Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Corpse with the Crystal Skull by Cathy Ace – Book Review

A new book is out in the Cait Morgan Mysteries series by Cathy Ace. I've read 3 out of 8 books in the series, so this is the fourth for me and the ninth in the series.


Book: The Corpse with the Crystal Skull

(Book 9 in the Cait Morgan series)

Author: Cathy Ace

Publication date: 29 June 2020

Publisher: Four Tails Publishing Ltd

Number of pages: 340 pages

ISBN-13: 9781999223069

 

Synopsis:

Welsh Canadian globetrotting sleuth, and professor of criminal psychology, Cait Morgan, is supposed to be “celebrating” her fiftieth birthday in Jamaica with her ex-cop husband Bud Anderson.

But when the body of the luxury estate’s owner is discovered locked inside an inaccessible tower, Cait and her fellow guests must work out who might have killed him – even if his murder seems impossible.

Could the death of the man who hosted parties in the 1960s attended by Ian Fleming and Noël Coward be somehow linked to treasure the legendary Captain Henry Morgan might have buried at the estate? 

Or to the mission Bud and his secret service colleagues have been sent to the island to undertake?




Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

I'm super excited to read another of Cathy Ace's books in the Cait Morgan Mystery series.

This time Ace brings The Corpse with the Crystal Skull, where Cait Morgan and her husband Bud Anderson travel to Jamaica along with 4 of their friends.

It's been a while since I'd read for Ace and this book references some of the events that happened in the previous one, namely The Corpse with the Ruby Lips (which I read in 2016!). I don't remember the events of the last book so I felt a bit disconnected at the beginning.

However, once the mystery began, I was immersed in the book.

The Corpse with the Crystal Skull opens with the three couples in a luxury estate in Jamaica. Cait knows everyone except Charlotte Fortescue "Lottie", who accompanies Bud's friend John.

The trip to Jamaica was meant to be getaway for Cait and Bud for a month. "Then Bud somehow managed to invite Jack and Sheila to join us for a fortnight then he'd also gone and asked John and his 'plus one' to come along for the final week."

During their stay, their host, and estate owner, Freddie Burkinshaw seemingly dies. However, the circumstances surrounding his death seem off to Cait who begins to investigate.


There's something odd about the way Freddie supposedly drops dead. He's shot in the heart in a room locked from the inside within a tower. On his desk rests a crystal skull, the only key to the room is found in Freddie's pocket along with a gun on the floor.

Sounds like a suicide, right?

That's what the police think. But Cait and Bud aren't buying it.

"The crystal skull. That was [Freddie's] most prized possession."

Unbeknownst to Cait, Bud and the other two men are on a secret mission to uncover a historical artefact and destroy it. Cait finally weeds out this information from Bud and joins him in his quest.

As The Corpse with the Crystal Skull progresses, Cait discovers that there were many issues between their friendly host Freddie and other business owners on the island. Chief among them is their nearest neighbor Nina Mazzo.

"Knowing what I do now about the men's mission, their expressions make sense. Sheila's doesn't. I recall that when Amelia broke the news of Freddie's death, Sheila seemed annoyed, not shocked. "Damn it!" she had said. That doesn't seem right."

Also, their friend Sheila seems to be acting strangely in some situations.

There are lots of deceptions in The Corpse with the Crystal Skull from many parties, the good and the bad. This offered tons of suspense and intrigue but also some confusion. Especially when characters like Bud have to talk in code or in indirect messages.

Image via Trip Advisor

As Cait and the group delve deeper into Freddie's life and into the secret operation undertaken by Bud, John, and Jack, secrets emerge about Freddie, who it seems had made many enemies over the years.

"Freddie had a reputation for being able to get things for people. Unusual things. Probably some illegal things. Freddie built a network of contacts and used that to build a network of 'customers.'"

It seemed that many people wanted Freddie dead for different reasons.

One of the things I liked about The Corpse with the Crystal Skull is the references to books and movies, especially Ian Fleming and James Bond. While I watched some of the movies, I've never read any of the books. Maybe I should reconsider?

