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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who Is Ruining Cassie's Great Day?
All her life, Cassie Ellis has dreamed of being a published author. And now that dream is days away from becoming reality. But what should be a great celebration turns tragic when someone shots Seth Montgomery. Seth is a convicted arsonist that Cassie has used in research for one of her books. And since the police find Cassie's day planner next to the body, they haul...
Published on September 26, 2010 by Mark Baker

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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick Light Read
This was a good book and if I could have given it 3-1/2 stars I would have. There were a few swear words and no sex for those people who don't like that in their books. If you don't want blood or violence and just a light mystery you will also like it. If you like romance in your mystery books you will like this book too.

If you like intense mystery books...
Published on March 13, 2011 by shopper2010


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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who Is Ruining Cassie's Great Day?, September 26, 2010
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead to Writes (Cassandra Ellis Mystery) (Paperback)
All her life, Cassie Ellis has dreamed of being a published author. And now that dream is days away from becoming reality. But what should be a great celebration turns tragic when someone shots Seth Montgomery. Seth is a convicted arsonist that Cassie has used in research for one of her books. And since the police find Cassie's day planner next to the body, they haul her in for questioning.

Cassie can't quite get a read on Detective James Whittaker. Is she a suspect or not? Plus there's the attraction they are both trying to hide, at least until this case is resolved. Then another of Cassie's contacts is killed with the same gun. Who will the killer target next? Is Cassie a target? Or do the police still consider her a suspect?

The plot started off strongly and pulled me in right away. The characters are wonderfully real. I feel like I know the main characters very well already, and this is just the first book in the series. This is especially true of Cassie who takes these deaths very hard. I found her reaction refreshingly realistic. The characters carried me though as the plot hit some uneven patches in the middle, but it came together for a very strong, page turning climax. And I loved the flirting between Cassie and James, which added a nice touch of humor to the proceedings. I'm looking forward to seeing how their relationship continues.

Cassie and James make a great sleuthing team. I'm already hoping for more books in this great seris.

FCC Note: Cathy Wiley is a friend who sent me the book in exchange for an honest review.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent First Book, August 24, 2010
By 
JayneM (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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I tend to shy away from writing reviews because I'm not very good at the technical stuff - I either like a book or I don't. I'm trying to break that habit.

Why did I enjoy this book? Characters that I liked and could relate to. This is something important to me as I don't enjoy books in which I can't feel anything for the characters. Cassie felt very real to me, the kind of person that could be living next door. The fact that she loves Trixie Belden over Nancy Drew instantly endeared her to me. As for Detective Whittiker, can I just say, "yum!" There are some interesting secondary characters that I'm hoping to see more of in upcoming books - especially Linda and the Psychic Consortium.

As a cosy mystery, there's only minor bad language and no explicit scenes. There's a nice sprinkling of humour throughout. One scene I particularly liked involved an erupting bottle of wine. I could picture it perfectly.

There's a warmth in this book as if the author is writing from the heart, making in a nice, relaxing read.

It's a perfect book for curling up with your beverage of choice and maybe a cat or two. I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book which is to be released next year.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick Light Read, March 13, 2011
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This was a good book and if I could have given it 3-1/2 stars I would have. There were a few swear words and no sex for those people who don't like that in their books. If you don't want blood or violence and just a light mystery you will also like it. If you like romance in your mystery books you will like this book too.

If you like intense mystery books this is not for you. It was very light and there seemed to be even more romance than any drama. It was not a book that I just had to finish at one sitting. Unlike others who reviewed this book I figured out the killer not too far in.

At times the book is too descriptive and you just wanted to skim over parts of it to get to the good parts (which there weren't many if you like the kind of mysteries I do). For example, there was one long section where Cassie goes to the shooting range and they talk about different stances and what they are called when shooting a gun, etc. Who cares? It did not relate to anything it just seemed like it was added for filler.

I also really wasn't thrilled that Cassie was always mentally writing a story during the story. She seemed scatter brained or ditzy. Even the romantic parts of the story were a little far fetched. Their romance just seemed odd. At one point Cassie is wondering what Whittaker is feeling for her & she calls her best friend to commiserate. The very next morning she calls him up at work and is calling him by several "cutesy" first names. Why would you do that when you weren't sure what he felt about her? That was really weird.

Even though I wasn't crazy about this book it was a good book and a lot of people will enjoy it for the reasons I mentioned in the first paragraph. We all don't like the same type of mystery books which is probably a good thing!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/4 Stars from "Red Adept Reviews", January 23, 2011
Plot/Storyline: 3 3/4 Stars

I really enjoyed this `cozy mystery.' It had a "Murder, She Wrote" style plot, but with a younger heroine. It even included a well-styled romance.

The storyline was disjointed in a couple of spots. First, in the opening scene, Cassie, the main character, is telling her friend about her book contract:

"...And today I came up with a good idea for the third one." Cassie glanced over at the couple who had starred in her imagined murder scene. The seemed to be enjoying their dinner...and their wine.

"The third one sounds cool. But I still think you should have gone with my idea for the next one."

Notice how Cassie never actually told her friend what her idea was for the third one? And, she never does; the friend just knows. I guess there was some telepathy at work?

Later in the book, when Cassie is asked what she is working on, she replies, "The second book in the Marty McCallister mysteries. The Merlot Murders." This was actually the third book, the same one she was referring to in the above quote.

