October 16, 2017

Dog Trouble by Galia Oz - Guest Post and Excerpt

Book details
Author: Galia Oz
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 144
Genre: Children's book for young readers, ages 8-12

Book description
Readers who have graduated from Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean will fall head over heels for feisty Julie and her troublesome new dog.

Julie has only had her dog for two weeks, but she is already causing all sorts of problems. For starters, she is missing! Julie suspects the school bully Danny must be behind it. But it will take some detective work, the help of Julie’s friends, and maybe even her munchkin twin brothers to bring her new pet home.

Wonderfully sassy and endlessly entertaining, the escapades of Julie and her dog are just beginning!

Julie’s adventures have sold across the globe and been translated into five languages. Popular filmmaker and children’s author Galia Oz effortlessly captures the love of a girl and her dog.

"A funny exploration of schoolyard controversy and resolution.” –Kirkus Reviews

"Will resonate with readers and have them waiting for more installments.” –Booklist

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My puppy, Shakshuka, disappeared. It happened when my dad was away on a business trip and my mom was in one of her worst moods ever because Max and Monty had both just had their vaccinations and they both had reactions and they didn’t sleep all night. Max and Monty—­I called them the Munchkins for short—­ were babies and twins and also my brothers, and every­ one knew that if there were two babies in the house, no one was going to pay any attention to a dog, even if she was only a baby herself.

At night, I lay awake in bed and I was cold, and I remembered that once on TV I saw pictures of a hun-gry dog that was really skinny whose family went on

a vacation and left him tied to a tree. And they said that the SPCA couldn’t take care of all the dogs that were abandoned by their families. And I thought about Shakshuka, who was gone and might be tied to a tree at that very minute, hungry and missing me.

The next morning in class, Brody told me there was no way that Shakshuka had been stolen. “No way, ­Julie!” he said. “Why would anyone bother? You could get five dogs like her, with spots and stripes, for less than ten dollars.” Or maybe he said you could get ten dogs like her for less than five dollars. Brody said things like that sometimes, but most of the time he was okay. When Max and Monty were born, he said that was it, no one at home would ever pay attention to me again, and when I cut my hair short, he said it was ugly.

I turned my back on Brody and pretended to listen to Adam. He sat at the desk next to mine and spent his whole life telling these crazy stories.

Adam said, “My father won f‑f-­fifty thousand, do you get it? In the lottery. He’s g‑going to buy me an i‑P‑P . . .” People didn’t always listen to Adam because he stuttered, and they didn’t always have the patience to

wait until he got the word out. This time Brody tried to help him finish his sentence.

“An iPod?”

“N‑not an i‑P-­Pod, you idiot. An i‑P-­Pad.”

Brody called Adam “Ad-­d-­d-­dam” because of his stutter, and because he liked to be annoying. But he was still my friend, and that was just how it was, and anyway, there were lots of kids worse than he was.

I cried about Shakshuka during morning recess and Danny laughed at me because that was Danny, that was just the way he was, and Duke also laughed, obvi-ously, because Duke was Danny’s number two. But at the time I didn’t know that they had anything to do with Shakshuka’s disappearance and kept telling my-self that maybe they were just being mean, as usual.

That Danny, everyone­ was afraid of him. And they’d have been nuts not to be. It was bad enough that he was the kind of kid who would smear your seat with glue and laugh at you when you sat down; that he and his friends would come up and offer you what looked like the tastiest muffin you’d ever seen, and when you opened your mouth to take a bite you discovered it was really a sponge. But none of that was important. The problem was, he remembered everything­ that anyone had ever done to him, and he made sure to get back at them. The day before Shakshuka disappeared, Mrs.

Brown asked us what a potter did, and Danny jumped up and said that a potter was a person who put plants in pots, but Mrs. Brown said that was not what a potter did. And then I raised my hand and said that a potter was a person who worked with clay and made pottery.

Danny, who sat right behind me, leaned forward and smacked my head, and I said, “Ow.” It wasn’t too bad, but the teacher saw him and she wrote a note he had to take home to his parents. That shouldn’t have been so bad either, but later, when school got out, he grabbed me in the yard and kicked me in the leg. I went flying and crashed into the seesaw, where I banged my other leg as well.

Danny said, “If you hadn’t said ‘Ow’ before in class, the teacher wouldn’t have given me a note. Now because of you I’m suspended. That was my third note.”

Our school had this system that every time a kid hit another kid, he got a note he had to take home to his parents, and if it happened three times his par-ents had to come to school and the kid got sent home. My mother said it was mainly a punishment for the parents, who had to miss a day of work and come to school.

I could have told on him for kicking me in the yard as well. My bag flew off my shoulder and landed right

in the middle of a puddle, and Mom was really angry at me when I got home because we had to take out all the books and leave them out to dry and we had to wash the bag. I really could have told on him, but there wouldn’t have been any point. It would just have meant another note for him, another kick for me.

Thanks but no thanks.

In the evening, when the Munchkins went to sleep, Mom took one look at me and burst out laughing and said she wished that you could buy a doll that looked just like me, with scratches on her right knee, black dirt under her fingernails, and a mosquito bite on her cheek.

