Friday, May 31, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Topped Chef

Topped Chef (Key West Food Critic Mystery - Book 3) by Lucy Burdette

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0451239709
ISBN-13: 978-0451239709

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Lucy Burdette on the WEB: WebpageTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the Series:

An Appetite for Murder (2012), Death in Four Courses (2012), Topped Chef (2013)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.



Excerpt from Topped Chef, courtesy of Amazon

Synopsis:

Hayley Snow loves her job as the food critic for Key Zest magazine, tasting the offerings from Key West's most innovative restaurants. She'd rate her life four stars, until she's forced into the spotlight...and another murder investigation.

Hoping for some good publicity, Hayley's boss signs her up to help judge the Key West Topped Chef contest. Stakes are high as the winner could be the next cooking-show superstar. Hayley shows up for the filming nervous but excited, until she sees who's on the judging panel with her: Sam Rizzoli, big shot businessman - and owner of the restaurant she just panned in her first negative review.

When Rizzoli turns up dead, the police assume his killer is one of his business rivals. But Hayley wonders whether someone is taking the contest a little too seriously. With the police following the wrong recipe, it's up to Hayley to find the killer before she's eliminated from the show...permanently.


Thoughts:

Once again author Lucy Burdette brings to life, the work of a food critic and how reviews positively or negatively affect the services or products they are meant to promote. Topped Chef is the third book in the Key West Food Critic series. Burdette's sense of place and atmosphere is both interesting and full of potential. Readers who are looking for a cozy series that is just a little different will find Topped Chef right in their wheelhouse!

One of the things that I love about this series and especially this book is the parallel between the food critic biz and book blogging. Reviews are important to both. Food critic, Hayley Snow has to decide whether to praise or trash the food she samples in the local Key West restaurants and now she's been asked to judge a food competition against a restaurant owner she gave a less than favorable review. As with any review, her opinion like that of a book blogger, with either positively encourage people to eat the food or negatively persuade them to avoid it. Just as a good review from me may cause someone to buy a book or to by pass it altogether. I find the parallel interesting. 

Let's face the facts. I don't know about you, but I love to eat, LOL. I love to watch food television shows and look at cookbooks and see the wonderful dishes my family members make and I absolutely love the great ideas I find on many of the awesome food blogs that I read frequently. So this series is especially fun for me to read. Not only do you have a great mystery, but the mystery is typically food related. The characters are chefs or food enthusiasts or local growers or fisherman. It all adds up to a yummy series.

Another thing that I like about this series is the locale. Setting the series in Key West, Florida gives it a lot of local flavor and attitude. Things are just a bit more laid back that far down south. You are off the grid almost and the ideals and ways of doing things are a little different than in the big city. I like the way Burdette writes about the people and the community. The atmosphere is just relaxed and fun, except when it comes to murder...

This is a great series and this particular book has a strong plot, with lots of great clues for readers to discover. I liked the fact that Burdette chose to make the victim someone that Hayley actually trounced a bit in her review. That gave it a sense of hitting close to home. I thought it was a good touch. The suspects were believable and motives were realistic. A great addition to the series.

Topped Chef is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



About the Author:

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series, launching in January 2012 with AN APPETITE FOR MURDER (NAL.)

Lucy's alter-ego, clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib, has published eight mysteries including the golf lover's mystery series and the advice column mysteries. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She's a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime, and a past-president of Sisters in Crime.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Topped Chef by Lucy Burdette.

