Monday, November 3, 2014

Review and Giveaway: A High End Finish

A High End Finish (Fixer-Upper Mystery - Book 1) by Kate Carlisle

Publication Date: 11/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0451469194
ISBN-13: 978-0451469199

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)

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

Kate Carlisle on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, A High End Finish, courtesy of the author's website.

Synopsis:

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES! 

In the seaside town of Lighthouse Cove in northern California, everyone knows the best man for the job is actually a woman—contractor Shannon Hammer. But while Shannon can do wonders with a power drill and a little elbow grease, she’s about to discover that some problems aren’t so easily fixed....
 
Shannon’s home-renovation and repair business is booming, but her love life needs work. On a blind date with real estate agent Jerry Saxton, she has to whip out a pair of pliers to keep Jerry from getting too hands on. Shannon is happy to put her rotten date behind her, but when Jerry’s found dead in a run-down Victorian home that she’s been hired to restore, the town’s attractive new police chief suspects that her threats may have laid the foundation for murder.
 
Determined to clear her name, Shannon conducts her own investigation—with the help of her four best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer who’s just moved to town. But as they get closer to prying out the murderer’s identity, Shannon is viciously attacked. Now she’ll have to nail down the truth—or end up in permanent foreclosure.…


Thoughts:

Kate Carlisle brings readers the first book in her new Fixer-Upper mystery series, A High End Finish. Readers who love Carlisle's Bibliophile mysteries will be intrigued by this new direction from the well-loved author. Lighthouse Cove is an enchanting seaside town near San Francisco and home renovator and contractor Shannon Hammer is an equally delightful. This book not only has great tips for renovating a home, but also a well plotted and thoughtful mystery. A great new series in the making!

What I liked:

I am always a fan of small town settings in cozy mysteries. It may limit the suspect pool a little bit, but there is so much character and substance in a small town like Lighthouse Cove, that it makes up for it. Kate Carlisle chooses to set her new cozy series in a small California coastal town, that is a joy to read about. I enjoyed the way that the town was so invested in the heroine's love life. Everyone seemed to have a stake in what happened on Shannon's blind date and I thought that was priceless. Living in a small town myself, I know that to be true. Everybody knows everything about you and that comes across so well in this book. 

Shannon Hammer is an interesting heroine for a lot of reasons. I'm definitely not what anyone would call a feminist, but I do like strong female characters and Carlisle comes through with Shannon. Her career as a home renovator and contractor was perfect for her. She showed a lot of pride in her work and I loved all of the home improvement information. But most importantly I liked the idea that her profession is one that usually belongs to the male gender. You don't see too many ladies out swinging a hammer. The last name might have been a little too much, lol, but I still loved Shannon's no nonsense approach to life and love.

Readers are treated to a great mystery with this one. Shannon's blind date with Realtor, Jerry didn't go quite the way she would have liked. He gets a little too touchy-feely and she threatens to kill him in front of the home-town crowd. When he turns up dead in at one of her job sites, done in with one of her pink handled pipe wrenches she seems like the most logical suspect. But as she starts to delve a little deeper it appears that Jerry was quite the ladies man and the suspects start to pile up. I liked the way Carlisle kicked this one off. She gets the murder out of the way early, and then lets the heroine take over. Sussing out information and following clues. Shannon may have been a bit too tentative in her first investigation but I think she has a lot of potential. 

Love interests abound for Shannon after her disastrous blind date. Not only does the sexy police chief get involved but a local crime writer as well. The secondary characters were well developed and really added to the overall feeling of the community and how they fit into Shannon's life. She has her friends, family and several locals to bring out the storylines. I look forward to learning more about each and every one of them.

Bottom Line:

This was an excellent start to a new series. Not too overwhelming with details and full of surprises. I did figure it out before it was all said and done, but I think it was more a question of wanting this person to be the bad guy than too much info from the author. Carlisle proves she a few tricks up her sleeve by going in a totally different direction than her previous series and I think it was definite success. 

A High End Finish will be available tomorrow from your favorite bookseller. Pre-order is available NOW from some online retailers.

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




About the Author:


Award-winning author Kate Carlisle worked in television for many years before turning to writing. Inspired by the northern seaside towns of her native California, where Victorian mansions grace the craggy cliffs and historic lighthouses warn fishermen and smugglers alike, Kate was drawn to create the Fixer-Upper Mysteries, featuring small-town girl Shannon Hammer, a building contractor specializing in home restoration. Kate also writes the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mysteries (The Book Stops HereA Cookbook ConspiracyPeril in Paperback) featuring Brooklyn Wainwright.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of A High End Finish by Kate Carlisle.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, November 17th.

1. Please leave a comment. Ever owned or worked on a real fixer-upper? What was your experience like?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

52 comments:

Raquel Muniz said...

I have never owned a fixer upper, but I love watching it shows about it on TV.

traveler said...

I have never owned a fixer upper. love to read about the experience. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Bernadette Hopke said...

I have not had a fixer upper.My Dad was a carpenter and as a child saw him fix and build many homes.The last house we had before he passed away..he fixed up. he did wonderful work.:) Have a wonderful day :)

Brenda Dunston said...

