This #CrimeFicFridays I have a #CosyMystery Blog Book Tour | feat. “Death and Decluttering” (Book One, Sparks and Joy Mysteries) by Nancy McGovern

Posted Friday, 22 January, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#CrimeFicFridays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. Thereby it was with the Dream Horse Adventures series I decided to mark my return and was quite thankful this was a series she was celebrating through her touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “Death and Decluttering” direct from the author Nancy McGovern in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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It was meant to be a Cosy kind of ending to 2020:

I quite wickedly stumbled into an online event called: #12DaysOfCozies (you’ll find the badge and links to this in my blog’s sidebar) wherein Cosy Mystery authors & readers were readily able to engage directly with each other during 12 wicked wonderful days of December wherein a Cosy Mystery devout reader, blogger and social motivator (Angela @ Cozy Mystery Book Club) brought us all together – for chats and bingo cards and the best bit of all – the chance to unwind into a spontaneously spun chat wherein we ‘met’ #newtomeauthors of Cosy Mysteries, found new stories and/or series to add-on to our library hold queues and dearly gave us a wickedly delight of a start to December after such a hard-won year!

I had fully planned to read a sampling of those authors stories & series during the second half of December (if not over the Christmas & New Year’s holidays directly!) whilst curating some #25PagePreview posts rolled into my #blogmas schedule! However, December had other plans for me and sadly, despite being able to fetch a sleighfull of books from those lovely authors from two different libraries (ie. local and regional alike) I had to push forward those plans into January (and most likely February at this junction!) as my holidays were an insanely rescheduled affair after my Mum worked over 135+ emergency shifts at work as she’s in home health! Our holidays were not calm & festive but we found small joys and little ways of ringing in Christmas & New Year’s despite the adverse ways in which the holidays were unconventionally celebrated this year.

I even had to postpone my favourite binge reads for #ChristmasReads which (as I’m eyeing the calendar,…) I still aim to accomplish by releaseing a few last #blogmas posts before February springs itself on me!

Thereby whilst I awaited the arrival of “Death and Decluttering” my entire mindset in December was blissfully set in a Cosy kind of headspace because I was *devouring!* the #12DaysOfCozies chats and scouring my libraries card catalogues online to see what I could to put into queue next! I even found the group read book for the Cozy Mystery Book Club! Top cheers to Jorie, eh!

If you’ve been a follower and/or fervent reader of Jorie Loves A Story, you know I generally disappear off into the Cosy Historical Mystery worlds of intrique moreso than Contemporary Cosies – however, in recent years that has been changing – with my passionate love of Love Inspired Suspense novels with Mum, my JOY of discovering the witchy Cosies by Leanne Leeds and the quirkified world of the Wonky Witch (my dearly beloved Alf!) and the Wonky Inn — you could definitely say I have a stronghold on the Cosies which are keeping me wickedly entertained and heartily in love with Indie Cosies!

It is my absolute joy in welcoming the Sparks and Joy Mysteries to Jorie Loves A Story and I cannot wait to knit together my remarks on behalf of the series already in progress of being read as I itch towards #Witchathon & #WyrdAndWonder this New Year, 2021!

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This #CrimeFicFridays I have a #CosyMystery Blog Book Tour | feat. “Death and Decluttering” (Book One, Sparks and Joy Mysteries) by Nancy McGovernDeath and Decluttering
Subtitle: A Spark and Joy Mystery : Book One
by Nancy McGovern
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

Joy Russo loves chaos. From her life as a busy reporter to her brawling, coffee-obsessed Italian family, there’s nothing she loves more than her messy, little life. Then the weird, slightly out-of-this-world Aurora Sparks arrives, whose life seems to revolve around creating order out of chaos.

The two of them have somehow ended up as roommates in the small Upstate New York town of Bent River, and the old adage that says “opposite attract” couldn’t be further from the truth! Sparks fly & tempers flare as each young lady tries to deal with the other’s eccentricities while not compromising their own values. Much easier said than done.

