Traveling With T turns 2! Happy Bloggy Anniversary/Birthday (+ GIVEAWAY!)

TWT turning 2

That’s right, folks- Traveling With T is turning 2! 2 years of bloggy goodness. Bloggy fun. Bloggy giveaways. And yes some days of being bloggy confused- wondering how to make buttons, what is SEO, do I REALLY need multiple forms of social media, and a million other things.

Has it been fun? Absolutely? Is it worthwhile? 100 percent. Is it all super fun, cupcakes with sparkles, unicorns and rainbows and glitter everywhere? NO. Some days blogging is hard work. But I LOVE it- and the good days outweigh the bad by a million percent.

So- to honor my 2 year bloggy anniversary- my bloggy birthday(I’m totally treating myself to a HUGE cupcake today- because I’ve totally earned it) I’m giving away a slew of books. A pile of books. Books, books, books, and hold on——— 2 of them are signed!! Yes, yes, yes- last Saturday (when the temperature was around 32 degrees- but felt like it was in the mid 20’s) I braved the cold and I got 2 books signed. For you, my darling readers!

Here’s the giveaway line-up:

SOMEONE-ELSES-LOVE-STORY

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Yes. This is the signed book. YES (you are welcome!) But wait…. there is a bit more- I also bought the short story Joshilyn wrote- the story that accompanies SELS- MY OWN MIRACULOUS (which is also SIGNED!) The winner of this wins both- since they are a package deal!

morning glory

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Sarah Jio’s latest. Seriously, you can thank me later. Here is the Goodreads summary (just in case seeing Sarah Jio’s name is not enough to say “Good golly, I NEED that!)

the returned fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

This book caught quite a bit of attention. Several bloggers I know RAVED about this book. I have 2 copies of this book for you lucky readers! Here is the summary (just in case you aren’t aware of this book!)

read it and weep

Photo Credit: Goodreads

I LOVE cozy mysteries. I LOVE Jenn McKinlay. The Library Lover’s  series is a great one- and this is the latest in the series! Here is the summary on Goodreads.

Topped Chef - Cover

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Lucy Burdette’s latest- Topped Chef– is great. Fun. And Hayley is delightful (and might be finding a romance. Maybe. Possibly. We’ll see!) Here is the Goodreads summary.

murder of stacked librarian

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Denise Swanson’s latest. Another great cozy series. Here is the Goodreads summary.

goldfinch

Photo Credit: Goodreads

And lastly…. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Note: This was a Kindle Daily Deal a week ago and I bought a copy as a “gift” for a lucky commenter. So you need to have a Kindle or Kindle app to read this book! Here is the Goodreads summary.

So, there you have it. My birthday- but you get the presents 🙂 🙂 It’s my way of saying “thank you” for sticking with me, for taking a chance and following my blog, for being a commenter, for retweeting- for all the things you do that make me want to wake up and blog, baby, blog for another day.

You, my dear readers, like me for who I am. And I thank you for that from the bottom of my heart.

Giveaway details:

The giveaways are US only. To win, comment and list the prizes in order of how much you want from 1 (I really want this!) to 7 (I’d be cool  with winning this!) Giveaway begins December 14th and ends Dec 23rd.

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Gift Ideas for the Book Lover In Your Life

The holidays are fast approaching.  I’ve got visions of a white Christmas dancing in my head (even though that is not santalikely), craving cups of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows while listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree.

Before the stockings are hung by the tree with care, before the cookies are left out for Santa, before the joyous rush of family members hanging out at the house, before I celebrate another successful holiday by enjoying a glass or 2 of wine- presents will have to be purchased. And this is where my list of book-ish delights comes in handy. Have a reader in your life? Perhaps you’ll find a book that you will like to buy!

Mystery and Suspense

The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillipi Ryan

the wrong girl fb

Photo Credit: Goodreads

My first Hank Phillipi Ryan book- and I’m so glad I read it! As a fan of Sue Grafton (and seriously Sue- nothing but love for you- but I NEED you to write faster- yet I dread as we come closer to the end of the alphabet.) That little side topic is my way of saying that Hank helped me in quest for a Sue fix. Jane Ryland won’t knock Kinsey Millhone out of my heart for the #1 spot- but Jane is almost as good. And that’s saying a lot. The Wrong Girl was twisty and turny- with a great mystery and some potential steamy romance. Here is my review of The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan- an excellent consideration for someone looking for mystery and suspense!

