Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Book Release, Review, suspense on July 26, 2017

Synopsis

The text message is just three words: I need you.

Isa drops everything, takes her baby daughter and heads straight to Salten. She spent the most significant days of her life at boarding school on the marshes there, days which still cast their shadow over her now.

Something terrible has been found on the beach. Something which will force Isa to confront her past, together with the three best friends she hasn’t seen for years, but has never forgotten. Theirs is no cosy reunion: Salten isn’t a safe place for them, after what they did.

At school the girls used to play the Lying Game. They competed to convince people of the most outrageous stories. But for some, did the boundary between fact and fantasy become too blurred?

And how much can you really trust your friends?

Review

Friendships formed out of necessity is what these four women have together. Kate, Thea, Fatima and Isa met in boarding school and something clicked for them. Perhaps because they were all a bit wild and also have home lives that were not quite traditional. They were a force to be reckoned with on campus only because of their game – The Lying Game. It was more of a challenge to see who could embellish a story the most and get away with it. Little did they know that 15+ years later it might come back to haunt them.

This book is engaging and had me wondering what secret the women were hiding. The first half of the book leads up to what the 4 women did during their time at boarding school that caused them to scatter across the country. Then the last half shares how they plan to handle the revelation and the impact it will have on their lives. But in the revelation more details are learned and perhaps it wasn’t quite what they thought when they were 15. There is a bit of a mystery as to who was involved in this situation and when all is explained, how it impacted their lives going forward.

The copy of the book I had (from Netgalley) didn’t have any formal chapters. There were 4 sections. Thankfully there were larger gaps where I could stop. I guess those were supposed to be chapters but without making them a chapter. The story fluctuates between the past and the present and I felt like the author did a good job with the story flow.

The book is set in England and the differences in the English language always make me chuckle…only because some words are used in different contexts than what I am used to hearing.

There are quite a few f* bombs and I do wish authors would learn some new words to express frustration or whatever emotion they are trying to express and stop using the same word over and over again. Not sure when we became such a crude world.

We give it 3 1/2 paws

About the Author

Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

Twitter * Facebook * Website

Posted in 4 paws, Review, suspense on July 25, 2017

Synopsis

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . . Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples. And then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Review

I was able to get a copy of this early from Netgalley and WOW!

I have always known that marriage takes work between both parties, but The Pact is a bit extreme in its measures! Most of us might call The Pact a cult because of its rules and the punishments if you break the rules.

Alice & Jake might seem like an unlikely couple but they complement each other quite well and this induction into The Pact (TP) tests even their love for each other. Are the rules really there to help or are they there for some other nefarious reason?

This book had me on the edge at various times wondering if belonging to TP was a good or bad thing. Sometimes it seemed like a good thing but as they delve further into the organization it is not all it is cracked up to be but there is no way out. I wondered at times if Alice was being brainwashed or if she really was looking deeper into herself and her actions as part of a married couple.

There are some surprises near the end and after those are revealed I truly did not expect the ending. No spoilers but I wish there had been an epilogue to explain a little bit more of what happened. If nothing else, this book will make you think about how you view married life or being part of a couple.

We give this 4 paws up

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on July 24, 2017

Calamity at the Continental Club (Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Camel Press (July 1, 2017)
Paperback: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1603813358

Synopsis

The Mayflower Society is about to hold its annual meeting at Washington D.C.’s swanky gathering place for the elite, the Continental Club. That means Kit Marshall’s upper-crust future in-laws, Buffy and Winston Hollingsworth, are coming for a visit. Annoyed that Kit has not set a date to marry Doug, Buffy wants her to commit to a high society wedding at the club. Kit, though chief of staff for a congresswoman, feels uncomfortable with Buffy and Winston’s crowd.

Kit receives an unexpected reprieve in the form of murder. En route to her morning jog, she encounters the corpse of the leader of the Mayflower Society, conservative multimedia tycoon Grayson Bancroft. On the security cameras, no one was seen entering or leaving the club, which means the culprit had to be an overnight guest. Little love was lost on Bancroft, but the police have their prime suspect: Doug’s father.

Buffy and Winston, formerly disdainful of Kit’s sleuthing, urge her to investigate. With her future in-laws’ freedom and reputations at stake, Kit sets out once again to solve a murder mystery, this time aided by her fiancé Doug in addition to her friends Meg and Trevor and her dog Clarence. Her search for clues will take her from the club to the Smithsonian Museum, the National Archives, and Mount Vernon.

