Category: Crime Fiction

Book Review | Series Showcase: The Darling Dahlias by Susan Wittig Albert Novels 1-6-7 feat. the latest release: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover

Posted Friday, 16 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I’ve attempted to read the serial fiction offerings by Ms Albert for quite a number of years; I even have a copy of the first novel in the China Bayles series – which I previously attempted to read during #BoutofBooks a few years ago. I haven’t even had the pleasure of picking up the first Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter! I adored reading ‘Loving Eleanor’ and dearly want to continue reading Ms Albert’s Biographical Historical Fiction novels because she has a wonderful gift for etching out the women whose lives she’s focusing on bringing forward into our own awareness of what they endured whilst they were alive.

However, this particular series ‘the Darling Dahlias’ seemed like a good fit for me – mostly as it’s set during the 1930s (one of my favourite eras), is historical in contrast whilst set within a garden club in the rural South. Southern Fiction is one of my favourites to be reading aside from Historical Fiction – this series is a happy compliment to both with a nod towards ‘Cosy Mysteries’ (another beloved of mine!).

Ergo, I decided before I signed on for the blog tour this Spring to see if my local library had the first sixth novels in the series – blessedly they *did!* and I happily selected the first three to arrive together whilst holding off for the next three until I knew I was starting the first half of the series. All of these readings would happily put me in the throes of the series ahead of reading the beautiful ARC which I received for the blog tour on behalf of “The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover” in exchange for an honest review.

I borrowed all the novels in the Darling Dahlias series in hardback edition from my local library. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein for either the books I borrowed at my library or the ARC I received  for review on the blog tour.

Initially, this was my plan of action for reading the Darling Dahlias series – however, in late February, after several weeks of added strife and stress, my family and I ended a five month crisis wherein I felt tremendous relief to have the weight finally off our shoulders. I was going to attempt to read the series little by little rather than in a personal Marathon sprint like I had the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley at the end of January.

Except to say, I had too much on my mind and heart – I ended up having to let the series go back to my library unread except I saved back the first novel and the sixth novel – fearing that despite the fact I had to shorten my readings of the series, I was going to approach this series like I’ve approached reading the Samuel Craddock series: I’ll get a taste for the characters, the setting and the styling of narrative now as the latest release is upon us to celebrate whilst giving myself the grace to realise the rest of the series can wait for me to resume reading it at a latter date.

In regards to Samuel Craddock and my listening of the Cosy Mysteries by Lisa B. Thomas – both of those series are upcoming next on my blog – as I’m digging into the next two I have in-line to finish ahead of the weekend. I look forward to continuing to share my thoughts on these lovelies as similar in vein to the Darling Dahlias, I do fancy a wicked good Cosy time after time! The Craddock series is cosier than hard-boils but for me personally, I’d classify it as ‘dramatic crime fiction’ as it truly speaks to the heart of the series as it’s being written.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBook Review | Series Showcase: The Darling Dahlias by Susan Wittig Albert Novels 1-6-7 feat. the latest release: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky CloverThe Darling Dahlias series Novels 1-6-7
Subtitle: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover
by Susan Wittig Albert
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Borrowed from local library

NYT bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to Depression-era Darling, Alabama…​where the ladies of the Dahlias, the local garden club, are happy to dig a little dirt!

In the seventh book of this popular series, it looks like the music has ended for Darling’s favorite barbershop uiquartet, the Lucky Four Clovers—just days before the Dixie Regional Barbershop Competition. Another unlucky break: a serious foul-up in Darling’s telephone system—and not a penny for repairs. And while liquor is legal again, moonshine isn’t. Sheriff Buddy Norris needs a little luck when he goes into Briar Swamp to confront Cypress County’s most notorious bootlegger. What he finds upends his sense of justice.

Once again, Susan Wittig Albert has told a charming story filled with richly human characters who face the Great Depression with courage and grace. She reminds us that friends offer the best of themselves to each other, community is what holds us together, and luck is what you make it.

Bonus features: Liz Lacy’s Garden Gate column on “lucky” plants, plus the Dahlias’ collection of traditional Southern pie recipes and a dash of cookery history. Reading group questions, more recipes, and Depression-era info can be found on the Darling Dahlias website linked in the author's biography on this review.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0996904032

Also by this author: Loving Eleanor

Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Women's Fiction

Published by Berkley Prime Crime, Persevero Press

on 6th of March, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition, Paperback ARC

Pages: 280

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The Darling Dahlias series:

Published By: Berkley Prime Crime (@BerkleyMystery)

imprint of Berkley Publishing (@BerkleyPub)

via Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Book One)

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Book Two) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose (Book Three) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star (Book Four) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush (Book Five) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O’ Clock Lady (Book Six) | Synopsis

Published By: Persevero Press
(author directed publishing platform)

The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover (Book Seven)

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

View a Map of Darling via the official site for the Darling Dahlias series

Converse via: #DarlingDahlias

About Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of the forthcoming historical novel Loving Eleanor (2016), about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; and A Wilder Rose (2014), about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books.