“It’s not a bite, it’s a bruise,” I told her. “And any-way, who would buy a doll like that?”

“I would,” said Mom. “But what happened to you? Take a look at your legs—­how on earth . . .”

“Ow! Don’t touch.”

“You look as if you were in a fight with a tiger.” That was so close to the truth that I blurted out the whole story about what happened with Danny. And I was really sorry I did that because that was the reason Shakshuka disappeared. Mom spoke to Mrs. Brown and she must have told her I was black-­and-­blue after Danny pushed me because the next day at school Mrs. Brown took me aside and told me that I had to let her know whenever something like that happened because otherwise Danny would just keep on hitting me, and other kids too, and we had to put a stop to it. Mrs. Brown meant well, but I knew that when it came to Danny, I was on my own.

Later, at the end of the day, Danny caught me again, this time when I was right by the gate. Maybe someone saw me talking to the teacher and told him. Suddenly I was lying on the ground with my face in the dirt. I must have shouted because Danny told me to keep quiet.

Then he said, “Tell me what you told Mrs. Brown!” “Let me get up!” I yelled.

“First tell me what you told her.”

“Let me get up!” My neck was all twisted, but somehow I managed to turn to the side and I saw two first graders walking out of the building toward the gate.

Danny must have seen them too because he let me go, and when I stood up he looked at me and started

laughing, probably because of the dirt on my face, and I decided I’d had enough of this jerk. I saw red, no matter where I looked I saw red, and without think-ing about what grown-­ups always taught us—­that we shouldn’t hit back because whoever hit back would be punished just like the one who started it—­I threw a plant at him.

At the entrance to our school there was this huge plant. The nature teacher once told us that it grew so big because it always got water from this pipe that dripped down into it, and also because it was in a pro-tected corner.

It was a shame about the plant, it really was. And it didn’t even hit him. It crashed to the ground halfway between us. Then Mrs. Brown came. And without even thinking I told her that Danny knocked me down and then threw the plant at me.

“But it didn’t hit me,” I said, and I looked Danny straight in the eye to see what he’d say.

Danny said I was a liar, but Mrs. Brown took one look at my dirty clothes and she believed me. And be-cause of me he got into serious trouble. They didn’t only make his parents come to school and suspend him for a day—­after the incident with the plant they also told him he’d have to start seeing this really horrible counselor every Wednesday. The kids who knew him said his office stunk of cigarettes and he was a real bore.

That was why Danny found a way to get back at me. He said, “Just you wait.” That was exactly what he said: “Just you wait.” And I did wait because I knew him. But Shakshuka didn’t wait and she couldn’t have known how to wait for what ended up happening to her.

Meet the author - Galia Oz
Galia Oz was born in Kibbutz Hulda, Israel, in 1964. She studied film and Television in Tel Aviv University 1984-87.

Her award winning series of 5 books titled DOG TROUBLE was published in France, Spain and Brazil – and recently in the US by CROWN BOOKS Random House. The series is a steady seller in Israel for over 10 years (selling over 150,000 copies).

Oz has directed several documentaries, all screened in international film festivals, and in Israeli leading television channels.

Over the years, Galia Oz has been meeting thousands of readers in Israeli elementary schools, and taught creative writing and classic children's literature to kids in public libraries.

Galia Oz is married and has two kids, a dog and a cat, and they all live in Ramat Hasharon, just outside Tel-Aviv.

Visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009378865434.

Guest Post
"I wanted to mow down the politically correct" /Galia Oz, about DOG TROUBLE!

A few words about me
I was born in a small communal village called a kibbutz, in Israel. The surroundings were beautiful, the air was clean, the doors were never locked and secrets were hard to keep. As a child, I never stopped reading. The real world had very clear boundaries - the fields surrounding the kibbutz were the physical boundary, and the fact that we were a small class of eight was the social boundary. But in my mind, I could be in Dicken’s foggy Victorian London, on the Mississippi with Huckleberry Fin, or in the Swedish countryside alongside Pippi Longstocking, my childhood hero, the strongest girl in the world.

Although my own kids were raised in a far more conventional way, some of the free spirit of the kibbutz did trickle into the world of Dog Trouble!

Why write children’s literature
At the time of writing, I felt this need that I couldn’t quite put to words. It was only later that it became clear to me: I wanted to mow down the politically correct and the "moralizing" prerequisite of children's literature. I wasn’t willing to write too happy of an ending that ties up all the loose ends. A children's book is not a truck that needs to carry life lessons, and children are not pets that need to be trained. They deserve to read complex texts, which reflect a broken and imperfect reality. In other words: Literature.

About Dog Trouble!
I wanted to write a story that would be sophisticated enough for my kids, one that reflects the real world, its inhabitants and their dilemmas. The first story almost wrote itself: Julie’s dog disappears and she goes looking for it. Her friends try to help her solve the mystery, but sometimes they get in her way. Once the first book was published, the characters already had lives of their own. If you were to wake one of them in the middle of the night, it was obvious how they’d react. Each one has a clear, distinctive personality. I was only there to get them out of bed.

