUY LINKS

AMAZON | AMAZON UK

#BlogTour and #BookReview: Death at The Lychgate #AmyRowlingsMysteries #SpellboundBooks

BOOK DESCRIPTION

AMY ROWLINGS RETURNS!

It’s Sunday morning, and the body of Reverend Villiers has been found propped up on the vigil seat in the church’s lychgate. It appears that he has been poisoned.

When amateur sleuth and regular churchgoer Amy Rowlings arrives, she finds DI Bodkin already at the scene. Bodkin tells her about a cryptic scripture reference that has been scrawled in chalk on the stone slabs beneath the body. What the citation hints at, shocks everyone.

BOOK REVIEW

This is Book 2 in the Amy Rowlings Mysteries. It can be read as a standalone. The local vicar has been murdered and it is an apparent poisoning. Amy Rowlings and DI Bodkin are on the case, and they soon discover that there has been much more going on than it seems.

I love that Amy uses lessons learned from Agatha Christie’s character Hercule Poirot to help her in her investigation. The romance between Amy and DI Bodkin is sweet and is moving forward nicely. The townsfolk are endearing and delightful, but some of them are hiding secrets. The mystery has some clever twists and turns that will keep you guessing. There are other truths to be uncovered behind the vicar’s murder, and those truths add even more layers to this mystery. Fans of historical mysteries and Agatha Christie in particular should check this one out.

I received a free copy of this book from Spellbound Books via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

T A Belshaw is from Derbyshire in the United Kingdom where he shares a house with his chatty rescue cat, Mia. He writes for both children and adults. A former miner and computer technician, Trevor studied Advanced Creative Writing at the Open University. He is the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out of Control. Following the sudden death of his wife in 2015 Trevor took a five-year break from writing, returning during lockdown in 2020, when an injury forced him to take time off work. The result of this new creative burst was the Dual Timeline, Family Saga, Unspoken and the Historical Cosy Crime Whodunnit, Murder at the Mill.

Trevor signed his first contract with Spellbound Books Ltd in April 2021. He signed a further mullti-book contract with them in the spring of 2022.

His short stories have been published in various anthologies including 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and Other Stories, Deck the Halls, 100 Stories for Queensland and The Cafe Lit anthology 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also has two pieces in Shambelurklers Return. 2014

Trevor is also the author of 15 children’s adventure books written under the name of Trevor Forest.

His children’s poem, Clicking Gran, was long listed for the Plough prize (children’s section) in 2009 and his short poem, My Mistake, was rated Highly Commended and published in an anthology of the best entries in the Farringdon Poetry Competition.

Trevor’s articles have been published in magazines as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Best of British and First Edition.

FOLLOW HIM AT:

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | AMAZON UK



Indie Weekend: Deuce by Gail Meath #cozymysteries #bookreviews #germanshepherds #indiebooks

Indie weekend is my effort to help Indie authors market their books. Indie authors have to do it all, including marketing, so if I can help even a little bit, I’m happy to do so. Below is my review of Deuce by Gail Meath, the third book in her wonderful Jax Diamond Mysteries series. Disclosure: I am also the editor.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

One for sorrow, two for spice triggers a game of three blind mice.

While vacationing in New England, PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, bite off more than they can chew when two small town deaths reveal two big time killers, and the locals don’t take too kindly to strangers.

Laura Graystone, Broadway star, auto expert, and Jax’s heartthrob, is once again front and center digging for clues while trying to ditch an old boyfriend. That is, until her brother becomes Jax’s prime suspect. Then all hell breaks loose, and Ace is left in the lurch, tracking down leads with his new sidekick, Susie.

A crazy duet of crimes sends Jax, Laura and Ace into a tailspin in small-town USA during the Roaring Twenties. Where no one is above the law, everyone is a suspect, and time is running out before the clock strikes one.

BOOK REVIEW

Deuce is the third book in the Jax Diamond Mysteries series. In this series, private detective Jax, his wily German Shepherd partner, Ace, and Jax’s girlfriend, Broadway singer Laura Graystone, solve crimes in New York City. In Book three, Jax, Laura, and Ace head to Laura’s hometown of Millbury, MA in order to investigate the death of Laura’s father several years before. As soon as they arrive, Jax finds a body, but when he attempts to show it to the police, it is gone! Laura’s old “boyfriend” who was never a boyfriend, Pete, is also a deputy sheriff who tries to throw a wrench into Jax’s investigation.

