June 30, 2015

The Printer and the Preacher by Randy Petersen

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review
Published: June 9, 2015
Number of pages: 320
Genre: History

A groundbreaking look at the strange friendship between George Whitefield and Benjamin Franklin, who together defined what it means to be an American.
They were the most famous men in America.  They came from separate countries, followed different philosophies, and led dissimilar lives. But they were fast friends. No two people did more to shape America in the mid-1700s.
Benjamin Franklin was the American prototype: hard-working, inventive, practical, funny, with humble manners and lofty dreams. George Whitefield was the most popular preacher in an era of great piety, whose outdoor preaching across the colonies was heard by thousands, all of whom were told, ôYou must be born again.ö People became excited about God. They began reading the Bible and supporting charities. When Whitefield died in 1770, on a preaching tour in New Hampshire, he had built a spiritual foundation for a new nationùjust as his surviving friend, Ben Franklin, had built its social foundation. Together these two men helped establish a new nation founded on liberty. This is the story of their amazing friendship.
What did I think about this book:
This was a very interesting book. I enjoyed reading Benjamin's biography as well as George's. I did not know who George was before reading this book. I have learned some more history  by reading this book. There were parts of this book that read quickly and parts that were kind of dry. But the book was packed full of information and a good book for a history lover like me. I am glad I got the chance to read this book. 

What did I think of the cover
I thought the cover was ok. It was nice to see pictures of both people on the cover. 

My rating:
3.5 stars

About the author:
Randy Petersen has written more than fifty books on subjects ranging from history to relationships, psychology, sports, and even word games. Formerly an editor and writer with Christian History magazine, he also prepares curriculum for small-group Bible studies. Apart from his writing, Randy teaches public speaking at a community college, preaches occasionally at his church, and directs in area theaters. He lives in the Philadelphia area.

June 29, 2015

Mailbox Monday - June 29th

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share what came in their mailbox. This meme has a permanent home at Mailbox Monday and was created by Marcia at To Be Continued I am linking up to Mailbox Monday  It has been a few weeks since I have shared my books so here goes:

To review:
What Did Jesus Drive? by Jason H. Vines
The Printer and the Preacher by Randy Petersen
Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann
Blade of the Samurai by Susan Spann
Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason

Nonna's Book of Mysteries by Mary Osborne
Truffled to Death by Kathy Aarons
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Dying to Know by TJ O'Connor

June 27, 2015

A Wee Murder in My Shop by Fran Stewart

Publication date: March 3, 2015
Number of pages: 304
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A ScotShop Mystery #1

Hamelin, Vermont, isn’t the most likely place for bagpipes and tartan, but at Peggy Winn’s ScotShop, business is booming…

While on a transatlantic hunt for some authentic wares to sell at her shop, Peggy is looking to forget her troubles by digging through the hidden treasures of the Scottish Highlands. With so many enchanting items on sale, Peggy can’t resist buying a beautiful old tartan shawl. But once she wraps it around her shoulders, she discovers that her purchase comes with a hidden fee: the specter of a fourteenth-century Scotsman.

Unsure if her Highland fling was real or a product of an overactive imagination, Peggy returns home to Vermont—only to find the dead body of her ex-boyfriend on the floor of her shop. When the police chief arrests Peggy’s cousin based on some incriminating evidence, Peggy decides to ask her haunting Scottish companion to help figure out who really committed the crime—before anyone else gets kilt…

What did I think about the story:
I loved this first book in this new series. For me it was the Scottish aspect that drew me in first then the ghost part was an added bonus. I liked that part of the book took part in Scotland and wished a little more of it was there but the fact that the Scotsman ghost comes back with Peggy is pretty fun. Poor Peggy trying to talk to her ghost without people really knowing what she was doing - it was kind of fun to listen to but I did feel bad for her. I love all things Scottish so all the little tidbits were great for me. The author did a very good job with the mystery as you had no idea right up until the last few pages.  I am anxious to read the next book as I can't wait to see what is up with Gilda and the twins and what happens next with Peggy and her ghost. A great start to a new series. 

