Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Review of Carol J. Perry's Look Both Ways

Genre – Cozy Mystery
Series: A Witch City Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington (October 27, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1617733734

Look Both Ways by Carol J. Perry is the third book in Witch City Mystery series. Lee Barett teaches television production during the school year so to keep busy for the summer; she has volunteered to locate props for the drama program. With the reconstruction of her apartment after the fire complete, Lee is looking forward to furnishing it. She finds a bureau identical to one she loved as a child, complete with hidden compartments in a local antique store. The bureau comes from the estate of Helena Trent, a socialite presumed to have been killed by her husband.

Not long after purchasing the bureau, she returns only to discover the body of the shop keeper. Turns out the bureau comes complete with a mystery. Helena was known to possess a priceless pink diamond, but it disappeared upon her death. This prompts the question, do either of the murders have anything to do with the missing bauble?

I must admit while I am a fan of Carol J. Perry and her cozy town of Salem, Massachusetts, Look Both Ways felt at times both confusing and boring.  The book definitely had potential combining murders, secret compartments, missing jewelry, puzzles and lots of suspects but the characters fell flat, even Lee and O’Ryan felt like strangers. I doubt I would have finished the book if I wasn’t already a fan of the series. Throughout the book it becomes apparent that the killer will do anything to get the diamond but with so many suspects the police don't know where to look and neither did I. Her friend’s very convenient tarot reading warns her of a blond man leading you to consider Shea's estranged business partner? There is also Tommy Trent, Helena's husband newly released from jail? And of course Helena's stepson from her first marriage?  I usually enjoy a litany of options when it comes to the bad guy, but the scenarios were either drawn out or too vague. Lee begins investigating; using her developing psychic powers. The premise sounds wonderful unfortunately, the visions were boring—a woman on a beach with a dog. They weren’t particularly descriptive and nothing about them pulled me there despite being completely tied to the end. This is the opposite of how I felt when reading Carol’s first book in the series. Unfortunately, there were many unrelated and unnecessary elements to the plot that outright distracted and confused me. Things like the dream interpretation, the Feng shui, her new apartment, and of course the repetitive and stilted conversations.
The end was more interesting than the first three quarters but the two felt disconnected which is why I have to give it three witchy tarrot cards out of five. There were just too many elements that didn’t cohesively fit. I really did enjoy Carol’s previous books so I have high hopes for her next book.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley.

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In Salem, Massachusetts, there are secret everywhere--even in the furniture. . .
When Lee Barrett spots the same style oak bureau she once had as a child on the WICH-TV show, Shopping Salem, she rushes to the antiques shop and buys the piece. Just like the beloved bureau she lost in a fire, this one has secret compartments. It also comes with an intriguing history--it was purchased in an estate sale from a home where a famous local murder took place.

The day after the bureau is delivered, Lee returns to the antiques shop and finds the owner dead. The police suspect the shop owner's unscrupulous business partner, but Lee wonders if the murder is connected to her new furniture. At least part of the answer may be revealed through a mirror in the bureau, tarnished and blackened, allowing Lee to tap into her psychic visions. Using this bureau of investigation, Lee may be able to furnish her policeman beau with the evidence needed to catch the killer--before the next one to be shut up is her. . .

Carol J. Perry knew as a child that she wanted to be a writer. A voracious reader, whose list for Santa consisted mostly of book titles, she never lost sight of that goal. While living in Florida, Carol was on assignment for Southern Travel Magazine, preparing an article on the world’s tallest sand castle which was being built near her home. That combination of events inspired her first young adult novel, Sand Castle Summer. That book was soon followed by half a dozen more. Always an avid reader of mysteries, Carol Perry’s debut mystery novel is set in Salem and involves a mysterious cat, several witches and some strange Halloween happenings. Appropriately enough, this Salem-born author celebrates her birthday on Halloween eve!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ready to Murder Some Words: Join Our Critique Group Starting Mid November

Calling All Writers in the Peterborough, Hasting & Campbellford area! I'm opening my home to a writers critique group that will begin Tuesday November 17th. Please drop a line if you are interested in joining on a biweekly basis. We are looking for supportive writers who can take and deliver constructive criticism, focusing on the things that work while making suggestions to strengthen and improve the piece and ultimately the writer.

