Tuesday 28 November 2017

Of Murder and Men (Cat Latimer Mystery #3) by Lynn Cahoon

Of Murder and Men (Cat Latimer Mystery, #3)
Love is in the air in Aspen Hills, and it’s making a terrible mess of Cat Latimer’s writers’ retreat—especially when blood stains the plot . . .

Ever since her business partner, Shauna, fell for a wealthy landowner in town, Cat has been working double time to keep her writers’ retreat running. And with the January session almost underway, that spells trouble. As if scheduling mishaps aren’t disastrous enough, Shauna skips out on kitchen duties one morning, forcing Cat to serve unsuspecting guests store-bought muffins . . .

But best laid plans really go awry when Shauna discovers her beau missing from their bed. When his body later turns up in the horse barn, they quickly find out the victim’s scandalous lifestyle left many dying for revenge. While balancing an eccentric group of aspiring writers and a suspect list for the record books, Cat soon finds herself on the heels of a killer—and authoring her most deadly conclusion yet . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

Okay so in the first book in the Cat Latimer Mystery series by Lynn Cahoon a guest of the writer's retreat was murdered and in the second book of the series someone from the town was murdered but a guest of the retreat was involved.  And in both of those books Cat was trying to wrap her head around her ex-husband Michael's death.  So in the third book, Of Murder and Men, it should be smooth sailing .....right ????

Well most everything with the guests for the retreat do run smoothly, actually pretty well.  Cat has a group of writer's that get along and have fun when they are not getting their word count in for the day.  And one of the guests, Shirley ( a retired Alaskan cop ) seems to be getting along very well with Uncle Pete....and providing her expert job experience looking into Michael's death.

Unfortunately death does hit the writer's retreat and it hits very close to home.  Shauna's very rich on/off boyfriend, Kevin, has finally made up his mind with their relationship and pops the question !!  But before she can decide what she wants to do he is found dead in the horse barn on his elaborate estate.  

When the cause of death is determined that he was poisoned and Shauna was the one to cook him his last meal, Uncle Peter has a lot of questions.  Even though everyone knows that Shauna wouldn't do anything to hurt anyone, Cat still feels the need to find out who did kill Kevin.

Cat always has her hands full running the writer's retreats but always makes time to help others out and when her best friend needs her, she will stop at nothing to be there for her.....

Of Murder and Men is my FAVORITE book so far in this series  !!  Not only are we really getting to know Cat, the business, the town and it's residents but we finally see closure in Michael's murder.  Even though there is closure, I'm sure that will not be the end of the Michael aspect of the books.  Especially seeing as Cat found out some things at the bank and through Dante, Michael's college friend who happens to be a member of a mob family.  I look forward to where Cahoon is going to take this part of the story.

There is so much to say about Of Murder and Men and Lynn Cahoon but as with a lot of my reviews, I really only want to give you the extra push needed for you to pick up the book and find out for yourself what is going on in the story.  I highly recommend that with the Cat Latimer series......there are so many things to love about Aspen Hills with only one thing to dislike.....that it's not a real place.  But hey it's a great place to visit with Cahoon and you don't have to leave the comfort of your couch.....

Review by Missi S.

Monday 27 November 2017

Fatality by Firelight (Cat Latimer Mystery #2) by Lynn Cahoon

Fatality by Firelight (Cat Latimer Mystery, #2)
Cat Latimer’s Colorado bed-and-breakfast plays host to writers from all over. But murder is distinctly unwelcome . . .

To kick off a winter writing retreat, Cat and her handyman boyfriend, Seth, escort the aspiring authors to a nearby ski resort, hoping some fresh cold air will wake up their creative muses. But instead of hitting the slopes, they hit the bar—and before long, a tipsy romance novelist named Christina is keeping herself warm with a local ski bum who might have neglected to tell her about his upcoming wedding.