Her award-winning fiction also includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

She has written two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, published by the University of Texas Press.

Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.

She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Site for A Wilder Rose
Site for China Bayles series | Site for Darling Dahlias series | Site for the Cottage Tales series
Mystery Novels with her husband
Story Circle

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:


Posted Friday, 16 March, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, Silver Hair Sleuths, Small Towne USA, the Thirties

Audiobook Review | “Sharpe Shooter” (Book One: Maycroft Mysteries) by Lisa B. Thomas, narrated by Madeline Mrozek There is something quite wonderful about this quirky Cosy series!

Posted Friday, 2 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Sharpe Shooter” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Lisa B. Thomas) in exchange for an honest review. The difference with this complimentary copy I received is I had a 90 day window to listen and review the book whilst given a soft deadline where I could post my ruminative thoughts at an hour which worked for me on the day the review was due; this differs from a blog tour which has a more set schedule of posting. The audiobooks are offered to ‘adopt’ for review consideration and are given to readers to gauge their opinions, impressions and insight into how the audiobook is resonating with listeners. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: Due to my unexpected hiatus in September, my adopted audiobooks (‘Life as a Spectrum Mom‘, ‘Sharpe Shooter’ and ‘Sharpe Edge’) as well as the blog tour ‘The Supernatural Pet Sitter’ were delayed from posting until I was able to listen to them due to a series of health issues which left me afflicted throughout Autumn 2017 and again in early Winter 2017/18.

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What initially prompted me to listen to Sharpe Shooter & why I loved it:

I remember I was browsing the adoptable audiobooks, seeing if I could find either a light-hearted story OR a Mystery; reason being, I personally *adore!* Mysteries! Especially the ones which fall under ‘Cosy’ or ‘Quirky’ or uniquely spun in such a way as to give you something to think about whilst your reading (or in this case ‘listening’) to the story! I was not disappointed with my selection, as one of the most immediate things I realised as I was listening to ‘Sharpe Shooter’ is how intricate it was developed and conceived! The layers within this Cosy Mystery are quite remarkable – as the further you get into the center of novel, the closer you become to seeing the fuller picture – of how this small towne gal has a missing relative whose mysterious disappearance is actually connected to a very, very well-known event in our country’s History!

As this was being revealled bit by bit, I hadn’t quite sorted it out in my mind – not initially, but as you think back on what you’ve listened to and how each of the pieces started to fit together – it was a plausible theory. Also, part of listening to this audiobook reminded me of why I loved watching ‘Quantum Leap’. Sometimes – it is lovely to see how ‘wrongs are righted’ and how the past can be healed in the future by an unforeseen way of finding closure to an event which happened so very long ago it has become ‘lost within time’ itself.

I was thoroughly entertained watching Deena move through her investigation – of how she continued to seek out the truth even if she wasn’t entirely sure where it was going to lead. It is also a story about second chances and new beginnings – of how sometimes the lemons life brings onto your path is a period of self-growth – of seeking to find something anew to freshen your spirit and re-align your purpose onto a new path. For Deena, it meant letting go of being a teacher and finding that as a sleuth, she had a lot more to give than she had as a teacher. It is a classic story in that regard of our truer talents and how we don’t necessarily realise what we can accomplish until we’re forced to make a chance in our lives.

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Audiobook Review | “Sharpe Shooter” (Book One: Maycroft Mysteries) by Lisa B. Thomas, narrated by Madeline Mrozek There is something quite wonderful about this quirky Cosy series!Sharpe Shooter
Subtitle: Cozy Suberbs Mystery Series
by Lisa B. Thomas
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Madeline Mrozek

Deena Sharpe is ready for a change. She’s burned out and tired of teaching. Little does she know that an old family mystery is about to turn her life upside down and inside out!

A Texas sheriff’s office has just found a skeleton in their closet…literally. After the body is identified, Deena’s family turns to her to uncover the truth about the murder before a conspiracy theory-nut implicates the victim in his latest book.

Deena must channel her inner super-sleuth to solve the puzzle and protect her family name. With the help of her off-beat brother, she takes on a quest that leads to more questions than answers.

Sharpe Shooter is the first book in the Cozy Suburbs Mystery Series. With antique shopping, car chases, and ghosts in the night, the story will keep you guessing as you follow Deena on her quest for the truth.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing


Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction

Published by Self Published Author

on 30th August, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 5 hours, 18 minutes (unabridged)

Self-Published Audiobook

Order of the Maycroft Mysteries: (Read the Series Synopsis’s on the Author’s Site)

NOTE: Initially I thought this was the Cozy Suburbs Mysteries – however it’s really the Maycroft Mysteries series – as the sub-title on the audiobook versions revealled the other name.

