Showing posts with label cozy mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cozy mystery. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"Picture Not Perfect" by D. E. Haggerty


GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Picture Not Perfect
(The Not So Reluctant Detectives Book 2)
by D. E. Haggerty

Picture Not Perfect (The Not So Reluctant Detectives Book 2) by D. E. Haggerty

Picture Not Perfect, the second book in The Not So Reluctant Detectives series by D. E. Haggerty, has just been released and is currently ON SALE for only $0.99.


Also available in this series: Finders, Not Keepers (read my blog post).

Finders, Not Keepers by D. E. Haggerty

Picture Not Perfect is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, a guest post by the author, an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.



Description
A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?
When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her.
Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?


Excerpt
Chapter 1
There once was a creepy dude
“I’m not sure how gentrification will get more students to read,” Mel complained as she shelved yet another book. Why had she agreed to help her friend re-shelve the entire library? Oh yeah, because she would be getting a nice little bonus in her next paycheck. Usually, she had two days off during parent-teacher conferences. As the school guidance counselor, she didn’t teach classes. This year, however, her friend Terri who was the school librarian had convinced her to help out in the library for two days. It was the evening of the second day and Mel was beyond bored. She didn’t understand how her friend could get excited by books. She wasn’t a reader. Sitting still was not an activity she did unless forced.
“Not gentrification. Genrefication.” Terri corrected.
“Genrefication?” Mel chuckled. “Now you’re just making up words.”
Terri grabbed her arm. “You’re getting crabby. Time for a break.” Mel opened her mouth to deny she was crabby but stopped herself. If being crabby bought her a chance for a break from the endless boredom of shelving books, she could be crabby. Judging by the number of books still stacked on the floor, they were going to be here a while.
“Genrefication is the organization of books by type instead of using the Dewey Decimal system,” Terri explained as they sat down at the big table at the front of the library. Amongst the litter from the remains of their lunch was a freshly brewed pot of coffee.
“Uh-huh,” Melanie mumbled as she poured herself a huge cup of coffee. Terri may be her best friend in the world, but when she started to speak library geek, Melanie tuned her out.
“I know you’re not paying any attention to me, but I don’t care. The library is going to be awesome. Students are going to be able to find books they want to read easier. Everyone’s going to be reading more.” Terri rubbed her hands in excitement.
Melanie hoped her friend was right since Terri had been working her butt off. She’d spent the past month re-cataloging and assigning a genre to all the fiction titles in the library. Then, she’d made new labels for each book before creating signage for all the genres. Huh, looks like she didn’t tune out Terri’s library geek speak the entire time after all.
“And,” Terri waggled her eyebrows, “how’s Owen?”
Melanie huffed. Terri had been nagging her about her ex-boyfriend, Owen, for the past month. She’d rather listen to library geek speak than talk about her ex. “We’ve haven’t gone out yet.” Which Terri knew since she asked Mel the same question every single day. Talk about a broken record.
“Really? It’s been a month since you promised to go out with him.”
Melanie had agreed to go on a date with Owen after he provided her with information she’d needed to help Terri solve a murder. With his police connections, he’d been able to find the address of some goons who’d chased them. It was a long story. “It’s not my fault. He’s been busy.” She may claim she didn’t want to go out with the man, but she was more than a bit miffed he didn’t seem to have time for her.
“Busy? Doing what?”
Mel shrugged. She had no idea, and it was literally driving her crazy. First, the man bugged the heck out of her insisting she agree to a date, and then he dropped her. Well, he didn’t completely drop her. He still sent her text messages a few times a day, but he didn’t seem to have the time to take her to dinner. She couldn’t wait to get the entire obligation over with. The waiting was killing her!
“He must be busy. The man is majorly into you.” Terri waggled her eyebrows again. She looked completely ridiculous, and Mel couldn’t help but laugh. “Uh oh, incoming.”
Mel turned to look out the glass windows covering the entire front of the high school library. She watched as Alfred Schultz, the social sciences teacher, walked to the entrance. “Please tell me you locked the door,” Mel’s words were muffled as she tried to speak without moving her lips.
“Of course, it’s locked,” Terri whispered before shouting. “We’re closed, Mr. Schultz. I’ll be open tomorrow.” She smiled and waved as he nodded in acknowledgment. “Now, walk away, creepy dude.”
Mel and Terri watched as he backed up and slowly walked past the glass windows keeping his eyes locked on Mel who held her breath until he was out of sight.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
Picture Not Perfect was a page-turner. I couldn’t help but enjoy the second chance at love.” ~ My Reading Journeys
Picture Not Perfect was twisty, angst-ridden for Melanie (and reader), with some hot topic contemporary big issues (stalking and instances of inappropriate or overbearing police behavior), and I was kept turning the pages rapidly, too engrossed to stop reading.” ~ Mallory Heart’s Cozies
“I loved the book and the mystery portion because I did not suspect the killer until the clues were all revealed at the end and it was quite a surprise how it all came together.” ~ Storeybook Reviews