What did I think of the cover:
I thought the cover was cute. It showed the inside of a Scottish shop which fits this series perfectly as that is where most of the story takes place. 

My rating:
5 stars

About the author:
Fran Stewart is the author of the Biscuit McKee Mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Atlanta Writers Club, and the National League of American Pen Women, and lives simply in a quiet house beside a creek on the backside of Hog Mountain, Georgia, with various rescued cats. She sings (alto) with the Gwinnett Choral Guild, knits, reads, gardens, volunteers in her grandchildren’s school libraries, and manages quite happily without a television set.

June 22, 2015

Book, Line and Sinker by Jen McKinlay

Publication Date: December 4, 2012
Number of pages: 304
Genre: Cozy mystery
Series: Library Lover's Mystery #3

"Avast" in pirate speak means what? or stop!

Answering tricky reference questions like this one provides plenty of excitement for library director Lindsey Norris. But when a shocking murder is committed in her cozy coastal town of Briar Creek, Connecticut, the question of who did it must be answered before an innocent man gets the book thrown at him...

Lindsey is enjoying her second year in Briar Creek as the library director, meeting with the crafternoon club, and happily dating tour boat captain Mike Sullivan. But when a salvage company arrives in town to dig up treasure buried on Pirate Island over three hundred years ago, the locals are torn between protecting the island and welcoming the publicity.    

In spite of the squabbling, Charlie Peyton, Lindsey’s downstairs neighbor, takes a job with the salvage company. But when Trudi Hargrave, the local tourism director who hired the company, is found murdered at the excavation site, Charlie becomes the chief suspect. To help him, Lindsey must do some digging of her own before the real killer buries the truth for good

What did I like about the story:
I loved this book just as much as I did the other two. I like reading about all the characters and wish I lived in this town so I could join the crafternoon club and be friends with them. Lindsey always seems to somehow get herself mixed up finding a dead body and then trying to find out who killed the person. Another thing I liked about this book was the pirate theme that this story took along with the little bit of history of Captain Kidd. There was quite the turn of events in the end of the story - the killer part I was happy with - the Lindsey/Sully part I was not so happy with. I can't wait to read the next book to see what happens next. 

What did I think of the cover:
I have liked the covers of each of the books in this series. I like how the library is there, books are there, Heathcliff is there as well as a map. It ties the whole story together. 

My rating:
5 stars

About the author:
Jenn is the New York Times bestselling author of several mystery series. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband's guitars.  www.jennmckinlay.com

Library Lover's Mystery Series
#1 Books Can Be Deceiving
#2 Due or Die
#3 Book, Line and Sinker
#4 Read it and Weep
#5 On Borrowed Time
#6 A Likely Story - due to be published in November 2015

June 21, 2015

Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle - Review/Interview/Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Publication date: June 9, 2015
Number of pages: 560
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Tudor Trilogy

The daughter of the Queen’s nemesis, Penelope Devereux, arrives at court blithely unaware of its pitfalls and finds herself in love with one man, yet married off to another. Bestowed with beauty and charm she and her brother, The Earl of Essex, are drawn quickly into the aging Queen’s favour. But Penelope is saddled with a husband who loathes her and chooses to strike out, risking her reputation to seek satisfaction elsewhere. But life at the heart of the court is not only characterised by the highs and lows of romance, there are formidable factions at work who would like to see the Devereux family brought down. It seems The Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen but as his influence grows so his enemies gather and it is Penelope who must draw on all her political savvy to prevent the unthinkable from happening.

Told from the perspective of Penelope and her brother’s greatest enemy the politician Cecil, this story, wrought with love, hatred and envy, unfolds over two decades in which we see the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the deadly scramble for power in a dying dynasty.

