Monday, December 12, 2011

Review and Giveaway: A Spirited Gift

A Spirited Gift (Missing Pieces Mystery - Book 3) by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 294pp

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

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

Joyce and Jim Lavene on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Books in the series: A Timely Vision (2010), A Touch of Gold (2011), A Spirited Gift (2011)

CoverArt: Click on the picture for a larger, clearer image of the cover art for this series!

Excerpt from A Spirited Gift


The mayor of Duck, North Carolina, Dae O'Donnell, is a woman with a gift for finding lost things. Sometimes it leads her to lost keys or earrings - and sometimes it leads her to murder...


Dae is playing host to twenty North Carolina elected officials attending her first Mayors' Conference Weekend at the Blue Whale Inn. Before they can get down to business, the politicians must weather the severe overnight hurricane. The morning after, Dae finds a diamond-and-ruby ring belonging to Mayor Sandi Foxx - whose body is also discovered in what's left of the inn's toolshed.

After receiving a vision through the ring of somebody threatening her with a gun, Dae doesn't believe Sandi died in the storm. Was it a deadly resignation from her personal assistant and lover? Or perhaps one of the mayors wanted to kick Sandi off the campaign trail. Either way, Dae is determined to find the killer, and she won't be granting clemancy...


A Spirited Gift is the 60th novel by writing team Joyce and Jim Lavene and the 3rd book in their Missing Pieces series. The Lavene's have been writing since 1985 and have certainly learned a few things along the way. You can always count on them to provide readers with a book that is multi-layered, full of quirky, amazing characters and a plot that will keep readers glued to the pages. This series has a bit of a paranormal bent, which will appeal to readers who enjoy reading about supernatural characters or events. 

Duck, North Carolina Mayor Dae O'Donnell is a finder of lost things. She has a psychic ability that helps her to find clues and solve crimes. In a sense the Lavene's have made Dae a medium. Spirit world works through her. Sometimes it helps her to find specific clues or she might find something that gives her a vision of something connected to the crime. I liked the fact that writer's make all of this seem like normal occurrences in Dae's life. She doesn't seem bothered or discombobulated about the fact that she isn't like everybody else. She is a strong characters that readers will enjoy reading about. 

In A Sprited Gift we also get to see Dae interact with the ghost of her ancester, who just happens to be a pirate. The initial mystery in the book features the mayor's conference that Dae has set up and her friend Mayor Sandi Foxx who turns up dead following a hurricane that hits the Outer Banks with a vengeance. But readers are also treated to a secondary storyline featuring Rafe Masterson, a dastardly pirate, who agrees to help Dae solve the mystery if she'll help prove his innocence in a crime that got him hanged. The authors show a lot of versatility in being able pull of a mystery within a mystery. I liked Rafe a lot! He was a great character and I hope to see him in future installments perhaps. He added some comic relief to the story as well as a great secondary character.

There were plenty of suspects in this one, including Mayor Sandi's assistant and boyfriend. Readers will find motives ranging from jilted lovers to removing the competition. I had no idea mayoral races were that hotly contested, but I'm sure a murder could be committed for less. There are certainly enough twists and turns to keep readers floundering, trying to figure it out. I like being surprised, a hallmark of a good mystery writer. I did figure it out, but not until a couple of pages before the big reveal... a very good addition to this series! I like Dae and residents of Duck. The setting on the Outer Banks is perfect. Makes me want to get summer home there or something. Get to know the locals and find some clues of my own... LOL!

I recommend this one to cozy and paranormal readers. There's a little something for both groups. I liked the way the authors incorporated Dae's personal life into the story as well. The storyline featuring the death of Dae's mother and her trying to contact her is interesting as well. I think readers will find this series is much like the others written by the Lavene's... top notch in every way!

A Spirited Gift is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

Joyce and Jim Lavene are a married writing couple who live in North Carolina with their family. They get help from their cat, Quincy, and their big puppy, Rudi, who they rescued in 2010. They have been writing together since 1994 and published since 1999. Last year marked their 52nd book in print. They enjoy writing mysteries but are at home with fantasy, romance and non-fiction. The couple both work for their small, hometown newspaper, The Weekly Post. They are active in Sisters-in-Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of A Spirited Gift by Jim and Joyce Lavene.

~ You must be a Google Friend Connect follower or an e-mail subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST December 26th.

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


The Cozy Mystery Journal said...

I'm not entering since I'm in Canada :)

I do like the sound of this series though, and will have to check them out at my local bookstore.

Thanks for the great review.

lag123 said...

I have not heard of this series. It sounds like one that I would REALLY like!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Karen B said...

Politics, a medium, murder, pirate spirit - sounds absolutely fascinating! I want to read this series!

Theresa N. said...

I've added it to my reading list.
Theresa N

Anonymous said...

What a great sounding series.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I can't wait to read this book.

Martha Lawson said...

A cozy with paranormal in it?? Sounds like my kind of book! Please enter me for it.

In Julie's Opinion said...

I know it's not original, but I LOVE paranormal cozies!! I can't wait to read this one! And dang, the 60th novel! Very, very awesome, ladies!

Carol N Wong said...

I love all cozies and this one is set in North Carolina, one of my favorite states!


ann said...

With a tinge of paranormal added to a murder mystery. Sounds great.
amhengst at verizon dot net

cyn209 said...

another add to my Wish List!!!
thank you for this giveaway!!!!

Stacie said...

I love this series. Jim & Joyce make an awesome writing team. I have enjoyed several of their series & look forward to reading Dae's latest adventure. Awesome giveaway!!!!!


mamabunny13 said...

I love reading books set in a place that is close to where I live or a place that I've been. It makes it fun! (I live near Virginia Beach)