My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.


By Lynda Dickson
This is the second book in the series. This time we follow school counselor Melanie, who is trying to sort out her relationship with ex-boyfriend Owen. When a teacher at her school is murdered, and numerous photos of Melanie are found in his home, she comes under suspicion by the police. Of course, when Owen (who just happens to be a police officer) says to Melanie, “You are not going to investigate this murder,” you just know she will. Especially given the success she had in solving a mystery with best friend Terri in the previous book. This time, they enlist the help of Pru, the new English lit teacher. Melanie is a cute character, but with her abundance of energy and her recklessness (“I’ll wing it”), she’s bound to get them all in trouble. As their list of suspects grows steadily, I was left guessing, and so will you!
Warnings: murder, sex scene, sexual references.


Some of My Favorite Lines
“She didn’t understand how her friend could get excited by books. She wasn’t a reader. Sitting still was not an activity she did unless forced.”
“Apparently, being creepy wasn’t an offense.”
“She wasn’t going to ruin her shoes to prove a point.”
“Maybe you should watch less television and read a book sometime.”
Home. Owen’s lips on hers again felt like home.”
“If women still swooned, Melanie would be on the floor right now.”
“Maybe yoga wasn’t a good idea. Nope. Yoga was always a good idea.”

Guest Post by the Author
How the Title Picture Not Perfect Was Born
Sometimes writing a book seems like the easiest part of being a writer. Like when you have to figure out a title for one of your manuscripts. I swear I could write another book in the time it takes me to settle on a title. Slight exaggeration, but you get what I mean. Titles for books in a series are even more difficult. At least in my case, that’s true as I like the idea of keeping the titles or at least the style of the titles similar.
The first book in The Not So Reluctant Detectives series is Finders, Not Keepers. The name is a play on the expression ‘finders, keepers’. As I used a common expression for the first book in the series, I thought using an expression for the second book would be fun. But what expression?
I spent days, hours, weeks combing the internet for common expressions. Seriously, I spent more time than I should have. First, I wanted to find a children’s rhyme as ‘finders, keepers’ is not only a saying, but it’s a common rhyme in schoolyards everywhere:
Finders, Keepers
Losers, Weepers
I gave this up after spending entirely too much time on parenting websites. Who knew there were so many websites for parents? Not this childless lady, I tell you.
I went back to common expressions. I wanted to use an expression that had something to do with how things are not as they seem. The kern of the story behind Picture Not Perfect is how police detectives accuse the heroine of murder as she was being stalked. The accusation is based upon pictures the detectives found of the heroine at the murder scene. This led me to the expression “every picture tells a story”. According to the Cambridge dictionary, this expression is used when what has really happened in a situation is clear because of the way that someone or something looks.
But what if a picture tells a story that isn’t true? I could hardly title the novel Every picture tells a story, but is it the truth? That’s a bit long for a title and my graphic designer would kill me for making him figure out how to put a title that long on a book cover.
What about other sayings involving pictures? Maybe there was one I could use that wasn’t quite the mouthful of Every picture tells a story, but is it the truth? ‘Picture perfect’ is another common saying, but again the meaning of the saying didn’t fit with the story. That’s when I had my a-ha! moment. I could – just like with the previous title in the series – add a ‘not’ to the saying.
I ended up with the title Picture Not Perfect. Not only does the title match the previous title in style, but it’s nice and short, and hints at the book’s story. Phew.