I especially appreciated reading about all of the research that a mystery novelist must do in order to write intelligently about the many different aspects of murder. I felt quite certain that Ms. Wiley did similar research to produce this novel.

The inclusion of the "psychics" really made this novel stand out. I laughed out loud at some parts. However, I have to admit that at some point, I began to wonder if that part was included in Ms. Wiley's research and had any merit.

I did figure out who the killer was, but not until a little past halfway through the novel.

Characters: 5 Stars

Cassie was a fun main character. I enjoyed her antics and thought processes. I was also happy that she seemed fairly realistic when it came to the romance portion of the book. My favorite parts were when she imagined the different murder scenarios.

James Whittaker, the homicide detective assigned to the murder, was also very well developed. I liked the way he grew in the novel. His motiviations were sound, and he had a good background story.

Writing Style: 4 1/2 Stars

The writing style was uncomplicated and breezy, fitting for this genre. The dialogue was not exactly riveting, but it was servicable. The descriptions were straightforward, but could have used better imagery.

Editing: 4 Stars

There were some editing issues with punctuation, homophones, and missing words. However, there weren't so many as to spoil the reading process.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a new sleuth in town, September 15, 2010
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This review is from: Dead to Writes (Cassandra Ellis Mystery) (Paperback)
Move over Nancy Drew, Jessica Fletcher, Jane Marple, and yes, even Stephanie Plum -- there's a new sleuth in town and she's moving to the top of the list of likeable female sleuths. Cathy Wiley hits it out of the park with her first foray into the cozy, murder mystery genre by presenting an imperfect, yet very likeable heroine who writes murder mysteries and manages to solve them at the same time.

Cassandra Ellis, the protagonist of Dead to Writes, is just the "write" mix of quirky personality, kick ass attitude, self-doubt, smarts, and humor. Combine that mix with her wit and charm and she's off, and no hunky, well-dressed, police detective will stop her despite the physical attraction between them!

It was nice to see the author has another book in the works and plans a series of books featuring her writer/sleuth. In the meantime, add this one to your reading stack.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New series off to a great start!, October 26, 2010
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This review is from: Dead to Writes (Cassandra Ellis Mystery) (Paperback)
I was a beta-reader for Dead to Writes, so had read most of the book prior to publication. Normally, I don't reread mysteries, so was hesitant to read it again. However, I'm glad I did! The main character, new author Cassie Ellis, is a smart, impulsive, and kindhearted online professor/writer who is overjoyed at her first book's publication. That joy evaporates when one of her sources is found dead - and she was the last to see him alive. To add to her woes, her datebook is found near the body, leading the police to question her about her whereabouts during the murder.

Police detective James Whittaker is a stickler for following the rules. Events in his past, which are only hinted at, seem to have made him extra-cautious. Getting involved with a "person of interest" in the commission of a crime is not on his list of things to do. But he soon learns he needs to keep an eye on Cassie, if only to keep her from jumping into situations that could get her killed as she tries to find out who is killing her sources... and sabotaging her reputation.

Cassie and James have definite chemistry, and their growing attraction is developed with a sure hand. In addition, Cassie's best friend Michelle, her agent Aaron, her cat Donner, fellow-author and psychic Linda, and especially Whittaker's partner Freeman, are engaging and vividly drawn characters I can't wait to meet again.

I'm looking forward to the next title from Cathy Wiley's pen!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm ready for book two now, please, September 13, 2010
By 
Robin D. Page (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
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From the description, I thought I'd like this book and I did. I found the heroine charming. She has good taste in childhood reading. I loved her penchant for research. Her friendships, both new and old, were well-drawn. It's a circle I'd love to join and I plan to re-join it as soon as the sequel is released.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly impressed!, April 17, 2011
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Purchased this for Kindle after wading through scads of samples that didn't intrigue me at all. This one grabbed me from the first page and just got better. Love the characters already. I hope we see more from this author, she tops bunches I've read so far, and I read a lot; average 8 to 10 books a week or more, so I'm always running out work by my favorite authors!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I HIGHLY recommend this book!, October 7, 2010
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I love a book that grabs my interest and keeps it to the end. I also love a book I can curl up on the couch and get comfortable with. I could relate to the characters and want to know them better. There are plenty of hooks for story lines to come. This book had me guessing to the very end. Great job!! I'm looking forward to the next!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Formula Plot but Quite Appealing, April 20, 2011
By 
drkhimxz (Freehold, NJ, USA) - See all my reviews
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Girl writer whose first book is about to come out finds that sources she thanked for their help are being killed off. She is grilled by two homicide officers, one of whom comes to be quite appealing to her. She insists that her research in crime (books about which she writes) equip her to help in investigation. Who dun it? Will she be able to come up with useful clues? Is she, herself, at risk?
Set down in this fashion, the novel appears to be another routine boy-girl-mystery story. It is. Almost. What saves it and makes for quite interesting reading is that magic touch which allows an author to follow well trod trails but makes them seem new, attractive and appealing. Her characters are fresh, the story is involving, the little touches to each add color; the result is a better than average effort which is entertaining in itself and a promising start of a new series by a new writer.
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Dead to Writes (Cassandra Ellis Mystery)
Dead to Writes (Cassandra Ellis Mystery) by Cathy Wiley (Paperback - August 13, 2010)
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