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Blog Tour – The Wolf Mirror by Caroline Healy

 

The Wolf MirrorThe Wolf Mirror
written by Caroline Healy
expected publication February 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Goodreads

 

If you would like to review this book, please email us at efcpromotions@gmail.com.

 

About the book – from Goodreads: Changing places doesn’t always help you see things differently.

Cassie throws the first punch in a brawl at Winchester Abbey Girl’s School. Her subsequent suspension is a glitch in Cassie’s master plan; Finish School/Get Job/Leave Home (and never come back). As punishment her mother banishes her to Ludlow Park, their creepy ancestral home. In the dark of a stormy night Cassie finds herself transported to 1714, the beginning of the Georgian period.

With the help of a lady’s maid and an obnoxious gentleman, Mr Charles Stafford, Cassie must unravel the mysterious illness afflicting Lord Miller. If Lord Miller kicks the bucket the house goes to Reginald Huxley, the brainless cousin from London.

Cassie’s task is to figure out who is poisoning the Lord of Ludlow without exposing herself to the ridicule of her peers, getting herself committed to the asylum or worse, married off to the first man who will have her.

Cassie must learn to hold her tongue, keep her pride in check and reign in her rebellious nature – because the fate of her entire family, for generations, rests on her shoulders.

Meanwhile, Lady Cassandra Miller frantically searches for her smelling salts or her trusted governess Miss. Blythe, whose soothing advice she would dearly love. Instead Cassandra finds some woman and a boy squatting in the Ludlow mansion; her father, her lady’s maid and all the servants have magically disappeared.

Tell-a-vision, the In-her-net, horseless carriages and women wearing pantaloons; Cassandra is afraid that she might have inhaled fowl air causing her to temporarily lose her senses.

Only when both girls can get over their pride, societal prejudices and self-importance will they be able to return to their rightful century. Until then, they are free to wreak maximum damage on their respective centuries.

 

Interview

Describe your ideal writing space?

I was once fortunate enough to win an award to attend a writing retreat at Cill Rialaig in Ireland. It is a very special place in County Kerry in the townland of Ballinskellig.

Ballinskellig, historically, was a secular settlement for holy men and women who wanted to live a quiet life. They grew food for monks who lived on Skellig Micheal, which is a World Heritage Site and the location where they filmed the most recent Star Wars film.

This place in Ballinskellig consists of eight tiny cottages dating from the medieval period. The cottages are bare and only contain the essentials for visitors. No television, no internet, no distraction, lots of gale force Atlantic wind, sea swell and squawking seagulls.

This place was the most magic of places, a really beautiful setting. I was stranded here for two weeks. At the beginning I thought I was going a bit mad because it was SO quiet but I managed to write a huge amount because there were NO distractions. My ideal writing space.

What are your five favorite words?

I love the word actually. When I was a kid I used to add the word actually, actually to every actual sentence I actually said. It used to actually drive my brother mad. Actually.

Cretin is always a good word to have handy. Most cretin’s can’t really understand that you are insulting them when you use that word to their face.

Starlight (is that two words or one?) I love this word because it makes me smile when I think of it. I saw my first shooting star this summer and it was magic. So Starlight makes me think of magic and that always makes me smile.

Unicorn (see reasoning above).

Pajamas – who doesn’t like that word and all it brings to mind. Every now and then I like to decree that it is Pajamas Day . . . a day where I loll about in my pajamas drinking tea, reading, eating cake . . . in fact . . . I now declare . . . Today Shall Be A Pajamas Day!

Please tell us why we should read your book. Use one sentence only.

You should read this book because it is about young women learning to be strong, to be independent, to kick-ass.

Why did you did you decide to write The Wolf Mirrror?

I wanted to write a historical romance for young adults, a take on the classic that includes modern influences. In The Wolf Mirror, there are corsets and carriages but there are also mobile phones and Snapchat.

Do you have a favorite character in The Wolf Mirror? A least favorite?

