Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on November 24, 2017

Synopsis

Between a booming art scene and elaborate Independence Day festivities, July in lakeshore Oriole Point, Michigan, is always a blast. Especially when an explosive murder case crashes the fun . . .

As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point. So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School’s centenary celebration. While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race–despite rumors that the land is cursed . . .

But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble. It’s a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who’s convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier. As the Fourth of July activities heat up, Marlee must rush to catch an elusive murderer–before the next ‘blackberry victim’ is ripe for the picking!

Includes Berry Recipes!

Review

The second in the series and just as good as the first book, Dying for Strawberries!

This book takes place on the heels of the first book and this time no one is murdered. Instead, Marlee finds the bones of someone that went missing 20 years ago. Of course it is tied to the town and the event that is getting ready to happen for the art camp that many attend growing up.

What I like about this series – there is food (and recipes!) and while I knew you could do a lot with all sorts of berries, I learned several new ways to enjoy them. The characters are engaging and add depth to the story. Yes there are some wacky characters and some that you love to hate, but they meld well together. The mystery portion – I didn’t guess who was responsible for what happened 20 years ago. You are able to narrow it down based on some clues that are revealed throughout the story, and you might be able to decipher who is responsible, but there isn’t anything that flat out points you to this person. i like this because I don’t want to guess too soon in the book.

There is some romance but I’m thinking Ryan (Marlee’s fiance) isn’t long for this relationship. I thought that in the first book too. There are too many red flags that hopefully Marlee sees them before they tie the knot. There is a potential new love interest and it seems like he might be a better match for Marlee.

Check out this series!  We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series, which debuted October 2016 with Dying For Strawberries. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.

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Giveaway

The author was kind enough to send me the first two books in this series.  The second is an ARC, but both are signed by Sharon!

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Posted in Holiday on November 23, 2017

StoreyBook Reviews is thankful for the authors and tour companies that allow us to share new and exciting works with all of you.

We hope that today you are spending time with family and friends and creating new memories.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, mystery, Review on November 22, 2017

Synopsis

With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and the Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder.
 
Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan, three years ago. Between running the Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the twenty-nine-year-old hardly has time for her fiancé, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York . . .

But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Natasha disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body while searching for Natasha, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.

Review

New cozy series that has a berry theme (yum!) and set in Michigan what could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing!

I think this series has some great potential! The small town with close knit neighbors, possible love triangle, berries (if there is food I already like it) and intrigue.

Fair warning, the murder doesn’t happen until about 1/3 of the way into the book. I kept waiting for someone to end up dead but was surprised it took that long. But once it did you understand why because the scene needed to be set. Thankfully it was a character I didn’t like so I was glad to see him gone.

Marlee does a lot of pushing and prodding to get to the bottom of the murder because she believes she was the first target and was just lucky that she was fished out of the lake in time. She is on the right path and it is very surprising (to me) who is revealed as the killer because the author does a great job of playing down all of the suspects.

There is a lot of information presented at the beginning of the book and some of it takes time before it is truly explained. This did leave me a little confused until the whole story was revealed.

Then there is the fiance, Ryan. While he sounds nice, things are revealed about him that makes me wonder how long he is going to be the fiance. His attitude and thought process would not have worked with me and he would have been in the dust. Plus if he so allergic to bees, why does he not carry an epi-pen? Seems kinda odd especially considering his career field!

I still enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next book.

We give this 4 paws up.

 

The next book in this series is Blackberry Burial so watch for it in the next few days as I will be giving away the first 2 books in this series!

About the Author

Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series, which debuted October 2016 with Dying For Strawberries. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on November 21, 2017

Etched in Tears (A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (November 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496711755
E-Book ASIN: B06XFHHZJQ

When a famous glass artist is murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to see through a killer’s cover.

Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glasswork. But as Savannah’s first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis’s return home has her reflecting on the past—a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father’s records sheds new light on Dennis’s history, but it seems his present life wasn’t so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it’s up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.

Hudson BooksellersBAM * IndieBound

About the Author

CHERYL HOLLENCheryl Hollen now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks.

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Posted in Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery on November 21, 2017

Death at the Midnight Dragonfly
Argent Ocean Publishing (November 10, 2017)
Paperback: 216 pages

Synopsis

On the fourth day of Christmas,
In Mercy, Mississippi….