Book 3 of the Washington Whodunit series, which began with Stabbing in the Senate and continued with Homicide in the House.

Guest Post

Museums, Archives, and Historical Homes:  Oh My!

The third installment of the Washington Whodunit series finds our amateur sleuth extraordinaire, Kit Marshall, in unfamiliar territory. Kit is a congressional staffer who deeply understands the haunts and characters of Capitol Hill. In Calamity at the Continental Club, Kit solves the murder of a billionaire Washington, D.C. cultural philanthropist. Consequently, her chase to find the killer takes her to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the National Archives, and Mount Vernon. The cast of characters couldn’t be more different from the politicians she’s used to dealing with – but that doesn’t mean they’re less deadly.

I wrote this book at a time when I was making a transition in my own career. From 2005 until 2015, my “day job” revolved around providing policy analysis and support to Members of Congress. I worked in the United States Senate for almost three years and seven more at the Congressional Research Service. But then I switched gears and accepted a senior leadership position at the Library of Congress, focusing on the consolidation and promotion of the Library’s successful public programs. The new gig enabled me to learn about the challenges of cultural institution management, including exhibit design, visitor services, development, and educational/scholarly support. There’s still a lot to learn, and most days offer opportunities for growth and creativity. Above all, I like that my job is focused on finding ways that Americans of diverse backgrounds can interact with the Library’s tremendous collections and resources.

When I began to sketch the plot of my next mystery, it made a lot of sense to incorporate several of my favorite local cultural institutions. As part of the preparation for writing the book, I scoured each of the locations as a typical tourist, absorbing the sights and experiencing the crowds. Each site provides Kit with one or more clues about the identity of the killer, so be sure to pay special attention when she visits these historic Washington, D.C. gems.  I hope you like reading Calamity at the Continental Club as much as I enjoyed the on-the-ground research!

About the Author

colleen shoganColleen J. Shogan is a senior executive at the Library of Congress. She is the former deputy director of the Congressional Research Service and previously served as a staffer in the United States Senate. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American government at Georgetown University, Penn, and George Mason. Colleen is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her BA from Boston College and her doctorate from Yale. A member of Sisters in Crime, she lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband Rob Raffety and their rescue mutt, Conan. Her first book, Stabbing in the Senate, won the Next Generation Indie Award for Best Mystery in 2016.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Giveaway

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check out the other blogs on this tour

July 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

July 16 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

July 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

July 18 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 19 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

July 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 20 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

July 21 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

July 22 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

July 23 – Off

July 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

July 24 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

July 25 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST

July 26 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

July 27 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 28 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

Posted in 4 1/2 paws, Adventure, fiction, suspense on July 23, 2017

Synopsis

Ed and his childhood friend Danny are gearing up in Kodiak, Alaska, preparing to join the Angie Piper’s crew for another season of crab fishing. Ed is a relative newcomer, but despite the perils of the trade, he sees no reason to fear for Danny’s safety. The Angie Piper has always been blessed. She has a stalwart captain, Fred, a crack engineer, Dave, and two time-tested pros to keep the rest of the operation running smoothly, exuberant Loni and the more reticent Salazar.

Every season has a greenhorn, the one who works for a pittance in order to learn the ropes. This time around it is Ed’s friend Danny, no ordinary crewman. Their shared history is complex. Though strong, brave, and hardworking, Danny is a simple soul, and Ed is weighed down by guilt, dark memories of the many times he failed to defend his friend against the inevitable bullying. And cantankerous Dave believes Danny is a bad omen, so much so that his bitter opposition may endanger them all.

The season starts off strong, and the crew is elated by the bounty of their catch. Then their luck turns. The skies grow dark, the waves swell, and Mother Nature bears down on them with her full arsenal. When the storm finally abates, who will live to tell the tale?

Amazon * Blackstone Audio * Barnes & Noble

Review

This is one intense book! You might have seen some of the reality TV shows about those that fish or crab in Alaska or that general area. This book brings the harsh reality of that what those men (and possibly women) endure in this profession.

But the book is about a little bit more than that. It is also about a relationship between Ed and Danny. While it takes awhile to really figure out what is wrong with Danny (mentally challenged), the relationship between these two men has many facets. From Ed’s guilt at not protecting his friend as he should have growing up, to Danny’s loyalty to Ed. There are some harsh realities that Ed has to learn and face to become a better man.