Next thing Cat knows, her uncle, the town sheriff, informs her that the young man’s been found dead in a hot tub—and Christina shows up crying and covered in blood. Now, between a murder mystery, the theft of a rare Hemingway edition, and the arrival of a black-clad stranger in snowy Aspen Hills, Cat’s afraid everything’s going downhill . . .
   (Summary via Goodreads)

Fatality by Firelight is the second book in the Cat Latimer Mystery book series by Lynn Cahoon and it is the second writer's retreat for Cat, Shauna and Seth.  Catherine Latimer was willed the big house in 
Colorado by her ex-husband Michael and with the help of her friend Shauna and her high school, current boyfriend, Seth she has turned it into a writer's retreat bed and breakfast.  For one week a month the house is opened up to authors who spend the week writing, visiting the college library, participating in seminars and receiving insights from Cat who is a published author.

On the first day of this retreat Cat and Seth take the guests on a skiing trip to the nearby resort.  While Cat and Seth are enjoying the day racing each other down the mountain, the guests have taken to the bar instead.  Christina, a romance author,  has caught the eye of local boy Tommy and the two have no problem showing some PDA at the resort.   Unfortunately Tommy is engaged to Brit, a bartender in town.  When Tommy is found stabbed to death in a hot tub at the resort and Christina was the last to see him alive and has Tommy's blood on her clothes, things at the retreat heat up !!

Luckily for Christina Cat's uncle Pete is the police chief and on top of everything and if he isn't Cat is....

Valuable Hemingway books are stolen from the library, mobster children are students at the college, Cat is trying to go through Michael's study for clues to his death and closure, they are trying to run a successful writer's retreat, and Cat wants to find out who killed Tommy and keep Christina safe.....All in a day's work for Cat and company.

You will instantly love Cat, Shauna and Seth !!  You will want to spend lots of time in the kitchen with the girls and sit on the couch in Cat's office on the third floor.  The relationships in the story between Cat and Shauna, Cat and Seth, the writing guests for the week are uniquely written and you will long for relationships like these.  

And I must mention the special hot chocolate and the food that Shauna prepares throughout the story....yummy !!  You will be so engrossed in reading this book, that you might find yourself smelling the chocolate.....

I am a HUGE fan of Lynn Cahoon and the Cat Latimer Mystery series and cannot wait to get lost in another of the writer's retreats........I know it's going to be a treat !!!!

Review by Missi S.


Monday 20 November 2017

The Body on the T (Sgt. Windflower Mystery #2) by Mike Martin

The Body on the T (Sgt. Windflower Mystery, #2)
The Body on the T is the second book in the Windflower mystery series and it follows up on the highly acclaimed premiere, The Walker on the Cape. The story begins when a body washes up on a beach near Grand Bank, Newfoundland. There is no identification on the body and few clues to identify who the person was or where they came from. The case becomes the responsibility of Sgt. Winston Windflower of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and his trusted side-kick, Corporal Eddie Tizzard.

But this is just the beginning. There is also a devastating accident on the highway and another suspicious death to deal with. Throw in a rogue police officer and an international drug ring operating in the waters off the coast and Windflower’s peaceful world is turned upside down. This time Windflower’s adventures take him to the scenic town of Burin where Captain Cook once patrolled the waters looking for French mercenaries. And to historic St. John’s where he faces down an armed suspect on a parking garage rooftop in the midst of a busy downtown evening.

Along the way Windflower also continues to enjoy the food and home-style hospitality of this part of the world. Cod tongues, pan seared scallops and even figgy duff become part of his diet, and his long list of favourite foods. Windflower may be a long way from his Cree home in Northern Alberta but he has found a new place to love in the fog and mist of Newfoundland.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Body on the T is the second book in the Sgt. Windflower mystery series and boy is it a GOOD one !!!  If you have read The Walker on the Cape, the first book in this series, you have met Windflower and have gotten to know him and his little town.  If not, that is okay.  Mike Martin brings you up to speed rather quickly....hee hee.

In The Body on the T you are introduced to a dead body right away....unfortunately who the person was is not known immediately as they have no identification or recoqnized as a local.  Before Windflower can identify the body, it is transferred out of his jurisdiction.  Windflower is also asked to leave Grand Bank for a few months to work on a case in Marystown that has to do with the Harvey Brenton case that we read about in the first book.