Never Tell by Alafair Burke

Never Tell

Photo Credit: Goodreads

This was my first Alafair Burke- and after reading it- I’m all “Alafair-where have you been all my reading life?” Each time I thought I had the story figured out- Alafair zigged. Then she zagged. Then she twisted and turned. And kept me captivated.  Highly recommend Never Tell by Alafair Burke! Here is my review of Never Tell.

W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton

w is for wasted

Photo Credit: Goodreads

As witnessed above, I LOVE Sue Grafton. I LOVE Kinsey (Sue’s Character). If you have enjoyed A-V- then W is another great book.  Seriously. Just go get it. W is for Wasted is worth it.

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

if you were here

Photo Credit: Amazon

Another Alafair Burke book- and again- twist, turns, zig and zags! While I prefer Alafair’s Ellie Hatcher a bit more to McKenna- that’s just a personal preference. Both mysteries are top-notch and great reads! Put If You Were Here on your wish list! Here is my review of If You Were Here- intriguing and enjoyable.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

recon amelia

Photo Credit: Amazon

Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVED this book. Edge of my seat. Great storyline. How well do you know your child? Read this and prepare to wonder. This book will lead to a wonderful discussion amongst friends and book clubs. Reconstructing Amelia may very well be this year’s Gone Girl.  Here is my review of Reconstructing Amelia.

Cozy Mystery

I adore Cozy Mysteries. They are quick, fun and easy reads. They make me feel warm and fuzzy. The characters are fun and interesting. The settings are enjoyable- and the mystery is good.

Murder of a Stacked Librarian by Denise Swanson

murder of stacked librarian

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Denise Swanson’s latest has Skye getting married- if the groom can get away from the police station long enough to exchange vows! If you’ve read Denise’s other books- you’ll enjoy this one. If not, start with Murder of a Small Town Honey. While each story stands on it’s own- there are some things that build along the series of the books- and to fully enjoy, you might want to be invested in the characters. Murder of a Small Town Librarian is a must have for cozy mystery fans! Here is my review of Murder of a Small Town Librarian.

Topped Chef (Key West Food Critic Mystery #3) by Lucy Burdette

Topped Chef - Cover

Photo Credit: Goodreads

I have fallen in love with Lucy Burdette’s main character, Hayley Snow. Cute, fun, gets her tarot cards read- how adorable she is! She’s a foodie- but not pretentious. Hayley is struggling a bit in the romance department (but aren’t we all?!) Topped Chef is a book to put on your list! Here is my review of Topped Chef.

Women’s Fiction

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

the silence of bonaventure arrow

Photo Credit: Amazon

Magical- realism. If you were like me- and those words kind of make you feel nervous about a book- put aside your worries. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is wonderful. The story, the setting- the amazing Bonaventure Arrow. Forgiveness and love are major themes of this story. Read. You won’t be sorry. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is a book that some readers might overlook- don’t do that! Here is my review of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow.

The Guest House by Erika Marks

the guest house

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Love. Secrets. Family drama. Being true to yourself. The Guest House is a book that you must read. Here is my review of The Guest House.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

a hundred summers

Photo Credit: Amazon

Love. Intrigue. Friendships. Family secrets. And a Aunt Julie that provides a humorous aspect to the story. This story is fantastic. A Hundred Summers is a book to read- no matter the time of the year. Here is my review of A Hundred Summers.

I’ll be posting a few more recommendations next week as well! Hopefully, you, my darling readers of Traveling With T, will find a book to buy for your book-ish friends and loved ones!

Interview with Lucy Burdette, author of Key West Food Critic Mystery series

Topped Chef - Cover

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West Food Critic mystery series- featuring Hayley- a food critic who is fun and quirky- plus likes to have her cards read by a Tarot reader when life is confusing.

Topped Chef is the 3rd in the series (and it made Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List!)

 

Lucy agreed to be interviewed for my blog (and I’m SUPER excited- because, I’m a total Hayley fan!)

Interview with Lucy Burdette

1. Topped Chef was recently chosen to be on Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List. How did you feel, as the author, seeing 1 of your books on the list?