Four suspects lying,
Three sleuths a sleuthing
Two clues a hiding
And a very, very dead body.

It’s the Christmas season in Mercy, Mississippi. But things are far from jolly.

For Vlad Templeton the sleepy little town where he spent his childhood provides the perfect place to conduct his state funded sleep study. But when the local bank manager, who was participating in the study, is found dead on his doorstep, is it a set up…or is Vlad somehow involved?

But, when someone makes an attempt on Lily Gayle’s and Dixie’s life, the two realize they better move fast….or they might end up sleeping forever.

Excerpt

Bah Humbug. I thought to myself as I stood in the chilly December air of downtown Mercy later that evening. Across the parking lot, in the old train depot building, party goers dressed in their Christmas best gathered in groups beyond the un-curtained windows.

Folks must have already been into the Christmas punch based on the animated conversations that appeared to be going on inside. Big smiles. Arms waving. Oops! I saw a splash of the punch swish over the side of a cup being waved around and splash onto the reindeer sweater of Marlene from the newspaper. Marlene screamed, jumped back and slammed into someone I couldn’t see from my angle. She looked to be apologizing pretty hard to whoever it was.

I sighed, wishing I felt more animated about attending the Mistletoe Magic Extravaganza, as the annual Mercy Christmas Party was called.

But I just didn’t seem to be in the Christmas spirit. I’d had a very busy couple of months with dressmaking. Everything from Renaissance to Old South for women belonging to various historical groups wanting new dresses for their own Christmas celebrations. Maybe that had made my personal Christmas cheer go out the window because I seemed to be over the whole merry and bright thing even though Christmas wouldn’t be here for two more weeks.

Why, I hadn’t even put up my Christmas tree or stockings. And forget about any seasonal display on my big front porch. A shocking state of affairs according to my best friend, Dixie. She’d been over to the house just yesterday complaining about my lack of enthusiasm. I’d poo-poo’d her words, but deep down, I knew she was right.

And now, here I was, lurking outside the annual town Christmas party in a decidedly non-merry state of mind. The party was pretty much a command performance though. I kicked the tire of a truck in frustration. The only effect it had was to scuff the toe of my brand new leather boots.

I sighed again. Maybe a cup, or two, of Miss Edna’s special recipe Christmas punch might set me up right for the party. Good thing this was an adults only party and those who didn’t care for alcohol in the punch brought their own drinks. Funny how traditions come about in small towns.

However, Miss Edna came with Miss Edna’s punch. And ever since she’d worked with Dixie and me a few weeks ago to help solve the mystery of who killed Luxen Natolovich up at the Midnight Dragonfly Inn, and who killed the wolf man before that, she bout near drove me crazy wondering when our next ‘case’ would come along.

Personally I thought she was grieving over her old flame and how everything had come out about his life that prevented him from asking her to marry him all those years ago. I considered myself lucky that she hadn’t brought any of that stuff up again at the breakfast this morning. Guess she got distracted by the information about Vlad and his sleep study.

Oh, Lordy. Would Vlad be here at the party? I sure as shootin’ didn’t want my first meeting with him after all these years to be in full view of most of the town.

About the Author

Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.

She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.

Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her ‘baby books’ and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upsidedown and ‘reading’ by repeating the story verbatim from memory.

Susan writes mysteries set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, paranormal, Review on November 20, 2017

That Olde White Magick (An Abracadabra Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (November 7, 2017)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1516100583
E-Book ASIN: B06X3TLCLH

It’s time to work her crime-solving magic again . . .

Kailyn Wilde enjoys running her shop, Abracadabra, in the quaint New York hamlet of New Camel, where she lives with her six cats. Her family’s been here for centuries, and she’d like to keep up the tradition. But the place may never be the same if a big hotel gets built, so she does her civic duty and attends a town meeting along with her aunt Tilly . . . and Merlin. Yes, that Merlin—though he gets introduced to folks as her “distant English cousin.” The wizard is pretty grumpy about being transported here, but there are things about the modern world he doesn’t mind—like pizza.

