Monday, March 13, 2017

DEATH BY PUMPKIN by N. Granger_Review

Death by Pumpkin: The Rhe Brewster MysteriesDeath by Pumpkin: The Rhe Brewster Mysteries by N.A. Granger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of DEATH BY PUMPKIN
by N. Granger

An entertaining and highly intriguing Maine cozy, DEATH BY PUMPKIN is third in a series. Imaginative in premise, this mystery begins with a bang and strongly hooks the reader, and enwraps us with the characters and storyline. Rhe Brewster is an ER nurse, mother of an ADHD son, widow, and sister-in-law of the police chief of her community. She is also a part-time police consultant. The author warmly endears the characters, as murder rears its very ugly head (even though it's performed creatively), and emotions run high (and for some, even higher). DEATH BY PUMPKIN is a mystery delineating the adage “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.” I'll definitely be looking to review other mysteries in the Rhe Brewster series.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

MISS FEESENSCHNEEZEN IS ILL by David Parmelee_Review

Miss Feesenschneezen Is IllMiss Feesenschneezen Is Ill by David Parmelee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of MISS FEESSENSCHNEEZEN IS ILL by David Parmelee

Designed for middle grade readers, but a delightful read for adults who need a humour injection, this story is narrated by a member of a “troubled class,” a class of “misfits” perhaps, who nevertheless admire and respect their beloved teacher, Miss Feessenschneezen. A take-no-nonsense teacher who gives respect and expects respect, she is unexpectedly taken ill, and misses several days of school while physicians and specialists demand expensive testing of what is probably simple bronchitis. Her students' admiration of her doesn't extend to substitutes, who must be summoned from outside the school system, as no enrolled subs will agree to teach this class! In the end, the conclusion is delightful and heartwarming. Even troubled readers ought to warm to this story.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 3, 2017

DINING WITH THE DEAD by Carrie Marsh_Review

Cozy Mystery: Dining With The Dead (A Millerfield Village Cozy Murder Mysteries Series)Cozy Mystery: Dining With The Dead by Carrie Marsh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of DINING WITH THE DEAD by Carrie Marsh
(Millerfield Village Cozy Mysteries)

A delightfully tenderhearted “sweet cozy,” DINING WITH THE DEAD is part of the Millerfield Village Cozy Mysteries Series, but functions well on its own, so you needn't have read others in the series to enjoy this. Laura Howcroft had left Cambridge to work as restaurant manager at a village hotel, where she is popularly considered a “foreigner,” an outsider, and mistrusted, especially after another “foreigner,” a hotel visitor, is discovered in the very early morning, deceased in the restaurant Laura manages. Intrepid Laura puts aside her hurt feelings and becomes an anonymous amateur investigator. On the technical side she is aided by Dr. Lucas; she also has her cat Monty, with whom she communicates (an especially pleasant aspect of this story!). As Laura discovers, greed can make a murderer, and her life is on the line as well when she unravels the facts behind the death.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

HOLA! LET'S LEARN SPANISH by Judy Martialay_Review

¡hola! Let's Learn Spanish POD: Visit New Places and Make New Friends¡hola! Let's Learn Spanish POD: Visit New Places and Make New Friends by Judy Martialay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of Hola! Let's Learn Spanish
by Judy Martialay

This is exactly the style and content that I would wish for teaching young children a language. This book guides young learners into Spanish, and a similar guide to learning French is planned. Enclosing Spanish vocabulary in a cute story arc, children (and I think adults too!) absorb the Spanish vocabulary by seeing it in context. Additionally, the author provides exercises, music, and a cultural corner, so the book is a neat total experience. I look forward to further language study books from this publisher, Polyglot Kidz Press.

View all my reviews

Friday, December 2, 2016

Review: TALIA: AND THE CAPTURE OF WRATH by C. J. Quinn

Talia: And The Capture Of WrathTalia: And The Capture Of Wrath by C.J. Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review: TALIA: AND THE CAPTURE OF WRATH
By C. J. Quinn

How I wish every family everywhere could be happy and well-adjusted as the Tobiah family! How I wish there was a land of love and light such as Talia, a blest land whose inhabitants are like angels, watching over humankind. (Or like Fae, if Fae were good-hearted)

Four brothers have been raised well by their father, an environmental scientist, since their mother in childbirth. While adventuring in a long-abandoned but still intact country home, all four are mind-boggled when their late mother appears in an ornate mirror, and then transports the brothers to a new, magical, land, the land of Talia. Wyatt, the youngest, is tasked with a quest, involving the Tree of Knowledge, and the adventure ensues.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review_MURDER AT THE MOONSHINE INN by Maggie King