What did I think about the story:
I am a fan of historical fiction book so this book jumped out at me when I was offered the chance to read it. This is the first book that I have read in this trilogy and I had no problems with it as each book can be a standalone book.  The author did a very good job with her research and it shows in her writing.  There is so much going on in this book with living in court such a betrayal and mystery.  Penelope Devereux is just one player in the Elizabeth’s court and it was interesting to learn about her and the part she plays. I had not heard of her before so it was fun to learn more about her. The details that the author used in her writing was very detailed so you felt you could really see, hear and feel what she was talking about.  The writing style flowed nicely which made the story easy to read. I will now be going back and getting the other two books in this series.

What did I think about the cover:
I think the cover was done very in a classical way. I like how there is a picture of a woman but does not show her whole face so you can still make your own picture in your mind of what she looks like as you read the book. 

My rating:
5 stars

About the author:
As a child I was the one in the corner with my nose in a book who wanted to be a writer, but with the onset of a turbulent adolescence I left school, under a cloud, aged fifteen with nothing more than a fistful of O Levels and a hapless sense that things would somehow work themselves out. Eventually, after working in various dodgy dives – I've served grey scrambled eggs to squaddies at 5.30am; I've served vintage champagne to raucous hoorays; I've pulled pints for all and sundry – I managed to find myself, much in the way Forrest Gump always landed on his feet, working as a dogsbody on a fashion magazine. Over a decade, I worked for titles such as Vogue, Elle and The Sunday Times and contributed to many others. Marriage took me to Paris, a stint at French Vogue and the birth of my two gorgeous children but divorce saw me back home in London where I have happily remained. Fuelled by frustration with a fashion world that does no favours to women, I decided to complete my truncated education as a mature student which led, in a long and roundabout way with many frustrating impasses, to my fulfilling that childhood dream to become a novelist. 

Elizabeth has a first in English and an MA in creative writing from Birkbeck, University of London. She has contributed to various publications including The Sunday Times, Vogue, Vanity Fair, The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. She also reviews fiction for The Sunday Express.

Tudor Series
#1 Queen's Gambit
#2 Sisters of Treason
#3 Watch the Lady

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
I was a big reader as a child and for as long as I can remember have been writing stories. 

2. What do you do to help you get over writer's block?
I’m a pragmatist and prefer not to believe in writers’ block. It’s true sometimes the writing becomes difficult but the only solution is to write – anything at all, even if I know it’s nonsense – and something will eventually happen. I find walking is good for unlocking ideas and if I really feel I’m getting nowhere at my desk I’ll take my dogs out for an hour. 

3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?
I write an absolute minimum of 1,000 words a day, but its usually about 1,400. Discipline is the cornerstone of my work regime, so I’m very strict with myself, otherwise nothing would happen.

4. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
As I write about real characters from history, inspiration springs from reading about their lives. But there is always an underlying idea that is more abstract; for example in WATCH THE LADY I was exploring the notion of loyalty and the fact that loyalty can, if taken to an extreme degree, drive a good person to ill deeds.

5. When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I’m a great film buff and love seeking out screenings of old movies from the 1930s. I visit historic sites for research but it is something I would do even if it wasn’t necessary for work. My children no longer live at home but family plays a really important role in my life – just hanging out, walking the dogs, or going for a meal together. They are both quite foodie, so we’ll occasionally treat ourselves to an evening in a Michelin star restaurant. 

6. What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers?
I have two pieces of advice: read more because other writers are the best teachers – you can even learn from a bad book in analysing the ways it doesn’t work – and develop thick skin because rejection is part of the deal, I’m afraid.

7. Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers?
One of my favourite books is BEWARE OF PITY by Stephan Zweig. Set in Germany just before the first world war, it is an extraordinary feat of writing, exploring the idea of pity as a destructive force and describes a class-bound world that is about to be turned upside down.