Kailyn was prepared for a heated debate about the hotel, but she wasn’t expecting murder. When Tilly finds the body of a board member outside the schoolhouse, Kailyn doesn’t want any suspicion cast on the wrong person. She plans to crack this case, even if she has to talk to every living soul in town—plus a few departed ones . . .

Review

I think what I like the best about this series so far is Merlin – a sorcerer from the past that somehow ended up in today’s world and seeing how he handles new experiences each day. But all of the characters are interesting and all interact well with each other….even the killer until (s)he is caught red handed! The author does a good job of narrowing down the suspects for the reader, but even then I didn’t suspect the killer until it was revealed.

You don’t have to believe in magick to enjoy these books but I find that aspect intriguing. I’m not sure if I believe in it or not, but I am always open to discovering new things. If nothing else it makes for enjoyable reading.

Since this is the 2nd in the series, I would recommend reading book 1 first. It helps set up some of the back story and the relationship with various characters. You could read this but you might feel a little lost when it comes to the various relationships

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Sharon describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they ever condensed. Then life brought her an unexpected challenge, by the name of breast cancer. After treatment she and her oncologist started a not-for-profit to provide information and peer support to breast cancer patients. With the organization up and running, she returned to her first love – writing. This time around she’s been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. That Olde White Magick is the second book in her Abracadabra Mysteries.

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Posted in 4 paws, paranormal, Review, Short Story on November 19, 2017

Synopsis

A short 25 page true story to read waiting for a bus or any other event where you have about 15 minutes.

INCLUDES RECIPE from my evening meal with a British Seventh Daughter.

“The fire sparked loudly, and spit a burning ember onto the rug. It scared my Heinz57 dog (British for not a purebred) and she ran into the next room. Was it a premonition? Just then someone appeared behind the couch. There was just Auntie and me there.

Who was it and why did it visit us?

You might not believe in spirits but this is a true account….believe it, or not. I saw what I saw and so did my dog.

The Seventh Daughter saw nothing. I tell you, friendly ghosts are real.”

Review

This is a short story but quite an interesting one. The author pulls us into a true retelling of an event from years ago that reveals second sight ability just might be real if you want to believe.

I felt like I was sitting there at the table with Jessie and her Aunt as she shared what happened to her as a young child and that evening and the apparition that she saw and who it might be and why he might appear to her.

This is a very short read but very enjoyable and I do hope that she does put more of these stories into print. They are fascinating especially if you are intrigued by the paranormal.

We give it 4 paws up

 

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 18, 2017

 

A Fatal Collection (A Keepsake Cove Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Maryland
Midnight Ink (November 8, 2017)
Paperback: 264 pages

Synopsis

Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.

Guest Post

Creating Characters

Mary Ellen Hughes

“Am I in your book?” Friends ask me that, looking hopeful, worried, or a combination of the two. They’re assuming my characters must be people I know, that I’ve simply changed the names and maybe hair color. But no, I don’t do that.

That’s not to say they’re not in my books, but never all in one piece. That makes me sound like one of those killers who scatters body parts in various places. But what I mean is that I’ll mix and match traits from people I know or who I’ve run into. Maybe even a few actors, though probably not the glamorous ones who wouldn’t blend in with my small town characters all that well.

For example, in one of my earlier books, A Taste of Death, one of my minor characters was a bit of a town busybody. Not terribly likeable for many people, so I certainly wouldn’t want a friend to think she’d been portrayed as one. But I made her the size and shape of a woman I saw often, a checker at our local supermarket. But I darkened her hair and gave her shoe button eyes, which I’d noticed on another woman who seemed particularly alert—the kind of trait a busybody would have, right?

But my supermarket checker was very reserved, not the personality I needed. So I livened up my character and, remembering the greeting I often heard from a friend (a very nice lady), I had her sing out, “helloooo!” whenever she spotted someone whose brain she wanted to pick. This, unlike my reaction with my friend, caused other characters to cringe and want to run. I’m pretty sure my friend or the other two ladies never recognized the parts of themselves I scavenged from them, though I still think of them all when I reread those scenes.

Why not use the whole person? Some writers do, and it works for them. Many will auction off a character for a future book at a mystery convention and use the buyer’s name and characteristics. I admire those who can work with it, but I find it too limiting. Even with the permission of the person, if I thought a scene called for that character to say or do something not very bright or somewhat embarrassing, I’d probably hold back and end up with a nice, but not very interesting, character.

