August 29, 2017

Murder Unrenovated & Rehearsal for Murder by P.M. Carlson - Book Blast

Book Blast for:
Murder Unrenovated & Rehearsal For Murder
by P.M. Carlson

Book Details:
Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: June 2013
Number of Pages: 239
ISBN: 193232528X (ISBN13: 9781932325287)
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O'Connor #4

Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords  | Goodreads 

About the book:
Realtor Len Trager is anxious to sell the lovely old brownstone in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood, and Maggie and Nick think it looks like a dream house for a young couple expecting their first child. But problems show up. It needs renovation– okay. There's a stubborn tenant who refuses to move out– not so okay.

And then there's the nasty surprise on the top floor....

Read an excerpt:
Brooklyn, 1972. Realtor Len Trager shows an old brownstone to actor Nick O’Connor and statistician Maggie Ryan.

Len felt a prickle of hope. He couldn’t remember anyone else being this pleased by Lund’s weary old brownstone, not after meeting the immovable basement tenant. Could there possibly be a sale here after all?

Not to an actor, he reminded himself.

The upper floors were shoddily divided into separate apartments. But the second-floor bath still held a Victorian marble sink and chipped clawfoot tub, and the room at the front overlooked the street. Maggie smiled at Nick and said, “This could be a little study.”

“One more floor,” said Len. The top floor, once servants’ quarters, had been most recently occupied–– only Lund’s disruption of the plumbing had finally forced the young tenants to accept his relocation money and leave. Nick slapped his hand against a wall. “This isn’t a supporting wall, is it?”

“No,” said Len, giving the room a professional glance. “You’re thinking of remodeling?” That was always a good sign.

“Not many gyms around here. It would be great to have space to work out.” Nick stepped to the doorway. “What do you think, Maggie?”

She was down the hall, looking into the little front room, the one that sported the oriel window. For a moment she remained there, still.

“Do you like the place?” Len prompted.

She turned back to them slowly, and Nick, suddenly concerned, took a step toward her. But it was Len she answered.

“Yes,” she said, “it’s a great place. There’s only one problem. There’s a corpse in it.”

* * *

Excerpt from Murder Unrenovated by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.

Book Details:
Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: The Mystery Company / Crum Creek Press
Publication Date: July 2013
Number of Pages: 220
ISBN: 1932325336 (ISBN13: 9781932325331
Series: Maggie Ryan and Nick O'Connor #5

Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Smashwords  | Goodreads 

About the book:
As REHEARSAL FOR MURDER begins, Maggie is a partner in a statistical consulting business, and her actor husband Nick O’Connor has been cast in a wonderful new role. He’s rehearsing an off-Broadway musical, playing Gladstone to the famous Ramona Ricci’s Queen Victoria. But Nick is worried by Ramona’s diva-like behavior, which enrages the cast members. And the home front is even tougher. He and Maggie adore their five-month-old daughter Sarah, but she exhausts them and leaves them no time for each other.

Then they’re slammed with two more problems. Maggie, doing a favor for another frazzled parent, gets wind of a plot against that child. And someone guns down the bitchy Ramona.

Read an excerpt:
A pause; a choked sob from the crumpled Ramona; and then the pounding dirge from chorus and piano.

Ramona straightened slowly, as though lifting a crushing weight, and pulled a black shawl about her. The chorus moved back with measured steps, leaving her solitary in the middle of the stage. The music modulated, and very quietly she began to sing "The Widow of Windsor." For the first time that day she did not have to worry about new dance steps or new movements, and she invested the words with a powerful emotional energy. "Alone," she sang, "in the crowds, still alone; among the princes, alone; forever alone." Nick, standing in the silent chorus, felt his throat tightening. The small isolated figure, the husky beauty of the voice that shimmered on the edge of tears, communicated a human truth that transcended history, geography, wealth, gender. She bound them all into Victoria's grief.

The last chords faded.

Then the stage manager cleared his throat and said, "Blackout," in his flat twang.

The spell was shattered. Derek exclaimed, "Super! But you know that, Ramona. On to act two?"

"Let's stop a minute early today, Derek. It's been a long afternoon." Ramona, drooping, pulled the shawl from her shoulders, then noticed the blond onlooker for the first time and stiffened. "Well! So Larry's evening revels have begun already. Though the brunette that came for him yesterday was prettier. Treat him well, sweetie." She winked at the young woman. "Your competition is formidable."

The few words reawakened the sizzle of rage in all of them.

* * *

Excerpt from Rehearsal For Murder by P.M. Carlson. Copyright © 2017 by P.M. Carlson. Reproduced with permission from P.M. Carlson. All rights reserved.

Meet the author - P.M. Carlson
P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.
Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Smashwords, & Twitter !

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for P.M. Carlson. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on August 29 and runs through September 5, 2017.

Tour Participants:

August 28, 2017

The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers by Thomas Fleming - Review

Book details:
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (November 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061139130
ISBN-13: 978-0061139130

About this book:
An intimate look at the founders—George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison—and thewomen who played essential roles in their lives

With his usual storytelling flair and unparalleled research, notedhistorian Thomas Fleming examines the relationships between theFounding Fathers and the women who were at the center of theirlives. They were the mothers who powerfully shaped their sons’visions of domestic life, from hot-tempered Mary Ball Washington to promiscuous Rachel Lavien, Hamilton’s mother. Lovers and wives played even more critical roles. We learn of the youthful Washington’s tortured love for the coquettish Sarah Fairfax, a close friend’s wife; of Franklin’s two “wives,” one in London and one in Philadelphia; of how lonely, deeply unhappy Abigail kept home and family togetherfor years on end during Adams’s long absences; of Hamilton’s adulterous betrayal of his wife and their eventual reconciliation; of how the brilliant Madison, jilted by a flirtatious fifteen-year-old, went on to marry the effervescent Dolley, who helped make this shy man into a popular president. Jefferson’s controversial relationshipwith Sally Hemings is also examined, reinterpreting where his heart truly lay.

Meet the author - Thomas Fleming:
"How do you write a book?" 24 year old Thomas Fleming asked bestselling writer Fulton Oursler in 1951. "Write four pages a day," Oursler said. "Every day except Sunday. Whether you feel like it or not. Inspiration consists of putting the seat of your pants on the chair at your desk." Fleming has followed this advice to good effect. His latest effort, "The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers," is his 50th published book. Twenty three of them have been novels. He is the only writer in the history of the Book of the Month Club to have main selections in fiction and in nonfiction. Many have won prizes. Recently he received the Burack Prize from Boston University for lifetime achievement. In nonfiction he has specialized in the American Revolution. He sees Intimate Lives as a perfect combination of his double talent as a novelist and historian. "Novelists focus on the intimate side of life. This is the first time anyone has looked at the intimate side of the lives of these famous Americans, with an historian's eyes." Fleming was born in Jersey City, the son of a powerful local politician. He has had a lifetime interest in American politics. He also wrote a history of West Point which the New York Times called "the best...ever written." Military history is another strong interest. He lives in New York with his wife, Alice Fleming, who is a gifted writer of books for young readers.

My thoughts on the book:
I really enjoyed this book. It felt like it read more like a novel than a history book. There were things I learned about each founding fathers. I did not realize that John Adams may have been manic depressant, that Thomas Jefferson had migraines and that multiple presidents did not have kids. I liked the writing style and the research that the author put into the book. It kept me interested from the first page right up until the last page. It was nice to hear something about the founding fathers that is not all about the politics. Also I did not realize how many of our founding fathers went over seas to try and keep peace. I will be looking for more books by this author. 

The Long Way Home by Kevin Bannister - Review

I received this book free from the publisher

Book details
Publisher: Fireship Press (September 15, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1611793610
ISBN-13: 978-1611793611

About the book
Set in the turbulent times of the War of Independence, ‘The Long Way Home’ follows the lives of Thomas Peters and Murphy Steele who are friends, former slaves, fellows-in-arms and leaders of the Black Brigade. Their real-life story is an epic adventure tale as they battle bounty hunters, racism, poverty and epidemic in their adopted country after the war.

‘The Long Way Home’ has resonated with readers around the world as an unforgettable account of courage, hope and determination triumphing over despair and injustice. Thomas Peters, thoughtful and charismatic, and Murphy Steele, strong and impulsive, lead their followers on an inspirational search for a place where they can be free.

“The author has written about such a sensitive topic and in a very beautiful way. The reader will become immersed in a reality that may seem too distant, but written in a language that conjures very vivid images, a tale that will speak to the hearts of readers with eloquence. Bannister has successfully combined historical facts with glowing imagination to deliver a masterpiece that will be well received by lovers of historical fiction. His language succinctly portrays the world of a slave and the injustices prevalent in that world.”–Romuald Dzemo, author of Courage To Embrace Yourself and You Can’t Be A Failure

“Kevin Bannister’s Long Way Home is a novel that grabs your attention from the start and keeps you riveted to the last word. . It is written around an era where the life of an Indigenous North American, and a person of African roots, were deemed by Caucasians to be easily expendable and not a thing to trouble a conscience. It highlights in great detail the fact that when greed and self interest came to the forefront during the American Revolution that Caucasian brothers had no compulsion about inflicting unspeakable barbarities upon each other. An unforgettable read!”–Dr. Daniel N. Paul, C.M., O.N.S., LLD, DLIT, Mi’kmaw eldering, author of We Were Not The Savages, Order of Canada recipient, journalist and lecturer,

Meet the author - Kevin Bannister
Kevin Bannister is a rancher living in the beautiful foothills of central Alberta. He would like Thomas Peters and Murphy Steele to be celebrated as the heroes that they were in their lifetimes and to be inspirations to young people everywhere to persevere in the face of bigotry, poverty, government indifference or any other adversity.