~You must be a GFC follower or Email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only (publisher request)
~The deadline for entering this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 14th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation to the author on this post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Death Comes Silently

Death Comes Silently (Death on Demand - Book 22) by Carolyn Hart

Publication Date: May 7, 2013 (paperback)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 288
ISBN-10: 0425252094
ISBN-13: 978-0425252093

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Carolyn Hart on the WEB: WebpageFacebook, Goodreads

Books in the Series:

Death on Demand (1987), Design for Murder (1988), Something Wicked (1988), Honeymoon with Murder (1988), A Little Class on Murder (1989), Deadly Valentine (1990), The Christie Caper (1991), Southern Ghost (1992), Mint Julep Murder (1995), Yankee Doodle Dead (1998), White Elephant Dead (1999), Sugarplum Dead (2000), April Fool Dead (2002), Engaged to Die (2003), Murder Walks the Plank (2004), Death of the Party (2005), Dead Days of Summer (2006), Death Walked In (2008), Dare to Die (2009), Laughed 'Til He Died (2010), Dead by Midnight (2011), Death Comes Silently (2012) (Hardcover)

Coverart: Click on the image for a clearer, larger view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from Death Comes Silently, courtesy of Amazon.

Synopsis:

Winter has arrived in Broward's Rock, South Carolina, and business has slowed for Annie Darling, owner of mystery bookstore Death on Demand. So when the island's resident writer publishes the latest in her popular mystery series, Annie jumps at the chance to host a book signing, even though it conflicts with her shift at the local charity shop, Better Tomorrow.

Luckily, fellow volunteer Gretchen Burkholt agrees to sub for her. The signing goes well, but Gretchen interrupts the event multiple times, leaving voice mails about scandalous news she's dying to share. Even though Gretchen tends to be excitable, Annie heads over to Better Tomorrow, where she finds Gretchen dead on the floor, an axe by her side.

Annie enlists the help of her husband, Max, to piece together a puzzle involving an overturned kayak, a stolen motorboat, a troubled love affair, and a reckless teenager. And she must tread carefully in her investigation, because a killer is on the loose, and that killer works well in the foggy days of winter...


Thoughts:

The latest paperback in the ever-popular Death on Demand series by Carolyn Hart, Death Comes Silently is a book readers dream. Readers who love books will love the Death on Demand bookstore and it's quirky heroine, Annie Darling. This long lived series is a favorite of cozy enthusiasts because they can continue to return to Broward's Rock and it's beloved townspeople again and again. Another great book, from acclaimed writer, Carolyn Hart.

Southern charm abounds in the Death on Demand series, set in small-town South Carolina. Death Comes  Silently is the 22nd book in the series and readers are still finding new things to love about Carolyn Hart's imagination and energetic form of writing. Hart's characters are easy to relate to and fun to read about. Broward's Rock has seen it's share of murder and it's eclectic residents are anything but normal average Southerners. 

I love the way Hart sets each book in the series apart from the others but still keeps the cohesive overall feel to the series. Re-occurring characters and relationships help to pull everything together and to keep readers coming back. They want to see what Annie gets into next. She's always up to something, along with her husband Max and a host of other characters that readers have grown to love. Broward's Rock would be a cool place to live, if the murder rate were a little lower, lol...

It always amazes me how authors of long-running series, keep coming up with new plots for their characters. How do the ideas keep coming? As many of you know, I am an aspiring author myself and I am not sure I could come up with 22 different plots featuring the same town and characters. That takes some real talent and Carolyn Hart has that in spades.

The mystery aspect of Death Comes Silently features some really interesting clues, everything but the kitchen sink so to speak and it makes for a very lively sleuthing adventure. Hart is quite good at making the reader feel like they are a part of the action, figuring out the clues right along with her. 

This is a great book, that cozy fans who are familiar with the series will love as well as new fans.

Death Comes Silently is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:


An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the author of more than forty books, including eighteen Death on Demand novels. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. She is also the creator of the highly praised Henrie O series. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Death Comes Silently by Carolyn Hart.

~You must be a GFC follower or an Email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only (publisher request)
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 13th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation to the author on this post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Murder on Fifth Avenue

Murder on Fifth Avenue (Gaslight Mystery - Book 14) By Victoria Thompson

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425255379
ISBN-13: 978-0425255377

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Victoria Thompson on the WEB: WebpageFacebook, Goodreads

Books in the Series:

Murder on Astor Place (1999), Murder at St. Mark's Place (2000), Murder on Gramercy Park (2001), Murder on Washington Square (2002), Murder on Mulberry Bend (2003), Murder on Marble Row (2004), Murder on Lenox Hill (2005), Murder in Little Italy (2006), Murder in Chinatown (2007), Murder on Bank Street (2008), Murder on Waverly Place (2009), Murder on Lexington Avenue (2010), Murder on Sister's Row (2011), Murder on Fifth Avenue (2012) (Hardback)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.