I felt that the book really reflected the grittiness of their profession and how quickly mother nature can rain down and create havoc for those on the boats. There is a lot they have to do and need to be quick on their feet to avoid going overboard or having the boat sink on their watch.

The only thing I wasn’t wild about was the number of f* bombs. yes perhaps it was called for in some situations, but if there needs to be cussing how about using other words? I had to deduct 1/2 star for that. But other than this one thing, the book is well worth reading.  We give it 4 1/2 paws.

About the Author

Chris Riley lives near Sacramento, California, vowing one day to move back to the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, he teaches special education, writes awesome stories, and hides from the blasting heat for six months out of the year. He has had dozens of short stories published in various magazines and anthologies, and across various genres. Chris is represented by Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group, and his debut novel, The Sinking of the Angie Piper, will be published in July, 2017.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

Posted in Fantasy, Guest Post, Science Fiction on July 22, 2017

Synopsis

JANEY SINCLAIR never knew how or why she gained her ability to teleport. She never wanted it, and for years tried her best to ignore it. But when horrible violence shattered her world, she vowed to use her mysterious talent to protect the citizens of Atlanta, in an effort to prevent anyone else from suffering the kind of agony she had. Wearing a suit of stolen military body armor, Janey became known to the public as the GRAY WIDOW.

But now the extraterrestrial source of her “Augmentation” is about to reveal itself, in an event that will profoundly impact Janey’s life and the lives of those closest to her—

TIM KAPOOR, who barely survived the assault of twisted, bloodthirsty shapeshifter Simon Grove and still struggles to pull himself together, both physically and mentally.

NATHAN PITTMAN, the teenager who got shot trying to imitate Janey’s vigilante tactics, and has since become obsessed with the Gray Widow.

SHA’DAE WILKERSON, Janey’s neighbor and newfound best friend, whose instant chemistry with Janey may have roots that neither of them fully understand.

And Janey’s going to need all the help she can get, because one of the other Augments has her sights set on the Gray Widow. The terrifying abomination known as APHRODITE LUPO is more powerful and lethal than anyone or anything Janey has ever faced. And Aphrodite is determined to recruit Janey to her twisted cause…or take her off the field for good.

Unrelenting ghosts of the past clash with the vicious threats of the future. Janey’s destiny bursts from the shadows into the light in GRAY WIDOW’S WEB, leaving the course of humanity itself forever changed.

Guest Post

I guess one of the strangest thing that’s happened to me in my writing career—or at least one of the most perplexing—is something I’ve come to think of as…

THE GREAT NADIA MYSTERY

or

WEIRDNESS AT THE BEERFEST

In 2014, I got hired to do some writing on a video game called Dying Light. Most of the game work I had done up to that point had involved a little bit of traveling, usually to Canada, and usually for maybe a week at a time every few months. Dying Light was being developed by a Polish company called Techland, and in the course of getting the job, I found out that there would be a good bit of on-site work. Like, several months’ worth. In Poland.

But hey, I needed the job, and as my wife Tracy put it, “When else are you going to get to visit a country you’ve never been to before, and on someone else’s dime?” So I packed my bags and headed out for Wrocław, Poland’s southernmost major city.

A little background: those trips to Canada were the only trips out of the United States I had ever taken. This job in Poland also involved my first-ever trans-oceanic flight and my first-ever trip to Europe—where I bypassed all the English-speaking countries entirely and landed firmly in Central Europe.

I made some really good friends while I was there, several of whom I still keep in touch with. (Hi Magda! Hi Maciek! Hi Michał!) (Not all Polish names start with M, despite how this makes it sound.) But I was a foreigner in a country where I spoke only a few words of the native language, those few being the ones I had learned in the weeks leading up to my trip. What I’m getting at is that it was very easy for me to feel isolated.

Well, my older brother Clint worked with a Pole who turned out to be from Wrocław. My brother’s colleague, when he found out where I was going, immediately said to Clint, “Get him to look up my brother! He can show your brother around the city! It’ll be great!” I’m certainly not averse to making new friends, so I happily took down Clint’s colleague’s brother’s number there in Wrocław, and around the third week I was there, I called the guy up.

