Tag Archives: cozy mystery fiction

Book Review + Interview — Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

1 Jul

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead she discovers a corpse in the garden — and a knack for solving murders . . .

Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom — just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge — attached to a woman’s dead body.

The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life.

My Impressions:

I am a big fan of Heather Day Gilbert’s mysteries. Her Murder in The Mountains series is one of my all-time favorites in the genre. Her newest endeavor is sure to become another fan favorite. Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass, book 1 in the Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery series, introduces the reader to a wonderful character who manages to insert herself into all the murderous goings-on around her. Belinda is a fun character, independent, with a unique style, who has chosen unconventional pathways to a career. She freelances reviews of video games while being the go-to caretaker for very unusual pets. In this first novel, she is pet-sitting a python — clearly not a cuddly creature — which takes some stamina and grit to attend to. Belinda’s earnest and sometimes naive view on the world is endearing. I loved Belinda’s first person insights of the wealthy of Greenwich, Connecticut. She is mostly spot on in her estimation of the other characters. But, she can be fooled! The mystery takes off from the start as Belinda finds a body in her flower bed and continues as she joins the heir of the manor in finding out whodunit. When Belinda finds herself all on her own, the reader discovers the depths of her intuition and ingenuity. I didn’t quite have the mystery solved; Gilbert managed to surprise me with several twists and turns. I loved that! The mystery is resolved in the first book, but there is much more to come for Belinda, including a possible love interest or two. I am looking forward to joining Belinda on more adventures.

If you are looking for a great cozy mystery, get in on the ground floor of the Belinda Blake series. A fun puzzler, Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass gets a recommended rating from me.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

I am excited to welcome Heather Day Gilbert to By The Book today. I am a big favorite of her mysteries and Viking sagas. Yes, Vikings! Thanks so much, Heather for visiting with us.

I read in your dedication of Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass that your father first came up with the stories featuring Belinda and Katrina when you were a child. How did you expand on those to get to the current all grown up Belinda? 

I’m so glad you read that dedication — it was a very special one to me, because my dad had a widow maker heart attack last April that was out of nowhere. Thankfully, they were able to get four stents in and he’s doing well now, but it made me think about how grateful I was for those stories he made up for my two brothers and me on long car trips! Belinda and Katrina and their dog, Blitz, got into many childish adventures in Dad’s stories, and I wanted to use those characters and their sense of adventure for this series. Belinda and Katrina sort of came to life in front of me—their haircolor, their personalities (which are sort of opposite), and more.

Snakes send shivers up my spine. Do you have personal experience with slithery reptiles or did you have to do research for the snake, Rasputin, featured in the book? 

I’m not a snake person, either, but I did get much more comfy with the idea of touching one as I watched YouTube videos of ball python owners. Ball pythons are actually shorter than boas, and they come in many different colors. The ball python Belinda’s pet-sitting is black and gold (you can see pictures and even a link to one of the YouTube ball python videos I watched on my Pinterest board here). And this particular python, Rasputin, really did grow on me as I wrote the book — as it grew on Belinda.

Cozy mysteries involve quirky characters, a bit of fun, and often murder. How difficult is it to balance all the elements in that genre? 

I kind of think of myself as an author who likes to delve into characters and make them 3D, so the quirky character part kind of comes naturally. We ALL have some kinds of quirks, no matter how normal we appear at first blush. The humor has to come from my amateur sleuths themselves, and luckily, Belinda has a cute mix of naiveté and wry humor that comes out in what she thinks and says. She’s also more of an optimist than her sister, Katrina (who’s a psychologist and has seen the darker sides of human nature). 

And murder…well, I do love plotting a good murder and landing on the villain I don’t think readers will guess. I think growing up reading Agatha Christie helped me merge those three elements—if you read her books, sometimes they’ll have you laughing out loud, while sometimes, you’re on the edge of your seat because the creep factor is high!

What awaits Belinda in upcoming books in the series?