It took me blood, sweat and tears to write every book so a character, even one with flaws is close to my heart. Every character is necessary in this book and so all have a role to play, there is no lesser or greater.

What is your process? Do you plan everything out before you begin writing or just go for it?

I learn from my mistakes and I once spent six months writing a project with no plan, no breakdown, no chapter outline…needless to say it went in the bin because it was totally disorganized and manic. I get an idea and I plan in stages of three, a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Then I work to chapters with beginning, middle and end and I build characters that start from one place and progress to another (in terms of character development).

Computer? Typewriter? Pen and paper? What is your favorite way to write?

I plan in paper and ink, and I complete with keyboard.

Coffee or Tea?

Tea.

What kind of background noise do you prefer when you are writing?

The sweet sound of silence.

What is your favorite genre to read?

Historical. No fantasy. No wait, mystery. Actually the classics . . . ahhhhh, it’s really hard to decide.

Who is your favorite author?

That’s a question right up there with picking favourite child or pet. It is not possible to answer.

What is the one book you think everyone should read? Jane

What did you want to be when you grew up? An archaeologist

Tell us three things about yourself that cannot be found on the Internet.

I hate marmite. I have two tattoos and my best friend from primary school is still my best friend today.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?

I am writing two books at the moment . . . (a big no no but can’t be helped). I am working on a middle grade historical adventure called Leonard Moonfinger and the Giant’s Ring and I am also just finished first edit on an adult book called Which Craft?, about a witch.

 

About the author: Caroline Healy is a writer and community arts facilitator. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University. She alternates her time between procrastination and making art.

In 2012 her award winning short story collection A Stitch in Time was published by Doire Press. Fiction and commentary has been featured in publications across Ireland, the U.K. and more recently in the U.S. Caroline’s work can be found in journals such as Wordlegs,The Bohemyth, Short Story Ireland, Short Stop U.K., Five Stop Story, Prole, Literary Orphans and the Irish Writers’ Centre Lonely Voice

Her debut Y.A. novel, Blood Entwines was published by Bloomsbury Spark in August 2014 and she is in the process of writing the second book in the series, Blood Betrayal, as well as a short story collection, The House of Water.

She has a fondness for dark chocolate, cups of tea and winter woollies.

(More details can be found on her website www.carolinehealy.com)

Find Ms. Healy here: Web, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest

 

Tour Stops

Feb 13: EFC Kickoff (review)

Twinkle Sugar (spotlight)

Feb 14: The Desert Bibliophile (review)

Feb 15: Rainy Thursdays (review)

Feb 16: Maureen’s Books (review)

Feb 17: Glorious Panic (review)

Feb 18: CBY (spotlight)

Sip, Read, Love (review)

Feb 19: Bound4Escape (review)

Feb 20: Second Run Reviews (guest post)

Daughter of Moonlight (review)

Feb 21: Romantic Escapes (review)

Feb 22: A Page to Turn (review)

Feb 23: Zerina Blossom’s Books (review)

Writing Pearls (spotlight)

Feb 24: Underneath the Covers (spotlight)

Feb 25: The Pages In-Between (review)

 

 

 

 

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Review – The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie CrossThe Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie Cross
Series: Skylar Robbins #2
on April 20, 2015
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 264
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

A deserted mansion perches on a steep hillside, overlooking a rocky canyon. Tattered curtains hang behind broken windows, and a turret stretches toward the sky. Three years ago the wealthy owner disappeared suddenly, leaving behind a house full of secrets: A mysterious note, tantalizing clues, a hidden floor, one piece of a treasure map, and a missing fortune in diamonds.
Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins moves into the mansion with her parents and embarks on a new and dangerous mission. Armed with her detective kit, and with the support of her BFF Alexa and a team of secret agents, Skylar sets out to decipher the clues and find the diamonds. Can she outwit a gang of aggressive bikers and find the hidden jewels before they do? Or will the perils of middle school--like battling ruthless bully Emelyn Peters for the attention of class hottie Dustin Coles--get in her way?

