Death by Curiosity: Interview + Review

Hello Friends! It’s Monday, and I know Mondays are tough! If you, like me have spent the last few days at home trying to avoid every other living person on planet earth, I KNOW you are getting some serious cabin fever! I am with you, friends!

Today I am going to shine a spotlight on Lisa Matthews’ DEBUT novel, Death by Curiosity, which is one of my favorite reads this year! If you are into magical realism, witches, cults and enjoy a good mystery with fun characters, you have to pick up this book! Death by Curiosity is the first book in the Armitage Black series, and GOOD NEWS- the sequel will be released next year!!! EEK!

Lisa Matthews is not only an amazing storyteller, she is a lovely person that I always look forward to talking to, so I’m really excited to share my interview with all of you!

Everyone knows that witches aren’t real.
And yet when the sleepy village of Habely is rocked by a series of bizarre murders and James Pettyfer is arrested after being caught whilst disposing of the bodies, he claims that he was made to do it by Elodia Knight – a lady who’s capable of magic and can get into other people’s souls.

Armitage Black is a very relatable, witty protagonist. She is a police typist that will stop at nothing to solve the mystery of the dead bodies that keep appearing in the woods of her sleepy town. Elodia Knight is a local witch with a devious plan, AND a coven of people who worship her, and stop at nothing to see her plan through.

I enjoyed this book, and what I enjoyed most was the witty banter between Armitage and, well everyone. I related to Armitage, she was a very real protagonist that had me laughing out loud several times throughout the book.

I am giving this book a solid 4 stars. It had a strong premise and a fun story.
At some points during the book I felt overwhelmed with detail, and to get through a scene sometimes took paragraphs and paragraphs of detail, which wore me out a bit. The magical realism in the book fell flat for me, but I don’t think that took away from the story.

This is a solid mystery with a great cast of relatable characters, and I will definitely be reading the next installment in the Armitage Black series!

SO, lets talk about your debut novel, “Death by Curiosity”, the first book in the Armitage Black series. I just recently finished it, and it was a fun read! I like the way Armitage’s character developed throughout the book. Where did you get your inspiration for her character?Believe it or not, Armitage was actually inspired by Sherlock Holmes!  I have to admit, I’ve never read any of the actual books – not for lack of trying – but I absolutely loved the first Robert Downey Jr film and the modern show starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  I remember watching both and thinking how much I’d love to write something like that.  I had a vague idea about what I wanted to write for a few years, but it wasn’t until I started working in the Typing Pool for my local Police Force that I realised how Armitage would find a way in to the case – I’m not sure Armitage would’ve had her story told if it wasn’t for that job!
This is your debut novel, which blew my mind, because it was so well written, and so incredibly witty! At times I was laughing out loud! How did writing/publishing your first book change your writing process?Thank you very much!  I’m really glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I actually wrote the book about eight years ago now, and this has been its third (and final) rewrite.  I think my own life experiences have helped in reshaping Armitage – I’ve grown up a lot since the first version – but I also think it helped to really know the characters.  I’ve hand-written three sequels so far, which has allowed more development of the characters, and Armitage & Co have been in my life for so long that I know how each of them would act and react much more now than I did when I first started writing about them.
I loved the supernatural realism in Death by Curiosity, and let’s be honest, witches and cults make fun reading too! Do you live in an area with a lit of witchcraft history, or is that just something you are interested in? What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?Unfortunately, I don’t!  The nearest place with a supernatural history is Whitby, which is much more about Dracula than witches.  I’ve tried a few stories about witches over the years, but this is the first one that really found its way.  One of the things I really enjoyed about writing the book was that I didn’t have to do any research whatsoever – I spent most of my teenage years writing about twins who were the Presidents’ kids, so that took a lot of Googling about High School grades and American politics.  Because Habely and the surrounding areas are only based on my own home town and region, and because of the witch element, it was such a breath of fresh air to just get stuck in and write whatever I wanted to. 

Let’s be honest here, Armitage is kind of a badass, and so is Elodia Knight! How did you select the names of your characters? I love books that have characters with unique names, and I have always been curious about how authors choose the names of their characters! You should see the list of original names I have in the notebook I first wrote Armitage in!  I always wanted Armitage to have a unique name, primarily because who she was inspired by.  She was originally going to be called Fallon Blackwood, but I can’t say I was every in love with the name.  As soon as I stumbled upon the name Armitage, I knew that was the right choice for her.  Elodia Knight was much easier – I wanted something that sounded vaguely witchy, and the name just popped into my head.  To this day, I have no idea where I got Elodia from – but I think it suits her down to a T.  Hadaway was actually the hardest character to find a name for – I have two long lists of names just for him!   