Ooh, I’m so glad you asked! I already have the preorder/cover up for Book 2, Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, and that one was even MORE of a blast to write, because I love wolves and it’s set at a wolf preserve. 😉 Book 3 is titled Belinda Blake and the Birds of a Feather, and it’ll feature homing pigeons, so that also required quite a bit of research. And Belinda will run into some interesting murderers in both books. 

Find out more about Heather Day Gilbert:

 

Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

Reading Road Trip — Gulf Coast Ramblings

26 Jun

For a while my summer vacations were confined to the Gulf Coast. In college we went to a beach house in Orange Beach, Alabama. Then when I first married we moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida. Our children grew up going to Destin, Gulf Shores, and Perdido Key. We have expanded our vacation horizons in the past few years, but the Gulf Coast still offers fond memories. I thought it would be fun to feature some books set along the almost 1700 miles that the coast line spans. While some of the towns included are not technically on the coast (New Orleans, for example), they are a huge part of the flavor of the area. I have included a number of genres — cozy mystery, historical romance, women’s fiction, and contemporary romance — so you are bound to find one you will love. So even if your summer plans only include a visit to your backyard, here are some choices for a virtual Gulf Coast Ramble.

 

Galveston, Texas

A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson

Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family — especially her father — has other ideas. They’ve all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand–directly across the street from the Rossis’ popular pizza place–and they want Cassia’s full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston’s premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family’s faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella’s good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .

New Orleans, Louisiana

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen

In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir sees Phillip Sharp as a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known. A young lawyer herself, raised in a small town and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama’s rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith. His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret.

In this lawyer’s unraveling world, can grace survive Ama’s fatal choice? What would you do when prayers seem to go unanswered, faith has slipped away, evil stalks, and you feel yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?

Vancleve, Mississippi

Fair Game by Elizabeth White

“Nothing worth having is easy to get . . .

Ana Cutrere’s homecoming to Vancleave, Mississippi, is anything but dull. Before she’s even reached town, the beautiful young widow has a run-in with a stray cow, loses her son in the woods, rescues an injured fawn, and comes face-to-face with Grant Gonzales, her high school crush. Grant recently returned to town himself amid hushed controversy. His only plan: leave the corporate world behind and open a hunting reserve. Seeing Jana again ignites old memories . . . and a painful past.Tensions boil over when he learns exactly why she returned. Jana plans to convince her grandfather to develop a wildlife rescue center — dead center on the prime hunting property he promised to sell to Grant! Jana is determined to make a new start for herself and her two children — and willing to fight for it. With deadlines drawing near for the sale of the property and no decision from her grandfather, can Jana trust God with her and Grant’s future, or will explosive emotions and diametrically opposing views tear them apart?

Mobile, Alabama

The Creole Princess by Beth White

All along the eastern seaboard, the American struggle for independence rages. In the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is quieter — though no less deadly. The lovely Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British commander. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their paths cross and their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie — and somehow keep Lyse’s family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown.

With spectacular detail that brings the Colonial South alive, Beth White invites readers into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known side of the American Revolutionary War. Her richly textured settings and characters delight while fast pacing and closely held secrets will keep readers turning the pages.

The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

Fiona Lanier is the only woman in the tiny Gulf Coast settlement of Navy Cove. While her shipbuilding family races to fill the demand for American ships brought by the War of 1812, Fiona tries to rescue her brother who was forced into service by the British Navy.

Lieutenant Charlie Kincaid has been undercover for six months, obtaining information vital to the planned British invasion of New Orleans. When a summer storm south of Mobile Bay wrecks his ship and scatters the crew, Charlie suffers a head injury, ultimately collapsing in the arms of a beautiful mermaid who seems eerily familiar. As Charlie’s memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political loyalties begin to collide, they’ll each have to decide where their true heart lies.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

What The Cat Dragged In by Gilbert Morris

Introducing…

Jacques the Ripper: A tough–minded “Savannah” breed of feline–fierce, enormous, and with a mind of his own.