A few words about Julie, our protagonist
Julie is a little bit of everybody: sociable but not too sociable, family-oriented but knows when she needs a break, independent but knows when to rely on others, compassionate but not about to be taken for a ride. Anyone can identify with Julie - both boys and girls. When I started writing, I was aware that girls read books about boys, but that boys don’t always read books about girls. Yet still, I gave a girl-protagonist the center stage. I turned her into a narrator, and I allowed her to be assertive. In retrospect, I think writing this character was the most political thing I have done.

The secret behind Dog Trouble!
I would like to think that what distinguishes the Dog Trouble! series is its “temperature.” Although the world can be tough, it is also full of love and warmth. Each of these children is surrounded by a band of friends, and although none of them is the paragon of perfection, they all show real solidarity toward one another. The dialogue between them, even when it contains conflict, remains inclusive and humorous.

Moreover, there seems to be an unwritten code that dictates that protagonists in children's literature cannot be mean, petty, manipulative or violent. And if they are, they must be punished, or admit their guilt or at least show some remorse. But that’s not how the world works, and that is not the case in Dog Trouble! Sometimes it’s easy to look down on those who are weaker than you. The unpopular kids don't always stand up for themselves; sometimes they’re willing to take a few hits just to get in the good graces of the popular kids. Why should we be sanctimonious and pretend that there is always a way to repair such realities? I portray societal reality, for better or for worse. I don’t have to put a bandage on it. And, in my experience, children don't fall apart when they see their hardships reflected in the pages of a book. On the contrary, there is something reparative about hearing, or in this case reading, the truth.

All five books in the Dog Trouble! series have become bestsellers and have remained among the most popular children's books in Israel over the past decade. The series won a literary prize and has been translated and published in France, Spain and Brazil.

October 15, 2017

Goats of Anarchy by Leanne Lauricella - Review

Book details
Hardcover: 138 pages
Publisher: Rock Point (March 15, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1631062859
ISBN-13: 978-1631062858

Book description
Get ready to party—the goats are back in town! Based on the popular Instagram account, Goats of
Anarchy takes you on a tour of Leanne’s goat rescue farm, a place where special-needs goats can heal, grow, and butt heads to their hearts’ content.

Join Pocket, Ella, Chibs, Lyla, Prospect and Polly--the goat who took the Internet by storm with her adorable duck costume--as they rumble, snuggle, pig out, dress up, and even teach you a few goat yoga moves to loosen your haunches. Whether they’re learning to walk or just romping around the farm, these horned and hooved heartbreakers will have you grinning ear to ear as they chew the scenery—literally!

Meet the author - Leanne Lauricella
When she left New York City for the wilds of New Jersey in 2011, Leanne Lauricella knew nothing about animal sanctuaries. She started her Instagram account, @goatsofanarchy, shortly after getting her first two goats, Jax and Opie. Today, Leanne’s Instagram has over 280,000 followers, and is the winner of the 2016 People’s Voice Webby Award for Animal-Based Social Media Account.

My thoughts
I thought this was a very cute book. It was not only a picture book but a feel good story about each of these rescued goats. The author is a lifesaver for this poor little goats that all have had some sort of injury or illness that she has rescued them from. Some of their stories are heart wrenching. Then you have pictures of adorable goats. This was a good way to pass an afternoon. I have now become an Instagram follower so I don't miss any pictures of these cute little animals. 

A Spoonful of Sugar by Brenda Ashford - Review

Book details
Listening Length: 12 hours and 9 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Random House Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 2, 2013
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English

Book description
Brenda Ashford is the quintessential British nanny. Prim and proper, gentle and kind, she seems to have stepped straight out of Mary Poppins. For more than six decades Nanny Brenda swaddled, diapered, dressed, played with, sang to, cooked for, and looked after more than 100 children. From the pampered sons and daughters of lords ensconced in their grand estates, to tough East End evacuees during the war, Brenda has taught countless little ones to be happy, healthy, and thoroughly well bred. In this delightful memoir, Brenda shares her endearing, amusing, and sometimes downright bizarre experiences turning generations of children into successful adults.

From the moment Brenda first held her baby brother, David, she was hooked. She became a second mother to him, changing his nappies, reading him stories and giving all the love her warm heart had. Knowing a career caring for children was her only calling in life, Brenda attended London's prestigious Norland Institute, famous for producing top-class nannies. It was a sign of privilege and taste for the children of the well-to-do to be seen being pushed in their Silver Cross prams by a Norland nanny - recognizable by their crisp, starched black uniforms with white bib collars, and their flowing black capes lined with red silk. The skills these trainees were tested on daily? Lullaby-singing, storytelling, pram-shining, bed-making, all forms of sewing, minor cooking, and medical aid - including the best way to help the medicine go down.

In A Spoonful of Sugar, Brenda recalls her years at Norland, her experiences during the war (after all, even if bombs are dropping there's no reason to let standards slip) and recounts in lovely detail a life devoted to the care of other people's children.

Sprinkled throughout with pearls of wisdom (children can never have too much love, and learn how to sew a button, for goodness' sake) this delightful memoir from Britain's oldest living nanny is practically perfect in every way.

