Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, nonfiction, Pets on March 22, 2017

Synopsis

Bringing a new dog into the household should be one of life’s happiest events. The process always starts with excitement and high expectations. Too often, though, it ends in disappointment. The new puppy wakes everyone three times a night, gnaws on furniture, piddles everywhere, knocks the children down. The new adolescent dog is too wild. The new adult dog growls at your neighbors. And where did all this dog hair come from?

Most people spend hours researching a new mattress, days researching a new car, and weeks researching a new home or job. Yet for a new dog, a companion for the next 10-15 years, the most they do is visit the nearest shelter or pet shop and buy whatever looks cute and appealing. It’s no wonder they end up disappointed.

Whether you are looking for a purebred puppy or a charming mixed-breed, the type of dog you bring into your home matters. A quiet owner will struggle to keep up with a high-energy labrador mix, for instance, while an active outdoor family will be impatient with a snoozy bulldog. And finding the right kind of dog means becoming the right kind of owner—a task that takes some forethought and planning.

How To Find Your Dream Dog is here to fix the disconnect of dog ownership. It walks you step-by-step through the process of choosing the right type of dog for you—not only exploring the canine qualities that can determine your perfect puppy, adolescent, or adult dog, but also assessing your lifestyle to make sure you’re a good match for the dog, too. The book also looks at good (and bad) sources for finding healthy and sound pet dogs, gives guidelines for evaluating individual puppies, and warns of some red flags to watch out for during your dog search. With this guidebook in hand, you can be confident that the next puppy or dog you bring home will be the right companion and friend for you for the rest of its days.

​Dixie Tenny is a Certified Training Partner with the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior. During her 30+ years spent working with people and their pets, she has seen again and again how mismatches between dog and owner can create “behavior problems” that never would have happened if the right dog had been matched to the right owner in the first place. She wrote this book to help puppy buyers and dog adopters start out on the best possible foot with their new pet dogs, and stay on that path for years to come.

Guest Post

Two Great Ways to Keep Your Dog Busy Indoors
​by Dixie Tenny

When the weather outside is frightful, how do you keep your dog happy and entertained indoors?

Here are two ideas that will bring indoor fun to any dog, any type, any size, any age.

Find-it games
Every dog can learn to use its nose to find treats or toys, and the search can be as fun as the goodie at the end. Teach your pooch to play “find-it” like this:

First, while holding your pup in place, toss a treat so that it lands in plain sight. Say “find it!” and release your pup to run and eat the treat.

After a few repetitions, try tossing the treat so that it lands barely out of sight, behind furniture. Say “find it,” and release your pup. Most will seek out the goodie; if yours needs help, walk toward the treat yourself and be patient. She will get it after a few more repetitions.

Put your dog away and place a treat in plain sight. Bring your dog into the room, holding its collar, say “find it!” and release. Now the dog doesn’t have your throwing arm to watch, but by this time the cue “find it!” should let her know that there is a goodie in the room.

When she has mastered this, put a paper towel over the treat before bringing her out to “find it!” The paper towel is a new object in the room so she is very likely to go investigate it, smell the treat under it, and dig it out. This introduces the idea that the treat might actually be out of sight, so that she will start hunting for them with her nose. Next, put out two paper towels, one with a treat under it and one without.

Place a treat next to a piece of furniture for her to find. Then place it slightly under or behind the furniture…

Continue until she will hunt for a treat whenever you say “find it.” Eventually my Welsh terrier reached the point where he would hunt all over the house while I sat and read a book! The key is to progress in very slow, gradual steps, and always be willing to patiently repeat any step a few times until it’s clear that your dog is ready to move on.

Puzzle toys

Puzzle toys are one of the greatest inventions for dogs and their people ever. This is a wide range of toys that incorporate treats. With a simple puzzle toy, you just put treats, biscuit pieces, or other dog-friendly goodies into the toy and let your dog enjoy the process of working to get them out. The Kong is probably the most well-known simple puzzle toy. A Kong looks like an inverted triple-scoop ice cream with a hole in the bottom. Break up pieces of biscuits, use your dog’s own food, add a couple high-value treats like freeze-dried liver pieces; take a spoonful of cream cheese and mix it all together, then push the mixture into the hole in the Kong. You can give this to your dog as is, or freeze it for future use. Most dog trainers have several frozen Kongs in their freezers at all times!

You can also fill a Kong with canned dog food or any number of other fillings. Just be careful to avoid human foods that are dangerous to dogs such as chocolate, onion, raisins, and more.

If your dog doesn’t know what to do with this great-smelling but puzzling thing, start by filling it loosely enough that the goodies fall out when your dog rolls the toy around. Gradually make it harder for him to get the treats out as he becomes more experienced.