Connect with Kevin on Goodreads.

What did I think of this book:
I thought this book was a very thought provoking adventure. It would be hard to imagine what these guys had to go through. Trying to find a better way of life only to be thrown back into a place again. The author did a good job of developing the characters which were actual real people and what they went through trying to find freedom. He really did his research and it comes out in the details. There are times you are on the edge of your seat hoping that Thomas and Murphy can just escape the dangers of their journey. The writing style for me also flowed off the pages. I also enjoyed meeting some of the other people who joined them in their journey. If you are looking for a good historical fiction book that tells a story that many do not venture into then I suggest this book. I will be watching for more books by this author. 

Kevin Bannister’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 28th: A Holland Reads

Wednesday, August 30th: Mama Vicky Reads

Friday, September 1st: What Is That Book About?

Monday, September 4th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Thursday, September 7th: Reading Reality

Friday, September 8th: Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, September 12th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books

Wednesday, September 13th: Ms. Nose in a Book

Friday, September 15th: Suzy Approved

Monday, September 18th: Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 26th: Girl Who Reads

Monday, October 2nd: Patricia’s Wisdom

August 22, 2017

Sarah's Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness by Beverly Scott - Review and Giveaway

I received this book free from the publisher

Book details:
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 306 Pages
Word Project Press
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Western

About this book:
Follow the paths of Sarah and Will (or Sam) as they tell their stories of trust, secrets, and betrayal on the frontier in the old West. Their pioneer spirit helped to fuel the expansion into the Western territories of the United States. The two are historically on their separate journeys, yet they remain intimately connected. Through the fictionalized Western frontier tale of Sam and Sarah, the author, Beverly Scott, was inspired to reveal rumored secrets from her family history.

In 1878, Will is on the run after killing a man in a barroom gunfight. He escapes the Texas Rangers by joining a cattle drive as a cook headed to Dodge City. He struggles with the dilemma of saving his life or attempting to return to his pregnant wife and five children. Just when he thinks he might be able to return home, he is confronted by a bounty hunter who captures him and plans to return him to Fort Worth, Texas to be hanged.

Although Will changes his name to Sam, he remains an irresponsible, lonely and untrustworthy man on the dodge from the law who abandons the women he loves. He ultimately seeks redemption and marries Sarah.

In 1911, Sarah, a pioneer woman and widow with five children struggles to find the inner strength to overcome betrayal, loneliness, fears, and self-doubt. Her husband, Sam, thirty years her senior, died with a mysterious and defiant declaration, “I won’t answer!”. Despite poverty and a crippling illness, she draws on her pioneer spirit to hold her family together and return to Nebraska to be near her parents and siblings.

When Sarah returns to Nebraska she receives staggering news which complicates her efforts to support her children. She is shocked, angry and emotionally devastated. Since she is attempting to establish herself in the community as a teacher, she believes she must keep her secret even from her own family. Will Sarah find forgiveness in her heart and the resolve to accept her new life alone?

Praise for Sarah’s Secret
“In the flash of one moment, the trajectory of a man’s life and of those who loved and depended on him changes forever. The developing plot draws the reader in as we wait to see how this one action reaches into and impacts the lives of future generations. Set against the backdrop of a post-Civil War nation, when thousands headed west to escape their past, disappear into the horizon, and remake themselves, this biography is a rich study of pioneer ethos and the risks faced every day. The women touched by this man, who kept his secrets close, are heroines of courage, steadfastness and goodness. Beverly Scott is an author who has a way of painting word pictures that make you feel like you are a part of the story as it unfolds towards the discovery of his devastating secrets.” -Patricia and Craig Neal, co-founders, Heartland Inc.

“Using the plain spoken language of the women and men who scratched out life on the hard scrabble plains in the early days of this young country Bev Scott crafts a sharp picture of the violence and the love that shaped the middle of this nation. Every river crossing, each spring planting reveals the conflicts inside the characters and their struggle to survive in contested territories.” -Jewell Gomez, Author, The Gilda Stories

Meet the author - Beverly Scott
Bev specialized in serving executives and managers as a leadership coach and organizational consultant for over thirty-five years. She taught organization psychology and founded The 3rd Act, a program whose mission supports positive aging. As she grew into her own third act, she started a genealogical journey to uncover the details of her grandparents’ lives. She concluded that the story needed to be told as fiction using the known facts as her framework.

“Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness,” Bev’s debut novel, is the culmination of her long-held desire tell the family story and confirm the whispered story about her grandfather.

Bev previously focused on publishing non-fiction work, including the second edition of “Consulting on the Inside,” which she co-authored with Kim Barnes, published in 2011. She has written numerous professional articles and contributed to “70 Things to Do When You Turn 70,” edited by Ronnie Sellers and Mark Chimsky. Bev blogs on several sites, including her own, “The Writing Life” on

Bev enjoys traveling, visiting with friends, reading and spending time with her grandsons. She lives with her spouse in San Francisco.

