Monday, June 22, 2015

A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway


The Blurb



Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the body of golden girl, Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside Gilda’s office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation. When three more dead blondes turn up, all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders.

Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio
Series: Gilda Greco Mystery Series, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Culinary Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Publication Date: June 12, 2015
Paperback: 284 pages
ISBN-10: 1509201734
ISBN-13: 978-1509201730
E-Book File Size: 604 KB
ASIN: B00XCZ5EE2
Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UKAmazon AU | KoboGoodreads
  




The Review


I just read a really good book, y'all — A Season for Killing Blondes by Joanne Guidoccio. Let me tell you a little about it.

A Season for Killing Blondes is a cozy mystery starring Gilda Greco, a former school teacher, who is changing careers four months after winning a $19 million lottery jackpot. As the book opens, Gilda is about to have an Open House to kick off her new career counseling office in Sudbury, Ontario, to help other Baby Boomers re-evaluate or change careers. Her mother, Aunt Amelia, Uncle Paolo, and cousin Sofia are all quite involved in the planning stage of the Open House; in fact, at times they're taking over! 

Reading about how involved Gilda's rather pushy Italian family is in her new office was one of my favorite things about A Season for Killing Blondes. Here is one example:
But my mother and Aunt Amelia were adamant. The open house for my new career counseling office needed a proper launch, one that could only be achieved with pastries from a Sicilian bakery.
Oh, speaking of bakery.... This is a culinary cozy, so there are eight dessert recipes included, for Pineapple Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Blueberry Muffins, Banana Muffins, Sponge Cake, Zucchini Cake, Ice Cream Roll, and Tiramis├╣. I haven't tried any yet, but they all sound scrumptious!

Here's another favorite quote about Gilda's family (and those pastries again):
Even with a dead body in a Dumpster, thousands of euros of pastries wasting away, and policemen swarming about, my mother and aunt could still indulge in their favorite hobby — trying to find me another husband.    

I liked A Season for Killing Blondes, and I think you will also. You'll learn the answers to these burning questions: 

  • When Gilda was advised to get legal representation, after being framed for murder, why did she decide to conduct her own investigation? 
  • What other amateur sleuth helps her with the investigation?
  • After Gilda won the lottery, who are the others whose lives were changed, plus how and why?
  • What does Carlo have in mind for himself and Gilda, after all of this is over?  Hmm??
  • And what's with all the double names????

I am looking forward to reading more of Author Joanne Guidoccio's books in the series — #2, Too Many Women in the Room, and #3, A Different Kind of Reunion. I really enjoyed A Season for Killing Blondes, and hereby award it Four Kitties! 

Four out of five kitties
 
Note:  I received a complimentary copy of A Season for Killing Blondes in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.


Follow the tour, to read other reviews, plus Author Interviews and Guest Posts!

Click here to read an excerpt of A Season for Killing Blondes 
on Author Joanne Guidoccio's website.





The Guest Post

Gratefulness and Second Acts


When I decided to write a post about gratefulness and second acts, my well-honed left brain raced through a lengthy list of people and circumstances that have guided me to this wonderful place in my life.

With too many to list and, of course, the fear of omitting a specific person or event, I found myself creatively blocked. When I shared my dilemma with a friend, she suggested I pinpoint the event that triggered my second act.

The obvious answer was my decision to take advantage of early retirement at age fifty-three. Leaving a 31-year teaching career gave me the time and space to resurrect a writing dream I had concocted during my high school years. But after some consideration, I realized the trigger had occurred much earlier. And the circumstances had been far from pleasant.

On the Friday of the Victoria Day weekend (2004), a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer brought my life to a standstill. The surgeon’s eyes glistened as she spoke of unclear margins and neoadjuvant chemotherapy. The underlying message was clear — the tumor was inoperable.

As I drove home, I recalled previous holiday weekends. While I didn’t miss the bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 400, I wasn’t looking forward to spending the weekend alone. Most of my friends were opening up their cottages, planting gardens, planning barbecues and short day trips. I had been vague about my own plans and declined several invitations.

After dinner, I received the first telephone call. My good friend and breast cancer survivor, Karen B, had cleared her schedule and planned to spend Saturday with me. She arrived early the next day with a lovely plant and her copy of Susan Love’s Breast Book. She was a fountain of information, and at one point, commented, “I often wondered why I got cancer. I think I know why today. It was to help you.” For the next eight months, Karen telephoned and visited regularly. She also accompanied me to some of my treatments. She died in February of the following year; cancer had metastasized to her lungs.

Saturday evening, I received a call from my sister-in-law, Judy. She offered to help when I had surgery. In early December, she drove three hundred miles and spent ten days taking care of meals, driving, and all other errands. Most important of all, she provided me with the comfort and reassurance that enabled me to recover completely from the surgery.

On Sunday, good friend and colleague Carla B took me out to lunch and explained what she and her husband had decided. They would be available for help at any time; day or night, they were only a telephone call away. If needed, she was also willing to spend the night. And she was the backup plan in case Judy couldn’t stay with me during surgery. 

That evening, my best friend Magda V called. She lived fifty miles away but still telephoned and visited regularly. She also accompanied me to several treatments and celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with me.

On Monday, good friend and colleague Fil D called and offered her support. Even with two children under the age of ten, she was still able to visit and telephone regularly. And she kept me up-to-date with any new developments in my workplace and, of course, the gossip.

Monday evening, I sat on my balcony, listening to echoes of the fireworks at Riverside Park. As I drank my tea, I could feel the large tumor pulling at my right breast. It would be a lengthy battle, but I wouldn’t be alone. I had a support system firmly in place.


***

Three months later, I started writing the first draft of A Season for Killing Blondes.

Six months later, my cancer went into spontaneous remission.

Three years later, I retired and started writing full-time.

Eleven years later, I continue to celebrate Victoria Day weekend, but not with fireworks and big parties. Instead, I reflect on that special spirit that inspired five women, independent of each other, to call and offer their support during the most challenging season of my life.


The Author

About Joanne Guidoccio


In high school, Joanne dabbled in poetry, but it would be over three decades before she entertained the idea of writing as a career. She listened to her practical Italian side and earned degrees in mathematics and education. She experienced many fulfilling moments as she watched her students develop an appreciation (and sometimes, love) of mathematics. Later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma as a career development practitioner and put that skill set to use in the co-operative education classroom. She welcomed this opportunity to help her students experience personal growth and acquire career direction through their placements.

In 2008, she took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.


Find her on the web at




The Giveaway

Joanne will award a $25 Amazon Gift Card 
to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.





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