Category: Crime Fiction

#SaturdaysAreBookish | and sometimes especially Cosy! Celebrating the 1st #BookBindingMystery “To Kill A Mocking Girl” by Harper Kincaid, of whom was also a feat. guest of @SatBookChat!

Posted Saturday, 5 June, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Borrowed Book By: My path first crossed with Ms Kincaid during the #12DaysOfCozies Twitter chats hosted by @cozymysteryclub in December, 2020. It was a chance to interact with Cosy Mystery writers in a kick-off celebration of Cosies as a lead-up into the Christmas holidays. During the chats themselves there were several bookaways, wherein this novel was one of the prizes however I was meant to win a copy of another Cosy story in an anthology – however it never arrived by post. I did however receive a swag pack of bookmarks and stickers by the hostess of the chats and I have been using her #Sleuther bookmark to read all the lovely Cosies I borrow through my library whilst the other bookmarks I use either for books in my personal library or review books I receive for review consideration.

The chats were a benchmark of my 2020 Christmas celebrations as it allowed me to celebrate Christmas in a keenly special way last December whilst I was able to interact and seek out new series of Cosies to read this New Year, 2021 as well. I have quite a long list of stories and series I want to dive inside and this particular book marks the start of those readings. Ms Kincaid and I just happened to hit it off quite well and I knew I wanted to host her via @SatBookChat. This review is both a continued nod of celebration to #12DaysOfCozies and of course, a happy introduction to a new Cosy series I was thankful I have had myself courtesy of my local library!

I borrowed the hardbck copy of the novel “To Kill A Mocking Girl” direct from my local library. I was not obliged to post a review and am sharing my review on behalf of this novel for my own edification as much as continuing to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

This review has been a long time in coming to Jorie Loves A Story!! I’ve been wanting to host Ms Kincaid via #SatBookChat for most of Spring however, the timing for both the author and myself had to work out a few kinks. With my return to working full-time earlier in Spring and with some health afflictions in mid-Spring, we both decided to push this forward into June. I was grateful I finally had a chance to bring her into #SatBookChat’s community as I’ve been reading this novel off/on for as many months as we’ve been working on the schedule! Each time I thought I was close to finishing the novel, I had to boomerang the book back to the library! Laughs.

The joy for me on the morning of #SatBookChat today was waking up early enough to make more headway into the story and to find myself at the halfway mark before the chat began! It was my intentions to sneak into the book whenever I had an hour or so to spare to read it whilst hoping no one in my community wanted to read it this week as I had to re-fetch it! Smirks. Thankfully the stars aligned and whilst I wasn’t working, I happily tucked into the lives of Quinn, Sister Daria and Aiden.

For me, the character who stole my heart is Sister Daria and until I had the convo this morning with Ms Kincaid I couldn’t sort out why I leant more towards her than Quinn. Until of course the author pointed out Quinn is sweet and all but she’s a bit dull and mundane in comparision to Daria and I believe that’s true! Sister Daria is a renegade nun in so many ways – from her background and backhistory to how she approaches the sisterhood with ideals and beliefs that are not in-step with the rest of her sisters. I celebrated finding that inclusive of her storyline but again, it isn’t a conventional character and I think that in of itself is why I love her as much as I do!

After the chat, I quickly dove back into the story – I knew with an afternoon shift I didn’t want to put off reading more of the book or if I could, get into the ending as I was dearly curious about who was ‘behind’ the whole sequencing of events. This is one thinking mystery I was appreciating see develop because it didn’t seem to be an obvious choice in regards to whom the person was behind the crime. If you factor in the fact, Quinn was labelled as a person of interest early-on in the storyline, I knew I was ready to see where Kincaid would take us next to root out the truth and solve the case alongside Quinn and her family.

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Why I enjoy Cosy Mysteries (Contemporary & Historical):

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When it comes to Mysteries, stories of Suspense and even Thrillers, I have the tendency to read through the centuries as I appreciate a wicked good Contemporary as much as a thrillingly brilliant Historical which you can intuit from my Story Vault. (mind, its not updated for awhile) Focusing on the topic today, Cosy Mysteries (yes, I purposely spelt it this way!) have been my jam since I was quite young. I’ve openly discussed how much I struggled with reading when I was a young girl – before and after I learnt I was dyslexic and when it came to reading, Mysteries were a constant companion.