Excerpt from Murder on Fifth Avenue, courtesy of Amazon.

Synopsis:

From the tenements to the town houses of nineteenth-century New York, midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy never waiver in their mission to aid the innocent and apprehend the guilty. Now, the latest novel in the Edgar®-nominated series finds Sarah and Malloy investigating the murder of a Knickerbocker club member who was made to pay his dues...

A Gaslight Mystery

Sarah Brandt's family is one of the oldest in New York City, and her father, Felix Decker, takes his position in society very seriously. He still refuses to resign himself to his daughter being involved with an Irish Catholic police detective. But when a member of his private club--the very exclusive Knickerbocker--is murdered, Decker forms an uneasy alliance with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to solve the crime as discreetly as possible.

Malloy soon discovers that despite his social standing, the deceased--Chilton Devries--was no gentleman. In fact, he's left behind his own unofficial club of sorts, populated by everyone who despised him. As he and Sarah sort through the suspects, it becomes clear to her that her father is evaluating more than the detective's investigative abilities, and that, on a personal level, there is much more at stake for Malloy than discovering who revoked Devries' membership--permanently


Thoughts:

Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery series continues with the paperback release of her book, Murder on Fifth Avenue. Thompson's grasp of nineteenth century customs and clothing, as well as, her ideas on Victorian behavior make this book and series, a real gem. Readers who have read any of the 13 other books in this series already know that Sarah Brandt is quite the heroine but new readers to the series will also fall in love with her quirky sense of humor and her heroics. Thompson wins again with this book. It's a great addition to the series. 

This is such a good historical cozy mystery series. I always enjoy cozies that have more than one genre mixed together. Thompson's use of the historical makes this series appeal to readers of both genres, historical fiction and cozy mysteries. It's a mix that works with a heroine like Sarah Brandt. Sarah is mid-wife who dabbles in a little amateur sleuthing. But back in Victorian days sleuthing was certainly not a respectable job for a lady. Thompson uses that to her advantage and gives this mystery a great dose of history!

Thompson has a wealth of knowledge about the nineteenth century which comes out in everyone of the Gaslight mysteries. Everything from the occupations to the correct dress and attitudes of the times are carefully added into each mystery. Murder on Fifth Avenue is no exception. Sarah and Frank are once again on a mission and readers will wait with baited breath as they find the clues to solve this one of a kind historical mystery.

But it isn't all about the mystery and in this one Sarah's father isn't just looking to see how Mallory puts the pieces together. It's about whether or not he is the right man for another job. It adds another level to the book and gives readers a hint of what might be to come in future books. That little slip of romance makes this book extra special. 

With great characters and a vast knowledge of the nineteenth century, Victoria Thompson once again gives readers just what they are looking for... a great historical mystery!

Murder on Fifth Avenue is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!





About the Author:

In her previous life, Victoria Thompson was the bestselling author of twenty historical romances, a career that gave her a great admiration for life in the 19th Century. Now she is writing the Gaslight Mystery Series, featuring midwife Sarah Brandt and police detective Frank Malloy, for Berkley Prime Crime.    



Giveaway Details

The publisher is providing a one copy giveaway of Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson.

~You must be a GFC follower or an email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only (publisher request)
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 12th.

1. Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation to the author.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Winners Post!

We haven't had a winners post in quite a while. What with me taking time off and then an unexpected illness to deal with. 

But it's time once again to announce the winners of some of the giveaways that have recently closed here on the blog.

As always the winner has been chosen by a random number generator. I have all of the information necessary to send to the publisher on the form that was filled out, but you will still be notified by email if you win.