He was very friendly, but he didn’t speak much English, as he was quick to point out. He said, “What we can do is take you to the beer festival going on at the stadium this Saturday. Would you like to go?” I was immediately very interested in a Polish beer festival—the Poles take their beer pretty seriously—so I said that I would indeed like to go. He said, “Great. My daughter speaks much better English than I do. She’ll come along and translate.”

So the work week went by, and when Friday afternoon rolled around, I got contacted by the guy’s daughter, whom I’ll call Nadia. (Not her real name, in case that wasn’t obvious.) Well, Nadia’s English wasn’t really that much better than her father’s, but she did make it clear that her father wasn’t going to be able to make it to the beer fest, and did I want to just go with her?

This struck me as a little odd, but I didn’t want to offend anyone, so I said, “Sure, I’ll meet you there.” In the interest of actually communicating effectively, though, I asked my friend Maciek and his wife Monika if they’d like to come along as well, since they’re both Poles who speak very-nearly-perfect English. They agreed, with the caveat that Monika would have to join Maciek and me a bit later, so Maciek and I went to meet Nadia at the Wrocław stadium (which is really a sight to behold once it gets dark, as the entire outside walls of the place light up and constantly shift colors).

It took a few minutes for Nadia to find us. When she finally rendezvoused with Maciek and me, my first thought was, “Wow, she looks like what would happen if Evangeline Lilly worked out a lot more, and maybe spent most weekends playing soccer.” Nadia was clearly kind of uneasy at meeting these people she didn’t know, and truth be told, the situation still felt pretty weird to me. But again, new friends = good, so I introduced Maciek and myself, and once Nadia realized we weren’t a couple of maniacs, she relaxed a bit and we all just stood around and drank (amazing) beers and got to know each other.

It turned out that Nadia was twenty-seven years old, had lived in Wrocław all her life, had a steady job that she didn’t care for all that much, and was just in general a very nice person. She also seemed very interested in how Maciek and I both worked in video games, and even more interested in what life was like in America. I learned at least half of this information thanks to Maciek translating, because Nadia’s English, as I said before, was pretty limited.

Now, during all of this, there was a thought in the back of my mind. I didn’t think it was a very realistic thought, but it hung there, poking at me: did Clint’s colleague think he was setting his niece up with a nice American man?

Surely not, I thought. Surely my brother mentioned that I was married. And it wasn’t as if Nadia was coming on to me. She was just talking with us. Still, to make sure there weren’t any crossed wires, I mentioned my wife several times, along with how I was fifteen years older than Nadia was.

Anyway. Monika arrived, and the four of us spent another couple of hours hanging out and drinking more (amazing isn’t even the right word for it, there was this strawberry ale that made my toes curl, holy cow) beer. By the end of the evening, we decided that we all had indeed made some new friends, and Nadia said that next time we saw each other, maybe I could help her a bit with her English. I said I’d be happy to, and she said she’d contact me the following week.

She never called.

We had exchanged numbers, and at one point I sent her a text, just in case she had misplaced my number. She sent back an oddly-worded reply about how she was hiking in the mountains. That was the last bit of communication I got, and I didn’t press it.

So from then on, I was left wondering. Was the whole thing supposed to be a set-up, but then she went home and looked me up on Facebook and saw that I was married? Or is that just my writer’s over-active imagination at work? Maybe she was just being polite the whole evening, and was happy never to see the weird American guy again? Like, had I offended her in some way and not realized? I don’t know. The one thing I did find out later, that might have some bearing on it or might not, is that in Poland, you wear your wedding ring on your right hand.

Anyway. I have no answers for the whole deal. It remains The Great Nadia Mystery.

About the  Author

Dan Jolley started writing professionally at age nineteen. Beginning in comic books, he soon branched out into original novels, licensed-property novels, children’s books, and video games. His twenty-six-year career includes the YA sci-fi/espionage trilogy Alex Unlimited; the award-winning comic book mini-series Obergeist; the Eisner Award-nominated comic book mini-series JSA: The Liberty Files; and the Transformers video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron. Dan was co-writer of the world-wide-bestselling zombie/parkour game Dying Light, and is the author of the Middle Grade Urban Fantasy novel series Five Elements. Dan lives somewhere in the northwest Georgia foothills with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert cats.

