Mar 10, 2014

Book Feature/First Chapter: Truth Kills by Nanci Rathbun

First Chapter, First Paragraph is a weekly meme hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea.

Truth Kills
Title: Truth Kills: An Angelina Bonaparte Mystery by Nanci Rathbun
Published July 26, 2013; Cozy Cat Press
Genre:  mystery

First chapter:
I'm a professional snoop and I'm good at it. While on the job, I can look like the senor partner of an accountancy firm in my pinstriped navy business suit, or the neighborhood white-haired old lady gossip. Off the job, I'm a fifty-something hottie: white hair gelled back, dramatic eye make-up, toned body encased in designer duds. Gravity has taken a small toll, but who notices in candlelight? 
Publisher's description:
In TRUTH KILLS, librarian-turned-private-investigator Angelina Bonaparte is a woman on a mission--to ferret out cheaters and lowlifes and bring them to justice. Angie has plenty of experience with such men--and not just because her former husband was the king of the lot. As a P.I. in Milwaukee, most of Angie's work is tracking down deadbeats and exposing unfaithful spouses. But, now she's been asked by a betrayed pregnant wife to prove her cheating husband, Anthony Belloni--aka Tony Baloney--innocent of the murder of his kept mistress. Angie's heart tells her to let the skunk rot in prison, but her head convinces her that adultery is not grounds for incarceration. During the investigation, Angie encounters so many people who wished the victim dead that she has to develop a chart to keep track of them all. She also encounters hunky police detective Ted Wukowski, who is still reeling from the death of his former female MPD partner at the hands of a narcotics gang, and thinks women don't belong in the path of danger. As they work toward the same goal--discovering the dead woman's killer--Angie and Detective Wukowski realize their attraction for each other and must decide whether they are strong enough as individuals to work through her lack of trust and his fear of loss.

About the author:
Nanci Rathbun retired early from a career at AT&T to pursue her dream of writing. A short story with a romantic theme, What’s in a Name?, was published in Woman’s World magazine. She wanted to focus on the kind of book she loves to read – the mystery. Her first novel, Truth Kills: An Angelina Bonaparte Mystery, is now available in Amazon in both paperback and ebook formats. Nanci has spent many years in workshops and coaching with AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop, and is presently a member of the Murfreesboro Writers Group. She is a longtime Wisconsin resident who recently relocated to Tennessee to be closer to her granddaughters – oh, and their parents. No matter where she lives, she will always be a Packers fan. Visit her at

Thanks to the author for a copy of this book for feature/spotlight.

Mailbox Monday: A Mix of Genres

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme to share what you received in the mail.

My mailbox had the following books for review:

Murder in Pigalle

Love Illuminated
The Idea of Him

The Winter Horses

What new books came in your mailbox last week?

Mar 9, 2014

Sunday Salon: Book Tours Galore!

The Sunday Welcome to the Sunday Salon! Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; It's Monday: What Are You Reading? at Book Journey.

Do enter my Book Giveaway, sponsored by Berkey Prime Crime, which is offering a commemorative tote bag filled with five different cozy mysteries. Enter the contest by the end of March 10.

I reviewed and posted two books for tours the first week in March:
Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs and
The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

and have finished the next tour book,
The Accident, a thriller by Chris Pavone;
now reading for another tour,
Keeping Mum, a cozy mystery by Alyse Carlson.

The Deepest Secret, a family drama by Carla Buckley, comes next,
followed by
The Riot, a U.K. book by Laura Wilson.

 I am all book-toured-out for March. April will be much the same, with a break from May onward when I read at leisure!

In between, I am sandwiching in other books. I'm in the middle of Cara Black's newest mystery, Murder in Pigalle, the fourteenth book, Aimee Leduc Investigations series set in Paris.

I also plan to tackle

The Same Sweet Girls' Guide to Life

Murder on Bamboo Lane

Widow's Tears
I love the colors of the book covers, don't you?
What are you reading this month? 

Mar 6, 2014

Book Review: The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

Title: The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie
Published February 25, 2014; William Morrow
Genre: mystery, police procedural
Objective rating: 3.5/5

From publisher's description: In the past . . . On a hot August afternoon in Crystal Palace area of London, Andy, a thirteen-year-old boy meets his next door neighbor Nadine, a recently widowed young teacher hoping to make a new start in the South London community. Drawn together by loneliness, the unlikely pair form a deep connection that ends in a shattering act of betrayal.
"A 1964 Stratocaster. Fiesta red. Marshall had it valued. Everything's original - headstock, body, the pickups. Three's an amp, too. You can get it tomorrow."
Finally, he looked up at her past feeling any shame for the tears in his eyes. "But I can't possibly -"
"Yes. You can. Just play, Andy." She touched one of the geranium blossoms. "No one has been kind to me except you. Think of it as red for red."
(ch. 13)
 In the present . . . Detective Inspector Gemma James is back on the job now that her husband, Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, is at home to care for their three-year-old foster daughter. Assigned to lead a Murder Investigation Team in South London, she's assisted by Detective Sergeant Melody Talbot. Their case, a crime scene at a seedy hotel in Crystal Palace. The victim, Vincent Arnott, a well-respected barrister, found naked, trussed, and apparently strangled. Gemma's team must find his companion - a search that forces them to contemplate the weaknesses and passions that lead to murder.