About the Author
D. E. Haggerty
I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed.
College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear.
After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law.
But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul, where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go.
But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where, in between tennis matches and failing to save the world, I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.
Picture Not Perfect is my fourteenth novel.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

Links


Books featured in this post:




Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Forever Yours Clean Romance Event featuring Crissy Sharp


EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
The Glamorous Life of a Mediocre Housewife
(Strawberry Lake Estates Book 1)
by Crissy Sharp

The Glamorous Life of a Mediocre Housewife (Strawberry Lake Estates Book 1) by Crissy Sharp

During the month of January, we will be featuring 12 fabulous authors who write clean romance. Today we feature Crissy Sharp with The Glamorous Life of a Mediocre Housewife, ON SALE for only $0.99 to 22 January.



The Enemy Next Door and Other Misunderstandings by Crissy Sharp

This book blast and giveaway is hosted by Clean Wholesome Romance.


Description
Lotty Brooks’ days consist of avoiding thoughts of her failing marriage, changing diapers, and trying not to eat chocolate brioche for breakfast and lunch. However, everything changes when her perfect, lakeside Montana neighborhood begins bustling with crime and she seems to be the target.
Jason Brooks wants to know what happened to the woman he married. Lotty’s a mere shell of her former self. When she becomes the focal point of neighborhood threats, and the town seems to question her innocence, he must decide how well he knows his wife.
As Jason and Lotty try to get to the bottom of the threats and find those responsible, they’ll need to remember what they once loved about each other. Otherwise, they may lose everything and everyone they care about.

Excerpt
It was his hideous cheval mirror that provoked Lotty. The pompous owls carved into the edges sneered at the bedroom as if they knew her and Jason’s marriage was falling apart. The crack in the top corner reminded her of everything that had gone wrong between them. She normally steered clear of the monstrosity, but today it caught her eye and she stopped right in front of it. Smack dab in the middle where she could see every stupid owl.
Somehow Jason’s mirror highlighted all her imperfections. Maybe it was the way he saw her now. She closed her eyes so she couldn’t see the stranger with slumped shoulders and tired eyes. She tried to think of herself as the confident, young mother she’d been, but the image dissolved before it ever came into view. Gone were the skinny jeans and heels. Now it was yoga pants and a muffin top. The bright-eyed Lotty Brooks was a distant memory. She missed the excited version of herself, the one who loved her husband and felt loved in return. The woman she’d become was a sad shell of her former self.
Lotty turned away with a sigh and shoved the last bite of her breakfast pastry into her mouth, letting the gooey deliciousness numb her sadness. Who needed skinny jeans and heels in a world where chocolate brioche masqueraded as breakfast? Maybe she should resign herself to a life in pants with stretchy waistbands.
She picked up Jason’s jacket from where he’d left it on the floor. Jason. Maybe what she needed to resign herself to was a life without him, but the thought tore at her heart.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Had me caught up in the story and mystery of it very quickly. It’s been a long time since I found a book that was hard to put down, but this one was that way!” ~ Laura L.
“Fabulous, funny! Emotions and suspense abound!” ~ Julie C
“This book kept me on the edge of my seat! I did not want to put it down and snuck in a few pages while at work (shhh don’t tell my boss!). This mystery/suspense novel has everything you could want – intrigue, a mystery to solve, romance, and even a scheming mother.” ~ StoreyBook Reviews

About the Author
Crissy Sharp
Crissy Sharp has a special knack for avoiding cooking and cleaning so she can focus the hobbies she truly enjoys, like writing and running. Though she’ll always be a Montana girl at heart, she also loves Tennessee, where she currently lives with her husband and three children.







