Updates, giveaways, and more!
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
From the desk of Ashleigh Stevens
It is starting to feel like summer, the perfect weather to curl up in an Adirondack chair with a cool beverage and a good book. What are some of your favorite summer reads?

I enjoy shorter books with shorter chapters in the summer. I find these books are easier to put down for a few minutes when I need to refill my drink or move out of the sun.

I am compiling my summer reading list and would love to hear your suggestions.
Summer Reading List Suggestions

A Glimpse at Ashleigh's Bookshelf

Here are some books you may want to put on your summer reading list.
Between a Rock and a Deadly Place
Between a Rock and a Deadly Place
Zoey Chase

After a very unpleasant divorce, Thea is ready to start over. She left her law practice, packs only her most important possessions into her car, and sets off for the campground she inherited from her grandparents. But, the place is nothing like her memories. Completely run down, it will need a lot of work to get in shape for the summer. When an unexpected death results in cancellations, Thea realizes it's up to her to figure out what happened in order to save her new home.
I loved this novella for many reasons. It opens with a map of the campground that is difficult to read on the kindle. However, if you click on the link, you can download a free, color, annotated map that looks so authentic, I was picking out a site for my RV this summer.

Since this is a novella, there were a few places where things felt a little rushed, but overall I liked the story. I found the characters very relatable and look forward to reading more about them. The story itself felt well-executed, although the ending may have been a little rushed. I wanted to see more of Nolan addressing his obvious PTSD, but I figure that will come out in a future book.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in this series.
Murder in an Irish Village
Murder in an Irish Village
Carlene O'Connor

Since the death of her parents a year ago, Siobhán has been trying to get by. Running her parents' bistro. Caring for her four younger siblings. Keeping an eye on her older brother. When the brother of her parents' killer is found dead in the back booth, her own brother becomes the prime suspect. Of course, that's the night her brother breaks six months of sobriety to go on a bender. With everyone in town, even her brother, wondering whether he did it, Siobhán decides its up to her to determine the identity of the true killer and clear her brother's name.
This book opens with a glossary and pronunciation guide and I was proud of myself for knowing most of the terms and sounds. During the readings, however, the terms were explained in the text, somewhat unnecessarily, either because their meaning was obvious or because they were already explained in the glossary. While I am aware the author spends at least some of her time in Ireland, there were several times where I felt that this book was being narrated by an American rather than an Ireland native. I would have preferred a little less explanation. If I were truly curious what something meant, I would gladly research it to better understand the culture.

This brings me to another point about this story. It felt very heavily narrated. The main character spends a lot of time in the first half of the book pondering how her life would have been different had her parents not died (a year before the story begins) and the second half explaining how she is arriving at her conclusions about why someone would or would not make a good suspect (some of which feel like a big reach). I often felt like things were being spelled out for me instead of letting me try to guess whodunit on my own. There are several instances where these internals interrupt the dialogue and the flow of the story. While the main character usually acknowledges this with something to the effect of She didn't hear what he said, I still found it jarring as a reader.

Along the same lines, I felt like a lot of time passed between the two murders. Combined with the second guessing and excessive internals, the first half of the story felt a little slow.

There were also two small plot holes that bothered me. In chapter 3, the main character decides to take up running. While it is occasionally joked about throughout the book, we only see her running in chapter 3. I assumed she gave it up because she was so involved in her investigation. Yet, in chapter 39, we read that she was glad she had kept up with her running. I feel like this was a missed opportunity to mention when the main character might have noticed things around town or even just to have used this time to clear her head.

The other plot hole came at the end. Without giving too many spoilers, the main character learns that three people are being blackmailed. She determines the motive for two of them, but we never learn the motive for the other. I was disappointed because I felt it was something important about his character.

Because this story was so focused on the main character, I found many of the other characters a little flat. There were many names introduced in the first couple of chapters, along with a lot of backstory, making me a little confused. Despite the fact that her older brother is falsely accused, I felt I knew very little about him. I feel like we should have learned more about him during the course of the investigation. Did being accused of murder scare him away from drinking for good? What had caused him to become sober in first place? Although this story was supposed to be about Siobhán's family, I felt I knew more about the hairdresser across the street than about her siblings.

Despite my nit-picky review, this book was not all bad. My favorite line was: The date was officially ruined. Accusing each other of murder was a definite romance killer. I found Siobhán relatable and look forward to reading about her further adventures.
Wondering what to read next?
Try these new reads
Publishable By Death
Free Book
Publishable By Death
St. Marin's Cozy Mystery Series

Change is hard in a small Southern town, especially when it brings a side of murder.

All Harvey Beckett wants to do is help the residents of St. Marin's find the perfect book for that moment, snuggle with her hound dog Mayhem, and be ignored by her cat Aslan. But when the small, waterside town's newest resident discovers the body of the community's persnickety reporter in her bookshop storeroom just before her grand opening, Harvey can't help trying to solve the crime, even when it might cost her business and her life. The more questions Harvey asks, the more secrets she uncovers.

Will Harvey and her friends be able to solve the murder of the town reporter without her becoming a victim herself?

This book addresses racism in both the plot and the writing style.
Check out these free and discounted books
Mother's Day Repeat
Memorial Day
May Mysteries
Clean April Showers
Are you interested in my other newsletters?
Click to subscribe
Ashleigh's Young Adult Newsletter
Ashleigh's Romance Reads
You received this email because you subscribed. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Powered by EmailOctopus
11923 NE Sumner St, STE310213, Portland, OR, 97250, United States of America