Website * Twitter

check out the other blogs on this tour

7/19/17 Jordan Hirsch  Review

7/19/17 I Smell Sheep  Top Ten’s List

7/20/17 SpecMusicMuse Author’s Interview

7/21/17 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews  Top Ten’s List

7/22/17 Bookishly Me  Review

7/22/17 The Seventh Star Blog   Author’s Interview

7/22/17 StoreyBook Reviews   Guest Post

7/23/17 Sheila’s Guests and Reviews  Guest Post

7/24/17 Infamous Scribbler   Author’s Interview

7/25/17 Beauty in Ruins   Guest Post

7/26/17 Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Mystery and More!   Author Interview

7/26/17  Jeni’s Bookshelf, Reviews, Swag, and More!  Review

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on July 21, 2017

Killer Party (A Tourist Trap Mystery) 
Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Lyrical Underground (July 18, 2017)
Paperback: 188 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1601836366
E-Book ASIN: B01M9EM56U

Synopsis

After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating facedown in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more . . .

Review

I’m not sure what it is with mysteries that I have read lately…but I never see the killer coming! (and yes I have said this several times lately!) With this book I’m trying to figure out who was involved and why, however I never figured this one out. The author does a great job of hiding clues (and there are some looking back) and throwing many red herrings in your path.

And of course I love seeing Jill and Greg’s relationship grow now that they have moved in together. There are a few moments where Jill continues to question the relationship, but she is coming along and accepting it more and more.

And it looks like there will be some new residents to South Cove.  Exciting!

We give this book 5 paws up.

About the Author

CahoonUSA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

Goodreads * Twitter * Facebook * Website * Amazon author page

Giveaway

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check out the other blogs on this tour

July 17 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

July 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

July 18 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 18 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

July 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 19 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

July 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

July 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 22 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW

July 22 – Brooke Blogs  SPOTLIGHT

July 23 – deal sharing aunt – SPOTLIGHT

July 24 – Varietats – REVIEW

July 24 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 25 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

July 25 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

July 26 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

July 27 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

July 27 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

July 28 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

July 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

Posted in Guest Post, mystery, paranormal on July 20, 2017

New Sins for Old Scores
by Tj O’Connor
Black Opal Books (May 27, 2017)
Paperback 370 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1626946750
E-Book ASIN: B071S213GB

Synopsis

Murder, like history, often repeats itself. And, when it does, it’s the worst kind of murder.

Detective Richard Jax was never good at history—but, after years as a cop, he is about to get the lesson of his life. Ambushed and dying on a stakeout, he’s saved by Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall—the ghost of a World War II OSS agent. Trick has been waiting since 1944 for a chance to solve his own murder. Soon Jax is a suspect in a string of murders—murders linked to smuggling refugees out of the Middle East—a plot similar to the World War II OSS operation that brought scientists out of war-torn Europe. With the aid of a beautiful and intelligent historian, Dr. Alex Vouros, Jax and Trick unravel a seventy-year-old plot that began with Trick’s murder in 1944. Could the World War II mastermind, code named Harriet, be alive and up to old games? Is history repeating itself?

Together, Jax and Trick hunt for the link between their pasts—confronted by some of Washington’s elite and one provocative, alluring French Underground agent, Abrielle Chanoux. Somewhere in Trick’s memories is a traitor. That traitor killed him. That traitor is killing again. Who framed Jax and who wants Trick’s secret to remain secret? The answer may be, who doesn’t?

Guest Post

Who’s Sinning and Who’s Settling Old Scores?

Tj O’Connor

New Sins for Old Scores is my latest murder mystery with a paranormal twist—the twist is that one of the lead characters is dead. Yup, read it again. He’s dead. And this story is packed with a band of characters, each with their own agenda, and each trying to either sin or settle an old score. A couple are doing both. The secret to the story is, as you might guess, who’s sinning and who’s settling scores. When you find out who’s doing both, you’ll know who the killer(s?) is/are.

You see, I’m one of those authors who plot out the story and ready a cast of characters to do my dirty work. Schemers and dreamers, haters and lovers, do-gooders and killers. Unlike most authors, there are also the present-day players and the historic players—dead ones, too.

Like you’ve probably heard other authors say, once I start writing, my characters takeover and do what they want. No really, it happens. I start out with a cast and each one has a story to tell—the story I plotted out for them. By the time I’m done with the first draft, they’ve gone their own way and created their own stories, often ignoring me completely. Some of them do a better job than I can, too. Some of them I had high-hopes for have become evil and dastardly and have gone and sinned on their own. Others, well, they are in the midst of settle scores that I didn’t even know existed.

