Saturday, March 7, 2009

Death Swatch by Laura Childs - Review and GIVEAWAY

**This post will remain at the top until after the blog candy drawing. Please scroll down for new posts (I will have a new post every day this week so they are there!**

Hello and Happy Sunday to you! As promised, I am back today with my book review -- oh, and blog candy too! The review is of Death Swatch by Laura Childs. {I loved it, BTW. But read on for more!}. Ms. Childs contacted me after the holidays to ask if I would be interested in reviewing her latest book here on my blog. I had actually read books one through three when they were first out, so I was thrilled to reconnect with this series and catch up with Carmella, Ava, and the rest of the gang!

Death Swatch is the sixth installment of Childs' popular Scrapbooking Mystery series featuring heroine Carmella Bertrand, proprietor of the Memory Mine scrapbook shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans. While the characters are extremely well-developed over the course of the series, this is certainly a stand-alone story, and reading the first five books is not a prerequisite {although I believe you'll be hooked, so then you'll definitely want to go back and catch up on any you missed!}

Carmella, independent and nearly divorced from her charming but no-good husband, is a genius with all things papercrafting. The fabulous French Quarter, in fact all of New Orleans is rebounding from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, including Memory Mine and Carmella's best friend Ava's Juju Voodoo Shop. The girls are enjoying a typical gala in the apartment of good friend and float-designer Jekyl Hardy as The Big Easy gears up for Mardi Gras. Sipping on Purple Haze, the latest cocktail creation, and mingling with an amazing cast of characters, the bash comes to a screeching halt when Carmella and Ava discover Jekyl's neighbor and fellow designer near-death. No natural causes here, Archie has a barbed-wire garrote around his neck, and dies before the paramedics arrive at the scene. Jekyl is beside himself, and begs Carmella to help him piece together what happened on that balcony. Beautiful and intelligent, this won't be the first time she and Ava have provided...shall we say "assistance" to the New Orleans Police Department.

Clues abound, and in the course of their unofficial investigation, Carmella and Ava become involved with historical trivia, illegal absinthe, Russian mobsters, a 150-year old pirate treasure hunt, and one handsome police lieutenant {to name a few!}. And the whole adventure comes to a head smack in the middle of the biggest Mardi Gras parade of the year! Ms. Childs does a fantastic job introducing the diverse and colorful characters into the storyline, as well as incorporating insightful scrapbooking and papercrafting tips and delicious New Orleans recipes into the story {recipes and tips are included in full at the back of the book!}. I don't think there is a city anywhere that is better suited for a murder mystery, and Carmella simply belongs in the French Quarter. The overall effect of this story, with its attention to historical detail and legends, continuous literary tour of the Quarter {and one trip into the bayou!}, and the slow building of character development make this book an excellent read. I think it is my favorite of the series to date {and I have now read them all, I had to go fill in books four and five after I finished this one!}. I definitely recommend it to any one who likes a good book, doubly if you are a crafter! Carmella has some pretty amazing ideas in that department. I'm pretty sure she gets them to take shape much more quickly than I do too! ;-)

So there is my review! I hope you found it helpful. The book can be purchased from Amazon, and I'm sure just about anywhere you go to buy books. Laura Childs also has a website you can check out for more info on her books {the next one is coming out this fall!!}. On top of my copy, she sent me an additional THREE signed copies of this book {in hardcover!} to share with my blog readers. Read...SIGNED, HARDCOVER. Yum! I am a total book snob, I admit it. As I said yesterday in my teaser post, I like to read almost as much as I like to stamp -- and that's a LOT!! And yes, I am *late* getting this review and blog candy posted; my sincere apologizes to Ms. Childs for the delay! I read the book right away, but didn't get all my thoughts typed up until now. What else is new?

So -- would you like to have a copy of Death Swatch of your very own? I bet you would! Leave a comment on this post to be entered! It is not a requirement, but since I am such a book lover, if you'd like to share your favorite book or favorite author I'd love to hear it! I will close this giveaway on Saturday, March 7th, 2009 at 11:59 PM Central Time. Winners will be announced Sunday morning, so check back to see if you are headed to New Orleans {figuratively speaking}!

**This post will remain at the top until after the blog candy drawing. Please scroll down for new posts (I will have a new post every day this week so they are there!**

15 people made my day!:

JenMarie said...

Ooo...I've been trying to locate these books at the library! Would LOVE to win!

terriavidreader (Indiana-USA) said...

I'd love to win this, I haven't read the others though, so I guess I'd have to go get them too! I don't have one favorite author, but I love mysteries; Tess Gerritsen, Linda Howard, Catherine Coulter, Iris Johansen,Lisa Jackson, Nora Roberts, Carle Neggers are a few of my favorite authors.

Stampin_melissa said...

I've heard about this series, I'd love the opportunity to win one!

I fluctuate in my favorites. I love action, military non-fiction, psychological thrillers and about once every other year I'll read a romance.

Kate and Jeff Carney said...

I would love a copy of this book. I hadn't even heard of them. I'll have to look them up on Amazon. I don't know if I have a favorite author, but right now I am going through Robyn Carr's books like mad. I tend to read in genre mode. Of course I have a little embellishment on my blog that says "Sit long, read much".

thestampinglady said...

I love this series of books. Today is my bday and I think this would make a wonderful gift for me--LOL.
darlene

Joan Ervin said...

How cool to come visit you and find a book review....I love to read, too!!! This sounds like a wonderful book and would love to add it to my collection! I have so many favorites: I love Wally Lamb's I Know This Much is True. I also enjoy murder mysteries by David Baldacci and Ken Follet's World Without End and Pillars of the Earth. You can add Kate Jacob's Friday Night Knitting Club series to my list, too!!!

Tami said...

I'm going to try this again- if it's a duplicate I apologize. I love this series (and the tea ones also). I love any type of murder/mystery though- especially anything that involves cooking or crafting. Joanna Fluke is one author I always look for!

the whimsical butterfly said...

What a fun blog candy! I think I would love this type of book and definitely where it's set! LOVE New Orleans! Hmmmm...well, you know what my current fave books are hee hee. Got Edward?

Janna said...

congratulations first of all for being asked to review this book! You did an amazing job! it sounds really interesting! I think i might have to see if my library carries her books! And I know I already shared this, but my favorite author has to be Julie Garwood! I am hopelessly addicted to Romance novels and I adore the way she spins a romance and still makes it funny!

Smiles,
janna

Stampin Cats said...

I love to read. My taste in books has changed in the last few decades. I currently love to read Nora Roberts, JD Robb, Janet Evanovich. I'm waiting to see what stash I am going to get for my birthday on saturday.

Anonymous said...

I love reading and scrapbooking. This sounds like a great book. I will be putting it on my list of must reads.
Cathi

Jennifer (SCS: jennifer-g) said...

Kathe Madsen e-mailed comment.

Evelyn S. said...

What a great idea for blog candy! I would love to read one of these books!

Mandy said...

I haven't heard of this, but I LOVE to read!! My favorite author is Randy Alcorn. His Dominion series is FANTASTIC!! My favorite of his books, though, is Safely Home!

kc_froglady said...

Have you ever read any of the Miss Julia books? I really enjoy those.
I linked your candy on my blog today please enter me in your drawing I love to read also.