Monday, September 16, 2019

Buried in the Stacks by Allison Brook - Book Review, Character Interview



Today, I'm featuring a new author to me. But when I see a paranormal cozy mystery, I'm usually at the beginning of the train to read and explore a new author and series, which is what happened with Allison Brook and her Haunted Library Mysteries.



This post comprises 3 parts, my book review of Buried in the Stacks, an interview with Carrie Singleton, the main character in the book series, and a giveaway.

Book: Buried in the Stacks
(Book 3 in the Haunted Library Mysteries)
Author: Allison Brook
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: 10 September 2019
Number of pages: 320
ISBN-10: 1643851381
ISBN-13: 978-1643851389
Digital ASIN: B07NKPTL81

Synopsis:
Librarian Carrie Singleton is building a haven, but one of her neighbors is misbehavin'. Can resident spirit Evelyn help Carrie catch the culprit who made her a ghost?
In winter, the Haunted Library is a refuge for homeless townspeople. When a group purchases a vacant house to establish a daytime haven for the homeless, Carrie offers the library as a meeting place for the Haven House committee, but quickly learns that it may be used for illegal activities.
As the new Sunshine Delegate, Carrie heads to the hospital to visit her cantankerous colleague, Dorothy, who had fallen outside the local supermarket. She tells Carrie that her husband tried to kill her--and that he murdered her Aunt Evelyn, the library's resident ghost, six years earlier.
And then Dorothy is murdered--run off the road as soon as she returns to work. Evelyn implores Carrie to find her niece's killer, but that's no easy task: Dorothy had made a hobby of blackmailing her neighbors and colleagues. Carrie, Evelyn, and Smoky Joe the cat are on the case, but are the library cards stacked against them?

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

Buried in the Stacks by Allison Brook is the third instalment in the paranormal cozy mystery series the Haunted Library Mysteries. I was excited to read this book for a number of reasons, chief among them was the ghost and that the main character didn't own a small business like most cozy mysteries, which is also similar to a cozy I'm working on.

Narrated in the first person by Carrie Singleton, Buried in the Stacks is my first read for Allison Brook. The narrative is easy to navigate, though many times I felt that Carrie might have been older than the author intended, that or because she hadn't pointed out her age.

It takes a while for the 'death' to arise but as readers, we learn that a particular Dorothy Hawkins "made it her business to ferret out people's secrets, which she threatened to expose if they didn't do her bidding." At the start, Carrie reveals that Dorothy "had it in" for her because she wanted Carrie's post, which is head of programs and events. Despite that, Carrie and Dorothy "shared an uneasy truce."




Dorothy later slips on the ice and secretly tells Carrie that she suspects her husband tried to kill her. Later, Dorothy claims it was the meds talking. Later, the police find proof of this fear and tell Carrie that Dorothy thinks her husband was trying to kill her and claims that he'd killed her aunt, Evelyn, several years prior.

"We found something that supports what Dorothy told you in the hospital."
"So Dorothy really was afraid of her husband."
"Yes."

We also learn that Carrie, and her young niece Tacey, are the only ones who can see the library's resident ghost, Evelyn, who happens to be Dorothy's aunt. When Dorothy dies, Carrie's quest to find out her killer is mainly due to Evelyn's insistence that despite Dorothy's bad traits, an early death shouldn't have been her punishment.

Despite her position as an invisible ghost, Evelyn isn't as forthcoming as she should be. And Carrie points that out several times. She convinces Evelyn that she will have to "overcome her scruples about spying" if she wanted to find out what really happened to her niece. Referring to previous cases (and books), Carrie reveals that Evelyn had often withheld information that could have helped catch a killer. (Something Carrie also discusses in our interview, below)

Several mysteries are at play in Buried in the Stacks, in addition to Dorothy's death and its potential connection to her aunt Evelyn's, Carrie is drawn in the Haven House project, which is meant to help the homeless. Carrie is embroiled in the project, especially when rumors arise that it may just be a façade for gambling by night.