Meet the author - Brenda Ashford
Brenda Ashford is a graduate of Norland College, a world-famous institute for British nannies. For 62 years, she cared for more than 100 children, making her Britain's longest-serving nanny. She lives outside London.

My thoughts
This was one of the best books I have read this year or should I say listened to. Of course I liked the narrator as she had an English accent which I could listen to all day long. It was interesting to not only hear about Brenda's adventures as a Nanny but to hear how she views changes of her time as a nanny and how a nanny's position is today. I also enjoyed hearing about her personal life and her younger years. There was one part that brought tears to my eyes and I have a lot of respect for her after hearing her story. I wish she would write more books as I think they would be enjoyable. I highly recommend this book.

Death Overdue by Allison Brook - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313861

Book description
Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she’s offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura’s case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Now it’s due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.

Meet the author - Allison Brook
Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

Author Links
Website: http://www.marilynlevinson.com
My Amazon page: http://amzn.to/K6Md1O
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marilev/

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N

My thoughts
Oh how I love a good cozy mystery especially one that has a library and it haunted. This book has all the makings for the start of a good new series. You have two mysteries to solve in this book. The fifteen year old one of Laura Foster and the most recent one of Al. I think Al was done in as he had figured out what happened to Laura. Then Carrie starts looking into the murder and now she needs to watch her back. I liked the twists the author put in the story two keep you interested. The only negative that I would have to say about this book is that I would have liked more of the ghost. But that was not enough to keep me from enjoying this book and looking forward to the next book in the series. This is the perfect book to read this time of year.

Tour Participants

October 14 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
October 14 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT
October 14 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
October 14 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST
October 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 15 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
October 16 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 16 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
October 16 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW
October 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST
October 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
October 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
October 17 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
October 18 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
October 18 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST
October 18 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 18 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
October 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
October 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 19 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW
October 19 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW,
October 20 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
October 20 – Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf – REVIEW
October 20 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW
October 20 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST

October 14, 2017

Murder on the Toy Town Express by Barbara Early - Guest Post and Two Giveaways

Book details
Cozy Mystery 
2nd in Series 
New York Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017) 
Hardcover: 304 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1683313090 

Book description
Liz McCall has come to love running her father’s vintage toyshop back home in East Aurora, NY, so when the Train and Toy Show comes to town, she’s all aboard for a fun toy-filled weekend. The only hitch is that her childhood bully Craig McFadden, now local business rival, has set up a booth next to hers. But the fun and games are over when Craig falls from the ceiling in a publicity stunt gone wrong.

What was initially thought to be a fatal accident proves much more sinister. Pulled into the case by her feelings for both Ken, the police chief, and Jack, her high school sweetheart whose brother is one the prime suspects, Liz dives headfirst into the investigation. But as she digs deeper, she’s shocked to learn her father may have been the intended target.

The trouble train is barreling down and Liz may have just bought herself a first class ticket in Murder on the Toy Town Express, Barbara Early’s delightful second installment in her Vintage Toyshop mysteries.

Meet the author - Barbara Early
Barbara Early earned an engineering degree, but after four years of doing nothing but math, developed a sudden allergy to the subject and decided to choose another occupation. Before she settled on murdering fictional people, she was a secretary, a school teacher, a pastor’s wife, and an amateur puppeteer. After several years living elsewhere, she and her husband moved back to her native Western New York State, where she enjoys cooking, crafts, classic movies and campy seventies television, board games, and posting pictures of her four cats on Facebook. She writes the Vintage Toyshop series and the Bridal Bouquet Shop Mysteries (as Beverly Allen).

Author Links 

Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cUh3Wn 

Guest post
If you write enough blog posts, sometimes you run out of ideas. So I asked my Facebook friends what about my books THEY would like to READ about, and they asked me about toys. I guess that makes sense, since I write a series about a vintage toyshop. In particular, they wanted to know what was my favorite, and what toys I wished I had.

Well, my favorite toys always involved some type of creative expression. My Lite Brite might have been my absolute favorite. I also had a small electric organ, and I taught myself to play a few songs. I loved paint by number and those watercolor books. Blocks were a given, but I always wished I had more to make something even bigger. And coloring books and crayons were a staple of my childhood. I taught myself to read and write copying cereal and ketchup labels at the kitchen table. I don’t recall a particular toy I pined over. (I think I wanted them all. I was a covetous little brat!)

Was that my inspiration to write? Probably not. Unlike many authors who talk about how they were writing ever since they put pencil to paper—usually right in between weaning and potty training—I can’t recall having any such inclination. I remember a friend in junior high saying she wanted to write a book, and I said, “Hey, that’s a good idea. Sounds like fun.” But she got mad, accused me of copying her, so I gave up the idea. Oh, that adolescent angst!

I think the inspiration to write came many years later, when I realized that crafting a novel was almost a natural extension of those playful activities I enjoyed as a child. You build a plot layer upon layer, like a complex lego project. You create characters in broad strokes, and then add more subtle shading, like the paint-by-number pictures. Setting is put in place, piece by piece, then comes to life, like turning on the light on that Lite-Brite. And dialog is like that old organ, just tweaking it until it “sounds right.”

I started writing for my own enjoyment, creating truly dreadful fan fiction for the TV show Monk, but soon found myself studying it, copying the structure, watching how the writers did things, taking notes from what I saw, and then trying it myself—much like sitting at the kitchen table copying labels.

So while I didn’t start writing when I was young, maybe the signs were all there, after all.

What toys did you enjoy? Do those early choices reveal anything about the adult you became?

Giveaway #1

Giveaway #2
Prize is a brightly colored vintage toyshop tote bag, key ring, train whistle, bookmarks, and assorted fun toyshop swag (color and selection will vary)

October 9 – Socrates' Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
October 9 – A Blue Million Books - CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
October 10 – Babs Book Bistro - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY 
October 10 – Island Confidential - CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
October 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews - INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY 
October 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 
October 11 – Writing Pearls – REVIEW 
October 12 – The Power of Words - REVIEW, GIVEAWAY 
October 12 – Blogger Nicole Reviews - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY 
October 13 – StoreyBook Reviews - GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY 
October 13 – My Reading Journeys - REVIEW, INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY 
October 13 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – GUEST POST 
October 14 – A Holland Reads - GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY 
October 14 – Laura's Interests - REVIEW, GIVEAWAY 
October 15 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW 
October 15 – Sleuth Cafe - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY 
October 16 – View from the Birdhouse - REVIEW, GIVEAWAY 
October 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST 
October 17 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW 
October 17 – Brooke Blogs - CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY 
October 18 – Celticlady's Reviews - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY 
October 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews - SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY October 18 – Valerie's Musings - REVIEW, INTERVIEW 


October 13, 2017

The Sweet Life by Sharon Struth - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Print Length: 225 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (September 19, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1516103584
Series: The Sweet Life #1

Book description
In Italy, the best attractions are always off the beaten path . . .

Mamie Weber doesn’t know why she survived that terrible car accident five years ago. Physically, she has only a slight reminder—but emotionally, the pain is still fresh. Deep down she knows her husband would have wanted her to embrace life again. Now she has an opportunity to do just that, spending two weeks in Tuscany reviewing a tour company for her employer’s popular travel guide series. The warmth of the sun, the centuries-old art, a villa on the Umbrian border—it could be just the adventure she needs.

But with adventure comes the unexpected . . . like discovering that her entire tour group is made up of aging ex-hippies reminiscing about their Woodstock days. Or finding herself drawn to the guide, Julian, who is secretly haunted by a tragedy of his own, and seems to disapprove any time she tries something remotely risky—like an impromptu scooter ride with a local man.

As they explore the hilltop towns of Tuscany, Mamie knows that when this blissful excursion is over, she’ll have to return to reality. But when you let yourself wander, life can take some interesting detours . . .

“Struth has a gift for layering stories within stories while keeping them all connected.”—Library Journal

“The plot is refreshing and will definitely keep the reader turning page after page.”—Fresh Fiction, SHARE THE MOON

“Sharon Struth writes a good story about love and loss. She knows her characters and has a path she wants them to take.”—Eye on Romance

Purchase Links
Amazon | iBooks | Google | Kobo

Meet the author Sharon Struth
Sharon Struth believes you’re never too old to pursue a dream. The Hourglass, her debut novel, is a finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards for Best first Book, and her Blue Moon Lake Novels include the bestseller, Share the Moon.

When she’s not working, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail, travel the world, and enjoy spending time with their precious pets and two grown daughters. She writes from the friendliest place she’s ever lived, Bethel, Connecticut. For more information, including where to find her published essays, please visit www.sharonstruth.com or visit her blog, Musings from the Middle Ages & More.

Connect with Sharon
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

My thoughts
This book was a great book. I liked it from the beginning and enjoyed the author's writing style. One day I hope to go to Italy but for now I will live through other's stories. The author did a good job of making you feel as if you were in Tuscany with Mamie. But I have to say I would not have wanted to be on the trip Mamie was on. The people would have driven me crazy. You can help but caring for both Mamie and Julian when you meet them. It was fun to get tot know them and follow them through their journeys. I am looking forward to more books in this series. 
Sharon Struth’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, September 19th: Books & Bindings
Wednesday, September 20th: She’s All Booked
Monday, September 25th: Chick Lit Central – spotlight
Wednesday, September 27th: Just Commonly
Friday, September 29th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, October 2nd: The Romance Dish
Monday, October 2nd: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Tuesday, October 3rd: Books a la Mode – guest post
Wednesday, October 4th: Reading Reality
Thursday, October 5th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, October 6th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, October 9th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, October 10th: Books and Spoons
Wednesday, October 11th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, October 12th: Bewitched Bookworms

October 12, 2017

Appointment with Yesterday by Christopher Stratakis - Spotlight

Book Details:
Book Title: Appointment with Yesterday: A Novel in Four Parts with a Prologue and an Epilogue
Author: Christopher Stratakis
Category: Adult Fiction, 334 pages
Genre: coming-of-age / WWII / immigrant experience
Publisher: IndieReader
Release date: January 2017
Tour dates: Oct 2 to 20, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is no bad language or violence, but there are references to sex and sexual situations (including between a pre-teen and teen)

Book Description:
A poignant and compelling first novel, Appointment with Yesterday tells the story of Yanni, a cheeky and delightful Greek boy growing up in a small town on an island in the eastern Aegean.

