Friday, August 14, 2015

Review/Book Giveaway/Guest Post: Better Homes and Corpses by Kathleen Bridge

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in A Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: August 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads...

After Meg Barrett found her fiancĂ© still had designs on his ex-wife, she decided it was time to refurbish her life. Leaving her glamorous job at a top home and garden magazine, she fled Manhattan for Montauk, only to find decorating can sometimes lead to detecting…

In between scouring estate sales for her new interior design business, Cottages by the Sea, Meg visits the swanky East Hampton home of her old college roommate, Jillian Spenser. But instead of seeing how the other half lives—she learns how the other half dies. Jillian’s mother, known as the Queen Mother of the Hamptons, has been murdered. Someone has staged a coup.

When she helps a friend inventory the Spensers’ estate for the insurance company, Meg finds herself right in the thick of things. Cataloging valuable antiques and art loses its charm when Meg discovers that the Spenser family has been hiding dangerous secrets, which may have furnished a murderer with a motive. As Meg gets closer to the truth, the killer will do anything to paint her out of the picture…


My Review

After discovering her fiancĂ© was cheating on her, Meg Barrett needed a change in her life and she found one. She is excited with her new venture – an interior design business in Montauk on eastern Long Island. It’s much different than her last job in Manhattan at a home and garden magazine.

When she is invited to the home of her former college roommate, Jillian Spenser, Meg is impressed with the wealthy East Hampton home. She’s not so impressed to discover Jillian’s mother, known as the Queen Mother of the Hamptons, dead. Jillian apparently witnessed the murder, but she’s suffering from PTSD and has amnesia.

Meg’s close friend, Elle, hires her to evaluate the Spenser’s estate for the insurance company, but Meg finds herself involved in so much more. She begins to uncover secrets, lies and betrayals in the family and wonders if one of them could be a killer.

I adored the heroine. Meg is strong, determined, and yet very likeable. Readers will have no trouble cheering for her to come out on top when all is said and done. Even some of the secondary characters won my heart. Her best friend Elle, Jillian’s brother Cole, and her father’s friend Doc rallied around Meg. I don't want to forget Tripod, Cole's dog.  What a sweetie!  Each character added something special to the story.

This book has gothic overtones – a huge mysterious mansion, an eccentric family, and a murder in the center of everything. What a captivating novel! It grabbed me right from the start. I absolutely could not put it down. I should also mention that the mystery kept me guessing to the end and I guessed wrong. The author threw me off and I loved every minute of being kept in the dark.

It also helped that the setting is located near to my own home. I could identify with all the places and roads Meg traveled. That was a real treat and doesn’t usually happen in the books I read.

Overall, a delightful start to a brand new series. This will go on my auto-buy list.

For reading challenges:
2015 My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge

FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Guest Post

How I got my Oceanfront Cottage in Montauk without Spending a Dime
By Kathleen Bridge

The first time my husband, infant son, and I traipsed 120 miles due east from Manhattan to Montauk, it was love at first sight. As a transplanted Michigander, Montauk, on the easternmost tip of Long Island, became my touchstone. The town embodied all the things I loved about laidback summers on the Great Lakes and as an added perk it was only sixteen miles away from glitzy East Hampton—summer home of the rich and famous.

Walking the beach toward the lighthouse, I would fantasize about which rickety steps might lead upward to my new cottage.

Then I found it.

Through a set of newly purchased binoculars, I saw that the cottage was modest. It had three-sided ocean views and an upstairs balcony the size of a ship’s crow’s nest. There were twenty seven wooden steps leading up from the secluded beach. I pictured myself reading mysteries on the screened porch or sipping a glass of local Long Island wine on the swing that gently swayed under the eaves.


There was only one problem. The cottage wasn’t for sale. And even if it was, we couldn’t afford it. We lived in Manhattan in a wonderful apartment and we both had careers—but the price of an oceanfront cottage, even the small cozy one I fell in love with, would’ve been way beyond our means.

But that didn’t stop me.

On our weekend jaunts to Montauk, I would wake at sunrise and walk a mile east from our hotel toward the lighthouse, a beach chair strapped across my back, a thermos of coffee, and a book in my beach bag. Then, I’d set up camp at the bottom of the steps leading up to my cottage. The wonderful thing about Montauk’s beaches was the fact that they had public access. You could own a multimillion dollar cottage on a cliff, but the beach belonged to everyone.