Though there are a lot of events and on-goings in the book, I felt that Buried in the Stacks dragged on a bit. I also came to conclusions a lot earlier than the main character Carrie did.

"Francesca seemed so bouncy and full of life, while [her sister] Dorothy was dark and gloomy and as sour as vinegar."

Like most mystery novels, character development isn't amazing but I liked how Carrie's views on family, whether immediate or in the larger sense, had developed along the way. Also, she at least tries to be careful in confirming her suspicions. She's not too reckless.

In terms of imagery, I didn't find much or anything that struck out. But I liked that the language was simple and I didn't have to revert to a dictionary too many times.

Last but not least, and though this is something I rarely comment on, I felt the book title Buried in the Stacks wasn't the right fit for this particular book. I know cozy mystery titles tend to have a pun in them but… I don't think this one was a fit. That or I didn't get it.

Overall, I think Buried in the Stacks is an interesting read. Carrie has her hands full and digs deep in Dorothy's and Evelyn's lives to unmask a killer who may have committed a crime nearly seven years prior to the present time.

Overall rating: 3.75 stars




Exclusive Interview with Carrie Singleton

As part of the blog tour, I'm doing an interview not with Allison Brook but with the main character in the Haunted Library Mysteries and Buried in the Stacks… Carrie Singleton. (This is called a character interview)

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? And why did you leave the big city for the small town?
Carrie Singleton: My name is Carrie Singleton. I spent the seven years after college moving from town to town, unable to settle down. I was feeling sad when I came to stay with my great-aunt and uncle in Clover Ridge, CT, where my family used to have a farm. I got a low-level job in the library and was planning to move on, when I was offered the position of head of programs and events of the Clover Ridge Library. Though I was qualified for the job, I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay in Clover Ridge. I decided to give it a try. I discovered that I loved the work and I was soon developing friendships and starting a romance.

What is your favorite food?
Carrie Singleton: I love ethnic food. That said, my favorite cuisines are Italian and Indian.  Oh, and Turkish.

Being a librarian, can you name a favorite book? What is it?
Carrie Singleton: Two of my all-time favorite books are A SUITABLE BOY by Vickram Seth and THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton.

What was your first impression when you met your library's resident ghost? Can you tell us about that encounter?
Carrie Singleton: I was about to turn down the position of head of programs and events of the Clover Ridge Library, when a voice advised me to tell Sally, the director, that I'd think about it. The voice belonged to the ghost of Evelyn Havers, who used to work in the library. When we left Sally's office, Evelyn introduced herself. I was taken aback but was not as dumbstruck as most people would be.




Do other people in the town know about Evelyn – being a ghost?
Carrie Singleton: The only other person who can see and hear Evelyn is my little cousin Tacey. Tacey tried to give Evelyn cookies, until Evelyn and I got her to realize that Evelyn can't eat cookies.

How far has Evelyn helped you solve murders in the past?
Carrie Singleton: Evelyn lived all of her life in Clover Ridge and knows a good deal about the residents and some of their secrets that might impact homicide investigations. But sometimes Evelyn is less than forthright, as when her niece, the unpleasant reference librarian and my nemesis, was a murder suspect.  On occasion, Evelyn eavesdrops on patrons who are suspects or tells me if she sees them acting suspiciously during an investigation. She also offers me practical advice.

What is the funniest thing that's happened to you since you took over the Haunted Library?
Carrie Singleton: I can't think of anything that was especially funny.

Having encountered more than one dead body, do you think you now have a kind of immunity when it comes to dead bodies or do they still freak you out?
Carrie Singleton: It certainly freaked me out when a murder victim died right in front of me. I don't think I've developed any sort of immunity about this and would still get very upset if anyone else were to die in front of me or if I happened to find a dead body.



If someone were to solve a murder, what is the first piece of advice you would give them? Now that you're becoming an expert ;)
Carrie Singleton: My advice is: Consider who has something to gain with the dead person out of the picture. As an amateur sleuth, you can always question suspects, do research online, and I advise you to befriend the homicide detective in charge of the murder investigation.

About the Author:
Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Connect with Allison Brook via her Website, Amazon Page, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.


GIVEAWAY TIME!


Have you forgotten about the giveaway? As part of the blog tour there is a giveaway for 2 print copies of Buried in the Stacks (Open to U.S. Residents only). Use the link or widget below to enter. Good luck!




Keep up with the rest of the blog tour including more book reviews, interviews, guest posts, and spotlights via Escape with Dolly Cas Virtual Book Tours.



Sunday, September 15, 2019

Gearing Up for Writing Time by Lida Sideris - Guest Post


Today, I'm exciting to feature an author, who every time she has a blog tour, I'm backed up but will one day read her cozy mystery books. J

Join me in welcoming…. LIDA SIDERIS!

I previously hosted Lida Sideris with a guest post titled The Magic Behind Success. Today, I'm re-featuring Lida with a guest post about writing and finding motivation to write. It's what keeps her going and what has probably contributed to the writing and release of her new book Murder: Double or Nothing, book 3 in the Southern California Mystery Series.

First some book info



Book: Murder: Double or Nothing
(A Southern California Mystery, 3rd in Series)
Author: Lida Sideris
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher:
Level Best Books
Publication Date: 22 July 2019

Print Length: 285 pages
Digital ASIN: B07VMB2DSN

Synopsis:
Corrie Locke, newbie lawyer and daughter of a late, great PI, is learning the ropes at the Hollywood movie studio where she works—and where things are never what they seem. Life imitates art when a fictional murder attempt turns real—right before her very eyes. 

With more than a little help from friends and a crazy movie legend, Corrie trips down a trail littered with wisecracks, mysterious messages, and marginally legal maneuvers to track down the killer. Meanwhile, clues keep disappearing and Corrie makes an enemy whose deadly tactics keep escalating. Will her impromptu sleuthing skills be enough to catch the mysterious assailant before he takes her down?

About the Author
Lida Sideris is an author, lawyer, and all-around book enthusiast. She writes soft-boiled mysteries and was a recipient of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America scholarship award. Murder: Double or Nothing is #3 in her Southern California Mystery series, published by Level Best Books. Lida is also the author of The Cookie Eating Fire Dog, a picture book for ages 4 to 8. She lives in the northern tip of SoCal with her family, rescue dogs and a flock of uppity chickens.  

On to the Guest post
Gearing Up for Writing Time by Lida Sideris
(Exclusive to Nadaness In Motion)

There are times when I don’t feel like writing. I drag my feet, stay away from my writing desk and just plain waste time. But ultimately, I know if I don’t write, I’ll feel lousy, dejected, and dissatisfied. Not writing is NOT an option.

When my kids were little tikes, they weren’t too interested in going to sleep at night. So we created a pre-bedtime routine. We’d play a quiet game, read a gentle story and soon, they were nodding off. When I don’t feel like writing, I take a few minutes to find sources of motivation. It’s part of my pre-writing routine.



One simple means is picturing myself after I’m done writing – what a feeling of accomplishment! Plus, once I’m finished, I’ll have time to read, garden, and do whatever I please.

If visualization doesn’t do the trick, I’ll read from the pages of one of my favorite authors. That usually ignites a fire inside of me, making me jump up and get started on my own writing. I love the power of words to create images and page-turning stories. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll hunt down stories of really big authors and how they wrote some of their greatest work in conditions that were less than favorable.

Take Robert Louis Stevenson, for instance. He wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde one sleepless night when he was suffering from advanced tuberculosis. In his aggrieved state, he wrote the book in three days! How is that even possible?

Unhappy with the first draft, he ripped it apart, literally, and rewrote the whole shebang, again in his ill state, in three more days. That’s 64,000 words in six days! I have to pause right there because even in my well state, I can barely imagine writing as he did. Mr. Stevenson wrote more than 10,000 words…a day. Most writers consider 1,000 or even 2,000 words per day an accomplishment. At my best, I wrote 2,500 words a day for two days to complete my first short story. I do know that at least that much is possible.