But when a man is found dead and Joy’s father is the prime suspect, the two must put aside their differences if they want to help him. They soon find that Joy’s tough, no-nonsense demeanor and Aurora’s ordered, structured nature perfectly complement each other when it comes to ferreting out clues. And, thankfully so, as the danger threatens to escalate unless they can sort through the facts and solve this mystery in a hurry!

Death & Decluttering is the first cozy mystery adventure
in Nancy McGovern’s new series, "Sparks & Joy”!

Genres: Amateur Detective, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8656529341

Published by McGovern Books

on 29th June, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 222

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The Sparks & Joy Mysteries:

Notice the ostrich? Due take stock of the bird! Quite a pivotal side character!

Death and Decluttering by Nancy McGovernAlibis & Arranging by Nancy McGovernSuspects and Sorting by Nancy McGovern

Death and Decluttering (book one)

Alibis and Arranging (book two)

Suspects and Sorting (book three)

I will be reading the second & third book in this series post-tour!

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Ahead of reading my reactions to “Death and Decluttering”
ENJOY this short extract of the novel:

Joy shot up out of bed as she heard the phone ring. The digital alarm clock beside her bed read 3:04am. Ricci House was one of the few houses in Bent River to still have a landline, mainly because her Nonno had insisted on it. He’d liked the fact that it was tied down in one place. A mobile phone was far too easily lost in the mountain of clutter all around the house.

Now, Joy realized with a sigh that the phone was still in her Nonno’s room. The room she’d hardly ever entered after he died. The room she’d thoughtlessly let Aurora settle into earlier that day.

The ringing stopped. Joy shrugged on a robe and tied the belt around herself. Her hazy mind had begun to clear, and panic was marching its icy feet down her spine. A call at 3am could only mean bad news. Gearing herself up mentally, Joy walked down the hallway and rapped on what was now Aurora’s door.

Aurora swung it wide open almost immediately. Her eyes were wide and panicked. “Joy…it’s…it’s for you.” She pointed behind her and Joy raced to pick up the phone. She closed her eyes for a second and took a breath – the fear that something bad had happened was now certainty.

“Joy, sweetheart.” It was her mother. Oh no. “Something terrible has happened.”

“It’s Dad, isn’t it?” Joy’s throat was so tight she could barely talk. Aurora came up behind her and put a sympathetic hand on her shoulder.

“It’s…me, actually,” her mother said. “I’m calling from the police station. Oh, Joy…could you come? Quickly? I think I might need a lawyer, too. I just…”

“You’re at the police station?” Joy blinked. “What?

“I’m being questioned,” her mother said. “Joy…it’s not looking good.”

You? Questioned by the police?” Joy was baffled. “At 3am?”

“Chip Goggins is dead.” Her mother’s voice was strangely emotionless and flat.

“Where’s Dad?” A new suspicion had begun to dawn on Joy.

“I don’t know. The police have gone to get him, too. Joy, can you please just come? Tell Uncle Pietro and the others, will you?”

“Sure. Sure. Of course,” Joy said. “Don’t you worry, Mom. We’ll sort everything out soon. Just stay strong.”

“Your time is up,” an official sounding voice said in the background.

“Just one more min-” Joy heard her mother protest just as the phone was cut off.

Aurora gave her a questioning look as Joy placed the phone down.

“I have to go,” Joy said, pushing past her and rushing to the door. No…wait…she had to call her uncles first. Struggling to remember where she’d put her purse, Joy ran to her room and began searching around. Her phone, wallet and keys – she really needed them right now.

Right. Now.

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This is a Self-Published Cosy Mystery series!

Converse on Twitter via: #CosyMystery OR #CozyMystery
as well as #SparksAndJoyMysteries and #IndieAuthor

About Nancy McGovern

Nancy McGovern

I'm a mother, wife, homemaker, pet lover, teacher, student, reader, writer, drinker of tea & wine (depending on the time of day) and sleep-deprived dreamer. I live in Northern New Jersey with my husband (a veterinarian and writer), our three children and too many furred & feathered friends to list!

Please visit my website for more information about my books and to sign up for my newsletter!