I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys before I quickly moved into Adult Cosies with Agatha Christie and her lovingly brilliant Miss Marple! I wouldn’t discover Poirot until an adult – through the film adaptations and series; whilst it is a goal of mine to read his stories at some point. Cosies have a particular fondness for me because I’m not a reader who enjoys gritty and gruesome scenes of violence nor do I enjoy heavy pepperings of vulgarity (see also Review for a recent read that went over the top). I’d much prefer to get into the heart of the investigations, follow the central lead and supporting characters’ journeys and settle into the setting of the mystery as well. Small townes are an especially favourite of mine because of how quirky they are by nature and how cleverly their organised by writers to be full of interestingly diverse and ecelctic characters.

I read Contemporary Suspense novels which are writ similarly to Cosies – as their with a faith-based imprint (ie. Love Inspired Suspense) but in general, I tend to categorise those separately from ‘Cosy’ as Cosy has its own guidelines and perimeters to adhere too, themselves. I do count Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries as Cosies but I know their just ‘this side’ of Hard-Boiled, too. I like to peer into a Cosy’s characters’ life, take up residence there and enjoy the respite from other genres I regularly read. Cosies also have a cosy-comfortable vibe about them and you tend to get attached to the characters and/or the setting quite immediately.

When it comes to Cosy Historical Mysteries – I sometimes put a few ‘nearly Hard-Boiled’ lovelies into that category, too, such as the Susan Spann Hiro Hattori series I regularly have read through the last several years. For Historicals, rather than having myself feel anchoured into our modern world with pop cultural references which I devour in stories due to the fact it opens a lot of my geeky doors of delight – I prefer to feel more attached to the timescape in History. Similar to why I love reading Victorian, Regency and Edwardian Romances. I like to feel as if I’ve removed myself into that portal of the historical past and can see/sense everything I might have if I were physically removed.

The best bit of course is the suspension of reality to tuck close to a Cosy character, peer into the investigative processes and see if I can either guess or root out the culprits along with the sleuths in the story. Whether their professionals or amateurs, I love following along and seeing where the writer has chosen to take us through their own vision for the set-up and the reveal. Even the motivations for the characters who are villains is of interest as sometimes that can explain so much about the story and also, in the case of series, how that affects the characters who will return.

Cosy Mysteries are just a part of my bookish heart as much as Science Fiction, Fantasy & Historical Fiction – I rotate through genres on the regular and as you will denote by the events I co-host and/or participate inside every year, there is a genre of interest or flavour of story that might tempt you as you read the chronicles of my readerly life here on Jorie Loves A Story. It is harder to explain what led me into Cosies originally because my earliest memories of reading outside the moments I was listening to Mum (ie. the original narrator in my life) read to me were of Mysteries!! They’ve just always ‘been’ there, you know!?

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

My Connection to the Author: Harper Kincaid

Ms Kincaid and I truly loved interacting during the #12DaysOfCozies Twitter chat event during December, 2020. It sparked a wonderful connection between two writers and two avid readers wherein we found we share a heap in common with each other. and so, naturally a friendship started to develop. We’ve remained in contact over the months since as our schedules have allowed and I have been grateful to find someone I can relate too who is also celebrating being GenX through her series of Cosy Mysteries as the Bookbinding Mysteries is for readers who like GenX (and/or GenY) sensibilities in their stories.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reading her novels. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. This is also true when I follow-up with them on future releases and celebrate the book birthdays which come after their initial publication.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

#SaturdaysAreBookish | and sometimes especially Cosy! Celebrating the 1st #BookBindingMystery “To Kill A Mocking Girl” by Harper Kincaid, of whom was also a feat. guest of @SatBookChat!To Kill A Mocking Girl
Subtitle: A Book Binding Mystery
by Harper Kincaid
Source: Borrowed from local library

Quinn Victoria Caine is back in her quirky town of Vienna, Virginia, starting her new life as a bookbinder in her family-owned, charm-for-days bookshop, Prose & Scones. With her trusty German Shephard RBG-‘Ruff Barker’ Ginsburg by her side, what can go wrong? Okay, sure, bumping into her ex, Scott, or her former high school nemesis, Tricia, is a drag. It certainly doesn’t help they have acquired the new hobby of shoving their recent engagement in her face every chance they get. But that doesn’t mean Quinn wanted to find Tricia dead in the road. So why does half the town think she may have done it?