If your dog empties a Kong in record time, consider moving him up to the more challenging puzzle toys. There are dozens of these: my favorite include:
Toys that feed entire meals, such as the Kong Wobbler, the Tug-a-Jug, and the Tricky Treat Ball;
Toys that hold the treats inside so the dog must figure out how to remove them, such as the Busy Buddy Barnacle or Squirrel Dude, or the Bob-a-Lot Treat Dispenser.
For the maestro, try toys that require the dog to manipulate the puzzle by lifting latches, pushing little doors open, and more. These include the Dog Activity Flip Board, the Dog Twister, and the Mad Scientist Puzzle.

Consider trying some Find-it and picking up a few puzzle toys. Your dog will thank you for making her days indoors more interesting!

About the Author

Dixie Tenny has been helping people and their dogs find each other and form successful partnerships since the early 1980s. She founded two rescue organizations: Purebred Dog Rescue of Saint Louis in 1984, and Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue, Inc. in 1987. Dixie was the Director of Training for the Greater St. Louis Training Club, Inc., for five years, creating classes and overseeing the work of 40 head and assistant trainers. In 2003 she and another experienced trainer created Dogs Unleashed, LLC. They traveled to clients’ homes and worked with behavior and training issues.

Dixie’s professional credentials include trainer certifications from the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, and the Association for Pet Dog Trainers. Dixie formed her own business, Human-Animal Learning Opportunities, LLC (HALO) in 2013. HALO hosts continuing education seminars for dog trainers.

Dixie has lived with a wide range of dogs over the years including mixed breeds, Australian Shepherds, Welsh and Cairn terriers, and more. While in Seattle, Dixie raised a labrador puppy for Canine Companions for Independence, Inc. (CCI). Currently Dixie lives with a Beauceron and an elderly Papillon, as well as four cats. When not doing things related to animals, she reads widely, enjoys the company of her three grown children, follows baseball and English Premier League football, and travels the world.

Giveaway

Prizes

Win one of 5 Dream Dog prize packages! Each package includes a copy of How to Find Your Dream Dog, a $15 Amazon Gift Card and Outward Hound Slow Feeder Dog Bowl) Open to USA & Canada
Ends April 8

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Posted in Christian, excerpt, Giveaway on March 21, 2017

Author Maria Santomasso-Hyde is visiting today as part of her HE GAVE ME BARN CATS Blog Tour with MC Book Tours. Her book is scheduled to be released March 14 by Dancing Lemur Press.

If you’re looking for a story that will touch your heart, you’ve found it in this tender story of love, loss, and inspiration. You could win your own copy, just check out the giveaway details.

Title: He Gave Me Barn  Cats
Author: Maria Santomass0-Hyde
Published by Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Available March 14, 2017
Genres: Christian Fiction / Christian Life-Death, Grief, Bereavement

Synopsis

Inspired by true events…

        Maria has cared for her very ill mother for many years. Her burdens are heavy, causing a sadness bordering on darkness.  When she discovers her historic barn is now home to a mother cat and kittens, she feels lighter than she has in years. As the kittens grow, they teach her as only animals can do.

Then tragedy strikes. As Maria loses her family, the darkness envelopes her like the heavy fog that blankets her Blue Ridge Mountain home each morning. She creates a scorecard:  God: 9, Maria: 0.  Her questions turn into anger at God.  She searches to find answers as to why her loving God would take away so much in such a short time.

How will she learn to trust again? Can the kittens in her barn help her heal?

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available in print format at following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Everything Cats, Foyles, and Chapters-Indigo.

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available in eBook format at the following sites: Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Amazon.

 

Excerpt

Chapter 4

Charlotte, 5-25-09

I have my back to them, but I know that smell―dog breath, hot and moist and odorous. It smells like death. I used to live with a family with a big dog, but when I got pregnant again, they took me to this barn―and they left me. I couldn’t believe they left me here all alone, and I couldn’t believe they chose the dumb dog over me. But who knows if the dog is still with them or not. They were having trouble feeding their children because the man had lost his job. They couldn’t have me bringing them more mouths to feed.

From my experience with dogs, I know to be still. If you run, a dog thinks it’s a game of chase. Of course, I can’t run now, because I’ve got these three kittens nursing on me. And it’s making me so weak. I really do think I might die.

It’s really perverse. All of this nutritious milk is coming out of me, and yet, I’m starving. The three kittens have full bellies and are healthy and quite beautiful, in my totally unbiased opinion. We’re lying in the one sunny spot in the old barn, and their fur glistens in the warm light. Not me. My coat is dull, lifeless, itchy, and bald in one spot. I really need to get away from these kittens and hunt for a small rodent to eat. The kittens can fend for themselves for a bit. They need to learn how to care for themselves anyway.