You can connect with Bev on Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, and Goodreads.

My thoughts on this book:
I enjoyed how this book was the telling of two different people's stories while telling one story. It was also nice to learn that this was based on the author's family's story. You can tell the author did her research when writing this book. The historical details really stood out for me. I liked how she described settings so you can see what she was talking about. Also the characters were developed so that they were real to you. Sarah was a strong person and new what she had to do to survive. This book was a well told story that moved along nicely. 

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Sarah’s Secret! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 14

Tuesday, August 15

Wednesday, August 16
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, August 17

Friday, August 18

Monday, August 21

Tuesday, August 22
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, August 24
Review & Interview at T’s Stuff
Review & Interview at Books and Benches

Monday, August 28

Tuesday, August 29
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, August 30

Friday, September 1

Monday, September 4

The Dating Bender by Christina Julian - Review

I received this book free from the publisher

Book details
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC (August 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1640340874
ISBN-13: 978-1640340879

About this book
A hysterical dramedy about a woman unhinged and at a crossroad. "Julian's debut takes an unabashed look at a failed marriage, divorce, and dating under the scrutiny of a less than supportive family." --former San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Adair Lara.

Here I am, on my knees in front of the Trevi Fountain, hoping like hell the legend is true. That the fountain gives you solace and love by a mere toss of a coin.

Why am I here, exactly? Let's see...

It started with my parents telling me to get married. Of course, being the good Catholic girl I am, I did.

Needless to say, that marriage nosedived, and my parents weren't exactly happy about it.

Newly ditched and shamefully disowned, I decided to follow the advice of Babs, a tart-of-a-mentor, who offered me a job in Colorado.

Her advice? Sex...and lots of it.

The temptation of freedom, to do whatever--whoever--I wanted was too damn strong for me to say no.

And that's how it all started. The men, the sex, the journey...

The dating bender.

Because everybody deserves a do-over

THE DATING BENDER is a hilarious satire about dysfunctional family relationships, women who love the wrong men, and one epic hunt for happiness.

Meet the author - Christina Julian
Christina Julian writes snarky rom-coms that celebrate the underdog and live to make people laugh. She adores dysfunctional leading ladies and the tangled twisty lives they lead. She adamantly believes there is nothing in life that can’t be conquered with a bodacious wine, strong cup of coffee, or a generously iced cupcake. When she is not tapping out her next novel or wrangling her 3-year-old twins, she can be found swilling and swirling in the name of research as a wine and food columnist in Napa Valley. She strives always to live her life to the extreme.

​Christina’s work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Wine Enthusiast, Weddings California, California Home + Design, 7x7, Napa Valley Register, Napa Valley Life, Bohemian, Weekly Calistogan, NorthBay Biz and beyond. Connect at

Follow her on Twitter @Christin_julian and on FB at

What did I think of this book
This is the first book by this author and I found it enjoyable.  I liked that it was fast paced. From the start I liked Samantha even though at times she made me crazy. I think there is a part of every woman that can associate with her at times. She can make you sad, mad and laugh all in the same book. The author did a good job of developing both the characters and the story. She made you want more with each page. A fun book for a rainy day. 

August 21, 2017

To Kill a Hummingbird by J.R. Ripley - Spotlight and Giveaway

Book details:
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Lyrical Underground (July 11, 2017)
Print Length: 247 pages

About this book:
For Amy Simms, owner of Birds & Bees, nothing is more important than impressing her old professor, but this odd bird is about to fall to earth . . .

When her favorite ornithology professor comes calling, Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms hangs six hummingbird feeders around the shop to welcome Professor Livingston with a flock of his favorite flying creatures. But Amy soon finds that the sugar water in the feeders brings more than a swarm of hummingbirds. It also attracts murder.

Professor Livingston is just as friendly as Amy remembers, but something seems to be troubling him. When Amy pays him a visit that night, she finds the professor slumped over a table with a pair of scissors buried in his neck. And standing over his body is Rose Smith, the local bookseller, who claims she killed him. But while the police believe they have a bird in hand, Amy thinks the real killer may still be in the bush . . .

Meet the author - J.R. Ripley:
J.R. Ripley is the pen name of Glenn Meganck, the critically acclaimed author of the Tony Kozol mystery series. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, he has chaired the Edgar committee for Best Original Paperback novel and served on the Best Short Story Committee. As a member of the International Association of Crime Writers, he has served on the Hammett Award committee for Best Novel. When not writing books, Glenn is writing songs, often singing them to the consternation of his audience and neighbors, or involved in one of his many passions, none of which have involved any of the dead bodies that seem to keep cropping up in his mysteries. For more information about him, visit

Author Links
Visit the Author’s Website

Purchase Links:
Amazon B&N kobo

Other Books in this Series



August 21 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
August 21 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
August 21 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
August 21 – Carole’s Book Corner – SPOTLIGHT
August 21 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW 
August 22 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
August 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 22 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
August 22 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
August 23 – A Blue Million Books – SPOTLIGHT
August 23 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
August 23 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
August 23 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT
August 24 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
August 24 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
August 24 – Deal Sharing Aunt – SPOTLIGHT
August 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 25 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT
August 25 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW 
August 25 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

Thief's Mark by Carla Neggers - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book details:
Series: Sharpe & Donovan (Book 8)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: MIRA (August 29, 2017)

About this book:
A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man’s search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel

As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.

Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma’s grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York’s country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.

As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver’s account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver’s small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the United States, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.

New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers delivers the gripping, suspense-filled tale readers have been waiting for.

Purchase Links

Meet the author - Carla Neggers
Carla Neggers is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 60 novels, including her popular Sharpe and Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have been translated into 24 languages and sold in over 35 countries. A frequent traveler to Ireland, Carla lives with her family in New England. To learn more and to sign up for her newsletter, visit

.Connect with Carla
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Chapter 4 

Near Stow-on-the-Wold, the Cotswolds, England

Henrietta walked home after the police finished with her. They’d blocked off entrances onto the York property, including the lane that ran past the dovecote potting shed and was part of a waymarked trail. Walkers out for the day, unaware of the events that morning, would have to take a detour, at least until the scene was cleared. Henrietta had witnessed deaths and seen corpses in her previous life but never one involving a childhood playmate as a witness—a man as enigmatic, frustrating, larcenous, tortured and sexy as Oliver York.

He was maddening, and he was the reason she had quit MI5.

That was the short answer, at least.

She continued along a dry wall, constructed God knew when, of the region’s ubiquitous yellow limestone. Oolitic Jurassic limestone, it was called. She’d thought she’d needed to know that as a garden designer, but no one had yet to ask. She wasn’t concerned about running in to a mad killer. The police hadn’t been, either. She’d take care, of course, but whatever had happened behind her at the York farm, it hadn’t been random.

She crossed a bridge over the same shallow stream that ran behind the York dovecote. The paved lane would eventually take her into the village, but she needn’t go that far—never mind the temptation to. It’d been a day. She’d love nothing better than to spend the rest of it at the pub.

Instead she turned onto a narrow lane, lined with more honey-stone walls, and came to what was still known as the Balfour farm. Her great-grandparents had purchased it in 1909 as a country home and working sheep farm. They’d proceeded to have three children—Freddy, Posey and Anthony—and had left the entire property to Freddy, the eldest Balfour and only surviving son, Anthony having died young. Freddy had promptly turned over most of the acreage to tenant farmers. He’d spent holidays—not every holiday—at the house and let friends and colleagues use it for getaways, but he’d never had a great affinity for the Cotswolds or country life. Surprisingly, he’d moved to the farm after he lost his wife to a stroke. Widowed, his only son busy with his own life in London, Freddy had enjoyed several good years before he developed lung cancer and died in his Cotswolds sitting room at age seventy-seven. Henrietta had been only five, but she remembered him, her chain-smoking grandfather with the kind eyes. She hadn’t known then, of course, that Freddy Balfour was an MI5 legend and British hero. That had come later.

Posey Balfour fell in love with the Cotswolds as a young woman and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. The family carved out a lot for her, and she’d built her own home, where she’d stayed, content, for the next seventy years. Henrietta's father had sold the rest of the original farm after Freddy’s death. As far as she knew her dad had never considered keeping it.

She came to her great-aunt’s house.

My house now.

She was relieved to see only her Mini and not Oliver’s Rolls-Royce in the drive.

A silly thought, that he might have come here.

“Blast it, Oliver, where are you?”

Normally she would drive to work in order to haul tools, pots, seedlings, bags of soil and supplies—her Mini amazed her with its hauling capacity—but that morning she’d walked. She’d been working at the York farm for two weeks straight and had everything she needed there. The day had started with sunshine, but she enjoyed walking even in less-than-lovely weather.

She felt tense as she unlocked her front door. After twelve years with MI5, she liked to think objectivity and emotional distance had become natural for her. She’d managed in the midst of the crisis, with Ruthie Burns in a state and Martin Hambly about to have a stroke, but now, on her own, she was anything but objective and distant. It wasn’t that she was out of practice. She’d only left MI5 in March. It was that today involved people she’d known her entire life. Friends, neighbors, villagers.


She fumbled with the door lock. His fault, damn him.

She got the door open and felt her tension ease the moment she crossed the threshold. Posey had died in her sleep of general organ failure at ninety-four and left the house to Henrietta and small inheritances to Henrietta's father and his cousin, Anthony's only son.

Posey would have relished a mysterious death in the village, provided it wasn’t too gruesome and involved someone who’d had it coming. Henrietta had yet to figure out what to do with her great-aunt's daunting collection of cozy mysteries. They lined the study shelves and filled more than one cupboard.