8. If you could meet any famous person dead or alive who would it be and why?
Elizabeth I might be interesting, though I imagine she’d be rather tricky! 

9. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit?
I’ve never been to Rome and would love to go.

10. 5 interesting facts about yourself
I was sent to boarding school aged eight.
I managed to get myself expelled from two schools.
I went to university when my children were little.
I was a Vogue fashion editor in my twenties.
I lived in Paris for three years and speak very bad French.

This giveaway is open to the US only. It is for a signed copy of Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Freemantle. The winner will be drawn randomly by rafflecopter and then will receive an email. You will have 24 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn. 

June 19, 2015

Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Publication date: August 29, 2012
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Memoir
Series: Midwife Trilogy #1

An unforgettable story of the joy of motherhood, the bravery of a community, and the hope of one extraordinary woman

At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London's East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London-from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can't speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city's seedier side-illuminate a fascinating time in history. Beautifully written and utterly moving, The Midwife will touch the hearts of anyone who is, and everyone who has, a mother

What did I think about the story:
I really enjoyed this book. My daughter and I also watch this TV show on PBS and have enjoyed it. The author broke the stories up so that each chapter was a story which made the book very easy to read.  Although there were times I found myself wanting more of the story or more history of the nuns that she lived with. The author has so many stories to tell from her experiences as a midwife and let me tell you  that some of them are so strange that you may find yourself shaking your head. I will be getting the second book to read in the very near future. 

What did I think of the cover:
I have the version shown above and I like it because as I said before I am a fan of the TV show. The characters are well known to me now and I like how this covers shows many of them. 

My rating: 
5 Stars

About the author:
Worth, born Jennifer Lee while her parents were on holiday in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, was raised in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. After leaving school at the age of 14, she learned shorthand and typing and became the secretary to the head of Dr Challoner's Grammar School. She then trained as a nurse at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, and moved to London to receive training to become a midwife.

Lee was hired as a staff nurse at the London Hospital in Whitechapel in the early 1950s. With the Sisters of St John the Divine, an Anglican community of nuns, she worked to aid the poor. She was then a ward sister at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in Bloomsbury, and later at the Marie Curie Hospital in Hampstead.

She married the artist Philip Worth in 1963, and they had two daughters.

Worth retired from nursing in 1973 to pursue her musical interests. In 1974, she received a licentiate of the London College of Music, where she taught piano and singing. She obtained a fellowship in 1984. She performed as a soloist and with choirs throughout Britain and Europe. 

She later began writing, and her first volume of memoirs, 'Call the Midwife', was published in 2002. The book became a bestseller when it was reissued in 2007. 'Shadows of the Workhouse' (2005; reissued 2008) and 'Farewell to the East End' (2009) also became bestsellers. The trilogy sold almost a million copies in the UK alone. In a fourth volume of memoirs 'In the Midst of Life', published in 2010, Worth reflects on her later experiences caring for the terminally ill.

Worth was highly critical of Mike Leigh's 2004 film Vera Drake, for depicting the consequences of illegal abortions unrealistically. She argued that the method shown in the movie, far from being fairly quick and painless, was in fact almost invariably fatal to the mother.

Worth died on 31 May 2011, having been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus earlier in the year.

Midwife Trilogy:
#1 Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times
#2 Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse
#3 Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End

Two Roads Home by Deborah Raney

I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review

Publication date: June 2, 2015
Number of pages: 304
Genre: Christian Fiction
Series: Chicory Inn #2

What if it's too late for dreams to come true?

Minor---but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman's initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans' son-in-law, Jesse. Jesse Pennington's friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless---and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk.

With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them?

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1BdaEcG

What did I think about the story:
I thought this was a nice romance book to read. It would make a good book to take to the beach or to sit down and read on a rainy day. The character development was very good, I felt as if I really knew the people in the story by the time I got to the end of the book. The author also did a good job in describing the setting of this story and the scenes were vivid so you felt as if you were a part of it. In this story you will read about ups and downs in the characters lives. I like how she made their story mimic real life. I am looking forward to more books by this author.

