Category: Cosy Mystery

Blog Book Tour | “The Spoils of Avalon” by Mary F. Burns a #cosy historical mystery which enraptures your head within a cleverly crafted suspense full-on of action & dialogue of centuries past!

Posted Monday, 17 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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The Spoils of Avalon by Mary F. Burns

{ Book 1: A John Singer Sargent | Violet Paget Mystery }

Published By: Sand Hill Review Press (@SandHillRP)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, & Ebook

Converse via: #TheSpoilsOfAvalon, #JohnSingerSargent & #SpoilsOfAvalonBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Spoils of Avalon” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher Sand Hill Review Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

A most auspiciously clever beginning:

I was most delightfully blissful to see where the reference to Holmes and Watson might have sparked a nodding glance by Ms. Spann, but before I could even dig deeper into the context of the novel itself, I was first greeted by such a curious note out of the pen of Ms. Paget herself — who auspiciously cast the most alluring footbridge into her introductory mystery! I always fancy writers who find a way to insert their lead character into the early bits of a novel’s opening sequence, wherein one of my favourite choices is the note ‘left for future readers’ and writ especially for the curious as to why this particular tale might be told and the merits behind it’s reading; alas, the reason I appreciate this most?! It allows a bit of an anchor between the writer, the chosen narrator of the story, and the reader who wants to take up the journey and see where everything of which is yet to unfold shall lead them to travel; as if vagabond to the action themselves!

The poem by William Blake highlighting a moment out of the life of Jesus was a special touch, as I had not had the pleasure of reading this poem previously and it knits together the setting of placing the story around Avalon most directly. I also appreciated the biographies of the two lead detectives: Sargent & Paget, as what originally appealed to me to read this particular cosy historical mystery is the fact the two lead characters are rooted within the historical past! Two individuals I am earnestly curious about learning more about and yet, never once in my pursuits of the fine arts did I see Sargent’s name mentioned; such a pity as I am drawn to watercolour painting techniques, as it works around my allergies to the more stringent oils.

A new foray of choice within the coattails of cosies are the ‘historicals’ which draw out such a breath of interest inside me heart that I am not even sure I will be able to read and appreciate all the lovelies I am seeking to read next! There is such a hearty breadth of choice these days for the historical reader who likes dig their chops into the art and skill behind sleuthing and murder mysteries! It has become a most delightful part of my blogging life to unearth such lovelies on blog tours therein having the honour of drawing a happy glow around the Indie Writers and the Indie Pubs who are producing such a wicked quality to the craft! It is my long-term goal to re-visit the authors I have previously reviewed, to see if their second or next novel in sequence have become released and thereby, potentially able to become acquired! I appreciate each cosy historical writer I am discovering for being uniquely different from each other and for capturing my passionate love of time travelling through the historical past!

Blog Book Tour | “The Spoils of Avalon” by Mary F. Burns a #cosy historical mystery which enraptures your head within a cleverly crafted suspense full-on of action & dialogue of centuries past!The Spoils of Avalon
by Mary F. Burns
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The death of a humble clergyman in 1877 leads amateur sleuths Violet Paget and John Singer Sargent into a medieval world of saints and kings—including the legendary Arthur—as they follow a trail of relics and antiquities lost since the destruction of Glastonbury Abbey in 1539. Written in alternating chapters between the two time periods, The Spoils of Avalon creates a sparkling, magical mystery that bridges the gap between two worlds that could hardly be more different—the industrialized, Darwinian, materialistic Victorian Age and the agricultural, faith-infused life of a medieval abbey on the brink of violent change at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell.

First in a new series of historical mysteries, The Spoils of Avalon introduces two unlikely detectives and life-long friends—beginning as young people on the verge of making their names famous for the next several decades throughout Europe and America: the brilliant and brittle Violet Paget, known as the writer Vernon Lee, and the talented, genial portrait painter John Singer Sargent.

Friends from the age of ten, Paget and Sargent frequently met in the popular European watering places and capitals, frequenting the same salons and drawing rooms in London, Rome, Paris, Florence, Venice, Vienna and Madrid. Both were possessed of keen minds and bohemian tendencies, unorthodox educations and outsized egos (especially Paget). Their instant, natural bonding led them to address each other as “Twin”, and they corresponded frequently when they were apart.