She went back to the kitchen and filled the kettle with water and set it to boil. In addition to the kitchen, the house consisted of a sitting room, study and powder room on the ground floor, and, upstairs, two slanted-ceiling, dormered bedrooms and a bathroom. Posey had had it built to her standard. She’d decided on new construction rather than selling the lot and buying an existing house. She would never have had the patience to fuss with anything listed or mildly historic that would require her to follow rules and regulations and entertain unsolicited opinions from villagers. “I didn’t want my house to be the subject of postcards, tourist photographs or chocolate boxes,” she’d told Henrietta more than once.

Posey hadn’t cleared out a single possession before her death. Henrietta knew she needed to get on with sorting what didn’t suit her. Sell it, give it away, toss it. It seemed like a daunting process at the moment. Of course, it wasn’t. Surveillance and penetration of a violent cell bent on mass murder were daunting. Deciding what to do with Aunt Posey’s stacks of murder mysteries was emotionally challenging but hardly the same.

As she waited for the kettle to boil, Henrietta gazed out the kitchen window at the glorious June blossoms. As plain as the house was, the gardens were incredible. They were Posey’s creation and had been her greatest joy. Pink foxglove, cobalt-blue delphinium, white daisies, artfully placed grasses—Henrietta let the burst of color soothe her. In the months since her great-aunt’s death, she had maintained the gardens, at least to a degree, without touching their essential structure. The rose trellis needed replacing. Most of the perennials needed thinning and a good chop. She’d get to it all one of these days.

This giveaway is for the US only. The winner will be drawn randomly via rafflecopter. Once the winner has been drawn they will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond. If you do not respond a new winner will be chosen. It is mandatory that you leave a comment on this post. This will be verified and if you do not leave a comment then your entry will be thrown out. Thank you and good luck.

EXCERPT TOUR for Thief’s Mark:

Monday, August 7th: Lovely Reads
Tuesday, August 8: Stuck in Books
Wednesday, August 9th: The Sassy Bookster
Thursday, August 10th: Books a la Mode
Friday, August 11th: Mama Reads
Monday, August 14th: Books and Spoons
Tuesday, August 15th: A Dream Within a Dream
Friday, August 18th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Monday, August 21st: A Holland Reads
Tuesday, August 22nd: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, August 23rd: Romancing the Readers
Thursday, August 24th: The Lit Bitch
Friday, August 25th: Mama Vicky Says
TBD: Book Nerd

A Fistful of Love by Om Swami - Review and Giveaway

I received this book free from the publisher

Book details:
Publisher: Black Lotus (Sept. 24, 2015)
Category: Humor & Entertainment, Self Help, Psychology, Spiritual, & Motivational
Tour dates: Aug-Oct, 2017
ISBN: 978- 0994002778
Available in Print & ebook, 212 pages

About this book:
A man was sitting with his friends in a local inn. After a couple of drinks, he asked his friends, “Do you love me?” “Of course, we do,” they replied. “So do you know what I need?” No one answered. “If you don’t know what I need then how can you say you love me?” To love and to be loved is the most basic human need. No wonder we are attracted to people who give us attention, care about us, and love us. Yet, love also remains the greatest challenge in most relationships. Why?

A Fistful of Love is a collection of insightful, thought-provoking nuggets of wisdom appreciated by millions around the world. This book is full of humor and narratives most beautifully woven into learnings of life that will make you stop and think.
Praise for Fistful Of Love by Om Swami

“This is a strong novel about love and hope and really gives you the tools you need to improve your outlook on life and relationships. I liked the way that this was set up, the writing style was well done and easy to follow. There were many lighthearted and comedic things thrown in that keeps this novel light and spirited.”-Momma G, My Reading Addiction

“Om Swami’s voice is clear and true. He offers sage wisdom in easy to understand language. Knowing he is a younger monk with a contemporary background makes him very relatable.”- KerryPhilo, Amazon Reviewer

“The book is not only a delight and joy to read, but also so insightful and enlightening. Strongly recommend this beautiful book written in such an easy and clear style.”-Amazon Reviewer

“Precious words of wisdom narrated in a pleasant lighthearted way that inspires both mind and soul. The words of wisdom especially on love and relationship are truly indispensable.”-Rose, Amazon Reviewer

Meet the author - Om Swami
Om Swami is a monk who lives in a remote place in the Himalayan foothills. He has a bachelor degree in business and an MBA from Sydney, Australia. Swami served in executive roles in large corporations around the world. He founded and led a profitable software company with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and India.

Om Swami completely renounced his business interests to pursue a more spiritual life. He is the bestselling author of Kundalini: An Untold Story, A Fistful of Love and If Truth Be Told: A Monk’s Memoir.

His blog is read by millions all over the world.
Buy Fistful Of Love by Om Swami


What did I think of the book:
This book has been a very interesting book. I have enjoyed all the tidbits of wisdom that the author had to share. I like how it was a collection of short stories all woven into one book to have you learn how to be a better person in your own way as you read. I also liked how the author threw in some bits of humor. This book is also thought provoking without being too heavy. I will being going back and reading this book again and again. This was the first book I have read by this author and I am glad I did. 