Murder at the Moonshine Inn: A Hazel Rose Book Group MysteryMurder at the Moonshine Inn: A Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery by Maggie King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: MURDER AT THE MOONSHINE INN by Maggie King

A well-written and fascinating cozy mystery, MURDER AT THE MOONSHINE INN chronicles the second investigative outing of middle-aged baby boomer romance writer Hazel Rose, wife of a true crime author. Hazel successfully uncovered the killer of a member of her book group, eight years earlier. Since then Hazel has contented herself with authoring her novels, meeting fans, and learning the power of an effective "no." Until--Hazel is challenged to privately investigate the murder of a half-cousin's spouse. Somehow, "No" just isn't an optimal stance.

A little edgier than many cozies, with a sensual undercurrent, MURDER AT THE MOONSHINE INN will keep readers turning those pages!

View all my reviews

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tour: A KILLER CLOSET by Paula Paul

A Killer Closet: A MysteryA Killer Closet: A Mystery by Paula Paul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: A KILLER CLOSET: A MYSTERY by Paula Paul

Set delightfully in Santa Fe, a beautiful city with literally centuries of history-a patchwork of cultures-a community that breathes history-, A KILLER CLOSET is a cozy mystery with a sharp and poignant emotional edge. Irene Seligman, Santa Fe native with both Colonial Spanish and New Mexico Jewish ancestry, has carved a niche for herself: a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, tiny Brooklyn apartment, on her own--as emotionally she has been all her life, with a Narcissistic, multiply-married mother. When her mother manipulates Irene's abrupt return to her native city, Irene moves back into her childhood home, and leases a historic building to open a shop selling "gently used" vintage haute couture. Her discovery on opening day, of one of her mother's friends, newly dead in the shop closet, causes scandal and first Irene, then her mother, become "persons of interest. "

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review_PUTTING ON THE WITCH by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Putting on the Witch (Retired Witches Mystery #3)Putting on the Witch by Joyce Lavene
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: PUTTING ON THE WITCH by Joyce and Jim Lavene
[Retired Witches Mystery #3]

Don't be alarmed, if like me, you are new to this series. Just jump right in and enjoy! The authors gently interweave backstory throughout, so readers fit right in. This tale of a coven of (mostly) older witches, who had given up practice of magic, then taken it up again, is endearing, delightful, and as we expect from the Lavenes, excellent. Warm up to this wonderful group of women who must fit their magical lives around non-magic using spouses and offspring. Dorothy, a younger witch, had not been trained in youth, and has to cope with her Mother's death and ghostly input, and her allegedly evil, thousand year old father's arrival. Elsie dates a werewolf; Dorothy's fiance's grandfather is head of the very strict Grand Council. Add all this to the scenic backdrop of Wilmington, North Carolina; stir to taste, and enjoy.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

HOW THREE BROTHERS SAVED THE NAVY by Charles A. Salter_Review

How Three Brothers Saved the Navy: The Kare Kids Adventures #3How Three Brothers Saved the Navy: The Kare Kids Adventures #3 by Charles a Salter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: HOW THREE BROTHERS SAVED THE NAVY by Charles A. Salter [KARE KIDS ADVENTURES #3]

I really enjoy the KARE KIDS ADVENTURES series. The stories are both realistic and very imaginative. Each presents one child or multiple children in a scenario that holds danger and adventure. These are neither wimpy nor conformist kids, but individuals who have been taught by intelligent parents the essential importance of independent thinking, analysis, and using one's intellect. In HOW THREE BROTHERS SAVED THE NAVY, three enterprising youngsters, sons of a Navy officer, discover a gang's plot to attack an aircraft carrier--the very ship their father is on. The three well-trained and patriotic boys know they must pass the intel straight to their dad.


View all my reviews

Monday, October 3, 2016

Tour_THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS by Leslie Nagel

The Book Club MurdersThe Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel


Review: THE BOOK CLUB MURDERS by Leslie Nagel

What could be more entertaining than reading? Reading about books, of course. Tuck into this well-written and endearing cozy murder mystery, set in an upper-class suburban community where the veneer of civility is thin and verbal encounters are often knife-edged. Class warfare is alive and well, and so is homicide. Protagonist Charlie, a town native, operates a vintage shop, living her dream, and is a member of The Agathas, a specialized society book club reading only mysteries with female sleuths. When murder strikes close, Charlie and best friend Francesca mobilize to seek out clues. Romantic suspense abounds.

Monday, September 26, 2016

DANDELION DEAD_Review

Dandelion Dead (A Natural Remedies Mystery #4)Dandelion Dead by Chrystle Fiedler


Review: DANDELION DEAD by Chrystle Fiedler

Reading for entertainment is extra beneficial when it is also educational. I love this aspect of cozies, and DANDELION DEAD and its series, NATURAL REMEDIES MYSTERIES, is both educational and entertaining, teaching readers while delivering a compelling and engrossing mystery. Characters are well-fleshed out, and quickly seem realistic and true-to-life. Although this is #4 in the series, the author weaves in sufficient backstory to bring the history of her characters to readers. I loved learning about herbs, homeopathy, and wine-making.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Tour_PUMPKINS IN PARADISE by Kathi Dailey

Pumpkins in Paradise by Kathi Daley … everything about fall in it all wrapped up with a mystery … Its a quick read too, but a very enjoyable one. ~A Chick Who Reads The mystery was very well plotted and truly was puzzling. I love the way the hidden clues were found and were not easy to solve. ~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book I loved this book for several reasons…The characters are well done and easy to relate to, the setting in a small town with a resort by a mountain lake. You can’t ask for anything better. ~Sleuth Cafe The characters are fun and the author keeps you held into the story from the very first page. ~Shelley’s Book Case I enjoyed the setting and the characters and solving puzzles which occur throughout the book. ~Laura’s Interests This is a wonderful story. you really get to know all of the people in this town. You go through a gamut of emotions with the happy times and the sad times. ~T’s Stuff I absolutely loved this fun cozy mystery. ~Brooke Blogs If you have not read a book from this author, you are really missing out on great stories that captivate an audience with words that dance across the pages with adventure. ~Texas Book-aholic This book was a great and interesting adventure … ~Community Bookstop Pumpkins in Paradise put me in the mood for fall – especially the cooler weather and change of colors. Kathi Daley sets a beautiful scene and fills it with warm characters that are a delight for readers to get to know. ~The Girl with Book Lungs PUMPKINS-IN-PARADISE-by-Kathi-Daley Pumpkins in Paradise (A Tj Jensen Mystery Book 1) Paperback: 268 pages Publisher: Henery Press; Second edition (September 6, 2016) ISBN-13: 978-1635110890 E-Book ASIN: B01GQPYU8U goodreads-badge-add-plus Synopsis Between volunteering for the annual pumpkin festival and coaching her girls to the state soccer finals, high school teacher Tj Jensen finds her good friend Zachary Collins dead in his favorite chair. When the handsome new deputy closes the case without so much as a “why” or “how,” Tj turns her attention from chili cook-offs and pumpkin carving to complex puzzles, prophetic riddles, and a decades-old secret she seems destined to unravel. Henery Press is releasing the 1st 6 books in this series on September 6, 2016 Snowmen in Paradise (A Tj Jensen Mystery Book 2) Winter Carnival comes to Serenity, and with it Tj finds her schedule busier than ever. Not only is her ski and snowboard team heavily involved in demonstrations and local competitions, but her ragtag choir is about to debut in their first live performance. To make matters even more complicated, someone has killed Travis Davidson, a town favorite son, world-class snowboarder, and Olympic hopeful. Tj is determined not to get involved in the subsequent investigation until she learns the prime suspect is Chelsea Hanson, high-school boyfriend Hunter Hanson’s sister. Although there’s no shortage of Sereninites with a grudge against the hometown hero, even Tj has to admit there’s good cause to suspect Chelsea of the murder. Balancing bridesmaid duties, Winter Carnival obligations, show choir duty, and after-hours investigation, Tj sets out to prove Chelsea innocent. Bikinis in Paradise (A Tj Jensen Mystery Book 3) When the Tropical Tan Corporation descends on Maggie’s Hideaway, the lakeside resort where Tj Jensen lives, she must juggle a bikini contest, a BBQ cook-off, a missing model, and a dead chaperone while her father is out of town. Lead Deputy Dylan Caine is on vacation while his sister is visiting, leaving Assistant Deputy Roy Fisher in charge. When Roy asks Tj for her help they find there may be more going on than anyone realized. With Kyle and Jenna’s help, they dig into the lives of those involved, only to find a mystery more complex than anything they could ever have imagined. Christmas in Paradise (A Tj Jensen Mystery Book 4) Christmas in Serenity is a magical time of year Tj has always looked forward to with happy anticipation. This year her holiday spirit is marred by the impending arrival of two new men in her life. When one of them ends up dead, Tj must juggle community plays, Christmas tree cuttings, sleigh rides, and holiday shopping with a complex murder investigation. As the facts begin to unravel, she realizes she may have to risk everything to save someone she loves. Puppies in Paradise (A Tj Jensen Mystery Book 5) When a friend of Tj’s is injured in a car accident during a blizzard, Tj takes responsibility for the litter of puppies left behind. Meanwhile, she works with Kyle, Jenna, and the gang to catch the person responsible for the death of a close family friend. When it turns out that the main suspects are also close to the Jensens, Tj must deal with one of the most difficult decisions she’s ever had to make. Halloween in Paradise (A Tj Jensen Mystery Book 6) In the midst of the annual Halloween frenzy, Tj finds herself pulled into a series of events at the high school where she works. Not only must she help one of the girls on her team deal with a case of cyberbullying, but she must help a student who has recently suffered a personal tragedy. And as if Tj wasn’t busy enough, in walks Samantha Colton, a reporter for Second Look, a television series that takes a look back at unsolved murders. This time the case is the death of a popular student after the homecoming dance ten years before. To make matters even worse—or maybe more convenient—the graduating class of the victim is in town for their ten-year reunion and all the suspects just happen to have converged on Serenity for the weekend. When Samantha turns up dead, Tj must track down someone who seems willing to kill again to keep their secret. • TREASURE IN PARADISE (#7) April 2017 *Just click on Covers to order from Amazon KathiDaley About the Author Author of the Zoe Donovan cozy Mystery Series, Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery series, Whales and Tails Cozy Mystery Series, Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mysteries, and Seacliff High Teen Cozy Mystery Series. Come for the murder, stay for the romance. Kathi lives in the beautiful alpine community of Lake Tahoe with her husband Ken and dog Echo. When she’s not writing she enjoys hanging out on the beach with her children and grandchildren. During the summer she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and sunset cruises on the lake. During the winter she enjoys cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling up by a fire with a good book. Kathi uses her mountain home as inspiration for her books, all which include appearances by the wildlife she shares her life with. Visit Kathi Daley: Blog – http://kathidaleyblog.com Facebook at Kathi Daley Books, www.facebook.com/kathidaleybooks Kathi Daley Teen – www.facebook.com/kathidaleyteen Kathi Daley Books Group Page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/569578823146850/ Kathi Daley Books Birthday Club- get a book on your birthday – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1040638412628912/ Kathi Daley Recipe Exchange – https://www.facebook.com/groups/752806778126428/ Webpage – www.kathidaley.com Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278377.Kathi_Daley Twitter at Kathi Daley@kathidaley – https://twitter.com/kathidaley Tumblr – http://kathidaleybooks.tumblr.com/ Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/kathidaley/ PURCHASE LINKS – Amazon Books in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series: • PUMPKINS IN PARADISE (#1) • SNOWMEN IN PARADISE (#2) • BIKINIS IN PARADISE (#3) • CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE (#4) • PUPPIES IN PARADISE (#5) • HALLOWEEN IN PARADISE (#6) • TREASURE IN PARADISE (#7) April 2017 Barnes and Noble Books in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series: • PUMPKINS IN PARADISE (#1) • SNOWMEN IN PARADISE (#2) • BIKINIS IN PARADISE (#3) link not up yet • CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE (#4) link not up yet • PUPPIES IN PARADISE (#5) • HALLOWEEN IN PARADISE (#6) • TREASURE IN PARADISE (#7) April 2017 Tour Participants August 31 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW August 31 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW September 1 – Queen of All She Reads – GUEST POST September 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW September 2 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW September 2 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW September 3 – Author Annette Drake’s Blog – INTERVIEW September 3 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW September 4 – Ashleyz Wonderland – REVIEW September 4 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT September 5 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW September 5 – Christa Reads and Writes – GUEST POST September 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT September 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW September 6 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW September 7 – The Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW September 7 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW September 8 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST September 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT September 9 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST September 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW Count Down to Paradise Launch Event - https://www.facebook.com/events/848072505336998/ Pumpkins in Paradise Book Club - https://www.facebook.com/events/1408072279209347/ Pumpkins in Paradise (Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery, #1)Pumpkins in Paradise by Kathi Daley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of PUMPKINS IN PARADISE by Kathi Daley (TJ Jensen Mystery #1

What a winner! I love cozy mysteries, and this start of a new cozy series is just great! I'm reminded of an Agatha Christie village mystery, had Agatha set it in Nevada's mountain beauty, beside a picturesque lake. TJ Jensen is a great lady, a great friend, and a wonderful choice for heroine. In tiny Serenity, Nevada, she is part of a close-knit family which owns and operates "Maggie's Hideaway," a lakeside resort. When a very good friend passes without notice or expectation, a reclusive individual TJ befriended as a child--a man who taught her to exercise her mind and to love numbers and logic puzzles--TJ is not only distraught, but convinced someone had a hand in an untimely death. Fall is nearing, and this is the perfect time to settle in with a fall-themed mystery-puzzle set in one of the most beautiful locales I can imagine. Author Kathi Daley writes with flair and grace, and I can't wait to acquire future mysteries in this wonderfully endearing, quality series.

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tour_PURRBALL MEETS BURRBALL IN BRAZIL by Anne Zoet

Purrball Meets Burrball In BrazilPurrball Meets Burrball In Brazil by Anne Zoet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review of PURRBALL MEETS BURBALL IN BRAZIL by Anne Zoet

A truly delightful children's text-and-picture book, this is the story of a little boy's cat, Purrball, who travels to Brazil with his family for a year. Somehow at the airport during a tremor, Purrball, attached to Mom's phone, escapes into the jungle. There he serendipitously meets a sloth, whom he names Burrball. Together they adventure and eventually reunite with the family.
The illustrations are wonderful and the text is almost rhyming. This is a really enjoyable story, suitable for young readers and for the younger "read to me" stage. I hope it is the start of a series.

Release Sept. 9 2016


Anne Zoet (Santa Cruz, CA) Author of Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil purrballandburrball.com
Buy links: Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Purrball-Meets-Burrball-Brazil-Anne/dp/0997383704/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1471024911&sr=1-1&keywords=purrball+meets+burrball+in+brazil BOOKING INFO Megan Renart | megan@prbythebook.com |(512) 534-7700 TALKING POINTS How to travel safely with your pet this summer Garden secrets to keep fleas out of your house (think: lavender, lemongrass, mint, sage) Scratch proof your life: how to keep your cat from ruining furniture Tips for finding a lost cat: what you might not have considered Three fun cat toy crafts to do with your child! ABOUT THE BOOK Visiting Brazil, an earthquake hits and separates a family from their beloved cat, Purrball. Purrball’s mad dash leaves her lost in a jungle where she becomes fast friends with a very clever sloth named Burrball. The two quick-witted animals embark on a journey to find Darryl, the loving and loyal boy who longs for his adorable missing cat. Witty word rhythms and rich illustrations make Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil an engaging read-aloud story. An alluring tale of friendship, family, ingenuity, and persistence. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Anne Zoet is a freelance creative director in Silicon Valley. She studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Universite de Bordeaux, and the University of California, Santa Cruz, and graduated with a BA in art history. Anne is passionate about animals, art, travel, and the environment. She also enjoys salsa dancing, building cat furniture and housing, cooking, and gardening. Learn more about Anne’s cat expertise at radlilcat.com. Anne lives in Santa Cruz and shares her home with three cats. Suggested Interview Questions Anne Zoet author of Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil1.What inspired you to write this book?The story hit me on a day that I took out for myself away from my high tech work. I was having a massage, which is when I zone-out and don’t think about anything. Oddly, this time, I started creating the Purrball and Burrball storyline the more and more I unwound. I was so relaxed that the whole thing unfolded start to finish. 2.How would you describe the characters of Purrball and Burrball? Smart, kind, resourceful and they’re team players. Animals are invariably way more clever than we humans give them credit for. I’ve seen my cats use incredible logic to alter a situation they’re in. I once had a cat run away in a place she didn’t know (the worst weeks of my life searching every day) but she found her way back, though completely unfamiliar with the surroundings. I have another cat, my outdoor cat, who you can see trotting alongside opossums and raccoons in evenings. That scared me so much at first, but eventually we’ve come to see that he has a real relationship with them. He’s so smart and the more I see the wildlife interact with him, the more I see them as clever and accepting and even friendly. The Purrball and Burrball characters came to me before I moved to this area and could witness my cat and his outdoor adventures. But this experience really solidified how Purrball and Burrball should be portrayed as a team. I think that my cat’s experiences with wildlife show that animals are capable of very unexpected bonds with one another. 3.Why did you choose to write about a cat and a sloth?I’m crazy about both domestic and wild animals and it is a passion that just gets deeper all the time. I’ve done a lot of research on cats (on nutrition and behavior) as well as love to build cat structures and make toys for them. And, I do not know who could look at a sloth and not smile! They have the sweetest faces and they have so much more to them than the “ sloth” slowness we think of. They’re rather industrious buggers and have some funny quirks, like the wildlife that grows in their fur. I firmly believe they should never be pets and should be kept wild. While the story is pure fantasy (as are stories where animals communicate with phones!), I really want to keep one a pet and the other wild and be true to my feelings about that and it would be so lovely to pass all that along to children! 4.How do Purrball and Burrball use technology in the book?Purrball, the cat, is unable to send a critical text message, so she asks Burrball, the sloth, if he could tap with his toes to write it. Maybe that’s my wish: I wish my cats would find a way to text me what they’re thinking, lol. 5.Why did you decide to set the story in Brazil?It had to be set in the natural habitat of a sloth. I’ve always wanted to see a Brazilian rainforest, so I just created my own. It is roughly in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil and their plane arrives in Sao Paulo. Earthquakes are incredibly rare in that region, so all the more surprising that one happens when they arrive. After setting my sights on this area, I’ve seen dozens of photos of both Sao Paulo and the Atlantic Forest that make me long to go there! It is on my bucket list. 6.What does your writing process look like?It’s very interesting that verse isn’t the first thing that comes out. I think it all through with as much rhyme as possible, but just let the story be written in prose for a few versions until the story gels. I can picture the scenery faster than I can create a rhyme. 7.What was the most rewarding moment you experienced in writing Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil?It was seeing the art that kids created from my coloring pages! I always loved to draw and I didn’t find coloring pages that interesting as a kid. Now that I’ve seen what some kids have come up with (like one used a gold pen to make a gold mobile phone), I think it can be very creative. I look forward to some freehand drawings, if kids post any to my site (and there’s an option for that at purrballandburrball.com). 8.What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing this book?I’ve done a lot of digital art, but all for technology-related purposes, so letting things take shape (and learning from a very good freehand artist) was new, challenging, and not always what I had wished it would be until I found my style. 9.You also illustrated Purrball Meets Burrball in Brazil. How did illustrating the book compare to writing it?It was a bit easier, given that I’m familiar with creating digital art for business purposes. To have artistic license was amazing and both writing and illustrating were very creative and fulfilling. In sum, illustrating was easier for me than writing, but both were much lengthier than I had ever imagined. I spent a good six months pulling both together. 10.Did any of your three cats influence the character of Purrball, either in physical likeness or personality?All three: one has the coloring of Purrball (I love grey kitties, although I suppose Purrball is a bit blue, really) and she has some cute characteristics—the scene where Purrball is looking up curiously at Burrball is so her! I have another onn who is a squat and roundish cat with intense eyes and sitting frontally she looks like a black and white version of Purrball. And the last cat is the most clever cat you could imagine. I rolled them all into one. 11.What drew you to writing and illustrating a children’s book?My niece and nephew were recently of picture book age andI loved reading to them. I fell in love with books that were both beautiful and cleverly written and also reminded me of the years we live with unconstrained imagination. I love that animals are a big part of books for children. I figured I had a lot to say that could help kids fall in love with animals, like I did from a very early age. 12.What is the key to attracting young readers?It’s letting yourself be one for a moment—a good picture book can transport you back there. 13.When did your interest in writing begin? What about your interest in illustration?Recently, my dad reminded me of the “ novel” I wrote and illustrated when I was in fourth grade and a few years ago he found my kindergarten poetry and illustrations. I guess I had it in me a while. He always told me I should write. I didn’t pay much attention to that, but like him, art has been a part of my studies and career and learning to illustrate children’s books is such a logical path in my life.

Friday, September 2, 2016

MUD BOG MURDER by Lesley A. Diehl_Tour

Mud Bog Murder (An Eve Appel Mystery Book 4)Mud Bog Murder by Lesley A. Diehl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review: MUD BOG MURDER (Eve Apple #4)

Tension between environmentalists and developers, between wildlife supporters and sporting enthusiasts, is present nearly everywhere. In swampy rural Florida, this conflict comes to a head when an outspoken, land-poor local landowner contracts to host a two-day mug-bogging event on her swampland. Emotions run high, tensions ignite, and somebody is angry enough to kill.

Author cares about her characters, and plans her mysteries so that protagonist Eve has plenty of opportunities, and reasons, to grow and evolve, to make the choice to be "the better person" and to see all sides of a controversy, both personal and translational.