Henry James once described Violet Paget as having “the most formidable mind” of their times, and he was an active fan and patron of John Sargent, introducing him to London society and his own inner circles of literary and artistic genius.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Mary F. Burns (Spoils of Avalon Interview)

Series: John Singer Sargent | Violet Paget mysteries,


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery


Published by Sand Hill Review Press

on 1st November, 2014

Pages: 300

About Mary F. Burns

Mary F. Burns

Mary F. Burns is the author of PORTRAITS OF AN ARTIST (Sand Hill Review Press, February 2013), a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and a former member of the HNS Conference board of directors. A novella-length book, ISAAC AND ISHMAEL, is also being published by Sand Hill Review Press in 2014. Ms. Burns’ debut historical novel J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE was published in July 2010 by O-Books (John Hunt Publishers, UK). She has also written two cozy-village mysteries in a series titled The West Portal Mysteries (The Lucky Dog Lottery and The Tarot Card Murders).

Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English, along with a high school teaching certificate. She relocated to San Francisco in 1976 where she now lives with her husband Stuart in the West Portal neighborhood. Ms. Burns has a law degree from Golden Gate University, has been president of her neighborhood association and is active in citywide issues. During most of her working career she was employed as a director of employee communications, public relations and issues management at various San Francisco Bay Area corporations, was an editor and manager of the Books on Tape department for Ignatius Press, and has managed her own communications/PR consulting business, producing written communications, websites and video productions for numerous corporate and non-profit clients.

A timeslip between the 19th & 16th Centuries: 

Each new journal entry gives you a further perspective of the events unfolding per each timescape we are entering; therefore where one chapter relates to us where Sargent & Paget are finding themselves a bit bemused by unexpected developments at the start of their journey towards understanding a riddle within the note which carried them to Uncle Chaffee’s village, we are also returning back to the Abbey in due course. It is a good pace to set the timeslip, because just before you gain too much information in one particular time dimension, you’re embarking backwards or forwards as the case might be to the other one! The unknown suspense needling out around the edges of both interludes is pleasantly suspended as if a spider is still knitting their web. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 17 November, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, 19th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Art, Arthurian Legend, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Britian, British Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Historical Mystery, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, John Singer Sargent, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Victorian era, Violet Paget, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials” by Ovidia Yu a #cosy #mystery set in Singapore with a feisty amateur sleuth at the helm!

Posted Friday, 24 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

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Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Official Authors Websites: Site| @OvidiaVanda | Facebook

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #OvidiaYu

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Aunt Lee’s Deadly Specials” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Setting into the environment of Aunty Lee’s Delights: Meet Aunty Lee!

( on my readings of the first novel )

Oh! it is the name of a cafe! The title is reminiscent of a delectable foodie haunt where traditional Peranakan cuisine was served as regular as hearty conversative gossip! The manner of how Yu writes her novel has a curious in-step where the pace and delivery reminded me of the long ago letters from my Singaporean friends. The delivery of the scenes was quite unique and brought me back to the beautiful conversations I had with my friends, shared through paper and pen! Every language has it’s own style, and thereby each writer has a distinction of voice that is individualistically unique. With this novel, it is twofold – I could see a reflection of my friends’ voices through the writing style of Yu!

I champion the inclusion of local customs, words and phrases whenever a story is set in a place outside a readily known locale. It brings the setting to the level of feeling local and intimately familiar; as if we were not visiting the locale for the first time. Yu does this in such a natural way, it befits not only her characters but the overall texture of her novels!

Aunty Lee is a flamboyant woman who adores her experimentation of cooking whilst cooking and creating traditional foods with a dedicated quality of ingredients. She has a comfortability of being in harmony with herself as much as with her living environment and city. She asserts herself in situations and circumstances where she feels she has the most to give as much as what she can gain through the experience of being involved as well. Her attention to tasks at hand are slightly off-kilter to her sensational interest in current events which parlay into murder; this concentrated effort on her behalf means far more to her than the placement of her knife in relation to her fingers and the vegetables she is chopping on the board! Thankfully, Aunty Lee had the wisdom to hire Nina, a ‘jack of all trades’ as she is part maid, part assistant in arms, and part sous chef; all knowledge of trade are in combination with the medical arts, thereby circumventing any horrific disaster that could befall Aunty Lee!

