Monday, October 13, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Picked to Die (Orchard Mystery #8) by Sheila Connolly


It’s harvest time in Granford, Massachusetts, and orchard owner Meg Corey and her fiancé, Seth, are both racing to beat the New England winter. Meg is bringing in her apple crop with a team of workers, while Seth is working to restore an old building in the center of town. But when his project is set back due to the unexpected discovery of a skeleton under the building—and even worse, a young man related to one of Meg’s former apple pickers is found dead behind the local feed store—the couple’s carefully laid plans are quickly spoiled…

Meg can’t help but wonder: are they just unlucky, or is there something rotten in Granford? If so, she knows she’s got to seek out the bad apple before it ruins the whole bunch…

Includes Delicious Recipes

In Picked to Die, Meg Corey finds it hard to believe that she's now harvesting her second apple crop.  She's even managed to survive a drought and a forest fire, not to mention reluctantly solving a fe crimes along the way.  Her relationship with neighbor Seth Chapin has been warming up slowly - only to be stalled by her busy harvest and his new project, renovating one of the oldest buildings in the town of Granford.  They're both looking forward to the coming winter, when everything will slow down and they can catch their breath.  

But of course nothing in their lives is simple.  One of Meg's usual apple pickers didn't return this year, so she's in the orchard most days working alongside the rest of the crew.  Seth is handling the historical society's renovation project along with his other projects, but that comes to a sudden halt when a body is uncovered under the building, bringing the police to investigate.  They dismiss it quickly as a very old body, but there's an anthropologist from the University of Massachusetts who finds something unexpected about it.  

And that's before an unidentified young man is stabbed to death behind the local feed store, where he was found by a high school student - one who was also volunteering at the site of Seth's project and who found the body there.  Somehow Meg is drawn into helping to solve both cases, which share some unexpected connections.  

If you think life in a small rural town is peaceful, you should think again.  The real town on which my series is based, established in 1769, has undergone a lot of changes in just the past year: the library has moved into a new building, the historical society has been renovated and purchased the former town hall building.  However, as far as I know, no one has found any bodies! 

Sheila Connolly has taught art history, structured and marketed municipal bonds for major cities, worked as a staff member on two statewide political campaigns, and served as a fundraiser for several non-profit organizations. She also managed her own consulting company providing genealogical research services. Now a full-time writer, she thinks writing mysteries is a lot more fun than any of her previous occupations.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime-New England (president 2011), the national Sisters in Crime, and the fabulous on-line SinC chapter, the Guppies. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.

Sheila is Regent of her local DAR chapter, and a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. She's also the grandchild of Irish immigrants (in case you're worried that she's a snob). In addition to genealogy, Sheila loves restoring old houses, visiting cemeteries, and traveling. She is married, and has one daughter and two cats.

She blogs with Poe's Deadly Daughters and Mystery Lovers' Kitchen on Fridays, and Killer Characters the 25th of each month. 

This is, hands down, my absolute favorite cozy series.  I picked up the first book in this series on a whim, just thinking I'd give it a try.  And since then, I've been in love.  I've been in love with Meg and Seth, the orchard, the town of Granford, and all of the characters in-between.  It's an educational, fun and exciting series that is rich with history and community.

When I picked up Picked to Die, I couldn't believe that it was book #8.  I started it, feeling like I'd just picked up where I'd left off (literally) with book #7.  The series reads just like a lifelong friendship - you can go months without seeing each other, but when you finally do, it's like no time has passed at all.  Which is exactly how I felt about Meg and her orchard.  Of course, she's stumbled upon yet another mystery, and this one was fun to solve!  I loved the pacing, the story, and yes, Seth and Meg's ongoing and deepening relationship (FINALLY!). 

Picked to Die is a testament to Ms. Connolly's talent, and just proves that with a little love and dedication, over time, you can perfect your art.  

Rating: 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own.  

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of Picked to Die by Sheila Connolly to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


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