My comments: It was hard to see at first what the events in young Andy's life fifteen years earlier had to the present, when a man is found strangled in a nearby hotel, close to the bar where Andy and his band were playing. The novel switches back and forth in time and only toward the end do we start putting the pieces of the past together with the present to get the full story. This does keep you invested and interested in the mystery.

Interwoven with the crime story are the personal events in the life of Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, the couple who are members of the police solving murders in the mystery novels. This is the fifteenth in the mystery series. Their personal lives do add a touch of lightness and normalcy to the baffling crime scenes in this novel. However, I think the personal events might have been a distraction from the crime story, which almost started to be overshadowed.

I enjoyed Crombie's previous novel as well.

Deborah Crombie is a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, three cats, and two German shepherds.

Visit Deborah at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for a review copy of this book. See the tour schedule for more reviews

Mar 4, 2014

Berkley Prime Crime's 5-Cozy Giveaway with Tote Bag

To celebrate 20 years of Berkley Prime Crime, Berkley is offering a special 20th anniversary tote bag filled with 5 of their cozies as a giveaway on this and other blogs. The cozies will be Berkley Prime Crime titles. See the details at the end of this post.

Scandal in Skibbereen
Twenty years ago, in March 1994, Berkley Books introduced Berkley Prime Crime, a mass market mystery imprint that included five launch authors.  This year, Berkley celebrates the 20th anniversary of Prime Crime with special author events and promotional giveaways.

In its first year, Berkley Prime Crime (BPC) published approximately forty titles, all mass market.  In 2013, the imprint published 150 titles, including mass market originals, trade paperbacks, and hardcovers.  Every year, BPC launches approximately 25-30 new series, including several house-owned franchises that editors have developed from idea to execution.  In the past year, BPC debuted sixteen titles on the New York Times Bestsellers List (printed and extended lists combined), which comes out to more than one per month!

“When we launched Berkley Prime Crime in March 1994 I believed that the audience for the traditional or ‘cozy’ mystery was still largely underserved and untapped.  Twenty years later I can say without reservation that this has proven to be correct and that Berkley Prime Crime has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations,” said Natalee Rosenstein, Vice President and Senior Executive Editor of Berkley. 

This spring Berkley Prime Crime is hosting two events at mystery bookstores that have supported Berkley Prime Crime over the years.  On March 13, Julie Hyzy, Miranda James, and Rebecca Hale will be at Murder by the Book in Houston, Texas.  On March 25 the Poisoned Pen in Phoenix will host Margaret Coel, Carolyn Hart, Earlene Fowler, and Avery Aames.

Throughout the remainder of 2014, more events and promotional giveaways are planned, in addition to Berkley Prime Crime’s annual presence at mystery conventions BoucherCon and Malice Domestic.  Visit the cozy mystery Facebook page at

GIVEAWAY: To enter the giveaway of a Berkley Prime Crime tote with cozies, leave a comment by March 10 and tell me about the last cozy you read. For anyone having a problem leaving a comment here, email me at with the heading: BERKLEY GIVEAWAY.

A winner, must be a U.S. resident, will be chosen at random and announced on March 11. The winner will have 24 hours to respond by email before another winner is chosen.

UPDATE: The winner, chosen by, is #6, Carol! 
Thank you all who entered the contest! 

The publisher will mail the books and the tote. 

Mar 3, 2014

Book Review: Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs

Title: Sweet Tea Revenge: A Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs
Publication date: March 4, 2014; Berkley
Genre: cozy mystery
Just when Theodosia was delivering a plate of black currant scones and a pot of vanilla spice tea, the ghost hunters came charging into her shop. They spotted her, gave an enthusiastic wave, then trooped over to the same table they'd secured yesterday. (ch. 8)
My comments: I have no doubt half of the appeal of the Tea Shop Mystery series is the description of delicious scones, exotic teas, tea sandwiches, desserts, and lunch offerings served in Theodosia's tea shop in Charleston, South Carolina. Her cook and baker Haley and her tea expert Drayton are two of the characters involved in the various pairings of delicacies and tea.

That's the tea shop background of the mystery series. This novel, like the others, presents a different mystery and murder for amateur sleuth Theodosia to solve. In Sweet Tea Revenge, Theodosia must find out who ruined the marriage of her friend Delaine with a murder at the wedding, discover if the Ravenscrest Inn, the venue for the wedding, is really haunted, and try to remain safe from a murderer at the same time.

Recommendation: Scrumptious details of tea parties and tea menus were part of the charm for me. The cozy is also a good mystery that had me guessing till the end. The novel has entertaining characters, a subtle plot that is not at all predictable, and a smooth writing style that eases the reader along effortlessly. It was fun to read.  My objective rating is 4.5/5.

Thanks to the publisher for a complimentary book tour copy of the novel.. 

Mar 1, 2014

Sunday Salon: Cold Rain versus Snow

The Sunday Welcome to the Sunday Salon! Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; It's Monday: What Are You Reading? at Book Journey, and Mailbox Monday.

Snow is expected tonight and tomorrow after a day of moderate temperatures. Only my bones are complaining about today - humid weather does that - and I may welcome the seriously colder temps that are coming. So, I can forget about living in places with persistent cold rain - no Seattle or Vancouver for me, though they are lovely cities to visit.

On the bright side, I have a few new books:

Death in Reel Time I think I will enjoy - a Family History Mystery series.

Above is a more serious novel, about an abduction of a teenager that lasts way too long. I may have to be in the right mood for this one.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...