About the Author

Formerly a newspaper reporter, Maria Santomasso-Hyde now owns Alta Vista Fine Art Gallery.

She lives in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, with her husband, Lee, and The Queen of the Universe (Roma, their Black Cat) … and other Black Cats who decide to move in.

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway for two (2) print copies (U.S only) and two (2) eBooks (international).

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Come join the blog tour and learn more about Maria and HE GAVE ME BARN CATS by visiting the following blogs

March 7 – Joylene Nowell Butler, Suspense Author – Feature

March 8 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – Guest Post

March 9 – Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang! – Feature

March 10 – Defending The Pen – Excerpt

March 13 – Reviews by Crystal – Q&A
Alex J. Cavanaugh – Guest Post

March 14 – Thoughts in Progress – Review

March 15 –

March 16 – A Bluestocking’s Place – Excerpt
deal sharing aunt – Review

March 17 – Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit – Q&A

March 20 – Reviews From the Heart – Review
The Story of a Writer – Feature
CBY Book Club – Excerpt

March 21 – bookworm1102 – Excerpt
StoreyBook Reviews – Excerpt
Celticlady’s Reviews – Feature

 

Posted in 4 paws, Giveaway, Historical, WW II on March 20, 2017

THE BIG INCH

by

KIMBERLY FISH

  Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII

Date of Publication: January 19, 2017

Number of Pages: 344

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Kimberly Fish’s debut novel, The Big Inch, was released in February, 2017 and it reveals the lengths to which Texas oilmen, state, and federal governments would go to get Texas crude oil to the troops fighting their first mechanized war. With Nazi threats (and a steady stream of oil tankers sunk by German submarines) speed was necessary, as was OSS intelligence. The Office of Strategic Services was often staffed with female spies and Longview’s World War II efforts were critical for success.

Lane Mercer, sent to Longview, Texas in July 1942, is part of a select group of women working undercover for the fledgling federal agency, the Office of Strategic Services. Assigned to protect the man carrying out President Roosevelt’s initiative to build the nation’s first overland pipeline to hurry East Texas crude to the troops, she discovers there’s more to Longview than the dossiers implied. There’s intrigue, mayhem, and danger. Shamed from a botched OSS mission in France, Lane struggles to fulfill her mission and keep from drowning in guilt. Getting involved in local life is out of the question. Between family, do-gooders, and Nazi threats, she’s knitted into a series of events that unravel all of her carefully constructed, plans, realizing that sometimes the life one has to save, is one’s own.

 

PRAISE FOR THE BIG INCH

“With an eye for detail, Kimberly Fish weaves a compelling story of a war widow who finds herself in Longview, Texas in 1942. Reading Kimberly’s novel was a bit like going back to a cloak and dagger time, and I enjoyed the local references. Longview was an amazing place to be during WWII.”   — Van Craddock, Longview News Journal, Columnist

“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.” — Vickie Phelps  Author of Moved, Left No Address

 

Once I read the description of where the book was set, I knew I had to read it! I lived in Longview for a few years growing up and still have family and friends in this town. Even though this book is historical and doesn’t represent what the town looks like now, I was curious as to how much would be accurate. To my surprise, it seems like quite a bit. I really enjoyed reading the book and reading the street names that I have traveled frequently like Fredonia and Methvin. It was like taking a trip down memory lane!

This was set during the oil boom of East Texas in the 1940’s. I had heard a lot about this when we moved to East Texas and there is even a museum in Kilgore dedicated to this era. While this is a fictional book, I feel like the author did a good job researching the area and what was going on during that time.

Lane is a strong woman and during the 40’s that just wasn’t a characteristic you saw portrayed from most women mostly because of domineering men. However, Lane managed to have a successful career as an undercover agent and was sent to Longview to make sure that a pipeline (called the Big Inch) wasn’t destroyed or sabotaged. Her keen sense of observation in several situations put her in the public eye as a heroine which definitely caused a conflict with trying to remain undercover and unknown. But more than what she was in Longview to do for the government, I think she was dealing with her own demons from what happened on her last assignment in Paris and also with her family. She had her own demons to battle and come to terms with the past. I enjoyed watching Lane blossom by the end of the book and become an even stronger woman to be reckoned with.

The book is not without a love interest and Zeke fills that role. It is hard to know what side he is on as it seems like he is playing both sides against each other. But one thing for sure is his interest in Lane and trying to convince her that he was good enough for her.