What did I think of the cover:
I really liked the cover of this book. This looks like a place that I would love to sit down with a good book just like this one to read on a nice day. It did not give any clues to the story but that is ok with me. 

My rating:
4 stars

About the author:
Deborah Raney's books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas-the setting of many of Deborah's novels-for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.

Find Deborah online: website, Twitter, Facebook

Chicory Inn Series:
#1 Home to Chicory Inn
#2 Two Roads Home

Be sure to stop by Litfuse Group so see more reviews on this book. 

June 18, 2015

A Heart's Betrayal by Colleen Coble

I received this book from Litfuse in exchange for a fair and honest review

Publication date: June 2, 2015
Page # 112
Genre: Christian Fiction
Series: Journey of the Heart #4

Emmie finds shelter in the arms of a soldier, but her secret could drive them apart.

When Emmie Croftner answered the door to her late husband’s home, she discovered an awful truth: her deceased husband was a bigamist. And what’s more, the home she thought she inherited never belonged to her at all.

Suddenly displaced, powerless, and ashamed, Emmie can’t stay in Wabash, Indiana. She makes a hopeful start for Fort Laramie, Wyoming, to find her friend Sarah Montgomery and a new beginning. But when she arrives, she discovers she’s pregnant—and without a husband. The new start she’d hoped for slips from her fingers.

But then she meets Isaac Liddle, a handsome soldier with a kind heart. When he begins to court her, Emmie wonders whether she could ever really be his—and whether she dares to tell him she is carrying another man’s baby.

What did I think about the story:
Just like with the rest of the series this was a good story. Even though this is the fourth book in this series you can read it as a stand alone but I think you will want to read them all together. I like how I feel as if I get a new chapter in the book each month. In this installment we get to know Emmie.  You find yourself really feeling for Emmie as the person she thought was her husband turns out has some secrets that are very heart breaking. So not only is she grieving his death but she is now dealing with the secrets. I like how Emmie and Isaac's relationship blooms in this book. A very fast paced light read for a day at the beach or a rainy stay at home day. 

What did I think of the cover:
I like the color of this book. To me the covers of this series look like a very nice painting. The picture is something I would like to have in a print to hang on my wall. 

My rating:
5 stars

About the author:
USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.

Journey of the Heart Series
#1 A Heart's Disguise
#2 A Heart's Obsession
#3 A Heart's Danger
#4 A Heart's Betrayal

June 17, 2015

Jinxed by Kathryn Leigh Scott

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Publication date: January 27, 2015
Number of pages: 264
Genre: Mystery
Series: Jinx Fogarty Mystery #2

Back on the comeback trail, actress Meg Barnes, beloved for her role as amateur sleuth Jinx Fogarty in a renowned detective show, assumes she’ll star as Jinx in the revamped TV series, only to discover that a young ingénue has been cast instead. Meg swallows her pride for a paycheck to coach Chelsea Horne—until temperamental Chelsea goes missing before filming begins. Meg ignores the warnings from Jack, her FBI-agent boyfriend, not to do her “Jinx thing.” But when Jinx’s iconic top hat goes missing and someone from her past is murdered, it’s clear Meg’s life—and more—is in jeopardy.

What did I think about the story:
I enjoyed reading the first book in this series and thought it would be fun to read this one as well. Even though this is a part of a series you can read it as a standalone as well. This book is a good book to take to the beach for a light day of reading. The author does a good job with keeping you guessing until the end of the book. Meg “Jinx” seems to get herself into a lot of mischief as she goes about her life.  You will have fun following Meg along as she tries to find out what happens to Chelsea and her hat. The characters in this book are so fun to have included in this story. I look forward to the next book in this series.

What did I think of the cover:
I hate to say it but I am not fond of this cover. I like to have more of a "real" picture or an actual scene on the covers of my books. I think there is too much dead space. 

My rating:

About the author:
 Writing and Acting have always been twin careers for Kathryn Leigh Scott. She has a recurring role playing George Segal's girlfriend Miriam in The Goldbergs, and appears in the 2015 mid-season launch of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Her most recent novels are the mysteries JINXED and DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HEELS. Kathryn, who wrote the novel DARK PASSAGES based on Dark Shadows, appears in a cameo role in Tim Burton's Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp. Her latest nonfiction title is DARK SHADOWS: RETURN TO COLLINWOOD.

Kathryn grew up on a farm in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. Upon graduation from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she landed the ingénue lead in the classic Gothic daytime drama Dark Shadows (ABC, 1966-1971), and starred in the 1971 MGM feature House of Dark Shadows. Kathryn played four roles in the series: Maggie Evans, Josette du Pres, Lady Kitty
Hampshire and Rachel Drummond. Kathryn wrote DARK SHADOWS MEMORIES to coincide with the show's 20th anniversary and DARK SHADOWS COMPANION as a 25th-anniversary tribute. 

Kathryn launched Pomegranate Press, Ltd. to publish books about the entertainment industry, including guidebooks, biographies, textbooks and coffee table art books. She wrote THE BUNNY YEARS (the 25-year history of Playboy Clubs told through
the women who worked as Bunnies), optioned by Disney for a feature film and acquired by Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer. She also co-produced a two-hour special for the A&E Network, and a one-hour documentary for BBC1 and Canadian TV, based on the book. Pomegranate has published over 50 nonfiction titles, including LOBBY CARDS: THE CLASSIC FILMS (Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Coffee Table
Book) and LOBBY CARDS: THE CLASSIC COMEDIES, both of which were published in the U.K. by Bloomsbury. 

Kathryn's theatrical credits include a lengthy run with James Stewart in Harvey in London's West End. She has appeared in many television series and mini-series, including Barbara Taylor Bradford's Voice of the Heart, as Dan Travanti's wife in Murrow, as George C. Scott's mistress in The Last Days of Patton, as Philip Marlowe's girlfriend in Chandlertown, and as a series regular with Brian Dennehy in Big Shamus, Little Shamus. Feature films include Providence, The Great Gatsby, Brannigan, The Greek Tycoon, Assassination, 187, Parasomnia, Dr. Mabuse, Dark Shadows, and more. 

Kathryn maintains homes in Los Angeles and New York. Pomegranate Press recently issued a trade paper edition of COYA COME HOME, with a foreword by Walter F. Mondale. Kathryn has written three novels, DARK PASSAGES (2012), DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HEELS (2013), JINXED (2015), and a forthcoming memoir, LAST DANCE AT THE SAVOY.

Jinx Fogarty Series
#1 Down and Out in Beverly Heels
#2 Jinxed

June 16, 2015

Kittens Can Kill by Clea Simon - Review/Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Publication date: March 3, 2015
Number of pages: 294
Genre: Mystery
Series: Pru Marlowe Pet Noir #5

The dead don’t keep pets. So when animal behaviorist expert Pru Marlowe gets a call about a kitten, she doesn’t expect to find the cuddly creature playing beside the cooling body of prominent Beauville lawyer David Canaday. Heart attack? His three adult daughters angrily blame drug interactions, feline allergies—and each other. And begin to feud over their father, his considerable estate, and that cute ball of fluff. While the cause of death is pending, each sister has an axe to grind—with arguments that escalate when David’s partner reads out the will.

Pru’s special sensitivity to animals, which caused her to flee the cacophony of Manhattan for the quiet Berkshires, adds further problems. The local vet is overwhelmed as the animal hospital’s money runs out. There’s a needy Sheltie and some invasive squirrels, too. But the dead man’s kitten, his former partner, and his troublesome family keep drawing “wild-girl animal psychic Pru back in. Despite the wry observations of her trusty tabby Wallis, now the wrongfully accused kitten’s guardian, and the grudging compliance of her cop lover, this may be one time when Pru can’t solve the mystery or save the kitten she wants to believe is innocent. A single witness knows the truth about that bright spring morning. How far can Pru investigate without risking her own hidden tale?