While Windflower is getting things ready in Grand Bank for his temporary move to Marystown, he has to suspend one of his Constables, Claude LaPierre, another body is found floating in the harbour and his girlfriend, Sheila, is in a head on collision.  One "good" thing is that they know that the body found floating is Roger Buffet, a heavy drinker who owed Brenton a lot of money.  

Windflower leaves everything in the capable hands of Corporal Eddie Tizzard who seems to know a little bit about everything which can be good and bad but he always seems to come out on top.  

Once Windflower is settled in Marystown he finds out that the dead body found on the T that was transferred is Jean-Marc Guibert who was working for Brenton but recruited by the drug enforcement team to provide inside intelligence and he also learns that LaPierre is involved in the drug distribution network and the case that Windflower was brought in for.

Windflower has a lot on his plate with the case and Sheila's accident.  Sheila is transferred to a hospital closer to Marystown which is good for Windflower, he is able to visit her daily.  

There is so much more that I could tell you about the case, Windflower, Sheila, Tizzard, LaPierre and the offer that Windflower gets later in the story (tiny spoiler) but to read it in it's fullest is the best way to do it !!

I will tell you that you will LOVE the growing relationship between Windflower and Sheila, you will wish you had Tizzard's energy and you will love the person that Windflower is, as a Mountie, a boyfriend, a friend, and as just a good human being.  And the devotion he has to the job and Sheila will warm your insides ......

So grab a cup of tea and a biscuit, settle in your comfy chair and take a little trip and hang out with Windflower and enjoy the ride.......

Review by Missi S.

Friday 17 November 2017

A Deadly Éclair (A French Bistro Mystery #1) by Daryl Wood Gerber

A Deadly Éclair (A French Bistro Mystery, #1)

It's always been Mimi Rousseau's dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she's been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband's tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she's able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn's first wedding ever. 
The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan's half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners' dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an eclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan's will. 
Now it's up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Eclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.  (Summady via Goodreads)

A French Bistro Mystery series by Daryl Wood Gerber is going to be one of my favorite series !!  With her debut book, A Deadly Eclair, I have fallen in love with everything in the story !!  

You have Mimi who owns the bistro and inn where she runs the bistro and her best friend, Jo, manages the inn.   And all of this is possible because Bryan saw something promising in Mimi and invested in her dream.  Not only does Bryan see something special in Mimi he also wants to help her succeed.  It only seems fitting that the first wedding held at the inn is a famous talk show host to a well known jeweler.  The bride also happens to be the daughter of Bryan's half brother so that should help things run smoothly.  

Unfortunately things don't go as planned at the out-of-towners dinner gathering the night before the wedding and even worse when the bride goes out running early the next morning and finds Bryan dead on the patio of the bistro with an eclair stuffed in his mouth.  To make matters worse, if that is possible, Mimi is the main suspect when it is discovered that Bryan was lured there by a text message from her cell phone !!!

While Mimi tries to resume business as usual and keep all the wedding guests comfortable, she also questions everyone trying to solve Bryan's murder, clear her name, and keep her business afloat.

A Deadly Eclair has a wonderful cast of characters, some you fall in love with instantly.....like Mimi's best friend Jo who runs the inn effortlessly and is always there for Mimi no matter what.  You also will love the hostess, Heather, who has a thing for aliens but is more than capable of being the hostess with the mostest.  And there are also Sergeant Tyson Daly and the gardener Raymond who went to school with Mimi, Mimi's mother who owns a vineyard as well as Nash who sells wine and also has a crush on Mimi.

And let's not overlook that this ALL takes place in a wonderful place Napa Valley which is full of jazz music, gourmet food, lucious wine, refreshing gardens and mouth dropping artwork.....

My only recommendation before picking this book up to get lost in it is to grab a nice glass of wine, some cheese and crackers, a comfy blanket and settle back.....once you open up the book, you won't want to leave......

Review by Missi S.

Thursday 16 November 2017

Much Ado About Murder (Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery #3) by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Much Ado About Murder (Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery #3)
Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company's steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright. 

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner's secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund's plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way? 

With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it's final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan's third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.  (Summary via Goodreads)

I might be a tad partial to Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan because it is A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery and I live in upstate New York.  But whatever reason you choose to read Much Ado About Murder, I am quite certain that you will love it !!