Keep in mind that some publishers are quick to send out their prizes and others are not. In some extreme cases they are never sent at all. Since I am only working with a select few publishers now, I don't think  there will be any problems. 

If you don't receive something please let me know, and I will try my best to get it for you but I hope you can understand that I am not responsible for publishers who don't send prizes as they should.

Let's get on with the good stuff!

Just Little Things by Nancy Vu
Winner: Deb Soliz





Hex on the EX by Rochelle Staab
Winner: Martha Lawson










Gluten for Punishment by Nancy J. Parra
Winner: Anita Yancey









Mrs. Jefferies Turns the Tide by Emily Brightwell
Winner: Renee Brown









Winners will be notified tonight and information sent to the publishers tomorrow.

Thank-you for participating! And check out more great giveaways on my sidebar as they become available.

Review: Heart of Iron

Heart of Iron (London Steampunk - Book 2) by Bec McMaster

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Casablanca
Genre: Paranormal Steampunk
Pages: 448
ISBN-10: 1402270305
ISBN-13: 978-1402270307

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Bec McMaster on the WEB: Webpage, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series: Kiss of Steel (2012), Heart of Iron (2013)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.


Excerpt from Heart of Iron, courtesy of Amazon.

Synopsis:

In the mist-shrouded streets of London's dreaded Whitechapel district, werewolves, vampires, and a clockwork army are one step away from battle...

No One to Trust

Dangerous. Unpredictable. That's how people know the hulking Will Carver. And those who don't like pretty words just call him The Beat. No matter how hard Will works to suppress his werewulfen side, certain things drive him beyond all control. And saucy Miss Lena Todd tops the list. 

Lena makes the perfect spy against the ruling Echelon blue bloods. No one suspects that under the appearance of flirtatious debutante lies a heart of iron. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can't wrap around her finger and the one man whose kiss she can never forget. He's supposed to be protecting her, but he might just be her biggest threat yet...


Thoughts:

If you are a steampunk fan, you have to read Bec McMaster! Her London Steampunk series continues with her latest book, Heart of Iron. It's not just steampunk, which takes readers back to an earlier time, complex yet intriguing. McMaster's adds paranormal elements which gives her series an otherworldly feel. McMaster is a break out author who has a great new series to her credit. Her descriptive powers are flawless and her ability to draw the reader in is unparalleled.

This is a book and series that I can't say enough good things about. First things first. I think writing steampunk well, is a difficult task. A lot of writers are trying it these days. It seems to have become a fad, much like Twilight and vampire stories took over the writing world for a time. Steampunk has blossomed into a sub-genre that used to be hard to find, but now it's everywhere. The trick is, some of the ones I've read, have not been that great. They seem to be missing that special something. They may have lost it somewhere, but Bec McMaster certainly found it. She blends the steampunk era atmosphere with the paranormal like a pro. Her stories may not be realistic, but they definitely draw the reader in.

McMaster has a knack for grabbing the readers interest, with both cool locations and settings and one of a kind characters. London is indeed a magical and wonderful city, but the London McMaster's writes about is eerie and filled with danger. McMaster makes London exciting and a bit dark, which really appeals to those of us who like paranormal writing. It's the perfect setting for vampires, werewolves and other boogie men. I love the way this author making the setting so important it almost takes on the aspects of a character in the story.

I love McMaster's characters in this book as well. I always like a good brooding hero and this book certainly has that. I love the way he seems to think he doesn't deserve love and in the end he can't do without it. I like that the heroine was strong enough to handle him, but yet gentle in the way she loved him. The mix of paranormal, romance and steampunk is exceptional. But I think it's really the characters that advance this story so wonderfully. They may be vamps and weres but they still have hearts and McMaster seems to really get that. 

Bec McMaster is a writer I would recommend to anyone who wants to read good steampunk, good paranormal romance or just altogether good writing. 

