I’m so excited to be a stop on the blog tour for author Lena Gregory and her book Murder Made To Order. This is the second book in her All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery series. I have read them both and I really enjoyed them
Murder Made to Order (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (June 19, 2018)
Paperback: 196 pages
Digital ASIN: B075WBZH6L
To save her cozy Florida diner, Gia Morelli must choke down a heaping helping of murder . . .
New York native Gia Morelli is just getting used to life in Florida when she gets word that the town government wants to shut down her pride and joy: the charming little diner known as the All-Day Breakfast Café. A forgotten zoning regulation means that the café was opened illegally, and hardboiled council president Marcia Steers refuses to budge. Gia is considering hanging up her apron and going back to New York, but before she gives up on her dream, she discovers something shocking in the local swamp: Marcia Steers, dead in the water. There’s a secret buried in the books at town hall, and someone killed to keep it hidden. To save her café and bring a killer to justice, Gia and her friends will have to figure out a killer’s recipe for murder . . .
The characters are well rounded and well developed. Gia is a smart, hardworking caring person who refuses to let others decide her fate. She is torn between staying in Florida or returning to New York, but she wants that decision to be hers to make. When she discovers a dead body she feels compelled to hunt for the killer. With the help of her best friend, Savannah. , she sets out to do just that. I really enjoyed the interactions between the two, it was heartfelt and genuine. And her relationship with Hunt, Savannah’s cousin, is moving along nicely and seems realistic.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is a quick easy read. It allowed me to live the lives of the characters, letting me know what they were thinking and feeling. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and I felt like I was right there, watching all of the action taking place. She is also very talented in her humorous writing, and I laughed a lot while reading this book. I especially enjoyed Gia’s fear of snakes and bears, that made her seem more realistic to me. She always had her bear spray on her, wherever she went. I loved that.
The mystery was well plotted and not easy to solve. I liked the fact that the current murder tied into the murder of Savannah’s mother, and we may be getting a little closer to finding out what happened to her mom. There were enough suspects to consider and clues to sift through.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well plotted cozy mystery. But do not read this book when you are hungry because there is a lot of references to great sounding food.
I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.
Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.
When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts
When did you know that you wanted to be an author? What things, if any, influenced that decision?
I’ve always loved reading, and I loved curling up in bed with my kids at night and making up stories for them, but it wasn’t until my youngest son was born, and didn’t sleep through the night, that I decided to try writing my own novel. I mentioned it to my husband and then to my best friend, and they were both so supportive I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.
With so many cozies being written today, what makes your books stand out from the crowd?
I like to think my characters stand out. I love introducing back stories for all of my characters, even some of the less prominent ones, and bringing their past histories into current situations. I also like a bit of suspense in my cozies, so my heroines often find themselves in dangerous situations.
Do you work from an outline or plot or do you just see where the characters take you?
I used to just wing it and write whatever came to mind as I went along, but now I tend to work from an outline. Since my books now tend to be contracted before they are written, I have to follow the outline I turned in. But I will admit, my characters sometimes get stubborn and outright refuse to follow my guidelines.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you do anything special to get those reviews?
I do actually read my reviews, but I only comment on them if the reviewers are part of a blog tour I’m doing. Then I thank the reviewer for taking the time to read and review, regardless of whether the reviews are positive or negative. Other than that, I don’t do anything special to get reviews, but I am very appreciative any time someone takes the time to write a review for one of my books.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Follow your dreams! When I was in fifth grade, I wrote a story for a spelling class. The teacher insisted I didn’t write the story. In hindsight, I guess I should have felt flattered, but instead, I felt like she was accusing me of cheating. I never let anyone else read my writing after that, other than class assignments. If I could go back to that day, I’d tell my younger self to be more secure and confident, to keep on writing and never to give up on a dream no matter what.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?
Absolutely! I think the cover plays a huge role in selling books. Since I’m contracted with publishers, they have a cover artist design the covers, but I do get input. I love when they include my ideas and create the perfect cover, better than I could have done for sure.
Please give us an insight into your main characters. What do you think makes them special?
Gia Morelli, the main character in the All-Day Breakfast Café Mysteries, is an emotional mess. She’s been through more than she thinks she can handle. When she finally escapes her past in New York City and ends up in the small town of Boggy Creek, Florida, she thinks hard times are a thing of the past. She couldn’t be more wrong. I think what makes her special is that she keeps on going no matter what life throws at her. Even if she’s on the verge of giving up, she digs deep and finds a way to tough it out.
Cass Donovan, the main character in the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries, was a psychologist until a tough year forced her to return home to Bay Island. Even though she’s been through a few life changing experiences, she still wants to dedicate herself to helping people, and she pursues her life-long dream of opening a psychic shop on the boardwalk, despite the fact that she’s not really psychic—or so she thinks. I think one of the things that makes Cass special is her ability to read people, to know what’s in their minds and their hearts and to want to help them.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming an author?
I have learned that I am not a patient person. Lol. I never really realized that I am terrible at waiting, and this is not the career for someone who has no patience. So, I’ve learned to adapt, sort of. I don’t think I’m any more patient than I was, but now I can at least focus on another project while the previous one is out on submission. And I only check my email about a hundred times a day, which is better than I used to do.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I still work a day job, so I am only able to write part-time, but I still sometimes spend forty to sixty hours a week writing if I am on a tight deadline.
What do your plans for future projects include?
I am currently outlining book four in the All-Day Breakfast Café series. I’m also starting a new series about a house cleaner in the Hamptons, which I’m very excited about.
What do you think the hardest part of writing is? What is the easiest?
For me the hardest part of writing is getting the first rough draft done, especially the first half of the book. The easiest part is the first round of edits. Once the story is down, I love going through and fleshing it out and making my characters come to life.
What type of books do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?
In addition to cozy mysteries, I also love to read suspense, fantasy, and YA. Some of my all-time favorite authors include JRR Tolkien, Margaret Mitchell, JK Rowling, Kay Hooper, Allison Brennan, Nora Roberts (JD Robb), and Janet Evanovich.
What is the one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
I am an insomniac, and I love chatting, so I can often be found on facebook late at night. I am also an admin of the Cozy Mystery Crew on Facebook. We chat about cozies, real life, pretty much everything, so if you love cozy mysteries and you’d like to join, we’d love to have you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1757692634274149/?ref=bookmarks
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Every time someone reaches out to let me know they enjoyed one of my stories, whether on social media, by email, or through a kind review, it makes me so happy.
Thank you so much for having me! I’ve enjoyed visiting.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Please click on the link below to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway.
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