Waiting On Wednesday (169) @MAdamswriter @WmMorrowBooks

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Hidden Treasures
A Novel of First Love, Second Chances, and the Hidden Stories of the Heart
Michelle Adams
William Morrow, December 2021
General Fiction, Romance

From the publisher—

A reunited couple search for a valuable treasure, a precious jewelry box, stolen from the Nazis and hidden away since World War II, in this powerfully emotional and romantic novel of rekindled love—perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Josie Silver, and Jill Santopolo.

Then…

Once upon a time, in a small village in southern France, a pretty, willful English girl is falling in love. Frances Langley has fallen under Benoit’s romantic spell, so sure is she that he is everything she’s ever wanted—a self-assured, sexy man, experienced and just a little bit mysterious. But Frances is hiding a secret—one that would surely separate them if he ever knew the truth. And to hold on to his love, she is willing to do anything for him, even put herself at risk by hiding a precious object, stolen by the Nazis decades before.

Now…

Years later, Frances’s son, Harry, opens the door of his late mother’s home, never expecting to see Tabitha—the lost love of his life—on the other side. Their angry parting had broken his heart, but now she holds a letter, sent by his mother just before her death, begging the pair to search—together—for a priceless jewelry box, hidden somewhere in her little Cotswold cottage.

Harry quickly dismisses the search, but as an art historian, Tabitha cannot risk the chance to recover something so valuable that was long thought to be lost. And so they embark on a journey of discovery, but soon find themselves searching for much more than a missing piece of art. Together they learn that the true riches are not those buried in the clutter of Francis’s cottage, but are instead the treasures they each hold, buried deep inside their hearts.

Why am I waiting so eagerly? To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure 🙄. I don’t normally go for romance—although I think there’s a difference between romances and love stories and I do appreciate the latter—but there’s something about this synopsis that keeps niggling at me. Certainly there’s a mystery involved, which is right up my alley, and I always like a Cotswold setting so, well, I might just have to jump right in 🙂

Book Review: Murder at St. Margaret by Lynn Morrison @NomadMomDiary @mktgchair @AnAudiobookworm

 

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Author: Lynn Morrison
Narrator: Pearl Hewitt
Length: 8 hours 16 minutes
Series: Oxford Key Mysteries, Book 1
Released: Sep. 27, 2021
Publisher: Marketing Chair Press
Genre: Cozy Mystery

 

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“Grief can change us… rewire our brains and shift the way we look at the world…”

A dead chef. A ruined gala. And the ghosts didn’t see a thing.

As Oxford’s new Head of Ceremonies, Natalie Payne’s first task is to organize St Margaret’s autumn gala. However, her plans are dashed when she finds their famed chef dead in the kitchen.

And then a centuries-old cat informs Nat she has her own magical legacy…and responsibilities. A murder in the halls is a sure sign that something has gone wrong with Oxford’s magical protections.

Now Nat has to solve the murder, find a new chef for the gala, and figure out why Oxford’s magical defenses are down. With the help of Oxford’s magical Eternals and some new friends, Nat has a chance.

But can she do it before St Margaret loses its connection to the magic of Oxford?

If you like cozy mysteries where ghosts walk the halls, paintings come to life, creatures play, and magic seems within reach, the Oxford Key Mysteries are sure to delight.

Buy on Audible

Lynn Morrison lives in Oxford, England along with her husband, two daughters and two cats. Born and raised in Mississippi, her wanderlust attitude has led her to live in California, Italy, France, and the Netherlands, in addition to the UK. It’s no surprise then that she loves to travel, with a never-ending wish list of destinations to visit.

She is as passionate about reading as she is writing, and can almost always be found with a book in hand. You can find out more about her on her website LynnMorrisonWriter.com.

If you want to chat with her directly, join her Facebook group – Lynn Morrison’s Not a Book Club – where she happily talks about books, life and anything else that crosses her mind.

