October 21, 2019

Fan Mail by Daryl Wood Gerber - Review

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

Book details
Series: An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense (Book 2)
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing (November 12, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1950461297
ISBN-13: 978-1950461295

Book description

Agatha Award–winning and national bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber returns with a dark new novel of suspense . . .

An adoring fan and a string of murders: a demented show of love that leaves no one safe . . .

Local celebrity news anchor Gloria Morning is used to receiving declarations of love and praise in her weekly fan letters, but when a Lake Tahoe doctor is murdered and she gets an anonymous note telling her it was done for her glory, her appreciation turns to panic. Unsure of where else to turn, she enlists the help of novice private investigator Aspen Adams. No sooner does Aspen begin digging into who sent the macabre note than another murder occurs, followed by another note, and she soon realizes she’s up against a ruthless and deranged killer.

Working with scant clues and a puzzling array of potential suspects, Aspen is determined to unearth the elusive connection between the victims and her client. But as the body count grows and the murderer remains a mystery to both her and the police, Aspen discovers she’s gotten closer to the killer than she ever imagined, and now she must risk everything she holds dear to stop the killings, including her own life . . .


Meet the author Daryl Wood Gerber
Agatha Award–winning and nationally bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber is the author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, the French Bistro Mysteries, the Cheese Shop Mysteries (as Avery Aames), and stand-alone suspense thrillers. Little known facts about Daryl are that she’s jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, has hitchhiked around Ireland by herself, and has appeared on an episode of Murder, She Wrote. She loves to read, cook, and golf, and has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!
My thoughts
This book was even better than the first in this series (Desolate Shores).  I am liking Aspen more and more and I like how close she is with her niece.  I also like how her and Nick's relationship is progressing.  It is nice that even though he does not want her to and gets upset with her for trying to solve the murders he lets her do her thing and even asks her opinion on the cases.  This story had me on the edge of my seat at times.  I thought I had it figured out and then my suspect ended up dead so I had to rethink things and it did end up being my second suspect.  I hope this series keeps on going as I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. 

George Washington's Secret Six by Brian Kilmead and Don Yaeger - Review


Book details
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Sentinel; Reprint edition (October 18, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143130609
ISBN-13: 978-0143130604

Book description
When George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied—thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. He realized that he couldn’t defeat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York.

Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have offered fascinating portraits of these spies: a reserved Quaker merchant, a tavern keeper, a brash young longshoreman, a curmudgeonly Long Island bachelor, a coffeehouse owner, and a mysterious woman. Long unrecognized, the secret six are finally receiving their due among the pantheon of American heroes.

Meet the authors: Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
Brian Kilmeade cohosts Fox News Channel’s morning show Fox & Friends and hosts the nationally syndicated radio show The Brian Kilmeade Show. The author of two previous books about sports, he lives on Long Island.

Don Yaeger has written twenty-three books, including seven New York Times bestsellers. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book and thought the author did a good job.  It did not read like a normal history book it read like a novel.  The author's attention to detail added to the story for me.  He also gave some good theories on #355 that made sense.  I will be looking for more books by these authors. 

October 12, 2019

Coming Home for Christmas by RaeAnne Thayne - Review

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

Book details
  • Series: Haven Point (Book 10)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HQN; Original edition (September 24, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1335504990
  • ISBN-13: 978-1335504999

Book description
Hearts are lighter and wishes burn a little brighter at Christmas…

Elizabeth Hamilton has been lost. Trapped in a tangle of postpartum depression and grief after the death of her beloved parents, she couldn’t quite see the way back to her husband and their two beautiful kids…until a car accident stole away her memories and changed her life. And when she finally remembered the sound of little Cassie’s laugh, the baby powder smell of Bridger and the feel of her husband’s hand in hers, Elizabeth worried that they’d moved on without her. That she’d missed too much. That perhaps she wasn’t the right mother for her kids or wife for Luke, no matter how much she loved them.

But now, seven years later, Luke finds her in a nearby town and brings Elizabeth back home to the family she loves, just in time for Christmas. And being reunited with Luke and her children is better than anything Elizabeth could have imagined. As they all trim the tree and bake cookies, making new holiday memories, Elizabeth and Luke are drawn ever closer. Can the hurt of the past seven years be healed over the course of one Christmas season and bring the Hamiltons the gift of a new beginning?

Meet the author RaeAnne Thayne
New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

My thoughts
This is another great addition to the Haven Point series. I enjoy coming back to this town to hang out with the characters and see what they are up too now. I can't imagine going through what Elizabeth and Luke have been through. To lose your family only to find them again what an emotional roller coaster. I like how the author uses real emotions and tough situations in her books. Her books have heart and soul along with some depth to them. An enjoyable book. 

