Thursday, September 3, 2015

Cinderella Six Feet Under by Maia Chance

I am one of those girls that while I do like a good chiller deep in my heart, I will always love a fairy tale. Which makes me wonder how I missed the first part in the Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery series. I was drawn in by the title and cover of the second part, Cinderella Six Feet Under by Maia Chance.


From the back of the book:

This Cinderella goes from ashes to ashes in the new Victorian-era Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery by the author of Snow White Red-Handed . . .

Variety hall actress Ophelia Flax’s plan to reunite her friend Prue with her estranged—and allegedly wealthy—mother, Henrietta, is met with a grim surprise. Not only is the marquise’s Paris mansion a mouse-infested ruin, but Henrietta has inexplicably vanished, leaving behind an evasive husband, two sinister stepsisters, and a bullet-riddled corpse in the pumpkin patch decked out in a ball gown and one glass slipper—a corpse that also happens to be a dead ringer for Prue. 

Strangely, no one at 15 rue Garenne seems concerned about who plugged this luckless Cinderella or why, so the investigation is left to Ophelia and Prue. It takes them through the labyrinthine maze of the Paris Opera, down the trail of a legendary fairy tale relic, into the confidence of a wily prince charmless, and makes them vulnerable to the secrets of a mysterious couturière with designs of her own on Prue’s ever-twisting family history.

My thoughts:

I may just be partial to all things fairy tale, but seriously, what is not to love here? The characters are awesome and the dynamic between Ophelia and Penrose is wonderful. I can not wait to explore that more in the future. I love how the author manages to tell a new story while dressing it up with nods to an old one. 

They mystery was well written, with good pacing and even better suspects. There was a lot to sink into and think about. I was fully engaged and turning pages long into the night seeking the answer. I am going to be hunting down the first part, as I suggest you do, because I just know this is going to win your heart. Plus, there is a teaser from the next part.. joy!  

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Aurorae Resistance Bands Set Review Plus Giveaway

I have told you before that I practice yoga. I get several benefits; everything from flexibility to peace of mind. I read that if you add resistance bands to your routine, you would also get the added benefit of strengthening your muscles, which at my age is much needed for bone health.

I know you have heard me talk about Aurorae before, I have several of their products in my yoga bag and at home. I love the mats ad burn their candles for relaxation. It seemed a natural place for me to look for adding any yoga tools. I am super glad I looked there because they had just what I needed.


The Aurorae Resistance Bands Set is really something special. It comes with everything you need to add these bands in several different ways. I was so impressed by how complete the set was for the price. It really is a super bargain!

What you will get is: padded handles that are so comfy and durable, even the clips used to hold them to the bands seem very high quality and sturdy and a door anchor and an ankle strap so that you can use these to work all of your muscle groups. There is a guide book that has pictures and tells you which exercise is going to work what group as well. I liked that; it made it easy to plan what to do. There is even a cute zippered carrying case that holds all of the bits and parts and it is small enough to toss in your purse, well my purse anyways.

Of course it also comes with the bands, there are five of them that vary in resistance from 2-30 pounds depending on how you are using the bands. I started with the easiest and, of course, my show off husband started with the hardest, but we were both able to get a good workout with them. After looking closely at everything and using the set for several weeks, both me and my husband feel great about being able to recommend them as durable and reliable way to add strength training to your current routine.

Talk about adding a new level to already challenging poses!

You can purchase your own set on Amazon and be sure to check out all of the great products available on the Aurorae website, every single this I have used by them has exceeded my expectations. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Hurry on back though because it is giveaway time! One lucky reader will receive a Aurorae Resistance Bands Set just like the one I reviewed! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Open to US residents, 18 years and older. Winner has 48 hours to reply before another is drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers. My Empty Nest is not responsible for lost or misdirected mail.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Basket Case by Nancy Haddock

I do love when I get in on a series at the start. And you should know that crafty cozies are my absolute favorite at the moment. When I saw Basket Case, A Silver Six Mystery, by Nancy Haddock in my reading stack I grabbed it first.


From the Back of the book:

There isn’t much crime in Lilyvale, Arkansas, but local authorities have their hands full with Ms. Sherry Mae Stanton Cutler and her housemates—a crafty group of retirees who’ve dubbed themselves the Silver Six. But when Sherry Mae’s niece, Nixy, arrives to keep them in line, Lilyvale also plays host to a killer.

When Leslee Stanton “Nixy” Nix gets the latest call from Lilyvale detective Eric Shoar, she knows it means trouble. There’s been another kitchen explosion at her Aunt Sherry’s farmhouse, and the dreamy-voiced detective has had enough. If Nixy doesn’t check on her aunt in person, the Silver Six could become wards of the court. But the trouble Nixy finds in Lilyvale is not at all what she expects.

The seniors are hosting a folk art festival at the farmhouse, featuring Sherry’s hand-woven baskets, when land developer Jill Elsman arrives to bully Nixy’s aunt into selling the property. When Jill is later found dead in the cemetery, Sherry is suspected of weaving a murder plot, and it’s up to Nixy and the Silver Six to untangle the truth.

My thoughts:

Everything about this was perfect. There wasn't a single character that I didn't love. And the detective, Eric, was swoon worthy. Nixy was fun, playful and quick to pick up on things making her a fun unforgettable heroine.  Plus, in addition to various neat townspeople who I look forward to hearing more from, you have the Silver Six! What a feisty group of older craftspeople! They are so fabulous.

The mystery was well paced and one I was able figure out, always a nice plus. I loved the setting as well, it felt very homey and was easy to relax into. Did I mention characters? I sure can't wait to see them all again. I know it will happen too because there was an excerpt from the next part, which I devoured, right along with craft tips and recipes.  

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Lost Treasure of the Templars by James Becker

I do love a great mystery, which means I am well aware of the Knights Templar and their lost treasure. I read and watch anything I find on the topic. Of course, when I saw The Lost Treasure of the Templars by James Becker I just knew I needed to give it a read.

From the back of the book:

The national bestselling author of The Lost Testament returns with the first novel in a thrilling new series about the powerful secrets of the Knights Templar—and a conspiracy too shocking to believe.

In a quiet English seaside town, antiquarian bookseller Robin Jessop has acquired an odd medieval volume. What appears to be a book isn’t a book at all, but a cleverly disguised safe, in which she finds a single rolled parchment, written in code.

For encryption expert David Mallory, the text is impenetrable. Until an invaluable clue opens the door to a mystery, and a conspiracy, stretching back seven centuries, when the most powerful man in Europe declared war on the most powerful clan, the Knights Templar.

Now, Jessop and Mallory find themselves on a global hunt for an unsurpassed treasure and this much closer to the keys to secrets that could change history, topple an empire, and bury them both alive. Because they’re not only the hunters. They’re also the hunted.

My thoughts:

I absolutely loved that the history was respected while still making for a very exciting action thriller. The characters, most especially Robin and David, were so easy to like and that made the bad guys easy to dislike, even though I must admit I did like Toscanelli. Feeling that bond with the main characters made the action parts breathtaking. At a few points I was white knuckled with worry for their safety.

It was so much fun to be able to join them as they followed each new clue on their quest to solve the mystery. The settings changed, of course, as they followed the clues and the writing was so seamless that I was able to envision each new place as if I had traveled there myself.

If you are looking for a fabulous action, thriller, mystery based on an intriguing historical mystery you won't want to miss this. I will be waiting eagerly for the next part.

Make sure you visit James Becker's website to stay up to date on new releases and news. You can purchase this great title as well as many others in all genres at Penguin. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Revenge of the Chili Queens by Kylie Logan

There is nothing that warms your soul like nice spicy bowl of chili. I have heard of chili cook-offs before but I have never made it one. In fact, before reading Revenge of the Chili Queens, part three of the Chili Cook-Off Mystery Series by Kylie Logan, I did not even know there was such a thing as a traveling chili cook-off. I just know you are going to love this tasty mystery.

From the back of the book:

The author of Death by Devil’s Breath takes the chili cook-off circuit to southern Texas to prove that revenge is a dish best served hot . . .

Everyone in San Antonio remembers the Alamo, but how many remember the Chili Queens? Back in the early twentieth century, these spicy señoras sold their lip-smacking chili in plazas all around the city. Now, as part of the Chili Showdown, Maxie and her half-sister, Sylvia, are dressing up as the Chili Queens to raise money for charity.

But someone wasn’t feeling too charitable toward a local troubadour, who is murdered at the fundraiser. When their friend Nick Falcone, head of security for the Showdown, actually becomes the prime suspect, it’s up to Maxie and Sylvia to turn the heat up on a killer, who’s planning a chili reception for them . . .