Website

Narrator Bio

Originally from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in Northeast England, audiobook narrator Pearl Hewitt currently lives with her husband and two children in Houston, Texas. Over the years she has worked as a customer service rep, a teaching assistant, and a teacher, but deep down there was always a performer wanting to get out. In 2007 her twelve-year-old son told her that he believed she was so good at reading stories out loud that she should do that as a job. That was her defining, eureka moment, and she’s never looked back. Pearl immersed herself in training and pursued a career in general voice acting but in 2012 she decided to focus her attention to narrating audiobooks in a wide range of genres. It was then that her professional career blossomed. She regularly works directly with indie authors but also narrates for a number of major publishers and has gained lots of recognition in the process including IAAIS awards, a Voice Arts Award nomination and Audiofile Magazine reviews. Pearl’s is comfortable narrating both fiction and non-fiction titles and has been very successful reading British Regency romance, cozy murder mysteries, fantasy/science fiction, children’s literature, the classics, history, biographies and more.

Website

Q&A with Author Lynn Morrison

  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • I wish! Murder at St Margaret was the first cozy mystery I wrote, and at the time, my only thought was about writing a story which would hold together. I could not have imagined how many copies of the book would sell, or even begin to dream of making an audiobook. It wasn’t until the fourth book in the series came out, and I started to see a steady income, that I began to think about making audio versions.
    • Now that I am farther along in my career, I do keep the idea of audio in the back of my mind as I write. I try to cut down on the dialogue tags and introduce more motion and movements instead. But, I think some of that comes along as part of your natural progression as you get better over time.
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I didn’t start thinking about producing an audio version of Murder at St Margaret until a year after it was released. By then, I had good information on what other books my readers liked. I looked up those titles on Audible and checked which narrators the authors had chosen. Pearl Hewitt’s name came up again and again. She has an incredible ability to effortlessly switch character voices as she reads, and really brings the story to life in a way only audio can. It was no surprise that listeners love her. I contacted her out of the blue via her website, and lo and behold, she said yes!
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • I put together character bios for each of the main characters, and prepared a 15 minute test script pulling out different excerpts from the book. I specifically chose scenes which were dialogue-heavy so I could hear how she would differentiate between the characters. There were a few smaller characters which I didn’t include in my advance preparation. After reading the book, Pearl came up with suggestions for how their voices should sound – and I have to say that she did a brilliant job of it. She recorded the 15 minute sample and I circulated it to a few fans for feedback. Pearl took on board all their comments and then took care of everything from there. I didn’t have to do anything else until the book was ready to approve in Audible.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • I pulled from both my own experiences of living in Oxford and being a professor’s wife, along with doing a ton of background research into the colleges themselves when writing this series. Oxford is such a unique city, and the university is full of quirks and traditions which are fascinating to outsiders. I wanted to bring my readers behind the closed doors of the colleges and let them see what life is really like. I haven’t seen any ghosts in Oxford, nor have any of the paintings come to life as I’ve walked past, but my imagination was more than happy to fill in the blanks when it came to dreaming up the magical elements.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • Writers talk a lot about the importance of refilling your creative well, and I fully agree with that sentiment. I read a LOT of books each year – 150 or more on average. I need to lose myself in someone else’s story to remember why I write.
    • I also spend a long time thinking about a book idea before I sit down to start a project. I flesh it out in my mind until I am super excited to see the story come to life. I am usually thinking one or two books ahead of whatever project I’m currently doing. This helps me keep up my writing pace – each finish line marks the start of something I’m excited to tackle.
    • One of the funnest parts of being a writer (and one of the weirdest) is seeing your characters take on a life of their own as you write the story. I am a plotter. I write a synopsis and outline before I put the first word onto paper. But no matter how much I prep, there is always a moment where a character will suddenly veer in a new and interesting direction. Wherever that happens, I can only sit back in amazement and see where they lead me. It keeps me guessing, even though I’m the writer.
  • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
    • I wrote this series in first person, present tense because I wanted the reader to feel like they are experiencing everything at the same time as my main character is doing so in the story. When put into an audio format, this gives the story a real sense of immediacy. I think it allows the listener to sink deeper into the tale, and feel as though they are sitting in on the conversations and making each discovery along with Natalie and her friends.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • As an author, I want readers to enjoy my story in whatever format is most comfortable for them. That might be a paperback, or an ebook, or the audio version. Arguing over “which format is better” misses the point – the main focus should be on accessibility. The only person who gets a vote on the format is the reader.
    • On a personal note, my younger daughter is dyslexic, and for a long while she hated reading. She has, however, always loved listening to stories. Audiobooks were a natural fit for her.
  • How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    • We ate cake! I started a tradition of either baking or buying a cake whenever I finish a book. It gives me something to look forward to when I am elbow deep in edits, and it also reminds my family there is a reward for putting up with my book deadline stress. As I start to get close to the end, we all discuss which cake we want to eat when it comes time to celebrate.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • Don’t stress over the quality of your first draft. I am a strong believer that anything can be fixed in edits – even if that means you have to do a major rewrite. Major rewrites aren’t that bad! The key thing is to get a first draft done so you can enjoy the satisfaction that comes from writing a book. It is an incredible accomplishment – and the warm feelings you get will support you through the editing process. I would also suggest that you start networking with other writers in your genre as soon as you can. Join author groups on Facebook or Discord, or post comments and replies to authors on other social media platforms. The writing community is filled with supportive people who are happy to cheer you on or lend a hand (or be a sympathetic ear). Writing can feel lonely at times, and knowing other writers can make a big difference on dark days.
  • What’s next for you?
    • I am hard at work on the next book! I jump from one project to another, and always have at least one book in progress. At the moment I’m working on two books – one is for the Oxford Key Mysteries and the other is for my Midlife in Raven series.