Before I give you a snapshot of these page-players, let me explain what New Sins for Old Scores is about—at least, on the surface:

Murder, like history, often repeats itself. And when it does, it’s the worst kind of murder.

Detective Richard Jax was never good at history. Now, after years as a cop, he was about to get the lesson of his life.

As Jax lay dying after being ambushed at an old inn on a stakeout, he’s saved by Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall—the ghost of a World War II OSS agent. Trick has been waiting since 1944 for a chance to solve his own murder and prove he wasn’t a traitor. Soon, Jax is a suspect in a string of murders. The murders are linked to smuggling refugees out of the Middle East—a plot similar to the World War II “Operation Paperclip,” an OSS operation that brought scientists out of war-torn Europe. With the aid of a beautiful and brilliant historian, Dr. Alex Vouros, Jax and Trick unravel a seventy year-old plot that began with Trick’s murder in 1944. Could the World War II mastermind, code named Harriet, be alive and up to old games? Is history repeating itself?

Together, they hunt for the link between their pasts, confronted by some of Washington’s elite and one provocative, alluring French Underground agent, Abrielle Chanoux. Somewhere in Trick’s memories is a traitor. That traitor killed him. That traitor is killing again.

Who framed Jax and who wants Trick’s secret to remain secret? The answer may be, who doesn’t?

New Sins for Old Scores is my fourth published novel. It was written a few years ago in the middle of another series I was writing—Oliver Tucker’s Gumshoe Ghost (I hate that moniker) mysteries. Since, I’ve also completed my thriller, The Consultant: Double Effect that will be out in May, 2018 from my new publisher, Ocean View Publishing. Each of these stories has been plot driven with strong characters that always have secrets to hide. In each, I provided the plot and my characters jump in and do the rest. Oh, I give them all names like Jax and Trick (New Sins), Tuck and Angel (The Gumshoe Ghost), and Jonathan Hunter who is The Consultant.  With each of these, I drafted the outline and the characters drove the story chapter-by-chapter and character-by-character. By the end of my novels, the characters had become people I didn’t even recognize—the good ones and the evil ones. New Sins for Old Scores was no exception. Let me give you a peak at who’s who in my stories.

Special Agent Richard Jax and OSS Captain Patrick “Trick” McCall: New Sins centers on these two accidental partners joined in the chasm of 75 years. Jax must come to terms with being the chief suspect in a double murder. He’s lost his love, his best friend, his career, and perhaps his mind—he’s seeing and taking advice from the spirit of Capt. Trick McCall, after all. Yet, Trick doesn’t quite see their friendship as a problem what so ever. Sure, he’s dead and all, but he’s a 1940’s man and who else can help solve a 75 year old murder case? Especially when it’s his! Trick must adjust to the modern day—2011—with computers and cell phones, the internet, and of course, the casual, often risqué lifestyle of the 21st century. Both men are hunting killers. The question is, is it the same one?

Surrounding Jax’s homicide investigation is the Virginia Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) Task Force. Once his friends and colleagues, they’re now a collection of the trusted and the devious. First, there’s Mike Martinez, the BCI chief. He and Jeremy Levin—a Princeton Lawyer who oddly joined the state police—are under the spell of FBI Agent H.P. MacTavish. MacTavish is a duplicitous figure who arrived right after Jax’s ambush with claims of WWII treason and all the while hiding behind the veil of national security. Then there’s Detective Dylan Finch, a local sheriff’s deputy thrown into the mix. Finch clearly doesn’t want to be part of the circus. He doesn’t trust any of the BCI agents and while he’s worried about the BCI finding the killer, he has his own agenda that is more important. The wild card on the Task Force is Christie Krein. She’s young, pretty, smart, and doesn’t believe for a moment that Jax is a murderer. She also doesn’t believe he’s seeing ghosts. Throughout the story, each of these characters is hiding secrets and each has their own reason to be chasing the killer—or protecting him. They all have one thing in common: they think Jax is a little crazy.