Heart of Iron is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



About the Author:

Award winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Victoria, Australia, and grew up with her nose in a book. Following a lifelong love affair with fantasy, she discovered romance and hasn't looked back. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and adventurous steampunk romances. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds.
Her first novel, Kiss of Steel, is a steampunk romance from Sourcebooks and debuts September, 2012. Heart of Iron is due for release May 2013. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Cat Nap

Cat Nap (Sunny & Shadow - Book 2) by Claire Donally

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425252132
ISBN-13: 978-0425252130

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Claire Donally on the WEB: Goodreads

Books in the series:

The Big Kitty (2012), Cat Nap (2013)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.



Excerpt from Cat Nap by Claire Donally, courtesy of Amazon.

Synopsis:

Let sleeping cats lie...

Kittery Harbor, Maine, may not be a hotbed of criminal activity, but Sunny Coolidge and her feline companion, Shadow, have a knack for nosing out trouble. While Shadow copes with a sore paw and an irritating puppy invading his turf, Sunny gets mixed up in a financial dispute between rival vets and ex-spouses Jane and Martin Rigsdale. Sunny agrees to help Jane confront Martin about his moneygrubbing ways, only to find herself caught at the scene of a crime: Martin has been murdered.
 
Though Jane is pegged as the lead suspect in the investigation, Martin, with his greedy ways and his catting around, did not have a shortage of enemies. Did a scorned lover or cheated creditor put Martin down for good? It's time for Sunny and Shadow to team up again, sniff out a killer, and clear Jane's name before someone decides to put them to sleep, too.


Thoughts:

Author Claire Donally is a mystery herself, which I find a great inspiration for reading her Sunny and Shadow mystery series. Cat lovers and cozy fans who enjoy the latest book in the series, Cat Nap. Donally's ability to keep the reader guessing is unmatched in the sub-genre. Her twists and turns are quite appealing as well as the fact that readers can hear Shadow, the cat's, thoughts. A good addition to the series.

One of the things that I like about Claire Donally is how knowledgeable about cat behavior she appears to be. It takes a lot of research to make every movement and action of a cat seem realistic. Donally writes cats the way another favorite author of mine does, Rita Mae Brown, hmmm I wonder. Both authors are able to get into the head of the cat and let the reader know exactly what they are thinking. 

Cat enthusiasts will love Shadow and the humorous thoughts and ideas that Shadow provides to the story. But cozy fans will also like the great New England feel that Donally gives to the book by setting it in Maine. I have always thought that Maine is such a beautiful state and so authentic. The people are people of the land and the sea and their attitudes and ideas are just a little bit different than in other parts of the country. Donally really captures that and provides readers with characters and settings that celebrate the people and places of Maine.

The mystery aspect of Cat Nap was full of surprises. I thought Sunny and Shadow had plenty of suspects and a few red herrings that kept the pace fast and furious. This vet was a lover, not a fighter. He loved women and money apparently, but he didn't know what to do with them after he got them. I thought the story was realistic and could have possibly been something that could happen in real life. When you read a cozy mystery or any mystery that involves murder, you probably aren't really looking for an escape, LOL! You probably want to be that investigator, trying to put those clues together to solve that mystery. That's why the realistic ones are so much fun to read.

A great cozy with a super main character and the perfect side kick!

Cat Nap is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Currently there is not much information available about Claire Donally. I know she is a writer of many of cozy mysteries and Claire Donally is of course a pseudonym  but that's about it. If you hear anything through the grapevine about this author let me know. I love a good mystery LOL!

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is providing one copy of Cat Nap for giveaway here at Debbie's Book Bag.

~You must be a GFC follower or Email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only (publisher request)
~Deadline to enter is Midnight EST, June 10th.

1. Please leave a comment on this post in appreciation to the author.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Ours to Love

Ours to Love (Wicked Lovers - Book 7) by Shayla Black

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Heat
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Pages: 400
ISBN-10: 0425253392
ISBN-13: 978-0425253397

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Heat)

WARNING: This is an erotic romance and it may be considered inappropriate for readers under the age of 18. Excerpts from this novel may be graphic and should not be viewed by those under 18 as well.