Left in the care of his loving grandparents, Yanni endures the deprivation and terror of the German occupation during World War II and finally leaves his beloved homeland and family to rejoin the parents who had left him behind to make a better life for themselves in America.

Filled with heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of love, devotion, disenchantment, and dashed dreams, Appointment with Yesterday is, ultimately, the story of hardships overcome and a determined boy’s journey toward finding his destiny.

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Book Depository ~ Books-a-Million
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author - Christopher Stratakis
Christopher Stratakis was born and raised in Greece. After moving to America, he graduated from Drexel University in 1951 and New York University School of Law in 1955. Shortly after joining the law firm of Poles, Tublin & Patestides in 1960, he became a partner, specializing in admiralty and corporate law.

He has written and published several articles, lectured on professional and historical subjects, served as Legal Advisor to several non-profits (pro bono), and was an arbitrator in maritime disputes. He is the author of Mnimes “Memories” (2010), a book of essays, short stories, and poems that he wrote as a teenager. In 2015, he co-edited Chains on Parallel Roads, a book published by Panchiaki “Korais” Society of New York. In recognition of his extensive community involvement, he has been the recipient of several awards from religious, governmental, and educational institutions.

Mr. Stratakis lives with his wife in New York City. He is the proud father of three and grandfather of three. This is his first novel.

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Oct 28

Children's Classic Stories by Aniesha Brahma - Spotlight

Book description
This gorgeous treasury of ten classic stories is guaranteed to delight and entertain young children, bringing the magic of traditional stories to the new generation of children. Aimed at 8-12 year olds, each favourite fairy tale or story has been sensitively retold for young readers.

The series 'Children's Classic Stories' contains total 100 stories in 10 volumes. The stories in this collection show the consequences of greed, pride, and vanity, but also tell of the love that grows from a kind heart and a cheerful nature.

Volume 1 includes the following stories:
01. Little Red Riding Hood
02. Cinderella
03. Hansel and Gretel
04. Sleeping Beauty
05. Snow White and Rose Red
06. The Emperor's New Clothes
07. Rumplestiltskin
08. The Wise Little Girl
09. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
10. Rip Van Winkle

Goodreads * Amazon

Meet the author - Aniesha Brahma
Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. She is the author of All Signs Lead Back to You, When Our Worlds Collide, The Guitar Girl and The Secret Proposal. She compiled and edited the 10 volumes series, 'Children's Classic Stories' with love and great efforts.

Website * Twitter * Instagram * Facebook

October 10, 2017

Christmas at the Gin Shack by Catherine Miller - Spotlight

Book details
Welcome in the festive season with love, laughter and the perfect G&T in Christmas at the Gin Shack – the most uplifting holiday read of 2017!

Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…

Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin-themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!

But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.

Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day?

Purchase on Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo

Meet the author - Catherine Miller
When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren't full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find. By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with HQDigital UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time. Her debut novel, Waiting For You, came out in March 2016. She is now the author of four books and hopes there will be many more now her twins have started school. Either that, or she’ll conduct more gin research on Olive’s behalf.

Social Media Links –

16 Millimeters by Larissa Reinhart - Book Blast


16 Millimeters: A Maizie Albright Humorous Mystery by Larissa Reinhart

October 10 & 11, 2017

Release Date - October 17, 2017

Book details
Cozy Mystery/Romance 
2nd in Series 
Past Perfect Press Print 
Length: 320 pages 
Kindle ASIN: B074TW9MZ8

About this book
#StillAWannabeDetective In continuing her career-makeover quest as a for-real detective, ex-teen and reality star Maizie Albright has a big learning curve to overcome. A sleuthing background starring in a TV show— Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective—does not cut the real life mustard. It doesn’t even buy her lunch, let alone extra condiments. Her chosen mentor, Wyatt Nash of Nash Security Solutions, is not a willing teacher. He’d rather stick Maizie with a safe desk job and handle the security solution-ing himself. But Maizie’s got other plans to help Nash. First, win Nash’s trust. Second, his heart.

Wait, not his heart. His respect. His hearty respect.

So when a major movie producer needs a babysitter for his hot mess starlet, Maizie eagerly takes the job. But when her starlet appears dead, and then not dead, Maizie’s got more than an actress to watch and a missing corpse to find. Body doubles, dead bodies, and hot bodies abound when the big screen, small screen, and silent screams collide. Maizie’s on the job, on the skids, and on thin ice, hunting a killer who may be a celebrity stalker. And Maizie just might be the next celebrity who gets snuffed.
Pre-Order Links
Amazon B&N
Meet the author Larissa Reinhart
Larissa is a 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, 2014 finalist for the Silver Falchion and Georgia Author of the Year, 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, have been living in Nagoya, Japan, but once again call Georgia home. See them on HGTV’s House Hunters International “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya” episode. Visit her website, LarissaReinhart.com, find her chatting on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads, or join her Facebook street team, The Mystery Minions.

