Posted in Cruisin Thru Cozies Literary Escapes Reviews 2015 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review – Musseled Out by Barbara Ross

MUSSELED OUTMusseled Out
(A Maine Clambake Mystery)

3rd Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Massachusetts
Kensington (April 28, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758286895
E-Book ISBN-13: 978-0758286895
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The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble simmering for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwing–the “Mussel King” of upscale seafood restaurants–is sniffing around town for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to be the least of his troubles. . .

When Thwing is found sleeping with the fishes beneath a local lobsterman’s boat, the police quickly finger Julia’s brother-in-law Sonny as the one who cooked up the crime. Sure, everyone knows Sonny despised the Mussel King. . .but Julia believes he’s innocent. Proving it won’t be easy, though. It seems there’s a lot more than murder on the menu, and Julia needs to act fast. . .

Includes Traditional Maine Clambake Recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another tasty installment from Barbara Ross. In Clammed Up Julia came home to help save the family business. In Boiled Over she got the business steered in the right direction. Now in Musseled Out the season is drawing to a close and she needs to make a huge decision, return to her job back in New York or stay in Maine with her friends and family. Of course a dead body being found and her brother-in-law being a prime suspect will weigh heavily into her decision. First she needs to find out who killed the “Mussel King” and why, then she should hopefully, probably, maybe, make a decision regarding her own future.

I quickly became caught up in this mystery because after reading the first 2 books I was very invested in these characters. Growing up in a family food business I understand how the whole family gets involved to making it a success so I really want the Snowden Family Clambake Company to succeed. A new competing business wouldn’t be a good  thing but I can’t see Sonny killing someone over it so I knew there was much more to the story, but Ross truly surprised me with the way she mixed all the elements together.

Barbara Ross slowly develops these characters. We learn more and more about them with every turn of the page. Livie, Julia’s sister, and Sonny have a new baby on the way. Add that to the business worries and things get a little stressful. Julia’s mom is unsure of her place since her husband passed away and she is branching out causing some concern from her daughters. Chris and Julia’s relationship is still so new and they are working things through as they get a little more serious.

The author has given us a wonderful whodunit with just the right amounts of humor and romance. I loved the ending. I hope this isn’t the last we see of these characters. I have really enjoyed my Maine excursions.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out all about Barbara Ross and her books on her webpage here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review/Giveaway – Boiled Over by Barbara Ross

boiled overBoiled Over
(A Maine Clambake Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington Publishing (May 6, 2014)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758286871
E-Book File Size: 1209 KB
ASIN: B00G9ABZL8
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For Julia Snowden, the Founder’s Day summer celebration in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, means helping her family’s clambake company to prepare an authentic taste of New England seafood. Any Mainer will tell you that a real clambake needs wood for the fire . . . so why is there a foot sticking out of the oven?

The townspeople want to pin the murder of the RV park owner on Cabe Stone, a new employee of the Snowden Family Clambake Company–who bolted from the crime scene and disappeared.

Julia knows having another murder associated with her family’s business is a recipe for disaster . . . but who is the killer? Cooking up a proper investigation doesn’t leave much time for the rest of Julia’s life, and this is one killer who’ll do anything to stop her from digging up clues . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Barbara Ross has cooked us up another fine mystery in Boiled Over. In this follow-up to Clammed Up Julia is still trying to make sure the Snowden Family Clambakes are back on the right track. She thinks serving their food sat the Founder’s Day celebration will be the perfect way to advertise and put a little more money in the business account. Of course she didn’t plan for the dead body.

Ross introduces us to some new characters who are not all who they seem to be. This leads the reader on quite an adventure. We even learn about the true founder of Busman’s Harbor and how the town got its name. We also traveled with Julia through a good bit of Maine tracking down clues.

Julia is not only trying to save the family business,  she is at a crossroads of her life. Does she want to go back to New York City? Or stay in Maine with her family and a very important man in her life? Did she wait too long to share her true feelings?

Ross has served us a great mystery with a perfect amount of humor and romance. She has given us rich characters that continue to evolve and a nice little cliffhanger to bring us back for more when Musseled Out hits shelves in 2015.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Find out all about Barbara Ross and her books on her webpage here.

I am giving away my review copy!!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 23, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2013

Cozy Wednesday with Author Barbara Ross (Giveaway too!)

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

I am so excited to have Barbara Ross here today! 

Her new book Clammed Up is sure to be a hit with all over you!!

The Alpha and the Omega: Continuing Characters in Series

barbfordollycasLori, thanks so much for having me for Cozy Wednesday.

 It’s an interesting time for me as an author. On September 1, I handed in the manuscript for Boiled Over,  the second book in my Maine Clambake Mystery series. And on September 3, Clammed Up,  the first book in the series was released.

 As you can imagine, it’s been an interesting time. In fact, as I switched on September 2, from writing to promotion mode, my mother-in-law said, “It seems like all summer it’s been Boiled Over, and now it’s Clammed Up !

Boiled Over is my first time writing a second book in a series. So it got me wondering, how do people feel about continuing characters? Not the main characters, but the other people who populate the book?

 I admit to being a full-out series fan. Nothing makes me happier than finding a book I love and then discovering there are four or six or ten more to read in the series. Once I’m caught up, and have to wait a full year for the next one (as I just did with Louise Penny), it kills me.

