Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Poisoned Prose

Poisoned Prose (Books by the Bay Mystery - Book 5) by Ellery Adams

Publication Date: 10/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425262952
ISBN-13: 978-0425262955

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

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

Ellery Adams on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

A Killer Plot (2010), A Deadly Cliche (2011), The Last Word (2011), Written in Stone (2012), Poisoned Prose (2013)

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

Excerpt from Poisoned Prose, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


When Olivia Limoges and other Oyster Bay patrons of the arts sponsor a retreat for famous storytellers, one of them is going to have a very unhappy ending…
Olivia thought gathering some of the most renowned storytellers in one place would be a nice, simple way for herself and the Bayside Book Writers to appreciate their talents. But things take a dark turn when the most famous storyteller in the nation—the captivating performer Violetta Devereaux—announces onstage that she will meet her end in Oyster Bay.

When Violetta is discovered murdered after the show, everyone involved with the retreat becomes a suspect. There are rumors that Violetta, who grew up in extreme poverty in the Appalachian Mountains, possessed an invaluable treasure. Now Chief Rawlings and the Bayside Book Writers must work at a frenzied pace to solve the crime before someone closes the book on them.


Ellery Adams continues her Books By the Bay series, with Poisoned Prose, the fifth installment. Adams centers her stories around a group of writers, detailing their struggles and successes as they try to sell their work. Readers who love a good mystery will certainly find it here, as a storytelling retreat provides the backdrop for murder. Adams shows the ups and downs of the writing process as well as the those of the small town of Oyster Bay. With a charming setting and characters that readers enjoy coming back to again and again, this is perhaps the best book in the series to date!

This is just one of the series' that you need to read altogether to get the full affect. Each book can be read as a stand alone, but I think readers really miss out on a lot of the back stories and nuances that make this series so good when they read them out of sequence. The Bayside Writers group is a set of characters that have shared a great deal of history throughout the previous books in the series. They have been through thick and thin as well as murder and in the latest installment, Poisoned Prose, a lot of life altering decisions are being made, some good, some bad. But none of that has as much significance without taking this series as a whole.

Poisoned Prose centers around a storytelling retreat which brings several of the countries greatest storytellers together in Oyster Bay. I loved this whole idea. Since my girls were in grade school, all of the students have taken part in the local storytelling festival and it has become a wonderful tradition here in our community. It's something we look forward to every year and I got that nostalgic feeling when reading about the retreat in this book. I liked the fact that Violetta was such a remarkable character. An Appalachian storyteller who is passing down the stories told by her father and grandfather. I would loved for her to somehow survive, so we could have learned more about her, but Adams knows what she's doing. The story was realistic and very interesting.

The mystery of the missing treasure and the story of Violetta's life made for a very intriguing mystery. The suspects were not all, who I thought they would be and I liked the fact that the victim had ties to residents of Oyster Bay as well. It provided connection and a reason for Olivia and the Bayside writers to be so involved in the case. I liked how each member of the writers group contributed their own part in the investigation. It goes to show that this series is not just focused on Olivia as a main character, each writer has a part and that's what makes this such a good series. The motive was pretty plain after a while and I had it narrowed down between two suspects, but couldn't pick until the killer was revealed. A great mystery in this one, I think it's the best of the series so far.

I liked the fact that Adams was easily able to balance the book between the mystery aspects and the relationships between the members of the writing group and the rest of the inhabitants of the town. There are so many things going on in the personal lives of these characters. I liked the fact that Olivia is finally open to the idea that perhaps she isn't meant to live her life alone. I liked the development of the relationship between her and Rawlings and I think that means a new direction for the series, as well as, other defining moments with other characters. There were a few times when tears about got me with this one. But sometimes things have to change in order to keep a series current and refreshing. 

Overall this was an excellent book. From the mystery to the personal stories, it has depth and is very believable. Adams was able to solve the crime, and keep readers invested. I loved all of the tips of the writing trade that are always imparted in these books and I think I'm going to have to start a critique group of my own. Adams makes writing seem like what it is... hard but worth it. I think that's the best part of the series.

Poisoned Prose is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

About the Author:

Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Poisoned Prose by Ellery Adams.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, November 14th.

1. Please leave a comment describing any writing efforts you have made, whether it's an article or the Great American Novel.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


cyn209 said...

the closest i've been to writing anything is probably a book report for school, 1000 years ago!! LOl!!!

Linda Kish said...

I agree with cyn209. Thank heavens I went to nursing school before they required writing papers of any sort. I never would have survived. I can barely write a letter.

NoraA said...

The closest I get to doing what anyone would call writing is doing more then a three paragraph review of a book.

I really should learn how to express my thoughts better, I'd probably get more readers on my review sight. LOL

Unknown said...

For many years, I was a journalist and an editor. I was also a grant writer. I once had dreams of being an author. Thanks for the giveaway.

justpeachy36 said...

As many of you know. I am a freelance writer and have had several things published online and in print. I do daddle at the Great American Novel and will probably seek publication in the near future. You will just have to guess whether it's a paranormal, historical, Christian, or something completely different LOL.

traveler said...

I have been writing letters for many years and enjoy the correspondence. I wrote many book reports and reviews in school. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Rita Wray said...

Some years ago I wrote a short story featuring country singing stars as the main characters. The story was a western. I also wrote a story for my children about a monkey who escapes from the circus. My kids loved both stories.


Anonymous said...

I always wanted to be a writer but never had the ambition to follow through.

Carol N Wong said...

I have always wanted to write but have been lured away by so many good book. In the past I wrote a short story and autobiographical story about my experiences in different rooms of a house that I grew up in. Now I just write book and product reviews.

Carol Wong

Barbara T. said...

I had a friend tell me I should write a book. I think it was said in self defense. I wrote wordy letters.

Sue Farrell said...

I enjoy reading but not writing. The only thing other that schoolwork that I have written are technical how to's for computer programs---not exactly creative.

ann said...

When I was younger I would once in a while write my thoughts on things. But now I would rather read as my handwritting is horrible.

lag123 said...

I am not a writer at all. I always hated writing papers in school.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

bn100 said...

only for school

Michelle F. said...

I used to want to write. I used to write parts of stories (quite a few different ones) and make up chapter and book titles. Well, I was just a dabbler. I used to like doing book reports in school and had pen pals years ago. I was good at writing long letters. Now I just write comments on blogs! I also used to keep a diary at home and in English class we had to write a journal, although some kids didn't do theirs.

Wendy Newcomb said...

I would love to write fiction but after I read what I've put on paper, I just shake my head and toss it out.


Carol M said...

I haven't written anything since I was in school many years ago! I wish I could write but I just can't. I think being an author would be wonderful!!

Brooke Showalter said...

I haven't written anything other than blog posts in a long while. I wrote a lot of poetry while I was in high school, and even had some of it published.

Renee said...

I've not written anything but am participating in NaNoWriMo this year. We'll see what happens.

holdenj said...

These are intersting. will have to keep us posted! For now, I'll guess historical.

And C. Wong, writing about different rooms sounds interesting too.

I haven't written anything like a paper in quite a while, but I do like to write letters. I get a lot of compliments on them. Maybe there's still a novel in me yet!