Writing Circle: The Whodunnits: Writing To Kill For
City: Norwood
Location: Second Empire Victorian Home
Meeting day: Tuesday
Start time: 7 P.M
Meeting frequency: Bi-weekly (possibly weekly in the future)
Openings: Yes
Format: We currently have 3 members but we're open to a few more. Looking specifically for more mystery writers (cozies, historical, traditional). The plan is to send out a chapter (3500 words or less) for review a week ahead of time. This chapter will need to be printed and toted along for Tuesday's meeting where we will take turns reading aloud and providing feedback/editing. Don't forget to print your own chapter. Laptops and track edits changes are welcome if preferred.

Contact Name: Rachael Stapleton
Contact Information: 

#writersgroup #writerscritiquegroup #ontariowriters #lookingforawritersgroup #norwoodwriters #peterboroughwriters #hastingswriters #Campbellfordwriters #writerswelcome #writertips #writeradvice #writerhelp #mysterywriters #adventurewriters #historicalwriters

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Vote Now: Who Should Be Solstice Publishing's Author of the Year?

Solstice Publishing will choose the Author of the Year, and they want to know what the readers think. Cast your vote for the author you most enjoyed this year. Click Here and scroll through the authors. Hope I make the cut.

Much Love,

Rachael Stapleton

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Celebrating 11:11 Make a Wish!


I once read that when you see 11:11 you should simply stop, and recognize the significance of the moment. So here I go.
In February Solstice published the second book in my TEMPLE OF INDRA series and for the first time since it was published I spent some time crunching numbers only to realize that as of August I hit the most magical number in the Universe.

I distributed 1,111 copies of CURSE OF THE PURPLE DELHI SAPPHIRE through Amazon. (Not including paperbacks sold through myself, stores or via the book launch.) Can I get a hell yeah!
These Canadians are not just celebrating the Toronto Blue Jays magical 2015 season, they are celebrating 1111 copies of Rachael Stapleton novels going out through Amazon. (Stay with me here.) I know what you’re thinking: “Holy Cow! Over a thousand books! You must be rich!” That’s what I was thinking, too! I'm no accountant but I’ve run the math and sadly I'm not. Still… it’s a milestone all the same. The fact that I’ve had 1,111 people download or purchase a copy of my book is a true blessing.

And in case you're wondering, I am still writing, albeit not nearly as frequently. Have no fear....I will be ramping back up...I just needed to spend a little quality time with my family while my husband focused on his career. I am happy to share that I have two books written, and I'm currently researching a third. I'm hoping 2016 will be a stellar year. Perhaps I'll be celebrating more milestones. Regardless, I'm doing what I love and I have all of you to thank for it. If you can count yourself among the 1,111 people who have gotten my book through Amazon, I am sincerely grateful to you. And if you’re one of the people who has come to a book signing or posted a review on Amazon or in any way expressed to me that you enjoyed my book – again, thank you so much. Surprisingly I don’t have the words to tell you how much it means to me.

Being a writer is a vulnerable job. I open my imagination as well as my heart and allow my readers to climb inside, I would be lying if I said it wasn't at times terrifying but it's also rewarding and if you’re among those 1111, I appreciate what you’ve done to help make it a little less so. The real reward isn’t making millions of dollars with my writing (although that would be you hear me Universe), the real success is having fans respond favorably to the things I’ve written. Thank you so much for making these last couple of years a success! Perhaps it's time for me to make another wish.

