Cozy

Author & Book Spotlight: Bree Baker — No Good Tea Goes Unpunished

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Today’s author spotlight is an accomplished writer with over two dozen books and a couple of pen names to keep track of… you might already know her! Let’s meet Bree Baker who agreed to an interview earlier this month with none other than yours truly. I first met Bree through one of her alter egos, Jacqueline Frost, author of the ‘Tree Farm Mysteries.’ If you missed my reviews of Twelve Slays of Christmas and ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas, be sure to check them out so you can see for yourself how fantastic of a writer she is. The next book in her Seaside Café Mysteries releases on February 26th, 2019, which is why we’re going all out today to get to know her better so we can spread the word!
Author Spotlight (1)

About the Author

Bree Baker is a Midwestern writer obsessed with small town high jinks, sweet tea and the sea. She’s been telling stories to her family, friends and strangers for as long as she can remember, and more often than not, those stories feature a warm ocean breeze and recipe she’s sure to ruin. Now, she’s working on those fancy cooking skills and dreaming up adventures for the Seaside Cafe mysteries. But there is more… Bree is a pen name for Julie Anne Lindsey… a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
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  • Websites
  • List of Books & Series
    • Seaside Café Mysteries (Bree Baker)
    • Kitty Couture Mysteries (Julie Chase)
    • Tree Farm Mysteries (Jacqueline Frost)
    • Cider Shop Mysteries [fall 2019] (Julie Anne Lindsey)
    • Harlequin Intrigue (Julie Anne Lindsey)
    • Geek Girl Mysteries (Julie Anne Lindsey)
    • Patience Price Mysteries (Julie Anne Lindsey)
  • Social Media Links

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  • What are your real, author, and/or pen names?
    • My real name is Julie Anne Lindsey. I write as myself for Harlequin Intrigue and also at Kensington, where my new Cider Shop Mysteries series begins this fall. I write as Julie Chase AND as Jacqueline Frost for Crooked Lane Books, and for Sourcebooks I am Bree Baker.
  • What is your location?
    • I live in Northeastern Ohio.
  • How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles?
    • I published my first short story in 2012. Since then I’ve published more than 25 novels, 2 short stories and 3 novellas. My new Cider Shop Mysteries series begins in November with Kensington. I’m currently publishing the Seaside Café Mysteries with Sourcebooks, the Kitty Couture Mysteries and the Tree Farm mysteries with Crooked Lane Books, plus I write romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.
  • Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
    • Yes! I’m a national and local member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. I’m also the current PAN Coordinator for the mystery and suspense chapter of RWA called Kiss of Death, and I belong to the International Thriller Writers.
  • What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
    • Coffee, cats and Wine, plus reading!
  • What’s your goal in writing? Any social issues you want to cover?
    • I write to provide readers with an escape. It’s the reason I read, and I write to return the favor, or at least to pass it on.
  • What gave you the idea for your book?
    • I have a busy mind. The ideas never stop. It’s exhausting.
  • When did you know that you wanted to be an author?  What things, if any, influenced that decision?
    • I read Twilight in2010 and it gave me a much needed escape from the chaos of my life. When I put it down, I realized that I wanted to do that for someone else.
  • Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
    • I’m a dedicated outliner. Writing for four publishers as five people while raising three kids and trying to stay sane requires serious time management and outlines keep me on track to deliver 6-7 novels a year.
  • Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
    • I rarely read reviews. The positive ones feel amazing, but the mean ones really sting, and when people are cruel, it can take a long time for me to emotionally recover.
  • What have you learned about yourselves since becoming an author?
    • I’ve learned that I’m tougher than I thought, more determined and resilient too!
  • Do you write full-time or part-time?
    • I am a full time author.
  • What do your plans for future projects include?
    • I’ve got a tight writing schedule through March 2020 which will provide manuscripts for releases through the end of that year. In addition, I have several new ideas brewing, I just need a little time to write up their proposals.
  • What do you think the hardest part of writing is?  What is the easiest?
    • For me, the writing is easy, finding the time to do it is a nightmare!
  • What type of books do you like to read?  Who are some of your favorite authors?
    • I try to read broadly. I belong to a local book club that reads bestsellers across genres, plus I read cozy mystery and romantic suspense to keep myself on top of the genres I write. I also listen to audio books on my 4 hour daily commute in anything from psychological suspense to YA, to sci-fi romance! And I’m currently reading the Harry Potter series. I read it all!
  • Name 3 influential authors on you and tell us why.
    • Janet Evanovich because she always makes me smile
    • Susan Mallery because she melts my heart.
    • Stephen King because….STEPHEN KING.
  • If you could co-write a book with a famous author who would it be? If it was another writer you admire but isn’t well known, who would it be?
    • In my dreams I would write with Janet Evanovich, my favorite author ever.