Aunty Lee is a bit excluded from her family, partially out of death (of her late husband, being his second wife) and have by the status of her inheritance of his wealth which did not pass down to his son and daughter. Of the two, the wife of his son found this most insulting of all, although the son found nothing wrong with the arrangement on principle. Aunty Lee has the charming grace to face facts whilst embracing life as it arrives. The most delish moment of her day is the prospect of a murder washing ashore and walking into her life; as what could be more alluring than a mystery of an unexplained death?

Blog Book Tour | “Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials” by Ovidia Yu a #cosy #mystery set in Singapore with a feisty amateur sleuth at the helm!Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials
by Ovidia Yu
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow and amateur sleuth and proprietor of Singapore’s best-loved home-cooking restaurant, is back in another delectable, witty mystery involving scandal and murder among the city’s elite.

Few know more about what goes on in Singapore than Aunty Lee. When a scandal over illegal organ donation makes news, she already has a list of suspects. There’s no time to snoop, though—Aunty Lee’s Delights is catering a brunch for local socialites Henry and Mabel Sung. Rumor has it that the Sungs’ fortune is in trouble, and Aunty Lee wonders if the gossip is true. But soon after arriving at the Sungs’, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Why is the guesthouse in the garden locked up—and what’s inside? Where is the missing guest of honor? Then Mabel Sung and her son, Leonard, are found dead. The authorities blame it on Aunty Lee’s special stewed chicken with buah keluak, a local black nut that can be poisonous if cooked improperly. She’s certain the deaths are murder—and that they’re somehow linked to the organ donor scandal. To save her business and her reputation, she’s got to prove it—and unmask a dangerous killer.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: Singaporean mysteries,


Genres: Cosy Mystery, Foodie Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on 30th September, 2014

Format: P.S. Edition Paperback

Pages: 384

Author Biography:

Ovidia Yu

Ovidia Yu is one of Singapore’s best-known and most acclaimed writers. She has had more than thirty plays produced and is also the author of a number of mysteries. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Iowa’s International Writers Program and has been a writing fellow at the National University of Singapore.

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Posted Friday, 24 October, 2014 by jorielov in Amateur Detective, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Chefs and Sous Chefs, Child out of Wedlock, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Cosy Mystery, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Disillusionment in Marriage, Equality In Literature, Family Life, Fly in the Ointment, Foodie Fiction, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Lady Detective Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Mental Health, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Singapore, TLC Book Tours, Vulgarity in Literature, Widows & Widowers, World Religions, Writing Style & Voice

#OTBHorrorOctober | Schedule of Events & Bookish Delights of a Cosy Horror Girl! {1st Year Participant}

Posted Saturday, 18 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Horror October 2014

Calendar of Events on Oh! the Books Host Site

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

{ Reading Selections for Horror October 2014 }

 Focus One: Psychological Suspense | Thriller:

(note: all book synopsis links re-direct to Riffle>

  1. A Stitch in Time by Amanda James <synopsis> (moving to 1st November for SFN)
  2. The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber <synopsis>
  3. Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber <synopsis> (moved to November)
  4. A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber <synopsis> (moved to November)
  5. The Rose in the Wheel by S.K. Rizzolo <synopsis> (moved to #IndieWriterMonth)
  6. Somewhere Beyond the Sea by Amanda James <synopsis(moved to #IndieWriterMonth)
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronté <synopsis> (on hold)
  8. Up Close by Henriette Gyland <synopsis> (moved to #IndieWriterMonth)
  9. Blood for Blood by S.K. Rizzolo <synopsis(moved to #IndieWriterMonth)
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté (Part II of my journalling) <synopsis> (on hold)
  11. The Ripper’s Wife by Brandy Purdy <synopsis>
  12. Category 5 by Paul Mark Tag (synopsis) (previously read(moved to #IndieWriterMonth)
  13. Prophecy by Paul Mark Tag <synopsis>(moved to #IndieWriterMonth)
  14. White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy by Paul Mark Tag <synopsis>(moved to #IndieWriterMonth)

Focus Two: Cosy Horror | Cosy Horror Suspense (including ghosts):

