Fiction Review: Nadine Nettman’s “Decanting a Murder”

This week’s review is a stop on the Great Escapes blog tour for Decanting a Murder. You can also enter a raffle for the chance to win your own print copy!

DECANTING A MURDER NADINE NETTMANN

Benjamin Cooker, I have a new apprentice for you to take on!

I say this in jest, and will try to stay away from too many comparisons in this review, but suffice it to say that fans of the Winemaker Detective series will enjoy this one greatly as well!

Katie is an amazing character. I definitely would love to meet her in real life. She is very observant and quick-thinking, the author using her observations and trains of thought to paint well-rounded scenes throughout the work. This made for a very fast and fun read, as we encounter everything in the plot at the same time Katie does, her reactions mirrored in the reader’s own, making her character that much more real.

One aspect throughout this work that reminded me of the Winemaker Detective was how much each protagonist loves the story behind things. In each instance, when the authors allow the characters to give us extra details, little behind-the-scenes anecdotes, it helps immerse those not as familiar with the wine world, allowing us to gain new understanding of the reasons people are so passionate about it.

And that is what the reader takes away upon closing the cover of this excellent story, just how much the author’s love for her subject, her passion, shines through in her characters. The five people sitting around the table in the last chapter are not tropes, they embody the depth of the author’s training, and the community that share that passion with her – making it come alive for the reader. This is how you write a book!

Highly recommended!

Enter HERE for your chance to win your own copy!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher

Fiction Review: Dani Pettrey’s “Cold Shot”

This is a book that will tease all your senses! The sailor’s rope around the picture frames on the walls,  the smell of thick chowder simmering in the kitchen at family meals, the thick fur of Winston, the Irish wolfhound, laying in front of the couch, all combine to pull the reader in, make them a part of the family. The characters prize family and deep friendships, so to be invited in with such vivid language brings an extra level of enjoyment to the reading of this work.

There are quite a few players in this story, and the author switches points of view throughout the chapters to give us a full look at what is going on. This can be a difficult balance to achieve, but is well done here, keeping the reader engaged in trying to put together the pieces.

The characters are very cool, with lots of little facets that catch the light and are revealed as we travel through the work. The introductions of each were well written, working to move plot ahead, instead of stopping and relying on exposition. I would recommend this work as a great example for authors, like myself, who often struggle with that. Also, giving each character an existence before the events of the book allowed them to feel more real, and the referencing of past conflicts at just the right time helped to deepen the 3-D image the author created.

With so many points of view, it can be hard to see the connections at first, but the author wraps everything together very well, bringing the book to an action-packed, but complete, resolution. I really enjoyed this work, and will definitely be recommending it to friends!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher

Fiction Review: Marty Wingate’s “Skeleton Garden”

This week’s review is a stop on the Great Escapes Blog Tour for Skeleton Garden.

SkeletonCover  MartyPicture

I absolutely love the characters in this series, and I know it is all thanks to Ms. Wingate’s amazing ability to bring them to life for the reader – giving each their own powerful, distinct voice and letting them tell the story. The book starts with an introduction/recap of everyone in our starring cast, and a brief history of their previous adventures. This was well blended into the rest of the story, immersing the reader back into the lives of Pru and her family.

And what a family! Full of love, teasing, squabbles, dysfunction and synergy by turns, this work shines in its main theme – that of relationships. Beyond the mystery, this is a book about how the interconnections of our relationships, past and present, can impact us and shape who we are. Seeing how one life, even one action, can impact those around us for generations gave me something to ponder, long after the last page was turned.

I also loved actually watching Pru in her garden, and her love for it all, which we didn’t get to dive as deeply into in previous works. Getting to see that side of her was quite fun, especially with the extra adventures from her “helper”.

I REALLY enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend you get all in the series!

Giveaway Winner!

I couldn’t help myself, I actually wrote all your names down and drew from at hat, because it is so much more fun that way!

Congratulations to reader CarlRScott for winning the Deadly Scandal autographed copy giveaway!
Please fill out your mailing address in the form below, so the publisher can send your book!

Keep on the lookout for more giveaways and contests in the coming weeks!

