Down to Earth Romance

Archive for the ‘Mystery Novels’ Category

Book Review-Lies by T.M. Logan #LIES #NetGalley #Thriller @TMLoganAuthor @StMartinsPress

5 Stars

I couldn’t put this book down! LIES by T.M. Logan was fast paced and very well written. An impressive second book, and I will definitely read more by this author. I gave the book five stars because it kept me intrigued until the very last page. It’s not a perfect book, but was nevertheless a fun read. I would have enjoyed the story more if the solution had been woven into the plot in the third act instead of offering an info dump at the end. Still, this was a thoroughly entertaining story. Received a copy of the book from NetGalley for an honest review.

NetGalley Review Link:

https://www.netgalley.com/book/136106/review/467080

Goodreads Review Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2495103118

Book Review-Under My Skin by Lisa Unger #UnderMySkin #NetGalley #Thriller @LisaUnger

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4.5 Stars

Reading books by Lisa Unger is always a Master Class in fiction writing. I’ve attended her book signings and read all of her books, and while I’ve enjoyed some more than others, it struck me that Under My Skin must have been an especially difficult story to write. Dreams and hallucinations, versus reality, is a tough subject.

As a recent widow myself, I felt an instant connection to the protagonist, Poppy, and feel it’s important to mention that Poppy’s struggle with grief struck a major chord with me. Her emotions, behavior, and reactions were both understandable and believable within the context of her loss. Grief affects people in profound ways, and the need to escape the pain can be all-consuming. Lisa Unger did a fantastic job depicting the ways grief can cause indescribable anguish. I cried at the end of this book and give the author major kudos for empathizing so well with the grieving process.

Under My Skin kept me turning the pages until the very end. I received a copy of the story from NetGalley.

Link to NetGalley review:

https://www.netgalley.com/book/131813/review/467080

On Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36645003-under-my-skin

My Mother’s Original 1930 Copy of Nancy Drew

Happy 85th Birthday, Nancy Drew! 

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Did you read Nancy Drew mysteries as a girl? Or the Hardy Boys when you were a boy? I loved the Nancy Drew series and devoured them as an adolescent and young teen. My favorite was The Witch Tree Symbol. I liked the paranormal woo-woo overtones of the title and full-color cover, though the story turned out to be as sensible as Nancy’s sleuthing shoes. Still, I kept that book in my collection well into adulthood.

The Secret of The Old Clock was the first Nancy Drew mystery published in 1930. This original copy belonged to my mother. Notice the detailed illustration. Her copy is fragile and the pages are very brown, but this book is a treasure. I gave my copies of Nancy Drew away years ago, but have kept my mother’s in a place of honor on my bookshelf.

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Happy 85th Birthday, Nancy Drew!

Thank you for fueling my lifelong love of reading and writing.

 

Cozy Mystery Author Cate Price And CONTEST!

–CONTEST ALERT!!!!–

Do you like to read cozy mysteries? I certainly do, and I love Cate Price’s Berkley Prime Crime mystery series.

I share a special connection to Cate’s books, since I read early drafts of book one Going Through The Notions and was a research source for that book, as well as book two in the series, A Dollhouse To Die For. Cate’s new release is Lie of The Needle.

When I discovered Cate had visited a New England carousel museum over the holidays, I invited her to share her beautiful pictures and experience with us. I hope you enjoy her tour.

Please welcome Cate and be sure to leave her a comment.  Residents inside the continental USA will be automatically entered to win a copy of her latest cozy mystery Lie of The Needle.

*Winner Announced Saturday, 1/24/15.

Congratulations to Laura F., winner of LIE OF THE NEEDLE!

Many thanks to all who visited and entered Cate’s contest.

Best~Adele

***

The New England Carousel Museum by Cate Price

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On a recent trip home to Connecticut, I paid a visit to the New England Carousel Museum that’s housed in an old hosiery factory building in Bristol. A friendly and knowledgeable tour guide showed me and my mom around, and we started with how the horses are made.

Interestingly, they’re not carved from a single piece of wood as I’d imagined, but from many small pieces held together with wooden dowels and animal hide glue. A carousel horse is hollow inside to make it lighter in weight. Some are time capsules in a way, because carvers often hid items in the cavity, like their tools or even a lottery ticket! The heads and bodies were made separately from each other, and our guide showed us a quirky example where the head was far too big for the horse’s body.

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The museum has a large variety of antique hand-carved, hand-painted carousel horses, in various stages of repair. Some are in their original condition, but most are fully and beautifully restored. They’re not just historic examples of entertainment, but truly works of art, and there are several different styles. The highly expressive “Coney Island” style horses have flared nostrils and “peek-a-boo” looped manes, and are flamboyantly decorated with cabbage roses, feathers, jewels, and even real gold leaf. The “Philadelphia” style is more classic and realistic, with sweet faces, and then there’s the folk-art “Country Fair” horses which are smaller and built in simpler poses, with outstretched legs which made them easier to stack for transport.

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My mother loved the white English prancing horse, but I think my favorite was the little one who hadn’t been restored yet, with his distressed wood and multiple layers of peeling paint, showing how many times he had been fixed up over the years, with whatever paint the carousel park owners happened to have on hand.