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Shayla Black on the WEB: WebpageTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

Wicked Ties (2007), Decadent (2007), Delicious (2010), Surrender to Me (2011), Belong to Me (2011), Mine to Hold (2012), Ours to Love (2013)

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer photo of the covers in this series.



Excerpt from Ours to Love, courtesy of Shayla Black's webpage.

Synopsis:

Between two brothers...

Xander Santiago spent years living it up as a billionaire playboy. Never given a chance to lead his family business in the boardroom, he became a master in the bedroom instead. His older brother; Javier, inherited the company and worked tirelessly to make it an empire. But while cutthroat corporate espionage took its toll on Javier, nothing was as devastating as the seemingly senseless murder of his wife. It propelled him into a year of punishing rage and guilt... until Xander came to his rescue.

comes an irresistible woman...

Eager to rejuvenate Javier's life; Xander shanghais him to Louisiana, where they meet beautiful London McLane. After a decade of tragedy and struggle, London is determined to make a fresh start - and these sexy billionaire brothers are more than willing to help. In every way. London is stunned to find herself open to their heated suggestions... and desperately hoping that her love will heal them.

and inescapable danger.

But a killer is watching, on a single-minded mission to destroy all the Santiago brothers hold dear, especially London. As fear and desire collide, every passionate beat of her heart could be her last.

Thoughts:

Shayla Black once again thrills readers with her latest addition to the very popular Wicked Lovers series, Ours to Love. Black takes on a menage a trois theme, with two brothers in love with the same woman. But as always the story isn't just about the sex. This is romantic suspense, a little heavy on the romance of course but definitely one of those nail-biters as well. Black gives her characters and her story just the right amount of sizzle and just the right amount of edge. Readers and fans will not be disappointed. New readers to the series, get ready.

Shayla Black always has such a sense of style about her books. She doesn't make her adult themes seem sleazy or dirty, but lets the reader see the beauty and the excitement in finding the right type of relationship to fulfill each person. I think there is a time and place for every kind of book and erotic romance is no different. As a great and wise show once said, "Different strokes for different folks." It's all about tolerance and allowing people to have their fantasies and finding just the right thing to satisfy them. Black is able to do that in spades.

Xander finally gets his own story. As a reader of the series, I was really looking forward to that. Xander has long been a favorite of mine. It certainly didn't go the way I was expecting it to go, with the addition of his brother Javier, but that was the best part. It was unexpected and thrilling all at the same time. It was edge of your set suspense, with a good dose of eroticism. I like romances of any kind that have a good plot and this one definitely had that going for it. Black's ideas of how to get her characters in and out of danger are always out of the box and I think readers will love that about this book in particular.

I liked London a lot as well. A strong woman, adventurous and also very caring. More than anything she wants to help heal these two men who have seen tragedy in their lives. All the while, she has seen her share of very hard times. I liked the fact that Black didn't make her cynical about her past or make her too sappy. She has just the right balance to make her a great heroine. 

Black's books are always very character driven and that is shown in Ours to Love as well. Both of these men, Xander and Javier have their own stories, but it's where they intersect that the magic happens. Black has another hit on her hands!

Ours to Love is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



About the Author:


Shayla Black (aka Shelley Bradley) is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 30 sizzling contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances for multiple print, electronic, and audio publishers. She lives in Texas with her husband, munchkin, and one very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading and listening to an eclectic blend of music.
Shayla’s work has been translated in about a dozen languages. She has also received or been nominated for The Passionate Plume, The Holt Medallion, Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, and the National Reader’s Choice Awards. RT Bookclub has twice nominated her for Best Erotic Romance of the year, as well as awarded her several Top Picks, and a KISS Hero Award.
A writing risk-taker, Shayla enjoys tackling writing challenges with every book.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Ours to Love by Shayla Black.