Quinn is determined to find Tricia’s killer, even if it means partnering with her cousin-turned-nun, Sister Daria, and Detective Aiden Harrington, her older brother’s too-movie-star-handsome-for-his-own good, best friend. They believe she’s innocent, but of course that doesn’t influence the police, who peg her as their prime suspect. Or, at least until she’s poisoned.

But there is no way Quinn is going to stop now. Vienna is her town and-for better or worse-Tricia was one of their own. Someone may have killed the mocking girl, but no one’s going to stop the notorious QVC.

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


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1643853048

Published by Crooked Lane Books

on 7th July, 2020

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 352

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The Bookbinding Mysteries:

To Kill A Mocking Girl (book one)

A Midsummer’s Night Scheme (book two) ← forthcoming 2022/?

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Converse via Twitter: #ToKillAMockingGirl

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Posted Saturday, 5 June, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Modern Day, Small Towne USA, Virginia

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Colton on the Run” (The Coltons of Roaring Springs series, Book 9) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 23 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 – as this conversation we shared was in late 2020 – I realised there was a whole series of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021. She mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is that Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading 3x of her Romantic Suspense releases.

This is one of two reviews which features the Coltons – a very large series of novels spilt over different mini-series and settings throughout the Romantic Suspense line of novels by Harlequin Books. The two stories I am reading are rooted inside the Colton 911: Chicago series and The Coltons of Roaring Springs – both of which were discussed today (27 March, 2021) during #SatBookChat to celebrate the March 2021 release for “Undercover Heat” which is the third novel in the Colton 911: Chicago series.

I received a complimentary copy of “Colton on the Run” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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a notation about reading Harlequin Romantic suspense novels:

My first Contemporary Romantic Suspense novel by Ms Stewart also marked my first time reading their non-Love Inspired imprint of Suspense novels. I began with the series Honour Bound which ‘Gone in the Night’ and ‘Guarding His Midnight Witness’ are attached too. I held off reading the latter to await my interlibrary loan for ‘Gone in the Night’ which blessedly has finally arrived! (eek!) Thereby, I’ll be featuring those novels next – however, whilst I had that particular series on hold I decided to pick up ‘Undercover Heat’ and today’s featured novel ‘Colton on the Run’!!

Undercover Heat by Anna J. StewartColton on the Run by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. StewartGuarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. Stewart

Let me share with you a few reasons why ‘Undercover Heat’ became such a wicked #unputdownable read for me and why I believe ANY reader who loves both police procedural novels and second chance romances will fall in LOVE with Tatum and Cruz:

Guilt and remorse can wreck a guy – which is why I felt sympathetic to Cruz’s internal struggles in being Tatum as she was giving him a reason to question everything in his life. From the choices he was making about his personal life to the choices he was making about how he was able to function after the losses he’s sustained; the one thing he never seemed to give himself was the freedom to live. He was constantly awash with memory and trauma to where it was hard for Cruz to separate the past and the present. Something Stewart did a smashing job at showing as she built his character inside and out. She painted in the rougher bits of his personality with a rock solid passion for law and justice whilst tempering it with family and the compassions of a bloke who cares about his community. In essence, Cruz was a complicated character with a past which was trying to overtake his future.

Tatum on the other hand was raised to rise through her adversities and to seek a way to stabalise her present without forsaking the future. You could see the differences in their personalities almost immediately as for Tatum, her love of cooking and feeding people outweighed the hurt of her own losses. She wanted to move forward as a mark of honour rather than to avoid what she loved most in life. For her, moving forward meant a way of giving peace to her heart and a way of finding a way to continue to celebrate the persons she had lost. Whereas I felt Cruz wanted to punish himself for things he needed to forgive himself for rather than carry on the load of anguish he was supporting on his shoulders.