What Robert Louis Stevenson showed us is that:
-  All we need to do is try;
-  Anything is possible if we set our minds to it; and
-  Never, ever give up no matter what the circumstances.
These days, when I sit restless in my chair, and distractions are shouting out my name, I think of Robert Louis Stevenson and stay put. Thank you, Mr. Stevenson for showing us what we’re capable of accomplishing.



Connect with Lida Sideris via her Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY

Don't forget to enter the giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Keep up with the rest of the blog tour, including spotlights, book reviews, guests posts, and interviews.
September 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT & The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
September 12 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
September 13 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
September 14  Babs Book Bistro - SPOTLIGHT
September 15 – Nadaness In Motion – GUEST POST & Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
September 16 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT & Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW
September 17 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 18 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW
September 19 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
September 20 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT
September 22 – Laura's Interests – SPOTLIGHT
September 23 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 24 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT


Monday, September 2, 2019

Interview with cozy mystery author Annabelle Hunter


Today, I'm excited to feature an author whom I've only just discovered and read one of their books recently and boy did I enjoy that hilarious cozy mystery!

So naturally when I got a chance to interview them, I seized the chance. Allow me to introduce *drum roll* Annabelle Hunter, author of the Lark Davies Mystery Series and the Barrow Bay Mystery Series.



I recently read Leg Up, book 1 in the Lark Davies Mystery Series and enjoyed every bit of it! Gave it 5 stars on the spot!

From my Book Review:
"There was a severed leg on my porch."
That's how cozy mystery novel Leg Up by Annabelle Hunter opens. From the first lines, we notice that Larklyn "Lark" Davis is one of the most sarcastic characters ever. And a hilarious one too.

There are tons of quotable parts in the book. Even when dealing with problems, Lark's sarcasm makes way for humor and comic relief.


So back to Numbers Up, what's it about? Here's the synopsis:

Number's Up (Barrow Bay Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Independently Published
Publication date: 13 August 2019)

ASIN: B07TW8Y9HH

Jennifer Ward’s To Do List:
1) Turn in my business partner and his lying, cheating, law-breaking client to the SEC for insider trading.
2)Cooperate with the FBI. Do not kiss - scratch that. Do not yell at Special Agent Nicholas Kelly, the FBI agent leading said investigation.
3) Discover a dead body...
Jennifer Ward, MBA, CPA, and business consultant, likes a nice, orderly lifestyle. Schedules and To Do Lists are what gets her through the day. So when the by-the-numbers fashionista finds her business partner was breaking the law, she turned him in to the SEC. Which brought the FBI to her door, and her ordered world to an end.
But that was three weeks ago. Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Right?
Until Jen discovers her business partner dead in his hotel room. With Nic the handsome FBI agent dogging her every step, Jen must use her skills to discover the truth. Who killed Henry? And will she be next?
About the author:
Annabelle Hunter is a stay-at-home mom and an avid fan of classic mystery shows and dressage. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and too many animals.

On to the exclusive INTERVIEW with Nadaness In Motion


Q: What got you into writing cozy mysteries? Can you name any authors and/or movies that inspired you?

Annabelle Hunter: I got into cozys as an exercise to improve the mystery element in my writing and found that I really loved them, more than the fantasy that I was trying to write. 

Q: If you were to experiment with genres away from cozies and mysteries, what would you try your hand at?
Annabelle Hunter: I have tried fantasy, urban fantasy and romance but so far nothing has been as much fun to write. 

Q: Your bio says you have "too many animals," can you tell us about that? And which of them have you included in your books (most likely with a different name)?
Annabelle Hunter: I have not included any of my animals, although I have other horses that I’ve known that have inspired some of the horses in my books. I have a horse, who is really a Disney Princess in horse clothing. She’s sweet as pie and a master of the passive aggressive, probably because she’s used her sweet, loving personality and good looks to get away with far too much. I also have a small, black ball of fluff in the shape of a dog. He really is just sweet and loving, and for some reason that defies logic, loves my youngest more than she deserves. 