Death by Curiosity is a fast paced, fun mystery and I loved every scene! Was there anything that you chose to edit out of the book? Yes, I took loads out this time. In the previous versions, there was a lot of Armitage arguing with herself about Hadaway, and I realised that that was telling more than showing – so I took all of that out and tried to make it more subtle. I moved a couple of scenes around and took a whole scene out, because it didn’t add anything to the story. Luckily for me, I absolutely love editing 🙂
I would think that the magical realism would be a hard thing to write about in a believable way, but you smashed it! What was the hardest scene in the book to write?The fight scenes are always hard to write; I’m not a natural action writer, but I knew that there had to be some scraps in there. I constantly question myself as well, asking myself if what I’m writing is believable in terms of Police procedure – but where it isn’t, I’d like to go ahead and claim poetic license 🙂
Armitage is getting a sequel soon, and I am SO EXCITED about it! How many books do you predict will be in the series, and can you give us an idea of what Armitage will be up to in the next book?Thank you! I’m really excited too 🙂 there will be ten books in Armitage’s series – the first four are already written, and I’m typing up the second book at every chance I can (although admittedly I’ve been distracted by wedding planning over the last couple of weeks). I’m really nervous about the next one – I know I struggled with the handwritten version, so I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to get it right. I know there’s a lot of waffle in there that needs to come out, so I’m also really excited to see how it turns out. The supernatural realism will continue, but this time it’s a demon instead of a witch. (If it sounds a bit out-there, bear with and all will be revealed.) Hadaway’s got a temporary promotion in this book, and he’s determined that Armitage won’t get any chances to get herself involved in this case. You also get to meet Armitage’s older sister, Coveney, who’ll cause a bit of chaos of her own.
After reading Death by Curiosity, and it being your debut novel, it is clear that you have amazing talent when it comes to storytelling. have you always wanted to be a writer?Thank you, that’s really kind! I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember – I’ve always wanted to see my name on the front cover of a book. I wrote my first short story when I was about seven or eight (in bright red Jokerman font on the first computer we had), and I was writing from being ten – mainly the Presidents’ twins mentioned above, but also a few stories that didn’t get past the first chapter. I came up with plenty of ideas as a teenager that I still remember, and I’m planning to revisit them some day.
What advice would you give the Lisa that is just beginning her writing journey, and have you gotten any good advice from any other authors along the way?The biggest surprise I got with Armitage – and the thing I enjoyed the most when I was handwriting the first draft – was that the story went in a totally different direction than I originally meant it to. So I guess my advice would be to not put pressure on yourself – just put pen to paper and let it flow, and let yourself enjoy it. Also to develop your own cures to Writers’ Block; it’s going to happen, and everyone’s got their own way through it – what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.
And last but not least, the question I ask every author I interview, What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?Oooo, good question! I don’t know if it’s under-appreciated, but I’m the only person I know who’s read it – so I’m going to say Marley & Me. I absolutely love it, and it’s even better than the film – it’s got more stories than those that made it into the movie. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll coo over the pictures. It’s really well-written, and I never get tired of reading it.

Death By Curiosity is available now!

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The Stranger

Book title: The Stranger

Author: Harlan Coben

Pub date: March 12, 2015

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

The Stranger was exactly what I needed to take my mind off being stuck inside my house for an indeterminate amount of time!
This was my first Harlan Coben novel, and I am officially a fangirl now.
I have read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, but this one….I didn’t see this one coming!
The stranger had me reeling from the first chapter, and the twists just kept coming, all the way to the end!
The story follows Adam Price, an attorney married to Corinne, a woman with an explosive secret!
When Corinne leaves town after being confronted by Adam, he is convinced something is wrong and he’s determined to find his wife.
I liked Adam, he was endearing and brave. I like a strong, brave, persistent protagonist, and Adam checked every box!
Although we learn of Corinne’s secret in the first chapter, the twists keep you guessing until The. Last. Chapter!
Fantastic, entertaining book with enough twists to keep your mind off of real life for a few!
Definitely recommend this book…now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put my jammies on and binge the Netflix series really quick! Byeee👋🤣

Where’d you go, Bernadette?

Book title: Where’d you go, Bernadette?