Website: http://larissareinhart.com/ 
Official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/RisWrites 
Amazon: http://smarturl.it/LarissaReinhart

Purchase Links 

Tour participants

October 9, 2017

Lilac Lane by Sherryl Woods - Excerpt

Book details
Chesapeake Shores #14
Genre: Romance
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: MIRA (October 17, 2017)

About this book
No one writes about friends, family and home better than Sherryl Woods. Told with warmth and humor, Lilac Lane is a brand-new story in her beloved Chesapeake Shores series, one readers all over the world have waited two years to read!

At the heart of Lilac Lane is Keira Malone, who raised her three children alone after her first marriage broke apart, and who, after years of guarding her heart, finally finds love again. But that love is short-lived when her fiancĂ© suffers a fatal heart attack. Grieving and unsure of what’s next, Keira agrees to move from Dublin to Chesapeake Shores, Maryland, to spend time with her daughter, Moira, and her new granddaughter, Kate, as well as to help her son-in-law, Luke, with his Irish pub, O’Briens.

Not wanting to live underfoot, she rents a charming cottage on Lilac Lane, replete with views of the ocean and her neighbor’s thriving garden—not to mention views of the neighbor himself. The neighbor is none other than Bryan Laramie, the brusque and moody chef at the pub, with whom Keira is constantly butting heads. But things get real when Bryan’s long-lost daughter, whom he hasn’t seen since she was a baby, shows up out of the blue. As Bryan and Keira each delve into their pasts, reopening wounds, the rest of the town is gearing up for the Fall Festival Irish Stew cook-off, and making no bones about whose side they’re on. It’s Kitchen Wars meets This is Your Life—a recipe for disaster…or a new take on love?

You won’t want to miss this epic return to Chesapeake Shores, a place we’re betting you’ll want to stay forever.

Meet the author - Sherryl Woods
With her roots firmly planted in the South, Sherryl Woods has written many of her more than 100 books in that distinctive setting, whether in her home state of Virginia, her adopted state, Florida, or her much-adored South Carolina. Sherryl is best known for her ability to creating endearing small town communities and families. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 75 romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition.

Connect with Sherryl
Website |Facebook | Twitter

Owning a pub like this is the perfect fit for you, Luke. You couldn’t do better if you’d been born and bred in Ireland.”

He gave her a startled look. “You couldn’t have found a compliment that could please me more, Kiera. I wasn’t at all sure I had a niche in life when we first met in Ireland,” he admitted.

His candor revealed a rare insecurity, especially for an O’Brien. Kiera was touched that he felt comfortable sharing his feelings with her. “How can that be? I thought everyone in your family was born with confidence to spare.”

Luke laughed. “It certainly seems that way, but I was the youngest and had none of the passion for a career that every- one else seemed to have. I discovered what I was meant to do while I was in Dublin. The more pubs that Moira and I visited around the countryside, the surer I felt that this could be my calling. Even then, I had no idea how my family would react. They tend to be overachievers. I feared having my own pub here in Chesapeake Shores wouldn’t measure up as much of an accomplishment.”

“Did they find fault with your choice?” she asked curiously. She knew Mick and Luke’s own brother had international reputations as architects and urban planners. His uncle Thomas O’Brien ran a foundation dedicated to saving the Chesapeake Bay from environmental toxins. His aunt Megan, of course, had major connections in the art world, which she’d used to Moira’s benefit. His cousin Bree was known for her plays that had been produced locally, by a regional theater in Chicago and even on Broadway. There wasn’t a one of them who couldn’t claim success in their field. Had they judged Luke’s ambition to be less than theirs?

“My father questioned it at first. He thought it was too big a risk, but Uncle Mick got it right away, as did my grand- mother. To my father’s dismay, they were quite vocal with their support.”

“I should think so,” Kiera said. “Neighborhood pubs are a fine Irish tradition. Aren’t there bars in the States that are similar?”

“I wanted this place to be more than just another bar. I wanted it to be a community gathering spot,” Luke said.

He gestured at the arrangement of tables, subtly done to make conversation easier between tables. The antique bar he’d imported from Ireland had space for a dozen people, and a mirror behind it that allowed customers to speak to others seated several stools away and still see their reactions mirrored on the wall. And while the colors he’d chosen ref lected the waterfront setting more than an Irish pub might, they were warm, inviting shades of the sea. There was even a bit of a dance f loor carved out in front of the area where Irish bands played on weekends.

“Well, if your regulars are to be believed, you’ve achieved that,” Kiera told him. “I myself can see that you’ve created a place that’s comfortable, friendly and the first place to go for the local gossip.” She hesitated deliberately, then taunted, “That is if you haven’t already picked it up at Sally’s in the morning.”

Luke laughed. “I like to think we come by a few tidbits of news first right here, if only because Uncle Mick seems to know everything and finds my bar the perfect place to be sharing it. O’Brien’s may be my pub, but Uncle Mick reigns over it.”

“Now, that has the ring of truth, to be sure.” With the time for the pub’s midday opening almost upon them, Kiera reminded them both that they needed to get back to work. “You’d best get busy on that paperwork now. Leave the bar to me.”

