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#Net Galley #BookReview on Spine of Death, By the Book Mysteries #2 by Tamara Berry #cozy #mystery

On Spine of Death

By the Book Mysteries #2

by Tamara Berry

Release date: November 29th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of On Spine of Death, By the Book Mysteries #2 by Tamara Berry from Net Galley and Poisoned Pen Press in order to read and give an honest review.  

… fun, fast-paced mystery, filled with crazy red herrings, quirky characters, a touch of romance and some humour …  

The second installment in Tamara Berry’s “By the Book series” continues where best-selling mystery author Tess Harrow and her teenage daughter, Gertrude leaves off in book one of the series, Buried in a Good Book. Deciding to make a permanent move to Winthrop, WA. Tess fixes up the rustic cabin she inherited from her grandfather along with his old, dilapidated hardware store. Tess decides to convert the store into Winthrop’s first bookstore despite it being in the middle of an area that the powerful and corrupt Mason wants to develop. Although the store is a disaster, the project goes ahead requiring a complete renovation which uncovers hacked human bones, decades old, not only putting the town on edge but with all fingers pointing to her dead grandfather. When the case appears to point to a thirty-year-old cold case with ties to a wildly accurate mystery novel written by an author using a pseudonym and that Tess unknowingly wrote a blurb for.  As the clues unravel an even bigger mystery that has personal ties to the local Sheriff, Victor Boyd puts pressure on Tess to get to the bottom of it to help her friend and clear her grandfather’s name.

On the Spine of Death is a fun, fast-paced mystery, filled with crazy red herrings, quirky characters, a touch of romance and some humour. On the Spine of Death in my opinion is a fantastic and fun cozy and I can’t wait to read more in the series. I highly recommend it.

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#NetGalley #BookReview A Crime for the Books A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #3 by Kate Young #Mystery #Cozy #CrookedLaneBooks

A Crime for the Books

A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #3

by Kate Young

Release date: October 11th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Crime for the Books (A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery #3) by Kate Young from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

brilliantly crafted characters and intriguing clever plotlines that will keep you turning pages

Having read the first two Jane Doe mysteries On Borrowed Crime and Reading Between the Crimes, I must share that by far this is my favorite for so many reasons. In A Crime for the Books an estranged relative of the Elaine is murdered at a Jane Doe book club event, an Agatha Christie Murder Mystery Party hosted at Elaine’s B&B. When another book club member, the currently acting police chief Rosa arrests Elaine, the town, PI Lyla Moody along with the rest of the book club are enraged. Lyla makes it her mission to get to the bottom of it before Elaine is falsely convicted and their Jane Doe book club family is destroyed. When rumors begin circulating about Rosa and her erratic behavior everyone turns on her, she is not only suspended, but becomes a target when an announcement similar to the book clubs current read Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced begins to circulate announcing another murder will take place. When a second body is found, and evidence starts to point to Rosa, Laya battles the evidence and the opinions of friends to help her. Laya’s friendships and her relationship with her law-enforcement boyfriend Brad are put to the test.  

This book really delved into the characters this time around highlighting the relationships, both friendships and romance. The author created characters with real challenges and genuine responses. The plot is clever and intricately woven filled with red herrings, suspense, heartbreak, and a touch of humor. A wonderfully complex whodunit that will keep you reading to the wee hours of the morning.  I would really recommend A Crime for the Books as well, all are fantastic reads, and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series! 

Author, Kate Young has done it again, brilliantly crafted characters and intriguing, clever plotlines that will keep you turning pages and if you’re like me…losing sleep. I really enjoyed Crime for the Books and although it is the third in the series, it works well as a stand-alone, however, I would really recommend reading all three and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series! 

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#NetGalley #BookReview Live and Let Grind (Coffee Lover’s Mystery series #3) by Tara Lush #Cozy #Mystery

Live and Let Grind

Coffee Lover’s Mystery series #3

by Tara Lush

Release date: October 11th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Live and Let Grind (Coffee Lover’s Mystery series #3) by Tara Lush from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… a fun, fast-paced mystery, filled with an abundance of red herrings, quirky characters, and fun dialogue …  