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a short note about character names:

When I first saw Aurora as the second title lead character, part of me instantly shifted gears and was pulling back to mind all the dearly loved episodes of Aurora Teagarden via Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as the name instantly connects me to Candace Cameron Bure, the ensemble cast (especially her best friend and Mum!) as much as the setting, the quirky cosy stories and of course, the married detectives whom she drives batty on a regular basis! It took me a bit to appreciate them as their a bit predictable in a kind way but its Aurora herself who leant the will for me to stay with them and as a collective whole – now I itch for new ones! Laughs. Isn’t that always the way?

However, its still very present in my mind and memory, so shifting into a new series about a different Aurora took me a few chapters because of who and whom I associated with the name. Sometimes I know this is a tricky slope as a writer (and being one I understand it up close and personal) as if you have your heart set on a particular name, if there is a pop cultural reference you have to weigh it and go with your gut on to keep the name or scratch it. In the end, I’m glad this Aurora was kept in her entirety but as a reader, I admit, I was questioning what in the world is Aurora up to now? As in the television series not the Sparks and Joy Mysteries!

my review of death and decluttering:

Whoa! This Aurora is fiercely strong and dearly giving Joy a run for her money! I love how caustic they were at their first meeting – where Aurora first arrives to find the house they are going to ‘spilt’ in half as it is their mutually established inheritance which of course Joy wants to contest outright as why would her Italian grandfather (her Nonno!) give this outsider Aurora even one square inch of a house she already considers her own? That’s the rub at their first exchanges of dialogue – Joy trying to resolve the reality of her situation now with Aurora stepping into her life and the curiously quirky ways in which her family underscores just how non-conventionally she’s living her life in general! (by way of the arrival of an ostrich whose more vocal than my beloved tabby who passed on a few years ago)

Ooh! Someone else likes to visually use sledgehammer as a descriptive prompt of an adjective! Talk about a writer after my own heart because I usually use the word to modify a better understanding of the kind of chronic migraines I have – such as “a sledgehammer stuck in the skull” is one of my more infamous ways of putting it!

You can truly feel for Joy – she’s shifting through an epic tidalwave of emotional overload – the memories alone which are interconnected to this house is enough of a reason to give her pause and a purposeful fortitude of willed strength not to let Aurora corrode her own sense of self and history. For Joy, the house was the embodiment of a well-lived life – where home, hearth and family co-mingled together and percolated through the years of a well-stocked sea of conversations, memories and moments which cannot be re-lived but are oft fondly remembered. Even the harder moments, Joy was enveloping herself in the mirth of it all – good, bad or indifferent and for whichever reason, by allowing herself to let in Aurora, I had a feeling she felt she might be affecting her past somehow – as if she weren’t owning to the legacy of what she had been given and somehow by having Aurora present, part of her was suddenly absent and missing.

For a small community like Bent River, words like rumours travel faster than the ink can dry on the local newspapers! This wasn’t the kind of place to harbour secrets or try to stem the flow of information between neighbours – but for whichever reason, I had a feeling Joy’s Dad wasn’t being entirely truthful with his daughter and I was thinking this might be what was about to bite him in the tail so to speak if you go by the extract I shared earlier! Sometimes it is better to let the truth out than to try to hide something from your loved ones who get a more shocked surprise when it finally comes to the surface only to be more alarming than if you had been more comfortable talking to them before everything just bloomed out of control.

Joy for her part was trying to reach out to those she knew she could trust and try to make sense of Aurora which was still keeping me in smirks because of how Joy was unwilling to bend and find common ground with her new roommate! Until of course, the tables turnt round and gave Aurora the right opening to bail out Joy in a time of urgent need where she couldn’t dismiss the fact having Aurora so handy and convenient was actually turning into an asset! No, for her part, Joy wanted to play the martyr and not acknowledge that maybe there was something else going on here and it had little to do with her hurt feelings about having to share her ancestral legacy with a girl she never knew existed but suddenly found herself playing house with instead.

