Monday, September 30, 2013

Gilt Trip, Stranded and An Autography Giveaway

Do you enjoy the anticipation of a new book coming out in a series you adore?

Well, I do. I’m delighted one of my favorite series, the Scrapbooking Mysteries, has a new book - GILT TRIP - coming out tomorrow (Oct. 1st). In addition, this month I discovered another fun series, Maggie O’Dell, which recently had a new release, STRANDED. I’m sharing my thoughts on both of these intriguing releases. While one is a cozy and the other is a thriller, they will both provide you with hours of reading and listening pleasure.

I’m thrilled that to celebrate the release of her newest book, author Laura Childs is graciously giving away an autographed copy of GILT TRIP to 2 lucky visitors to Thoughts in Progress. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway details. I’m also including a press release concerning the protagonist from Childs’ series. (That will follow the giveaway details.)

GILT TRIP by Laura Childs with Diana Orgain

9780425252925_p0_v1_s600As a series continues, sometimes the characters get stale and the plots lose their sizzle. Author Laura Childs makes sure that doesn’t happen in GILT TRIP, the 11th installment in her Scrapbooking Mystery series.

Childs continues to evolve and develop her characters with each new book. The plots, while continuing to deal with mystery and murder, take some intriguing turns along the way with fresh ideas and unexpected activities.

This time around scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava Gruiex, attend a ‘Get Out of Jail Free Party’ in the elaborate Garden District of New Orleans. Margo Leland is throwing the unusual bash to celebrate the homecoming of her husband, Jerry Earl. He’s been released from prison after having served only a small portion of his five-year sentence for white collar crimes.

Apparently someone isn’t too happy Jerry Earl got out early. During the party Carmela discovers Jerry Earl’s body in the clothes dryer on the tumble cycle. Margo pleads with Carmela to look into the murder.

The more Carmela looks, the more questions she has since Jerry Earl had a lot of enemies. When another body turns up, Carmela is certain Jerry Earl was up to his old tricks even while in prison. She has to narrow down the suspect list to find the killer as he quickly begins to close in on her.

GILT TRIP moves at a steady pace with twists and turns keeping you guessing who the killer is and why. The characters are well-balanced and likable. The secondary characters add charm and flavor to the story.

Childs weaves murder, mystery, humor, Scrapbooking tips and even a touch of romance into a well-blended story. The vivid descriptions of the setting enhances the story and make you feel you’ve been to New Orleans with its vibrant culture. Scrapbooking fan or not, you won’t feel overwhelmed with the crafting tips found throughout the book.

This installment can be read as a standalone. However, be warned you will probably be enticed to find out what prior adventures Carmela and Ava have found themselves involved in.

GILT TRIP is a delightful cozy mystery loaded with rich characters, fun settings, Scrapbooking tips, and delicious recipes. Relax in the New Orleans ambience as you try to unmask the killer before he strikes again.

Author Laura Childs’ website is
Gilt Trip by Laura Childs with Diana Orgain, A Scrapbooking Mystery - Book #11, Berkley Prime Crime, @2013, ISBN: 978-0425252925, Hardcover, 320 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - An ARC of this book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
STRANDED by Alex Kava

Stranded coverBeginning a series with the last installment can sometimes make following the story a bit confusing.

That wasn’t the case with STRANDED, author Alex Kava’s latest installment in her Maggie O’Dell series. The story flowed smoothly without having any knowledge of prior books.

The characters are brought to life by the wonderful vocalizations of narrator Tanya Eby. She expresses the emotions in such a way the listener feels them too. Her cadence draws you in and holds you captive as the story unfolds.

It seems a madman is stalking rest areas along major highways. In addition, he has taken a liking to FBI Special Agent Maggie O’Dell. He leaves her clues in Washington, D.C., as to where one of his victims is.

Maggie and her partner, R.J. Tully, follow another one of the killer’s clues to an abandoned farm in Iowa. Assisted by Ryder Creed and one of his cadaver-hunting dogs, they discover the site is a dumping ground for the killer and the body count begins to rise.

The intense search escalates when a prisoner seems to have knowledge of another of the killer’s dumping grounds, this one in Florida. As the group heads to check out the latest lead, little do they know it’s just a way for the killer to make Maggie his prize catch.

Kava has crafted well-developed characters making them realistic and memorable. Her flare for detail places the listener in the middle of the scene.

Combining a fast-pace thriller with bits of humor, hints of a romance, and glimpses of personal pain, STRANDED will keep you on the edge of your seat. Kava’s latest non-stop adventure will have you rethinking stops along the highway.

Author Alex Kava’s website is
Stranded by Alex Kava, A Maggie O’Dell Novel, Performed by Tanya Eby, Brilliance Audio, @2013, ISBN: 978-1455856879, Unabridged, 7 Discs, Listening Time: 7 Hours and 52 Minutes 

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Now for the awesome giveaway. Author Laura Childs is giving away two copies of GILT TRIP and will inscribe and autograph each book. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only.

To enter this giveaway, please send me an e-mail ( with the subject line, “Win Gilt Trip.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance to win one of 2 autographed copies of GILT TRIP is 8 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Oct. 8.


Main character in Laura Childs’ new mystery GILT TRIP, named Best Amateur Sleuth by the Romantic Times Book Review.

    The last 10 books Laura Childs has written may have made trips to The New York Times Bestseller List - but now her characters are winning the awards!
    Carmela Bertrand, the feisty scrapbook maven who serves as the main character in Childs’ award-winning Scrapbooking Mysteries set in New Orleans, has garnered quite a fan club.
    “I could hardly believe it,” said Childs. “Carmela voted Best Amateur Sleuth by the folks at Romantic Times. It’s an amazing honor. The Romantic Times is this huge magazine that’s kind of the bible of book reviews for hard-core romance and cozy mystery fans.”
    Then again, creating memorable characters is one of Laura Childs’ specialties.
    In her past life Childs spent twenty-five years in advertising, creating TV and radio ads that featured characters and spokesmen that definitely stood out.
    “I created the Winky Blinky Sandman for a mattress sale, the Sturgeon General for a major seafood company, and a ‘perfect executive’ who was so busy he had to wear a pink ring Rolodex.”
    Besides her Scrapbooking Mysteries, Childs is also the author of the Tea Shop Mysteries and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries.
    “I love to write,” said Childs. “I was born to write. I wrote and illustrated George the Ghost when I was six and I’ve never stopped. Right now I’m working on a fourth and fifth mystery series. One is a hard-edged thriller set in the Twin Cities, the other is the Hummingbird Inn Mystery series set in Carmel, CA.”
    Can Childs really pull of 5 different series? Can anybody?
    “I don’t know, but I’m going to try,” said Childs. “James Patterson does it and so do a few other authors. I guess I’m still writing like I’ve got a killer ad deadline hanging over my head!”

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope I’ve catch your attention with these two amazing stories.


  1. Mason - They do sound like terrific reads. Your comment at the beginning of the post made me think of how much I look forward to new releases from the authors I like best. It's a great feeling.

  2. Sorry I'm so late, Mason. I had about an hour free this morning and the rest was all work--very busy--sometimes I can get a free moment to comment on blogs but NOT today.

    Anyway. I had to laugh over where they found Earls body. Must have been a big dryer. :-D.

    I want to read Stranded. It's on my TBR list to buy just haven't had spare to buy just yet. Soon.

    Thanks for the recommendations.

    Sia McKye Over Coffee


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