 

Fiction Review: Julie Anne Lindsey’s “A Geek Girl’s Guide to Arsenic”

This week’s review is part of a Great Escapes Blog Tour, and includes a rafflecopter contest from the author!

geek cover  Julie Anne

This book was SO much fun to read. I highly recommend getting the rest in the series as well, for a full dive into Mia’s life and adventures.

I have a great love for ren fests, and can be found, in costume, with my friends and family attending at least one each year. The look into the different areas of the fair, the different personalities of the performers and vendors, how invested or disinterested different individuals are in their immersion, was all amazingly well crafted and on point. The reader truly feels they are walking the grounds with Mia, experiencing that unique hum of activity one only finds at these events.

The resolution to the mystery was fast, action-packed and kept me turning the pages in anticipation. I wished the book were longer, so we could get more explanation of everything that happened with the characters we’d met. Always the problem with the really good stories, more tale to be told, but you have to stop writing at some point to publish!

My absolute favorite scene is the note on the napkin. I’d dare even to say it’s in my top five favorite scenes I’ve ever read. And now that I’ve gotten your curiosity, GO READ THIS BOOK!

Mia’s voice and personality reminded me of Dahlia Moss, from a previous work I’ve reviewed. I now plan to gift both together to all my geek friends, as they are fantastic works!

Make sure to enter the rafflecopter giveaway from the author, by following THIS LINK.

Non-Fiction Review: Lisa Bevere’s “Girls with Swords”

This review is from my “for fun” stack of books I’m reading through – books that are new to me, not necessarily new to print. This title came as a recommendation at the library, and I am so glad to have picked it up!

This is a deep, deep dive into how swords are an image of our faith. Ms. Bevere has layers upon layers of ideas to share – each chapter building on the last, and she takes the time to comb through it all and lay it out fully for the reader. There is a lot of research behind this work, and Ms, Bevere uses it all, but in a way that teaches, not just wading through empty facts. I really enjoyed the style she uses in this work.

This isn’t your typical “you are wonderful, go take on the world” book for women that one can find so easily on the shelves. This is a focused, intentional look at the enemy against us, and the preparations, legacy, weapons, and strategies for battle we must  use in our fight. Ms. Bevere puts it so well when she says, “it is always better to choose your position through decisive action, then to have it chosen for you through passive default.”

This work is a great blend of quotes from notable historical figures, verses from the Bible, and Ms. Bevere’s own thoughts and insights. All of them add up to great truths that inspired deep discussions while I read through the book. I look forward to reading through this one again, to dig deeper into things I may have only brushed before, and I look forward to gifting copies to my friends, to continue the good conversations that spring up!

 

Don’t forget! Enter the giveaway contest for an autographed copy of Deadly Scandal by March 20. Just comment or tweet @KSRPearson with the name of mystery character that’s stuck with you, and the title or series they are from. Feel free to enter more than once!

Fiction Review: Kate Parker’s “Deadly Scandal”

This week’s review is part of a Great Escapes Blog Tour, and includes the chance to win your own autographed copy of the book!

DeadlyScandal  KateParker

I greatly enjoyed reading this book! The highlights for me were the different characters we get to meet. They are all so different from each other and those found in historical mysteries – nary a cookie-cutter trope to be seen! And beyond that, each character had many layers, which the author skillfully reveals throughout the book, changing your perceptions and assumptions along the way. This work will definitely keep you on your toes!

The story is action packed, the pace matching perfectly with main character Olivia’s personality and focus. The plot drives all the way to the very last page, using the whole space to tell the tale, and keeping the reader engaged until closing the cover. And the setting around this mystery was unique, and perfect for the story and characters created by Ms. Parker.

I really liked hearing the tale through Olivia’s point of view. She isn’t like those around her, and she doesn’t easily bend to the molds others try to place on her. She is her own woman, but that doesn’t take away from the real love she had for Reggie, and her pain and anger over his death. This is a real person, impacted by events and reacting to them in real ways, in as much as the heroine of a historical spy thriller can.

I greatly recommend this work! And as it would happen, you have the chance to win your own autographed copy! U.S. Only, sorry.
Contest Entries: Olivia is a distinct and memorable mystery novel heroine. What memorable character has stuck with you from other mystery novels? Comment here, or tweet me @KSRPearson with the name of the character, and the title or series they are from. Winner will be drawn on March 20. Feel free to enter more than once!