  1. Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman <synopsis>
  2. An Uninvited Ghost by E.J. Copperman <synopsis>
  3. Old Haunts by E.J. Copperman <synopsis>
  4. Sinking Down by E. Chris Garrison <synopsis> (moved to SFN)
  5. The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull <synopsis> (moved to #IndieWriterMonth)
  6. Dance Until Dawn by Berni Stevens <synopsis> (moved to SFN)
  7. Dracula by Bram Stroker <synopsis> (moved to SFN)
  8. The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James <synopsis> (moving to November)
  9. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill <synopsis> (re-scheduled for 2015)
  10. Ghost Stories by Edith Wharton <synopsis>
  11. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson <synopsis> (re-scheduled for 2015)
  12. The Door through Washington Square by Elaine Bergstrom <synopsis(re-scheduled for 2015)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The following is the tentative schedule for my 1st Participation in Horror October. Most of the schedule should remain as it is seen, however, there could be spontaneous changes to the line-up &/or I might include a few extras as I go through the fortnight!

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Horror October Bingo
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Posted Saturday, 18 October, 2014 by jorielov in #HorrorOctober, Anthology Collection of Stories, Blog Hop, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Blogs I Regularly Read, Book Blogosphere Regular Haunts, Classic Horror, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Horror, Horror October Bingo, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Library Find, Light vs Dark, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Psychological Suspense, Reading Challenges, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense

Feature Post: Jorie | the Cosy Horror Girl via #OTBHorrorOctober

Posted Saturday, 18 October, 2014 by jorielov 0 Comments

Horror October 2014

I am quite certain when most of my readers caught sight of the fact I am participating in an event entitled Horror October they did more than a ‘second look’ to see if they had read that statement correctly! I know my personal friends who regularly read this blog might not be as gobsmacked as my dear readers – as they have known me far longer & already know I’m quite a bit quirky! The truth is that I did not realise how much I am in love with aspects of Horror which place me firmly on the fringes of the genre!

The lightbulb moment for me happened quite innocently as I started to read a heap about what everyone had either created for the event last year (where I must admit was disappointed I hadn’t had a blog live to the world in order to participate!) OR were making plans to create for the fortnight this year! One of the ideas was to talk about all the lovely Horror motion pictures &/or tv serials that we fancied. Now. I took stock of that idea, allowed it to percolate inside me head, and realised that if I were to come up with a Top 5 Most Beloved Horror Film list I’d be plumb happy!

I mean, how could it be possible that I could name more than *5!* films for this genre!? I apparently was quite a bit foolishly re missive of realising that Horror by definition grew out of a most decidedly guilty pleasure of mine: Psychological Suspense! Imagine my growing dismay and quick delight (uniquely enough my shock turnt to pride!) in finding that my quick googling of motion pictures (my main focus was on ‘classic’ films) returnt such an alarmingly LONG! query of choices that I decided that I need to scribble in a day where I can blog about quite a heap more than 13 but not quite 40 personal favourites spread between the days of Golden Hollywood & modern cinema! From the silver screen to the small screen, I found a startling array of options for the Cosy Horror Girl I never knew I was!

Let me empathsis that the ONE simple truth in my family was that we were NEVER into Horror; no matter which way to Sunday you asked this of us, we’d always lament the same: sorry, no, not a chance really, horror just isn’t something that floats our boat!

At the very same time, there are elements of the genre knitted within my everyday life & world, from wicked collections I gather as an appreciator of art & artistry of design inasmuch as the fact one of the best parts of being a book blogger for Seventh Star Press (via Tomorrow Comes Media) is the ability to get to know several Indie authors of Horror; most of whom I noted I had things we shared in common, even if at the end of the day, most of their releases I would faint before I could read!

I still remember having to explain why I sent a friend a Halloween card last October *why!* I celebrate Halloween ~ as if being exclusively (previously true) non-Horror meant I would not celebrate one of the most delightfully wicked times of the year! Lest, I even mention the fact I have been a long-term appreciator of the Day of the Dead & everything related to Old Hallow’s Eve since I was quite young! (no trunk or treat for me!)

Let me break-down what I *love!* vs what I do not: Read More

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Posted Saturday, 18 October, 2014 by jorielov in #HorrorOctober, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Discussions, Cemeteries & Graveyards, Classic Horror, Classical Literature, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Cosy Mystery, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Haunting & Ethereal, Horror, Horror-Lite, Indie Book Trade, Library Find, Library Love, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Psychological Suspense, Reading Challenges, Southern Gothic, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance