Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Debbie Wiley | Cozy Comfort Reads
Author Guest / November 9, 2020

Book recommendations from Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer, Debbie Wiley! You can read more of her reviews and columns here. Enjoy! — Comfort reads have always been an important part of my life. Some of my oldest (and favorite) books I own have been read and reread, particularly when life seems a bit tougher than normal. While many nowadays struggle to agree on just about anything and tensions and turmoil are heightened, comfort reads are a great escape and an excellent form of self-care. One of my all-time favorite comfort reads, THE RED CARNELIAN by Phyllis Whitney immediately pops to mind. However, I’m also finding comfort in new read, particularly cozy mysteries and I want to share a few of my recent enjoyable book escapes. Any book featuring a bookstore is almost guaranteed to be a hit with me and Lauren Elliott’s Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery series is certainly that! In A PAGE MARKED FOR MURDER, Addison Greyborne has her hands full. Not only is she the owner of Beyond the Page, a book and curio shop, but her flakey cousin isn’t coming to work regularly leaving only Addison and her shop assistant, Paige Stringer, during the Fire and Ice Festival. Worse…

Debbie Wiley | Cozy Mystery Recommendations
Author Guest / July 13, 2020

Canceled plans, social distancing, and masks are a regular part of our lives nowadays. Can we all just give a huge round of applause to the authors, editors, and publishers out there who have kept the books coming even as the world has seemingly shut down? In fact, I’m supposed to be just returning from an Alaskan cruise right now, sharing pictures and memories of what was to be a trip to rival my outstanding trip several years back to Ireland. Thankfully, there are a plethora of phenomenal books out there to keep me entertained (and keep my mind off that missed Alaskan cruise LOL!). Daryl Wood Gerber adds a dash of the paranormal to the cozy mystery, A SPRINKLING OF MURDER, where readers enter a world where fairies exist and they have to complete certain goals to earn their wings. Courtney Kelly loves sharing her belief in the world of fairies with others through her store, Open Your Imagination, where she teaches and sells various items to help with landscaping, including how to design fairy gardens. Her own personal fairy, Fiona, is visible to those who are willing to believe. Can Courtney and Fiona uncover a murderer? Readers will…

Debbie Wiley | Cozy Mysteries are the Perfect Escapist Reads!
Author Guest / May 11, 2020

by Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley With the long days of quarantine both behind and still in front of us, if you’re like me you’re tired of hearing nothing in the news but gloom and doom. Luckily for us as readers, we have a great selection of cozy mysteries to curl up with and take our minds off seeing only the people we’ve been quarantined with. So, sit back, pretend it’s a cold day inside by the fire where staying inside is fun, and let’s look at a couple great books to choose from! Amanda Flower is one of my go-to cozy mystery authors and what could be better than a novella including an appearance by Jethro, the support pig? In BOTCHED BUTTERSCOTCH, a Mother’s Day fundraiser goes awry and now Bailey King is determined to uncover a thief. Amanda Flower offers up just the kind of heartwarming mystery we need, as BOTCHED BUTTERSCOTCH showcases Abigail’s Farm, a program opening up in the Amish community to help women recovering from substance abuse. We have a lot of fun bantering the wedding that isn’t even an engagement yet and yes, we have a great Jethro scene!  SIX CLOVES UNDER by Gin Jones features…

Debbie Wiley | Bookish Storylines
Author Guest / September 30, 2019

Fresh Fiction Senior Review Debbie Wiley Bookstores have always been a place of joy for me, even as a young child. Books open up doors to new worlds and new adventures. Some authors capture that essence in their books by including bookstores as part of their plots. A wealth of emotions can be conveyed as characters learn to cope and heal through books and bookstores. Here are a few recent books that include bookstores as part of the magical world the authors transport us into. Jenny Colgan’s Scottish Bookshop series includes two books, THE BOOKSHOP ON THE SHORE and THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER, centered around a mobile bookstore. Both stories focus on a female lead character who heads to Scotland seeking a new life where a mobile bookstore becomes part of both of their worlds. THE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER is the first book in the series and shows how Nina Redmond first creates the idea of a mobile bookstore, as she seeks to share her love of books with a population unaccustomed to reading for pleasure. The second book, THE BOOKSHOP ON THE SHORE, focuses on Zoe O’Connell’s move to Scotland and her struggles to fill Nina’s shoes…

Deb Wiley | Pets as Side Characters in Genre Fiction
Author Guest / February 18, 2019

Today we are joined by Senior Reviewer Deb Wiley, with an article all about charismatic pets as side characters in cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, and other fiction genres. Enjoy! Stories featuring pets are always a popular draw for me. Whether it involves a man borrowing someone’s dog to capture the interest of a woman, such as in Sarah Morgan’s NEW YORK, ACTUALLY, or a mysterious cat who keeps popping up at the most opportune times, such as in FINAL SHADOWS by Kay Hooper, dog and cat stories are almost guaranteed to be on my TBR shelf. But what about stories featuring some more unusual animals rather than the expected dog or cat? Here are a few of the more intriguing stories I’ve read with pets outside the norm. Kym Roberts is hands-down the winner for having the most unusual and most entertaining pet! Her Book Barn series features a bookstore owner, which already draws my attention. However, Charli Rae Warren’s pet pink armadillo, Princess, steals the show in almost every book. In KILLER CLASSICS, Princess gets a boyfriend.  I’m not going to spoil anything by saying more but if you love pets and other animals getting involved in the storylines,…

Debbie Wiley | Cozy Mysteries with a Paranormal Twist
Author Guest / December 3, 2018

A love for reading was instilled in me at an early age and I remember reading Gothic romances tinged with a touch of mystery as far back as middle school. Cozy mysteries and paranormal stories (urban fantasy especially) were natural fits for me as I grew older but what a great surprise to discover cozy mysteries that blended my love for the genre with my love of the paranormal! How could anyone not love a magical bookstore? Amanda Flower is quickly becoming one of my favorites for cozy mysteries with that delightful paranormal touch and her series, Magical Bookshop, is practically a must read for all book lovers. Charming Books is exactly the kind of bookstore I would love to browse, a bookstore where the book you need will fly off the shelves just for your reading pleasure. There are three books in the series, CRIME AND POETRY, PROSE AND CONS, and MURDERS AND METAPHORS (releasing in February 2019), and each book is as delightful to read as one would expect. After all, there’s a magical bookshop involved! Magical bookstores aren’t my only love, however, as enchanted gardens have captured my heart as well (particularly during gardening season when I…