Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Stilettos & Scoundrels by author Laina Turner!

Author Guest Post

Thanks Kathleen for letting me visit and talk today about writing and different points of view.

We all know there are 3. First, second, and third.

First, what is the difference? I know that most people have known the difference since grade school but just in case you’re rusty, here is an explanation in brief.

First person is a view that is shown only through one person, usually the main character, and everything you write must be told through that character’s perspective.  I, and we, are the main pronouns to describe the main character.

Third person is more from a high-level narrator view who knows what all characters are thinking and then decides what the reader should know. He, she, and they are used to describe the characters.

There is also second person, but it is rarely used in fiction writing because it’s considered too jarring to the reader. You is used so it seems you are telling someone what to do rather than telling them a story. In fiction, I couldn’t even imagine using this style with the genre I write. It would make no sense.

I started out writing in the first person because for me I felt it was the easiest. I enjoy putting myself in the place of the character and pretending I am living the story. As an only child growing up, I cultivated a vivid imagination that hasn’t left me in adulthood. My Presley Thurman and Trixie Pristine series are first-person.

While I really do like first person, and enjoy reading in first person as well, it does have its limitations.  I sometimes struggle with wanting to tell the reader what another important character is thinking and I can’t when writing in first person. That aspect can get annoying.

So when I decide to start the Athena series I thought I would try my hand at third person. There are two main third person subsets. Limited and omniscient. Limited is more like first person, where you really only know all the thoughts and actions of the main character, and then other characters are presented externally. Omniscient is where you can ‘head hop” and you have the liberty to put all your characters thoughts out there for the reader to read. When I started writing my Athena series, I didn’t really pick which subset but it ended up being limited. I think because I am used to writing in first person it's hard for me to completely switch into that birds eye view. I want to be more intimate.

So far that is the only series I am writing from a third person point of view because I really found to enjoy writing in first person better.

As a reader, I don’t really have a preference. I enjoy novels in both points of view and would never make a buying choice based on the point of view it was written in.

What about you? Do you prefer one point of view over another?


About The Author

As a child Laina Turner thought she would either be a truck driver (thanks to Jerry Reed in Smokey and the Bandit) or work at Taco Bell (her favorite restaurant as a child).

As she grew older she realized her talents lay in academics and business and for the last several years has been a business consultant and college professor where she uses the analytical side of her brain and not the side that makes up stories.

Through all her career choices she has continued to have a passion for writing. This stemmed from childhood whereas an only child she developed a vivid imagination spending most of her time making things up and thinking the Incredible Hulk lived in her closet.

Proud of her vast experiences in life from barrel racing to being on the dance team for a semi pro basketball team to being a mom of 2 amazing kids, she tells her family and friends that no one is safe from their escapades slipping in to her books.

Taking the plunge to write books (cozy mysteries and chick lit) that she actually let people read in 2010, she has worked her way up to being a real author, having 5 fans (maybe 6 now). Her blog, Writing is a Lifestyle, was launched to share the daily fun in the life of a Real Housewife of the Midwest along with the musing of other fabulous ladies.

Author Website

Book Review

Stiletto & Scoundrels by Laina Turner
Book 1: The Presley Thurman Mysteries Series
Publisher: Five Seas Ink
Publication Date: Paperback - February 23, 2010 / eBook - March 21, 2010
Format: Paperback - 326 pages
               Kindle - 4333 KB
               Nook - 356 KB
ISBN: 978-0578034072
BNID: 2940011394782
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Buy The Book:

Buy The Series: The Presley Thurman Mysteries Series
Book 1: Stilettos & Scoundrels
Book 2: Necklaces & Nooses
Book 3: Handbags & Hooligans
Book 4: Mistletoe & Murder
Book 5: Gems & Gunshots
Book 6: Cupids & Crooks
Book 7: Tiaras & Texans
Book 8: Vows & Victims
Book 9: Accessories & Alibis
Book 10: Romance & Revenge
Book 11: Bats & Bling
Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Presley tells her boss what he can do with her job in HR and embarks on a new career as a freelance journalist. What seems like a simple interview with a Senator turns to murder when the day after her interview the Senator turns up dead. Does the fact that Presley was one of the last people to see him alive make her a suspect? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper, who was in charge of the Senators security, might think so. Presley is determined to clear her name but can she do it and resist Cooper’s charms?