Skylar Robbins is back with more sleuthing to do. Her and her family move into an old abandon mansion. There is a rumor that there are hidden jewels somewhere on the property. Skylar goes on the hunts for clues that are left around her house. With help from her online detectives and her best friend she works hard to crack the case. There are other people that are looking for the jewels who are making things dangerous for Skylar. Will she solve the mystery before her mom finds out how dangerous it is?

In an Oyster Shell – It was another cute mystery in the Skylar Robbins series.

The Pearls – The tenacity of Skylar Robbins is unprecedented. She’s determined to be a sleuth even when it gets dangerous. This character is quite loveable and you find yourself cheering for her throughout the story.

The setting of the abandon mansion was spooky and delightful. There are lots of secrets that the house holds. Skylar is determined to figure them out. Its fun as the reader to follow along. It’s easy to imagine the mansion the way the author describes it throughout the book.

The mystery was well developed and well executed. There were a few layers added into the story that made it more interesting. The men that were also looking for the jewels added a spooky element.

The Sand- Skylar is painfully naive and stubborn to a fault. She puts herself in unnecessary danger and it makes her look incompetent. It’s not a favorable quality. There are more books in the series but I find the character off-putting and don’t know if I will continue or not.

3.5 Pearls

3.5 Stars

About Carrie Cross

Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her first “book” at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and after writing THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day.

Carrie Cross’s influences include Judy Blume, Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Lee Child. In addition to writing Skylar Robbins mysteries and reading, Carrie loves to cook, hike at the beach, go boating, and travel.

During a recent interview she was asked, “Where do you get your inspiration?”

“When I was six years old, my parents decided we needed to buy a bigger house. We looked at a creepy two-story in Santa Monica Canyon, and I played hide-and-seek with the little girl who lived there. There were closets and secret hiding places with doors that opened into other rooms. Later, I wondered, “What if there was a clue hidden in one of those closets?” And the idea for the Skylar Robbins mystery series was born.

Skylar’s adventures continue in THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS. After she solves her second big case, the Skylar Robbins Detective Agency tackles the MYSTERY OF THE MISSING HEIRESS. Carrie Cross is currently at work on her fourth Skylar Robbins novel, THE CURSE OF KOMA ISLAND.

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Review – Scheduled to Death by Mary Feliz

Review – Scheduled to Death by Mary FelizScheduled to Death (A Maggie McDonald Mystery, #2) by Mary Feliz
Published by Penguin Random House on January 17, 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 238
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

Professional organizer Maggie McDonald has a knack for cleaning up other people’s messes. So when the fiancée of her latest client turns up dead, it’s up to her to sort through the untidy list of suspects and identify the real killer.  Maggie McDonald is hoping to raise the profile of her new Orchard View organizing business via her first high-profile client. Professor Lincoln Sinclair may be up for a Nobel Prize, but he’s hopeless when it comes to organizing anything other than his thoughts. For an academic, he’s also amassed more than his share of enemies. When Sinclair’s fiancée is found dead on the floor of his home laboratory — electrocuted in a puddle of water—Maggie takes on the added task of finding the woman’s murderer. To do so, she’ll have to outmaneuver the suspicious, obnoxious police investigator she’s nicknamed “Detective Awful” before a shadowy figure can check off the first item on their personal to-do list — Kill Maggie McDonald.

Maggie Mcdonald is back with her organizing ways. Having settled into her new town she has started her organization business. Her client is Professor Lincoln Sinclair. Everything is going as planned until they find the body of the Professor’s fiance. As Maggie tries to figure out what happened she is entangled with people who don’t want her involved. Will she find the killer before anybody else gets hurt?

In an Oyster Shell – Another great installment in this Cozy Mystery series.

The Pearls – I said this in the first book and I’ll say it again. The concept of Maggie being an organizer is still unique to me. I like that she now has reestablished her business. It’ll make for a great story for books to come.