Even though this is the third book in the series and I haven't had the pleasure of reading the previous two, I was able to pick it up and breeze right through it.  As soon as I started reading, I was lost in the Catskills....  The story is so fun !!!  You have a theater company attached to a grand hotel with three bungalows and the bungalows are housed by the director of the current play, the main star of the current play and Charlotte, the costume designer and her police officer boyfriend.

Unfortunately the current Shakespeare play has trouble from the start with the director leaving abruptly and unable to return and then his replacement, Edmind, is found dead in his bungalow as a result of an apparent suicide.  But as they say in show business the show must go on so with a third director they continue with rehearsals.  

Charlotte and her friend Paula, who is on the board of directors for the theatre have a hard time accepting that Edmund would commit suicide.  He was very passionate about the play and the direction he was taking it, it just didn't fit that he would kill himself.

Charlotte and Paula dig into their own investigation and try to find out who killed Edmund and why.  But with a cast of over-eager actors and a very eager replacement director, how will they narrow down the list of suspects ???  

Much Ado About Murder was such a treat to read, Duncan has a way with her writing that you feel like you are right there walking along side Charlotte as she walks the paths along the grounds and you can almost taste the gin and tonic that she makes when she gets together with Paula.....

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Dead of Winter (Lily Dale Mystery #3) by Wendy Corsi Staub

Dead of Winter (Lily Dale Mystery, #3 & Lily Dale, #7)
Just as a murderer dumps his corpse into the lake across Valley View in Lily Dale, Bella Jordan happens to be at her window, not quite realizing what she's seeing. Unbeknownst to her, the killer spots her silhouette and prowls straight to her door. That is, until he's interrupted by a black cat. A superstitious gambler, he takes off, but Bella's seen too much, and he vows to return. 

Jiffy Arden, a neighborhood kid looking for the black cat and stumbling across the killer, begins to have premonitions of being kidnapped during the season's first snowstorm. Sure enough, when it strikes, he vanishes, never arriving home from the bus stop. While her son, Max, believes Jiffy has been kidnapped, Bella is convinced he's just wandered off as he typically does... until a body shows up in the lake. 

Now everyone is pulling out all the stops to find the missing child, identify the victim, and collar the killer. And fast, because he's coming for Bella next in Dead of Winter  (Summary via Goodreads)

I could not stop reading this book !!!!  As soon as I started reading Dead of Winter by Wendy Corsi Staub I was hooked !!!  Even though this is the third book in the Lily Dale Mystery series and the first one that I read, it didn't matter.  I was introduced to everyone in town like it was the first book.  Staub's writing allows the reader to pick up the book and before you even finish the first chapter you are at home in this little lakeside community with all its wacky residents !!

The main character focus is on Bella and her young son Max as they are new to Lily Dale (yes Lily Dale is the name of the area , it's not the name of a character).  Bella and Max moved there recently after her husband passed away and she ends up running the Valley View Manor on the lake.  They were brought to the Valley View Manor by Chance (a cat) and ended up staying.

One unique thing about Dead of Winter is that Lily Dale is full of spiritualists.  Most of Bella's neighbors are mediums that see and talk to the dead..... even her son's 6 year old best friend, Jiffy.  This doesn't give the reader a "spooky" feeling because the way that it is written is comical at times and, well, the rest just seems to make sense.

Don't get me wrong....there is a murder in the middle of the night and the killer dumps the victim over a rowboat in the lake....and Bella is caught looking out the window by the killer....and Jiffy just happens to run into the killer outside the Valley View Manor......and the victim just happens to be from a very impressive gang of theives.....and to make it all even better Lily Dale is hit with a tremendous snowstorm....

OMG I want to read it again !!!  That's how good Dead of Winter is !!  I sat on my couch reading it from start to finish !!  Once you get to a certain point in the story (I won't tell you where...) you CANNOT put the book down.....you can't !!  I challenge you to try !!  Believe me when you get to that point, and you will know it when you get there, you mind as well cancel whatever you had planned for the rest of the day.