17239894Part of the reason I love series is because of the way characters and settings can develop over time. I’m a huge fan of Ruth Rendell’s Wexford series. I love the way Kingsmarkham, the town where her Chief Inspector Reg Wexford works, evolves from being a small market town the first book, From Doon to Death (1964) to an ever growing suburban city in the latest books. And how along the way, Wexford has to deal with increasingly complex, modern issues of race, immigration, and environmental activism—not to mention the baffling personal lives of his grown daughters. (The latest book in the series, No Man’s Nightingale is out in the UK, but won’t be here until November. I am trying to restrain myself from ordering it from Amazon UK.)

I get invested in the secondary characters, too. I spent a long time reading every Rendell short story I could get my hands on, because I was convinced there was a story in which Wexford’s faithful no. 2, Detective Mike Burden’s first wife dies. It turns out, she dies off stage. But reading all those stories was great, because it brought back my childhood love of short fiction and got me writing my own. Now I’m a co-editor of an annual short crime fiction anthology for Level Best Books. www.levelbestbooks.com

But I have to confess, there are some series I’ve given up because the author couldn’t seem to let go of a single secondary character. So every last person from the first book gets pulled into the second book and so on, until by the fourth book, I’m thinking, “Who are all these people and why does the author think I care about them?”’

maineclambakefordollycas

 In Boiled Over, I tried to use the “bar story” principle. Pretend you’re meeting an old friend for a drink, the kind of friend you can not see for years and then pick the conversation right up where you left off. You say to her, “You wouldn’t believe what happened to me!” As you tell the tale, you introduce her to all the people she needs to know about for the story, plus a few other people who were really important in your life at the time and were giving advice, and so on. You don’t tell her what happened to every person you’ve met since you last saw her. The other people in your life are presumably going about their business, and may show up in another bar story some other time, but we don’t have to talk about them now.

Plus, some readers don’t get to read the series in order. (I love to read in order, but I’ll go out of order in a pinch.) So if you have someone who was a suspect in the first book wandering through the next one, doesn’t that give it away?

How do you feel about series characters? Less is more, or the more the merrier? Let me know, because I have to start Book 3 next week!

~Barbara

 Thank you Barbara for dropping by today! I think a great group of core characters visited by new characters each book is great but then the twist after a few books when one of those core characters gets in trouble always adds to the suspense too!  I am sure my readers will help you tackle this question too!

About This Author
Barbara Ross’ novel Clammed Up, first in a new series of Maine Clambake Mysteries, will be published by Kensington in September 2013. Barbara and her husband own the former Seafarer Inn at the head of the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. From her perch on the Seafarer’s wide front porch, Barbara’s had a chance to observe the quirks of life in a small resort town, along with the stunning harbor views. Barbara and Bill no longer run the inn as a Bed & Breakfast. Barbara is notoriously not a morning person. They considered a Bed-and-Get-Your-Own-Damn-Breakfast, but there didn’t seem to be much of a market.

Barbara is the 2013 co-chair of The New England Crime Bake. She is a co-editor/co-publisher at Level Best Books, which produces an award-winning anthology of crime and mystery stories by New England authors every November. Barbara also blogs with a wonderful group of Maine mystery authors at Maine Crime Writers.

Barbara’s first mystery novel, The Death of an Ambitious Woman, was published by Five Star/Gale/Cengage in August, 2010. In her former life, Barbara was a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of two successful start-ups in educational technology. When they aren’t in Boothbay, she and her husband live in Somerville, MA.

17239894
Clammed Up
(A Maine Clambake Mystery)

Brand New Series
Cozy Mystery
Kensington Publishing Group (September 3, 2013)
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758286857
E-Book File Size: 551 KB
ASIN: B00C6BFTZ2

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Summer has come to Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and tourists are lining up for a taste of authentic New England seafood, courtesy of the Snowden Family Clambake Company. But there’s something sinister on the boil this season. A killer has crashed a wedding party, adding mystery to the menu at the worst possible moment. . .

Julia Snowden returned to her hometown to rescue her family’s struggling clambake business–not to solve crimes. But that was before a catered wedding on picturesque Morrow Island turned into a reception for murder. When the best man’s corpse is found hanging from the grand staircase in the Snowden family mansion, Julia must put the chowder pot on the back burner and join the search for the killer. And with suspicion falling on her old crush, Chris Durand, the recipe for saving her business and salvaging her love life might be one and the same. .

Dollycas’s Thoughts
A delightful debut that has me hungry for more!!!

The story is set in a beautiful part of this country and every bit of it was clear in my mind’s eye. From the island to the ferry trip to the town of Busman’s Harbor. Sounds like a great place to vacation.

Julia’s homecoming being marred by murder is awful but this girl is up for the challenge. She uses skills she has learned while away to whittle down the suspects and it isn’t easy. She makes mistakes. She is scared and worried about losing her family business and is so real and credible. It is so easy to identify with her which makes her a great protagonist.

The supporting cast is strong as well. I personally wanted to take on Sonny. He had just given up and if Julia would not have come back the business would have been history, but his support of Julia was truly lacking. Family drama! I love it! This is a group of characters that will surprise you. Ross has filled this Clambake Mystery with plenty of red herrings!

It seems Julia and Livvie’s dad had put together a wonderful business. There will be some changes going forward but I know the family will come out on top and the clambakes will be even more popular. I am ready to buy my ticket today. Boiled Over (A Maine Clambake Mystery) will be served up May 6, 2014!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving away my Advance Copy
and the author is giving away a published copy!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Barbara for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End September 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”