October 11, 2019

Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran - Review and Guest Post

 

Book Details
Cozy Mystery 16th in Series 
Berkley (October 1, 2019) 
Hardcover: 320 pages 
ISBN-10: 0451489578 
ISBN-13: 978-0451489579 
Digital ASIN: B07M75KVSB 

Book Description
A shocking murder strikes a sour note during Jazz Fest in the latest New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It's Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre are parading through the French Quarter. Some are very spooky and veiled, others are tall and gangly, like strange aliens.

As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street and past the food booths. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling's antiques shop. They rush inside to find Devon collapsed with blood streaming down the side of his face. Has he been shot? Stabbed? 911 is hastily called, and the police and EMTs show up. After the police examine Devon's body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. They're shocked beyond belief—and now Mimi, Devon's little pug, is left homeless.

Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but the list of suspects is long. How long do they have before they find themselves on the killer's list?
About The Authors

Meet the authors - Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries - set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries - set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Laura’s Links: Webpage - http://www.laurachilds.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31 Recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer awards, 

Terrie Farley Moran is the author of the beachside Read 'Em and Eat cozy mystery series; co-author of Laura Childs’ New Orleans scrapbooking mystery series; and has published numerous short stories in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly Magazine and numerous anthologies. The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is hanging out with any or all of her seven grandchildren who reside in New York and Florida. 

I enjoyed this newest installment to this series. Although I have to say that Ava really annoyed me this time. I just wanted to tell her to grow up and be quiet for a minute. To me she acted like a snot at times. Of course I still love Carmela and her dogs. I hope that Carmela and Edgar get the wedding things figured out sooner rather than later. I just want them to have a happy ending. I thought Quigg was a little pushy but when is he not.  I was very surprised at who committed the murder in this book. I would have never guessed this person. I had my eye on a couple of others but that did not pan out. This has been a long time favorite series of mine and I have enjoyed watching these characters grow. I also like hearing about the crafts that Carmela has lined up. I love the stores ideas. It would be fun to shop there. 

Character Guest Post by Carmela Bertrand,
protagonist in Mumbo Gumbo Murder by
Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran

Welcome to New Orleans, my friends. To a city brimming with history, mystery, and rabble-rousing celebrations that seem to get bigger, badder, and more glorious every year.

I ought to know, because I live right in the middle of the Big Easy in a quaint little apartment in the French Quarter. My best friend, Ava Grieux, lives just across the courtyard from me. Her place (painted Pepto pink with lots of leopard accents) is on the second floor above her shop, Juju Voodoo.

My shop, Memory Mine, is down a few blocks on Governor Nicholls Street. It’s an adorable little place with yellow brick walls, sagging floors, and baskets filled with colorful scrapbook paper. We also carry a huge array of rubber stamps, cardstock, tempera paints, ribbons, tassels, beads, brads Paperclay, and colored pens.

Crafting is big here in New Orleans. You never know when someone will pop in and want to create invitations, make a paper theatre, stamp a velvet pillow, decoupage a frame, make a pair of earrings, create table decorations, or make a mask.

There’s another thing the Big Easy is known for – spooky goings-on. For some reason I’m always nearby when there’s a murder, hijacking, ghost sighting, exploding car, or strange above-ground cemetery occurrence. And because I’ve been blessed with the curiosity gene (yes, I know curiosity killed the cat!) I seem to get involved. Which bugs Detective Edgar Babcock, my sweetie du jour, to no end.

Take for instance the murder at Devon Dowling’s antiques shop that happened during Jazz Fest. His front window was stove in, priceless antiques trashed, and his adorable little pug Mimi left standing over his dead body.

Babcock warned me to not get involved. He said, “Carmela . . . don’t you dare!” I thought about that for about two seconds, then scooped up Mimi and decided to run my own shadow investigation. After all, Mimi saw the killer so she ought to be able to sniff him out, right?

Well, I don’t dare get into what happened next. Suffice it to say that there are more suspects than I can shake a stick at. I mean, there’s a penny-pinching landlord, a questionable young assistant, a fat cat art collector, a burglar named Sonny Boy, and the mysterious (but strangely attractive) president of the Vampire Society.

If you’re at all intrigued, why don’t you come along with me on my journey? Hear that mournful toot of a tugboat over on the Mississippi? Now gaze at the quarter moon hanging in a blue-black sky. Admire the old-fashioned gaslights glowing in the French Quarter. Then step this way and follow me down the dark but enchanting Pirate’s Alley. And help me spy on one more suspect!