The Mystery was multi-faceted. There was not a dull moment in this book. There were several storylines going on at once, without being confusing.

The quirky characters are back and better than ever. The friends that Maggie has made in this town add a fun element to the story. With some new faces, the cast of characters were really entertaining.

The Sand – It was a good book.

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About Mary Feliz

Mary Feliz has lived in five states and two countries but calls Silicon Valley home. Traveling to other areas of the United States, she’s frequently reminded that what seems normal in the high-tech heartland can seem decidedly odd to the rest of the country.

A big fan of irony, serendipity, diversity, and quirky intelligence tempered with gentle humor, she strives to bring these elements into her writing, although her characters tend to take these elements to a whole new level.

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Authors Guild where she feels at home among those plot to kill. She’s also a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers who seem less blood-thirsty and more interested in the skeletons in the closet.

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Review – Address to Die For by Mary Feliz

Review – Address to Die For by Mary FelizAddress to Die For by Mary Feliz
Published by Lyrical Underground on July 19th 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

For professional organizer Maggie McDonald, moving her family into a new home should be the perfect organizational challenge. But murder was definitely not on the to-do list . . .   Maggie McDonald has a penchant for order that isn’t confined to her clients’ closets, kitchens, and sock drawers. As she lays out her plan to transfer her family to the hundred-year-old house her husband, Max, has inherited in the hills above Silicon Valley, she has every expectation for their new life to fall neatly into place. But as the family bounces up the driveway of their new home, she’s shocked to discover the house’s dilapidated condition. When her husband finds the caretaker face-down in their new basement, it’s the detectives who end up moving in. What a mess! While the investigation unravels and the family camps out in a barn, a killer remains at large—exactly the sort of loose end Maggie can’t help but clean up . . .

Maggie Mcdonald is ready to move into her house. Super organized as a professional organizer she’s ready to move in. There is a problem when her husband finds a body in the basement. Maggie is left with a mess with loose ends. She works hard to settle into the new town while investigating the murder. Not everyone welcomes her into the community. Maggie finds it hard to get the information she needs. Others are really helpful and she makes this town her new home. Will she be able to find out who murdered the man in her basement?

In an Oyster Shell –  This was a well executed cozy mystery that was unique.

The Pearls – This was a unique cozy mystery. Most cozies I know are centered around food. This one was centered on organization. Throughout the story, there were helpful tips on how Maggie stays organized that you could use in your personal life.

The town that Maggie was settling into made for an interesting setting. The community had some quirky characters. Some characters proved to be really helpful to Maggie. Others were hindering. Maggie had a hard time figuring out who to trust. It made for an interesting story.

The conflict that Maggie endured through the story made for an intriguing read. The problems Maggie faced seemed insurmountable at times. Yet, Maggie persevered through. Maggie was a great character and the challenges she faced made her even better.

The Sand – It was a good story.

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About Mary Feliz

Mary Feliz has lived in five states and two countries but calls Silicon Valley home. Traveling to other areas of the United States, she’s frequently reminded that what seems normal in the high-tech heartland can seem decidedly odd to the rest of the country.

A big fan of irony, serendipity, diversity, and quirky intelligence tempered with gentle humor, she strives to bring these elements into her writing, although her characters tend to take these elements to a whole new level.

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Authors Guild where she feels at home among those plot to kill. She’s also a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers who seem less blood-thirsty and more interested in the skeletons in the closet.

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Let’s Get Cozy!