What did I think about the story:
This was a fun mystery for me. I have not read any of the other books in this series or by this author and I did just fine and did not feel lost. There is murder, mystery, romance and animals all in one place – what more can you ask for in a good book. The characters are very well developed and likeable. It was fun learning a little about each of them as the story went along. One of my favorite things was how Pru could “communicate” with the animals. This brought a little humor to the story. It was also kind of neat how the animals would give her clues to try and help her solve the mystery.  The author did a good job of keeping me guessing until the end of the story. I will be looking for the rest of this series to enjoy. 

What did I think of the cover:
I liked the little kitten on the front of the book. The only thing is that I wish there would have been a little something in the background behind the kitten. 

My rating:
4 stars

About the author:
A recovering journalist, Clea Simon is the author of 17 mysteries and three nonfiction books. Parrots Prove Deadly is the third in her Pru Marlowe pet noir series. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband Jon and their cat, Musetta, and can be reached at: http://www.hottbooks.com/images/sm/pict_wp.png

Pru Marlowe Pet Noir
#1 Dogs Don't Lie
#2 Cats Can't Shoot
#3 Parrots Prove Deadly
#4 Panthers Play for Keeps
#5 Kittens Can Kill

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Clea Simon & Poisoned Pen Press. There will be one winner of 1 Box of Poisoned Pen Press books including Kittens Can Kill by Clea Simon. The giveaway begins on June 1st, 2015 and runs through June 3rd, 2015. a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 15, 2015

Seniors Sleuth by J.J. Chow

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review

Publication date: May 9, 2015
Number of pages: 224
Genre: Mystery
Series: Winston Wong Mystery

Winston Wong used to test video games but has left his downward spiraling career to follow in the footsteps of Encyclopedia Brown, his favorite childhood detective. When the Pennysaver misprints his new job title, adding an extra “s” to his listing, Winston becomes a “Seniors Sleuth.” He gets an easy first case, confirming the natural death of a ninety-year-old man. However, under the surface of the bingo-loving senior home is a seedier world where a genuine homicide actually occurred. Winston finds himself surrounded by suspects on all sides: a slacker administrator, a kind-hearted nurse, and a motley crew of eccentric residents. To validate his new career choice (and maybe win the girl), he must unravel the truth from a tangle of lies.

What did I think of this story:
This was a fun quick mystery to read and a new good series. I like how the author included a little humor along with the mystery solving. The characters were very fun and unique. There are just enough twists that you will find yourself guessing right up until the last part of the book. It was kind of fun to see the video game world collide the retirement world. These are two parts of the world that normally do not go together but the author did this meshing of the two in a nice way. This is a perfect book for you take to the beach for a good day of reading.

My rating:
4 stars

About the author:
 Jennifer J. Chow, an Asian-American writer, holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master's in Social Welfare from UCLA. Her geriatric work experience has informed her stories. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Her multicultural women's fiction, The 228 Legacy, was a 2013 Finalist for ForeWord Reviews' Book of the Year Award. She also writes the Winston Wong Cozy Mystery Series under J.J. Chow.

Return to Food by Sherry Strong - Review/Guest Post/Giveaway

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Return to Food: The Life Changing Anti-Diet by Sherry Strong
ISBN: 9781771410601
Hardback - 220 pages


Chances are if you are feeling flat, fat and tired, or are experiencing chronic illness, you are not eating real food. If you want to bounce out of bed feeling fit and fabulous you must find out what is and isn't real food. This book challenges prescriptive approaches to diet, eating and food, with a revolutionary philosophical approach based on over 20 years of working with private clients. This approach has seen thousands of people develop a more pleasurable, healthier, and more sustainable eating lifestyle.