~You must be a GFC follower or Email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 6th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation to the author on this post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review and Giveaway: The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry

The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry (Ivy Beasley - Book 4) by Ann Purser

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425261808
ISBN-13: 978-0425261804

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Ann Purser on the WEB: Webpage, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the Series:

The Hangman's Row Enquiry (2010), The Measby Murder Enquiry (2011), The Wild Wood Enquiry (2012), The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry (2013)

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer photo of the covers in this series.



Excerpt from The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry, courtesy of Amazon.

Synopsis:

From the author of the Lois Meade Mysteries...
Save the date: Ivy Elizabeth Beasley is ready to share her golden years and plans to wed Roy Vivian Goodman on the fifth of May. A spinster no more, the private eye is in for marriage, murder, and mishaps galore   It’s the talk of Ivy Beasley's retirement community—her fiancĂ©, Roy, has quite the hefty inheritance. She couldn’t care less about his fortune, but it has a way of luring long-lost relatives out of the woodwork. And when, against Ivy’s wishes, Roy asks his dubious nephew, furniture salesman Steven Wright, to be the best man, she cannot help but disapprove. After all, she suspects he’s out for his uncle’s fortune…   But after the banns of Ivy and Roy’s marriage are announced at the Barrington village church and an anonymous voice shouts out a protest, the wedding may be off. And with the discovery of a body in a bed in a nearby furniture shop, Ivy and her team of sleuths at Enquire Within may be closer to a dangerous reception than they realize.

Thoughts:

Ivy Beasley is once again up to no good. Well, not exactly, but she's up to some amateur sleuthing for sure. The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry is the fourth book in Ann Purser's, Ivy Beasley mystery series. This delightful English cozy will have readers thinking twice about what grandma and grandpa might be up to in their golden years. Purser has created a wonderful cast of characters and given them just the right circumstances to make them shine. Readers will find themselves knee-deep in this mystery in no time and putting those clues together in record time.

Ann Purser's direction in cozy writing is somewhat eccentric. Her characters aren't your typical amateur sleuths with ties to the police, or men and women with regular jobs. Purser's characters are senior citizens, who live in a retirement community. Ivy Beasley, heroine in this series is in her late seventies or early eighties. But Purser doesn't hold back even if her characters aren't exactly spring chickens. Ivy is about to get married. Certainly not what cozy readers would be expecting, but definitely worth their time.

Purser uses wit and some stunning banter to move her plot along and readers will love the whole wedding scenario added into this story. The groom having a hefty inheritance provides some unusual suspects. Ivy has a sharp tongue and a sharp eye and figuring out this crime hits close to home because the murder victim is the best man in her wedding. I loved the way Purser used Ivy's disposition to give readers insight into her character. Ivy is Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher rolled into one, with a little more spice than sugar.

I enjoyed the whole English countryside setting as well. The retirement community that Ivy and her would be husband reside in, also gives her two other partners in crime. Together they operate Enquire Within, their own detecting agency. Purser just does an amazing job of giving the story what I like to call "place". That means it has atmosphere, ambiance if you will. This book and this series has such a good feel to it. Readers will fall in love with the characters and the surrounding town and its people.

A great addition to a wonderful series with eccentric characters and a different feel than a normal cozy.

The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry is available NOW at from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Ann Purser is also the author of the Lois Meade Mysteries that ran from Murder on Monday to Sorrow on Sundayand now continue Lois Meade's sleuthing in Warning at OneTragedy at TwoThreats at ThreeFoul Play at Four, andFound Guilty at Five. The series featuring Ivy Beasley includes such titles as The Hangman's Row Enquiry and The Measby Murder Enquiry. She was born in Market Harborough in Leicestershire, and has lived most of her life in villages. She has turned her hand to many things, including journalism (as a columnist for SHE magazine), keeper of hens and donkeys, art gallery manager, clerical assistant in a village school, Open University graduate, novelist, mother of three, wife of Philip Purser, critic and writer. She is an avid reader of detective stories.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry by Ann Purser.

~You must be a GFC follower or Email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only (publisher request)
~The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 5th. 

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