Just when Jax thinks he understands what’s happening around him—Trick McCall included—Professor Alexandra “Alex” Vouros appears. Alex is as beautiful as she is brilliant, and yes, she has her own agenda, too. Alex is searching for evidence to prove or disprove Trick McCall’s innocence as a traitor and murderer back in 1944. She’s in league with John H. Singleton—one of the few survivors from Trick’s failed attempt to capture Harriet, the elusive double-agent responsible for smuggling illegal Nazi’s into the US during the war. Singleton, along with other OSS survivors, all have a stake in the outcome of Alex’s research. The trouble is each one wants a different outcome, for a different reason. Each is willing to do anything to get their way. Not all of them want Harriet’s true identity discovered. All of them want the past to remain in the past. Secret. Gone. Dead.

Finally, there is young Ameera, a pretty Afghani refugee being secreted from safehouse to safehouse by a gang of Latino thugs. She and her family are on the run and their only protection is the dangerous street gang, the Salvadorian Muchachos. Ameera faces danger at each turn and she’s not sure which is the most threatening, those hunting her or the Muchachos protecting her. But she knows the secrets connecting 1944 and Richard Jax—who the murderer is and who was there to cover it up.

Now, after reading about these characters in New Sins for Old Scores, you might be thinking I’ve got too many characters. I don’t think I do. In a murder mystery, having too few makes it easy to figure out whodunit. Right? In New Sins, because of the historical subplots, you have to figure out whodunit now and whodidit then. So the more characters the better.

Of this band of characters—past, present, and those living and dead—there are those still sinning and those settling old scores. The question is—who’s who? The answer is not what you think.

About the Author

Tj O’CONNOR IS THE GOLD MEDAL WINNER OF THE 2015 INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS BOOK AWARDS (IPPY) FOR MYSTERIES. He is the author of New Sins for Old Scores, from Black Opal Books, and Dying to KnowDying for the Past, and Dying to TellHis new thriller, The Consultant, will be out in May 2018 from Oceanview Publishing. Tj is an international security consultant specializing in anti-terrorism, investigations, and threat analysis—life experiences that drive his novels. With his former life as a government agent and years as a consultant, he has lived and worked around the world in places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and throughout the Americas—among others. He was raised in New York’s Hudson Valley and lives with his wife and Lab companions in Virginia where they raised five children. Dying to Know is also the 2015 Bronze Medal winner of the Reader’s Favorite Book Review Awards, a finalist for the Silver Falchion Best Books of 2014, and a finalist for the Foreword Review’s 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award.

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July 10 – Student of Opinions – REVIEW

July 10 – Readslot – SPOTLIGHT

July 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – INTERVIEW

July 12 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

July 13 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 14 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW

July 15 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

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July 17 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

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July 19 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

July 21 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

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July 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 25 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, Inspirational, Short Story on July 19, 2017

Synopsis

In this collection of seven short stories from Jason Atkinson, follow a man accused of murder, a runaway girl on a train, a scientist at the heart of a government conspiracy, and more! Full of twists and turns, Seven Threads offers a selection of fast-paced stories full of heart and excitement.

Guest Post

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

You might think by reading this book, and considering the Title’s of the stories, that my inspiration comes from a dark place. “The Runaway Tracks”, “Mr. Dean Brant – The Lost Brother”, and so on come across as down and depressing, but where the stories go are far from it.

I wanted to write stories that not only reflect real life possibilities, but also the goodness that each human being can offer. In a nutshell, my inspiration comes from within. My inspiration comes from the gentleness that mankind can show toward one another. It’s out there. We… are out there. But sometimes it is hard to see it or feel it.

Each story tells its own tale with twists and turns throughout, and it would seem that the end is lost for some of these characters, or even these stories as a whole, but I made sure to weave in their the kindness that the people of any place, background, can have towards their fellow neighbor. It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom; there can be affection and love where it’s needed most.

The story “Life is A Rummage Sale” is about a man who is down on his luck. When he thinks all hope might be lost, he meets someone who changes everything for him, and it all started with a few simple words.

It’s stories like these that can be a nice reminder that life has purpose and meaning. That our own little bubble isn’t what we think it is, it can be impacted and changed by those around us in the best ways if we choose ourselves to be our best self.

My inspiration comes from me, the people I see, talk to and interact with. And I hope as you read this book you will be impacted too.

About the Author

Jason Atkinson lives in the Midwest with his wife and son. With a love of writing, this is his 3rd book, but first book in the fiction category. Short stories are easy to digest, and yet, this book still provides all the joys for the long haul reader. Jason write for everyone in mind when creating this piece and hopes you will enjoy it as much as he did when writing it.