 Q: So, you're a stay-at-home mom and author but Jennifer Ward, the main character in Numbers' Up, has an MBA, CPA, and is a business consultant. Can you tell us how you researched all that?

Annabelle Hunter: Well, before staying home with my kids, I had many jobs, a few of them working closely with all kinds of different people, including CPA’s and accountants. I also have several close friends who are CPA’s or work in the financial field. So Jen is kind of a combination of my own experiences and listening to others. 

Q: What was the toughest thing for you when you started writing?
Annabelle Hunter: Tenses. I love switching tenses when I shouldn’t. Past tense, present tense, I had (have) it all. I owe everything to my editors, Casey and Josh, because without them, my work would be a mess. 

Q: Humor is a bit hard to manage sometimes in a book, and yet your novella Leg Up was hilarious, are you always this funny or did you get help writing it? (The problem is that some people think they're funny but the truth is.. they're not, so how did you manage the humor in the book?)
Annabelle Hunter: I have no clue! Seriously, I am the last person that anyone would say is hilarious, but it’s different when I write. I’m a lot funnier when I control both sides of the conversation, I guess? 



Q: Your Barrow Bay Mysteries and your Lark Davis Mystery Series are both set in Barrow Bay, doesn't it get confusing for you when you're working on mystery books set in the same place and at the same time?
Annabelle Hunter: If I’m working backwards, yes. Sometimes I have to go back in my timeline to make sure I’m not referencing something that hasn’t occurred yet. But Number’s Up was written because I got near the end of Stir Up and Jen demanded that I finish her story, so, not as much as it might if they weren’t so interconnected. 

Q: You're independently published, can you tell us a bit about that? How are you going about with the cover design, publication schedule, e-books and hard-copies...etc?
Annabelle Hunter: It was a tough decision, but in the end, I wanted to get as many books out to the readers as possible. I have a wonderful graphic design artist, Melody Simmons, who babysat me through the cover design process and now seems to just read my mind. I also work a lot with my editors. Josh Stabiles, from Scrivere Editing, has spent hours trying to get me to understand what grammar rules are and Casey, from Heart Full of Ink, never lets me by without pushing my novels to the next level. I can’t tell you how lucky I am that I have found them. Seriously. If you are looking for an editor, they are amazing. 



Q: You've recently released two books, Number's Up and Leg Up, what are you currently working on and when can readers expect more of your work?
Annabelle Hunter: Well, I released the first two in Lark’s series, Leg Up and Stir Up, last month, and Numbers Up in August. We’re working on getting Load Up out to the readers in late September or early October depending on our schedule. Load Up will be another Lark book and I can’t wait to start telling people more about it. 



Q: Last but not least, what is your best writing advice for new and/unpublished authors?
Annabelle Hunter: Find an editor you trust. Someone who pushes you to the next level. Who returns a book saying, “it’s fine, but you can do better. Try…” Can you do it by yourself? Maybe, if you have much better grammar than I do (not hard!) but a good editor will do so much more for you. Every time I hand my editors the document, I think ‘this is the best thing I have ever written’. And every time they tear it apart and it gets even better than I thought it could be. 

Buy Annabelle Hunter's books via Amazon 


Connect with Annabelle Hunter on social media via Facebook, Twitter: @cozycrazyfunInstagram, and her Website. 

Keep up with the rest of the blog tour including Book Reviews, more interviews and guest posts, including character interviews and guest posts, which means they're written from the perspective of the main character in Numbers Up.

August 28 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT & Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
August 29 – I'm All About Books & Babs Book Bistro SPOTLIGHT  
August 31 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT & A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 1 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
September 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST & Nadaness In Motion – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 3 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT & LibriAmoriMiei - REVIEW
September 4 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 5 – Ascroft, eh? – GUEST POST
September 6 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW & MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
September 8 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
September 9 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT & eBook Addicts - REVIEW
September 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST