book review

Book Review: The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby

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The Champagne Conspiracy (Wine Country Mysteries, #7)The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby is the 7th book in the ‘Wine Country Mysteries’ series that takes place in Virginia. So far, this is my favorite and earns 4.5 star. What a roller coast ride for an avid genealogist, historian, wine-lover, and cozy fan.

Three families, all connected to Lucie Montgomery, the main character in the series. A secret affair with President Harding in the early 20th century. A famous California winery with a potential change in ownership. A death from a century ago, then another one happening in current times. Chock full of mystery and connections, I couldn’t put this one down. At times, the overly complex set of relationships and time period needed some additional attention and re-read, but that’s what happens in a genealogical mystery. I loved it!

Between the explanation for how champagne (or sparkling wine) is created and the extra-marital affairs President Warding had (I hadn’t been familiar), I felt like I learned so much in this book. It pushes the line from cozy mystery into mid-range mystery, but I was totally fine with it. It added a little something extra this time, and that can be a fun change.

The characters evolve in this book, too. Quinn and Lucie’s relationship reaches a new level. Her cousin, Dominique, is presented with an amazing opportunity. Her brother, Eli, grows up. It’s such a fascinating family… I really want the youngest sister to come back for a visit again.

Already ordered the next one… can’t wait to read it.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are three books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, and Flower Power Trip. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay

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Hitting the Books (Library Lover's Mystery, #9)Hitting the Books by Jenn McKinlay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ‘Library Lover’s Mystery’ series by Jenn McKinlay is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. By reading the 9th book, Hitting the Books, I’m now current and eagerly awaiting the 10th one due to be released later this year. Although I thought this one was too simple from a mystery plot perspective, I enjoyed all the normal library shenanigans and small town community relationships.

When Lindsey notices a friendly library patron–famed tennis player, Theresa Huston–run down by a car, she tries to save the woman. Luckily, she’s only injured and survives the accident. Then Lindsey’s friend, Charlie, is hit by the same driver later that day. A gunman is shooting throughout the town. Is someone attempting to knock off Briar Creek residents? Or is it a misunderstanding? Emma, the Chief of Police, asks Lindsey to look into some library books that were in the car (once it’s found), and it leads them to a young kid we’ve met before in a prior book. Liza, Theresa’s soon-to-be step-daughter, is worried sick, but she’s acting strangely, too. Ultimately, Larry, the soon-to-be husband and Liza’s father, knows more than he’s saying about his ex-wife, Liza’s mother, who supposedly died. It comes together in a crashing finale where we know who and why, but I was left a little disappointed at the minimal amount of suspects and detail surrounding how it all came to pass.

That said, it wasn’t enough to detract or worry me from moving on. I just think it could’ve been stronger to really intrigue me as to what was going on behind the scenes. Instead, I found the normal comings-and-goings around the library as my focal point. From ‘The Lemon’ to Mary’s new baby, we had great moments of sentimentality and thought-provoking questions about Lindsey’s relationship with Sully. Will he wants kids? How are they doing now that they’re living together? What’s Beth’s new marriage like? I enjoy the side stories, so I am still happy with the book and will keep reading the future ones.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are three books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, and Flower Power Trip. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Honey Homicide by Vikki Walton

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Honey Homicide: A Backyard Farming MysteryHoney Homicide: A Backyard Farming Mystery by Vikki Walton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Honey Homicide is the third book in Vikki Walton’s ‘A Backyard Farming Mystery’ series. I’ve read the previous two and wanted to read this one, so I stayed current on the series. I enjoy learning all about beekeeping and other farming activities, so it’s a nice change of pace from other books I’ve been reading.

In this caper, Kandi and Anne are trying to help their friends survive a string of burglaries, fires, and corruption occurring somewhere in the town. It takes place in Colorado, and there are some pot growers who may or may not be behaving properly. When the cops get involved, and a few bodies start showing up, something is definitely out of sorts. Anne tries to manage her friendship with the sheriff only to find he’s accused of the crimes this time! Who do you trust? For Anne, she’s slowly falling in love with him, so she’ll do what’s necessary to protect the man.

Walton’s characters are cute. She has a nice balance of dialog and narrative to tell the story. I like getting to see the improvements on the inn. And it’s great how everyone works together to solve the crime and help each other survive in the town. Of the three so far, the second is my favorite, but this has fun elements with the bees and the police corruption. I’m looking forward to the next one.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Broken Heart Attack: Blog Tour Wrap-Up

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The Great Escapes Virtual Blog Tour for the second book, Broken Heart Attack, in my Braxton Campus Mysteries, comes to a close this week. The last ten days have been a full of fun, laughter, and great reviews. I’m grateful to all the participants and to Lori for running such a wonderful tour. Below are the highlights about the book and all the blogs where you can find interviews, summaries, reviews, and a lot more, including the giveaway which just ended. Thank you!

Broken-Heart-Attack-Main-File

Broken Heart Attack (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery – 2nd in Series
Published by Creativia: November 25, 2018
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN-10: 1731310501
ISBN-13: 978-1731310507
Digital ASIN: B07KGGJX1T

Overview

When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies.

When one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate the death. With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?