I enjoy the way Cait and Bud interact with each other, calling each other husband and wife, respectively.

I also loved the conclusion, which was Cait Morgan ala Agatha Christie. Bringing everyone together and slowly making the killer emerge.

Overall rating for The Corpse with the Crystal Skull: 4.5 stars

"Freddie was shot, that's for sure. Straight through the heart. But that's not what's really interesting. What's really interesting is that he'd also been poisoned."

 

Note: I received a free copy of The Corpse with the Crystal Skull by Cathy Ace from Lori Caswell of Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my review in anyway.

 

Check out Nadaness In Motion's book reviews of other books in the Cait Morgan mystery series:

The Corpse with the Diamond Hand

The Corpse with the Garnet Face

The Corpse with the Ruby Lips

Add The Corpse with the Crystal Skull on Goodreads.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

On Borrowed Crime by Kate Young – Book Review & Blog Tour

Today, I've got a new book review for yet another cozy mystery by an author whose main character I absolutely loved!

This post is part of a blog tour, so don't forget to check out the giveaway at the end of this post. 


Book: On Borrowed Crime

Book 1 in the A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery series
Author: Kate Young

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: 6 October 2020
ISBN-10: 1643854623
ISBN-13: 978-1643854625
Digital ASIN: B083RZ3ZRR


Synopsis:

A shoe-in read for fans of Ellery Adams and Kate Carlisle, On Borrowed Crime is the first in Kate Young's new Georgia-set, sweet tea filled, Jane Doe Book Club mysteries.

The Jane Doe book club enjoys guessing whodunit, but when murder happens in their midst, they discover solving crimes isn't fun and games...

Lyla Moody loves her sleepy little town of Sweet Mountain, Georgia. She likes her job as receptionist for her uncle's private investigative firm, her fellow true crime obsessed Jane Doe members are the friends she's always wanted, and her parents just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

But recently, with her best friend Melanie on vacation, and her ex-boyfriend and horrible cousin becoming an item and moving in next door to her, her idyllic life is on the fritz. The cherry on top of it all is finding Carol, a member of the club, dead and shoved into a suitcase, left at Lyla's front door.

Unusual circumstances notwithstanding, with Carol's heart condition, the coroner rules Carol's death undetermined. But when they discover the suitcase belongs to Melanie, who had returned from her vacation the following morning, Sweet Mountain police begin to suspect Lyla's best friend.

Determined that police are following the wrong trail, to clear her friend's name, and to not allow Carol become one of the club's studied cold cases, Lyla begins to seek out the real killer. That is, until she becomes the one sought after. Now, finding the truth could turn her into the killer's next plot twist, unless she wins the game of cat and mouse.

 


Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

"Who could do such a horrible thing to Carol? Why? And what was even a more terrifying question, why would they deliver her to me?"

Wow! WOW AND WOW! I loved On Borrowed Crime!

But first let me introduce you to the story. On Borrowed Crime is my first read for author Kate Young, and definitely not my last!

The book opens with Lyla Moody's car breaking down on her way to work. But for a split second, she sees fellow book club member Carol Timms driving quickly in a car, crying, and accompanied by someone who's hiding their face!

Shortly after, Lyla learns that Carol has been abducted. Only to return home and discover her friend's remains crumpled in a travel bag that was delivered to her home (a bag she assumed was her best friend's that had been misplaced by the airline).

Lyla also discovers that her friend Carol had sent an email to their book club group about an unsolved mystery she'd been exploring.

This case of a Jane Doe makes things more complicated for the book club group and for Lyla who wants to solve the case of her friend's disappearance and murder.

"I'm not accusing you or Lyla of anything. I'm simply stressing caution. And for us to stay out of the realm of fantasy. This isn't a novel, and Carol isn't just any victim."

Lyla also needs to clear her best friend Melanie's name. As Lyla delves deeper into Carol Timm's life, she uncovers many dark secrets, not just about Carol but about others in their community.