In this third entry in the Coffee Lover’s Mystery series, we continue to see Lana adjust to life back in her hometown after leaving her ex-husband and high-profile journalism job in Miami. As the owner/manager of her family’s coffee shop Perkatory in Devil’s Beach, Florida, as well as a freelance reporter, Lana Lewis has been thrust into the role of amateur detective since returning home. When Lana’s ornery neighbor Gus insists on using his leaf blower excessively and at all hours, he gets into arguments with everyone in the neighborhood including Lana’s roommate and best friend Erica. When Gus is blown up by said blower after it has been rigged to explode those near and dear become suspects with Erica being a prime suspect. Her inner circle is small, other than Erica the three main loves of her life are her widowed hippy father, her boyfriend Police Chief Noah Garcia and her pup named Stanley. When Lana hopes to write a story to clear her friend’s name, Chief Garcia tries to block her from writing the story in an attempt to protect her. While her romantic relationship hits a bit of a rough patch, Lana will not back down and continues to work with Erica and find the real murderer. Gus was involved in some shady business practices and enemies seemed to be in abundance. When a second attempted murder points directly to Erica, Lana is under the gun to solve the case placing her and Erica in the cross hairs of the real murderer.

I enjoy the series as a whole and although not my favorite entry in the series to date Live and Let Grind is a fun, fast-paced mystery, filled with an abundance of red herrings, quirky characters, and fun dialogue. Live and Let Grind in my opinion is a fantastic and fun cozy mystery read which I definitely recommend.  

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#NetGalley #BookReview the Medici Murders (The Venetian Murders #1) by David Hewson #Historical #Mystery 

REVIEW

The Medici Murders

THE VENETIAN MYSTERY SERIES #1

by David Hewson

Release date: October 4th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Medici Murders, The Venetian Murders #1 by David Hewson from NetGalley and Severn House in order to read and give an honest review.

” … Hewson’s writing is brilliant, his descriptions of Venice are rich and atmospheric, his prose beautiful, his cast of characters authentic, it has an intelligent complex plot that seamlessly blends historical fiction and fact …”

Recently widowed and retired archivist Arnold Clover keeps his recently deceased wife’s wishes to move to Venice. When his friend Luca entices him to assist with a freelance job for famed television historian Marmaduke Godolphin (Duke) his leisurely retirement becomes more than he bargained for. Arnold remembers Godolphin who once a renowned academic of his alma mater traded his ethics for the spotlight. Brash and Duke and his entourage, also known as the Gilded Circle from back in the day descend on Venice to solve of a historical mystery that Duke hopes will reinvigorate his fledging career. A mysterious benefactor has bequeathed documents that contain the secret, but nothing is as it seems. The Gilded circle consists of some of Arnold’s former classmates making it a reunion of sorts.
When the body of Godolphin is found floating in a Venice canal, the retired archivist is asked to assist the Carabinieri to offer a concise view of what happened. At the police station Capitano Valentina Fabbri questions Arnold for hours using his version as the truth to measure against the multiple suspects. The story unfolds as Arnold tells his version of events to Capitano Fabbri.

This book is somewhat difficult to review, there was so much to love about this book. Hewson’s writing is brilliant, his descriptions of Venice are rich and atmospheric, his prose beautiful, his cast of characters authentic, it has an intelligent complex plot that seamlessly blends historical fiction and fact. My one complaint is that it was marred by almost too much historical detail that could have been toned down a bit. You can tell the author is passionate about history and the book is thoroughly researched but I almost abandoned it in the beginning as it moved too slowly for me, but I am glad I did not it turned out to be an intriguing mystery with a twist at the end that makes it worth the read. I will definitely read any further books in the series, and I recommend it to lovers of classic whodunits with a historical bend.

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin #Thriller #Medical #Psychological

Review

Fatal Rounds

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: September 20, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and Indigo Dot Press in order to read and give an honest review.

…Well-written, cleverly plotted with interesting and multifaceted characters, author Carrie Rubin gives you a brilliantly executed, clever, page-turning psychological medical thriller…

Being a fan of Carrie Rubin’s Dr. Benjamin Oris series I was thrilled to get to read and review the first of her new series, Fatal Rounds.

When first year medical student Liza Larkin embarks on her journey to be a pathologist, she has her reasons. Diagnosed with a schizoid personality and having her schizophrenic mother in an institution, Liza is determined not to be defined by the label. Liza also has another motive, while putting together a photo album together for her mother she sees a stranger hovering in several of her photos. Two pictures, one at her father’s funeral and another at her graduation, convince her that her family is being stalked, making her determined to get some answers. When she figures out who the stranger is she changes her residency to Titus McCall hospital where the famed trauma surgeon Sam Donavan works and thus the stalker becomes the stalked. Preferring her introverted life with a close-knit circle, Liza struggles to bond with her colleagues but she has a mission, and she will do what she can to get answers. When she starts uncovering secrets about Sam, secrets that point to her father’s death Liza is drawn into a cat and mouse game that pushes her both physically and mentally to the edge. Well-written, cleverly plotted with interesting and multifaceted characters, author Carrie Rubin gives you a brilliantly executed, clever, page-turning psychological medical thriller. I cannot wait to read the next in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it!