I just adore these characters. Jax, Laura, and Ace are a wonderful team, and they are soon joined by a familiar face from New York. The small town setting in Millbury is a fun escape, and we learn a bit of history about the town. While the investigation involves the murder of Laura’s father and others, we also get a peek into Jax’s own history. The characters are just fantastic, as always. Jax is a sharp investigator and a great romantic partner for Laura. Laura’s expertise goes beyond singing because she knows everything about cars, as her late father was a racecar driver who worked on cars. Ace, of course, steals the show, and is always there to assist Jax and Laura.

The mystery is complex, and I could not figure out who the “culprit” was until the end. The story moves along well and I was entertained throughout. The book ends with a promise of a return to New York and Broadway, so I can’t wait! I highly recommend this mystery series to fans of cozy mysteries and dog lovers.

I received a free copy of this book but also purchased a copy. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

Readers can look forward to books four and five: Book 4, Two of a Kind: The Beginning is a Christmas novella about how Jax and Ace met. It is coming out in December. Book 5, Blackjack, is set back in New York City as Jax looks for his own family. It will be out June of 2023.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Meath is the author of the multi-award-winning Jax Diamond Mysteries series, the story of a wise-cracking ex-cop turned PI, his sweet German Shepherd partner, and Broadway singing heartthrob as they solve crazy crimes during the Roaring Twenties. “Think Sam Spade meets Judy Garland.”

Gail has always been a dreamer and lover of romance and history, and she finally picked up the pen to write plot-twisting mysteries, heart-wrenching westerns, and powerful biographies of fascinating yet unknown heroines of the past. She lives with her fabulous husband and beloved Boston Terrier on their own golden pond in a small village in Upstate New York. Connect with Gail on her website at GailMeath.com, on her Facebook page, or on Instagram. .

BUY LINKS

Buy the whole series by clicking on the image above.

BEFORE YOU GO

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Blog tour and #audiobookreview: The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception #cozymysteries #JaneAustenfiction

QUICK FACTS

  • Title:The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception: The Secret Life of Mary Bennet (Book 3)
  • Series: The Secret Life of Mary Bennet
  • Author:Katherine Cowley
  • Genre:Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Austenesque
  • Publisher: ‎Tule Publishing Group, LLC (September 6, 2022)
  • Length: (368) pages
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-1957748566
  • Tour Dates: August 29 – September 11, 2022

BOOK DESCRIPTION

What is a spy willing to do when both her heart and her country are at risk?

Life changes once again for British spy Miss Mary Bennet when Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from the Isle of Elba. Mary quickly departs England for Brussels, the city where the Allied forces prepare for war against the French. But shortly after her arrival, one of the Duke of Wellington’s best officers is murdered, an event which threatens to break the delicate alliance between the Allies.

Investigating the murder forces Mary into precarious levels of espionage, role-playing, and deception with her new partner, Mr. Withrow-the nephew and heir of her prominent sponsor, and the spy with whom she’s often at odds. Together, they court danger and discovery as they play dual roles gathering intelligence for the British. But soon Mary realizes that her growing feelings towards Mr. Withrow put her heart in as much danger as her life. And then there’s another murder.

Mary will need to unmask the murderer before more people are killed, but can she do so and remain hidden in the background?

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Cowley manages to turn a little-liked, ignored, and stilted girl into one of my favorites of Austen’s characters…This third novel of the series is her best. I laughed and I cried and cheered for Mary to succeed in her endeavors and hopefully find love at last.”— Carol Pratt Bradley, author of The Light of the Candle

“5 STARS. Just a delight!”— Wren, The Zebra Reader

“I really enjoyed this book. It is a great addition to the series. I loved that Mary is finding love in a logical way that fits her character…Highly recommend.”— Mariana, Goodreads

“I absolutely love Katherine Cowley’s Mary Bennet series, and I think [The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception] may be the best book in the series.”— Madison, Goodreads

BOOK REVIEW

This is a wonderful Jane Austen tribute and cozy mystery series. Although it’s the third book, I easily read it as a standalone. Jane Austen’s characters are reimagined in a clever way. Mary Bennett is a spy, helping Mr. Withrow gather intelligence after Napoleon escapes, and ultimately investigating a murder. Meanwhile, Lydia is married to Mr. Wickham and hiding a terrible secret. Can Mary help her? And how is Mary coping with her growing feelings for Mr. Withrow?

