Monday, August 3, 2015

Music Monday - "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers (1977)

You know that list of Top 10 all-time favorite songs I've mentioned here before (although I still haven't put together an actual list)?   This song is on it.  "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers was released in 1977 and charted at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  A little note of trivia -- Bill Withers holds a note for 18 seconds near the end of the song.

Do you remember this one?  It is pure musical happiness for me.

Book Review and Giveaway: A Gilded Grave by Shelley Freydont

A Gilded Grave (NEWPORT GILDED AGE) First in Series Cozy Mystery Series: NEWPORT GILDED AGE Paperback: 416 pages Publisher: Berkley (August 4, 2015) ISBN-13: 978-0425275849 goodreads-badge-add-plus

In 1895, the height of the Gilded Age, the social elite spend their summers in Newport, Rhode Island. Within the walls of their fabulous “cottages,” competition for superiority is ruthless … and so are the players.

During her first Newport season, Deanna Randolph attends a ball given in honor of Lord David Manchester, a Barbadian sugar magnate, and his sister, Madeline. The Manchesters are an immediate success—along with their exotic manservant and his fortune-telling talents.

But on the nearby cliffs, a young maid lies dead—and suspicion falls on Joseph Ballard, a member of one of the town’s most prestigious families.

Joe humiliated Deanna when he rebuffed an engagement to her, but while he may be a cad, she knows he isn’t a killer. Now the reluctant allies must navigate a world of parties, tennis matches, and séances to find the real murderer. But a misstep among the glittering upper classes could leave them exposed to something far more dangerous than malicious gossip…

My Review:

I love historical mysteries and am fascinated by the Gilded Age, so of course I enjoyed A Gilded Grave.

Deanna is a strong, intelligent protagonist who determines to solve the mystery of a servant's death in a time where such independent behavior was not expected (or desired) for women.  I like her camaraderie with her maid, Elspeth.  I also like Joe, her former romantic interest.  Although he is from a very moneyed background, he wants more and starts a shop to work on mechanical inventions (like a machine to bag sugar).  I especially enjoyed all scenes including both Deanna and Joe. 

This mystery is rich in historical details and nuances.   We glimpse the life "downstairs" of Elspeth and the late Daisy.  The scene where Elspeth and Deanna go to Daisy's small room to pack her meager belongings is moving. We see the police automatically pursue a working class man as the suspect in Daisy's tragic death because they cannot consider a man with an upper class background as a suspect.  We see Deanna and Elspeth reading "penny novels" about lady detectives that pique their interest in mystery.  We see Deanna longing to play tennis at a party, but having to watch instead because she is a woman.  

A Gilded Grave is such an intelligent, well written mystery.  There are wonderful characterizations in this book, with lively dialogue.  I felt I really got to know these characters through the novel.  

I hope this is the first book in a series, because I want to read more!  I enthusiastically recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, historical mysteries, and anyone interested in the Gilded Age.

ShelleyNoble FinalV3 copy
About The Author –

Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery Celebration Bay Mysteries, Foul Play at the Fair, Silent Knife, Independence Slay as well as the Kate MacDonald Sudoku Mysteries and the Lindy Haggerty dance company mysteries, and the upcoming Newport Gilded Age Mysteries, beginning with A Gilded Grave (6/15)

As Shelley Noble, she is the NYTimes Best selling author of women’s fiction (Beach Colors, Stargazey Point, Breakwater Bay, and Whisper Beach as well as several novellas. A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley lives at the Jersey shore and loves puzzles, light houses and antique carousels. She also loves to hear from readers.

For more about Shelley, please visit her website 

Author Links

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I received this book from Great Escapes in exchange for an honest review.

Cover Reveal and Giveaway - Never Been Texted by Linda Joy Singleton

Title: Never Been Texted

Author:  Linda Joy Singleton

Publisher: Leap Books

Release Date: August 31, 2015

When Ashlee’s stepdad completely forgets her birthday she takes matters into her own hands to get the one thing she really wants: her own cell phone.  But text messages start rolling in from a broken-hearted boy, and though Ashlee knows not all stories end happily, she’s determined to make hers the best it can be. 

Author Bio:

Linda Joy Singleton has published over 35 YA & MG books about Goths, psychics, mermaids, aliens, cheerleaders, clones, parallel worlds, spies, dogs and ghosts. Her YA series, REGENERATION, THE SEER and DEAD GIRL, were honored as YALSA Popular Paperback/Quick Picks. Her series for younger readers includes, STRANGE ENCOUNTERS and 2015 release, CURIOUS CAT SPY Club.

When she was 8, she wrote animal stories and by age 14 she was writing mystery novels.  In 1986,  she had the unique experience of co-writing a mystery, THE TALKING SNOWMAN, with her favorite childhood author, Margaret Sutton (Judy Bolton mysteries).  Her goal was to have a mystery series of her own that that happened in 1994: MY SISTER THE GHOST series/Avon Camelot Books.  Recently she’s crossed genres to publish her first picture book, SNOW DOG, SAND DOG (Albert Whitman 2014). 

When Linda isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, movies, country walks, camping, bowling and reality shows (she’s never missed a season of Survivor, Amazing Race or Big Brother). She also collects vintage girl series mysteries like Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Trixie Belden and in 2014 spoke at a Nancy Drew convention. She’s a longtime member of Sisters in Crime and SCBWI, and enjoys speaking at school, libraries and writing conferences.

She lives with her husband, David, in Northern California, in a country home where she’s surrounded by horses, peacocks, dogs, wild turkeys and demanding cats. Follow Linda on her websiteTwitter, and Facebook.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Never Been Texted by Linda Joy Singleton

Never Been Texted

by Linda Joy Singleton

Giveaway ends August 31, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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