Author: Maria Semple

Pub date: August, 2012

Genre: Fiction, Humorous fiction

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“I can feel the irrationality and anxiety draining my store of energy like a battery-operated racecar grinding away in the corner. This is the energy I will need to get through the next day. But I just lie in bed and watch it burn, and with it any hope for a productive tomorrow. There go the dishes, there goes the grocery store, there goes exercise, there goes bringing in the garbage cans. There goes basic human kindness.”
.
Bernadette Fox is a gem. I relate to this woman on so many levels. I, too, wear my sunglasses as a mask every single day at pickup so that I do NOT have to make eye contact with gnats, and it truly is a beautiful way to keep that tiny sliver of sanity when surrounded by the buzzing, but I digress.
Where’d you go Bernadette was a beautiful, poignant story that made me feel like a fly on the wall hearing the gossip from every angle and it was glorious and fun!
Bernadette is a strong, funny, and brave protagonist that exists to show us that we can overcome, we can keep going, we can start again, and we can kick the shit out of life! .
.

Side note- I watched the movie after I finished the book, and it was just as good, if not better than the book! It was a fun Bernadette marathon!

Sophie & The Bookmobile

Book title: Sophie & The Bookmobile

Author: Kathleen Jacobs

Pub Date: Nov 07, 2019

Genre: Children’s Books

“There is no library in Victor” “What. Did. You. Say?!”
“There is not a library in Victor, but there is something that I think you’ll love just as much, maybe even more,” her mother repeated. Sophie wrinkles her forehead and scratched her crown, certain that her mother was wrong- very, very wrong.
.
When Sophie is 10 years old, she and her family move from New York City to West Virginia. It can be tough to move when you are a kid, leaving all of your friends and the only place you have known behind, but what’s worse is that Sophie discovers the place they are moving doesn’t have a library! Throughout the book we go on an unforgettable adventure with Sophie as she moves, and discovers Victor’s bookmobile! .
Charlie and I both absolutely loved everything about this story. Sophie is smart and brave, She makes the best of her move, and shows us that even though it can be scary to move from the only place you have ever known, there are new adventures and discoveries around every corner, and it is not, in fact, as scary as you may think!
This book was a fun read for my 6 year old with short & sweet chapters. .
I 100% recommend this sweet story! .

I want to thank Kathleen Jacobs for my copy of Sophie & the Bookmobile. We loved it, and look forward to reading more!

Verity

Book Title: Verity

Author: Colleen Hoover

Pub Date: Dec 7, 2018

Genre: Psychological thriller, Romance, Mystery

Verity was my first Colleen Hoover novel, and Colleen, I hear you girl! This book is a breath of fresh air among the psychological thrillers I have read as of late, and it was 100% unputdownable! I had this book in my hand for almost 24 hours straight, and was on edge THE. ENTIRE. TIME.

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling author trying to make ends meet when the publishers that work with mega successful author Verity Crawford contact her. Verity has been in a tragic accident and is unable to complete the final books in her series. After some convincing and an offer of more money than any sane person on earth could refuse, Lowen agrees to write the remaining books that ailing Verity is unable to. When Lowen arrives at the Crawford house to go through Verity’s notes and outlines for the books, she realizes that Verity is in worse shape than she ever could have thought. Among Verity’s many papers in her home office, Lowen finds an autobiography manuscript that will leave her questioning everything she thought she knew about Verity, her family, and the danger she may be in.

You guys, this book had me questioning everything until the very end, and then some. What was real? Can you ever really know someone completely? What are you supposed to believe? Are these things actually happening? WHAT is happening? I devoured this book and loved every morsel! I could not figure this one out, and, friends, I enjoyed every second!

So fam, who wants to volunteer as tribute to take care of my family while I read every. single. Colleen Hoover book ever written? Let me know, because after this, I AM READY!

If you pick up this book, ( and I hope you do, truly, it is a GEM) let me know, lets talk about it! I CAN NOT GO THROUGH THIS ALONE!

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The girl from Widow Hills

Book title: The girl from Widow Hills

Author: Megan Miranda

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller

“I was the girl who survived. The girl who held on. The girl you prayed for, or at least pretended to pray for-thankful most of all that it wasn’t your own child lost down there, in the dark. And after: I was the miracle. The sensation. The story.”