Also by Crissy Sharp:

Giveaway
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


Links


Monday, November 26, 2018

"Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger" by Elaine Faber


GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger
(Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries Book 3)
by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger (Odboddy Mysteries Book 3) by Elaine Faber


Mrs. Odboddy: Hometown Patriot by Elaine FaberMrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier by Elaine Faber


Mrs. Odboddy: And Then There Was a Tiger is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
While the “tiger of war” rages across the Pacific during WWII, eccentric, elderly Agnes Odboddy, “fights the war from the home front”. Her patriotic duties are interrupted when she is accused of the Wilkey’s Market burglary.
A traveling carnival with a live tiger joins the parishioner’s harvest fair at The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. Accused again when counterfeit bills are discovered at the carnival, and when the war bond money goes missing, Agnes sets out to restore her reputation and locate the money. Her attempts lead her into harm’s way when she discovers a friend’s betrayal and even more about carnival life than she bargained for.
Granddaughter Katherine’s turbulent love triangle with a doctor and an FBI agent rivals Agnes’s own on-again, off-again relationship with Godfrey.
In Faber’s latest novel, your favorite quirky character, Mrs. Odboddy, prevails against injustice and faces unexpected challenges ... and then There Was a Tiger!

Excerpt from Chapter One
“What in tarnation is all that mess on the front porch?” A tattered shoebox leaned against the newel post beside the front step. Clumps of string lay amidst more shredded paper on the porch.
Agnes switched off the motor of her 1930 Model A Ford. She pulled on the hand brake, jammed her silver chopsticks firmly into the bun on the back of her hennaed hair, and stepped out of the car.
Shreds of brown paper skittered across the lawn. Her frown deepened as she picked up pieces of cardboard and string.
Agnes Agatha Odboddy, in big bold letters, was scribbled across the middle of the brown wrapping paper. She flipped the shoebox over. An offensive odor wafted up from inside. “What the devil…”
Agnes glanced toward the porch and noticed the front door standing ajar. “Jumping Jehoshaphat.” Her granddaughter, Katherine, must have forgotten to lock it when she took their ward, Maddie, to school this morning.
She pushed open the front door, and peeked inside. “Good gravy!” Pillows–askew on the sofa. Magazines–scattered across the rug. Remnants of her grandmother’s vase speckled the hearth.
“Oh, my stars. We’ve been burgled.” Agnes rushed through the living room and into the kitchen. Breakfast coffee puddled in the middle of the table. A cup lay shattered in the sink. A kitchen chair lay sideways on the linoleum floor.
A scuffling sound came from the back bedroom. Agnes spun around. Was someone in there, ransacking her jewelry box? Should she run back out the front door? Agnes Odboddy, self-appointed scourge of the underworld–run for cover? Not on your tintype!
She grabbed a rolling pin from the drawer, the weapon of choice for a woman of a certain age, planning to sneak up on the thief, crack his head, and bring him to his cowardly knees.
Before she had taken three steps, a rat barreled out of her bedroom and down the hall. Agnes jumped back. “Yikes!”
The spindly-tailed rodent raced into the living room and scrambled up the flowered drapes to the top of the curtain rod. Ling-Ling, a feline nemesis in camo-gray, followed.
Merciful Heavens. A measly rodent? Agnes sent the rolling pin flying. It hit the wall, barely missing the front window, and clattered to the floor.
Rrowww! Ling-Ling clawed her way up the curtain, knocking a table lamp to the floor. Thud! The fringed shade spun off the lamp and rolled toward the front door. Down came the rod with a crash, as the rat dropped to the floor and raced out the front door with the Ling-Ling, the Siamese avenger three leaps behind.
Agnes shook her finger. “Ling-Ling. Bad girl. No! No…” What was she saying? “Go get her, girl.”
Agnes stepped onto the porch and put her hand to her eyes in time to see the pair racing up the street, headed toward The First Church of the Evening Star and Everlasting Light. She checked her watch. Yep, folks should just about be arriving for the afternoon prayer meeting. That’ll give them something to pray about. She stepped back into the house to assess the damage.
Never in her seventy-plus years had she seen such destruction. What unknown scoundrel hated her enough to leave a rat-filled shoebox addressed to her on the porch?
Agnes pondered the situation. Ling-Ling must come upon the shoebox and smelled the rodent through the wrapping paper. She could almost see her determined Siamese killing-machine scratching and kicking the box until she had shredded a hole big enough for the rat to escape, dash through the open door, and into the house. The image sent shivers up Agnes’s spine.
Ling-Ling would have followed with murder in her crossed blue eyes and the chase ensued. Not even an air raid from the Flying Tigers could have left her living room and kitchen in such a mess. No telling how the rest of the house would have suffered if Agnes hadn’t returned just at that moment.
What if Ling-Ling hadn’t found the box and taken matters into her own paws? Why, she might have cut the string herself, opened the box, and the rat would have leaped into her face. Maybe that was exactly the sender’s intention.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“The story does keep you on your toes, and you never see what is about to happen, and the setting is WWII, and even Mrs. Roosevelt is back. A don’t miss read that will make you want more once that last page is turned!” ~ Maureen’s Musings
“If you love wacky but fun adventures, this is the series for you. The historical detail adds additional depth.” ~ Laura’s Interests
“From page one, Faber's lively writing style and authentic language capture the mood of the 1940s and pull me along as a helpless captive to this engaging story. Highly recommended for entertainment value!” ~ June Gillam
“If you've not read this author before this is a must to pick up. She captivates you from the beginning and you just cannot put the book down. Some surprises in it you'll love, too.” ~ Ruth Powers
“With Agnes, there's never a dull page. Expect unceasing entertainment!” ~ Ellen Cardwell