And…

Cleo: A multi–colored “Rag Doll” with long silky hair. Cleo is as affectionate as Jacques is tough and her favorite mode of transportation is draped over the shoulder of the nearest human.

In their debut mystery, Jacques and Cleo and their owner…or rather the human they own, Kate Forrest, and her son, Jeremy, move to a beautiful beach house in Gulf Shores, Alabama, left to Kate by a distant relative.

The catch is that another distant relative, wanna–be novelist (and bonafide cat–hater) Jake Novak, has also inherited an interest in the house. Undeterred, Kate and Jeremy move in the downstairs quarters and Jake takes the separate apartment upstairs.

Then, when a murder occurs . . . everyone is stumped — but feline sleuths Jacques and Cleo come to the rescue and reveal the identity of the killer.

 

Destin, Florida (and nearby environs)

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth Vogt

Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

If Kathleen could relive any moment, it would be the one in 1969. Not because of its sweet memories, but because it changed her life forever.

Watercolor Summer by Nan Corbitt Allen

Just thirteen, Kathleen felt isolated and alienated by her family. A victim of her parents’ lack of connection to each other and to her, she was dragged by her mother to another artist colony for the summer. There she met the annoying Malcolm, a sixteen-year-old, mentally-challenged boy living with his caregiver.

In Watercolor Summer, Nan Allen tells the story of the difficult summer when Kathleen learned how Malcolm and his colorful guardian were the examples of true and selfless love. She paints a story on the canvas of Kathleen’s life which was transformed by the Master Artist–a life once stained by pain and trial, that became a thing of beauty.

Cedar Key, Florida

Waiting for Sunrise by Eva Marie Everson

Life sometimes gets the best of us. For some it’s the daily pressures, for others it’s the shadows of the past. For Patsy Milstrap, it’s both. When she travels to beautiful Cedar Key on Florida’s Gulf Coast in search of healing, she never dreams her past will be waiting for her there.

With a large helping of Southern charm, Waiting for Sunrise is a touching story of family, young love, and the need for forgiveness. Author Eva Marie Everson expertly draws out the bittersweet moments of life, weaving them into a tale that envelops the soul.

 

Tarpon Springs, Florida

The Lady of Tarpon Springs by Judith Miller

Much to the dismay of her Greek family, Zanna Krykos makes a living as a lawyer in Tarpon Springs, Florida. When her friend Lucy needs legal advice about the business she inherited upon her father’s passing, she ends up asking Zanna to run the business instead so she can focus on her medical career.

Nico Kalos is a Greek diver who has worked on sponging boats in the Aegean Sea since the age of 14, giving him a vast knowledge of the trade. When he hears of an opportunity to lead a group of spongers to the United States, he seizes it. But his excitement is quickly quelled when he arrives only to discover that a young woman with no experience in the business will be in charge of the new crews.

But as Zanna and Nico face even more complications than they could have imagined, they must learn to work together or risk everything they’ve worked so hard for.

Happy Book Birthday! — Belinda Blake And The Snake In The Grass

25 Jun

Happy book birthday to Heather Day Gilbert! The first book in her cozy mystery series, Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass, releases today. I love Heather’s mysteries (I actually love all her books 😉 ) and am excited to get in on the beginning of the Exotic Pet-Sitter Mystery series. It is now available in both paperback and ebook. If you like cozies, you need to check it out!

 

When exotic pet-sitter Belinda Blake moves into a carriage house in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, she’s hoping to find some new clients. Instead she discovers a corpse in the garden — and a knack for solving murders . . .  
 
Pet-sitter Belinda Blake doesn’t rattle easily, but move-in day has been eventful, to say the least. The python in her care tried to slither to freedom — just as she met Stone Carrington V, her landlords’ disarmingly handsome son. With the constrictor back in its cage, she heads out to the garden, only to discover a designer shoe poking out of the boxwood hedge — attached to a woman’s dead body.
 
