Thursday, February 21, 2019

Book Review: FOREVER DEVOTED: Forever Bluegrass #8 by Kathleen Brooks

I needed a change of pace - so not a cozy mystery today, but romantic suspense...

Synopsis

Layne Davies needed a break—a break from the busy bodies in her small town of Keeneston, Kentucky and a break from dating men who turned into scared little boys upon meeting her father. That’s why she was so excited to have been invited to speak at a medical conference in Charleston, South Carolina. Never did she think her whole life would change the second she stepped on that stage.

Walker Greene can’t talk about his job. He can’t talk about what happened that one night off the coast of Nigeria when his team was ambushed. No one would believe him even if he could talk about it. But his training kept him alive until he was able to sneak back into his small hometown of Shadows Landing, South Carolina. But when people show up looking for Walker, he has no choice but to listen to his best friend, Dr. Gavin Faulkner, and turn to a total stranger for help.

Layne may be Gavin Faulkner’s estranged cousin, but that doesn’t mean she’ll drop everything to work with someone who Gavin refuses to tell her anything about . . . until she sees Walker Greene. All her protective instincts come alive upon seeing the wounded soldier and Layne knows there’s only one place to keep him safe—Keeneston. Walker becomes a hunted man, and Layne is determined to keep him safe as she finds herself drawn to him more and more each day.


Review

It's been a while since I indulged in a "bluegrass" romantic suspense by Kathleen Brooks, and this one did not disappoint. 

Layne is a physical therapist getting hit on at a medical conference and isn't interested.  She already knows that Luke will whimper and run if he ever were to meet her family back in Kenneston, KY.  She is no wilting or weak female - she can take on most men, intellectually and in hand-to-hand combat. Her passion is working to rehab injured vets. In Charleston, a cousin she doesn't know - Gavin Faulkner - is a physician and at the same conference. When Gavin's good friend, Walker shows up injured and on the run - betrayed by a comrade in arms - Gavin knows that Layne is Walker's best shot at optimal recovery. Walker's a SEAL in a special unit, and the only other survivor of his team besides the one who killed his brothers and shot him. He's a threat to Jed and Jed wants him dead. Next thing Gavin knows he's spirited away by Layne to Kenneston, KY and her very large, very military connected family and the Rose sisters. Amidst the romance, the reconnection of a grandmother with her brothers and all their collective kids, and the tension of being hunted, there are some laugh out loud moments. 

This is the 8th in the 3rd "bluegrass" series... the story is a stand alone mystery and the first I've read in this series. Brooks' writing is engaging and the plotline is easy to follow. Even though you know the good guys will win out, she pulls you into the story and you want to finish reading it (even if it is after midnight and you have to get up early). That said, I'd strongly suggest you start at the beginning with the Bluegrass Series (BLUEGRASS STATE OF MIND) and ease into the family and characters.  Then you can move on to the Bluegrass Brothers, and Forever Bluegrass. The newest one is Shadows Landing and is Gavin's story. I'm going to have to go back and read all the ones I missed in Kenneston first. I'm only sorry that there is no real place of Kenneston, KY - I want to visit and meet the Rose sisters!  Great book, great three-tiered series.  Definitely not a cozy and some scenes will either offend your senses or make you laugh.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Book Review: END OF THE LANE :A Dear Abby Cozy Mystery Book 1 by Sonia Parin

Synopsis

Abby Maguire’s first day in a new town and new job could be her last. Instead of writing about the weekend bake sale, she has to give a statement to the police. It seems the small town of Eden is not the idyllic place she'd imagined it to be. There's a killer on the loose but the finger of suspicion is pointed at Abby.

Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language but lots of fun, quirky dialogue & characters.

Review

Abby Maguire needs a new life and a new job. She's all set to start a job on the small town newspaper in Eden.  On her way to the Eden, she rescues a pup and then sets off to meet her new boss, only he's dead. Abby is already set up with a room above the pub, but with Dermot Cavendish's demise it's not clear what will happen with the paper. Although a stranger and a suspect, the people in the pub and bookstore, support Abby and the pup she doesn't have. 

Eden isn't quite Eden, and the first hint might be the roads that intersect at Edgar Allen Poe. The crew at the pub make up a quirky bunch for sure, but also a friendly warm group. The story is well written, with a steady pace, and not an obvious ending. This is the first in the series. Be Still My Heart will be on my TBR list. Psst. At least as of this posting, End of the Lane is only $0.99.


Other books in the series:
Be Still My Heart
The Last Ride

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: GRAND SLAM MURDERS A Bridge to Death Mystery by R. J. Lee


Synopsis

After four bridge players are poisoned, newspaper reporter Wendy Winchester sets out to catch a killer who’s not playing with a full deck . . .

When the four wealthy widows who make up the venerable Rosalie Bridge Club never get up from their card table, this quiet Mississippi town has its first quadruple homicide. Who put cyanide in their sugar bowl? An aspiring member and kibitzer with the exclusive club, Wendy takes a personal interest in finding justice for the ladies.