All my best,
Carmela

Giveaway


TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
October 2 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT - Sapphyria's Books 
October 2 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT 
October 2 – Island Confidential - SPOTLIGHT 
October 3 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW 
October 3 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
October 4 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW 
October 4 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT 
October 5 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
October 5 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW 
October 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST October 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 
October 7 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW 
October 7 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST 
October 8 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW 
October 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT 
October 9 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT 
October 9 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW  
October 10 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW 
October 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW 
October 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW 
October 11 – A Holland Reads - REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST  
October 12 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
October 12 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT 
October 13 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT 
October 13 – T's Stuff – SPOTLIGHT 
October 14 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW 
October 14 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW 
October 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW 
October 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
October 15 – Sapphyria's Books - REVIEW

September 25, 2019

Christmas from the Heart by Sheila Roberts - Review

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

Book details
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: MIRA; Original edition (September 24, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778309614
ISBN-13: 978-0778309611

Book description
Sometimes you need to look beyond the big picture to see what really matters

Olivia Berg’s charity, Christmas from the Heart, has helped generations of families in need in Pine River, Washington, but this year might be the end of the road. Hightower Enterprises, one of their biggest donors since way back when Olivia’s grandmother ran the charity, has been taken over by Ebenezer Scrooge the Second, aka CFO Guy Hightower, and he’s declared there will be no more money coming to Christmas from the Heart.

Guy is simply being practical. Hightower Enterprises needs to tighten its belt, and when you don’t have money to spare, you don’t have money to share. You’d think even the pushy Olivia Berg could understand that.

With charitable donations dwindling, Olivia’s Christmas budget depends on Hightower’s contribution. She’s focused her whole life on helping this small town, even putting her love life on hold to support her mission.

When Guy’s Maserati breaks down at the edge of the Cascade foothills, he’s relieved to be rescued by a pretty young woman who drives him to the nearby town of Pine River. Until he realizes his rescuer is none other than Olivia Berg. What’s a Scrooge to do? Plug his nose and eat fruitcake and hope she doesn’t learn his true identity before he can get out of town. What could go wrong?

Meet the author - Sheila Roberts
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book, Angel Lane, was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network and her novel, The Nine Lives of Christmas, was made into a movie for Hallmark . You can visit Sheila on Twitter and Facebook or at her website (http://www.sheilasplace.com).

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. Sheila has a way of writing books with a Christmas theme that make their way into your heart. Livi was such a nice girl and I wanted everything to work out for her from the very beginning. Guy was also a nice guy and I new under that big corporate exterior there had to be something special. The non-profit theme of a town helping each other out during rough times was especially nice. Sheila has hit it out of the part again.

Christmas Cow Bells by Mollie Cox Bryan - Review

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

Book details
Series: A Buttermilk Creek Mystery (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Kensington (September 24, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-1496721327

Book description
The first novel in Mollie Cox Bryan’s brand new mystery series, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, will keep you guessing until the cows come home . . .

Christmas is a time for new beginnings, so after her big breakup, Brynn MacAlister takes the gouda with the bad. With her three Red Devon cows, she settles in bucolic Shenandoah Springs, eager for a new life as an organic micro-dairy farmer and cheese-maker. Then her dear cow Petunia’s bellows set the whole town on edge. But it isn’t until Brynn’s neighbor, Nancy, dies in a mysterious fire that her feelings about small town life begin to curdle . . .

It seems some folks were not happy with Nancy’s plan to renovate the Old Glebe Church. But is a fear of change a motivation for murder? As a newcomer, Brynn can’t ignore the strange events happening just on the other side of her frosty pasture—and soon on her very own farm. Suddenly Christmas doesn’t feel so festive as everyone demands she muzzle sweet Petunia, and Brynn is wondering if someone wants to silence her—for good . .

Meet the author - Mollie Cox Bryan
Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge and romances with slow, sweet burn. The first book in her Cora Crafts Mystery series, Death Among the Doilies, was a "Fresh Fiction Not to Miss” selection and was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. The second book, No Charm Intended, was named a “Summer 2017 Top 10 Beach Read” by Woman's World. She also wrote the Agatha-award nominated Cumberland Creek Mysteries. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, where she works as a researcher and fact checker and writes in the early morning hours. Visit her and sign up for her newsletter at molliecoxbryan.com.

My thoughts
I loved the setting of this book and with the descriptions made it sound like a beautiful place. Then a murder happens. The main character Brynn was one of my favorite. I love that she was an organic farmer and cheese-maker.  The cows made the story for me. I just love Petunia.  The author does such a good job with the character development. I am looking forward to getting to know Brynn even better as the series goes along as well as some of the other characters. The author also did a good job of keeping you guessing up until the end. I am looking forward to more books in this series. 

September 12, 2019

Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate - Review


Book details
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 22, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-0593130148

Book description
The incredible, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal--some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate's bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach

From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children's Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents--hiding the fact that many weren't orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.

The publication of Lisa Wingate's novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann's lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.

Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. In Before and After, Wingate and Christie tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with Wingate and Christie to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children's Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.

Meet the authors - Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate
Judy Christie is an award-winning journalist and the author of eighteen books of both fiction and nonfiction. A former editor at daily newspapers in Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida, and Indiana, she holds a master’s degree in literature from Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She and her husband live in rural Colorado.

Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of numerous novels, including the New York Times bestseller Before We Were Yours and the national bestseller Tending Roses. She is a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a Southern Book Prize winner. She lives with her husband in North Texas.


My thoughts
I just finished Before and After during my lunch today. I loved this book I think even more than Before We Were Yours. I just can't seem to say enough about this book or to really put into words how it made me feel but I will try.  It was so personal and I really felt for each person's story you shared. I can't imagine going through what those children and some of the parents went through. I highly recommend you read Before We Were Yours and then reading this book. There is something about this book and these stories that just stay with you even when ou are not reading it. You will not be able to put either book down.

Dying for Devil's Food by Jenn McKinlay - Review


Book details
Series: Cupcake Bakery Mystery (Book 11)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Berkley (May 7, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-0451492630

Book description
It's going to take every recipe the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew has to whip up a quick defense for Mel Cooper when her high school reunion goes from a cakewalk to a car wreck...

Melanie Cooper has zero interest in catering her fifteen-year high school reunion, but Angie insists it's only right that they bask in the success of Fairy Tale Cupcakes--and Mel's engagement to the delicious Joe DeLaura is the cherry on top!

Everything is going better than expected until Cassidy Havers, resident mean girl and Mel's high school nemesis, picks a fight. No longer willing to put up with Cassidy's bullying, Mel is ready to tell the former homecoming queen to shut her piehole and call it a night. But as Mel and Joe prepare to depart, Cassidy is found dead in the girl's bathroom, next to a note written in lipstick that points right to Mel -- making her the prime suspect.

Now, Mel must follow the clues to find the real killer and keep her reputation from being frosted for a crime she didn't commit.

Meet the author - Jenn McKinlay
Jenn McKinlay, the New York Times bestselling author of the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries (including Wedding Cake Crumble, Caramel Crush, and Vanilla Beaned), has baked and frosted cupcakes into the shapes of cats, mice, and outer-space aliens, to name just a few. Writing a mystery series based on one of her favorite food groups (dessert) is as enjoyable as licking the beaters, and she can't wait to whip up the next one. She is also the author of the Hat Shop Mysteries, the Library Lover's Mysteries, the Bluff Point contemporary romances, and the Happily Ever After contemporary romances. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her family.

My thoughts
Jenn has hit it out of the park again with another addition to one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I had to agree with Mel I would not have wanted to go to her class reunion either, but she can't tell her best friend no. So she goes and the mean girl is still a mean girl. I have to say I felt a little like karma got her when she ended up murdered. I was glad that Mel's friends rallied around her when she was accused of murder and everyone had a little part in helping solve this case. I did like that there was an unexpected new friend to Mel towards the end. I don't want to say more and ruin it. I love this series.

Wedding Cake Crumble by Jenn McKinlay - Review


Book details
Series: Cupcake Bakery Mystery (Book 10)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Berkley (April 3, 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-0399583834

Book description
Wedding bells and death knells are ringing for the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew in this latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling series

With Angie and Tate's wedding just around the corner, it's a happy--but very busy--time for Mel. Not only is she doing double duty as both the maid of honor and best man, but her bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes, has just been hired to provide cupcakes for a famous author's book signing. But when the author turns up dead, it's just the start of a murder mystery that Mel must solve.

Meet the author - Jenn McKinlay
Former librarian Jenn McKinlay is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Bluff Point Romances, including Every Dog Has His Day, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, and About a Dog, as well as the Library Lover’s Mysteries, the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries, and the Hat Shop Mysteries. Jenn lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets, and her husband’s guitars.

My thoughts
Jenn is one of my favorite cozy mystery authors and I love when I get a chance to continue on in this series. Finally Tate and Angie are getting married but multiple murders may put a damper on things. I felt bad for Angie and Tate as a good friend as well as other wedding vendors are turning up dead. I would not been as calm as Angie. I love how all the characters play off of each other. I love how the brothers stepped up and became protective of not just Angie but the whole bakery.

Winning is Not Enough by Jackie Stewart - Review


Book details
Paperback, 576 pages
Published April 16th 2009 by Headline (first published October 18th 2007)
ISBN 9780755315390

Book description
Sir Jackie Stewart is one of the most highly regarded names in global sport - winner of three F1 World Championships, 27 Grands Prix and ranked in the top five drivers of all time. On retiring from the circuit, he went on to build an equally impressive international business career.

In the 1960s and into the 70s, with his black cap, sideburns and aviator shades Jackie Stewart was an unmistakable icon in a glorious era of style, glamour and speed. On the track, his story is one of drama, excitement, tragedy, controversy, celebrity, danger and massive success.

Beyond the sport his life is a compelling tale of battling against the odds and achieving world-wide recognition as an outstanding sportsman, a role model and a highly accomplished and respected businessman.

My thoughts
I thought this was a very interesting biography.  I have a lot of respect for Sir Jackie.  I learned a lot about Formula One racing and him by reading this.  The only issue was the last couple of chapters could have been condensed a little but other than that I loved the book. 

August 8, 2019

Desolate Shores by Daryl Wood Gerber - Review

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

Book details
Series: An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense (Book 1)
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing (August 13, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1950461203
ISBN-13: 978-1950461202

Book description
A chilling murder, an elusive killer, and a family mystery that hits too close to home . . .

After finding the body of her best friend on the icy shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen Adams refuses to stand by and watch as the local sheriff’s department begins their search for the killer. Launching her own investigation, she’s soon confronted with a growing array of secrets—both about the friend she thought she knew and about many of the people in her own life. As fragmentary clues and escalating dangers threaten to derail her, she must also cope with the disturbing behavior of her deadbeat sister and troubled teenage niece.

Determined to overcome her personal demons over past failures, Aspen is driven to unravel the conflicting evidence and a shifting range of suspects to bring the killer to justice, even as a family trauma unfolds that threatens to upend her life. And as her investigation inexorably leads her to a shocking discovery and taunts her with a solution that is just out of reach, Aspen realizes that the killer wants nothing more than to see her and her niece dead . .

Meet the author - Daryl Wood Gerber
Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber writes the bestselling COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERIES and FRENCH BISTRO MYSTERIES. As Avery Aames, she pens the bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES. In addition, she writes stand-alone suspense thrillers, including GIRL ON THE RUN and DAY OF SECRETS and DESOLATE SHORES. Fun tidbits: Daryl jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and she hitchhiked around Ireland by herself. Also, as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to read, cook, and golf. She has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. It was a mystery that just pulled me right in. The characters were well done and I liked that we got a bit of a background on most of them.  I am sure as the series goes we may learn a little more about the main characters.  I liked how the police force kind of let Aspen do her own digging to look for clues.  The way Aspen and Nick played off of each other was a nice start to a continuing story line.  I hope things get better with her niece Candace and sister Rosie.  The clues the author gave helped me form my own opinions of what was going on. One of my theories was right and one was wrong.  I am looking forward to more in this series. 

Book Love by Debbie Tung - Review


Book details
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (January 1, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449494285
ISBN-13: 978-1449494285

Book description
Bookworms rejoice! These charming comics capture exactly what it feels like to be head-over-heels for hardcovers. And paperbacks! And ebooks! And bookstores! And libraries!

Book Love is a gift book of comics tailor-made for tea-sipping, spine-sniffing, book-hoarding bibliophiles. Debbie Tung’s comics are humorous and instantly recognizable—making readers laugh while precisely conveying the thoughts and habits of book nerds. Book Love is the ideal gift to let a book lover know they’re understood and appreciated.

Meet the author - Debbie Tung
Deborah “Debbie” Tung is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Birmingham, England. She draws about everyday life and her love for books and tea at “Where’s My Bubble?” wheresmybubble.tumblr.com. Debbie is also the author of QUIET GIRL IN A NOISY WORLD, which has been listed as a recommended read in O, The Oprah Magazine. Her comics have been shared widely by Huffington Post, 9Gag, Bored Panda, and Goodreads, among others.

Her upcoming book, BOOK LOVE, will be published in January 2019 by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Follow Debbie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr @WheresMyBubble.
www.debbietung.com

My thoughts
I loved this book. The girl in it is so much like me. I do many of the same things. I found myself smiling while reading this book which is something I do not normally do.  I will reading this again and again when I need a pick me up. 

August 7, 2019

Relative Fortunes by Marlowe Benn - Spotlight


Book details
Lake Union Publishing
August 1st, 2019

Book description
Set at the height of the Roaring Twenties and the early women’s movement, RELATIVE FORTUNES  is a thrilling historical mystery from Marlowe Benn.

At its center is 24-year-old Julia Kydd, a voracious young bibliophile who cares little for politics—until the death of a high-profile suffragette pulls her into the heart of the fight for equality. As the mystery unfolds, each fresh clue leads Julia deeper into a tangled web of familial strife, clandestine love, and political backlash.

For fans of Rhys Bowen and Jacqueline Winspear, RELATIVE FORTUNES is a riveting historical mystery that feels as relevant as ever, offering a window in the social upheavals of life in 1920s New York...and the price of women’s independence.