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#NetGalley #BookReview ~ Beautiful Writers: A Journey of Big Dreams and Messy Manuscripts–with Tricks of the Trade from Bestselling Authors by Linda Sivertsen #Writing #Inspiration

Review

Beautiful Writers

A Journey of Big Dreams and Messy Manuscripts–with Tricks of the Trade from Bestselling Authors

by Linda Sivertsen

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Beautiful Writers: A Journey of Big Dreams and Messy Manuscripts–with Tricks of the Trade from Bestselling Authors by Linda Sivertsen from Net Galley and Ben Bella Books in order to read and give an honest review.

… I loved this book, I found it insightful, interesting, and engaging, and would highly recommend it to both novice and experienced writers…

Unique and brilliant, Beautiful Writers is not just any other book on writing. The author intertwines her thoughts into a brilliant and diverse collection of vignettes from authors including Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Terry McMillan, Lee Child, and Danielle LaPorte just to name a few. Every author generously shares their lives, and challenges alongside the reader on their journey. This book is such a wonderful blend, part memoir, part guide on the writing life. Each author shares an intimate and often humorous look into the good, the bad and the ugly sides of “the writing life” and offers sound advice and wisdom that is vulnerable, honest, and yet truly inspirational.
This is a wonderful read for anyone looking for inspiration and advice. I loved this book, I found it insightful, interesting, and engaging, and would highly recommend it to both novice and experienced writers alike.

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#NetGalley #BookReview the Dark Circle by Robert J. Mrazek (Jake Cantrell #2) #Mystery #Suspense #CrookedLaneBooks

The Dark Circle

Jake Cantrell #2

by Robert J. Mrazek

Release date: August 9th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Dark Circle by Robert J. Mrazek (Jake Cantrell #2) from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

…an extremely fast-paced, well-written and intriguing mystery/thriller, the Dark Circle takes the reader on a nerve-wracking adventure…  

When ex-Army Ranger Jake Cantrell is fired from his security job at a local campus, he wonders how he is going to make ends meet. When Lauren Kennsiton, the editor of the Groton Journal comes to him for help finding missing college student Deborah Chapman, Jake signs up. When Deborah is found in bad shape the investigation leads to a mysterious opioid that is making a deadly appearance and when it appears there are more missing women, it puts them on a path that leads to sex trafficking, drugs, police corruption, conspiracies, and the inner sanctum of a deadly order. The investigation takes them behind the scenes with powerful players who will do anything to silence the truth.   

An extremely fast-paced, well-written and intriguing mystery/thriller, the Dark Circle takes the reader on a nerve-wracking adventure. I did not realize it is the second book in a series but honestly it works incredibly well as a standalone and I will go back and read book one.  

Overall, I enjoyed the book but a warning…it was very violent, for my taste anyway, but reading is subjective, and the mystery and romance plotline were well done, and I could not help but to keep reading. It does have triggers such a sexual assault, sex trafficking, drug use and extreme violence.  

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Making It Write by Betty Hechtman #CozyMystery

Making It Write

by Betty Hechtman

 

 

Release date: August 2nd, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Making It Write by Betty Hechtman from Net Galley and Severn House Publishers in order to read and give an honest review.

…a good cozy mystery with a uniquely intriguing plot and quirky cast of characters which made it a fun fast-paced cozy…

When “writer for hire” Veronica Blackstone discovers the body of Maeve, a woman she was hired by to write a memoir of sorts although it looks like an accident, certain clues make the death look suspicious. Armed with a really rough and incomplete draft from Maeve, Veronica is instructed by the publisher that she is to honor the contract and finish the memoir based on the materials she received from Maeve. Thing is, Maeve wanted to save the ending for last, keeping it a secret until Veronica was ready to write it. The memoir is about life with her husband Michael Angel, a famous artist who has received sudden acclaim and all the trappings that come with it. With an upcoming documentary, celebrity status and an award ceremony around the corner Michael and his daughter are desperate to put a stop to the memoir but to what lengths will they go to make sure it does not see the light of day. The more she delves into finishing the memoir, the more Veronica learns about Maeve’s life and what might have led to her demise.