She also has a professional motivation. A frustrated society columnist for the Rosalie Citizen, she’s ready to deal herself a better hand as an investigative reporter. This could be her big break. Plus, she has a card or two up her sleeve: her sometimes boyfriend is a detective and her dad is the local chief of police.


Partnering up with the men in her life, Wendy starts shuffling through suspects and turning over secrets long held close to the chest by the ladies. But when a wild card tries to take her out of the game, Wendy decides it’s time to up the ante before she’s the next one to go down . . .


Review

Wendy is following her dream to be an investigative reporter, with the help of her maybe boyfriend Ross and her father. She herself was on her way to being admitted to the very selective Bridge Club and even observed some of the Gin Girls bridge games to learn the rules. And of course, now there is no chance for the Gin Girls to win the grand slam bridge title. 

Wendy's first task is to find out as much as she can about the four women by talking to their families and getting as much history and dirt as she can. The four women and their adult children are all very unique and although revered in some ways, not the most likable of women.

There are multiple layers to this mystery set in Mississippi with a young society-columnist striving to become much more. The relationships of the four women are complex and motives are not apparent. The more information Wendy uncovers, the closer she gets and the solution comes to her. An interesting read with a twist on high society women and their behaviors. The layers are unraveled in due time at a steady pace. 


FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

About the Author

R. J. Lee follows in the mystery-writing footsteps of his father, R. Keene Lee, who wrote fighter pilot and detective stories for Fiction House, publishers of WINGS Magazine and other ‘pulp fiction’ periodicals in the late ’40’s and ’50’s. Lee was born and grew up in the Mississippi River port of Natchez but also spent thirty years living in the Crescent City of New Orleans. A graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee) where he studied creative writing under Sewanee Review editor, Andrew Lytle, Lee now resides in Oxford, Mississippi.

Author Link – Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bridgetodeathmysteries/

Purchase Links

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Blog Tour and Guest Post by D. E. Haggerty, Author of PICTURE NOT PERFECT: The Not So Reluctant Detectives Book 2

Today, it's my pleasure to have D. E. Haggerty as my guest to talk about writing PICTURE NOT PERFECT. Welcome to my blog.


How Writing Picture Not Perfect was Different 

Guest Post – Great Escapes Blog Tour 
Picture Not Perfect 

D.E. Haggerty 

We all have busy lives. Although I consider writing my full-time job, I sometimes let life take over and writing falls to the background. During the past year and a half, that’s happened a lot as I was heading a non-profit volunteer organization. When that obligation ended (besides jumping for joy!), I decided I wasn’t going to let other obligations get in the way of my writing. Nope! I was getting my writing done no matter what! 

That resolve was tested when our business in Germany ran into a huge hiccup. The managers left. (They also trashed the place, but that’s a different story – only to be told with a huge glass of wine in hand.) In addition to a week of renovations, we found ourselves driving to Germany every weekend. It’s a four-hour drive one way. Exhaustion once again became my middle name. But what about my writing? 

I’m pretty proud of the writing routine I’ve used over the years. I get up early (6 a.m.) and write for three hours. My goal is to finish at least one chapter a day. I average four chapters a week this way. As my books average around thirty chapters, I can usually finish an extremely rough draft in two months. But this routine wasn’t working when I was driving to Germany and dealing with the business there. It didn’t help that I was exhausted and emotionally drained. What to do? 

I’ve always considered myself more of a plotter than pantser. I keep a notebook for each of my novels and it’s full of chapter ideas and a general outline. But this general outline was doing me no good when I was constantly exhausted and being interrupted by the problems in Germany. And I didn’t have time to re-read what I’d already written before beginning to write again. Something needed to change. 

I decided my outlining techniques needed a re-work if I was going to keep my resolve to write even when life got busy. Instead of a general one-page outline for the entire book, I outlined ten chapters at a time. I also made an outline of the chapters already written with clues, romance, and red herrings highlighted in different colors. In this way, I could make sure I was sprinkling the various aspects throughout the novel. No longer did I waste valuable time re-reading chapters to get back into the story each time I managed to sit down to write. I also didn’t worry that I wouldn’t know what to write. I knew exactly what to write because my outline told me so! 

Using this improved outlining method, I was able to finish writing Picture Not Perfect in two and a half months despite spending a week in Germany as well as driving back and forth to Germany more than twenty times in those months. 

My goal for 2019 is to publish three books. How am I going to manage this? I’m going to plot and outline the heck out of every book I write. I’m already working on the outline for book 3 in the series now. Writing Picture Not Perfect was thus not only different than writing other novels, but I’ve also developed an entire new routine for writing.

Thanks for joining us today and sharing your writing experiences. Here's additional information on Picture Not Perfect.


Synopsis

A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?

When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her. 


Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?

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