I have done a lot of fixer-upper projects. I enjoy the whole process from deciding what project to do, shopping for the items needed, learning how to do the project, doing the work for the project, seeing the results and getting the compliments on the project! I enjoy reading and watching home improvement shows and getting project ideas from them. I would love to win this giveaway especially since the 17th is my birthday!!! Thanks and have a great day. :)

Ronna Lord said...

Never owned a fixer upper,but after 37 years in our present house, we have changed or fixed up numerous things to make "our house".

Kerry said...

The house I live in is a fixer-upper. A real buyers remorse.

Jen Scott said...

I have never done a fixer-upper house. I imagine it isn't easy. I am looking forward to reading A High End Finish. Please enter me in the contest. myrifraf (at) gmail.com

Thank you

Sue Farrell said...

We bought a fixer-upper to fix then rent. It was quite a project----finally ended up using a contractor for some of the more complex work.

Karen B said...

No - but I wish I had someone to come over and do all the things that need to be done!

Wanda Downs said...

Yes, we remodeled a two story house and finished the bottom first and lived in it while remodeling the top. Had 4 kids and it was hectic but everyone pitched in and it came out great

Maria UB said...

Haven't owned a complete fixer-upper, but we did make little repairs here & there. Luckily, my hubby is handy with tools. He, with my Dad's help, knocked down our basement stairs, & built new ones. The original stairs were way too steep & dangerous. I was pregnant when we moved in, so I couldn't even go down to do laundry. They also did some landscaping, fixed the roof on our garage (it leaked), & started some work in our garage attic. So far everything's going well. Our next project is to expand our kitchen, just a little. :-)

Texas Book Lover said...

Just as a child, never as an adult.

Rita said...

The house I'm living in needed work when my husband and I moved in. We are happy with what we did even though it was a lot of work.

skkorman said...

I've never owned a fixer-upper but I think it would be fun to do that type of work!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Charline said...

Our first home was a fixer upper and we enjoyed making it a home.

Dotty Kelley said...

Never owned a fixer-upper but like reading about it.
dotkel50 at comcast dot net

Renee W said...

I never owned an official fixer-upper but I've lived in several old houses with lots of things going wrong at the same time. And very little money to fix them. Which leads to creative solutions and one memorable experience with hydraulic cement. I do think I will enjoy this series very much.

Kate Carlisle said...

Debbie, Oh, thank you so much for taking the time to read and review A HIGH-END FINISH! I'm thrilled that you loved it, and I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts with other readers.

To answer your question... Yes, I have owned a fixer-upper. I had my kitchen renovated not too long ago. I'm in love with the results, but I confess... the workers weren't as cute as I'd been hoping they would be. ;) They weren't bad. Just not the kind of guy you see in a Coke commercial... if you know what I mean.

Kate Carlisle said...

Bernadette, how wonderful, that your dad was so handy! He probably spoiled you for many men. ;) There is something very appealing about a man who knows his way around tools.

Kate Carlisle said...

Brenda, I enjoy the compliments part! ;) I love doing little projects, but I get overwhelmed by the big ones, with so many different parts. Still, it is very gratifying to see it through.

holdenj said...

I haven't had a true fixer-upper in my life, but living in a slightly older home (1958), we've had our share of things that have had to be done. We sanded and painted all the siding by ourselves and re-sheetrocked the garage.
Look forward to checking out High End Finish! Thanks!

Charlotte said...

That is something I have never done and no desire to do ever.
CABWNANA1@bellsouth.net

Kate Carlisle said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that, Kerry. :( I hope you can do something so that you'll love your home.

Kate Carlisle said...

Renee, oooh, that sounds like an interesting story! I'd love to hear it. You never know, you may see it in a book one day. ;)

Linda Rima said...

Made a mobile home into a house. Added 2 bedrooms, family room & attaced 2 car garage. And of siding & roof oer it all. Scariest moment? Cutting the side of the mobile home so that the addition become part overall house.

Linda Kish said...

I have not had a fixer upper. Right now my son is wanting to do a lot of updating in our house but it's not that it's needed.
lkish77123 at gmail dot com

ceblain said...

25 years ago we designed and were the general contractors of our three level ultra modern (at the time) home and that was probably as bad as having a fixer upper, and although it took a year from start to finish we have few complaints about what we wanted that we didn't know we even needed or could use until we actually moved in and lived in the house. After we moved in, we slowly redid all of the things that we wanted like a complete closet system in the master bedroom and putting in a pool and decking all around the house to join with each double sliding door decks. The best thing we ever did was (way ahead of the time that it was popular) was to put a lot of slate flooring in the front foyer and side foyer and the kitchen was all slate too. We sealed it and it was the best thing we have ever had for floors until we retired and got Porcelain tile which is super easy to take care of. We also made 7 other homes ours with adding on, making basements into big usable family rooms and doing other major changes --- and then we got transferred again and began adding on to the next house. I loved it. I would love to be a stager for homes if I were younger and wanted to start a new type of work. Love that kind of thing. Can't wait to read this book.
Cynthia
ceblain(AT)tmlponline(DOT)net

Patricia P. said...

We own a fixer upper, but since we've both retired, there isn't much money to work on it.

Jeanine Elizalde said...

I have. A little Craftman cottage built around 1920, the home had not been maintained over the years and had a one time had weird dividing walls installed. We were able to bring back to its former glory. Lots of work, very rewarding.

Angela Holland said...

I have not owned a fixer upper but after three hurricanes came through here we had to redo most of our house and to me it was not fun at all.

Patricia T said...

Our house is a fixer-upper. With the economy, things fell behind. It will just have to be a little at a time, as we are able.


patucker54 at aol dot com

lag123 said...

I did own a fixer upper but I wasn't very good at fixing it up. I would rather have professionals do it.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Debbie K said...

I have not lived in a fixer-upper, but my
husband and I have done a lot of remodeling. (A sledge hammer is quite therapeutic!)

Nancy Luebke said...

Yes, we are living in it now. My DH has put a lot into this home. We now have a deck instead of a little crumbling porch. Bathroom and kitchen has been remodeled and several outer walls completely redone. Attic hole is now an upstairs bedroom and furnace room. And our gravel driveway that washed out after every hard rain is now blacktopped. Of course, there are still a few areas that need some more work. In the middle of this we had to replace the roof.It just keeps going.

Bigreadersite said...

The house I live in was a fixer upper. It was not as bad as some I have seen but there was layers of dust on every thing including hanging from light fixtures. Most of the electrical was very bad. The electrician was amazed there hadn't been a fire. It can be a nightmare if you don't get the right people to help.

justpeachy36 said...

Thanks for stopping by and replying to some of the comments here. I appreciate that so much and I'm sure my readers do as well.

Loved the book, can't wait to see where you go with the series.

TAMMY CUEVAS said...

Two years ago, we bought an older home in order to fulfill my lifelong dream of renovating and restoring. We're still working on it! It's a lot more trouble than we ever dreamed.

Martha Lawson said...

No, I haven't but I'd love to!!

Alicia said...

We're in a semi-fixer upper. House is ok but needs updating greatly. It is very slow going!

afarage(at) earthlink.net

Rachael Brown said...

The first house I owned was a fixer-upper. I added tile floors to the bathrooms and changed out the toilets and vanities. I also stripped the kitchen cabinets and repainted them. Thankfully our current house is not a fixer-upper, but when things break or need updating I will do them myself. There are youtube videos to show how to do any home projects on your own.

Theresa N. said...

Yes live in a 100 year old fixer upper and it never seems to be finished.
Theresa N
weceno(at)yahoo(dot)com

Carol Bee said...

I love the concept of a fixer upper. I just don't have the skills to do it. :(

Meg C. said...

I've never lived in a real fixer-upper but I like the idea of maybe taking on a fixer-upper sometime in the future. But given the fact that I'm fairly sure I don't have skills to do it myself, I would probably end up hiring someone like Shannon to do most of the complex work.

Thanks for the chance to win.

robbfan141729@yahoo.com

Carol N Wong said...

Yes, I have! Only except for the dangerous wiring in the garage and the shot water heater, we didn't know that it was a fixer upper! We paintes all the rooms, changed the carpet to laminate wood, fixed big problems in the roof and were enjoying our house. Then we got scared out by viscious vandals. They broke our windows, wrote awful stuff all over the car, ruined the door bell, you name it. It is a same because we had invested so much of ourselves in the house that we had to leave it at the end.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Marcy x said...

my mom and i built a potting shed out of recycled items such as an old counter top and sink, apple barrels, windows from our run down shed, old medicine cabinets, and so on. it turned out really cute and sturdy. it was truly a project of love between my mom and myself

cupcake58 said...

Our house is a real fixer upper. We are re-doing a half bath and then starting on the kitchen. Lots of hard work but we have books to go by and my husband has picked up lots of knowledge about many things throughout the years.
scarletbegonia5858@gmail.com

Robin Driscoll said...

I have not been involved with a fixer upper, don't know if I could do that type of work.

Kristina M. Anderson said...

The house I live in now is a continual fixer-upper. Painting the rooms, putting in new flooring, putting in woodwork, windows, etc. It is a lot of work. Thank you for a chance to win this book!

Anita Yancey said...

I have never owned or worked on a real fixer upper. My husband and I thought about buying one but after we looked at it, we realized that it would take to much money to fix it up. Thanks for having the giveaway.

ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

bn100 said...

No, I haven't

Kimberly Wyatt said...

I LOVED this book. I'm a huge fan of the Bibliophile Mysteries by Kate Carlise so this one was a must have for me. I can't wait for the second one to come out! (Also the next Bibliophile mystery!!) I'm not entering the giveaway since I already own the book, I just wanted to share my opinion.

Michelle F. said...

My parents fixed up our house when I was a kid and we got new kitchen cabinets. They painted some rooms. I only scraped the walls. It came with an old stove from 1922 (it had the year on it). It was mint green. My mother used to have to light the burner with a match! We had that stove for about five years before getting a brand new one.