My thoughts:

I mention characters a lot because to me they really are what makes a good story great. This book has fabulous characters! Maxie is so awesome and down to earth and I just love that her relationship with her half sister isn't perfect; it is real. Nick, the main suspect and a friend of Maxie's, is totally dreamy and also damaged in a way that makes him real as well. The setting is a traveling chili cook-off and to me it had a great feeling of camaraderie like you would expect with a circus or anything where the same people spend a lot of time together.  

I loved how the mystery was paced and there were even some pretty intense moments while Maxie and Nick were investigating. In addition to turning up clues, bits of Nick's past were turned up as well, which lent to the depth of his character. I really enjoyed reading this and will be catching up on past parts as well as looking out for new parts. Of course, in the back you will find a chili recipe to try and a tease to another book in a different series by Kylie Logan, League of Literary Ladies, which sounds awesome as well.

Take some time to browse the other great mysteries available from Berkley Prime Crime. While you are there, you can sign up for the newsletter so you never miss a new release. I must warn you though, after browsing my wish list is longer than I could probably read. You can also connect with them on Twitter where you can happen across a fun giveaway as well. 

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Veil by Chloe Neill

I read a lot, as you all know. Every once in a while a book comes along that makes me excited. Reminds me what the difference is between great books and awesome books. There are a lot of great books with great stories and great characters. There are not so many awesome books, books where every element is believable and you are immersed in the fictional world. The Veil by Chloe Neill is an awesome book.


From the back of the book:

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

My thoughts:

It hasn't been too long since my husband and I walked a fun vibrant city of New Orleans on vacation. I thought that would be the only image I could ever hold of the city in my mind. Not the case. I can now fully picture it as a burned-out mess of a left-behind war zone. A place that is still alive with things creeping around in the night. Things that used to be human until magic made them otherwise. The masterful painting of realistic characters made everything they faced seem so intense. Even the secondary characters were real, as if they were my friends; my neighbors. The people I met for the first time, along with Claire, I was able to see just she had as if I were there.

In addition to having characters I grew to care about deeply, or despise if that were the intent or role they played, there was a wonderful story. Unique in concept and tight in execution. There is every indication this was just the start of a new series, which is fabulous because I must know more about these fascinating people and I need to know how things play out in the zone!

If you like your heroines strong and your heroes complex, your world rich and unexpected, then you need to read this book. Read it now. You won't be sorry and you will never think of magical creatures the same again.

Make sure you visit Chloe Neill's Website to stay up to date on new releases and news. You can purchase this great title as well as many others in all genres at Penguin. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Living Wonders Color Art For Everyone

Welcome back crafters! Did you pick up your coloring books from Leisure Arts yet? If not, I am here to tempt you again with another fabulous adult coloring book title that they offer. In case you missed my last post, and for some reason haven't been bit by the coloring bug, I will give a fast refresher as to why you really need to.


We all have a little too much stress in our life and from the research I have read, coloring is apparently just as effective as mediation for unwinding. That was such awesome news for me, because I have tried to meditate but just can't fall into it. I can, however, easily fall into coloring. In addition to relaxing, coloring also helps to open up your creative side. Both my husband and I have been able to reabsorb into the arts that we love in new ways.

Okay, I know you want to hear about the coloring book! This week I have been coloring in Living Wonders Color Art For Everyone, which has twenty-four designs of living things such as butterflies and fish. It even has larger things like bears and the horse that I have been working on. The designs are so unique and intricate to color. I really love all of the line work.  

As with the other book I told you about, this one is printed on high quality paper that has easy tear pages so that you can use any medium without worry about it bleeding on the rest of the book. Plus, the pages are one sided, so no more picking which side of the page you like best. Remember that as a kid? Wasn't it awful when two awesome pictures were back to back? I'm so glad they were thoughtful enough to make these one sided, because I love them all. 

You really should go browse the coloring book section as they have added even more awesome new titles since the last time I was there. 

Take some time to browse Leisure Arts' great selection and make sure you also connect with Leisure Arts on Facebook and Twitter so that you never miss a special or new pattern! Also, if you sign up for their knitting or crochet newsletters, you get a free pattern on Fridays!

Disclosure: I may receive products in exchange for an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally believe will be good for my readers.