Review

I love a good mystery and then you throw in a magical cat AND a wyvern (who’s really the cat) AND a few ghosts AND a setting at Oxford…well. I ask you, how could I resist?? Needless to say, I didn’t, and I’m here to tell you this story is packed with charm and appealing characters and a good conundrum to be solved. Nat and her cohorts, Kate and Mathilde, find lots of clues leading to who killed the chef that are frequently red herrings and, of course, the bigger question is what is causing the magic to fail?

Well, actually, the biggest question might be how did Nat not know about her own connection to the magical world, not to mention where did this curmudgeonly cat called H (because he hates his name) come from? But I digress.

All in all, Ms. Morrison’s Murder at St. Margaret was a most satisfying blend of mystery and urban fantasy, enhanced in a delightful way by Ms. Hewitt’s audiobook narration. I really savored the latters intonations and pacing and I think these two ladies together present an awfully enchanting tale. Now, on to book #2, Burglary at Barnard.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2021.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Lynn Morrison. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

View the full tour schedule here!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.

Book Review: Skins and Bone by John Baird Rogers @Gotuit

Skins and Bone          
A Mayfield-Napolitani Thriller #2     
John Baird Rogers
GoTuit Publications, June 2021
ISBN 978-1-732262-5-8
Trade Paperback

Joe Mayfield and Louise Napolitani (Weezy) are in it again. In this excellent second adventure, the couple, now inextricably connected, battle an array of financial criminals. Mayfield is an adept accounting master and Weezy, his companion, is a genius-level computer whiz with far more than an elementary-level appreciation of life and culture. Together, living in the immediate future, the couple are beset by a manipulative criminal conspiracy reflective of a greedy time.

This crime novel is set in a future era, replete with video-phones, communication implants for employees and voice-controlled driverless transportation. But this is not Science Fiction nor is it the kind of speculative futuristic novel set in some distant space-time continuum. Therein lies part of the genius of this excellent crime novel. Every bit of it is easily recognizable as probable development, just around the next plausible bend in society’s road.