Meet the author - Marlowe Benn
Marlowe Benn (also known as Megan Benton) was nominated for UCLA’s 2013 Kirkwood Prize for fiction. Her poetry has appeared in the Chicago Review and other outlets, and her history of American book culture between the wars, Beauty and the Book, was published by Yale University Press in 2000.

A Conversation with Author Marlowe Benn

Q: Why did you choose the 1920s and the suffrage movement as the backdrop for this mystery? What about the time period inspired you?

A: I grew up to the jaunty sound of my dad’s old ‘20s records, and the era has always fascinated me. In many ways it was a more radical time (especially for women) than many realize. Beyond finally achieving the right to vote, women enjoyed at least the possibility of heady new social freedoms: emerging access to birth control, fashions that defied old notions of modesty, and the opportunity to live as independent, self-sufficient adults. Not everyone embraced these new freedoms, or even condoned them, but the old restrictive conventions had been challenged, if not breached.

Q: In the afterword, you nod to the ways you borrowed from actual history to weave together this story. Can you tell us a bit about your research?

A: It was important to me to anchor the novel accurately in its time and place. I spent a lot of time with magazines and novels of the era, absorbing details of everyday life (what one took for a headache, the price of a coffee, what books people were talking about) and how people talked. Learning the slang was great fun!

I also tried to blend real characters and details with fictional ones. I spent months in university archives studying the craze in the 1920s for beautiful handcrafted books of the sort Julia publishes. Her Capriole Press is of course fictional, but most of the printers, publishers, and collectors she meets are real people. Similarly, the Grolier Club was in fact the nation’s premier private club for bibliophiles, and as Julia complains, it was not only exclusive but was also firmly men-only until the 1970s.

Q: Wealth and status are not always symbols of goodness in Relative Fortunes. Why did you choose to expose the dysfunctions of the rich and powerful? What did you want to say about wealth and its relationship to virtue?

A: While there’s no shortage of aphorisms equating worldly riches with moral poverty, wealth per se isn’t inherently good or evil. The problem arises because the rich often view their wealth as natural and benign—invisible—while the poor see and feel sharply the injustices and exploitation that wealth usually relies on and perpetuates. That blindness can skew a rich person’s way of seeing the world: at first, they simply don’t notice others’ suffering, which of course translates into indifference. Julia truly understands the privileges of wealth only when she faces losing them. Of course, eventually the rich do notice—hence the centuries of rationales to justify and reinforce their class advantages. I hope that Julia’s reversal of fortunes, which opens her eyes to these issues, also helps readers see them better.

Q: For much of the book, there’s a sort of cold war going on between men and women. But there are some characters who cross the picket lines—literal and figurative—to advocate for women’s rights. Why was it important to you to show different kinds of men working as advocates for and as obstacles to women’s equality?

A: All the men and women in the book illustrate the gender realities of the time. It’s important to separate the overarching and pervasive nature of patriarchy from the attitudes of individual men—who can be cruel and exploitive toward women, or fair-minded and respectful. The system is one thing; individual behavior is another. For example, both Philip and Chester depict how society defaulted financial authority to men, but they use their privileges in different ways. How individuals embrace or challenge society’s larger conventions is what gives them dimension and interest as characters.

Q: Not all of the women in this novel agree with each other on issues like abortion, suffrage, and financial independence. Did you try to reflect a generational divide between younger feminists and older feminists, or married versus unmarried women? Why was this something you wanted to explore in this book?

A: I wanted to portray a spectrum of values among the women in the book without correlating attitudes or beliefs with any particular age, education, social class, marital status, and so on. The youngest woman in the book, Julia, for example, ultimately has more in common with the values of the oldest woman, Aunt Lillian, than with those of Vivian Winterjay, who is much closer to her in age and social class. I think it’s important to resist stereotyping according to such categories because then we stop listening to and respecting each other, and a dangerous polarization can set in. Our present-day world is a cautionary tale of the damage that can result.

Q: Julia is a character brimming with professional ambition and a desire for independence. This aspect sets the book apart from others set in the same time. What inspired you to veer away from the more traditional narrative of a marriage plot, where a woman is desperately seeking a husband?

A: Julia’s central problem is economic, which she quickly realizes is a far more powerful factor in marriage than romance. Even today, girls can’t escape the pervasive fairytale that tells her pure and complete happiness comes from attracting, and being chosen by, a man who will thereafter take care of her. Perhaps because of what Julia’s witnessed, particularly in her parents’ marriage, she’s wary of that myth. Fortunately, she lives in one of the first modern eras when a woman could assert her right to enjoy love and relationships outside of marriage—as long as she had the means to support herself. Less fortunately, women’s opportunities to earn a sufficient livelihood were not yet plentiful. Hence her choices—like those of so many other women throughout history—are painfully few.