Despite the gruesomeness of the murder and the cases the Jane Doe Book Club is dragged into, we see Lyla's sarcastic side and her family life.

I 100% related to Lyla and her struggle with her mother about getting married and having children. It's a common theme in novels, but it was handled very well here and I could especially relate to Lyla's mother's beliefs as an Egyptian and Middle Eastern.

It was very realistic but also offered lots of humor to break away from the murder and investigation.

"Digging into these types of cases shines a great big spotlight on the one holding the shovel. Those responsible won't like it."

One of the reasons I loved On Borrowed Crime was the fact that it read more like a thriller than a cozy mystery. I wasn't expecting that but the story had a bit of a darker turn and feel to it.

It also feels super great when you guess who the killer is – even if it's for the wrong reasons.

I loved the relationships between the characters in On Borrowed Crime. Lyla has her best friend Melanie, along with paternal grandmother (called Gran) who is also her bestie in a way and who contributes to solving the mystery.

I also loved the idea of a mystery book club, something Lyla's mother constantly described as a "morbid obsession."

It reminded me of another cozy mystery I'd read featuring a book club group that solved a crime; it was The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel.

"In most cases, victims know and trust their killers. I wonder if it's someone we know."

Overall, I loved On Borrowed Crime and Kate Young's writing and plotting. I can't wait to read the next books in this series.

Overall rating for On Borrowed Crime by Kate Young: 5 stars.

 

Note: I got a free copy of On Borrowed Crime by Kate Young via Lori Great Escapes Blog tours. This did not affect my review in anyway.


About the Author:

Kate Young writes southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzus. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Connect with Kate Young via her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.


Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - IndieBound 

 

Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep up with the rest of the blog tour featuring spotlights, book reviews, author interviews, and more

5 October – I'm All About Books – Spotlight & Reading Is My SuperPower  & My Reading Journeys – Book Reviews

6 October 6 – Mysteries with Character – Author Interview & Thoughts in Progress & Celticlady's Reviews – Spotlights

7 October – The Avid Reader Book Review & Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews & Socrates Book Reviews – Spotlights

8 October – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – Author Interview & Hearts & Scribbles & Elizabeth McKenna Author Blog – Spotlights  

9 October – Cozy Up With Kathy – Book Review & Angel's Guilty Pleasures & FUONLYKNEW – Spotlights

10 October– Christy's Cozy Corners & Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Reviews + Books a Plenty Book Reviews – Book Review & Character Interview

11 October – Nadaness In Motion & eBook Addicts – Book Reviews & StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight

12 October 12 – I Read What You Write & Literary Gold – Spotlights & Melina's Book Blog – Book Review

Friday, October 9, 2020

Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr - Book Review & Author Interview

I'm super excited to be featuring Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr.

The book is the first in the Trending Topic Mystery Series.

My post includes a blurb, my book review and an exclusive but quick interview with Sarah.

Unbeknownst to the author (until now), one of the main reasons I picked this book is because I work in social media marketing and because I've been thinking of making the protagonist in my work-in-progress cozy mystery series a digital marketer.

Unlike Sarah's main character Coco, who is a celebrity blogger and entrepreneur, my character is likely not going to have this high-end lifestyle.

So let's move on to Trending Topic #Murder.


Book: Trending Topic #Murder
(Book 1 in the Trending Topic Mystery Series)

Author: Sarah E. Burr
Genre: Cozy mystery
Publisher: Camel Press
Publication date: 8 September 2020
Paperback: 218 pages
ISBN-10: 1603816305
ISBN-13: 978-1603816304
Digital ASIN: B08DH78VXM

Synopsis:

Meet 28-year-old celebrity blogger Coco Cline, who has started her own social media consulting company in her hometown of Central Shores, Delaware. Her new clients, Peter and Olivia Chen, are ten days away from the grand opening of their specialty consignment shop when Coco finds their store clerk Stacy dead behind the register.

Worried that a cloud of suspicion will ruin their chances of a successful business launch, the Chens ask Coco to work alongside the inexperienced, small-town police force to speed up the investigation.