Dead of Winter is set in a very interesting lakeside community with such interesting people .... I could go on and on regarding the residents, dead and alive, but you should read it for yourself !!

After reading Dead of Winter, I can tell you that I will be going back and reading the rest of the Lily Dale series......

Review by Missi S.


Tuesday 14 November 2017

The Walker on the Cape (Sgt. Windfower Mystery #1) by Mike Martin

The Walker on the Cape (Sgt. Windflower Mystery, #1)

A man's body is found in a small fishing community on the East Coast. First, everyone thinks it's a heart attack or stroke but then it's discovered that he was poisoned. Who would do this and why? Finding that out falls to Winston Windflower and his side-kick Eddie Tizzard. Along the way, they discover there are many more secrets hidden in this small community and powerful people who want to keep it that way.  (Summary via Goodreads)


The Walker on the Cape by Mike Martin is the first in his Sgt. Windflower Mystery series and it starts the series off epically !!!

One of the things that I love about this book and this series is that it is set in Canada.  It is always interesting to read stories set in other areas from your own so that you can learn about those areas as you read a good story.  Even the simply differences like calling a police officer Constable and reading how everyone drinks tea instead of coffee are nice touches in a book.

In the Walker on the Cape you meet Sergeant Winston Windflower who lives in a small community that is shook by the death of Elias Martin.  Elias Martin is an elderly man who, since his wife's death, has kept to himself.  When he is found on the Cape by two hikers, his death is ruled suspicious after the police find evidence at his residence.  Who would want to kill Martin ?  

Windflower's investigation leads him to a very powerful and corrupt businessman, Harvey Brenton whose wife, Marge, was Martin's girlfriend many years ago.  But when Brenton is shot to death and Marge and Martin's nephew, James both admit to the crime, Windflower has more questions than answers.....

There are many characters and relationships that you will love to read about and follow in this series.  I for one cannot wait to dig into the next book and ride along with Windflower.....

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Twelve Slays of Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #1) by Jacqueline Frost

Twelve Slays of Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #1)

When Holly White's fiance cancels their Christmas Eve wedding with less than two weeks to go, Holly heads home with a broken heart. Lucky for her, home in historic Mistletoe, Maine is magical during Christmastime--exactly what the doctor prescribed. Except her plan to drown her troubles in peppermints and snickerdoodles is upended when local grouch and president of the Mistletoe Historical Society Margaret Fenwick is bludgeoned and left in the sleigh display at Reindeer Games, Holly's family tree farm. 
When the murder weapon is revealed as one of the wooden stakes used to identify trees on the farm, Sheriff Evan Grey turns to Holly's father, Bud, and the Reindeer Games staff. And it doesn't help that Bud and the reindeer keeper were each seen arguing with Margaret just before her death. But Holly knows her father, and is determined to exonerate him.The jingle bells are ringing, the clock is ticking, and if Holly doesn't watch out, she'll end up on Santa's naughty list in Twelve Slays of Christmas, Jacqueline Frost's jolly series debut.  (Summary via Goodreads)

There is SO much about Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost to LOVE....unless you are the Grinch that is !!

First you are in a town called Mistletoe hainging out at a tree farm, Reindeer Games, with Holly White and her cat Cindy Lou Who....have I grabbed your interest yet ??

How about Holly moves back home a few weeks before Christmas when Reindeer Games is in full Christmas mode?  It's like you can smell all the yumy treats her mom is making.

Yes I almost forgot there is a murder that occurs and the victim happens to be a "Grinch" herself.  Even though Margaret is the President of the Mistletoe Historical Society, she is a thorn in everyone's side.  And when Holly finds her dead body on a sleigh on the property and the murder weapon is a stake used to mark trees on the farm, Holly buts heads with the town Sheriff trying to solve the case and save her family's legacy.

It doesn't matter where you are and what time of the year it is when you read Twelve Slays of Christmas (I was on the beach in Florida in October),  it is guaranteed to put you in the holiday season.  You will be longing for cocoa and snickledoodles in no time.

Like I said there is so much to like within this story....It is sure to put you in a good mood.  Even with the murder and the town on edge, there is a determined Sheriff who will do everything he can to protect his town and find justice.

