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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Bun for Your Life by Karoline Barrett Review and Guest Post

Bun for Your Life
(A Bread and Batter Mystery)

Publisher: InterMix (November 17, 2015)
Cozy Mystery


As the co-owners of Bread and Batter Bakery in Destiny, New York, Molly Tyler and Olivia Williams have plenty on their plates. Molly is recently divorced and looking for a place to live, but they’re also both preparing for Destiny’s annual Apple Harvest Fair. The bakery has a booth where they’ll be selling not only delicious cupcakes and cider doughnuts, but also tote bags and t-shirts emblazoned with the bakery’s logo.
Tensions rise at the fair when local orchard owner Calista Danforth discovers organizers have assigned her usual booth to Bread and Batter. Although a heated argument ensues between her and Molly, the bakery manages to rake in lots of dough. But when Calista is found strangled to death with one of their t-shirts, Molly is named the prime suspect. Now these two friends must whip up some answers quickly before the future of their business crumbles…

What I Thought:

This was a pretty fun read.  I thought it went a little fast though, it would be one day then the next part of the book would be a week or two later, but that is okay.  This book was filled with great characters who had great relationships, especially Molly and Olivia.  Molly also has a good relationship with her ex-husband. When Molly gets in an argument with the Apple Harvest Queen and she is then found dead, Molly of course is the main suspect.  This one kept me guessing and I really like that in a cozy.  I look forward to more in this series. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About The Author –

After having several short stories published, I decided to tackle novel writing a few years ago. My first book, The Art of Being Rebekkah, is women’s fiction. Since the genre I love is mystery, my agent suggested I write one. I’m so glad she did! I recently signed with Penguin/Intermix for my Bread and Batter cozy mystery series. The first two books, Bun For Your Life and Raisin The Dead, coming soon!
I’ve live in lots of different places during my life. At the moment, I’m in a small Connecticut town with my husband. When I’m not writing, I’m either reading, spending time by the water, traveling, indulging in social media, accompanying above-mentioned husband to New York Yankees games, or doing anything that does not involve math.

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Writing a Cozy Mystery Series

Karoline Barrett

Melina’s Book Blog


Hi everyone! I’m excited to be here today to talk about writing my Bread & Batter cozy mystery series. Thanks to Melina’s Book Blog for hosting me!

Mystery is my go-to reading genre, especially cozy ones. As far as writing one myself, I’d thought about it for a half-second in the past, but I doubted my ability to come up with a suitable victim, never mind figuring out who, what, why, where, how, and when.  

Then my agent gave me a gently push in that direction, and the more I thought about it, the more the idea of writing my own mystery series appealed to me. I chose Destiny as my setting, a fictitious bucolic small town in upstate New York, surrounded by apple orchards and vineyards. Why the name Destiny? New York is a big state, all my other name choices were taken! Destiny has a nice ring to it, though, don’t you think?

I wanted my protagonist’s name to be Molly. I wanted her to own Bread & Batter Bakery with her best friend, Olivia. Not a lot to start with, but by the time the Destiny Apple Harvest Fair got under way, a new detective arrived in town, and my killer struck, it all began to make sense.  

So, what do I like most about writing a mystery series?   

1.      Entertaining readers!


2.      The bad guys!


3.      Plot twists!


4.      No mourning period when a book is done, there will be another!


5.       No going through character withdrawal, since they’re coming back!


6.      My characters become like a favorite t-shirt: comforting and familiar!


7.      I know how exactly how my characters are going to react to everything. Or, do I? Hmmmm…


8.      Creating sup-plots with secondary characters!


9.      Writing about my characters becomes second nature!


10.  Humor. I love humor in my mysteries. I’m a big fan of Ann B. Ross and Janet Evanovich. I find both of them hilarious. I put a lot of humor into my books.






11.  I get to take Crime Scene Investigation classes, and do internet searches for things like death by strangulation; how to poison someone with plants; ricin poisoning; puffer fish; ovo lacto vegetarianism; autopsies; frogs; and the Three Stooges (they don’t actually have anything to do with my book, that’s just where I ended up on the Internet that particular day.)


12.  I talk to, and email, people about fascinating subjects like apple breeding; Nancy Drew; land surveying; head injuries; police procedures in a small town; mounted police department protocol; nursing stuff, and library expansions!


13.  Coming up with interesting friends for my main character!


14.  Endless plot ideas. I’ve finished books one and two in my series, started book three, and have ideas for a few more!


15.  Dogs!   


16.  Contests for readers! I did my first contests recently, and was surprised at how much I love giving stuff away.  


Now for a few things, for me, aren’t so great about writing a mystery series:

1.      Amnesia while writing subsequent books. Who has brown hair? Who has green eyes? How many members were there on my police department again? What are the names of those characters in the book club I want to bring back?


2.      How many different ways to kill someone can I come up with?   


3.      How many people in town die before everyone packs up and hightails it out of there?


4.      What can I distract my detective with, so that Molly can step in and solve the mystery?


Luckily, the great things about writing a series outnumber the not-so-great things. I hope all of you enjoy reading my books as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell


Yarned and Dangerous
(A Tangled Web Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
New Series
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kensington (November 24, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1617737176


Time has not been kind to sleepy Dorset Falls, Connecticut, where an erstwhile resident is hoping to bring a tattered yarn shop back to life—but with a murderer on the loose, the whole town is in knots…
Josie Blair left Dorset Falls twelve years ago in hopes of making it big in New York City. But after earning an overpriced master’s degree and getting fired by a temperamental designer, she finds herself heading back to her hometown. Her great-uncle was injured in a car accident, and newly unemployed Josie is the only person available to take care of him. Uncle Eb’s wife didn’t survive the crash, so Josie is also tasked with selling the contents of her Aunt Cora’s yarn shop. But the needling ladies of the Charity Knitters Association pose a far bigger challenge than a shop full of scattered skeins…
Miss Marple Knits is one of the few businesses still open in the dreary downtown. Josie can’t imagine how it stayed open for so long, yet something about the cozy, resilient little shop appeals to her. But when one of the town’s most persnickety knitters turns up dead in a pile of cashmere yarn, Josie realizes there’s something truly twisted lurking beneath the town’s decaying fa├žade…

What I Thought:

I was captivated by this book from the very beginning.  It is very well written and it is filled with some great characters, some are pretty cantankerous and eccentric, but that makes the book fun.  I really like the banter between Uncle Eb  and Roy Woodruff.  Josie has come back to care for her cranky Uncle Eb after an accident broke his leg and took the life of her Aunt Cora.  Josie is tasked with closing Cora's yarn shop and there is some interest in buying the inventory.  When Josie finds a dead body in the storeroom of the yarn shop, things really get interesting.  I really enjoyed visiting Josie and the town and people of Dorset Falls, I can't wait to visit again.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About The Author –
Sadie Hartwell grew up near the Canadian border in northern New York State, where it’s cold, dark, and snowy almost half the year—a perfect environment for nurturing a simultaneous love of mystery fiction and needlework. She attended St. Lawrence University, graduating with a degree in history, and has worked as a waitress, handbag designer/manufacturer, paralegal, and copy editor before turning to writing full time. Now she gets to play with yarn and make up stories whenever she wants, and wishes everyone had a job as much fun as hers.
Twitter – @SadieHartwell

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