Excerpt – Secret to Happiness

Making someone happy is like lighting a candle. You don’t lose anything, but the light spreads anyway.

When we make someone happy, the same part in our brain is activated when we do something for our own happiness. This is not philosophy, but neuroscience. I am not surprised though; the joy of giving far exceeds any other I have ever known. They say charity begins at home. A happy environment at home is comparable to heaven on earth.

In my occupation, I get to meet many people from all walks of life.

Often though, I have observed a rather strange behavior among many couples. They rejoice in the company of people outside the four walls, but feel irritated with the ones at home. I have noticed a tenuous frown appear on their faces even at the mention of their partners. They tell me they are tired of trying to please the other person and they couldn’t be bothered anymore. This feeling of “I couldn’t be bothered” is a definitive sign of downfall in most relationships. Earlier, if they had made any attempt to bring joy to the other person, now they have thrown the baby out with the bathwater (after drinking most of it).

I admit it can be quite difficult to make certain people happy. There too, I have an observation: when you just can’t make the other person happy no matter what you do or how hard you try, chances are you are no longer on their playfield. Mentally, they may have given you the red card. They have decided not to source their happiness from you. If you speak to them asking what do they really expect from you and they are not being reasonable, you will never be able to make them happy, not for long anyway. In that case, if you have a choice, move on. And if you don’t have a choice, seek a peaceful refuge within.

A man got married to the woman of his dreams. He was head over heels for her and couldn’t believe his luck when she agreed to marry him. After their engagement and before the actual wedding, every night he thought about her. He had no doubts that theirs was going to be the most loving, functional, and finest married life ever known to mankind. His fiancĂ©e had a high opinion of herself. (When you believe you are better or superior than your partner, you can forget about a happy marriage.) They got married with great fanfare. His wife loved eggs for breakfast, so when they were away on their honeymoon, the husband made poached eggs for her in the morning.

“These aren’t done right,” she commented scornfully.

The man felt bad that he couldn’t please his wife and made even greater effort the following day.

“Oh, I can’t eat poached eggs every day, you know.” She refused to eat them.

He made scrambled eggs the next morning.

“It’s okay, but too fatty. Just boiled eggs with salt and pepper would have been better.”

The following day, to give her a choice, he brought out two dishes: a plate of scrambled eggs and two boiled eggs. He was certain that she would be happy today.

“What’s this? You boiled the wrong egg!” she screamed. You know where this marriage is headed, right?

Should I tell you the easiest way to make the other person happy? No, it is not flowers, things, or gifts; they play a part, but there is something even more important. Appreciate them. When you make the other person feel that you appreciate what they are doing for you and for the relationship, it boosts their self-esteem and morale right away. When you make an effort to appreciate, you directly gain from it as well. How? You actually start to see their efforts.

Let us face it, it is not an easy world out there. When you thank your partner for everything they are doing it brings you closer; it strengthens the relationship; it fosters love and understanding.

Once a woman, a master chef, was asked what did her husband usually say when he savored the delicacies she cooked on a daily basis?

“He only speaks about food when something is amiss or if he doesn’t like it,” she said. “So when he is quiet, I know he is enjoying it.”

“Initially, I would ask him if he liked my cooking, but it irked him so I stopped asking,” she added.

Sadly, this is not a joke, but a real incident. To the waiter we don’t know, we say smilingly how delicious the food is, we tip, we appreciate, but to the one who is closer to you, every courtesy is withdrawn. You see the disparity?

When you make it a point to appreciate, the newness never fades and when something remains new, you never get bored of it. When you don’t get bored of something, you never take it for granted. When you don’t take the other person for granted, your relationship can never wither away. Yes, never. It will continue to blossom and spread fragrance.

Appreciation is gratitude in action.

This giveaway is for one ebook and is open worldwide.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

FistFul Of Love Tour Schedule

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Aug 14 Kick Off
Amy Amazon Reviewer Aug 15 Review
Rockin' Book Reviews Aug 16 Review
I'd Rater Be At The Beach Aug 17 Review
Carole Rae's Random Ramblings Aug 18 Review
A Holland Reads Aug 21 Review & Excerpt
411 on Books, Authors & Pub News Aug 22 Excerpt
Deanna Amazon Reviewer Aug 23 Review
Jill Amazon Reviewer Aug 25 Review
From Isi Aug 28 Review
Networking Witches Sept 12 Review & Excerpt
                    Lori Amazon Reviewer Oct 26 Review                        

August 19, 2017

McKinley Mysteries Politics is Murder - Spotlight and Giveaway

A Parents’ Worst Nightmare Comes to Life in POLITICS IS MURDER

From what I hear, most parents fear sending their kids off to college as much as they are excited for them to go. In Politics is Murder, a parents’ worst nightmare comes to life for Wayne Davenport, the mayor of Albany, when his daughter, Halie, goes missing from her university campus. With his career being so high profile, he still strives to keep this matter out of the news and turns to Sean and Sara McKinley to help find Halie. The only thing is Albany PD is already working the case.