Aurora was one of those go-getters who likes to get things done and iron out the details no one thinks to give you but will humour you if you stumble onto the right questions! Which explains why she was getting so much out of the local bartender!! I was duly impressed – within minutes she had some fodder of local trivia with a bit more insight into Uncle Bebbe (the ostrich rider!) and a few looser points about why Bent River has its fair share of feuds and why the small quaint towne can’t seem to shake the habit of collecting more of them! It gave you the impression the mystery at the heart of this story might not be as obvious to understand as it would first appear – because what if the reasoning behind it was interconnected on a deeper level to what was going on right now!?

Joy was the kind to stew on spilt milk whilst Aurora was the one who saved the day just by remaining openly curious and happily chatty to every person she came into contact with as they weren’t strangers per se they were potentially the informants she needed to carry forward information which seemed to be at a premium right now! I loved her moxie – most of all – because wherever she went in Bent River, she would find the people bending to her charm and entertaining her with the answers she never expected to get but which were aiding her to pull the pieces together. Joy on the other hand was too angry to see past her own emotional heartache right now – which you could understand, of course, but for Aurora doing something gave her purpose and a reason to keep moving forward.

Max was a right proper kind of bloke you’d hope Aurora would meet in Bent River! He understood her reasons for keeping her own past secreted from the towne (and most likely directly out of earshot of Joy!) – but what endeared me to him is how he took Aurora at ‘hallo’ and gave her a reason to believe that perhaps despite the rocky start, Bent River might allow her the grace to find the new start she was hoping it would provide all along. Not that she had too much to encourage her towards that end but even a small gesture of good faith and will can do loads to a person’s level of hope for the future.

What Aurora finds (aside from being part of the reason this mystery gets solved – she shares that kind of instinctive advantage as Aurora Teagarden!) in this community is a lost history of identity – where she can put the pieces of her own ancestral past back together as it was fragmented and broken into the kind of pieces you can’t work out on your own but need a bit of help re-assembling. Whilst at the same time, sorting out what was wrong with Joy was a full-time job but its the background characters who held the most fodder of joy for me as a reader! Everyone had their own personality, back-story and they were all randomly (or supposedly) sorting themselves into Aurora’s life. The more she learnt of those persons and the more she followed her own instincts for sleuthing – the closer she became to the ‘big reveal’ of all and the answers to the questions no one in towne felt they had the will to hear about because of whom was involved!

In this first installment, McGovern sets the stage high with strife, intrigue and locked away secrets which can only seek to destroy lives if not put in their right perspectives! I liked how willing she was to take us into the harder areas of Bent River – peeling back the paint a bit to see the harder edges of what makes this towne survive through the years whilst giving you a keener appreciation for your own towne in which you live because its not nearly as complicated and messed up as Bent River! I am definitely invested now in the series and I definitely want to see what is going to come next for Aurora and Joy! Especially as Joy — how to even put it? Joy is a work-in-progress who doesn’t bode well when people tell her she needs a bit of help in life because she’s one of those determined stubborn women who believe if she can’t do something, she can definitely live without it! Now, if only those two cheeky girls’ can start to see their mutual strengths and get past all the muddle wreck of years between them and find the common ground you know they have if they remain open to discovering it – golly! They could effectively become ‘sisters’ by series end!

on the cosy styling of nancy mcgovern:

When I learnt there was an Italian angle to this series, I practically swooned because I love stories about large families and Italian families are wicked lovely not to mention I have weak knees over anything smothered in loads of garlic and marinara sauce! Laughs with mirth! Plus, this is why I love and adore Debby Caruso’s #MerryHanukkah series as much as I loved the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding due to how relatable and cross-applicable the film was for most families of its size! As soon I read Joy’s family was Italian, I was all-in and ready to experience this story!

I loved how McGovern named this series – Sparks as homage to Aurora as she really ‘sparked off the wrong footing with Joy!’ in the beginning of their co-habitation adventure! Whilst Joy of course was given the chance to ‘offset’ the briskness of Aurora and bam! (as Emeril would say!) is a series name in the making! Plus, who doesn’t love skull adorned hangers?!