This is a compelling combination of thriller, romance, and family drama. Mary is a fantastic protagonist who can go undercover as a man one moment and fight off a wicked husband the next. The attraction between Mary and Mr. Withrow is very well done and progresses naturally. Mary and Lydia’s relationship as sisters is explored as well. The story is captivating, satisfying, and enjoyable, and Mary shines in her role of spy. Fans of Jane Austen will delight in this new adventure with beloved characters.

The narration of the audiobook was believable and held my attention throughout.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

PURCHASE LINK

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

AUDIOBOOK PURCHASE LINKS

AUDIBLE | LIBRO.FM | CHIRP BOOKS | APPLE BOOKS

AUTHOR BIO

Katherine Cowley read Pride and Prejudice for the first time when she was ten years old, which started a lifelong obsession with Jane Austen. Her debut novel, The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her Mary Bennet spy series continues with the novels The True Confessions of a London Spy and The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception. Katherine loves history, chocolate, traveling, and playing the piano, and she has taught writing classes at Western Michigan University. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her husband and three daughters.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Book Review: The Eleventh Commandment #JohnSingerSargent #VernonLee

This is the fourth book in the John Singer Sargent/Violet Paget mystery series. The amateur sleuthing pair of artist John and writer Violet, who wrote under the name Vernon Lee, make a great combination. These lifelong friends are drawn into an archaeological mystery when John receives a package from an acquaintance, Moses Shapira. Shapira had recently been accused of promoting a fake manuscript of the ten commandments, with an eleventh commandment added! Is the package of leather strips that John received an original, or is it a fake? Not long after receiving the package, John and Violet learn of a suicide that could actually be a murder. In alternating chapters, we follow Moses Shapira as he discovers and tries to verify the manuscripts, and Violet and John as they investigate a possible murder and the origin of those same artifacts. This book can be read as a standalone.

The duo of John and Violet as amateur investigators is delightful. Their friendship and Violet’s insight make for an entertaining read. Their travels revolve around the arts and their investigation. Violet is an excellent narrator, and the book includes snippets about her work and John’s paintings. The fact that they were real-life friends who traveled extensively makes the books even more authentic. The mystery is intriguing and multi-layered. With Moses, we travel with Bedouin guides into the deserts of the Middle East, searching for treasures. With Violet and John, we visit Rotterdam and search for clues into a mysterious death. This is a captivating and multi-layered mystery with absolutely endearing main characters.

I received a free copy of this book from Word by Word Press via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Burns’ varied writing experience includes more than twenty years in business and agency public relations and communications, including video scripts, radio commercials, annual reports, newsletters and executive speeches.  She managed the media coverage of the 1987 visit of Pope John Paul II to San Francisco, and was the producer of a local television morning talk show, Body and Soul.  She has run her own consulting business twice, alternating with corporate positions, and is currently pursuing several writing projects.

Mary’s creative fiction writing began with a short story that won a prize at the 2000 Mendocino (California) Coast Writers Conference.  Two other short stories garnered first places (see them at www.coffeehousefiction.com and www.jerryjazzmusician.com). She was an invited participant at the 2004 Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference in Lake Tahoe, California. Her first historical novel titled J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE, was published in July 2010 by O-Books Publishers, UK. She has just completed her fourth book in the JOHN SINGER SARGENT/VIOLET PAGENT MYSTERY SERIES.

For more information please visit Mary’s website.

BUY LINKS: AMAZON|AMAZON UK

LINK TO THE ENTIRE SERIES (CLICK IMAGE BELOW)

Book Review: The Twist and Shout Murder #HistoricalNovelSociety

Here is the first of seven reviews I did for the May issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. This is a fun, cozy mystery set in the 60s.

BOOK REVIEW

First in the Swinging Sixties mystery series, this is a light cozy murder mystery set in the small town of Camden, Texas, in 1962. Dot Morgan’s career choices as a young woman seem to be nurse, teacher, or secretary. Dot wants to go to business school, but it’s difficult for women to get admitted, so she opts for secretarial school. While attending classes, she encourages her father to run for city council. He ends up running against Anson Manning, the wayward son of the town’s wealthiest family. Dot decides to join the Camden Ladies’ Club to try and gain political support for her father’s campaign. Unfortunately, she gets everything but help and is faced with a murder mystery when one of the town’s elite is found dead.