Sharpe Shooter | Book One
Sharpe Edge | Book Two | Synopsis
Sharpe Mind | Book Three | Synopsis
Sharpe Turn | Book Four | Synopsis
Sharpe Point | Book Five | Synopsis
Sharpe Cookie | Book Six | Synopsis
+ Sharpe Image | PREQUEL Novella | Synopsis

Lisa B. Thomas | Blog | Site | @LBThomas2 | Facebook

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Posted Friday, 2 March, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Siblings, Small Towne USA, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Phantom’s Apprentice” by Heather Webb a brilliant re-telling of #PhantomOfTheOpera by the #histnov author I admire for giving us strong female leads throughout History – providing a beautiful lens into #HerStory!

Posted Monday, 26 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 4 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Phantom’s Apprentice” direct from the author Heather Webb in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was so enamored with the premise behind ‘The Phantom’s Apprentice’:

Aside from being an admirer of the author’s collective works (as hinted at through my conversational tweets attached to the bottom of this review) and having had the joyful blessing of being able to follow her career whilst I’ve been a book blogger – all of this aside, I’ve been a girl whose appreciated Broadway and Musicals since I was old enough to listen to original soundtracks on cassette tape. I used to go to sleep with a tape of Annie – not the stage play version but the original motion picture soundtrack. From there, I graduated into more familiar Musicals – including listening to the Michael Crawford soundtrack for Phantom until it etched itself into my blood.

I continued to follow Phantom – from watching the PBS broadcast of the anniversary production from London to celebrating the motion picture adaptation starring Emmy Rossum. Whilst I was writing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel, I was playing the motion picture soundtrack channel for Phantom via Pandora Radio which showcased all versions of the play and musical.

I am also an appreciator of Gothic Literature – something I haven’t actively pursued on my blog – except in short spurts and showcases – however, in the back of my wanderings is a keen interest to resume my Gothic readings, as I’ve had my eye on Kate Morton for several years now. She’s only one of the authors whose winked out a recognition of the kind of Gothic vein of interest which whets a healthy appetite to explore. Closer to finishing is my reading of Jane Eyre which I always held in high esteem – mostly stemming out of a love of the author’s vision for Eyre and what I found in a film adaptation I felt owned to the strength of who Eyre was and is for all of us to know through this beautiful novel.

The music of Phantom – irregardless of which incantation of performance and artistic vision are the songs which lift my soul. The sound of Phantom is individually distinctive and the story within it’s heart is one of gutting emotions surrounding the suspense of what is truly happening to Christine and of what motivates the Phantom himself to pursue her to such an extent of invested interest. It is also part cautionary tale about obsession and misguided love.

Knowing this story was in the hands, heart and mind of Ms Webb was enough to convince me I needed to read this evocative re-telling. She’s one author I appreciate reading due to her tenacious approach to drawing forward the strong female leads I personally find myself engaging with as I read their stories. I have a newfound interest in Feminist Historical Fiction and of finding the voices out of History who are celebrating #HerStory. You’ll find many writers who write these kinds of stories peppered throughout my archives and featured within my Story Vault. It is a pleasurable joy each time I get the chance to read a story which evokes such a strong reaction and provides me with hours of cherished happiness for having found the characters and the world in which they live.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Phantom’s Apprentice” by Heather Webb a brilliant re-telling of #PhantomOfTheOpera by the #histnov author I admire for giving us strong female leads throughout History – providing a beautiful lens into #HerStory!The Phantom's Apprentice
by Heather Webb
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine Daaé you’ve never seen before…

Christine Daaé sings with her violinist Papa in salons all over Paris, but she longs to practice her favorite pastime—illusions. When her beloved Papa dies during a conjurer’s show, she abandons her magic and surrenders to grief and guilt. Life as a female illusionist seems too dangerous, and she must honor her father’s memory.

Concerned for her welfare, family friend Professor Delacroix secures an audition for her at the Nouvel Opéra—the most illustrious stage in Europe. Yet Christine soon discovers the darker side of Paris opera. Rumors of murder float through the halls, and she is quickly trapped between a scheming diva and a mysterious phantom. The Angel of Music.

But is the Angel truly a spirit, or a man obsessed, stalking Christine for mysterious reasons tangled in her past?

As Christine’s fears mount, she returns to her magical arts with the encouragement of her childhood friend, Raoul. Newfound hope and romance abounds…until one fateful night at the masquerade ball. Those she cares for—Delacroix, the Angel, and even Raoul—aren’t as they seem. Now she must decide whom she trusts and which is her rightful path: singer or illusionist.

To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780999628508

Also by this author: Becoming Josephine, Author Interview: Heather Webb (Rodin's Lover), Rodin's Lover, Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War, Last Christmas in Paris

Genres: After Canons, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Re-telling &/or Sequel

Published by Sonnet Press

on 6th February, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 350

Published By: Sonnet Press

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #HistNov

as well as #ThePhantomsApprentice w/ #PhantomOfTheOpera

About Heather Webb

Heather Webb

HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews.

RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI released October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

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Posted Monday, 26 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cemeteries & Graveyards, Composer, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, France, French Literature, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Gothic Romance, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Thriller Suspense, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, Literary Adaptations, Literary Fiction, Mediums & Clairvoyants, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, New York City, Opera, Psychological Suspense, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Unrequited Eternal Love, Women's Fiction