I hadn’t even realised I needed to take a break from my regular reads and dissolve myself a Cosy Mystery – just like I’ve been gathering all along since the #12DaysOfCozies!! It just broke the pattern of repetitively being pulled out of stories even the ones I was enjoying to read! Sometimes we have to remember to switch up our readerly lives – grab something outside a regular genre of interest and just zone out for a bit whilst self-healing through a readerly rut which is driving us beyond bonkers for having rooted itself into our lives!

I loved the tone McGovern set in the series, how she arranged how she wanted us to feel inside the series once we established ourselves alongside Joy and Aurora whilst cheekily knowing full well we couldn’t wait to see the ostrich steal another scene! Laughs. It felt comfortable and familiar – like this wasn’t our first go-round and we were simply going back ‘home’ to Bent River for another visit and another curiously cosy adventure we wouldn’t expect to have but would embrace all the same!

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Whilst I was reading this novel I recognised a commonality
amongst some Indie Authors I love reading – specifically the following:

🧙‍♀️ @Thecushionlady

🔮 @LeanneLLeeds

🍝🧄 @StoryDebby

🕵️‍♀️ @AuthorNancyMcG

These are the authors who are cheekily adding in just enough layers of humour and mirth to tuck me away from the harder hitting stories I tend to gravitate towards more often throughout the year to where I have a proper break from reading a revolving door of realistically dramatic stories in exchange for a boost of comedic humour & lighter faire stories with wickedly dynamic characters, fun settings & themes of plots and a compelling way of giving a book blogger so many lovely hours of laughs, smirks and randomly found sweet narrative eclipses of JOY to where the reader in me can take a hiatus from ‘drama’ and re-embrace her passion for comedy!

This isn’t to stay they don’t have written in layers of drama into their stories or in the lives of their characters *but!* overall, their writing feel-good stories which have a hilarious way of getting me to see the lighter side of life and find happiness in stories which tickle my funnybone moreso than they have me reaching for hankies!! And, for that, my gratitude is infinite!

Rather than route to their stories on Jorie Loves A Story – kindly find them in my Story Vault or use my upper right hand search box to find a post featuring them. You won’t regret it!

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I had this lovely and brilliant randomly chosen soundtrack to read Death and Decluttering – as it started off with a hankering to hear “One of Us” by Joan Osbourne, which led-into re-discovering artists such as Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, Natalie Merchant, k.d. lang, Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, KT Turnstall, The Wallflowers and 10,000 Maniacs to name a few! Or to spin it round another way, just another day of binge listening to the radio whilst Jorie was in high school!! Laughs. I. heart. #Spotify!!

PS Apparently I unlocked a new hidden feature!? A ‘song radio’!?

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Death and Decluttering blog tour banner provided by Lola's Blog Tours and is used with permission.Be sure to click the banner to visit the rest of the tour route!

REMEMBER: I will be reading the next installments of this series off-tour! I cannot wait to receive “Alibis and Arranging” and “Suspects and Sorting”!! Watch for my updates on my reading progress on these next books in sequence via #JLASblog and/or my bookish presence in the twitterverse where I am regularly microblogging my readerly life & engaging with fellow bookish spirits! ←

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I enjoy being a hostess for:

Lola's Blog Tours banner provided by Lola Blog Tours and is used with permission.Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{SOURCES: Book covers for “Death and Decluttering”, “Alibi and Arranging” and “Suspects and Sorting”, synopsis of “Death and Decluttering”, author biography and photograph (of Nancy McGovern), the extract from “Death and Decluttering”, blog  tour banner and host badge were provided by Lola’s Blog Tours and are being used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #CrimeFicFridays banner as well as the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

I am socially bookish and tweet my readerly life

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

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Posted Friday, 22 January, 2021 by jorielov in Amateur Detective, Blog Tour Host, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours




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One response to “This #CrimeFicFridays I have a #CosyMystery Blog Book Tour | feat. “Death and Decluttering” (Book One, Sparks and Joy Mysteries) by Nancy McGovern

  1. This sounds fun. And Bent River sounds like a neat place. I’m always looking for a fun new cozy series, and sounds like this one delivers. :)

    135+… wow, that’s a LOT. I’m glad you were able to find some joy and festivity in the holidays in spite of how hectic it was!

    Oh, and I LOVE the new look! Fabulous!!!!

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