The relationships in the story will draw at your heartstrings....from Holly and her parents to the friendships Holly has with old family friend Cookie and re-acquainted school friend Caroline, the way the entire town sticks together and let's not forget the new sparkly relationship between Holly and the Sheriff.

I am a HUGE fan of Jacqueline Frost and her other series Kitty Couture Mysteries written as Julie Chase.  I look forward to more installments of Christmas Tree Farm Mysteries.  I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve.....

Review by Missi S.

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Interview with Author Julie Chase / Jacqueline Frost / Julie Anne Lindsey

Jacqueline Frost....aka Julie Chase....aka Julie Anne Lindsey....is an AMAZING author and I have the pleasure of sharing her with you. If you go to her website http://juliechasebooks.com/ she is described as :" a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world."

If you have read ANY of her books, you would agree that she has changed the world with her writing, even if it was just while you read the book and it was only your world that was impacted. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading one of her books, maybe you will after your get to know her a little bit. I recently had the pleasure of talking to her (via computer sadly) after I read her latest book Twelve Slays of Christmas under her latest pen name Jacqueline Frost.

Twelve Slays of Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery #1)

How long does it take to write a book ?  I’m a very dedicated outliner, so I spend about 10 days creating a detailed outline that includes all the twists and turns I need to make a great mystery. Then it’s time to write!  Using the outline as my guide and reference, I write a chapter a day and have a finished novel 28 days later. My total timeframe with time-off for family fun, weekends and life is about 6-8 weeks, concept to completion.

Why do you write under 2 different names ? I actually write under a few different names, and each is for a different reason. For example, I write my own cozy mystery ideas for Crooked Lane Books as Julie Chase, but when Crooked Lane had a fun idea for a cozy series set on a tree farm in New England, they needed a writer. They also needed a complete manuscript in about six weeks and knew I was a quick writer, so they gave my agent a call, and voila! Jacqueline Frost was born. I’ve also written as myself, Julie Anne Lindsey, and I have 6 romantic suspense titles under contract with Harlequin Intrigue which will release in 2018 & 2019. Using my real name for those will keep my cozy readers from picking up a Harlequin novel and being disappointed when the content isn’t what they’d grown accustom to expecting from me.  

Additionally, I have a new cozy series starting with Sourcebooks next summer that will be released under yet another name. Sometimes publishers request new pen names to distinguish their series from another. Sometimes it’s a marketing call. I’m just thankful to have the offers, so I keep on typing. Ohhhh and that new series information is still under wraps for now, so you’ve heard about it here first!
How do you balance them ? So far, that’s been pretty easy. I’m very open about being Julie Chase, Jacqueline Frost and Julie Anne Lindsey. And in truth, I might not be either of those names one day soon. If Crooked Lane doesn’t ask me to write anymore Kitty Couture books, for example, then Julie Chase will be no more. And the Christmas Tree Farm mysteries was Crooked Lane’s idea, so another author may be Jacqueline in the future. The only thing that never changes in this industry is the fact that it keeps changing.

Do you have a writing work schedule ?  Absolutely! I write every weekday from 9am (when I get home from driving my son to a special STEM high school, 40 minutes away) until 2pm when I have to leave to pick him up. I also take my laptop to Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, cross country, gymnastics and tuba lessons, then I sit in the parking lot and write. On a tight deadline, I also write from 10pm – midnight, set my alarm to tell me to stop writing and go to bed, then I get up at 5am and write until 6:30 when I have to wake the kids for school. Every little bit of time helps.

What do you like to do when not writing ?  Read. I’m a voracious reader. And I also watch a ton of TV shows that refill my brain with wonderful “what ifs.” I slip away with friends for lunch or coffee when I can, and I love to clean and organize anything I can get my hands on. But it seems that no matter what I’m doing physically, my mind is always working on a new story plot or way to make my current manuscript more fun.
Cat Got Your Secrets (Kitty Couture Mystery, #3)

How do you balance life as a writer and life as a wife/mother ? I don’t. I can’t. I spend an inordinate amount of time telling people I am only ONE person. I cannot duplicate or split myself. I can only do my best, and that’s got to be enough because it’s all I’ve got. I like to think I’m teaching my kids the value of hard work and tenacity and showing them that sometimes we have to make tough decisions about how we spend our time. Like money, there is only so much we have to work with. I put my family first whenever I can, but there have also been times the lesson has been: Mommy matters too. And they’ve simply had to wait.