Widely ranging action carries the reader feasibly from a small creek-side trailer in Florida to upscale offices in New York, to Austria and Budapest and back to middle America. Characters are many and the author has paid careful attention to all of them, even those with short-lived roles in this tapestry of crime and retribution.

Criminal manipulation of murderous events and stock markets form the core of the story, along with an almost vengeful get-even mind-set. The pace steadily rises toward a multi-scene resolution that should satisfy the most calculating reader. The principal characters and the author’s style are addictive and well-worth following into the future.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, July 2021.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Sins of Edom, Red Sky.

Review of Come Out and Play by Amber Lynn Natusch (earc)

I hadn’t heard of this series before but Kristi’s review
has prompted me to go look for all three books 😀

Confessions of a YA Reader

 

Come Out and Play by Amber Lyann Natusch

GAMES AREN’T FOR KIDS—THEY’RE FOR KILLERS.

For Kylene Danners, there’s only one fate worse than death: entering a beauty pageant. So when her friends (and a shot at a twenty-thousand dollar college scholarship) push her into one, she assumes she’s found hell on earth—until girls start dropping out under suspicious circumstances, and Ky finds herself smack dab in the middle of another dangerous mystery—a twisted web of duplicity and deceit far more deadly than she expected.

COME OUT AND PLAY, the third young adult mystery novel in the Hometown Antihero series by Amber Lynn Natusch.

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Book Review: Striking Range by Margaret Mizushima @margmizu @crookedlanebks

Striking Range
A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #7
Margaret Mizushima
Crooked Lane Books, September 2021
ISBN: 978-64385-746-6
Hardcover

Margaret Mizushima’s Timber Creek K-9 mystery series is one of my favorites and always on my MUST READ list. I wish we could get more than one a year! Striking Range is #7, and the stories just keep getting better, with more character development and expansive plots.

Mattie Cobb, Timber Creek K-9 Deputy, has been investigating her own sad background, and after almost being murdered believes she can finally get some answers. Her dog, Robo, trained in drug detection, tracking, and smart enough to do almost anything, is her crime-fighting, always-got-your-back partner.

Mattie is about to enter the Colorado state prison to question a prisoner when the place goes on lock-down and the man she was to meet is murdered. Her last chance at finding answers appears gone unless she can find another lead.

Saddened, she returns home where Cole Walker, who is the local veterinarian and Mattie’s special guy, is about to deliver a female who is bearing Robo’s first litter of puppies. A young, very pregnant woman brings in her dog. A few days later the woman is found dead, murdered, but there is no trace of the missing newborn.

What follows is a race to find the baby and catch the mother’s murderer.

Excellent action, realistic characters, and a fine blending of the lives of a veterinarian and a K-9 cop will keep you reading. In every book the reader learns something that pertains to the work involved in each profession. Fascinating reading. And while I guessed who the bad guy was right off the bat, it didn’t detract in the slightest from my enjoyment of the story and reading about Mattie, Robo, Cole, and the rest of the gang.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, November 2021.
http://www.ckcrigger.com
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Six Dancing Damsels: A China Bohannon Mystery

Book Review: The Cartographer’s Secret by Tea Cooper @tea_cooper @harpermusebooks @tlcbooktours

The Cartographer’s Secret
Tea Cooper
Harper Muse, November 2021
ISBN 978-0-7852-6731-7
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

A map into the past. A long-lost young woman. And a thirty-year family mystery.

The Hunter Valley, 1880—Evie Ludgrove loves to chart the landscape around her home—hardly surprising since she grew up in the shadow of her father’s obsession with the great Australian explorer Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt. So when an advertisement appears in The Bulletin magazine offering a thousand-pound reward for proof of where Leichhardt met his fate, Evie is determined to use her father’s papers to unravel the secret. But when Evie sets out to prove her theory, she vanishes without a trace, leaving behind a mystery that haunts her family for thirty years.

