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Socialite Belinda Kittridge makes her big return to Portside, Rhode Island for a huge class reunion. Instead she meets up with former classmates filled with resentments, jealousy and accusations. There’s also an eighteen year old local kid stalking her.
Fortunately, Belinda still has close friends and a twin brother living in Portside. So, it’s not completely a horrible experience. When one of her classmates suddenly turns up dead, Belinda teams up with security expert, Bennett Tate. Toss in a classmate’s accidental death from several years ago and Belinda has her hands full in trying to solve these cases.
As Belinda continues her investigation with Bennett, she finds her own life is in danger. To top it all off, her brother is accused of murder, Amidst all the mystery, she can’t help find herself quite attracted to Bennett. In fact, the sparks fly between them.
At first I had a hard time keeping the cast of characters straight, but it wasn’t long before I wanted to read more about the whacky citizens of Portside. This is the first book in the Belinda and Bennett Mystery series and it’s off to a fun start. The characters are entertaining and the story is written at a fast-pace. I definitely want to re-visit Belinda and Bennett.
FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
For reading challenges:
2013 ARC Reading Challenge
2013 E-Book Reading Challenge
2013 Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge
2013 Where Are You Reading Challenge? (Rhode Island)
I would like to welcome author Amy Saunders to Socrates’ Book Review Blog. Amy is the author of the Belinda & Bennett Mystery series.
Thank you for joining us Amy!
1) Let’s start with a little synopsis of your mystery series. What can you tell us about it?
Well, Belinda Kittridge, the heroine of the series, returns home with two priorities: taking charge of her family home renovation while her parents trek through Europe, and starting a cupcake boutique. But she finds a little more than demolished tile. The murder of a former friend forces Belinda to revisit the events surrounding a tragic sailing accident. But it also brings her together with even security firm owner Bennett Tate, who she and I affectionately call the gray-eyed eagle. So that's where it starts, but Belinda, Bennett, and their friends, are destined for a lot of trouble!
2) Where is it set?
Portside, Rhode Island, which is a fictional place.
3) How did you come up with the location?
I love the water and being on the water, and I adore coastal towns. When I started developing the idea for this series, I knew it belonged on the New England coast, and I knew exactly which town.
4) Is the location based on a real place?
Yes! Portside is based on the towns of Newport and Middletown, Rhode Island.
5) Have you ever visited the place or anyplace similar?
I've spent quite a lot of time in that area, and the coast of Rhode Island in general. I live in Massachusetts so it's in easy reach, and it's always been a family favorite. I love spending time there in the summer especially. My sister and I spent a while last summer just driving around, basically location scouting for my books!
6) Why is this the perfect setting for your stories?
It's lively and bustling like Belinda. They have a lot of events throughout the year, which opens up all kinds of opportunities for exciting and dangerous things to happen. It also makes it a terrific location for Bennett to run his event security firm!
Plus, the homes and shopping areas are charming, and the coastline itself – including the beaches – is rather rough and lovely at the same time. I intend to work all of that in as time goes on. Newport has such a fascinating history, and is still thriving after all these centuries. It's an interesting blend of posh and relaxed that only coastal areas seem to achieve. My characters just made sense there.
7) How many books will be in this series and will they stay in the same setting?
I don't have a set number right now, though I am a fan of ending things when they're still good and not bleeding them dry. However many I write, they will all be set in Portside!
8) Can you give us a sneak peek at your next release?
Absolutely! In book two, Auf'd, we find Belinda co-organizing a fundraiser fashion show. But haute couture Portside-style lands her in a hot mess of runway intrigue, man drama - and murder. People may not be what they claim to be - or even who they claim to be.
The excerpt below is with Belinda and Bennett right at the beginning before the show and all the drama ensues.
Bennett rolled his eyes. "Tell me about it. The chaos back there is mind boggling. I thought I'd get mowed over by a rack of bedazzled shirts on my way to find you."
"Bedazzled?" she said incredulously, focusing on the more important issue at hand. "Designers do not 'bedazzle' their clothing, okay."
"Whatever you prefer to call it, they were items you will only find in a setting like this or on a celebrity caught shopping at their local grocery store."
Belinda laughed. "For someone so against fashion, you sure do dress well." Belinda admired his sweater/shirt/tie combination and imagined his newsboy cap would work well with that ensemble.
"I'm not against fashion. I'm against useless pieces of clothing that no one can or wants to wear."
"Well, you may have a point there." Belinda moved closer, tracing the edge of his collar with her fingertips. "But I still like seeing those useless items floating down the runway and dreaming of scenarios where I could actually wear them."
Bennett watched her hand. "It's been too long since we saw each other."
"I agree." She settled her arms around his neck. "Fortunately, this job is almost done and we can return to our regularly scheduled program."
Bennett's mouth curled up. "We could return to it right now." He leaned in for the kill when Finnegan cleared his throat.
Belinda pulled away quickly, straightening her dress. Finnegan tried to suppress his grin. "Uh...sorry to interrupt, but Brooke is asking for you." He nodded at Belinda. "There seems to be some sort of mix-up backstage." He shrugged to indicate that was as specific as it was going to get.
"Right," she said. Belinda turned to Bennett, disappointment clouding her eyes. "Later," she mouthed and gave him a shy wave good-bye, fluttering past Finnegan.
Bennett scowled at him once Belinda was gone.
"Now I know why she really recommended you for this job," Finnegan said.
Auf'd comes out spring 2013!
Thank you so much for stopping by!
BOOK GIVEAWAY (INTERNATIONAL)!!!!
How would you like to win a copy of this for your very own? Thanks to author Amy Saunders, I can offer a copy of this book to one lucky winner. The winner gets to choose either a paperback copy of the book or an e-book. Your choice! This is open to all, including international!!!
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The giveaway begins on February 21st (midnight est) and ends on February 28th (midnight est).
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