Using her celebrity status and social media savviness, Coco realizes Stacy’s seemingly ordinary life was all an act. Following a trail of cryptic online posts and muddied gossip, Coco and her friends discover Stacy’s questionable relationships just might be the reason for her untimely demise.

Book Review of Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr

"Stacy Lockner was killed with an eighty-thousand-dollar teapot."

Trending Topic #Murder is the first book in the Trending Topic Mysteries by Sarah E. Burr.

I picked up the book for personal reasons like exploring how a digital marketer would handle a business AND be a sleuth. :D So in addition to a great mystery, I got to do some research and see a live example (sort of).

Coco Cline is an entrepreneur, who with several friends sold their app to Facebook and came out with millions of dollars. Coco cut her profit to $2 million so she can keep her blog Your Way Today.


Coco goes back to her hometown of Central Shores, Delaware, where she launches her social media and consulting firm Center of Attention Consulting Services aka COA. She also continues to write for and manager her blog Your Way Today, which has over a million followers.

"I had the good business sense to ensure that my blog, still one of the main attractions to long time users of the LiveIt app, remained my intellectual property."

In Trending Topic #Murder, Coco is working with the Chens who are going to launch their luxury shop Once Used, Twice Buy. However, one morning as Coco enters the store to meet with the Chens, she discovers the Chens' clerk Stacy murdered in the back of the store.

Coco then begins her PR mission to ensure the Chens' reputation isn't tarnished as the police investigate, while Olivia Chen seeks to keep her grand opening on schedule.

In her attempt to clear the Chens of suspicion, Coco goes above and beyond to discover who could have wanted Stacy dead. In the process, she unearths many secrets to the believed-to-be-angelic clerk.

"Up until now, I'd been mainly –and selfishly– concerted with saving Once Used, Twice Buy and the Chens' reputation. But the more I got tangled up in Stacy's life, the more determined I felt to make whoever did this to her pay."

With her besties Charlotte and Jasper, and while brushing up on her former investigative skills, Coco's investigation brings in a flood of potential suspects and uncovers a ton of secrets Stacy had been expertly covering.

In Trending Topic #Murder, Coco is a celebrity blogger so the lifestyle is quite unique, interesting, and fun in a way. It appears that Coco is perfect, but as author Sarah E. Burr mentions in her interview, below, Coco does have insecurities.


This becomes clear when her news anchor hottie of a boyfriend becomes the new focus of the town's ladies and as his stardom seems to exceed hers.

"Whoever said knowledge was power must never have been tangled up in a murder investigation."

I loved the characters in Trending Topic #Murder. For some reason, I imagined Charlotte as Stephanie Borden (portrayed by Kaylee Evans) in the series The Good Witch. She, too, was perfect in many ways, struggled to find a boyfriend, and ran café.

There's a ton of humor in the book, especially from the trio: Coco, Jasper, and Charlotte.

"Suspects with no apparent motive are better than no suspects at all, Coco."

One of the things I liked about Trending Topic #Murder is Coco's social media knowledge shared throughout the book. Like how Instagram metrics involve likes but they aren't 100% the case for everything.

Plus, Coco uses her social media skills to discover Stacy's and other characters' secrets.

I enjoyed this personally though because I work in the field as a copywriter and email marketer. Even more so because I could finally see a slight representation of me in a book.

I'm no celebrity blogger but it still feels I could relate to Coco's character, especially the maintaining a blog part – minus the 2 million followers!

Overall I enjoyed reading Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr. I'm definitely curious to see what the other Trending Topics will be.

Overall rating for Trending Topic #Murder: 4.5 stars

Note: I got a free copy of Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr via Lori Great Escapes Blog tours. This did not affect my review in anyway.


Interview with Sarah E. Burr 

Q: Who are your favorite (cozy) mystery authors?

Sarah E. Burr: I’m always picking up the latest Denise Swanson, Cleo Coyle, and Julia Buckley mysteries.