***

NEXT BOOK – No Good Tea Goes Unpunished – February 26th, 2019

Don’t marry into murder…

Catering her childhood friend’s beachfront wedding was a dream come true for Everly Swan—and, with hundreds of guests in attendance, great exposure for her new iced tea shop and café. But when the well-to-do groom is found floating facedown in the surf, the locals of Charm, North Carolina turn their suspicions on his new bride. Could she have been so desperate to lay hands on his fortune that she arranged for his murder even before they set off on their honeymoon?

Everly knows her lovestruck friend couldn’t be behind the murder, but with clues pointing in several directions, she can’t decide which wedding guest is the most likely culprit. Meanwhile, the frustratingly handsome Detective Hays has made it clear that Everly should stay out of the investigation altogether. But with a killer on the loose and a feeling that someone is watching her café very closely, Everly knows that if she can’t solve this murder soon, her cake might be iced for good.

 

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Don’t miss your opportunity to pre-order Bree’s book via Amazon right now!

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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 three books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, and Flower Power Trip (March 2019). 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: A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany

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A Scandal in Scarlet (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #4)A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany

My rating: 4+ of 5 stars

A Scandal in Scarlet is the 4th book in the ‘A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery’ series by Vicki Delany. I was introduced to this cozy after reading a different series written by the author (Christmas All Year Round) and am very glad I checked it out. Delany is a wonderful writer whose characters, plots, and settings are a prime example of why I love cozy mysteries.

In this book, Gemma notices a fire in a nearby museum while out walking the dog. To help pay for repairs, she and Jayne host the museum’s auction, but one of the members is killed just before it begins. Was it a rival member who didn’t like the poor woman’s success? Her husband or his previous wife and kids? The nasty shop owner Gemma knows? A burglary gone wrong? Lots of angles for the two Sherlock-wannabees to investigate all the while dating a local cop, chef, old friend, and rare book dealer. Then we must not forget running the tea room, fighting with the store owner across the street who just likes to be mean, and taking care of the cat and dog.

All-in-all, the setting is my favorite in this series. While many of the characters are good, it’s reading about many Sherlock Holmes items that keeps me coming back for more. Delany builds the best descriptions into her plot, effortlessly, so you feel transported into the story. I’m even thrilled when it’s a few pages of narrative or description without much action. It’s just that kind of a book to immerse yourself into.

The mystery was good. Not the best she’s written, but full of red herrings and a clear reason why someone was killed. The second murder threw me for a loop, but that’s just icing on the cake for solving the first one, right? :O Looking forward to the next edition!

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. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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: This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle

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This Old Homicide (A Fixer-Upper Mystery, #2)This Old Homicide by Kate Carlisle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Old Homicide is the second book in Kate Carlisle’s ‘A Fixer-Upper Mystery’ series about a young female contractor named Shannon who took over her father’s construction business in California. Shannon finds her elderly neighbor, Jesse, dead when she checks on him in his house. At first, it seems like natural causes, but as the cops investigate the holes in the walls and clutter all about the place, they know someone burglarized the joint. Could Jesse have found an expensive piece of jewelry during a recent underwater dive? There had been a Spanish shipwreck in the area many years ago!