***

BROKEN HEART ATTACK TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 17 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

January 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 18 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

January 18 – The Book’s the Thing – GUEST POST

January 19 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT (no post)

January 20 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 21 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

January 22 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 22 – Bobo’s Book Bank – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 24 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Brooke Blogs  – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Laura`s Interests = SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour - BrokenHeartAttack

***

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

***

List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

***

Purchase Links

Amazon 

***

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Academic Curveball: Blog Tour Wrap-Up

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The Great Escapes Virtual Book Blog Tour for my cozy mystery, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, comes to a close today. The last ten days have been a full of fun, laughter, and great reviews. I’m grateful to all the participants and to Lori for running such a wonderful tour. Below are the highlights about the book and all the blogs where you can find interviews, summaries, reviews, and a lot more, including the giveaway which ends soon. Thank you!


Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery, 1st in Series
Creativia Publishing (October 14, 2018)
Paperback: 281 pages
ISBN-10: 172877876X
ISBN-13: 978-1728778761
Digital ASIN: B07HMYSQFH

Overview

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up.

With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. But who is behind the murder?

***

ACADEMIC CURVEBALL TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

January 7 – Mythical Books – REVIEW

January 7 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT

January 8 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT (No Post)

January 8 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

January 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 9 – Bobo’s Book Bank – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Jane Reads – REVIEW

January 10 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 12 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

January 12 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 14 – Carla Loves To Read – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 14 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

January 15 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

great escapes virtual book tour - academiccurveball

***

About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

***

List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

***

Purchase Links

Amazon

 

***

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Book Review: Death on Windmill Way by Carrie Doyle

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Death on Windmill Way: Volume 1 (Hamptons Murder Mysteries)Death on Windmill Way: Volume 1 by Carrie Doyle

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

There are lots of reasons why I choose a novel. For instance, I won a giveaway last year for the second book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery series written by Carrie Doyle and enjoyed reading it. Given the author doesn’t live too far from me in NYC and I’ve been to the Hamptons where the books take place, it felt like a good match… so I’m reading the series from the beginning starting with the first one, Death on Windmill Way. 4.5 stars to this wonderful gem that helped me jump out of a small reading slump last week where I tried three books and couldn’t get into any of them. This one left me excited to read again, and I’ll soon be picking up the next in series to keep moving forward.

Antonia moved to the Hamptons ~8 months earlier on a whim. She’d been in an awful relationship, lived in California, and needed a fresh start. She purchased an inn (sight unseen) based on a friend’s suggestion and immediately remodeled it. When the book kicks off, she’s just re-opened post-summer season to good reviews but is still struggling to make ends meet. Antonia slowly learns of a curse haunting past owners of the inn which steers her in the direction of researching the history she should’ve learned about before buying the place (she knows she messed up, too!). Unfortunately, she learns the curse is more than just a rumor – someone has been killing them, but why? Between former and new staff at the inn, some residents in the town, a few friends she makes, and the local reporter, Antonia uses her ingenuity to solve the case. The police aren’t even involved until a second murder takes place, but since it looks like an accident at first, they’re not inclined to do much.

My absolute favorite part of the book occurs when Antonia gathers all the suspects together at a dinner party and one by one picks them off… um, I mean… reveals their secrets or explains why they could be the killer. She leaves someone for last, and it’s a doozy! I had two possible culprits in mind, and I was right with one of them. That said, it’s not obvious, and the weaving in and out of everyone’s alibis and motives is truly a great story. Antonia is a strong lead character, very well developed, but with a few personality traits that might irk some. She’s a tad judgmental (equally against all people in an understandable way) but overly honest and dedicated. I really look forward to see how she develops over the series and getting to meet the rest of the regulars in the town.

View all my reviews
About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Chicken Culprit by Vikki Walton

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I am a frequent cozy mystery reader and often search out new series. When Vikki Walton‘s new ‘Backyard Farming’ mystery series fell into my lap, I jumped on the chance to read the first book, Chicken Culprit: (Backyard Farming Mystery Series) (Cozy Mystery). Walton is a new author for me, but one I enjoyed getting to know. In this caper, a ~40ish woman moves to a small Colorado town known for homesteading. As the story evolves, we learn she has a lot more connections to it than we originally thought — always makes for a good mystery. I’ll leave it at that so the suspense grabs you enough to check it out. I give this debut caper 3.5 out of 5 stars and will gladly continue reading the series.

 

culprit.jpg
Walton notes a sort of tongue-in-cheek approach to the story, which I definitely see in the style and humor. At first, it threw me off a little but I settled into the tone eventually welcoming the approach as an easy and enjoyable read. The main character has a strong personality and doesn’t hide her concern over some of the interesting / wacky neighbors she meets, including a potential chicken killer, then a real killer, and a girl who says ‘like’ as often as any Valley Girl I’ve met before. (And that’s quite a few!) I like to learn when I read a cozy mystery, hence why it needs a catchy theme. This is my first farming book where I can gain some useful information if I ever move to the country (a distinct possibility!).

I can’t speak too much about the characters without giving away critical information, but there are several fun twists which I didn’t expect. There’s a bit of culture and life-experience more than I’ve seen before in a cozy, but I liked it a lot. I found the banter between the sheriff and the main character, Anne, amusing. Sometimes I think he’s a meanie, other times, he has potential. All-in-all, there’s a good level of diversity and range in the characters. Walton has a few things to work out with the setting and relationships in the book, but it’s off to a promising start.

Kudos to a new series. I look forward to checking out more.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.