This novel is definitely for anyone who gets caught inside the movement of a service at any restaurant they dine as Stewart has created such a lively environment for us to explore! From how the staff interacts with each other to how they put the food out the kitchen; all those details you ache to know about whenever your eating out is included. Whilst it also gives you the strong impression that all kitchens big or small should operate on the efficiency and expedited scale as True! (big smiles) However, its not without its hidden dangers and bouts of suspenseful shock which make you itch to turn the pages! Especially when Stewart conceived of the idea for the refrigerator scene – she definitely knew how to stop your pulse for a few beats!

There is something wickedly brilliant about how a character can be surprised by her mother and Aunt! I loved how Stewart placed Tatum in a situation which tested both her patience and her sense of humour – especially considering how humourous Cruz felt the situation was for them both. Her Mum and Aunt ware good-natured and truly care about Tatum but to say they have tact and respect for her privacy is asking a bit too much from them! Laughs. I felt it was all in good folly but the reaction of Tatum put it all in a different kind of perspective because I think she likes to keep this part of her life separate from the eyes of her family; at least until she’s ready herself to share the details and that in of itself is what I felt ribbed her the most from the intrusion.

The scene where Tatum is fondly remembering her father whilst surprising Cruz with an unexpected foodie experience was one of my top favourite scenes. There was such a stirring of heart and emotions in this scene – where you could see Tatum in a different ray of light than the one she presents to her colleagues and for Cruz, I felt it was humbling for him to realise why she had brought him to that place on that particular night. Tatum was definitely her father’s daughter – she wanted to nurse the emotional wounds she couldn’t fix any other way with a meal which would warm the soul and then soothe the heart. There is something to be said for that kind of nurturing instinct and I loved how the scene played out.

From this moment in the story until the very last page, I was completely glued to the pages!! I loved how Stewart kept this centred on Tatum and Cruz; how she pulled us emotionally through the hurdles of an undercover investigation and how even at the end – I wasn’t sure I was prepared to see how this would conclude! Tatum and Cruz were both put through the ringer for different reasons – each of them, putting their personal and professional lives on the edge of what they felt they could handle in order to secure the truth. And, even then, I am not sure either of them were ready for what was revealled! It was one highly suspenseful romantic story which leaves you aching for more by Stewart! I’m not sure if this storyline can become revisited in a future installment of this particular series, but I’d love to know what ‘came next’ for Tatum and Cruz after this part of their story concluded.

The scenes with January (Tatum’s sister) were well timed as well. Tatum had a very close relationship with her family as much as Cruz did himself with his and it was great to have those extra moments hugging close to their families during quieter moments in the story itself. Most of this novel is set at such a high octane pace of delivery, you barely get to rest on the joys as their arriving into the scenes because something ’round the corner’ is going to be affecting the well-being of the characters you feel so close to as if they were already in your life!

The dizzying effect of unravelling the plot right alongside Stewart was brilliant on the part of how tightly she wound the suspenseful mystery behind the restaurant and of whom she put into position to have the great effect on the reader once the truth let out! I was beyond captivated by the plot and the persons she ferreted out at the end. It is definitely the kind of police procedural you hope to find and one that you love afterwards for having read. The ending of course was a complete nail-biter and I loved reading it because it was such a fitting conclusion to the story!! Definitely an #unputdownable read!!

-quoted from my review of Undercover Heat

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The next reviews you’ll see from me will be for “Gone in the Night” and “Guarding His Midnight Witness” before I move into reading the Butterfly Harbour series by Ms Stewart! I decided to push forward those readings in order to read the Romantic Suspense ones back to back especially after my ILL request came in so quickly! Those will be peppering through my featured reviews during #WyrdAndWonder wherein you’ll find 31 days of Fantasy being happily showcased, discussed and championed on Jorie Loves A Story! Plus, of course, a few other genres as well – as I had some scheduled blog tours as well running in the foreground of the event, too!

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#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Colton on the Run” (The Coltons of Roaring Springs series, Book 9) by Anna J. StewartColton on the Run
Subtitle: The Coltons of Roaring Springs
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Direct from Author

Where is Skye Colton?