I never saw anyone coming down those twenty-seven steps. No one sat on the swing or stood on the deck gazing out at the Atlantic. I fantasized that the cottage was uninhabited, the family fighting over whether or not to sell. (Sell, darn it!) My husband thought I was bordering on the obsessive but I was determined to have my cozy four-room cottage. (I knew it had four rooms because I’d stalked a local real estate agent until she showed me photos of the no frills cottage from when it’d been sold years before.) I had all the realtors in town on speed dial, they had me on their blocked list.

One day, I opened my laptop, typed: BETTER HOMES AND CORPSES—A Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery. A few pages later, I got the cottage of my dreams. It was everything I’d imagined, right down to the flagstone fireplace, wide-planked wood floors, and a vintage turquoise fridge…

I got my cottage in Montauk without spending a dime.


How would you like to win a paperback copy of Better Homes and Corpses by Kathleen Bridge? Thanks to Berkley, I have one paperback to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form below.

2) Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

3) US Residents Only

4) For one extra entry: Tweet about this giveaway.

5) For one extra entry: Leave a comment for the author.

6) For one extra entry:  Follow this blog...old followers, too!  Just let us know how you follow and under what name.

7) For one extra entry: Follow me on Twitter.

8) For one extra entry: Follow or friend me on Goodreads

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.

The giveaway begins on August 14th (midnight est) and ends on August 21st (midnight est).

The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner here on my blog.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Sounds like a wonderful mystery book. I am looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the giveaway.

  2. Sounds like a great new series. I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I've been wanting to read this book. It looks like a great new series. Thank u for the chance to win it.

  4. It looks great and I hope to get a chance to read it :)

  5. Sounds like a great book, sounds like the cottage I wanted on the Cape :)

  6. Isn't it fun to find a book that you can enjoy so much because of the location? I've had that happen. This one sounds fun and I loved the author's note about her 'free' cottage. :-)

  7. The cover looks so bright and colorful and the title is do cute. Can't wait to read it. Kuzlin at

  8. Hello Kathleen, Better Homes and Corpses sounds like a good mystery, I would enjoy reading your books. Thank you

  9. Cute cover and title. I love cozies and wouldn't mind adding this to my collection. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

  10. This looks like a great book! Where to you get the inspiration to write?

  11. Della.
    A cottage on the beach is a beautiful dream. Love the cover

  12. Thanks, Yvonne! Congratulations, Kathleen...I've read nothing but good reviews for Better Homes and Corpses!

  13. Needs to be on my reading list.

  14. Love the cover. Would love to read. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Carol Smith
    penelope223(at) yahoo(dot) com

  15. This cozy is intriguing and unique. Thanks for the lovely feature and great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  16. I'm a big fan of home repair, home reno's and such. I definitely want to win this new series for my personal library.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. Sounds wonderful!!

  18. I enjoyed the synopsis and review! Meg sounds like a great heroine, congrats to Kathleen on the debut!

  19. Sounds like a fun new cozy mystery series. I'm all in Thanks!

  20. Sounds like a fun new cozy mystery series. I'm all in Thanks!

  21. I've been wanting to read this one since I heard about it.

  22. I have read Better Homes & Gardens for years, so Better Homes and Corpses seems like the logical next step! Thanks for the giveaway.

  23. I enjoy Kathleen Bridge's work...looking forward to this book.

  24. Clever title. Looks entertaining.

  25. I'd love to read something set near me :D

  26. What an eye catching title and cover. Thank you for the review.

  27. This sounds like a great new series, especially with your high recommendation. Would love to read it! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

  28. This sounds like a new series that I really want to start right here at the beginning.

  29. Thank you for introducing me to a new author. I'm looking forward to reading this book!!

  30. Oh I love want to read it right now.

  31. Fun guest post! This sounds like a great start to a series - I definitely want to read it.

  32. The blurb is very appealing and I love when a mystery keeps me guessing and I'm wrong.

  33. I love the blurb on this one and am really looking forward to reading it! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  34. This a new author for me. It sounds like a good one

  35. I love me my small towns. And if they are by oceans, so much the better! :O)

  36. I would love to read this book—thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  37. This sounds like a great start to a new series, thanks for the chance to win.

  38. Sounds good - I'm always looking for new authors and new series.

  39. Sounds like a good read. I love the title and the cover.

  40. My kind of cozy!!!!!! Love to find new series!!!!!!!

  41. My kind of cozy!!!!!! Love to find new series!!!!!!!


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