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Posted in Cozy, mystery, Spotlight on July 18, 2017

The Detecting Duchess (Victorian Bookshop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
JDP Press (May 18, 2017)
Paperback: 312 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0996483162
E-Book ASIN: B071J129MG

Synopsis

The only thing standing between Georgia and her fairy-tale wedding is a murder. Or two.

When a young woman pleads for help from Georgia Fenchurch in locating a missing Crown investigator, Georgia resists. Her wedding is only a week away. Before she can say no, she’s knocked to the ground by an assailant attempting to kill the young woman.

Georgia now feels she must help. She soon finds herself up to her wedding veil in stolen treasure and coded letters. With the Duke of Blackford’s help, Georgia follows a trail of missing men and dead bodies. Every victim had one thing in common – a desire to possess a fortune in gold.

In between the society balls and social calls of late Victorian London, Georgia works on her last case before the big day. Will she stop a ruthless killer in time? Or will Georgia find getting to the altar on time is going to be murder?

About the Author

Kate began reading Agatha Christie mysteries and the Nancy Drew books while her classmates were reading Dick and Jane. She particularly likes historical mysteries and the feeling of time travel a good historical book can give the reader. Combined with her love of late Victorian to World War II architecture and fashions, she found an outlet for the stories and characters that fill her head by writing The Victorian Bookshop Mysteries and The Deadly series, as well as taking part in the Christmas Revels anthologies.

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July 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

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July 14 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

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July 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

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July 19 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

July 20 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

July 21 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

July 21 – Teresa Trent Author Site – SPOTLIGHT

July 22 – Varietats – REVIEW

July 23 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

July 24 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

July 24 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

July 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 25 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on July 17, 2017

Engaged in Trouble (An Enchanted Events Mystery Book 1)

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Sweet Pea Productions (March 30, 2017)
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0998109800
E-Book ASIN: B06XX5VT7J

Synopsis

When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.

Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldly property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.

Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

Engaged in Trouble is the first book in the long-awaited Enchanted Events cozy mystery series by award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. If you like laugh-out-loud adventures, small-town romance, unforgettable, sassy characters, and a mystery to keep you guessing, then you’ll love this new page-turning series.

Review

I really enjoyed the first book in this new series! It made me laugh a lot and I can only imagine what future books will hold.

A washed up singer comes home to run a wedding business she has inherited…nothing could go wrong with that and it should be a walk in the park. That is until Paisley walks into the shop and realizes this is going to be a tough 8 weeks until she can sell the business to the guy running the shop. But barely a week into working at the business (stipulation of the will), a bride ends of dead and of course Paisley is the prime suspect. Thankfully she has her former CIA Grandmother to help her figure out who the real killer is before Paisley ends up in jail.

I have to say I think Grandma really makes the book – she is funny with her spy mentality and what she is willing to do (or has done in the past) to take care of a situation. If you don’t laugh out loud at her antics…well then I don’t know what to say because it is funny!

There is a bit of romance in the book between Paisley and Beau. He is a childhood friend and they shared their first kiss together. But neither wants to be in a relationship – but the chemistry is pulling them together so it will be hard to not give in to it all.

And of course there is the mystery. I did sort of figure out who was involved but not until close to the end and not really sure why. There are some clues to guide you to the character but you will have to be a super sleuth to decipher the clues.

We give it 5 paws up

About the Author

Award-winning, best-selling author Jenny B. Jones writes romance, cozies, and YA with sass and Southern charm. Since she has very little free time, Jenny believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as eating ice cream, watching puppy videos, and reading celebrity gossip. She lives in the beautiful state of Arkansas and has worked in public education for half of forever.  She loves bluegrass, a good laugh, and strong tea. She adores hearing from readers.

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July 11 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

July 12 – Bubble Bath Books – REVIEW

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July 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

July 13 – Bookworm Mom –  REVIEW, GUEST POST

July 14 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

July 14 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

July 15 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

July 16 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

July 18 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

July 18 – Carole’s Book Corner – GUEST POST

July 19 – The Montana Bookaholic  – REVIEW, GUEST POST

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July 20 – Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! – REVIEW

July 21 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

July 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

July 23 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW, GUEST POST