This series is built on the friendship of five woman who supporting one another through babysitting, construction, store operations, heartache, and a whole lot more. Although we focus on Shannon, it’s a wonderful group of people to get to know throughout this series. This is one of Carlisle’s strengths in terms of building characters. Each feels unique, as do the remainder of the supporting cast from Shannon’s ex-boyfriend to her petty high school friends who still like to torture her. She will waffle between the mysterious writer and the handsome cop, find plenty of new murders in each of the houses she repairs, and develop ties to a seaside town in need of tourists. All the makings of a fine series… and of the two I’ve read, I preferred the first one, but this had a strong mystery.

I look forward to picking up the third book next month once I can get through the ~10 blog tours I signed up for this quarter. That’s the goal… to get current on this series before the end of the year. Anyone else reading them? Then, I can watch the TV show based off of these books. That sounds like fun to me!

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: A Most Curious Murder by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

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A Most Curious Murder (Little Library Mystery #1)A Most Curious Murder by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Last year, I won a copy of the second book in the ‘Little Library Mystery’ series by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli. I ordered the first book, A Most Curious Murder, from the library last week and attempted to read it. I like reading books from a series and getting caught up before the latest one is launched. In this series, Jenny moves back home after a bad divorce only to discover things in her hometown are a little strange. A little person has moved next door to her mother and someone’s destroyed the small library Jenny’s father built since there wasn’t a regular public one in town.

Jenny meets the neighbor, Zoe, and they try to decide if they like one another. When Zoe’s dog goes missing, they begin to bond. Another neighbor is murdered, and his family, a well-to-do and well-known one in town, acts quite strange. Someone had it out for them. What was really going? Jenny has to protect Zoe from the cops when it looks like she might have gotten revenge with a garden hoe after the other neighbor took her dog. Did she kill him? From here, the stories unfold like a typical cozy and introduce readers to the world of Bear Falls.

Unfortunately, I struggled to connect with both books in this series. I went back to read the first just in case it was a timing issue, but I had the same concerns. I don’t like the characters as much as I normally do in a cozy series. The author’s intent to make Zoe a bit strange works in some cases, but the conversations she has are almost always over my head or too cryptic. It works on a couple of levels but it’s not a good match for my reading style and preferences. That said, the author is a strong writer and creates a fun town. It’s a good mystery, so there’s bound to be the proper group of readers for it. I wish it much success!

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. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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: Death Overdue by Allison Brook

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Death Overdue (The Haunted Library Mysteries, #1)Death Overdue by Allison Brook

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

After reading the second book in ‘The Haunted Library Mysteries’ by Allison Brook last year, I ordered a copy of the first in the series, Death Overdue, to read and get current. It’s a great setting and has a little bit of everything for cozy mystery lovers. Carrie Singleton (late 20’s, single) is about to leave Connecticut after visiting her aunt and uncle for a few months when she’s offered a promotion at the Clover Ridge library. Although she wants to escape, a ghost haunting the building convinces Carrie to stick it out. After her first event is held, the author she brought in to discuss new leads in a murder case from ~10 years earlier is poisoned and dies in the library. Carrie investigates to ensure no one thinks poorly of her, but she also finds the challenge an easy distraction to help her decide to stay in town.

Full of great supporting characters and side stories, this series has a lot of potential. You’ve got the ghost of a former employee who died under somewhat mysterious circumstances in a fall in the parking lot (we know that’ll be a mystery in future books!), a few colleagues who dislike Carrie because of her appearance or connection with her uncle as a member of the library board, her thief father who is missing, her sudden attraction with local sexy investigator Dylan, and a whole lot more. I look forward to all the capers and trouble that could happen in this charming New England town.

Brook has a simple yet strong writing style. It’s easy to get lost in the book for a few hours before realizing how far you’ve read. I like the descriptions and dialog as much as the narratives and past details being dropped throughout the story. I am very curious to learn more about Carrie’s aunt and uncle who likely have a very suspenseful and crazy past. This mystery was medium-complex and had a lot of family drama. Ultimately, I thought the killer was a little too easy to identify, but it did keep me guessing a few times in the middle section. I’m curious to see which characters stay in the future books and which ones disappear. There are only 2 in the series so far, but I’m sure a new one will be out in 2019. I’ll be looking for that ARC!