Q: What inspired you to write Relative Fortunes?

A: As a child I was fascinated by the hugely popular mystery novels from the 1920s written by S. S. Van Dine (the pen name of Willard Huntington Wright). Wright’s urbane and sophisticated sleuth, Philo Vance, both intrigued and infuriated me. As an adult I began to imagine ways I’d like to “revise” him and his elegant world. By a happy quirk of luck, those old novels are now being reissued in new editions, so readers can consider for themselves how my Philip Vancill Kydd might have been transformed into Philo Vance by an ill-humored writer. Of course, it’s also true that my characters took on identities of their own quite beyond this original idea. At first Philip was more like Philo, but neither Julia nor I could bear spending much time with him! So Philip now shares mostly superficial and circumstantial features with Philo. I hope the differences can be credited to the derisive mind of my fictional version of Mr. Wright.

Q: What do you love most about writing historical fiction?

A: For years I happily wrote nothing but carefully researched and argued cultural history. Now with fiction I can begin where the archives end. It’s like turning old black-and-white photos into a full-color video. Research reveals the past; fiction puts it in motion. And once history comes to life, it’s clear that people then wrestled with troubles a lot like our own.

I love writing mysteries because they’re ultimately about justice, and what’s more complicated than guilt and innocence? I especially relish writing about crimes that pit the law against my characters’ moral code. In the end justice is often about power, and the struggle over who gets to decide what’s right or wrong makes for great stories in any genre. Historical mysteries are a great way into the life’s most meaty stuff.

Q: What authors do you most enjoy reading?

A: This list is a long one, and it’s always getting longer. Kate Atkinson is firmly at the top. Other authors who’ve rarely let me down are Alice Munro, Meg Wolitzer, Amor Towles, Siri Hustvedt, Jesmyn Ward, Ngaio Marsh, Josephine Tey, Penelope Fitzgerald, and Amanda Cross. On a different day, you might get a different list.

Q: Have you made any good literary “discoveries” lately?

A: Absolutely! Terrific books published in the past few years that deserve to be better known include Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing With Feathers, Graham Swift’s Mothering Sunday, Danielle Dutton’s Margaret the First, and Jess Kidd’s Himself. Older books unjustly overlooked, I think, include Josephine Tey’s Miss Pym Disposes, Muriel Sparks’s A Far Cry from Kensington, and Barbara Neely’s Blanche on the Lam. I could go on and on.

Q: Tell us about your writing process. When and where do you typically write, and how often?

A: I love routines, which means I lead a very boring writing life. I’m fortunate to have a study that overlooks Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier. Yes, I know! The view can be a distraction, but it also keeps me at my keyboard most days from morning until mid-afternoon, when my brain is tired and my muscles want their turn. Then I head outside to work in the garden or go for a walk, or I catch up with errands, email, and everything else that gets bumped to later because I’d rather be writing.

Q: What author would you most like to meet?

A: That’s easy—Kate Atkinson, though I’d probably just gush about how much I admire her prose and genre-be-damned imagination. If there’s an afterlife I’d seek out Carolyn Heilbrun, the trail-blazing feminist scholar. As Amanda Cross, she wrote #MeToo mysteries starting in the early ‘60s, back when misogyny and harassment were seriously risky to talk about, even with a pseudonym.

Q: We have to ask—what are you working on next? Anything that you can tease for readers who are looking forward to your next book?

A: I’m working hard on the next Julia Kydd novel, tentatively called The Passing of Miss Pruitt. It’s May 1925, and Julia is back in New York. Eager to launch her Capriole Press, she quickly makes friends in the publishing world—authors, editors, illustrators, publishers. Soon she’s caught up in murder and the theft of a new novel manuscript claiming to reveal explosive truths about the Harlem cabaret scene. She’s drawn into the exhilarating yet treacherous world beneath the Harlem Renaissance, where notions of race, sexuality, and power are slippery, and identities can be deceptively fluid.

July 12, 2019

Murder's No Votive Confidence by Christin Brecher - Review and Giveaway

 

Book details
Murder's No Votive Confidence (Nantucket Candle Maker Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series 
Kensington (June 25, 2019) 
ISBN-10: 149672139X 
ISBN-13: 978-1496721396 
Digital ASIN: B07HVYJNRD
 

Book description
Nantucket candle store owner Stella Wright specializes in creating unique candles for every occasion. But someone sets the stage for murder when a Memorial Day celebration becomes a wedding to die for . . .

Jessica Sterling’s candlelight-themed nuptials promises to be the perfect kick-off to the summer’s first official holiday weekend. Stella’s thrilled to have been chosen to provide the decorative centerpiece for the wedding ceremony: a two-foot-tall scented unity candle—a symbol of the happy couple’s love. But it looks like the bride-to-be’s uncle won’t be walking his niece down the aisle after he’s found dead. The murder weapon is Stella’s seemingly indestructible candle, now split in two.