“I’m right here if you need me,” Luke told her. “Or ask Bryan. He’s filled in a time or two when we’ve been short- staffed.”

“I’ll do my best to handle it without bothering either one of you,” Kiera said, and headed off to check on supplies. She stopped short when she found Bryan seated at the end of the bar with a cup of coffee.

“And shouldn’t you be in the kitchen?” she inquired lightly, trying to calm the unexpected flutter of nerves she got at the

sight of him. What was it about him that affected her so? He was annoying, to be sure, but it was more than that. Maybe that impossible nature of his reminded her just the tiniest bit of Sean Malone, which was far from a recommendation.

As if to prove her point about his difficult nature, he immediately bristled at the hint of accusation in her voice. “Kiera, I’ve been running the kitchen quite efficiently for some time now. I don’t need you to tell me how to do it. I believe I’ve mentioned that before.”

She winced. “More than once,” she said stiff ly. And here they went again, off on the wrong foot, just when she’d been trying to convince both Luke and herself that they could manage to get along.
Excerpt tour for LILAC LANE:

Monday, October 2nd: Moonlight Rendezvous
Tuesday, October 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, October 4th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, October 5th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Friday, October 6th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Monday, October 9th: A Holland Reads
Tuesday, October 10th: Books a la Mode
Wednesday, October 11th: Just One More Chapter
Thursday, October 12th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, October 13th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

October 8, 2017

Another Man's Poison by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa - Guest Post and Giveaway


Book details
Cup of Tea Books, a PageSpring Publishing Imprint 
Cozy Mystery 
3rd in Series 
Release Date - August 29, 2017 
236 pages 

• No explicit language and the only scene with any lack of clothing contains no actual sex. 

About this book
Crime reporter Colleen Caruso has an appetite for romance…and trouble. When someone tries to poison Ken Rhodes (her handsome boss and boyfriend), Colleen vows to hunt down the culprit and serve them up to the police. She’s whisked away into the scrumptious world of restaurants and gourmet food as she tangles with four culinary divas from Ken’s past.

Trouble is, Colleen doesn’t know when to turn down the heat.

Is this Jersey Girl’s investigation a recipe for disaster?

Or will the poisoner get their just desserts?

Meet the author - Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa
Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa is the creator of the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series, which includes New Math is Murder; Hide nor Hair, and the latest installment, Another Man’s Poison. Her short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. Reccoppa worked as a stringer for Greater Media Newspapers for many years and wrote hundreds of articles, covering everything from serious medical stories to restaurant reviews. She draws on her past newspaper experience to create quirky characters and outlandish scenarios for the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series. 

Purchase Links - Amazon B&N

Other books in this series:

Guest post
Why Tranquil Harbor? I Live There. That’s My Story. And I’m Sticking to it.

Just so there’s no misunderstanding, Colleen Caruso, my main character in the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series, lives in Tranquil Harbor, New Jersey. Jo-Ann Reccoppa does not. That’s not to say I wouldn’t want to live there. For the most part, the suburban bedroom hamlet is gorgeous. The truth is, I probably couldn’t afford to live there – but I’m working on it. There’s also a rural part in the forty-plus square mile town where the denizens aren’t so prosperous. I’m trying to my best not to take up residence in that section.

Colleen lives in the better part of town. She’s a reporter (just as I was) for the local community newspaper. She’s also a mom, a daughter, a sister, and with a little luck will soon be her boss’s lover. Her main goal is to be the number one reporter at the newspaper. Her second aspiration, which comes every summer, is to get a decent tan – though with her genetic Irish/Italian makeup, she either stays deathly white from excessive sunblock or burns to crisp from using tanning lotion with a low SPF. We have so much in common.

I fictionalized the town only because I didn’t care to run into any libel trouble down the road. You just never know who you will offend. Because I live close to Raritan Bay, I tucked Tranquil Harbor in amongst many of the real towns on our lovely waterfront.

Raritan Bay Waterfront Park in South Amboy, NJ

I also thought a shore community would be an ideal setting for a murder. Why? Because there are plenty of people I’d like to murder (wink, wink), there are loads of places to hide a body, and writers tend to write what they know. Describing ocean-front settings makes me smile, and New Jersey (better known to the rest of the country for refineries and Thunder Road) is chock-full of spectacular beaches, further evidenced by the shots below:

Long Beach Island, NJ 

Atlantic Highlands, NJ (also on Raritan Bay) 

Great settings, right? Unfortunately, most of the action in each book in this series takes place indoors. I mean, you can dump a body anywhere, but it’s hard to kill someone off in my part of the state. It’s crowded here. There’s always someone around to see you commit the crime. They like ocean views morning, noon, and night and they watch, and watch, and watch.

The homicidal crowd hates witnesses.


   a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Tour Participants 

October 2 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT 
October 3 – Valerie's Musings – INTERVIEW 
October 3 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT 
October 4 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW 
October 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST 
October 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT 
October 8 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST 
October 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST 
October 10 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
October 11 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW 
October 12 – My Reading Journeys - REVIEW, INTERVIEW 
October 13 – Laura's Interests – SPOTLIGHT 
October 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT 
October 15 – A Blue Million Books - CHARACTER INTERVIEW