Monthly Archives: December 2020

Book Review: Murder is a Must – I love this author!!

By Marty Wingate

Hayley Burke is beyond excited when she lands a job as the curator of the First Edition Society in Bath. Little did she know that dealing with the longtime secretary, Mrs. Woolgar would be the easiest hurtle to jump because murder will soon to follow.

As curator, Hayley has big ideas as to how she is going to spread the word and create interest in women authors of the Golden Age of Mystery. In particular, Lady Georgiana Fowling whose home and collection she is there to promote and protect. It is the location of the First Edition library, the envy of all Golden Age Mystery lovers. But the piece de resistance is a first edition book signed by members of the of the Detection Club in 1933, including Lady Fowling, Agatha Christie and G. K. Chesterton that was hidden years ago and never found. Making a modern-day mystery that intrigues Hayley and the members of the Society.

Hayley has the clues Lady Fowling left to find the book, but they are cryptic at best. And she has other things on her mind. She must garner more interest for the First Edition Society which includes salons as well as an exhibition. Everyone is excited about the exhibition, but has doubts about it actually coming to fruition. Haley thinks she can pull it off, but that is before the person in charge of the exhibition is found dead. Apparently, someone will stop at nothing to get his or her hands on that hidden book.

Wingate is one of my favorite writers. She brings the reader into the setting and story in the first few pages and keeps you there until the final pages. The characters are fully developed and you’ll love or hate them accordingly. As a mystery lover, it is satisfying to be kept guessing until the last pages of the book to find out who the killer is. I highly recommend Murder is a Must. It is a gem.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: A Side of Murder – An Engaging Debut Cozy Mystery

By Amy Pershing

Samantha Barnes thought she escaped Cape Cod for good when she moved to New York to follow her dream as a big city chef. After graduating from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) she landed a job as a chef and got married. When her now ex-husband’s temper flew out of control an incident occurred that was unfortunately filmed and uploaded to YouTube by a passerby. That ended her coveted job. So, when her aunt passed away, Samantha came home to Cape Cod to lick her wounds and regroup to get her life back on track. Little did she know this was going to involve solving a murder.

Taking a temp job with the Cape Cod Clarian as a food critic seems like a logical next step. It is fun to have old friends come along to the restaurants until she stumbles over the dead body of a woman she once worked with. It might be an accidental death, but Samantha doesn’t believe it. When the harbormaster arrives to investigate and she realizes he is her high school crush, Jason.

It is hard to believe she is living in Cape Cod, poking her nose into a murder investigation and is still attracted to Jason. To add icing to these unlikely events, she has inherited her aunt’s dog – Diogi. Life can be funny that way but Samantha doesn’t see the humor in it. Neither does the murderer who will do anything to keep her quiet.

This fast-paced cozy mystery had me reading late into the night to finish “just one more chapter”. The characters are fun and quirky, including Diogi. The list of suspects kept me guessing until the final pages.

This is Pershing’s debut non-fiction book. A Side of Murder is the first book in the Cape Cod Foodie Mystery Series. I am anxiously awaiting book #2. I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves cozy mysteries.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Crooked Creek by Fredrick Robertson

I loved this fast-paced hilarious novela

Crooked Creek condos in Greenville, South Carolina might sound like a peaceful place to live and write. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Billy wrote a best-selling book right out of the gate. Unfortunately, his mojo has fizzled, making his second novel impossible to write. In hopes to get back in the groove, he plants a proper garden outside his condo’s window, but the HOA brutally uproots the plants, stating it is against the rules.

So begins the war between Billy and the HOA. The good news is Billy is back in the groove. The words flow out of him, through his typewriter and onto the paper. Inspiration from the crazy happenings with the HOA board are fodder for his imagination. The more he writes, the more confident and defiant he becomes. Who will win – the dreaded HOA or the writer?

Crooked Creek is a fast-paced, hilarious novella. The characters are fun to meet, each are quirky in their own way. If you have ever lived in a neighborhood with an HOA you can relate to some of the crazy rules and antics. While I have never experienced some of the more outlandish things the HOA does, I can identify with the flower thing. We were supposed to send our HOA the color of flowers we were planting to be approved, and yet, they allowed a car with a flat tire and expired plates to sit in a driveway for four years and counting. It is difficult to explain an HOA, but Robertson paints his readers a perfect picture of an HOA gone bad.

I loved this book. It is funny, quirky and has an interesting plot. The characters are odd and you might know people who are very much like them at least in some small way. There are a few explicit references – but they are laugh out loud funny. I really hope Robertson doesn’t get writer’s block and gives readers many more books. Laughter and good reads make the world go round.

Robertson’s previous book is a work of non-fiction entitled Eight Money Making Ideas for Kids Under 16. His website gives readers a glimpse of who he is: a husband, father and writer who studied abroad. My favorite fun fact I read about Robertson is that he writes on a Royal Model O 1937 typewriter. You gotta love it!

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Reedsy Discovery in exchange for a fair and honest review. You can find it here: https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/crooked-creek-a-comedy-about-writer-s-block-and-a-neurotic-home-owners-association-fredrick-robertson#review Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: On the Trail of Delusion

On the Trail of Delusion

Jim Garrison: The Great Accuser

By: Fred Litwin

One of the greatest controversies of modern history is the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There are conspiracy theories that range from our own government agencies such as the FBI and the CIA to hit men from other nations. Was Lee Harvey Oswald actually the shooter? If so, did he act alone or did someone or group of people help him and why?

Enter New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison. On March 1, 1967, he charged a gay man, Clay Shaw with conspiracy to murder President Kennedy. Garrison had no solid evidence but that did not stop him. Per Litwin, Garrison was flying under the radar of facts on the wings of his position as an elected official. Garrison made up charges, falsely arrested several “suspects” and ruined lives in the process.

Litwin has done his homework. On the Trail of Delusion contains documents, transcripts and eye witness accounts that contradict Garrison’s claims. It is fascinating to read transcripts and court documents pertaining to one of the most infamous events in United States history.

Sadly, we may never know what really happened that day in Dallas. Litwin provides details and documents that I have never seen before, which is intriguing and interesting. Many books, movies and television shows have depicted their version of the assassination. Some are based in fiction; some are based on half-truths and some are based on solid research and actual documents. It is up to the reader to disseminate the information and draw his or her own conclusion.

I recommend Litwin’s book to anyone that is interested in history and conspiracy theories. Fans of non-fiction will appreciate the research and inclusion of sources that are listed at the end of the book. You may even want to look further by using that information.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Scott Lorenz in conjunction with Westwind Book Marketing in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2020 Laura Hartman

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