There are many other intriguing characters that lend interesting twists to the story. From the Judge, so Tesco and even Theo. There is quite a twist at the end that I did not expect and who was trying to create havoc for the pipeline. I don’t think I really knew that there was a mini mystery to be solved, and it was solved with even a bit of humor and ingenuity on Lane’s part.

Overall a very enjoyable book and since it looks like this might be a series I wonder if Lane will be in future books or if there will be a new place in history to explore.  We give this 4 paws up.

Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won a Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting. She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats, She lives with her family in East Texas.

Pinterest * Twitter * Website * Instagram * Amazon Author Page

 

 

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

One Winner wins a signed copy of The Big Inch

One Winner who purchases the book during the tour wins a bag of Johnny Cace’s Cheese Croutons

March 8 – 22, 2017

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check out the other blogs on this tour

3/8 Review Hall Ways Blog
3/9 Author Interview Reading By Moonlight
3/10 Excerpt Books and Broomsticks
3/11 Review Kara The Redhead
3/12 Promo Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books
3/13 Character Interview CGB Blog Tours
3/14 Review Syd Savvy
3/15 Guest Post Chapter Break Book Blog
3/16 Author Interview Forgotten Winds
3/17 Review Books in the Garden
3/18 Playlist My Book Fix Blog
3/19 Promo Margie’s Must Reads
3/20 Review StoreyBook Reviews
3/21 Author Interview The Page Unbound
3/22 Review Missus Gonzo


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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Romantic Suspense on March 19, 2017

 

Synopsis

I’m a wanted jewel thief.

He’s FBI.

What’s that saying? Keep your friends close…and your husband closer.

Being married to a federal agent certainly has its perks.

  1. I just love the way that man looks in a suit.
  2. This way I always know what the enemy is up to.

Spending my days lifting jewels and my nights tracking the Bureau should have been a genius plan. But the closer I get to Grant Emerson, the more dangerous this feels. With two million dollars’ worth of diamonds on the line, I can’t afford to fall for my own husband.

It turns out that the only thing worse than having a mortal enemy is being married to one. Because in our game of theft and seduction, only one of us will come out on top.

Good thing a cat burglar always lands on her feet.

A sexy, fun, cat-and-mouse chase that hooked me from page one!”  —JENNIFER PROBST, New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author of The Marriage Bargain

 

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

Excerpt

“You have good taste in friends, I’ll give you that,” Grant said as soon as they moved out of earshot. “I like her.”

So did I. “I hope your partner can be trusted with her. He seems…” By the book? Straitlaced?

Unpleasant? “Serious.”

Grant twisted his head to look at me. “He is serious. But he’s also been my partner for a long time. I can safely promise you that no harm will come to her through his hands.”

Much as I hated to admit it, I would have to trust this man enough to take him at his word. Of course, that didn’t mean I failed to notice that he fully reserved the right to cause harm through his own hands. I wasn’t stupid.

I smiled to show my blessing. Grant smiled back to accept my blessing. And that was that.

“Excellent,” he said and turned his attention to the bar. “I’ll have what the lady’s having. And get her another.”

“Make mine a double this time, bartender.”

The bartender winked at me and carefully poured out two glasses of tonic water. Grant took his in hand with an almost perplexed look on his face.

“Sorry to ruin your big moment,” I said. “But I don’t drink.”

“Ever?”

“Not since I was about eighteen years old.” I shrugged an apology and set to work squeezing my lemon. It behooved me to tread lightly moving forward—especially regarding my tales of the past—but if I wanted to get answers out of this man, I would have to open up enough to keep him interested. Give and take, push and pull. Nothing in this world was free. “I drank a lot of malt liquor and bottom-shelf vodka when I was young—and I mean a lot.”

“Fake ID?”

“Five-fingered discount.”

Grant’s eyes flashed in an expression of interest, the same way they always did when I surprised him with the truth. “Ah, youthful dissipation. I know it well.”

Somehow, I very much doubted that. “Oh, yeah? You hit up a lot of liquor stores when you were a kid, Agent Emerson?”

He laughed and loosened the knot of his tie, just like every other lackey in the place. Unlike everyone else, however, there was a sensuality about the action, a man allowing himself to come undone at just the throat. A flash of that vulnerable spot, taut with muscles and sprinkled with hair, was all that he released to me.

Oh, dear God. It was enough.

“I wasn’t always an officer and a gentleman. I had my fair share of youthful shenanigans.”

“If you called them shenanigans, I promise you had no such thing.”

This time, his laugh was a rumble, that force of nature not even his massive strength could hold back. “You’re a fascinating woman, you know that? The stories I bet you could tell…” He had no freaking idea.

Or maybe he did.

“You’re probably wondering what I’m doing here.” I changed the subject with a smile, fishing around in my bag. My fingers sought the peace offering I’d brought with me. “I came to apologize for storming out on you the other day, and to give you this.”