When a beloved local bartender is arrested, Stella’s sure a visiting police captain running the case made a rush to justice. With superstitious brides-to-be canceling orders and sales waxing and waning at her store, the Wick & Flame owner decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Abetted by a charming reporter and challenged by the town’s sexiest cop, Stella’s determined to shine a light on the truth and uncover a killer who’s snuffing out her own flame.
Meet the Author - Christin Brecher
Christin Brecher was born and raised in NYC, where her family and many childhood friends still reside. As such, she feels she is as much of a small-town girl as any. The idea to write the Nantucket Candle Maker series sprang from her life-long connection to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts. Spending summers there as a child, Christin read from her family’s library of mystery novels, after which she began to imagine stories inspired by the island’s whaling heyday, its notoriously foggy nights, and during long bike rides to the beach. After many years in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, Murder’s No Votive Confidence is Christin’s debut novel. Visit her at www.christinbrecher.com.

Author Links

Website - http://christinbrecher.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/christinbrecherbooks/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/christinbrecherbooks/
GoodReads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18483379.Christin_Brecher
BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/christin-brecher

Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo - BAM -
IndieBound - Hudson Booksellers - Google Play 

My thoughts
I really liked this first book in this new series. It has the makings of a series that will be around for awhile. The setting of a candle makes is a win for me as that is something that interests me. Also that the first story is set around a wedding is neat as my daughter just got married a few days ago. I enjoyed getting to know Stella in this first book and hope as the series goes along we will know more about some of the other characters. I thought the book moved along at at good pace and the author did a good job of giving you just enough hints that you thought you might have it figured out then she put a little twist in there. A good start to a new series. 

Giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
July 8 – The Power of Words – REVIEW 
July 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST 
July 8 – Books Direct – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT 
July 8 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
July 9 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW 
July 9 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT 
July 9 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST 
July 9 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 
July 10 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW 
July 10 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
July 10 – The Avid Reader REVIEW 
July 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
July 11 – Author Teresa Watson – CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
July 11 – Babs Book Bistro - Candle Making 101 Notes Post 
July 12 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW 
July 12 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW 
July 12 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT 
July 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT 
July 13 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
July 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW 
July 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
July 15 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW 
July 15 – The Book Diva's Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST 
July 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT 
July 16 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
July 16 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT 
July 16 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW 
July 17 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

 

July 3, 2019

The Portrait by Cassandra Austen - Spotlight and Giveaway

Book details
The Portrait by Cassandra Austen
Publication Date: December 31, 2018 
Apollo Grannus Books 
eBook & Paperback; 340 Pages 
Genre: Historical/Romance/Suspense
 

Book description
Lady Catherine, banished to the countryside as a useless girl with a lame leg, got her revenge by playing a dangerous game. And now it will ruin her. When the old earl dies, his only child feels no sorrow. The earldom will now revert to the crown and Lady Catherine will continue to live life exactly as she pleases. But when she learns that she is the heir to a secret family title, everything changes. Marriage had once seemed unnecessary and out of the question; now it is the only thing she wants. The two men in her life both need her influence and wealth. Whom shall she choose? The kind but secretive Captain Avebury? Or the notorious Sir Lyle, the handsome smuggler? Both men deal very differently with honor. And when Catherine's secret self-destructs, which man can be trusted to save her? The Portrait is about a strong woman, foolish decisions, trust, and the definition of honor. Fans of Jane Austen's independent women will recognize in Catherine a voice which will not be silenced. 

Meet the Author - Cassandra Austen
Cassandra Austen writes historical and contemporary fiction set in both old and New England. She is the author of The Portrait, a historical romance that takes place during the Regency period in England, and Coming Home to Greenleigh, a contemporary New England romance. She lives and works in her 1700s farmhouse in northern New England, but you are welcome to visit her at her virtual home: cassandraausten.com. You can also find Cassandra on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Giveaway
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two copies of The Portrait! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open internationally. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen. The Portrait



Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, July 1 Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots 
Tuesday, July 2 Feature at A Holland Reads 
Wednesday, July 3 Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads 
Thursday, July 4 Interview at Passages to the Past 
Friday, July 5 Review at A Chick Who Reads Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen Monday, July 8 Interview at Let Them Read Books 
Tuesday, July 9 Feature at CelticLady's Reviews 
Wednesday, July 10 Review at McCombs on Main 
Thursday, July 11 Feature at What Is That Book About Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit Friday, July 12 Review at Coffee and Ink Review at Book Reviews from Canada 
Monday, July 15 Review at My Vices and Weaknesses