The girl from Widow hills is a psychological thriller hold the thrill. For me, Arden’s story fell flat in so many ways that at several points during the book I had to almost talk myself into finishing it.
Arden was 6 years old when she was swept away by the flood waters while sleepwalking one night. They found her days later clinging to a storm drain, miraculously alive. Coming upon the 20 year reunion of her rescue she braces herself for the flood of media attention even though she has moved away and changed her name. As the 20 year reunion creeps closer she finds herself sleepwalking again, something that hasn’t happened since the incident all those years ago…Only this time when she is jarred awake by a ringing phone in the distance, she stumbles over a corpse. A mystery man….

I had high hopes for this book, but I felt that it was repetitive-how many times do you have to reiterate to the reader that she was sleepwalking and was swept away by the flood waters, how many times do we have to hear about the lone tiny shoe clinging to the storm drain, a clue that she must have been stuck in the drain system, how many times do we have to hear that her mother used the story of her survival for her own gain? I read these points more than several times throughout the book and was internally screaming each time I heard about them..AGAIN.
I did not connect to any of the characters in this book, they all felt void of personality to me, Arden was bland,kind of a shitty selfish friend, and the other characters in the book lacked back story and any kind of details that would emotionally connect the reader to them…none of them had any personality traits that stood out to me.
It’s been a few years since I have read a Megan Miranda book, which was why I was so excited to pick this one up. I enjoyed Miranda’s other books, and was hoping to enjoy this one just as much, but I didn’t.
HOWEVER, I will give it a solid 3 stars based on the fact that I did not predict the plot twist at the end AT ALL. I did not see that one coming. It happened so fast, within 4 pages the climax hit, missed, and was over.
If you are up for an atmospheric thriller with a good twist at the end, pick this one up, you wont see this twisty ending coming!

*Many thanks to Netgalley & publishers for my advanced copy of this book!*

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February Amazon first reads pick!

Amazon first reads is pretty awesome. If you are an Amazon Prime member you have early access to editors picks, one FREE kindle book each month (Chosen from a selection of books each month) and you can shop select print editions for $9.99 or less in participating months.

ANYWAY, I wanted to share with you my February pick! I’m pretty excited about this one, and after reading a few contemporary YA books recently, I am SO READY for a good thriller.

DRUMROLL PLEASEEEEEEE- I present to you, my February pick, “A Killer’s Wife” By Victor Methos.

From the bestselling author of The Neon Lawyer comes a gripping thriller about a prosecutor confronted with the darkest part of her past and the worst fears for her future…

Fourteen years ago, prosecutor Jessica Yardley’s husband went to prison for a series of brutal murders. She’s finally created a life with her daughter and is a well-respected attorney. She’s moving on. But when a new rash of homicides have her ex-husband, Eddie, written all over them—the nightmares of her past come back to life.

The FBI asks Jessica to get involved in the hunt for this copycat killer—which means visiting her ex and collaborating with the man who tore her life apart.

As the copycat’s motives become clearer, the new life Jessica created for herself gets darker. She must ask herself who she can trust and if she’s capable of stopping the killer—a man whose every crime is a bloody valentine from a twisted mastermind she’s afraid she may never escape.

Okay, Yes, yes and yes. I am all for a good thriller. This book has great reviews on Goodreads, and sounds absolutely delicious. Have you read A Killers Wife? Let me know!!

The Burning

🌟🌟🌟/5

Title: The Burning

Author: Laura Bates

Pub date: April 07, 2020

Genre: YA Fiction

“We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn. And we’re not putting up with it anymore.”

Anna and her mother make a new home in Scotland hundreds of miles and a new country away from the home she grew up in. Told from the perspective of Anna Clark as her and her mother navigate a new life together without her father, who has passed away, trying to put her past of online sexual harassment and abuse by her friends and school mates behind her. They hope by erasing all of Anna’s social media, and moving, the problem will go away on it’s own.

They move into an old cottage by the sea, which Anna finds once belonged to a woman accused of witchcraft, and their stories begin weaving together from there, with Anna having troubling, vivid flashbacks of the woman’s life.

While I am not the target audience for this book, as a woman, I connected to it in more than one way. The readers are taken down the paths of two women, while hundreds of years apart, find themselves in similar situations, discovering just how powerful, and detrimental a rumor can be. This book would be beneficial for any woman to read, with a powerful story that is relevant to our day and age, and deals with the many faces of abuses young women have to deal with, Online bullying & Harassment, Slut-shaming, rape, victim blaming, just to name a few. These topics are dealt with in the present day of Anna’s life, and the life of the accused witch that lived hundreds of years ago.