“This?”

I handed over a carefully wrapped box the size of his palm. “I’ve got a few connections. It’s probably better if you don’t ask.”

His face revealed absolutely nothing as he took the gift in hand, but I could tell he was surprised. Three times I’d encountered this man, and I was already beginning to figure him out. His laughter was genuine, his smile devastating, his sense of humor perfectly intact. He was also phenomenally good at hiding any emotion other than that. Amusement and interest were allowed to run free, but the rest of it—the suspicion and the alarm, the fact that he genuinely thought I just handed him a stolen piece of jewelry or drugs in the middle of a federal agent’s bar—was quashed before it had a chance to surface.

He was good. He was very, very good.

But I was better.

About the Author

Tamara Morgan is a contemporary romance author of humorous, heartfelt stories with flawed heroes and heroines designed to get your hackles up and make your heart melt. Her long-lived affinity for romance novels survived a B.A. degree in English Literature, after which time she discovered it was much more fun to create stories than analyze the life out of them.j

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Spotlight on March 18, 2017

Synopsis

900 years ago, Dogane fell at the hands of Ubinion and Ramas. That day, the people rejoiced to the heavens, which had finally removed its dark veil and given them the warmth they deserved for so long. Since then, nearly everyone had forgotten the power that almost tore Agrathias apart.

But Ubinion and Ramas had always warned of the corruption they were never able to completely rid the world of. A corruption that now allows one sorcerer the chance to rule Agrathias…forever…

Excerpt

Pivincy didn’t move.  He wasn’t going to.  This town had been his life, and this town was one he’d sworn to protect when he took the sacred oath linking his fate to Terrifor’s.  And he would fulfill the oath today.

He withdrew from his lap a heavy, black sphere.  He cupped it in his hands and pressed on it tightly.  Black and white fog swirled within, and a slight hissing sound was heard.

Give the people one last chance at a better position.

He thought of all the people he’d met in his life.  He held onto each of their smiles as he thrust the sphere down.  A shriek sliced the air, one that went high and low, and this noise would drive the Arcams even crazier than they already were.

It didn’t take long for the stream of black to flow through the town and pound up against the gates to the manor house.  Arcams used themselves as rams as flesh met iron, and Pivincy accepted a fact before it even happened: the gates wouldn’t hold out.

He stood up and placed his sword out in front of him.  He remembered the first time he held it in his hands: his first battle over two decades ago.  A tear and a chuckle came to him as he remembered in that battle Lynn’s wide eyes as she struck the Arcam Pivincy failed to see rushing at him.  He hoped she was still alive somewhere in this town, and if she wasn’t, that she’d been able to die with friends rather than alone like him.

As the gate buckled in and crashed to the side, Pivincy drew in his last, long breath.  He was going to miss Terrifor; he was going to miss this life.  But before he died, by everything on this Earth, he was going to show what defending a home really looked like.

About the Author

I’m a graduate of The University of Notre Dame with a BA in Chemical Engineering.  I just really like writing on the side.  This book was started in middle school, and it was interesting seeing how the writing style and plot changed as I got older (although I made sure to keep the general story the same since that’s what I wanted in the first place).  I’m currently writing my second book, but now I’m just trying to get this first book out for anyone to read.

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Posted in 4 paws, excerpt, Review, romance on March 17, 2017

Title: A Way Back into Love

Author: Veronica Thatcher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Notion Press

Synopsis

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home…to the man she left behind?

Excerpt

Emily stepped back from him and shook her head. “Oh, you know damn well what I mean. You know what, Derek? I’m done having this conversation with you. I’m so done with this conversation and I’m so done with you,” Emily spat out angrily before brushing past him.

“Emily, wait,” Derek said, catching her by her arm. “Where are you going?”

Emily spun around and gave him a bitter look before looking down at his hand gripping her arm. “Leave my arm,” she said in a low yet threatening voice, “And why do you care where I’m going? It’s none of your business.”

Derek didn’t leave her arm in spite of her warning and said, “Em, you’ve had too many drinks. You can’t drive in this condition. I’ll drop you home.”

Emily jerked her arm free from his grasp and replied in a bitter voice, “Thank you, but no. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home on my own. I don’t need you to drop me home. Do you get it, Derek Thorpe? I DON’T NEED YOU!” Emily yelled the last words, causing a few people to look their way.

Review

Best friends that fall in love with each other – sounds like a winner of a story line to me. And for the most part this book was very enjoyable. Emily and Derek have their issues and misunderstandings, but they have been best friends since the age of 6. It is hard to let something totally go after all those years, even if they fall in love with each other but do not want to admit and then Emily runs away to finish college and med school before returning to Fresno. I enjoyed their interactions, even the ones where they were hard for the characters to address (feelings for each other, situations, etc).