The victim, Margo Fenton, was a Carrington family friend, and no one in their circle seems above suspicion. Between client trips to Manhattan and visits to her family in upstate New York, Belinda begins to put the pieces together. But though she’s falling for Stone’s numerous charms, Belinda wonders if she’s cozying up to a killer. And soon, daily contact with a deadly reptile might be the least dangerous part of her life. 

Heather Day Gilbert, an ECPA Christy award finalist and Grace award winner, writes contemporary mysteries and Viking historicals. Her novels feature small towns, family relationships, and women who aren’t afraid to protect those they love. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters Like Me, Because It Really Is All About The Books

7 May

I found this week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt — Characters That Remind Me of Myself — a bit daunting. I lead such a boring life, that it would never make it as a book. 😉 I really struggled to come up with the requisite 10 to fill this post, until I started thinking about what consumes a lot of my thoughts — books! I read them, talk about them, blog about them, sniff them . . . . Anyway, I came up with a list of characters that are surrounded by books too. I really wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them because of their issues, and the fact that some regularly stumble on dead bodies or engage in nefarious activities! And while my husband may say our home is starting to look a lot like a bookstore or library, I do not work at either. But I am a book pusher  enthusiast who makes sure everyone has the opportunity to get their hands on the story that is just right for them. Whether you like cozy mysteries, suspense, romance, women’s fiction, or time-slip novels, I hope you find a book you just need to read!

For more fun with doppleganger characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

A Dozen Book Pushing Characters

(aka booksellers or librarians)

Bruce Cable — Camino Island by John Grisham

Violet and Daisy Waverly —Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Annie Laurance Darling — Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart

Callie Randall — Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

Helma Zukas — Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

Madeline, Janet, and Carrie — The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Rick Denton — Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

A. J. Fickry — The Storied Life of A. J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin

Claire Malloy — Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

 

Which character is like you?

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Hooks

2 Apr

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about what makes you pick up a book. Is it the cover, a recommendation from a friend, a must-read author? Several things make me pick up (and almost always buy 🙂 ) a book. It’s no secret that a striking cover will catch the eye, but I also love clever titles that use fun fonts. And I will buy just about any book from favorite authors. Then there is book buzz — the books that seem to be on everyone’s lips and blogs. Many of the books on my list check several or all of the boxes. What about you? What makes you interested in a book?

For what captures the attention of other bloggers, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Book Hooks And The Books That Go With Them

 

Book Buzz — everybody’s talking ’bout me

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

 

Catchy Title — words matter 

Belinda Blake and A Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

 

Cover Love — sometimes you can judge a book by its cover

Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah Ladd

 

Favorite Author — I must read their books

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

What makes you pick up a book?

The Sleuth’s Dilemma Blog Blitz! (+Giveaway!)

26 Mar

The Sleuth's Dilemma blog blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz and Giveaway for The Sleuth’s Dilemma by Kimberly Rose Johnson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

the sleuth's dilemmaTitle: The Sleuth’s Dilemma
Series: The Librarian Sleuth #2
Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: February 1, 2019

Anna loves her job as a high school English teacher until everything goes sideways. The one bright spot in her life is Titus Gains, the school counselor, who is there for her at every turn.

Titus’ boss complicates his ordered world when she tasks him with running a meeting that changes everything. How had he not noticed Anna earlier? Someone is out to destroy her, and he can’t let that happen.

As the head of the English department, part of Luke Harms’ job is to make sure everything runs smoothly. Things went haywire when Anna was put in charge of the big writing contest. Entries are missing, Anna appears to be in danger, and her job is on the line. Luke is investigating and wants to make things right for this woman he’s starting to care about.

Can a trio of school officials along with Nancy Daley, the town sleuth, stop the saboteur before it’s too late? And will Anna choose the right man, or lose them both?

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kimberly Rose Johnson

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance and romantic mystery that warms the heart and feeds the soul.

Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/

CONNECT WITH KIMBERLY: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub


the sleuth's dilemma giveaway

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will win:

  • $15 Amazon gift card

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 26, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm April 2, 2019. Open internationally as long as winner can accept gift card from US Amazon. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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Book Review: The Secret of Willow Inn

7 Mar

Two women fighting for their dreams — one who’s long lost hers — are united by tragedy and a long-held secret.

Pregnant with her first child, Emily Hayes is eager to help her mother finish transforming an estate into the Willow Inn and write a novel about Willow Falls’ colorful history. A tragic event threatens her parents’ plans to refurbish an abandoned hotel and transform the obscure Georgia setting into a tourist destination.

Sadie Lyles left Willow Falls a murderer who’d killed the town hero. She returns as a despised felon and seeks solace in the town’s café. Emily struggles to unite the close-knit community and becomes Sadie’s biggest advocate. She strives to uncover the truth about the crime and save her town from dying.

To appease her father, Rachel, a VP in his Atlanta real-estate-development firm, relegates her acting dream to secret performances for imaginary audiences. After meeting charming, flirtatious Charlie Bricker, manager for Willow Falls’ future vineyard, she vows to break free from her father’s control.

The tragedy and Willow Inn’s secret past launch Emily and Rachel on a collision course with destiny and truth.

During the spring, summer, and early autumn of Pat Nichols‘ life, she and her high-school-sweetheart husband struggled and triumphed through life’s peaks and valleys. After raising two children, welcoming four grandchildren–one is with the angels–buying a Corvette, retiring, and ticking off every item on their travel bucket list, she asked “what’s next”. The answer? Pursue a second career as a novelist.

Following a twenty-five-year corporate career working with amazing women from all walks of life, she created a series about two women pursuing their dreams in the midst of trials and triumphs. The Secret of Willow Inn is set in Atlanta and Willow Falls, a fictitious north Georgia town. It follows a cast of characters and the town’s struggle to survive. Book two in the series is scheduled for release January 2020. The third is a current work in progress.

Although she writes five days a week, she and her husband take time to laugh and enjoy their fifty-plus-year marriage. They lead a small group, volunteer for church guest services, participate in two social organizations, and spend time with family and friends.

Pat is proving it’s never to late to follow your dreams. She is grateful she can still paint her own toenails and dance with her hubby. Born in Illinois, she grew up in Orlando and has called Georgia home for thirty-eight years.

 

My Impressions:

It has been a while since I have read a true cozy mystery — the kind set in a small, quaint town populated with plenty of quirky characters. That’s exactly what I got with The Secret of Willow Inn, Pat Nichols’ first book in the Willow Falls series. A bonus is that it is set in a fictional north Georgia mountain town similar to the one where I have a cabin. I could picture the shops and the scenery, as well as the hometown feel. Add a many-layered mystery, and this one is a winner. Recommended.

The town of Willow Falls doesn’t have the many attractions of other north Georgia tourist towns. A waterfall and a decades-old murder can’t sustain the economy. So the whole town is depending on two of their citizens to revitalize the community. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes, threatening to end the dream of a new and improved Willow Falls. But with tragedy comes some opportunities and a chance at a second chance for more than one resident.

As stated, I loved the north Georgia setting of The Secret of Willow Inn. But the fictional small town isn’t the only place the action takes place. Atlanta plays a large role as well, and since I have a son who lives there, I could envision the streets and buildings that I am fond of — the Sundial Room and the Alliance Theater being just two. The author does a great job of making the reader see what the characters see. The two main characters, Rachel and Emily, are from very different backgrounds, yet their stories intersect in interesting ways. Secondary characters add great support, and there are a number who fit the quirky title to a T! A number of mysteries unfold, each in a unique way, and I loved how Nichols wove fresh starts, second chances, and forgiveness throughout.

The Secret of Willow Inn promises to be just the first of a fun and thoughtful series. I look forward to many more visits to Willow Falls.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE. (It’s only $3.99 for Kindle!)

(Thanks to JustRead Blog Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)