I was thrilled! One of the challenges of writing is figuring out how to let the world know about the books–and showing up on a summer reading list is a dream. So thank you Tamara!!

2. Hayley likes to cook. And eat. Could a cookbook deal be in Hayley’s future?

Interesting question. I’m not sure there’s a cookbook deal in *my* future, but I love the idea of Hayley landing one. Imagine the complications that could cause…You may know that I blog with a small group of culinary mystery writers–the website is called Mystery Lovers Kitchen. We would love to write a cookbook together one day–between us we have a lot of wonderful recipes and fun characters.

3. The Key West Food Critic Mysteries have such bright, colorful and interesting covers. Do you have a vision for the covers or does the art department at Signet come up with the fabulous covers?

I feel so lucky to have these artists for my covers. And my editor is very good about asking for suggestions. I have started keeping a Pinterest board for each of the books as I write, adding photos that remind me of the characters and the story. When the folks at the publisher are ready to brainstorm with the artists about the cover, I send the link to them. The results have been wonderful! I’ll add the links to boards for TOPPED CHEF and the February 2014 release, MURDER WITH GANACHE, so you can see what I mean:

http://pinterest.com/robertaisleib/topped-chef-key-west-food-critic-mystery-3/

http://pinterest.com/robertaisleib/murder-with-ganache/

4. Denise Swanson recently started a street team to help spread the word about her Scumble River book series? Do you, Lucy, have plans to start a street team for the Lucy Burdette series?

Funny you should ask…I enlisted a street team to help me launch TOPPED CHEF this spring. The team consisted of folks who had written to me about how much they loved the Key West series. Some took bookmarks to libraries and bookstores near them, some helped me set up radio interviews, some shared posts on Facebook and Twitter. I know I will gear up again for MURDER WITH GANACHE early next year and welcome any and all prospective team members.

 

*Special thanks to Lucy Burdette for agreeing to be interviewed!

 

lucy burdetteWhen Lucy is not dreaming new adventures for Hayley- she can be found at Mystery Lovers Kitchen contributing to the delicious recipes. Look for Murder With Ganache Feb 2014 (the 4th mystery in the Key West Food Critic series!) Need more Lucy? Check out Deep South Magazine’s Literary Friday for a recipe for Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Lucy is also a Jungle Red Writer member!

 

* To read my review of Topped Chef and an earlier interview with Lucy Burdette, visit here.

Literary Friday ya’ll….

It’s Friday- and I’m so ready for a weekend of fun. Spending time with my family and some reading. YAY!

 

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday has been posted! Susan Rebecca White’s  A Place at the Table event, Zoey Deschanel as Amelia Bedelia, and more!

Deep South Mag also revealed their complete Summer Reading List! 21 books just waiting to read!

Out of the 21, I’ve read 5- A Place at the Table, Looking for Me, Topped Chef, The Guest House, And Then I Found You

2. Book Lovers Unite Online Book Club is in Week 2 of discussion of Reconstructing Amelia. Plenty of time to join in!

3. Looking for #giveaways? My Thursday Mashup is filled with the best info!

4. I reviewed The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Santo.

5. A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams is divine. And totally 5 star worthy. My review to be posted next week.

6. My #fridayreads Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight and The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan.

7. Look next week for my interview with Erika Marks and a giveaway of The Guest House. Come find out what her #literaryconfessions are!

Happy Reading!

Literary Friday ya’ll…

It’s Friday. And it’s 40-something degrees where I live. Whatttt? What happened to my spring weather?

 

1. Deep South Mag and their #literaryfriday- The Great Gatsby (pictures and listening to the soundtrack) in preparation for “Gatsby week”, and other festivals, book-ish things and more.

2. I read and reviewed The Girl Who Married An Eagle by Tamar Myers for TLC Book Tours this week. It’s an interesting book- and worth a read!

3. For Cozy Mystery Reviews, I read Topped Chef by Lucy Burdette. Ya’ll know how I love my cozy books. And I ADORE the character Hayley Snow.

4. All week long at She Reads– the discussion of AND THEN I FOUND YOU by Patti Callahan Henry has been going on- still time to chime in!