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.

Book Review: ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

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'Twas the Knife Before Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery, #2)‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

It’s Christmastime both in my current reality and in Mistletoe, Maine… but a whole year has passed since the debut book in the ‘A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery’ series by Jacqueline Frost. This second book, ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas, picks up with Holly’s eventual settlement back home, a new friendship with reporter Ray, adventures with best friend Caroline, and romance with sorta boyfriend Evan (the sheriff!). Life’s good until Derek, a guy who was too handsy with Caroline, ends up knifed in a candy display. Did Caroline kill him in revenge? Her high-powered father? A stalker crush who seems to want to protect her? Or some colleague of Derek’s who thought he was a threat? Holly is determined to protect her bestie but she starts getting threatening notes again just like last time. Are the crimes connected?

I won this book through a cozy giveaway, but I went back and ordered the first one on my own so I could be ready and current on the series. I’m thrilled to have stumbled upon it and would definitely recommend the series as a definite holiday read. Holly is a great protagonist who only has a few pushy moments while trying to solve the murder; they’re necessary and make her even more relatable. The town is visibly pictured as a result of Frost’s wonderful descriptions and writing style. The little fun factors (Theodore the goat, Cindy Lou Who the cat, Cookie the rich neighbor… the list goes on) make it even more enjoyable.

The murder is clever. The list of suspects is believable. The investigation is paced well — not too slow, not too fast. The way the criminal is captured is kinda cool. And the resolution to all the stories is a great end to the book. I am thrilled about the character of Libby. She seems like she could really be an asset in the town but also shake it up a little. Only 23 but quite smart and worldly already. I’m very excited about this new series but sad I’ll have to wait a full year to read the next one. I’m also curious if the series will skip a year again or pick up sometime mid-year. Kudos to the author and publisher for providing a copy thru the giveaway contest. 4.25 stars!

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: Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

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Twelve Slays of Christmas: A Christmas Tree Farm MysteryTwelve Slays of Christmas: A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery by Jacqueline Frost

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Until a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of this author or series. I entered a giveaway contest for a cozy mystery group and won the second book late last week. Since I usually try to read in order, and I had some time this week, I got a copy of this first book, Twelve Slays of Christmas, from the ‘A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery’ series by Jacqueline Frost and devoured it throughout the last 24 hours. I needed a little Christmas cheer this week and this book brought it!

Who wouldn’t love a series about Christmas on a tree farm in Maine? I dream of moving to Maine one day, so this was a good alignment for me as a reader. I have a few other Christmas series I enjoy, and now I’ll be adding this one to the list of regulars. Holly White was dumped by her fiance just weeks before her Christmas Eve wedding. She trudges home feeling sad but hopeful for a new life. She’s just in time to help her parents coordinate and run their annual holiday shenanigans. This year they’ve added fun new Reindeer Games for 12 days to help bring spirit to the town. At least until a prominent member of the town’s historical society threatens to shut them down for falling out of ancient building or land code. But then… the poor woman’s found bludgeoned to death by the very wooden tree signs she complained about to Holly’s father. Which citizen was so angry (s)he took matters into their own hands? Holly’s determined to find out all the while fighting her attraction to the sheriff who’s moved to town from Boston to get away from major crimes. I guess life never goes the way you plan, huh?

As a new series, it’s off to a great start. I really like Holly and Evan (the sheriff). It will turn romantic, which will be fine, but I’m hopeful that’s not the center of the stories. There is also a younger guy, a reporter she knew years ago, who might give the sheriff some competition. And Caroline is a charming potential best friend, not to mention the cute and lovable parents and employees at the tree farm. I like the premise and the setting. The writing is good and felt natural for most of the narrative and dialog, only a few forced areas which I believe will disappear as the series matures. There’s a mature subtle humor at times, but it definitely still falls within the cozy realm. I recommend it for all cozy fans and holiday story readers alike.

I’m giving 4.25 stars to this debut and feel really excited to dive into the second one later this month — ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas. Sounds scary!

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.