One woman’s disappearance rocks Roaring Springs

When he finds a half-dead woman stranded in his barn, rancher Leo Slattery feels his blood run cold. Though she can’t remember who she is, she insists someone is trying to kill her. With his strong protective streak, Leo brings her into the fold and helps her heal. As they begin to solve the mystery of Jane Doe’s identity, a would-be killer works to eliminate her—forever.

Genres: African-American Literature, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Ranches & Cowboys


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
four-half-flames

ISBN: 9781488041433

Also by this author: Undercover Heat

Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense

on 3rd September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

NOTE: As your reading this story, you can tell the characters would have preferred this not to be a slow burning romance – as they knew how they felt about each other quite early-on, however, it didn’t fit within the constructs of the story given the circumstances. This romance has even more ‘heat’ inside it than ‘Undercover Heat’ and definitely has more heat in it than most of the romances I regularly read by Harlequin because this series and imprint is different than the others I read – especially for content inclusions. Thereby if you’re new to this imprint just know this is writ more like a traditional Contemporary or Historical Romance.

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The Coltons of Roaring Springs series:

Colton Cowboy Standoff by Marie Ferrarella (book one)

Colton Under Fire by Cindy Dees (book two)

Colton’s Convenient Bride by Jennifer Morey (book three)

Colton’s Secret Bodyguard by Jane Godman (book four)

A Colton Target by Beverly Long (book five)

Colton’s Covert Baby by Lara Lacombe (book six) 

Colton’s Mistaken Identity by Geri Krotow (book seven) 

The Colton Sheriff by Addison Fox (book eight)

Colton on the Run by Anna J. Stewart (book nine)

👇 *there are more titles in this series!* 👇

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comView the full sequence of the series via Fantastic Fiction!

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Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense

as well as the series tag: #ColtonsOfRoaringSprings

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Posted Friday, 23 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Undercover Heat” (Colton 911: Chicago series, Book Three) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 16 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 – as this conversation we shared was in late 2020 – I realised there was a whole series of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021. She mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is that Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading 3x of her Romantic Suspense releases.

This is one of two reviews which features the Coltons – a very large series of novels spilt over different mini-series and settings throughout the Romantic Suspense line of novels by Harlequin Books. The two stories I am reading are rooted inside the Colton 911: Chicago series and The Coltons of Roaring Springs – both of which were discussed today (27 March, 2021) during #SatBookChat to celebrate the March 2021 release for “Undercover Heat” which is the third novel in the Colton 911: Chicago series.

I received a complimentary copy of “Undercover Heat” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

a notation about reading Harlequin Romantic suspense novels:

My first foray into reading the Romantic Suspense line of stories by Harlequin was through their Love Inspired Suspense imprint! However, as those are faith-based stories rooted in the cosier side of suspenseful storylines – I hadn’t had the chance to cross-over into reading their mainstream Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels until Ms Stewart brought these lovelies to my attention!

Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. StewartGuarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. Stewart

I started by requesting her Honour Bound series (see the full list via Fantastic Fiction!) via interlibrary loan wherein I was able to read the first novel More than a Lawman and most of the second Reunited with the P.I. – both of which are deftly told and eclipse the pulse of what you expect out of a Romantic Contemporary Suspense novel! I was on pins reading those passages and in many instances could not turn the pages quick enough to know how things resolved! Quite a chilling read all the way round – whilst happily I noted that even if I hadn’t had the chance to read all the stories in the series, Stewart gave you the impression you already knew the details! 

She’s written two Colton novels for the Romantic Suspense imprint at Harlequin and happily she was able to send me both novels for review consideration! And, these are the stories I read after the Honour Bound series! I had to withhold my review for the latest Honour Bound series release “Guarding His Midnight Witness” as I hadn’t had the chance to finish reading it as I was still hoping my library could have fetched a copy of Gone in the Night. Thereby I shifted gears and read about the Coltons and will be revisiting the Honour Bound series next whilst reading Butterfly Harbour!

