Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review and Giveaway: If Catfish Had Nine Lives

If Catfish Had Nine Lives (Country Cooking School - Book 4) by Paige Shelton

Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425269280
ISBN-13: 978-0425269282

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

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

Paige Shelton on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Country Cooking School Mystery

1. If Fried Chicken Could Fly
2. If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance
3. If Bread Could Rise To The Occasion
4. If Catfish Had Nine Lives 

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


Betts Winston has inherited more than her cooking skills from her grandmother—she can also see and talk to ghosts of people that once roamed the streets of Broken Rope, Missouri, in the days of the Old West…
With Gram’s Country Cooking School on spring break, Betts and Gram are taking part in this year’s cowboy poetry convention, offering lessons on frying catfish over an open campfire. But when a staged gunfight ends in real death and her brother Teddy becomes a prime suspect, Betts may be the one to jump from the frying pan into the fire.
After her ghostly guardian Jerome appears to watch her back and a spectral Pony Express rider gallops into town with some unfinished business, Broken Rope starts to seem more like a cowboy ghost convention. With trouble on both sides of this mortal coil, it’s up to Betts to clear her brother, put the spirits to rest, and make sure the true killer doesn’t become the one who got away


Paige Shelton's fourth Country Cooking School mystery, If Catfish Had Nine Lives, merges the historical with the paranormal for a winning combination. Shelton's series sounds like it's all about the food and cooking, when in reality, it has a strong historical basis and a few ghostly visitors in each book. Readers who love the Old West, as well as, a good mystery will find this one tantalizing in more ways than one!

What I liked:

I am always excited to receive each new book that comes out from Paige Shelton. She has a way of writing that it so engaging and full of vivid imagery that each one is hard to put down. If Catfish Had Nine Lives was no exception to that rule. Shelton gives readers a mix of history, mystery, romance and the culinary arts with this one. It's mouthwatering, intelligent and full of great characters, both alive and ghostly. 

It sounds like there might be too much going on, but Shelton is a master at balancing all of her story elements. This book focuses on the remarkable story of the short lived Pony Express and the daring men and women who were determined to make a change in the way people received their mail. I loved the character of Joe, the ghostly Pony Express rider and his need to deliver the last three letters in his possession at the time of his death. Shelton quickly endears readers to Joe's character with her flare for the dramatic and research skills. It was obvious that she cared about this story and it comes across in the writing. And Cowboy Poetry totally rocks!

As usual I loved Betts and Gram and the culinary elements in the story. After reading about cooking catfish in an iron skillet over an open fire, I find myself wanting to try some cowboy style cooking myself. It is a hallmark of a great author when they are able to encourage or interest a reader is taking their reading experience beyond the book. Shelton does that in just about everyone one of her stories. Not only do I want to cook some catfish, but I want to read more about the Old West. Shelton's ghosts of the past are just that intriguing. 

The relationship that is developing between Betts and her ghostly protector Jerome has become one of my favorite parts of this series. It's a relationship that on the outside may seem impossible, but Shelton is slowly but surely making a believer out of me. I think that added touch of romance is one of the things that tips the scale with this series and takes it from good to great. I can't wait to see where she takes this part of the story!

The mystery in the story involving Betts brother Teddy and the death of one of the actors during a stage gunfight was also interesting and full of surprises. I thought I had it figured out a couple of times but I was wrong. Shelton kept me guessing right up until the end. The only person I could really count out as the killer, was the accused. LOL. I thought Shelton dropped just enough clues to keep the reader interested throughout, but not too many, as to give it all away. 

What I didn't like:

I liked everything about this story, from the cooking, to the mystery, to laying the ghosts to rest. It was thoughtful, inventive and original. I can't complain when a book is thought provoking enough to make me want to do my own research. That's a rarity!

Bottom Line:

This is the kind of cozy I want to read. It has historical background, paranormal elements and has the kind of originality that many cozy writers will envy. If you like history and mystery, this is the book for you! It's a great balancing act of all the things that make a good novel. I can't recommend it enough.