‪#‎Booksales‬ ‪#‎Amazon‬ ‪#‎CURSEOFTHEPURPLEDELHISAPPHIRE‬ ‪#‎Milestone‬‪#‎TEMPLEOFINDRA‬ #‎MysteryWriter‬

Meet Joyce and Jim Lavene: This Week's Treasured & Tipsy Timeslip Travellers

Five Places We Would Like to go and why
By Joyce and Jim Lavene

What a fun way to say something about our new book, A Dickens of a Murder! As writers and readers we can travel places many people can never hope to visit. It’s as easy to go to Mars or explore under the seas as it is to go down the block to the grocery store. We’ve indulged our imaginations to travel around the universe which makes it hard to choose five places we’d like to go. But we’ll give it a whirl!

Note from the bloghost: It is with great sadness I report the passing of Joyce Lavene. She died Oct. 20th at the age of 61 not long after writing this post. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Joyce, I was honored that she stopped by my blog. It is a common sentiment that she was an intelligent, funny, talented woman born to write. My thoughts and prayers go out to her husband Jim, her children and grandchildren. Please feel free to leave a message below and please enjoy some of her final thoughts and words.

1. Probably the first place we’d like to go would be Mars. We’ve been before with John Carter, courtesy of his creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs, who also took us into the earth and into the deepest part of the jungle. We’d love to help John figure out all of the problems on Mars.

2. We’d love to go under the sea with Captain Nemo in his wonderful submarine. We visited with him for a short time but it’s been years and we’re longing to go again. His creator Jules Verne was a revolutionary writer who foresaw so many things that we are just starting to create today.
3. We’d love to help Agatha Christie watch the goings-on aboard the Orient Express.  We both like hats so no problem with the period clothing. Hercule might be able to teach us a thing or two about solving mysteries and we love dark train tunnels!

4. Who wouldn’t like to be with the first group of explorers to discover Egyptian mummies buried for thousands of years beneath the sand? Okay, so there was a curse, but its a small price to pay to be the first to walk through those ancient tombs in thousands of years. Sign us up for the expedition!

5. We long to hear the mournful cry of the hound on the moors and follow Sherlock Holmes as he solves the mystery of the Hound of the Baskervilles. Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle can bring the pipe tobacco. We’ll bring the good whiskey and a small revolver to keep ourselves warm and out of trouble.

Perhaps now you’re saying that those aren’t real places. Maybe so but they are as real to us as many places that we could drive or walk to right now. When you’ve been to such places as you can find in the pages of a book – it can take something away from those ‘real’ places.
Writing a book is the same experience. We’d love to live in our Renaissance Village with Jessie and Chase. We’ve been to Duck, NC but wish we could have visited Missing Pieces, our protagonist’s shop of the boardwalk. We’ve seen in our minds the three-story house in Old Towne Portsmouth, Virginia that becomes the Canterville Book Shop, but we’d love to walk in and talk to the ghost of Charles Dickens.
That might seem crazy to people who don’t read, but we know readers understand what we mean. Books have taken us everywhere. We hope you’ll have an opportunity to let our books take you somewhere special too!

Thanks for reading!

Canterville Book Shop Mystery 1
Genre - Cozy Mystery
Print Length: 111 pages
Publisher: J. Lavene (November 3, 2015)
ASIN: B015269QSI

Christmas at Canterville!

Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are surprised to find a dead man on their roof in the midst of rushing to open the Canterville Book Shop in time for the holidays. And not just any dead man – Ebenezer Hart – the man who opposed the book shop opening in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia.
What might be more surprising is when Daniel Fairhaven – Lisa’s ex – turns up at the door of the three-story Victorian house to head the police investigation. She hasn’t seen him in years but the sparks start to fly as soon as they are in the same room together.

Simon and Lisa are obviously the best suspects for the murder. Each of them had something to gain by Hart’s death. Then an attempt on Simon’s life throws that theory into a tailspin.
But the biggest surprise yet comes when the ghost of Charles Dickens turns up to help Lisa with the murder investigation – and writing the mystery novel she has been working on for years.
Without a doubt, Daniel and Dickens in Lisa’s life means trouble. And there’s still the matter of trying to get the book shop open with a killer on their heels.

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Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

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