1911—Letitia Rawlings arrives at the family estate in her Ford Model T to inform her great-aunt Olivia of a loss in their family. But Letitia is also escaping her own problems—her brother’s sudden death, her mother’s scheming, and her dissatisfaction with the life planned out for her. So when Letitia discovers a beautifully illustrated map that might hold a clue to the fate of her missing aunt, Evie Ludgrove, she sets out to discover the truth. But all is not as it seems, and Letitia begins to realize that solving the mystery of her family’s past could offer as much peril as redemption.

A gripping historical mystery for fans of Kate Morton and Natasha Lester’s The Paris Seamstress, The Cartographer’s Secret follows a young woman’s quest to heal a family rift as she becomes entangled in one of Australia’s greatest historical puzzles.

To many people around the world, including me, Australia is an exotic land of fascinating history and a cheeky attitude, always surprising in one way or another. I’ve learned quite a bit about this unique country from previous Tea Cooper books and that continued with The Cartographer’s Secret. Ms. Cooper could and does make a dry account of the land down under turn into a captivating tale.

This story is essentially a family saga taking place in two time periods, 1880 and 1911, and involves two mysteries, Evie’s search for a missing explorer, leading to her own disappearance, and her niece Letitia’s subsequent determination to find out what happened. Evie’s father had had almost an obsession with the explorer and she had a love of maps so she thought her mapping talents and her father’s research could point the way to learning Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt’s fate. Instead, Evie became a mystery herself but Letitia unearths secrets and learns a lot about herself along the way.

Historical mysteries are a breed unto themselves, so to speak, and this one has a basis in fact, always an intriguing element. Here we also have a little romance, a lot of adventure, and a look at two women who were ahead of their times. Ms. Cooper’s in-depth research is very evident and, once again, she has captured my imagination.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2021.

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Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon // Indiebound

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About the Author

Tea Cooper is an established Australian author of historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist, and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling. She is the winner of two Daphne du Maurier Awards and the bestselling author of several novels, including The Horse ThiefThe Cedar CutterThe Currency Lass, and The Naturalist’s Daughter.

Connect with Tea:

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

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Follow the tour:

Monday, November 8: @smashley.reads

Monday, November 8: Lit and Life

Tuesday, November 9: Books Cooks Looks

Wednesday, November 10: @thebookscript 

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Friday, November 12: Pick a Good Book and @pickagoodbook

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Monday, November 15: Reading Reality

Tuesday, November 16: Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Wednesday November 17: @mommaleighellensbooknook

Wednesday, November 17: @readingwithmrsleaf 

Thursday, November 18: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie IG
and @welovebigbooks on TikTok

Friday, November 19: The Bookish Dilettante

Friday, November 19: Christian Chick’s Thoughts and @cctblog 

Saturday, November 20: @itsbibliotherapy 

Sunday, November 21: Girl Who Reads

Monday, November 22: @heyitscarlyrae

Monday, November 22: Read Eat Repeat

Tuesday, November 23: What is That Book About 

Wednesday, November 24: Buried Under Books 

Wednesday, November 24: @no.bookend.in.sight 

Monday, November 29: Laura’s Reviews  and @laurasreviews_1

Tuesday November 30: Jathan and Heather

Wednesday, December 1: @lilagracereads on TikTok

Thursday, December 2: BookNAround

Friday, December 3: @mamasgottaread 

Sunday, December 5: @booktimistic

TBD: Monday, November 15: @whimsyreadswithshelby 

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Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 2021

The Cartographer’s Secret is a galvanizing, immersive adventure following
a family’s entanglement with a vanished Australian explorer through
the lush Hunter Valley at the turn of the twentieth century, forcing the
characters to reckon with the choice found at the crux of passion and
loyalty and the power of shared blood that can either destroy or heal.”
—Joy Callaway, international bestselling author of 
The Fifth Avenue Artists Society and The Greenbrier Resort

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