My review of And Then I Found You can be read HERE

5. My #fridayreads: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and Deadly Harvest (A Detective Kubu mystery). What are your #fridayreads?

6. Read about Allison @ The Book Wheel’s meeting of BA Shapiro- author of The Art Forger- a book that I ABSOLUTLEY loved. I wanted to climb in this book, I loved it that much. Mystery, art, lust and love- I LOVE books like that. Allison was super-kind to send me an autographed copy because she knows how much I love this book!

My review of The Art Forger is HERE.

7. Looking for books to read for May? Read Bookmagnet’s suggestions!

8. She Reads articles you should read:

The Editor Recommends

Two Movies You Didn’t Know Were Books First

9. Like Cozy books? Want to join an online book club that only reads cozy books? Try Cozy Mystery Reviews

CMR is reading Mum’s The Word by Kate Collins for May!

10. #giveaway: The Fantastic 4 Cozy Mystery Giveaway

 

 

Topped Chef (Key West Food Critic Mystery) by Lucy Burdette (and interview!)

Topped Chef - CoverTopped Chef

ISBN:978-0451239709

Publisher: Signet

Author: Lucy Burdette

Series: Key West Food Critic Mystery

Reviewed by: Traveling With T

Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, enjoys food. She enjoys writing about food, letting the public know of the food that can’t be missed- and she enjoys eating! What Hayley does not enjoy is writing a review that is critical- but as a food critic, it just has to be done.  When the owner of the restaurant that happened to be the recipient of a negative review (hey she gave them 3 times to get the act together!) and Hayley wind up as judges for a Key West Topped Chef contest- Hayley wonders how fun the Key West Topped Chef contest will be.

So Hayley’s not thrilled about that part of her life- neither is she too happy over her potential romance with Detective Bransford- it’s beginning to look like a case of DOA. Then when Hayley finds out about Sam Rizzoli, the restaurant owner that she just gave a bad review, is hanging from his boat-dead and dressed oddly- she realizes that she is in the middle of another mystery- yet again. Did someone have a grudge against Sam? He was a mover and shaker in town- with his own agenda. Or is someone picking the judges of the Key West Topped Chef off one by one? Could someone want to be so famous that they would stoop to any depth to make it happen?

Hayley knows this: She has to find out what’s going on- or else she may have written her last article for Key Zest magazine.

Blogger’s note: I really enjoy the Key West Food Critic series. Adore Hayley (how can you not ADORE Hayley?) She’s a great character- someone who looks like she could be your BFF. Plus, her tendency to have her tarot cards read when facing an issue- that’s just great. I would love to have my tarot cards read with Hayley! Good plot, some romantic entanglements, and a mystery that was fun- with enough red-herrings to not guess the villain.

Readers of Traveling With T- you are in for a treat! Roberta Iselib, the person behind the pen name of Lucy Burdette, agreed to a quick interview!

Interview with Lucy Burdette:

1. Is Hayley based on anyone in your life? Or just a figment of your imagination?

Hayley is right out of my imagination. Which really makes for a lot of fun because I don’t have a mental script to stick to. She is quite different from the last character I wrote about (Rebecca Butterman in the advice column mysteries), who had a career similar to mine as a psychologist.

2. If the Key West Food Critic Mysteries were made into a movie/TV show- do you have anyone in mind to play the cast?

Amy Adams as Hayley…and Meryl Streep as her mother. *Note: After I asked this question, Roberta confessed that she’s terrible at picking actors for this type of thing- but I (and I think other readers) could agree that these 2 actresses could definitely work!

3. Can you let the readers in on some tidbits of information for future books about Hayley and friends? And, do you as the writer have a specific end in mind? Or are you taking it on a book by book basis?

I have a contract for two more books in this series, and hope there will be more after that–because I LOVE writing them. Right now I’m closing in on finishing #4, MURDER WITH GANACHE, which will be out in February 2014. (Don’t you love the title?) There is a wedding coming up (I won’t say whose so I don’t spoil the story), and Hayley’s family is descending on Key West. All of them!

And the news just keep getting better! Cozy Mystery Reviews is sponsoring a BIG HUGE GIVEAWAY! Details HERE!

Thanks to Roberta Iselib for answering some questions about Key West Food Critic Mystery series!