At the risk of pitting themselves against their former colleagues and sergeant and friend Jimmy Voigt, Sean and Sara set out to the university to get answers. But with Davenport’s position, he’s made a lot of enemies and it may be one of them who have his daughter. Sean and Sara are going to have to sort through motives and suspects if they have any hope of finding Halie and returning her alive. They may even have to call upon their good friend Jimmy for help, after all.

Grab your backpack and binders,
Carolyn Arnold

Book Overview:
There's no time for a debate…

Sean and Sara’s popularity as a murder-solving duo has gained momentum. But it’s not until it comes time for a local television interview that they meet Reanne Mable and end up finding themselves involved with a high-profile investigation.

Reanne is the sister-in-law of Albany’s Mayor Davenport and his daughter, Halie, has gone missing from her university campus. With a desire to keep the matter out of the media spotlight, Davenport turns to Sean and Sara to find her. But with the police already investigating the matter, taking this case would pit them against their friends from the police department, including their former sergeant Jimmy Voigt.

As time moves on, though, the fate of the girl is not up for a vote, and the McKinleys set out to find out what really happened. With the mayor taking the heat for a recently passed zoning bylaw, is an enraged small business owner behind Halie’s disappearance? Or did she simply grow tired of living in her father’s limelight and run away?

To get the answers, Sean and Sara will need to use all the resources at their disposal and may have to call upon their good friend Jimmy for help, after all.

Available in e-book and paperback.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo | Google

For more retailer links visit:

About the McKinley Mysteries:
Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Hart to Hart, Castle, Colombo, Monk, Rockford Files, Psych, and Magnum PI.

The Day Job is Murder (2014) 
Vacation is Murder (2014) 
Money is Murder (2014) 
Politics is Murder (2014) 
Family is Murder (2014) 
Shopping is Murder (2014) 
Christmas is Murder (2014) 
Valentine’s Day is Murder (2015) 
Coffee is Murder (2015) 
Skiing is Murder (2016) 
Halloween is Murder (2017) 

About the Author
Carolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series and has written nearly thirty books. Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark, POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at


Tour Participants 

August 14 – T's Stuff – INTERVIEW, REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 14 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 14 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 15 – Must Read Faster – GUEST POST - Book 1 – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 15 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Vacation Is Murder 
August 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST – Book 2 – Vacation Is Murder 
August 15 – Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 16 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Money Is Murder 
August 16 - Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT – Valentine’s Day Is Murder 
August 16 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Series, GUEST POST – Book 3 – Money Is Murder 
August 16 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Vacation Is Murder 
August 17 – Socrates' Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT - Skiing Is Murder 
August 17 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Politics Is Murder 
August 17 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 17 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Money Is Murder 
August 18 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Family Is Murder 
August 18 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW – Shopping Is Murder 
August 18 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Politics Is Murder 
August 19 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST – Book 4 – Politics Is Murder 
August 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT – Books 1-5 
August 19 - Community Bookstop – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 19 - Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Family Is Murder 
August 20 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW – Christmas Is Murder 
August 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT -Blogger’s Choice 
August 20 –Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Vacation Is Murder 
August 20 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW – Family Is Murder – GUEST POST – Book 5 – Family Is Murder 
August 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT 
August 20 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Shopping Is Murder 
August 21 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 21 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Shopping Is Murder 
August 21 –Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Money Is Murder 
August 21 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Christmas Is Murder 
August 22 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Christmas Is Murder 
August 22 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 22- Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Politics Is Murder 
August 22- StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST – Book 6 – Shopping Is Murder 
August 22 - Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Valentine’s Day Is Murder 
August 23 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Valentine’s Day Is Murder 
August 23 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW – Money Is Murder 
August 23 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Family Is Murder 
August 23 – Valerie's Musings – GUEST POST – Book 7 – Christmas Is Murder 
August 23 –Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Coffee Is Murder 
August 24 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Coffee Is Murder 
August 24 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW – Shopping Is Murder 
August 24 –Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Shopping Is Murder 
August 24 – Books, Dreams, Life – REVIEW – Skiing Is Murder 
August 25 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT – Skiing Is Murder 
August 25 – Bea's Book Nook – REVIEW – The Day Job Is Murder 
August 25 –Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Valentine’s Day Is Murder 
August 26 – Sleuth Cafe – GUEST POST – Book 8 – Valentine’s Day Is Murder 
August 26 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT – Books 1-3 
August 26 - Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Coffee Is Murder 
August 26 –Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT – Books 5 - 11 
August 27 – Brooke Blogs- REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT – Book 4 – 5 
August 27 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW – Skiing Is Murder 
August 28 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT – Books 6-7 - GUEST POST – Book 9 – Coffee Is Murder 
August 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT – Blogger’s Choice 
August 28 – Laura's Interests – GUEST POST – Book 10 – Skiing Is Murder