Monday, December 10, 2018

Spring Thaw ~ Audio Book Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

Narrated by Mike Alger

Genre: Adult Fiction
Categories: Unabridged Audio Book, Murder Mystery, Short Stories
  • Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
    Release date: October 23, 2018
  • Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Content Rating: PG (mild violence and sexual suggestion)

In today’s hectic world, many whodunit fans don’t have time to get their mystery fix diving into a whole novel. Lauren Carr’s SPRING THAW AND OTHER MYSTERY SHORT STORIES is for these fans—but that doesn’t mean whodunit fans who do have time can’t dive in as well.

A novella, Spring Thaw features retired federal agent Chris Matheson from Lauren Carr’s newest bestselling cold case series. When his late father’s former friend is indicted for the seven year old murder of a church bishop, Chris renews old broken friendships to thaw out the cold case.

Featuring Mac Faraday from Lauren Carr’s popular Mac Faraday Mysteries, an estate auction turns into a deadly affair after Gnarly's antics cause Mac to purchase a gem of a dress, which isn't his color in "Killing Bid." (Previously published in Lauren Carr’s BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

"Beauty to Die For" features the Lovers in Crime, Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates in a race against the Angel of Death to clear the name of a dying woman's son, who was framed for murdering Miss Pennsylvania. (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

"Countdown to Murder" returns to the Lovers in Crime where Cameron and Joshua try to solve the murder of a young pregnant widow before it happens. (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

Mystery fans will see that every dog has his day, especially if that dog is Gnarly. In "Lucky Dog," Gnarly helps Mac Faraday to solve the murder of a wealthy society girl. (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

Dog Loving Mystery Fans will get a special treat when they read "The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program." In this Gnarly Mystery Short, Bert and Ernie learn the hard way that crime does not pay when they dog nap Gnarly. (Previously published as a bonus feature with A WEDDING AND A KILLING.)

Gnarly, the rambunctious German shepherd, is also features in Lauren Carr’s Christmas short, "A Gnarly Christmas." It is Christmas day and Gnarly has been up to his old tricks again. Now he's in the dog house--or rather the boathouse--after stealing the Christmas feast! Moments after Archie and Mac leave Spencer Manor, Gnarly hears a call for help from Rocky, the Maltese down the street. Four assassins for hire have invaded the home of Rocky's elderly owners. While the home invaders wait for instructions from a mysterious caller, Gnarly must plot to stop them. Can Gnarly save Christmas with only the help of an 8-pound Maltese dressed in an elf suit? (Previously published as a single short story by the same name.)

To read more audio book reviews, please visit Lauren Carr's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy Spring Thaw:
Amazon ~ Audible

“Lauren Carr is a master storyteller who combines the humor of Janet Evanovich and the investigative skills of Patricia Cornwell. She is always at the top of my reading list." - Sherry Fundin, Fundinmental

"Lauren Carr could give Agatha Christie a run for her money!" - Charlene Mabie-Gamble, Literary R&R

"Lauren Carr's books are never boring, that's for sure. They entertain, give us a good mystery to dig into, keep the reader guessing, give us a few good laughs and make us eager for the next book. Warning: Lauren Carr's series are addictive, so be ready to read more than just one book!" - Laura Fabiani, Library of Clean Reads

"She is an amazing author that draws you into the story, makes you fall in love with the characters (they feel like family!) and keeps you guessing right to the very end." - Working Mommy Journal

"Lauren Carr does a good job of moving the quirky storyline along nicely with an abundance of witty dialogue. And you have no idea who the good guys are and who the bad guys are until the end."  - Every Free Chance Book Reviews

HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio book review. At under two hours listening time, Spring Thaw and Other Mystery Short Stories gives listeners a very satisfying, quick-fix of what author Lauren Carr does so well. Within just a few minutes of starting Spring Thaw, the first story, Carr fully defines a not-so-holy bishop (he’s a jerk), sets the tone for the scene (contentious), and brutally kills-off a character (BAM)! To say I was sucked-in to Spring Thaw is an understatement. Whether they’ve met main character Chris Matheson and crew before or not, readers won’t be able to resist this fully developed mystery packed into a novella.

“Chris cast a glance at the coffee pot; it was only one third full.
The way his day was going, it was two thirds empty.”

Back to main character Chris Matheson and crew… Carr’s writing makes you feel like you are at the kitchen table with Chris and Doris, his FABULOUS mother, and part of this family and life. They are my people! If you haven’t read ICE, the first book in the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, you need to get busy! Spring Thaw, like Ice, is smart, infused with subtle humor, and keeps leading and misleading you along until the big reveal to neatly tie-up the loose ends.