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The horses have a fancy or “romance” side that is highly decorated, but the one that faces the inside of the carousel is plainer. Something else I hadn’t realized is that in America the horses travel counter clockwise. In England the horses go clockwise, so those horses were pointing in the opposite direction to show their best side. I also noticed that some had a decorative feature at the rear of the saddle, like a brace of game birds peeking out, a monkey, flowers, or fruit, to name but a few.

The museum has Menagerie figures, too, like a double-seater rooster, rabbit, cat, duck, giraffe, pig, and magnificent carved lion. The master carver on staff has created new figures, such as a lovely manatee. There are other curiosities, including an old fortune teller machine, a wooden fairy tale carriage, and a Wurlitzer band organ.

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    The New England Carousel Museum has the contract to manage the historic Bushnell Park Carousel in Hartford that was built in 1914 by Stein and Goldstein and features forty-eight hand-carved wooden horses and two lover’s chariots.

    Carousels often included open carriages to accommodate Victorian ladies’ skirts.The       museum is dedicated to the acquisition, restoration and preservation of carousels and carousel memorabilia, with a focus on educational programs. Although we didn’t have time on this visit, also housed in the same building is the Museum of Fire History and The Bristol Center for Arts and Culture.

Price of admission is only six dollars for adults (less for seniors and children), which includes a ride on the working carousel. It’s definitely worth a visit!

The New England Carousel Museum is located at 95 Riverside Avenue, Bristol, CT. 860-585-5411. They are closed in January and February, but available for private parties. www.thecarouselmuseum.org

 About Cate Price:

Cate Price is the author of the Deadly Notions mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. The third book in the series, LIE OF THE NEEDLE, was published January 6, 2015.

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 As the owner of Sometimes a Great Notion, a shop specializing in vintage sewing notions and antique treasures, Daisy Buchanan is a strong advocate of preserving the past. But when a killer strikes, she turns her attention to saving lives…

Talk about a great notion! As a fund-raiser to save a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse and stop an ambitious developer, the ladies of the Historical Society of Millbury, Pennsylvania, are producing a Hunky Men of Millbury calendar. Daisy is delighted to lend her support, and the female population of the village is abuzz with anticipation.

But after Daisy’s close friend Cyril doesn’t show up for his photo shoot and the calendar photographer is found dead, it’s beginning to look like the days may be numbered for the men of Millbury. Can a cryptic verse on an antique sampler help Daisy pin down the killer before another pinup runs out of time?

Buy The Book on Amazon!

Cate Price loves to hear from readers at her website, www.cateprice.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/catepriceauthor

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I Met Sheriff Longmire!

More accurately, I met Sheriff Walt Longmire’s creator.

My local independent bookstore hosted Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire Mystery series, during his recent tour to promote his new release. I’ve never missed an episode of Longmire on A&E and wanted to meet the man whose creative genius brought Sheriff Walt Longmire, Deputies Victoria Moretti and Branch Connolly, and Walt’s lifelong friend Henry Standing Bear to life. The characters seem so real they’re like neighbors you’d want at your backyard beer bash. If you haven’t discovered Longmire, the modern-day cowboy detective of Absaroca County, Wyoming, do yourself a favor and add the series to your reading and TV lists.

About 100 fans gathered at Chester County Books to hear Craig Johnson discuss Longmire and learn about his role on the television show. I found it both interesting and reassuring that Johnson maintains some creative control of each episode in the series. I’ve met other authors whose books have been turned into hugely successful TV shows, and they said they hardly recognized their characters or stories. Johnson reads every script line by line before production and has a voice in the story outcome. I’m convinced that’s why the show has remained true to his characters.

Here are some fun facts Johnson mentioned during the book chat:

  • Craig Johnson and his wife Judy live in Ucross, Wyoming; population 25. (Yes, you read that right. Twenty-five.)
  • Although episodes of Longmire have been based on Walt Longmire mystery novels, the endings have been changed so that readers and TV viewers can enjoy a crossover experience. Readers of the series will discover that murder suspects in the books are not the same suspects in the TV shows. This approach keeps the stories fresh and eliminates spoilers.
  • Longmire is A&E’s most successful television series to date.
  • Craig Johnson received a Master’s Degree from Temple University. That connection is the reason he travels to Pennsylvania during book tours. (Yay, for us!) His Philadelphia roots are also behind the creation of his character Vic Moretti, a Philly native and former member of the Philadelphia police force.
  • Walt Longmire is surrounded by women he depends upon. His dispatcher Ruby keeps his office running smoothly. Daughter Cady rules his heart. The memory of his murdered wife, Martha, fuels his motivation. His deputy Vic Moretti is his alter-ego. Vic is tough, urban, and rough edged; while Walt is tough, country, and big-hearted. Johnson said (paraphrase), “If you were speeding down a highway in Absaroca County, you’d want Walt, not Vic, to give you a ticket.” (As an aside, I should mention that recent episodes hinted at an attraction between Walt and Vic, but neither character acted on that attraction. When thousands of Longmire Facebook fans were asked if Walt and Vic should get together, they responded with a resounding NO!)
  • Johnson said he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll write scripts for Longmire.

Let’s hope Craig Johnson writes lots more books, and that Longmire lasts for years, with compelling stories about the characters from Absaroca County.

Author Craig Johnson, Longmire Mystery Series. Photo by Author Adele Downs.

Author Craig Johnson, Longmire Mystery Series. Photo by Author Adele Downs.

 

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