What makes a mystery a cozy? Is it cozy because you read it in front of a roaring fire dressed in your PJs, a cup of cocoa in one hand, a book in the other? Although that is the best way to read, that’s not what defines a cozy. Then what does? Cozy mysteries share some common characteristics in that the protagonist is usually female, she is not a detective or police officer but an amateur sleuth who has helpers, and the setting is often a small town. There is romance, but no sex, and the violence is off screen. And don’t forget the punny names, like “Cookies & Scream”, “Dead & Berried”, or “Chili Con Carnage”. The most important quality for cozy mystery lovers is that these books are written as a series–sometimes as many as three dozen books featuring the same characters. Readers love to keep up with their favorites and revisit them like old friends. For that reason, the characters in a cozy mystery are generally likable and some are eccentric or quirky to keep things interesting. The protagonist is intelligent with some skillset that helps her solve the mysteries.
Because cozies are so popular, authors have had to stretch their imaginations to come up with new twists, especially when it comes to the protagonist’s line of work or the setting. There are so many culinary, food-based series that I’ve lost track. There are donut shops, coffeehouses, bakeries (and magical bakeries) (and Amish bakeries), chocolate shops, cupcake stores, tearooms, pizzerias, pie shops, popcorn shops, spice shops, pasta shops, food trucks, winemakers, and caterers. There is a micro-brewery, a maple syrup farm, a diner, a Greek restaurant, a country cooking school, and a deli. Some books also include recipes. There are inns, B & Bs–there is even a White House chef, and a vampire chef!
The settings also vary widely and include: a cruise ship, a hair salon, an animal shelter, a bookstore, a quilt shop (an Amish quit shop), a secondhand store, a costume shop, a cleaning business, a yarn store, a craft store, a garden club, a book club, a bookmobile, a library, a flower shop, and a pet store. The protagonists may have an unusual job like: jewelry designer, home renovator, actress, bounty hunter (Stephanie Plum!), a wedding planner, an attorney (like my Jamie Quinn series) or even undercover poison taster. One series is based on dead end jobs. Cozies often include a pet and cats are the fave by far, followed by dogs, horses, birds, and even a ghost cat. That segues into the paranormal cozies, which may include a witch, a ghost, a vampire or a werewolf.
So, now that you have the gist of it, what makes for an enjoyable cozy? In my opinion, a good cozy has snappy dialogue, fleshed out characters (not caricatures), and doesn’t waste a lot of time describing the curtains or what people are wearing. The plot is believable in the sense that it is logical and there aren’t crazy coincidences or tons of eavesdropping in order to gather clues. Most importantly is the mystery itself. Are the clues subtle enough that I don’t guess who done it halfway through? Are they clear enough so I don’t get to the end of the book and wonder what just happened? Do I close the book when it’s over with a smile on my face, knowing that I’ve been outsmarted once again by a clever author having loved every minute of it? That’s how I know it was a good cozy mystery. Time for a cup of hot cocoa!

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Review – The Body on the Barstool by Lolli Powell

Review – The Body on the Barstool by Lolli PowellThe Body on the Barstool (A Top Shelf Mystery) by Lolli Powell
Published by Smashwords Edition on November 29th 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 240
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

New Yorker Erica "Ricki" Fontaine's n'er-do-well uncle has dropped dead and left her a dive bar in a small Ohio River town. With a lousy apartment, less-than-promising job prospects, and even worse romantic ones, the inheritance comes at just the right time. Ricki packs up her cat and heads for the Buckeye State.
Now she's trying to change the Top Shelf from a bar known for its Friday night fights into the kind of drinking establishment where you can bring your granny. But finding her ex-husband dead on a barstool at opening time one morning just might put a kink in those plans.

Erica “Ricki” Fontaine has picked up everything from New York and moved to Ohio. She has inherited a bar from her Uncle who passed away. She is working hard to turn the once shady bar into something more respectable. A wrench gets thrown in her plans when she finds a body in her bar. It ends up being the body of her ex-husband. The police are suspicious of her involvement and Ricki wants to clear her name. As she digs into what happen she finds herself in a mystery that involves her uncle. Will Ricki be able to solve the murder before anybody else gets hurt?

In an Oyster Shell – It was a really intriguing mystery that will leave you wanting more.

The Pearls – The mystery was really satisfying. It was multi-layered and unexpected. It was an imaginative mystery that was well executed.