If Catfish Had Nine Lives is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

Check out the quote from Debbie's Book Bag on the cover of this one! Soooo excited about that!

About the Author:

Paige Shelton is also the author of the national bestselling Farmers’ Market Mysteries. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and son. When she’s up early enough, one of her favorite things is to watch the sun rise over the Wasatch Mountains. 

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of If Catfish Had Nine Lives by Paige Shelton.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, August 20th.

1. Please leave a comment about 'the one that got away'. If can be a fish, a person, you get the gist!

2. Please fill out the FORM.


Karen B said...

I'm an email subscriber but no longer get your emails! Where did they go/get away? Can I get them back?

traveler said...

There was a certain someone who was intriguing and did fly away to another time and place. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

cyn209 said...

the one that got away......I walked away, tried to get it back.....but someone had already picked up the top I was debating over...........

Rita Wray said...

I let a guy get away. It was a long time ago, so you just move on.


Rita Wray said...

I noticed Karen B above saying she's not getting emails. I'm not getting them either. I guess there's a problem at many sites.


Angela - Bookaunt said...

I would have to say the one thing that got away for me was a job I really wanted. I was up for a position at the state and did not get it due to a change in management. Thank you for the chance to win.
griperang at embarqmail dot com

holdenj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
holdenj said...

Did the same thing as above. Let a job go that I thought would be ok at the time, but now I wish I'd grabbed it.

On another note, I did get an email for this post.


NoraA said...

The only "one that got away" was back in Jr. High School. I'd taken a city wide exam to win a place at a math and science specialty high school.. I was in the top 2% but the Principal and Guidance Counselor told Mommy Dearest that because of my big mouth they were sending the school bully in my place. Mommy Dearest (who in later life would break her arm telling all who would listen about all the kids she helped get into the schools of their choices) looked at the Principal and said, "okay, you're professionals and must know what your doing". At that point I lost all interest in learning.

Sue Farrell said...

I let a really nice young man in college walk away just because I didn't have a clue how to tll him I liked him.

justpeachy36 said...

If any of you are still having problems receiving the emails about posts, try signing up again with your regular email and then perhaps with a different email address or something like that. Otherwise I don't really know what's causing it.

As far as the one that got away...
I can't really think of anything right off the top of my head, unless it was a real fish, LOL! I enjoy fishing from time to time with family and friends.

justpeachy36 said...

If any of you are still having problems receiving the emails about posts, try signing up again with your regular email and then perhaps with a different email address or something like that. Otherwise I don't really know what's causing it.

As far as the one that got away...
I can't really think of anything right off the top of my head, unless it was a real fish, LOL! I enjoy fishing from time to time with family and friends.

justpeachy36 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alicia said...

The thing that got away.... not pursuing a career change. Looking forward to reading this one!

skkorman said...

I honestly cannot think of a single thing or person that ever got away from me—usually I get away first!

skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

Linda Kish said...

I don't know of any that got away. Just me and I left gladly.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

The one got away would probably be some entries for things like this where I wasn't paying enough attention and didn't fill out the forms properly. That's what usually gets me. I get to be in too much of a hurry on things. It's tagged me on tests at school and the DMV and other places too.

bn100 said...

don't have any

Unknown said...

One that goy away, was in high school; had a crush on him for the entire 4 years of high school; oh well :)

Anita Yancey said...

The one that got away for me was my high school boyfriend. We were together for six years, then he decided that he wanted someone else. But that's ok because I wound up with someone better. Thanks for having the giveaway.


Brooke Showalter said...

There's definitely been someone I felt got away...but as time passed, that feeling left.

kiki w said...

At times I have felt a job has gotten away.

Michelle F. said...

Can't think of anything that got away, except maybe having someone use the microwave before me! I don't fish (I only like canned tuna).

I have the second book in this series and three from her other series.

Kimberly Wyatt said...

I have felt before that I let opportunities get away from me as far a jobs go but as far as love, I married my One.