 

Q: If you can give a tip or two to an aspiring cozy mystery author, what would it be?

Sarah: Start working on a tagline for the series/book as soon as possible. It makes for a great hook with agents and publishers if you’ve already got something marketable in the works.

It doesn’t have to be perfect—“Murder goes viral” is the final evolution of the tagline I used from when Coco and I first began our journey together—but having something catchy to work into a query can make your submission stand out.

Q: Coco's character seems almost perfect, so what's her character flaw?

Sarah: Ha! That’s Coco, all right. She strives to appear perfect to the outside world, which is all a part of her online brand. Yet, despite her outward confidence, Coco is insecure about the future, full of anxiety that things may not go according to plan, and she likes things to be within the realm of her control.

That’s why Coco moved back to her hometown after the national spotlight got too blazing hot for her. In Central Shores, Coco can control her image and keep the world at a distance.

She’s also one of those people who obsesses over being on time (I know, I’m one of them). It’s a burden more than anything. It can take the spontaneity out of life.

 

Q: What was the hardest thing you had to go through or struggled with when creating Coco's character?

Sarah: Developing Coco’s super successful lifestyle blog, Your Way Today. I barely manage to write a post a month on my own author blog, so bringing to life an authentic blogger was tricky.

I had to do a lot of research on blogging habits, influencer routines, and popular lifestyle blogs. Not only is Coco juggling her social media consulting business and a murder investigation, but I had to constantly remind myself that every situation Coco gets herself into could be approached as a piece for Your Way Today. It’s always there sitting in the back of her mind, like, “Hey, this could make a great Your Way Today topic.”

 

Q: Aside from cozy mystery, what other genres do you write?

Sarah: I also write a crossover genre that blends mystery with fantasy.

 

Q: Can you give us a brief about your other book series?

Sarah: My Court of Mystery series features Duchess Jacqueline Arienta Xavier, a young woman who ascends the throne of Sapphire after the tragic death of her parents. As Duchess Jacqueline, or Jax to her friends, seeks to bring peace throughout the realm, she finds murder and mayhem around every castle corner.

 

Q: When travel restrictions are removed across the globe, what is the first country you'd like to visit?

Sarah: I’ve been pining away to visit New Zealand ever since I saw the first Lord of the Rings movie when I was 12. Since that’s a pretty big haul across the globe, I imagine my first trip will either be to England or to the Caribbean, two places I love to visit.

 

About the Author:

Sarah E. Burr grew up in the small town of Appleton, Maine and now lives outside New York City. Since she was seven, Sarah has wanted to be Nancy Drew, but she wasn’t stumbling across any mysteries in corporate America.

Deciding it was time to follow her dreams, Sarah left her career in healthcare information technology three years ago and started writing mysteries of her own. The Trending Topic Mysteries is her first traditionally published series. Sarah also writes the Court of Mystery series.

Sarah attended Elmira College and graduated with degrees in Political Science and Philosophy & Religious Studies. She loves to weave these themes into her writing. When she’s not spinning up new stories, Ms. Burr is off seeing Broadway musicals, reading up a storm, video gaming, and enjoying walks around the city.

Connect with Sarah via her Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Purchase Links

Amazon  - Barnes & Noble - Target 

Keep up with the rest of the blog tour featuring guest posts, Spotlights, book reviews and more interviews.

7 October – Literary Gold – Character Guest Post & Baroness' Book Trove – Spotlight

8 October – I'm All About Books & Thoughts in Progress – Spotlights

9 October– Nadaness In Motion – Book Review and Author Interview

10 October – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Spotlight & MJB Reviewers – Book Review

11 October– Celticlady's Reviews – Spotlight

12 October – Socrates Book Reviews – Spotlight

13 October– Mysteries with Character – Author Interview & StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight

14 October– Ruff Drafts – Author Interview & Books a Plenty Book Reviews- Book Review & Character Interview

15 October– I Read What You Write – Character Guest Post

16 October– Christa Reads and Writes & My Reading Journeys – Book Reviews & Celticlady's Review – Spotlight