Do you read ? YES !

If so, what kind of books do you read ? I read a wide variety thanks to a book club I started about a year ago. Each woman chooses the book for one month, so we get a variety of genres and a chance to know one another better through our selections. We’ve read a little bit of everything this year, but **My** personal favorites have always been young adult, cozy mystery and romance. If a book can make me laugh, it’s an instant favorite.

Favorite author ? Janet Evanovich. Hands down. No question.

What book are you reading now ?  Right now, I’m reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern for book club. I’m listening to Pretend You Don’t See Her by Mary Higgins Clark on my commute back and forth to my teen’s high school, and I’m also reading In the Arms of the Enemy (a Harlequin Intrigue) by Carol Ericson.

What inspires you ? People. I am desperately interested in human relationships, our unique reactions to identical circumstances and the general dynamics of groups. I especially have a heart for women, and writing allows me to reach ladies I couldn’t have otherwise and (hopefully) through my books, I can give them a small reprieve from the busyness of their lives. I always try to make my readers. I know that somedays those smiles can be hard to come by.

Does your family read your books ?  My parents and my mother-in-law read every page. My husband and kids have never picked one up.

When and why did you begin writing ?  I began writing in 2010 when I needed a break from my life. I was a sleep deprived mother of a newborn who did not sleep, a potty-training toddler who had zero interest in the potty, and a homeschooling kindergartener who preferred to stick his pencils up his nose rather than to learn to write with them. I needed a break, and writing seemed like a fun way for someone like me to get a little time to herself. I had no idea then what it would one day become.

What inspired you to write your first book ?  I read a novel during that same time frame (from my last answer) that gave me a much needed break from the demands of my life. It took me away to another world, and when I came back, I felt like I could handle things better. I started looking forward to my next chance to read. When I finished that novel, I knew I wanted to do that for someone else. So, I asked Google, “How do I write a book?” And I’ve been at it ever since.

Julie Chase
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider your mentor ? Janet Evanovich. She’s the reason I write.

Out of the author names that you write under, do you have a favorite ?  Yes.
If so, why ?  I like writing the Julie Chase books best because after finishing three titles in the Kitty Couture Mysteries, Lacy and her gang have become very real and important to me. I miss them now that the publisher has decided not to publish more. I miss “visiting” New Orleans and dropping in on Lacy’s mother, dreaming up the misadventures of the Lama Mamas and Jazzy Chicks, and the sweetly developing romance between Lacy and Jack.

Your new series is a Christmas series, how fun was that to write ?   I LOVED it. I’m a Christmas fanatic, so I got to live out my ultimate dream of being part of an entire town who loves Christmas.

Is Christmas your vacation holiday ? Yes !

What is your favorite holiday tradition ? Every year since our kids were small, we’ve invited all the grandparents over the night after Thanksgiving for hot chocolate and cookies. Then, the kids and grandparents decorate our tree. I put it up and add the lights the day before Thanksgiving, but we wait until Friday night to decorate. I sit back, put on the music and watch my kids making priceless memories with their grandparents. The photos I’ve taken over the years are so special, and now that we’ve lost one of the dear grandpas, it makes me all the more thankful that we have those memories to cherish.

Your other series, A Kitty Couture series, is all about cats and dogs and the love their owners have for them.  You must be an animal lover.....are you a cat person ? dog person ? Other ?  Do you have pets now ?  If so, what ?
I see the Kitty Couture Mysteries as more about the people than the pets, but that’s probably just how my mind works. Lacy caters to a pet-loving customer base, true, but her job is just a side-note to the main story arcs, which revolve around Lacy and her deep love for family, friends and New Orleans.