Emily has a sister, Emma (and by the way, it was hard to keep them straight at first because the names were so similar starting with Em) who is quite the brat. To top it off, while Emily has run off to Boston to escape an incident with Derek, Emma has wormed her way into his life and they are now engaged. Talk about awkward! Especially since Emily and Derek manage to somewhat clear the air and return to being friends. He wants to spend most of his time with Emily (when not at work) and this rubs Emma the wrong way. I don’t blame her for being mad at him, if I was engaged to someone and he wanted to spend all his free time with another woman…well things would not be pretty!

And then there is Emily’s mother – she has her own issues we learn about near the end of the book but you wonder if she loves Emily or not.

I did have a few problems with some inconsistencies. I did read an ARC so I hope the issues are cleared up before the final book. I also wasn’t wild about the author putting “Flashback” and then “End Flashback” for most of those scenes (there were some that didn’t notate that but because the text was italicized you knew it was a flashback). If you italicize you don’t need to put those words. I never could figure out if Emily was renting an apartment or purchasing a condo. In the US, you don’t normally purchase an apartment, they are rented. But in that chapter it was hard to really know what was going on. Also, when Emily runs into Derek’s sister, Jenny, the word “met/meet” was used and they knew each other. There were probably some other little things, but as I read an ARC I am hoping it was all corrected before the final release.

Overall I did enjoy the plot of the book and the characters. I think their story was one that could have happened to anyone.  We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it.

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Posted in coming of age, excerpt, Literary, Spotlight on March 17, 2017

Synopsis

All families have secrets. Most go untold…

In the summer of  ‘96, Benjamin Hackett has come of age, technically. And in the midst of the celebratory hangover, his world is whipped out from under his feet. His parents have finally shared their lifelong secret with him; he’s adopted.

At the age of 18, the boy still has some growing up to do, and with the help of JJ, his loquacious consigliore and bodyguard, he embarks on an adventure that’ll put to bed a lifetime of lies.

Over the course of five days, they find themselves caught up in the darker side of Cork. But when they sweep through the misfits blocking their way and finally discover the truth of it…now that’s the greatest shock of all.

The Origins of Benjamin Hackett is a tender tale of heartache and displacement told through a wry and courageous voice. Set in Ireland, it’s a timely reminder that the world hasn’t moved on just as fast as we fancy. Now, in this emotionally charged story, Gerald M. O’Connor explores conditioned guilt and its consequences in a country still hiding from the sins of its past.

Excerpt

Life was lived in the quiet moments; all the rest was pure bluster. I was paraphrasing of course. I hadn’t the foggiest who’d said those words, or whether they were ever uttered out of the mouth of anyone at all, and if by happenstance they had it probably was more succinct. But the thought cropped up in my head then, watching my dad visibly stutter less than the width of a jab away from me.

“There’s no way in hell I’m adopted,” I said.

“You are a bit.”

“You can’t be a bit adopted.”

Dad seemed to consider this for a moment, before shrugging and smiling wanly. “No…I suppose you can’t.”

“This is a pile of unadulterated nonsense. You’re both having a laugh, right? Some twisted revenge for me not applying to college?”

Dad reached inside his shirt pocket, pulled out a manila envelope and laid it on the table. “This,” he said, tapping it twice with his index finger, “contains your adoption certificate. We decided to keep calling you by your birth name, Benjamin. Seemed the correct thing to do at the time.”

“Did it?”

He held up his hand to hush me. “It’s the original document we received the day Father Brogan brought you here and made it all official.” He slid it over to me. “It’s yours now.”

I picked up the envelope and tore it open, unfurling the paper inside and laying it flat on the table. My eyes skimmed over the document, flitting from word to word—adoption, adoptees, dates, signatures and the official diocesan insignia on the envelope. They were all there, all the bureaucratic paraphernalia of the state and church.

I held his stare, neither of us flinching. “Am I really adopted?”

“Yes.”

My throat turned to dust. Call it the formality of the letter, or the way the word cut short on his breath. I thought of Mam’s delicate frame and barley-blonde hair. We looked nothing alike. But Dad? He was meant to be the exception. We both towered over her. We both had lanky frames. Hell, we even shared that same terrible torture of walking on long, flat feet that no shoe, no matter the cut or cobbler, could fit comfortably.