Book Excerpt:

“I heard Helen was having an affair,” I blurted out.

“What?” Ruth exclaimed. Her eyes narrowed, and crossing her arms in front of her chest, she gave me a dirty look. “What right do you think you have, asking these questions?”

“Well, if she were that would be a motive for someone to kill Tom, wouldn’t it?” I continued. Ruth was clearly unhappy to hear me talking about this, so I added quickly, “Not that anyone would blame Helen or anything—”

Ruth interrupted. “First of all,” she said coldly, “Helen is not having an affair, and if she were, that’s not anyone’s business but hers. And they’re not having money problems. Or any other problems for that matter.”

“Ruth, I’m just saying...”

“Second, you should be ashamed of yourself, spreading these kinds of lies about Helen and Tom.” She continued with her rant. “Have you no shame? Helen just lost her husband, and you are accusing her of cheating. And murder.”

“Ruth, I’m not accusing Helen of anything,” I said, hands on hips, trying to act indignant, which wasn’t that difficult as Ruth was making me feel defensive. I wasn’t trying to say anything bad about Helen. Each to his own and all that. “From all I’ve heard, she was entitled to have an affair with the way Tom acted.”

Ruth walked out from behind the counter and pointed to the door. “I think you should leave, Presley. I will not continue to listen to you slander poor Helen. She’s been through enough.”

I started walking toward the door when I turned back to Ruth and said, “I am not trying to start rumors about Helen. I just want to find the truth. It’s going to come out eventually. If something is going on, the cops will find out.”

“Presley, this is none of your concern.” As the door started to shut behind me, I heard Ruth call out, “Don’t think I won’t be telling your mother about this!”

I cringed at the thought, but I got the sense Ruth might be hiding something. Not that I expected her to spill all the beans, but what Ruth didn’t say, and the way she looked when I mentioned Helen having an affair, were the real clues. I hadn’t realized my HR skills would come in so handy. When interviewing job applicants, body language and what they didn’t say, usually, spoke volumes.

I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel to help me think, trying to decide my next course of action.

I decided my next stop would be Betty’s Baked Goods. Not only did Betty have the best peach cream cheese muffins in the world (I had eaten enough to know over the years and always made my parents bring me some when they came to visit), but Betty also knew everything that went on in Alkon. If there were something going on inside or outside of Helen Daniels’s marriage, Betty would know it, and Betty was not shy about spreading gossip. She always said, if you didn’t want someone to talk about it you shouldn’t be doing it. I agreed with that motto, at least when it was about other people. There were some things I would much prefer no one ever found out about—like the time I had too many cosmos and danced on the table at Muldoon’s in a skirt. Though in my defense Jared dared me, and I couldn’t turn down a dare.

I smelled the sweet treats as I walked up to the building, and deeply inhaled the heady aroma of cinnamon buns and freshly made donuts. Yum. My senses drank in the flavor. It was enough to make one drool, and I quickly swiped my chin to make sure I hadn’t.

Deep into the daydream of fresh, hot muffins, I ran into something hard. “Excuse me,” I said, looking up and finding myself face–to–face with that obnoxious security guy named Simon, who worked for Cooper. He had a coffee in one hand and a bakery bag in the other. He obviously had the same mid–afternoon snack idea I had.

“Watch where you’re going, lady.” Simon looked me up and down.

“Maybe you should watch where you’re going,” I retorted as he just stared at me.

Taste buds in overdrive, I put all thoughts of Simon out of my head. Time for a snack. Betty’s was slow at this time of day. The only people in the bakery were a couple of old farmers talking over late morning coffee, the cook in back, and of course, Betty. I never knew of a time when Betty wasn’t there overseeing the place, making sure everyone was enjoying their food and giving them a hard time. That kind of special attention was one of the nicer things about a small-town. Back in Chicago, people barely looked you in the eye while you were eating, much less cared if you enjoyed yourself, or engaged you freely in conversation.

Betty’s back was to me when I walked in, so I snuck up behind her and said, “Any fresh peach cream cheese muffins today?”

Betty turned around, startled, and then smiled when she saw it was me. She looked pretty much the same, as if time had stood still for her. Her silver hair was pulled back in a tight bun, wisps going in many directions, and she wore her uniform of blue jeans and T–shirt with a flour–dusted apron tied around her waist. However, unlike most women her age, which was somewhere north of sixty, her blue jeans were fashionable, distressed–looking wide–legs. And she had a sassy T–shirt saying I’m too good for you on it.

“Why, it’s Presley Thurman,” she said, reaching across the counter to hug me. “Of course, sweetheart, I always have fresh muffins.”

My Book Review:

In Stilettos & Scoundrels, the first book in The Presley Thurman Mysteries Series, the reader is introduced to Presley Thurman, an ex-HR representative turned freelance journalist and amateur sleuth.

Presley Thurman lost her job in the HR department of a Chicago corporation when she refuses her boss' sexual advances. She hooks up with her friend Trevor, and accepts his offer to be a freelance journalist, and write stories for his online magazine. Her first assignment is to interview a U.S. Senator in her hometown. The day after the interview, the Senator is found murdered, and Presley was the last person to see him alive, and now finds herself a suspect in his murder. To add to the craziness, she discovers that her ex-high school boyfriend Cooper Sands, is in charge of the Senator's security. Presley is determined to clear her name and prove her innocence, so she teams up with Cooper to investigate the Senator's murder and find the real killer.

Author Laina Turner weaves an entertaining cozy mystery with a chick lit twist that follows Presley Thurman as she gets herself embroiled in the Senator's murder investigation. Told in the first person narrative, Presley is a sassy lady with a penchant for fashion (shoes) and snooping. Presley's investigation is filled with enough crazy trials and tribulations that will keep the reader guessing. And if that isn't enough, there are distractions that she has to deal with: being in her hometown has her reminiscing and gossiping with old friends, and working closely with Cooper makes it really hard for her to resist his charms. And even though there is someone who is out to harm Presley because of her investigation, she is determined to find the real killer, even when danger is around the corner.

Stilettos & Scoundrels has a good mixture of humor, mystery, and a touch of romance that will easily keep the reader engaged as they follow Presley's amateur investigative adventures. There is a lot that goes on between the pages of this story, especially with the amount of characters and the variety of crazy situations, but Presley's humorous shenanigans, and the intrigue and suspense behind the mystery of who really killed the Senator will keep you guessing right to the very end!


Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

April 11 – Polished & Bubbly – Review
April 12 – Change the Word –Q&A
April 12 – Caroline Fardig –Guest Post & Excerpt
April 13 – Literary Chanteuse – Excerpt
April 14 – Queen of All She Reads – Excerpt
April 15 – Whispering Stories – Guest Post & Excerpt
April 15 – Monograms and Margaritas – Review & Q&A
April 18 – Awesome Clubs – Review
April 18 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
April 19 – Fiction Dreams –Excerpt
April 20 – Chick Lit Club Connect – Guest Post
April 20 – Turning Another Page – Review, Interview, Guest Post & Excerpt
April 21 – Kelly’s Nerdy Obsession – Review & Excerpt
April 21 – Nerdy Dirty and Flirty –Review & Excerpt
April 22 – A Page To Turn – Review & Q&A
April 25 – The Phantom Paragrapher – Review
April 25 – Writers Corner – Guest Post

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