Ricki was a really strong character that had determination and perseverance. Though she could be gritty at times she had a caring heart. Her empathy helped her help others through the story. It was a great facet to the story.

The romance was delightful in the story. It ends up being a love triangle with two men trying for Ricki’s attention. It makes for delightful tension that adds another mystery to the story. Who will Ricki end up with?

The Sand – Though Ricki was a really outstanding character in many ways, she could be off-putting.

4.5 Pearls!

4.5 Stars

About Lolli Powell

write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and will soon be releasing my first cozy mystery as Lolli Powell. I also write grittier mysteries and thrillers as Laurel Heidtman (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show…).

From Ohio originally, I now live with my husband, four dogs, and two cats on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky.

Goodreads wouldn’t let me add my blog feed because I’d already added it to my Laurel Heidtman profile, but if you’d like to read my posts, it’s at: www.ridgewriter.com.

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ARC Review – A Cast of Vultures by Judith FlandersA Cast of Vultures: A Mystery (Sam Clair) by Judith Flanders
Published by Minotaur Books on February 21, 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 321
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

There was every possibility that I was dead, and my brain hadn’t got the memo. Or maybe it was that I wished I were dead. On reflection, that was more likely.

Usually clear-headed editor Samantha Clair stumbles through her post-book-party morning with the hangover to end all hangovers. But before the ibuprofen has even kicked in, she finds herself entangled in an elaborate saga of missing neighbors, suspected arson, and strange men offering free tattoos.

By the time the grisly news breaks that the fire has claimed a victim, Sam is already in pursuit. Never has comedy been so deadly as she faces down a pair from Thugs ’R’ Us, aided by nothing more than a Scotland Yard boyfriend, a stalwart Goth assistant, and an unnerving knowledge of London’s best farmer’s markets.

From the acclaimed bestselling author Judith Flanders, A Cast of Vultures continues the sharp-witted series starring book editor and amateur sleuth Samantha Clair.

Sam Clair is back in this second book and finds herself wrapped up in another murder mystery. When her friends neighbor goes missing she is asked to go in his apartment to see if he is there. A few days later he ends up in a burning building dead. It points to Arson and drug dealing. As Sam tries to put the pieces together the obvious conclusion just doesn’t fit. She starts asking questions and this puts her life in danger. Will she get to the truth before someone gets her to her grave?

In an Oyster Shell – A little bit dry at times but in the end an interesting mystery.

The Pearls – The setting was interesting to me. It is set in London British novels are coming more popular I think. It works. It makes it interesting for me because it transports me to another place that is unfamiliar to me. The author did a good job making London come alive for me.

This book is Character driven for the most part. There are a lot of characters that make for an interesting story. It’s really interesting the role each character plays in the end. It takes talent to have so many characters and keep them distinguishable.

The mystery was slow coming but when it got going it was really good. The end result of the mystery, I didn’t see coming. I like when a mystery is unpredictable.

The Sand –  The book was really really slow in the beginning it wasn’t until the last quarter of the book did the action get really interesting. When the action came it was non-stop and made up for the slow beginning.

3.5 Pearls

3.5 Stars

About Judith Flanders

Judith Flanders was born in London, England, in 1959. She moved to Montreal, Canada, when she was two, and spent her childhood there, apart from a year in Israel in 1972, where she signally failed to master Hebrew.

After university, Judith returned to London and began working as an editor for various publishing houses. After this 17-year misstep, she began to write and in 2001 her first book, A Circle of Sisters, the biography of four Victorian sisters, was published to great acclaim, and nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. In 2003, The Victorian House (2004 in the USA, as Inside the Victorian Home) received widespread praise, and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards History Book of the Year. In 2006 Consuming Passions, was published. Her most recent book, The Invention of Murder, was published in 2011.

Judith also contributes articles, features and reviews for a number of newspapers and magazines.