Guest Post by the Author
Expectations of the Reader
A reader spends four to five hours immersed in a book from cover to cover. If the story is well written, for a time, she forgets her personal life. She sees herself either traveling alongside the main character or, if the writer is talented enough, the reader ‘becomes’ the character as the story moves forward.
She may wish to be transported into a romance where she feels loved and cherished. She may be a frustrated crime fighter who receives satisfaction from following clues and perhaps solving a mystery before the end of the book. She may hope to experience the thrills and chills of a thriller-suspense novel. Or, perhaps, to experience life in a different world or a different time in history. She may hope to learn more of the traditions of people from other lands or other cultures, presented in a way she can identify with.
How do these various types of book come about? Does the reader ever think about what was involved before this story could magically appear on the pages and land on a book store shelf for the benefit and pleasure of our reader?
Unless a reader is an author herself, it is doubtful that she could conceive of the time and energy that goes into writing a novel – plotting, writing, researching, editing, reviewing, formatting, and finally to cover design and publication. Each step takes hours and hours and hours.
The author must first come up with a premise for the story. Some authors outline the entire novel before they ever put fingers to keyboard. Others have a general idea of the story line, and let the story evolve as they write, figuring how to bring it all together in a cohesive manner. She thinks about the characters and the story line most days and often into the night. Every little thread must come together in the end. It is essential to keep the suspense or momentum throughout the middle, lest we lose the attention of the reader. She must keep each reaction and comment true to the personality of the characters as she envisions how they might respond to a certain event. She must make the reader understand the motivation and resulting actions or comments of the character through the dialogue.
The end must make sense and, preferably, be a satisfying conclusion to the reader, leaving her wishing there was another hundred pages in the story. She is left wondering where the sequel can be found, if there is one. In ideal circumstances, the characters have become real enough that she can almost see them as next-door neighbors or someone in her circle of friends.
What a challenge and what a victory when a reader comes back and says, “When is the next book coming out?” That is the reader’s expectation and the goal authors seek. That is the highest compliment.

About the Author
Elaine Faber
Elaine Faber lives in Northern California with her husband and two feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, California Cat Writers, and Northern California Publishers and Authors. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop. She enjoys speaking on author panels, sharing highlights of her novels. Her short stories have appeared in national magazines and multiple anthologies. She has published seven books. In addition to the Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries Elaine writes the Black Cat Mysteries.


Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Links