Colton on the Run by Anna J. StewartUndercover Heat by Anna J. Stewart

The first novel she wrote for this imprint was “Colton on the Run” which is part of the Colton’s of Roaring Springs series whilst “Undercover Heat” is part of the Colton 911: Chicago series! Both of these lovelies are actually two of many mini-series which are inclusive of the Colton ‘series’ if you will as it is quite an expansive set of stories featuring the same family of characters and/or different relatives and relations therein from what I’ve gathered reading about the larger scope of the ‘series’ online.

I decided to read and review “Undercover Heat” first – as I admit, it was an easier story for me to soak inside as it involves cooking whilst set at a highly popular restaurant with a lot of drama percolating in the background with a potential underworld plot! The other novel “Colton on the Run” is dearly intense the moment you pick it up and doesn’t let you breathe until you know the conclusion of it – which is why I focused on this one first! I loved the respite it gave me from my new work life as much as it was a sweet transition back into reading as I’ve been struggling to read Historical Fiction lately and finding Contemporary stories are a bit easier for me to digest!

Thus I’m reading copious amounts of Harlequin stories of late – from these Rom Suspense novels to the Harlequin Heartwarming series and authors I have been championing a passion for since 2016!! I find these authors are giving me the kind of story I can sink my teeth into whilst allowing me to take a hiatus from my new schedule of working as well. It is always hard to shift gears in life and I’ve found that fatigue of my new job and the angst of Spring’s allergy season thrust upon me two months earlier this year than normal has caused an issue in my readerly life!! Thereby I am wicked happy Ms Stewart sent me her stories as I’ll be reading, reviewing and featuring them throughout the last months of Spring (ie. April-May!).

The key difference between the Romantic Suspense imprint and the Love Inspired Suspense imprint is that you know going into a LI:S story being faith-based their going to keep the romance and the crime bits on the cosy comfortable side of the ledger. Similar in tone and strength as you would expect out of a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series. Whilst with the Contemporary mainstream Romantic Suspense line you have to brace yourself because you get more of what you’d expect out of a regular hard-boiled crime drama and is more akin to say “NCIS” or “Crossing Jordan”. (which of course were two of my favourites when I regularly watched them!)

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#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Undercover Heat” (Colton 911: Chicago series, Book Three) by Anna J. StewartUndercover Heat
Subtitle: Colton 911: Chicago
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Direct from Author

When her life is upended, a detective goes undercover to save it…

After tragedy strikes, chef Tatum Colton buries herself in her job. Detective Cruz Medina soon rocks her world once again, claiming criminals are using her restaurant as a front for nefarious activities. Cruz needs Tatum’s help to go undercover as her sous-chef, putting them both in the line of fire. But when things get hot in and out of the kitchen, can Cruz protect Tatum and their growing bond?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
three-half-flames

ISBN: 978-1335628855

Also by this author: Colton on the Run

Setting: Chicago


Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense

on 9th March, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

NOTE: I felt this was a wonderfully written romance – in fact, it was one of those slow burning romances you instantly want to see happen for both lead characters because of how emotionally attached you’ve become to them during the course of the story. However, it is also a very ‘heated’ romance in regards to how the romance is explored and definitely has more heat in it than most of the romances I regularly read by Harlequin because this series and imprint is different than the others I read – especially for content inclusions. Thereby if you’re new to this imprint just know this is writ more like a traditional Contemporary or Historical Romance. I nearly gave it 4 flames but we spent so much time with the characters outside of their own pursuit of a relationship, I felt 3.5 was more aptly accurate!!

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The Colton 911:  Chicago series:

The Secret Network by Marie Ferrarella (book one)

Unlikely Alibi by Lisa Childs (book two)

Undercover Heat by Anna J. Stewart (book three)

Soldier’s Return by Karen Whiddon (book four) *April 2021

Hidden Target by Colleen Thompson (book five) *May 2021

Guardian in the Storm by Carla Cassidy (book six) *June 2021

Secret Defender by Marie Ferrarella (book seven) *July 2021

Temptation Undercover by Jennifer Morey (book eight) *August 2021

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comView the full sequence of the series via Fantastic Fiction!

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Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense

as well as the series tag: #Colton911Chicago

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Posted Friday, 16 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Chefs and Sous Chefs, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

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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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