Do I ever put myself in my characters? My family members claim they see me there, sometimes, so I guess I do, though never consciously. My main characters have always been younger, prettier, smarter, etc. etc., so if I’m in them at all it’s as a kind of wishful thinking. And I wouldn’t want to find myself in some of the jams I’ve put them in.

Callie Reed, the protagonist in A Fatal Collection, gets herself in trouble when she closes in on her aunt’s murderer, but manages to keep a cool head through it all. More so than I probably would in the same situation. Callie’s also only twenty-nine, single, and has a cute, upturned nose, none of which describes me. I’m not entirely sure who I scavenged her from to make the whole Callie, but seeing her gradually take form, from just a name to a real (to me) person was exciting, as are all the characters I’ve written. An author, I’ve discovered, works a little bit like a sculptor, shaping and molding, sanding down or adding color until the “person” is just right. The advantage we have over the sculptor is that our creation then moves and talks, and sometimes runs in different directions than we originally planned. But that part is the fun of it all.

You think an author is totally in control of the characters she’s created or the stories she writes? Sometimes we’re just as surprised as you are.

About the Author

Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink. A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories.

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Posted in Book Blast, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on November 18, 2017

They Don’t Shoot Horses: A Cold Springs Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
DMK Publishing(May 18, 2015)
Paperback: 344 pages

Synopsis

Tucked away in the picturesque foothills of Colorado, Susie Wheeler’s peaceful widowhood of gentling and training abused horses is shattered by bullet holes in her barn and dead horses. She is confused by the violence to her peaceful life, but will not be intimidated. Susie infuriates meddling relatives and challenges those who would call her abused horses dangerous. Then with the help of her friends and the Cimmarron County Sheriff, they take on horse thieves and mysterious strangers.

Was the shooter after Susie or the horses?

What is so important about a certain mare?

About the Author

I grew up in a small ranching community in Colorado where I learned to judge beef on the hoof and under wrap. After moving around the country for my husband’s career and catching college courses as I could, I finally found myself in one place long enough to finish my degree. I was an artist (acrylic), raised three children, managed offices, and started my own genealogy resource business before weaving my stories and experiences into novels. I now lives in central Texas with my patient husband and four cats. In my spare time I do genealogy and historical research and nurses orphan kittens back to health for the local animal shelter.

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Posted in Book Release, fiction, Giveaway, Historical on November 17, 2017


Title – The Painter’s Apprentice: A Novel of 16th-Century Venice
Author – Laura Morelli
​Category – Adult Fiction,  350 pages
Genre – Historical Fiction
Publisher – The Scriptorium
Release date – November 15, 2017
Content Rating – PG-13 (some adult situations but no sex or explicit violence)

Synopsis

Would you rather sacrifice your livelihood, your lover, or your life? When the Black Death comes knocking on your door, you’d better decide quickly.

Venice, 1510. Maria Bartolini wants nothing more than to carry on her father’s legacy as a master gilder. Instead, her father has sent her away from the only home she’s ever known to train as an apprentice to Master Trevisan, a renowned painter.

When the painter’s servants uncover the real reason why Maria has been sent away, they threaten to reveal a secret that could tear down her family and the future of their trade. She is forced to buy the servants’ silence, but as their greed steadily grows, Maria resorts to more desperate measures. She questions whether her heart’s desire is worth risking her family, her trade, and her future, but Maria’s sacrifices may amount to nothing if the plague arrives on her father’s doorstep before she is able to get back home.

From the author of the award-winning The Gondola Maker comes a rich tale of Renaissance Venice, a heroine with a lust for life, and love against all odds.

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About the Author

LAURA MORELLI holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, has taught college students in the U.S. and in Italy, and currently produces art history lessons for TED-Ed. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and has contributed pieces about art and authentic travel to CNN Radio, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, and other media. Laura is the author of the Authentic Arts guidebook series that includes the popular book Made in Italy. Her fiction brings the stories of art history to life. Her debut novel, The Gondola Maker, won an IPPY for Best Historical Fiction and a Benjamin Franklin Award.

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