I enjoyed reading this book as it gives you a new way to look at food. This is not your normal so called diet book. It is more. It teaches you how to change your eating habits and it more of a lifestyle change. You can tell by reading this story that the author is very passionate about what she is writing about. This makes it so much easier to read as you kind of felt as if you were sitting in a room talking with her. I like that the author included illustrations as it made things a little easier to see and understand. There are some good recipes included that are simple to make and tasty to eat. She makes eating right just make sense and after you read this book you will find you changing your habits for the good. I recommend this book for all who are looking to make a lifestyle change and wanting to start eating healthier.

About the author:
Sherry Strong is a food philosopher, chef and nutritionist who has travelled around the globe to do diet and lifestyle makeovers, and has worked with celebrities, elite athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, billionaires, and Jamie Oliver and his Fifteen Foundation. Sherry’s philosophies and simple strategies help people feel better and live their best life by developing a healthy relationship with food and their body. Sherry was the Victorian Chair of Nutrition Australia, the Melbourne Head of Slow Food, Curator and Co-Founder of the World Wellness Project Summit and founder of the Return to Food Academy where she teaches people to become Return to Food Coaches and Entrepreneurs.
Connect with the author: Website Twitter ~ Facebook

Guest Post:
Its Not About the Food
by Food Philosopher Sherry Strong
Author & Illustrator of Return to Food - the Life-Changing Anti-Diet

How we eat has less to do with the actual food and more to do with how we think and feel.

We think we are choosing food for how it tastes but the bigger trigger is how a food makes us feel either in the moment while we are eating it or for the  drug like reactions that most foods give us. The farther the foods are from their natural state the more intense their drug like reactions can elicit in the body and we are left with stronger compulsions to have them again.

Eating in nature makes this simple as those foods that are more easily obtained in nature, in their natural state have all kinds of nutrients and protective qualities that cushion any addictive properties. Once we strip the nutrients and protective properties through cooking and processing, the more we can eat and the bigger the buzz they give us. They also have a corresponding dip in relation to the buzz and this triggers us eating for the buzz and again to compensate for the loss of nutrients and sensation of wellbeing. In most cases with processed food it is not really wellbeing but a drug like spike we often mistake for wellbeing.

Return to Food has a lot of material that is not related to food but in fact shows us how to nourish ourselves in other areas of life, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Most people who are struggling with their relationship with food are malnourished in those areas and if you’re really struggling chances are your mental, emotional and spiritual areas of your life are not just malnourished but toxic.

The antidote is to tap into HyperNourishment which is the process of removing the toxic input in the way of what we read, watch, listen to and how we feed and care for our whole being. The magic in our life starts to unfold in how we think and feel with new healthy nourishing input and it is amazing when we do this how we are drawn to choose foods that resonate at a higher frequency and contribute to a true state of wellbeing.

Choose a healthier though and you’ll feel a healthier more empowering feeling. Choose to walk instead of sit on the couch and eat food that is dead and addictive while watching television that is negative and you will set in motion literally thousands of different reactions in the body that set yo up for better life decisions. We think it is about the food and this allows us to be sold diets and products that do for us what our body is infinitely more capable of doing. You have an innate wisdom and intelligence that far exceeds any diet or textbook on eating. Tap into the stream of wellbeing your body is set up to thrive on and you’ll automatically be attracted to foods that facilitate, healing, weight loss and energy beyond what you can imagine.

 The author is giving away the following gift to all readers of my blog:

Return to Food – Secrets of the Life-Changing Anti-Diet Webinar & Gifts

Sherry would love to offer you and your readers a Return to Food Secrets of the Life-Changing Anti-Diet webinar series valued at $197, for free, including the 7 Recipes for Life digital download. Available for instant download so you can get a head start on the philosophies and recipes that have changed thousands of lives.