Reams of memories of years gone by played on a loop in my head. “Sure, isn’t Benjamin the spit of his old man,” they’d said. “Dug from the same field, no doubt about it. Oh, he’s a Hackett all right, this fella.” And my parents had lapped it up. Like the time in Hay Street, in the bustle of market day, when they nodded in tacit agreement at some hunched-over old coot as she tousled my hair and told them how my curls were the carbon copy of Dad’s.

“But we look alike?” I said.

“Do we?”

“You know we do.”

He leaned in closer, dropped his voice to a whisper. “Truth is, we’ve been secretly dying your hair since you arrived. You’re actually ginger.”

I shoved the table into him and threw my hands up. “Jokes? You think now is the time for messing about? For having a bit of a laugh?”

“Sorry, sorry,” he said, showing his palms in surrender. “It just snuck out…but seriously, you’re not going to make a big deal of this, are you?”

“And why shouldn’t I?”

“Because it’s not what Hackett men do.”

“Well, I’m clearly not one of them, now am I?”

My comment flushed crimson high in his cheeks. He balled his hands twice and relaxed them flat on the table. “You’ve been long enough on the farm,” he said, quieter now. “Long enough to know that animals of all sorts adopt strays and nurture them as their own. And there’s not a blind bit of difference in them when they mature. Attitude is more in the rearing than the genes. You’re my son and a Hackett. Adopted or not.”

“So you’re calling me a stray animal now? Christ, Dad, you’re some piece of work.”

Copyright © 2017 by Gerald M. O’Connor.

Reprinted with permission of Down & Out Books.

About the Author

GERALD M. O’CONNOR is a native Corkonian, currently living in Dublin with his long-term partner, Rosemarie, along with their three children. He writes character-driven novels of various genres by night and is a dentist by day. When he isn’t glued to the keyboard, he enjoys sci-fi films, spending time with his family and being anywhere in sight of the sea. He is currently working on his second novel, The Tanist.

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Posted in Cozy, Craft, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on March 16, 2017

Off the Beadin’ Path (Glass Bead Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Vetrai Press (March 11, 2017)
230 Pages

Synopsis

Jax O’Connell and her friend Tessa have no idea what challenges await them when they head to the small town of Carthage to take a glass blowing class with Marco De Luca, a famous Italian glass artist. While Jax loves melting glass to make beads, she discovers that standing in front of the glass furnace’s inferno frightens her.

After the first night of class, Tessa sees a dead body through the water-streaked window of the studio. The next morning there’s no sign of Marco—dead or alive—and one of the studio owners is also missing. The local sheriff doesn’t take the disappearance seriously, so Jax and Tessa take matters into their own hands.

Jax must face her fears to find the body, track down the clues, and uncover the killer—and do it all before another life is shattered.

Off the Beadin’ Path is the third book in the Glass Bead Mystery series.

Guest Post

A Day in the Life of Jax O’Connell

The Main Character in Off the Beadin’ Path,
Book Three in the Glass Bead Mystery Series
by Janice Peacock

Hi there! My name is Jax O’Connell, and I live in Seattle, the Emerald City—not because of how lush the landscape is, but because of all the green Starbucks signs everywhere you look. I love it here, not just for the coffee, but because Seattle is a mecca for glass art. I make glass beads for a living by melting slender rods of colorful glass that I sculpt using a 2,000 degree torch. I use the beads I make to create handmade jewelry that I sell at local shops.

When I inherited a bungalow from my Great-Aunt Rita in this glass-loving city, I left Miami behind. I can say without a doubt that I don’t miss the hurricanes or the jumbo-sized bugs. Several years ago, my great-aunt split her house down the middle to create a duplex. I live in one side of the house and Val lives in the other. I’ve lived next door to her for nearly three years now, and they have been some of the best in my life. Val is enormous in every way—big red hair, big bones (I say with the utmost tact), and big jewelry—the glitzier, the better. Oh, and she’s a science-fiction fan girl, but that’s too complicated to explain right now.

On most usual days, I’d get up and pull the beads I’d made the day before from the kiln. It’s always fun to see how everything turns out and decide what I want to work on next. Then I’d head down the hall to the kitchen, where my cat Gumdrop would be impatiently pacing back and forth. I’d pull out a green ice cube from the cute pink plastic tray in the freezer and pop it into the cat’s empty food bowl. As soon as Gumdrop saw the frozen cube of catnip, he’d go wild, jumping on the bowl, and skidding across the hardwood floor into the hallway. While Gumdrop enjoyed his treat, I’d usually make a big pot of coffee, and enjoy the first of many cups of the day.

But today is not a usual day. My best friend, Tessa, spent the night, and what a night it was! She and I are taking a glassblowing class at Old Firehouse Studio in the little town of Carthage about a forty-five minute drive from here. I was excited at the prospect of taking a glassblowing class, but once I stood in front of the furnace’s inferno, I knew I would never be able to blow glass with any confidence, if I had the guts to do it at all.