In addition to the two books thus far in the Chris Matheson series, the only other of Carr’s series I have read is Murder by Perfection, one of the Thorny Rose Mystery books. So, Spring Thaw is a great sampler of what readers can expect in the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime series. There are a few common denominators in all the short stories (these people are rich, for one), but the real scene-stealer in these is Gnarly the dog.  Actually, Gnarly is pretty much the main character in three/four of the seven short stories! His stories are fun little capers full of irony and yes, even a Scooby-Doo line (“I would have gotten away with it if…”) and ending or two. This light-hearted comedy is perfect.

The two Lovers in Crime short stories are surprisingly intricate and complete mysteries for such brief stories. Again, Carr’s writing skills shine as she masterfully and efficiently writes the twists and turns and surprises. Each of the stories involves a wide cast of characters (tip: trust no one), and I was completely caught off guard with the ending of “Beauty to Die For.” WHOA. This and “Countdown to Murder” shows the sparks and connections between MCs, Joshua and Cameron, and make me want to go back to the beginning to see how they met in the first place.

Several of the story lines take place in in Pennsylvania and in/around Pittsburgh, which adds a layer of fun and interest for me since I lived there for seven years. The descriptions of landscape and places is richly written, and even those who aren’t familiar with that part of the world will enjoy it. It’s been more than a few years since I lived there, so it’s possible these things have changed, but my ear did catch some misfit information: one, (sadly) I never once came across a person in Pennsylvania who offered sweet tea, and two, (sadly) Hershey Park (well, the rides anyhow) aren’t open in April. Who knows? Maybe since the ‘80s, circumstances have evolved, but consider this a PSI to avoid a potential Griswold kind of experience.  

ABOUT THE AUDIO BOOK: There are some jaunty music snippets that introduce the book and provide segues between the stories, which give the audio a real production feel. Also, there’s a little echo sound-effect to indicate we’re hearing a character’s internal monologue/thoughts – super helpful. Mike Alger is back as narrator, and though his pace is a little slow for me (I swear he could be the Smuckers commercial guy), I left it alone and listened at regular speed. He voices the numerous characters well (Doris is best) and his accents really complement the personalities. There are a few technical issues – places where voices overlap and sound blips that draw the ear. It is a little hard to separate the characters from story to story when listening to the audio book – for example, Mac and Catherine from story two sound like Chris and Doris from story one. The stories are so good that I listened straight through, so from this perspective, it might be better to take a breather between and not listen back-to-back. Overall, it’s a recording well-done.

I highly recommend this set of short stories, which are perfect listening for quick hits of humor and mystery -- with a dash of romance. And with that gorgeous winter-y cover, go ahead and add a print copy to your library to show your shelf some love.  I am looking forward to immersing myself into my next adventure from Lauren Carr, and fortunately there are a lot to choose from … decisions, decisions.

Thank you to iRead Book Tours and the author for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.

Meet the Author:
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Dec 22, 2018

Dec 3 - Library of Clean Reads - kickoff of Spring Thaw audio book tour / giveaway
Dec 4 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review of Spring Thaw / giveaway
Dec 6 - Kristin’s Novel CafĂ© - review of Spring Thaw
Dec 10 - Hall Ways Blog - review of Spring Thaw / giveaway
Dec 10 - 
Mystery Suspense Reviews - review of Spring Thaw / guest post / giveaway
Dec 10 - 
Dab of Darkness Book Reviews - review of Spring Thaw / guest post /giveaway
Dec 11 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review of Spring Thaw / author interview / giveaway
Dec 11 - Laura's Interests -  review of Spring Thaw / guest post /  giveaway
Dec 12 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Spring Thaw / guest post
Dec 12 - Amy’s Booket List - review of Spring Thaw / giveaway
Dec 12 - 
Sefina Hawke's Books - review of Spring Thaw
Dec 13 - Kai's Goodread Page - review of Spring Thaw
Dec 13 - 
Cheryl's Book Nook - review of Spring Thaw / giveaway
Dec 13 - 
Books for Books - review of Spring Thaw
Dec 14 - Rocksprings Crafts - review of Spring Thaw / guest post / giveaway
Dec 14 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Spring Thaw / giveaway

Click for Hall Ways Review


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed SPRING THAW and am certain your followers will enjoy it as well. Here's wishing each one good luck in the giveaway!

  2. Entered the giveaway - greedy fingers crossed!

    1. Would be nice to have some extra spending money this time of year! Good luck!

  3. This sounds like a wonderful audiobook! I'll look it up :-)

  4. Love this informative review! There's a dog character, oh my gosh. I might check this one out in print. I am not into audiobooks (yet) and I am surprised to know about the sound effects. :)

    1. If you are a dog lover, you will LOVE Gnarly. He's so smart and funny (and manipulative).

  5. Replies
    1. All of them are great stories. An excellent sampling of her different series' characters.