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Review – The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie CrossThe Mystery of Shadow Hills (Skylar Robbins #1) by Carrie Cross
Series: Skylar Robbins #1
Published by Ward Design LLC DBA Teen Mystery Press on July 30th 2013
Genres: Middle Grade, Mystery
Pages: 260
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

Thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins is horrified to learn that she'll be stuck at her bullying cousin Gwendolyn's creepy mansion for the summer. She has no idea how much excitement and danger awaits her in Malibu’s Shadow Hills.
As soon as Skylar arrives at the estate, unexplainable events begin to happen. She discovers a hidden garden in the huge back yard, and her new friend Kat pronounces it the perfect place to perform spells. Practical Skylar is skeptical, until the magic appears to start working.
Is Kat a real middle school witch and a true friend, or is she just interested in the cute stable boy? Did she use magic to control Skylar’s body, or was it all part of a complicated hoax? Who or what is making those terrifying noises up in Shadow Hills at night?
Rumors are flying and the locals are afraid. Kat challenges Skylar to take increasingly dangerous risks while she tries to solve the mystery. Armed with her detective tools, brains, and a huge dose of courage, Skylar will face her deepest fears to find the truth.

Skylar Robbins is not looking forward to spending the summer at her bullying cousin’s house. Feeling abandon by her parents she does the best to make due with her summer by sleuthing. Skylar’s goal is to be a detective like her grandfather was. Skylar’s detecting skills brings her into the mystery of shadow hills. There is something nefarious that happens after dark, especially on full moons. Will Skylar get to the bottom of this mystery?

In an Oyster Shell – A fun middle grade read that will have you following Skylar on all of her curious adventures.

The Pearls – It was an interesting concept to have a middle-grade aspiring sleuth. Skylar’s curiosity makes for some exciting adventures.

The setting of the old mansion where Skylar spends the summer makes for endless fodder for the imagination. There were lots of places for Skylar to explore. It made a great place for a mystery.

Skylar was a really fun character. She was curious and determined. The other characters were not as appealing but made for a great story with the conflict they created.

The Sand – In this book I didn’t like the occult references but it resolves itself in the end.

3.5 Pearls!

3.5 Stars

About Carrie Cross

Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her first “book” at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and after writing THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day.

Carrie Cross’s influences include Judy Blume, Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Lee Child. In addition to writing Skylar Robbins mysteries and reading, Carrie loves to cook, hike at the beach, go boating, and travel.

During a recent interview she was asked, “Where do you get your inspiration?”

“When I was six years old, my parents decided we needed to buy a bigger house. We looked at a creepy two-story in Santa Monica Canyon, and I played hide-and-seek with the little girl who lived there. There were closets and secret hiding places with doors that opened into other rooms. Later, I wondered, “What if there was a clue hidden in one of those closets?” And the idea for the Skylar Robbins mystery series was born.

Skylar’s adventures continue in THE MYSTERY OF THE HIDDEN JEWELS. After she solves her second big case, the Skylar Robbins Detective Agency tackles the MYSTERY OF THE MISSING HEIRESS. Carrie Cross is currently at work on her fourth Skylar Robbins novel, THE CURSE OF KOMA ISLAND.

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ARC Review – Piper’s Price by Audrey Greathouse

ARC Review – Piper’s Price by  Audrey GreathouseThe Piper's Price by Audrey Greathouse
Published by Clean Teen Publishing on February 21st 2017
Genres: YA
Pages: 300
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn't sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he's just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she's nearly home and meeting with Jay again.The Piper isn't the only one hiding from the adults' war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she'll have to confront one of Peter's oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.

Gwen is back in Neverland with her sister Rosemary. They are preparing to help Peter build an army to fight the adults who want to take over Neverland. To do this Peter needs Gwen’s help to find the Piper. Gwen goes back to reality to do the task she is given by Peter. With much at stake, they try to stay under the radar always in danger of being caught by the Black suits. Sacrifices are made will it be enough to stop the adults from taking over Neverland?