This is an entertaining read full of small-town politics, gossip, and scandal. Dot is a strong character who dreams of a career in business, a tough goal for women in the 1960s. The supporting cast is engaging and fun. While some of the characters are over the top, anyone who has lived in a small town knows that this is pretty close to reality. The mystery has some twists and turns, and I felt transported to the 1960s through music, movies, and social references. For example, Dot eats at a hamburger stand with golden arches for the first time and sees The Music Man in the theater. The ‘60s are just beginning, and so is this series. I look forward to more installments.

I received a free copy of this book from Historia via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE

Teresa Trent writes the Piney Woods and the Pecan Bayou mystery series from Houston, Texas where she loves the people and even the weather. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. Even though she lives in the big city, her writing is influenced by all of the interesting people she finds in small towns and the sense of family that is woven through them all.

BUY LINK: AMAZON AMAZON UK

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Murder of Mr. Wickham–A Jane Austen inspired cozy mystery

BOOK DESCRIPTION

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 

BOOK REVIEW

A Summer House Party. A Murder Mystery. Two Young People Investigate. I’m already in. Now add in almost ALL of Jane Austen’s leading characters! Not only I am in but I’m sure all the Jane Austen enthusiasts are dancing with glee. This was so well done!!! I love that the Darcys of Pride and Prejudice have been married 22 years when this book begins. And I love that their son has been brought in as a new character, along with Juliet Tilney, daughter of Catherine and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey. I love that there is a touch of “enemies to friends” romance thrown in. And I love that this transports me back to 1820. The idea of a house party turned murder investigation–and nobody can leave–is an intriguing, Agatha Christie-style twist. The unofficial investigation done by the very proper Mr. Jonathan Darcy and the spirited Juliet Tilney is captivating to watch. This book is everything a Jane Austen devotee will love, with a touch of Agatha Christie and a dash of adventure thrown in. This is a nostalgic, intriguing, captivating, and fun collision of the worlds of Jane Austen. I hope to see a sequel.

I received a free copy of this book from Knopf Doubleday via Austenprose PR. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs. 

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

ABOUT JANE AUSTEN

Jane Austen was born on December 16, 1775 at Steventon near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on July 18, 1817. As a girl Jane Austen wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were only published after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime. These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma(1816). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1818 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.

MY INSTAGRAM REVIEW

Self-Published Saturday: Review of Framed by Gail Meath

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to highlight self-published and Indie books and help the authors with the daunting task of marketing. Below is a review of Framed, Book 2 in the Jax Diamond Mystery series by Gail Meath. I must disclose before you read the review that I edited this book.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Things get pretty sticky for PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, when their best friend, a cop, is framed for murder. And not just anyone’s murder. The victim is the fiancée of the most notorious gangster in the city, Orin Marino, Jax’s worst enemy.

Laura Graystone, the budding Broadway Star and Jax’s new squeeze, proves to be an ingenious partner as they sift through clues trying to find the real murderer. But when Jax is pinched for another crime, Laura and Ace are forced to go undercover.

Hang on to your seat as Jax, Laura and Ace take you on another crazy, whodunit ride during the Roaring Twenties. Where no one is who they seem, and those who do, aren’t. Anything goes during an era of fun and frolic, song and dance, speakeasies, gangsters, bootlegging, and bribes.

BOOK REVIEW

Jax, Laura, and Ace are back, and the adventure starts immediately when Jax’s best friend Tim, a cop, is framed for murder. Can Jax clear Tim’s name or will he go down too? Laura is on hand to help, and Ace is more involved than ever as they face off with Jax’s enemy Orin Marino and try to find the real killer.

These three characters are becoming so dear to me. Jax is smart, rough around the edges, and extremely loyal to his friends. Laura is a capable and multi-talented woman who refuses to sit in the background for her own safety. Ace is the smartest dog on the planet. All three of them together make the perfect team. The character development of secondary characters also shone in this one, as we got to learn more about the fiery Carla and her falsely accused cop husband Tim. The descriptions of the clubs and lounges of the 1920s transport us there instantly, and we learn how speakeasies worked in the time of prohibition. Ace was even more involved in this novel, and I adored it. He takes the book to greater heights and makes us all fall in love with him. The music of the era is highlighted, as Laura sings some of the great songs of the period.

Packed with mystery, history, and canine heroism, this book will keep you entertained and guessing until the end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Meath

Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings.

The subgenres of her books vary from action-packed westerns, plot twisting murder mysteries and biographies of powerful women who defied the strict rules of society fighting for the freedom of their countries. Her romances may exclude steamy sexual scenes, yet the intensity between heroine and hero will satisfy your deepest fantasies.

Outside of writing, she spends loads of time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

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