Tag Archives: New York

Copper Waters: A New Zealand Cottage Mystery: Annalisse Series, Book 4 by Marlene Bell (Book Review)

A rural New Zealand vacation turns poisonous.

Antiquities expert Annalisse Drury and tycoon Alec Zavos are at an impasse in their relationship when Alec refuses to clear up a paternity issue with an ex-lover.

Frustrated with his avoidance when their future is at stake, Annalisse accepts an invitation from an acquaintance to fly to New Zealand—hoping to escape the recent turbulence in her life.

But even Annalisse’s cottage idyll on the family sheep farm isn’t immune to intrigue.

Alec sends a mutual friend and detective, Bill Drake, to follow her, and a local resident who accompanies them from the Christchurch airport dies mysteriously soon after. A second violent death finds Annalisse and Bill at odds with the official investigations.

The local police want to close both cases as quickly as possible—without unearthing the town’s dirty secrets.

As she and Bill pursue their own leads at serious cost, the dual mysteries force Annalisse to question everything she thought she knew about family ties, politics, and the art of small-town betrayal.

Amazon Purchase Link



I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.


I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand. However, when I eventually get there, I hope I’m not surrounded by all the drama that Anna and Bill encountered. One dead body and one murder mystery are enough, but they found themselves in the middle of two murder investigations. Okay, it was terrible news for them but great news for us.

The suspect list was long. There were so many motives. There was also a sketchy politician and police officer. Who killed VICTIM ONE and why? Why did VICTIM TWO meet his maker? I thought I knew the answers—I was wrong. Hello, plot twist!

While the mystery aspect of the book was terrific, I was a bit lost at times when the author mentioned events from the past three books. It didn’t affect the mystery’s outcome, but reading the first three books would’ve given me a better understanding of what the characters have gone through the past couple of years.

Time to add more books to my TBR list!

On a side note: I love all the fun facts about sheep. For instance, when gauging a sheep’s age, know that sheep get two large teeth for every year. Fascinating!

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

Amazon Purchase Link



Meet the Author

Marlene M. Bell is an eclectic mystery writer, artist, photographer, and she raises sheep in beautiful East Texas with her husband, Gregg, three cats and a flock of horned Dorset sheep.

The Annalisse series has received numerous honors including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery (Spent Identity,) and FAPA— Florida Author’s President’s Gold Award for two other installments, (Stolen Obsession and Scattered Legacy.) Her mysteries with a touch of romance are found at marlenembell.com. She also offers the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! Based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. The simple text and illustrations are a touching tribute of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb.

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Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees by A. A. Cristi (Book Review)

SPRUCE THE BRUCE: A New York City Fairytale about the true meaning of Christmas Trees by A.A. Cristi

Bruce the Spruce has Christmas all wrong.
Thanks to his fancy decorations and adoring admirers, this artificial spruce tree doesn’t just wear a star at Christmas, he IS the star. But when his longtime family gets a new tree, it sends Bruce on a holiday adventure through New York City.
From a party in Brooklyn, to a run-in with rats, to a revelatory visit to Rockefeller Center, Bruce the Spruce takes an unforgettable journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas trees!
Buy Links:
Amazon ~  Barnes and Noble
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
I’d first like to praise Pablo Andreeta for your spectacular artwork. The facial impressions on Bruce made my youngster smile, gasp, and even get sad. They felt every emotion Bruce felt, and that’s great. We loved the Christmas lights streamed across the top and bottom of several pages. 

Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees’ cover was also superbly designed. It’s eye-catching!!!

The context (plot, dialogue, etc.) was fantastic as well. We loved ALL the decorations Bruce adorned in the various celebrations he found himself in. Well, maybe not the rats. Rats are just GROSS! 

It’s apparent how much A. A. Cristi loves New York City. One day I hope to visit there and see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for myself; I heard it’s a spectacular sight to behold. 

I don’t want to ruin the overall message behind Bruce the Spruce: A New York City Fairytale About the True Meaning of Christmas Trees by A. A. Cristi; I’ll let you read that on the closing page.

I know this book will become a staple in many homes during the holiday season. It’s a perfect story to read, before or after you’ve decorated your tree. 

As with most children’s books we read in my home, I like to introduce art activities that go hand-in-hand with whatever we read. We’ll be making ornaments, stockings, Christmas tree cookies, and creating our own “Bruce the Spruce” using paints or another medium. I can’t wait to get started! 

Happy holidays! 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
Meet the Author:
Author A.A. Cristi

A.A. Cristi was born and raised in the world capital of Christmas trees and musicals – New York City. By no small miracle, she has managed to make a living writing about both topics. When she is not dreaming up fantastic adventures for inanimate objects, she is covering the Broadway industry as a journalist and editor at BroadwayWorld.com. Though writing is her calling, her true passion is playing mother to a neurotic wiener dog named Jack and Aunt Rah Rah to two truly remarkable kids.
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