As for my pets, I currently have a goldfish named Fishy who is very excited to see me every morning when I delivery the fishy flakes from heaven. My son is allergic to cats, so I have another 5 years or so before I can get a kitty back in my life, and while we puppy sit for relatives when they go on vacation, our family is on the run more than we’re home, so this season of life seems like an unfair time to have a dog.
What question do you wish someone would ask about your books that nobody has ? I honestly can’t think of a thing! You get a brownie for this question, because I am rarely caught without words!

Is there anything you would like to share with your readers ? I always want to tell my readers Thank you. You might not realize it, but you make my dream possible. Every time you buy one of my books, review it, recommend it to someone else or borrow it from a library, you are telling this industry that I am worthy of another contract. Without you, dear reader, my life would be vastly different. Your grace and generosity keeps me writing, chasing my dream, showing my kids they really can do anything they put their heart and soul into, and believing in impossible things to come. THANK YOU !!

Wow !!! Isn't she great ? Such a down to earth person and didn't you just love her Christmas tradition ? Even during an interview it is like she is telling a story....made you the reader feel emotions.... That is what a GREAT author does, they make the reader feel and gives us something to think about even after we finish reading the book.

As I said in the beginning we spoke after I read Twelve Slays of Christmas written as Jacqueline Frost. I had the pleasure of reading that while sitting on the beach in Florida and even though it was 90 degrees, I still felt Christmas all around me. I look forward to more books in The Christmas Tree Farm Mystery Series and I hope that she will be the one writing them. Tomorrow I will be posting my review on Twelve Slays of Christmas so come back and meet Holly White, her cat Cindy Lou Who and the rest of Mistletoe.....

Check her and her books out at : http://juliechasebooks.com/

Interview by Missi S.

Monday 6 November 2017

Nine Lessons (Josephine Tey #7) by Nicola Upson

Nine Lessons (Josephine Tey #7)

Called to the peaceful wooded churchyard of St-John's-at-Hampstead, Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose faces one of the most audacious and unusual murders of his career. The body of the church's organist is found in an opened grave, together with a photograph of a manor house and a cryptic note. The image leads Archie to Cambridge, where the crisp autumn air has brought with it bustling life to the ancient university and town. 
Both Josephine Tey and Archie's lover Bridget have recently settled in Cambridge, though both women are not equally happy to see him. One has concealed an important secret from Archie which now threatens to come to light. Meanwhile, the change of seasons has also brought with it a series of vicious attacks against women in town, spreading fear and suspicion through the community. 
Soon, another body is revealed, and in the shadow of King's College Chapel, Archie uncovers a connection twenty-five years old which haunted both victims--as well as some of their living companions. As Archie and Josephine each grapple with savage malefactors intent on making their victims pay, they must race to stop another attack in this beautifully written, intricately plotted mystery.  (Summary via Goodreads)

Nine Lessons by Nicola Upson has some storylines that are a first for me and I have been reading for a long, long time.  There is something to be said about finding a book that can provide a reader with that.

Nine Lessons sends the reader back to 1937 and starts in a cemetery in London and an old grave where a recent murder has taken place.  Unfortunately for Detective Chief Inspector Archie Penrose this is just the beginning of a very interesting and intrigueing case that will take him down some dark paths leading him to more death and more questions than answers.  There are clues left with the body that do not make any sense until more bodies and clues begin to occur.  These bodies and clues take Penrose to a college and a choir twenty-five years ago but the remaining survivors from that choir are not talking.

Also going on in Nine Lessons are a series of attacks and rapes on women where Penrose's dear friend Josephine finds herself investigating in a quiet manner.  And I might add here that Josephine is in a relationship with a woman, Marta, during a time where it was very unacceptable.  The way in which Upson writes about this relationship and the manner in which others view it is remarkable.

There is so much more that I can say about the stories and the people involved in this book but by doing so I would be giving too much away to you the reader and I feel that this is a book that belongs on your nightstand or endtable with your personal bookmark sticking out.....

I really enjoyed reading Nine Lessons, I am only sorry that this is the first book in this series that I have had the pleasure of reading.  I am certain that the previous books were just as entertaining as this one.  Upon finishing Nine Lessons I am thoroughly looking forward to the next installment in this series.  The way that Upson concluded Nine Lessons made me anxious for more .......

Review by Missi S.