In an Oyster Shell – A stellar second installment in the Neverland Wars.

The Pearls – The retelling is still really good in this second book. I would dare to say even better. I feel like this second book is more established. It feels like the author really found her rhythm in this book. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the contrast between Neverland and the characters who are forced to live in reality.

The characters are what make this story. Gwen being a teenager is a huge cornerstone to this story. Being older than the kids she has some maturity that helps. It also is interesting that her maturity also can hinder her and the missions at times. Sometimes her younger sister Rosemary takes on the “big” sister role. It’s an interesting twist. Peter is one of the best-developed characters I’ve come across. There are attributes that you expect from Peter Pan and others that you would not. He is a complicated and interesting character that keeps you turning the pages.

The settings in this story are interesting because you have two contrasting settings. You have Neverland, and than the real world. The author does a great job distinguishing the two. I feel the way she did this best was having characters who were from Neverland, who were forced to be established in reality. It made for a great marriage of the two settings. It even raises urgency for the reader to see Neverland saved.

The Sand – The ending was a little less than satisfying, but there is another book to look forward to, so it wasn’t a big deal.

5 Pearls!

5 Stars

About Audrey Greathouse

Audrey Greathouse is a Seattle-based author of science-fiction and fantasy. Raised in the suburbs, she became a writer after being introduced to NaNoWriMo during her sophmore year of high school. Since then, she has drafted more than a dozen books, 100 sonnets, and 800 other poems, and a handful of short stories and one-act plays.

After dropping out of her university and beginning training as a circus performer on the aerial silks, she returned to school to study at Southern New Hampshire University College of Online and Continuing Education to earn her B.A. in English Language and Literature, with a minor in Computer Information Technologies.

Audrey Greathouse is a die-hard punk cabaret fan, and pianist of fourteen years. She’s usually somewhere along the west coast, and she is always writing.

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Review – Cream Puff Murder by Sandi Scott

Review – Cream Puff Murder by Sandi ScottCream Puff Murder: A Seagrass Sweets Cozy Mystery (Book 1) by Sandi Scott
Series: Seagrass Sweets Cozy Mystery #1
Published by Gratice Press on October 21, 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 156
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Ashley Adams is settling back into her life in Seagrass, TX after leaving a broken heart and criminal ex-boyfriend in Paris, France. Her French sweets catering company has finally landed a major job, making Ashley grateful for all that is going right – her business, her work partnership, and reconnecting with an old friend Ryan.

All that changes when Ashley overhears one of the guests arguing with a strange man in the bathroom. Things get worse when the woman is found dead the next day, poisoned by one of Ashley’s cream puffs.

Ashley must solve the mystery to save the reputation of her nascent business. She is thrust into the lives of people from her past who all have something to hide. Is the murderer a jealous lover? An out-of-towner with business interests? A local hero turned criminal? Teaming up with her old friend Ryan and her loyal dog Dizzy, Ashley sets out to solve the crime.

Will she be able to solve the murder before her business reputation is completely ruined?

Ashley Adams has come back to Seagrass Texas. With her friend, she starts a catering business. She has gotten her first big break when there is a murder implicating her cream puff. To clear her name and save her business Ashley tries to get to the bottom of the murder. The mystery brings her to lots of interesting tidbits to her hometown. Will she be able to figure out who the murderer was before she loses her business?

In an Oyster Shell – A tasty mystery.

The Pearls – The mystery was well developed. I couldn’t figure out who did it. It was a perfect mystery that kept me guessing.

The cuisine mentioned in the story was delectable. It added an interesting element to the story that I liked.

The relationships between characters were really good. Ashley interacted with a lot of supporting characters and it made for a good read.

The Sand – The story lacked humor which I find essential in a cozy mystery.

3 Pearls!

3 Stars

About Sandi Scott

am a cozy mystery reader and writer who is finally living my dream of being able to write what I love. I fell in love with mystery books when I first started reading Agatha Christie eons ago.

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