Having read the previous books in the series, “Making it Write” was a fun, action filled entry although perhaps not my favorite. We see the return of a unique and quirky cast of characters including a crazy client, her writing group, Ben, her best friend, Tizzy and Tizzy’s husband Theo. I was not crazy about the storyline with Ben and their rocky romance, but I really enjoyed reading more about Tizzy and Theo this time around it gave the story a three musketeers’ feel. It also feels that this time there was quite a bit of repetition when describing “cliches” and her tea and crochet ritual, I feel they were brought up too often and really did not add to the story, once, maybe twice would have been suffice.

Overall, it was a good cozy mystery with a uniquely intriguing plot and quirky cast of characters which made it a fun fast-paced cozy that I highly recommend.

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#NetGalley #BookReview Death on the Isle (Astrid Swift #2) by M.H. Eccleston #Mystery

Review

Death on the Isle

Astrid Swift #2

by M.H. Eccleston

Release date: July 7th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Death on the Isle (Astrid Swift #2) by M.H. Eccleston from Net Galley and Head of Zeus Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

…I enjoyed this entry with its new and quirky cast of characters, including a sociopathic antagonist…

After the events of The Trust, book one of the Astrid Swift series recently separated and, on a mission to find oneself in Death on the Isle, art conservator Astrid Swift decides to leave Dorset to take on a freelance gig on the Isle of Wight. Finally getting used to living on the boat Curlew’s Rest bequeathed to her by her favourite uncle, Astrid is seeking out a change. A far cry from the materialistic and entitled person she was when she arrived. Astrid’s hoping for some time to process what has happened and find what she is seeking in life. When she is given the opportunity to work on an estate’s art collection, Astrid eagerly sets sail to start her new assignment.

When she arrives she lucks out finding a slip in the harbor during Cowes Week, one of the biggest sailing events of the season. As she did in book one, it does not take long for Astrid to connect with the locals, become the focus of a stalker and stumble across a dead body….or two. Add in a missing woman connected to Astrid’s new job and this book keeps one guessing until the end.

Having enjoyed the first book in the series I was concerned that she was leaving Dorset and her new friends behind, but I grew to understand Astrid’s motivation for moving on. Although I enjoyed this entry with its new and quirky cast of characters including a sociopathic antagonist, at times it felt a bit muddled with a feeling of uncertainty as the story ends, which I am guessing could continue and add intrigue to the next book in the series. I really enjoy this well-written and quirky series and look forward to reading more of Astrid’s adventures. I highly recommend!

 

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#Netgalley #BookReview The Urban Sketching Handbook Spotlight on Nature (Tips and Techniques for #Drawing and #Painting #Nature on Location) by Virginia Hein & Gail L. Wong #UrbanSketching #NatureSketching

Review

The Urban Sketching Handbook Spotlight on Nature

Tips and Techniques for Drawing and Painting Nature on Location

by Virginia Hein & Gail L. Wong

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Urban Sketching Handbook Spotlight on Nature by Virginia Hein & Gail L. Wong from Net Galley and Quarto Publishing Group – Quarry, in order to read and give an honest review.

… If you are interested in learning or brushing up your skills this book is for you…

After taking a hiatus from urban sketching for a long time I recently began delving back into it and was lucky enough to be introduced to the The Urban Sketching Handbook Series a collection of wonderful and comprehensive guides on learning the art of urban sketching. The newest entry into the series The Urban Sketching Handbook Spotlight on Nature, is no exception offering a wonderful way to take your sketches to the next level. The authors perfectly describe the storytelling aspect behind urban sketching and how to incorporate nature into your visual stories in a way that captivates viewers. The book starts by giving readers the basics of composition, proportion, shape and structure then goes on to give detailed instructions on drawing natural elements, color theory, the concept of notan and the tools artists will need to create their masterpieces. The book also offers workshop exercises and challenges to help you put each skill into practice. 

Overall, I love this series for the simple fact they are all no nonsense, well-written and wonderfully illustrated guides that are packed with tools and techniques suitable for both the novice and expert urban sketchers. I read through The Urban Sketching Handbook Spotlight on Nature a few times and played with a few concepts but I look forward to putting some of the tricks I’ve learned into action with some serious sketches on my next trip out. If you are interested in learning or brushing up your skills this book is for you, I highly recommend it!