I found the way Bates weaved the women’s stories together quite lovely, and the “visions” not only fit within the book at perfect times, they fit the story so well that both of the narratives had my heart breaking for these girls at the same time.

This book is a slow burn, taking quite some time for the reader to discover just exactly what Anna was running from in her previous life, and while I enjoyed this book, I found it incredibly tedious waiting for the author to unravel the details. I was expecting more of a climax, an AH-HA moment that felt like it never came to fruition, and the story just fizzled out. All in all it was an ok debut that dealt with important subject matter relevant to girls in our day and age, however I felt that it fell flat for me in more ways than one.

**Thank you Netgalley and publishers for my advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

The Burning will be available on April 07, 2020

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Wild at Heart

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

“I love seeing this.” I curl my gloved hand around his. “Thank you.” Is this what life with Jonah means? Will he whisk me away to remote places and show me awe-inspiring wonders? Things I had no idea about and things I may have heard about but but never realized how much I would appreciate? Because if that’s the case, I’ll never get enough of this new life with him.

It’s fine. I’m fine. I just have the most head -pounding book hangover of all time….but I’ll be fine.

Wild at Heart was my most anticipated read of 2020, and when you get the ARC of your most anticipated book of the YEAR, you throw everything else away and read it!

Have you ever moved to a new place and felt so lost, amazed, alone, happy, confused, homesick, and every other emotion possible for your heart to feel? That is how I felt reading this book. KA Tucker has done it again. She has captured the pristine beauty of the Alaskan frontier with such poetic ease that it made my mouth water, and consumed my heart with wanderlust.

I was wondering as I started this book if any newly introduced characters could live up to Wren,(who I miss, by the way, because, YES, it IS possible to fall in love with a fictional man!) Agnes and Mabel, but I found myself falling in love, yet again, with them all. The Curmudgeon was my favorite, he captured my heart with his mean, stubborn personality, and found that he was easily my favorite character in the book.

Wild at Heart is a slow burn, with delicious morsels of love, adventure, and new family scattered throughout so perfectly, that it had me wanting more. I finished this book in ONE DAY, I could not put it down, and I have the WORST book hangover of all time, wondering if there will be a novella sequel soon, so we can catch up on Jonah and Calla’s new life they have built together.

It is rare that I find a book that elicits such feelings within my heart, and I found myself laughing, crying, and on edge more than once throughout this book, especially when it came to the BEARS! I love that Calla has found her own voice, strength and purpose within Alaska and her new home!

Wild at Heart is just as amazing as The Simple Wild with complex, fun, lovable characters, a beautiful setting, and a love story that will make your heart swell as you realize you have fallen in love with everyone in the book…..again!

I 100% recommend this book, It will leave a lasting impression on your heart that is not easily shaken.

Wild at Heart will be available on 2-18-20. I hope you pick up this book, and I hope you love it as much as I did! Let me know, I would love to talk about it with you….or ANYONE! Yes, it was that good.

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About The Author

The Simple Wild

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5

The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker was easily my FAVORITE and most anticipated read of 2018, and it did not disappoint! I had to share my love of this book with you all because THE SEQUEL, “Wild at Heart” is set to be released on Feb. 18, 2020, and you’re not going to want to miss it!

“Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.”

The Simple Wild is a rare gem. It is a poignant, moving story about love, forgiveness, adventure, and family. As with all of Tucker’s books, the writing was beautiful, and she painted an unforgettable picture of the Alaskan frontier, and those who live and work there. Surprisingly, I found myself loving the adventure in the book most of all, and I’m ready to pack my bags for a trip to Alaska. YES, it was that fun to read!

I will have to admit I am not a huge romance lover, Give me a murder mystery ANY DAY……..But I found myself so moved by this book and the characters that I devoured every morsel happily! I related to each and every character on some level, and I loved them all! They were real, and raw, vulnerable, and so LOVABLE.

This book was so much more than I had anticipated in a romance novel, because it was not just a romance novel, it was the best NA book that I have read in YEARS. I am torn between keeping this short and sweet and writing a novel length review, but I don’t want to spoil this book for you, because it is a MUST-READ!

If you are looking for a book to make you laugh, cry, and everything in between, I suggest picking up this book, and don’t forget the tissues!

You have PLENTY of time to read The Simple Wild before Wild at Heart is out, so go grab it! I can guarantee you the sequel will make you fall in love all over again. It’s just as good!

Happy reading, friends!

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