Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: Embellished to Death by Christina Freeburn


When Faith Hunter agrees to help PI Bob Roget find an identity thief at a local scrapbook retreat, her friendly croppers’ weekend quickly morphs into a dangerous one. As croppers share their own memories, a killer collects them for her new identity, and doesn’t appreciate Faith in the picture. 

Faith struggles to balance her professional, detecting and personal lives as threats and secrets keep her off-balance. Things turn deadly when a woman is killed and Faith is blackmailed. Truth and lies collide when Faith discovers croppers aren’t the only ones embellishing, and the results might end her life.



Everyone has secrets and issues particular to them.  In real life, as well as in the third installment of the "Faith Hunter Scrap This Mysteries", Embellished to Death, by Christina Freeburn.  This is the first of multiple reasons why this series and book resonate with so many readers.

Everyone has secrets, and for some reason we love reading about the secrets of others...just not our own.  Ms. Freeburn does an excellent job of revealing the right mix of secrets at the right time so that we are able to follow and it enhances the reading experience.

Many people (and not just women) enjoy scrapbooking.  A crop is a get-together where scrappers bring supplies to work alongside others doing the same thing.  My own papercrafting leans more towards making artisan paper and making cards, and I have yet to attend a 'crop'...but I would LOVE to!  Maybe I'd finally get my 17-year old firstborn's 'baby book' done and can get to work on the two younger kids'.

And you hear often in the news that identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in the US or the world?  I guess stealing someone else's information seems to be easier than earning a living themselves.  But it's a slippery slope.

Luckily for her readers, Ms. Freeburn does not follow my tendency to go off on tangents and weaves together many themes of interest to a coherent and entertaining story.  Many arts, crafts and hobbies have found their way into cozy mysteries and I'm delighted that scrapbooking has been added to that particular list.  

Maybe I could start a scrapbook with pages for each book I read and review?  Hmmmm.....;)



The Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series brings together Christina Freeburn’s love of mysteries, scrapbooking, and West Virginia. When not writing or reading, she can be found in her scrapbook room or at a crop. Alas, none of the real-life crops have had a sexy male prosecutor or a handsome police officer attending.

Christina served in the JAG Corps of the US Army and also worked as a paralegal, librarian, and church secretary. She lives in West Virginia with her husband, children, a dog, and a rarely seen cat except by those who are afraid or allergic to felines.



1.  Where did the Self-Rescuing Princess come from?

A few years ago, I was talking to some friends, actually woe-is-meing, because my inspirational romance novel was turned down after having rewritten it three times by request of an editor for the large well-known romance publisher. The main problem was that heroine (a skip-tracer) was only in danger because she was trying to save her client not because someone was actually after her. In the midst of my angst, a wise friend said, "You don't write women in jeopardy. You write the self-rescuing princess."

2.  Why do you think cozy mysteries usually take place in small towns?

 One of the elements readers love about cozies are the relationship the characters have with each other, and those are usually easier to establish in small towns. It isn’t too much of a coincidence for everyone to know everyone, and everything about each other. Also, it’s more understandable why the amateur sleuth is able to insert themselves into investigations without getting in serious trouble.

3.  How much of you is in Faith Hunter?

Faith’s anxiousness and over-thinking is a big part of me. Those are two of my personality traits I’m not overly fond of and in a way I’m working it out through Faith. As she’s learning to use those parts of herself, rather than being controlled by them, I am also.

4.  Are you a big city woman or a small-town gal?

I’m kind of in between, as I find big cities very overwhelming and small-towns a little confining at times. I do like the amenities of big cities (great libraries, artist communities, concerts, etc.) but large crowds can do me in after a while.

5.  Describe your perfect day.

I started writing about a perfect day which included tasty coffee drinks, words flowing when I wrote and having the needed amount of time to get in some marketing, and after a productive day of work, a cooking a Food Network worthy dinner and still have time for reading. But then I realized my actual perfect day would be the family and I sailing the seven seas on a Disney Cruise ship. We all went on a cruise a few years ago and everyone had such a great time. We were pampered. Had wonderful food. Spent time together. And had time to explore our own interests with the many activities on the ship. I loved spa, the upscale brunch, and I will admit the character photo ops.

6.  What writer from history would you most like to meet?

Edgar Allan Poe

7.  So, your youngest child is 16.  Do you think you'll get 'empty nest syndrome'?

My youngest turned 17 this summer, and will be graduating high school in May. I haven’t given (or have tried not to anyway) empty nest syndrome much thought, though I do think I’ll feel a little lost for awhile. I had children very soon after I was married, so my husband and I have pretty much been parents through our entire marriage. It’s going to be different when it’s just us.

8.  Many countries have compulsory military service for their young adults.  Any thoughts on this?

I like that the United States doesn’t have compulsory military service. I think enlisting in the military is something that should be voluntary. When a soldier is out on the battle field, it’s better if everyone willingly enlisted rather than were forced (draft) or obligated to do so (compulsory service). The military life is hard and demanding in a lot of different ways so it isn’t for everyone.  

9.  Do you have a favorite book (or top 5, or ...)?

My favorite book of all time is Misty of Chincoteague.

10.  Where in the world would you like to visit that you have not yet seen?

Scotland. I have no idea why, but since I was a child I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland and Disney World. An odd mix. I’ve been to Disney World a few times and hope one day to visit Scotland.


  1. Lovely interview, I too have always wanted to scrapbook, and a crop party does sound like fun! Great review LuAnn, I love secrets :)

    1. Thanks, Kim! We need to do like a virtual crop or something. I think that would be a hoot! :O)