Marco de Luca, our teacher, was hitting on one of the pretty young women in class and he’d had just a little too much to drink by the end of the evening. So, once we finished our lesson, Tessa and I both wanted to get out of town, and fast. While we were driving home, Tessa realized she’d left her cell phone at the studio. Since Tessa can’t live without her phone, I turned back, during a downpour, no less. I waited in the car while Tessa ran to the studio. She tried the door, but it was locked. She peered in the studio window, then turned and ran faster than I’ve ever seen her move.

She jumped in my car and told me the shocking news: She had seen a dead body in the studio through the rain-streaked window! Tessa was certain it was our instructor, and was sure he was dead. Not knowing what else to do, I sped away while Tessa called 911. I parked at the other end of town, and we waited until a sheriff arrived. And, I’ve got to say, the sheriff did not inspire confidence. He sent us home, promising he’d check out what Tessa saw at the studio, though I think it was equally likely he’d do nothing of the sort.

After our long drive home, we ate far too many oatmeal cookies, provided to us by my neighbor Val, who is becoming a better cook day by day.

This morning Tessa and I both felt like we had hangovers, but not from drinking—from those darn oatmeal cookies. I thought oatmeal and raisins were supposed to be healthy. I guess all the sugar that holds them together is what makes my stomach feel so awful. I poured myself a giant cup of coffee and one for Tessa. Once she was up we were going to need to call the studio and find out what happened last night.

Had Tessa really seen a dead body? And who was it?

 

About the Author

Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, launching a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.

When Janice isn’t writing about glass artists-turned-amateur-detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry, and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glass Museum of Tacoma, WA, and in private collections worldwide.

Janice lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and twelve chickens. She has a studio full of beads…lots and lots of beads.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest * Amazon * Goodreads

 

2 Giveaways!

The first giveaway is open internationally since it is an eBook set!

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

March 15 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 15 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

March 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

March 16 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

March 18 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

March 19 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

March 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 21 – Varietats – REVIEW

March 21 – Queen of All She Reads – GUEST POST

March 22 – Book Babble – REVIEW

March 22 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

March 23 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

March 23 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

March 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

Posted in 5 paws, Giveaway, Photography, Review, Trailer on March 16, 2017

Synopsis

I have always been fascinated by the sheer beauty and diversity in Indian culture. “Sensory overload in a glance” is an apt description of a country that is always in movement. To be able to stand still in the middle of all that movement allows me to really “see” her people and absorb the flow of life from birth to death.

From learning how to make yellow ink from cow urine to watching funeral pyres burn in Varanasi, I realized that I would have to spend a lifetime here to grasp the immense value of her art, stunning architecture, fascinating food and love of all that is beautiful.

Amazon * Blurb * iTunes * Website

Trailer

Review

I have never been to India, but the author does a beautiful job of bringing India to me.  The colors, the hopes of the people, the way they live their lives, all of these gave me a deeper understanding of the country and its beauty.  There is even one picture that made me chuckle, it is a store with a lot of false teeth/dentures for sale.  I really love all the bright colors the women wear: to me it brings job to potentially a bleak situation.  I enjoy seeing the pictures of dogs (and other animals) and how the dogs don’t seem to have a care in the world and are sleeping right on the street with people passing them by.

The book is diverse in the images – from nature, to the majestic buildings, the poverty in places, and the people.  I think that it is very down to earth and a realistic portrayal of India and various castes.

We give this book 5 paws up and you need to pick up a copy and view the images she shares with us.

About the Author

Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera

“My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor’s favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC.  I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I’m always looking for the unusual.

​ Website ~  Facebook ​~ Instagram ~  Pinterest

Giveaway

Win one $25 Amazon gift card (international) – 5 other winners will receive one copy of INDIA (choice ePUB or PDF) (ends April 1, 2017)

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on March 15, 2017

Pekoe Most Poison (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
18th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (March 7, 2017)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281680
Kindle – ASIN: B01KGZVXTK

Synopsis

In the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs, Theodosia Browning attends a “Rat Tea,” where the mice will play…at murder.

When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.

The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse…

INCLUDES RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS

About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

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Giveaway

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

March 6 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – REVIEW

March 6 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

March 7 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

March 8 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

March 8 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

March 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

March 9 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

March 9 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

March 10 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

March 11 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW

March 11 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

March 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

March 12 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

March 13 – Queen of All She Reads –  SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 14 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

March 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 15 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

March 15 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

March 16 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

March 16 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW

March 17 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, GUEST POST

March 17 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 18 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 18 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

March 19 – 3  Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW

March 19 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT