Posted in excerpt, Spotlight, Thriller on October 24, 2017

Title: DEAD COLD
Author: Jennifer Chase
Publisher: JEC Press
Pages: 326
Genre: Crime Thriller

Synopsis

What happens when one California community has a disturbing spike in homicides? It catapults cops into a deadly game of murder. Frozen human body parts hideously displayed at the crime scenes offers a horrifying interpretation that only a sadistic serial killer could design—and execute.

On the hunt for a complex serial killer, vigilante detective Emily Stone must face her most daring case yet. Stone’s proven top-notch profiling skills and forensic expertise may not be enough this time.

Young and ambitious, Detective Danny Starr, catches the homicide cases and discovers that it will test everything he knows about police work and the criminal mind. Can he handle these escalating cases or will the police department have to call in reinforcements—the FBI.

Emily Stone’s covert team pushes with extreme urgency to unravel the grisly clues, while keeping their identities hidden from the police. With one last-ditch effort, Stone dangles someone she loves as bait to draw out the killer. She then forces the killer out of their comfort zone with her partner Rick Lopez, and with help from a longtime friend Jordan Smith. A revelation of the serial killer’s identity leaves the team with volatile emotions that could destroy them.

The killer continues to taunt and expertly manipulate the police, as well as Stone’s team, and as they run out of time—they leave behind everyone and everything—in Dead Cold.

Excerpt

ESCAPE WAS IMPOSSIBLE. TEARS STREAMED down her face as she sat in the darkness and waited for the man to return. There was no other choice—but to wait.

She hadn’t eaten anything in three days and had only a limited amount of water—her strength continued to fade with every hour. With her wrists and ankles secured with duct tape, her skin stung with pain every time she struggled to move. At least the man had peeled the tape from her eyes and mouth so that she could see something besides pitch-blackness.

Even if she could escape, the only way to safety was jumping into the frigid water, but she could not swim and would drown before ever reaching the shore.

The only thing thirteen-year-old Kayla Swanson thought about was home. Fond memories flashed through her mind of her parents, her little brother, and her dog Charlie. She was never going to see them again. Their smiling faces were forever etched in Kayla’s mind, and she constantly held them close to her heart.

The boat rocked, and seemed to sway more violently as the tide flooded in and out of the harbor. Kayla could hear a consistent clanking noise above her as the boat rolled back and forth. The sound had a hypnotic quality, and kept her mind on something else besides when the man would return and what he would do next.

Her lips were dry and cracked as she bordered on dehydration. Even her tears dried on her cheeks, leaving her skin stiff and drawn. Her body began to shake, not only from fear, but also because of the extreme exhaustion and the constant dampness all around her.

The boat rocked more, but this time it shifted from the opposite sides. Kayla heard soft footsteps above, which she knew wasn’t her captor’s heavy walk. She strained her eyes in the darkness and thought she saw a thin shadow stealthily move along the upper deck.

Was it a ghost?

Kayla remembered a television series where a team of people hunted ghosts and they had said that ghosts could occupy any type of space, house, property, and even a boat.

She blinked her eyes several times and hoped that she could catch a glimpse of the ghost again. With every ounce of declining strength, Kayla scooted her body closer to the narrow stairs leading to the upper deck.

Painfully craning her neck, she strained to see something up in the darkness.

The dark shadowed areas played tricks on her eyes—it was there, then it wasn’t.

She waited for several minutes.

Nothing appeared.

The only sounds she heard were the usual boat noises she had grown accustomed to hearing. Whatever she thought she heard was gone now. It was most likely her imagination trying to give her some hope and a few moments break from her dire circumstances.

As she relaxed her shoulders and leaned back against the wall, the reality of her world pressing down hard. Tears streamed down her face. She tasted the saltiness that settled around her mouth. Her last moments were approaching, and there was nothing she could do.

About the Author

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

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Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Monday, mystery, Review on October 23, 2017

Synopsis

When radio reporter Carol Childs is called to a crime scene in the Hollywood Hills at five thirty in the morning, she’s convinced it must be a publicity stunt to promote a new movie. That is, until she sees the body hanging from the center of the Hollywood sign. The police are quick to rule it a suicide, but something doesn’t add up for Carol. Particularly after a mysterious caller named Mustang Sally confesses to the murder on the air and threatens to kill again.

With the help of an incorrigible PI, her best friend, and a kooky psychic, Carol is drawn into the world of contract killers and women scorned. As she races to find the real killer, she finds herself faced with a decision that will challenge everything she thought she knew.

Related subjects include: women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth mysteries, book club recommendations, suspense, noir.

Books in the Carol Childs Mystery Series:

SHADOW OF DOUBT (#1)
BEYOND A DOUBT (#2)
WITHOUT A DOUBT (#3)
ROOM FOR DOUBT (#4)

Review

I have a few favorite series and this is one of them. I am not sure what it is about the characters or the setting, but I always find the books intriguing and they even leave me on the edge of my seat at times.

Carol always manages to find herself in the thick of events, probably because she is a radio journalist and I don’t see how she could avoid those news stories. I do feel like she puts herself in harms way too often and feels it is necessary to omit pertinent details to others that might be involved in the situation.

This book does deal with abuse and how a vigilante group chooses to handle those men found guilty (but not by a court) and dealing with them in their own way. I think many would say that by the time a court would step in help the abused woman it is too late. This group takes it out of the court’s hands and inflicts their own brand of justice.

There is a new character in this book, Chase. He is a local PI that Carol is working with on this case. There is definitely some chemistry between the two and I suspect he will be around a lot more and perhaps a romance will bud between the two.

We give this 5 paws up.

About This Author

nancy silvermanNancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn’t until 2001 after she retired from news and copywriting that she was able to sit down and write fiction fulltime. Much of what Silverman writes about today she admits is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles’ busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. In the last ten years she has written numerous short stories and novelettes. Today Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce and two standard poodles.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Historical, Review, romance on October 22, 2017

Synopsis

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet’s sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed-being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman’s life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband’s heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after “I do”? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

Review

This book gave me a look into the past and what life might have been like for a woman that had more dreams than just being a mother and wife.

While this book is fiction, it is based on a real person, Harriet Beecher Stowe. While I have heard the name and know she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, I really didn’t know much about her at all. This authors story, while mostly fiction, does have some truth to it. There is a section at the end of the book that goes chapter by chapter to explain what is true and where she obtained the information. All I can say is a lot of research went into this book!

All that aside, I think I identified with Harriet. I wasn’t meant to be a homemaker. Sure I love to cook, but the cleaning? no thank you! Thankfully men have evolved since the mid 1800’s and don’t always expect women to be the homemaker. But at that time, women had really no rights and not much of a voice.

Calvin is a good man but was set in his beliefs about a family due to how he was raised and his first wife. Not that any of what he learned was wrong, but to fall in love with Harriett when she was the complete opposite, you would think he might adjust his thinking. Over time he did, but it took time and others to help him understand who he married and that she was not his mother or first wife.

I really enjoyed this book especially the last half of the book. I thought that the first half of the book was slow, but it was setting everything up so that the last half would bring all of the situations to a head. I learned something about Harriet and am now curious and want to learn more about this woman who was ahead of her time.

We give it 3 1/2 paws up!

About the Author

Kilpack, Josi-1Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and credits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney award for Mystery/Suspense in 207 and Wedding Cake, book twelve in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series won in 2014. Josi was also the Best of State winner in Fiction for 2012. Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband, children and super-cute – but not very friendly – cat.

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on October 21, 2017

In It For The Money (A Blu Carraway Mystery)
Mystery/Suspense
1st in Series
Henery Press (September 12, 2017)
Paperback: 278 pages

Synopsis

Lowcountry Private Investigator Blu Carraway needs a new client. He’s broke and the tax man is coming for his little slice of paradise. But not everyone appreciates his skills. Some call him a loose cannon. Others say he’s a liability. All the ex-Desert Storm Ranger knows is his phone hasn’t rung in quite a while. Of course, that could be because it was cut off due to delinquent payments.

Lucky for him, a client does show up at his doorstep—a distraught mother with a wayward son. She’s rich and her boy’s in danger. Sounds like just the case for Blu. Except nothing about the case is as it seems. The jigsaw pieces—a ransom note, a beat-up minivan, dead strippers, and a missing briefcase filled with money and cocaine—do not make a complete puzzle. The first real case for Blu Carraway Investigations in three years goes off the rails.

And that’s the way he prefers it to be.

Guest Post

I enjoy writing about my characters eating in restaurants because my wife and I have a lunch date most Saturdays. It helps us stay connected as both of us work busy day jobs as well as all the things we do for my writing career. I find that the food choices my characters eat says something about them.

While I lived in Charleston, my dish was shrimp and grits at the Boathouse restaurant at Breech Inlet on the Isle of Palms. After moving away and getting married, I’ve grown to really enjoy my wife’s favorite food—Italian. One of our favorites is Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I usually order the grilled pork chops or the Italian Classics. I’m also a sucker for good barbeque. In the south, we are not lacking in this regard.

I like that my new protagonist, Blu Carraway, prefers peel-and-eat shrimp and wiping his mouth with a roll of paper towels. And that his girlfriend knows this and is surprised when he takes her to a place with cloth napkins.

Blu doesn’t have any pets in the traditional sense. What he has is a small herd of scraggly Carolina Marsh Tackey horses. Two of them, perhaps the less intelligent of the group, stand between Blu and his front door waiting for treats. He named them Dink and Doofus and sometimes gets caught short, forgetting about the two-carrot-fee.

Mick Crome, Blu’s business partner, likes burgers and fries. He’s not picky, but he does tend to frequent McDonald’s if he’s on the job. Otherwise, he prefers sitting at a bar with a longneck and a shot, and his cheeseburger plate.

My other protagonist, Brack Pelton, seems partial to breakfast at three a.m. Preferably with his better half. His dog, Shelby, eats Eukanuba while with Brack, and anything his dog sitter Trish cooks for him. That’s right, she cooks for the dog.

My wife and I look forward to our Saturday lunch every week. Normally by Wednesday, we’re talking about what we might want on Saturday. We haven’t always had the best service or been served exactly what we ordered, but we’ve learned to take the good with the bad.

What’s your favorite restaurant and meal?

SBR here – I think my favorite meal is lunch and living in Texas, Mexican food is always a top choice!  So as David asked, what is your favorite restaurant/meal?

 

About the Author

Lowcountry Private Investigator Blu Carraway needs a new client. He’s broke and the tax man is coming for his little slice of paradise. But not everyone appreciates his skills. Some call him a loose cannon. Others say he’s a liability. All the ex-Desert Storm Ranger knows is his phone hasn’t rung in quite a while. Of course, that could be because it was cut off due to delinquent payments.

Lucky for him, a client does show up at his doorstep—a distraught mother with a wayward son. She’s rich and her boy’s in danger. Sounds like just the case for Blu. Except nothing about the case is as it seems. The jigsaw pieces—a ransom note, a beat-up minivan, dead strippers, and a missing briefcase filled with money and cocaine—do not make a complete puzzle. The first real case for Blu Carraway Investigations in three years goes off the rails.

And that’s the way he prefers it to be.

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on October 20, 2017

Synopsis

As soon as the mistletoe goes up, that’s when life gets really interesting

Darcy Shaughnessy has gotten used to her overbearing brothers chasing away any man she wants to date. But a chance meeting with a brooding – and deliciously handsome – artist is about to make this holiday season one to remember.

There’s only one thing Benjamin Tanner loves more than his woodcarving: solitude. Then he gets snowed in with Darcy in his cozy cabin in the woods, and their heated feelings begin to melt the icy barrier between them.

With Ben’s need for privacy and Darcy’s love of family and social life, will opposites still attract once the snow clears and the holiday festivities come to an end?

Excerpt

This was not what he had planned.

Maybe it was what he had fantasized about, but this was not what he had planned.

But the instant Darcy’s lips touched his, Ben was lost. From the first time he’d laid eyes on her, he’d wondered how she’d feel in his arms.

Now he knew. Amazing.

From the first time he watched her move, he wanted to know how she’d feel moving against him.

Now he knew. Incredible.

From the first time he’d seen her smile, he wanted to know what her lips would feel like as he kissed her.

Now he knew. Sexy as hell.

His arms banded around her waist until he made sure there wasn’t even room for a breath between them. She went up on tiptoes to press even more intimately against him—which he totally appreciated—and it allowed his hands to linger and cup her denim-clad bottom.

And what a denim-clad bottom it was.

Gently, he squeezed it and even considered grabbing it harder and lifting her onto the counter, but he wasn’t ready to let go of the full-body contact just yet.

It was insanity. One minute, she was frustrating the hell out of him in a nonsexual way, and the next, he was so consumed with need for her that he almost didn’t recognize himself. This wasn’t the man he normally was. He didn’t pounce; he didn’t even think of initiating anything physical in a situation that was so mundane.

And breakfast was pretty mundane.

When Ben chose to sleep with a woman, there was, well, there was a certain protocol to it for him. There were the required three dates. There was the kiss good night that would build in heat over the course of the dates, and then it was normally at her house. Never here. Never in his bed. His home was just that—his. It was his sanctuary, and he was possessive of it. But right now, all he wanted—almost more than his next breath—was to have Darcy in his bed.

Under him.

Over him.

Another growl escaped before he could stop it.

For a moment, he allowed his lips to leave hers, because he was desperate to taste her in other places. His mouth trailed along the delicate line of her jaw, her throat, and up to nip at her ear, a spot he quickly learned made her knees buckle and had her gasping.

Good to know.

But she wasn’t having any of it for long. With her hand firmly anchored in his hair, she let him know the instant she wanted to kiss him again, and he went willingly. Over and over, his mouth slanted over hers until he thought he’d simply consume her. Tongue tangled with tongue. Breath mingled with breath. Never had the act of kissing seemed so carnal. So indecent and so damn erotic.

And that’s when he knew standing at the kitchen sink was no longer cutting it. He needed her. Wanted her. And from the sounds she was making and the way she was moving against him, Darcy felt it too.

This time when he reached down and cupped her ass, he lifted her up onto the counter. Stepping in close until he was firmly pressed against the juncture of her thighs, he cursed their clothes. Cursed the fact that the nearest soft surface was so damn far away. And cursed the fact that she tugged at his hair as she pulled away from him.

“Ben, wait,” she panted.

Well, shit.

A little dazed, he forced himself to open his eyes and focus on her. Her lips were wet and red and a little swollen, and her skin was flushed.

So. Damn. Sexy.

Resting his forehead against hers, he took a minute to catch his breath.

Was he supposed to apologize? Step away and start shoveling? Hell if he knew, but he was going to stay quiet and let Darcy say whatever it was she was thinking. So he didn’t move, and once his breathing was back to normal, he almost felt as if he was holding it.

“What are we doing?” she asked quietly.

Was she serious? Those were some fairly obvious moves going on, on both their parts! How could she be questioning it? And on top of that, she was the one who had initiated it! Lifting his head, he looked at her.

“I thought we were kissing,” he said simply.

She blushed, and it was sexy as hell to see. His fingers twitched with the need to touch her cheeks and feel the heat there.

“I…I know, but…I guess I’m just a little confused as to where that all came from.”

She was confused? Because now he was a little beyond that himself. Taking a step away, he frowned. “Why don’t you tell me?” he began levelly. “Since you were the one who reached up and pulled me into the kiss in the first place.”

The blush was instantly replaced by a look of mild annoyance. Darcy jumped from the counter, placing her hands on her hips. “I guess I got caught up in what I thought was a moment. I mean you came over and crowded me into the cabinets and then started touching me—out of the blue, might I add—so I guess I thought you were into it too.”

Oh yeah. He had forgotten about that part. Once she had reached up and kissed him, Ben had pretty much forgotten about his own actions leading up to it. “Fine. Yes. I came over here and—” He stopped and cursed, raking a hand through his hair. “I don’t know. I wanted to do that since you first showed up here.”

 

About the Author

Samantha Chase, a creative writing teacher, released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Since then, she has published seventeen more titles and has become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives with her husband of twenty-four years and their two sons in North Carolina.

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Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Historical, romance, Trailer on October 19, 2017

LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS

by

JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO

  Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 416

Scroll down for giveaway!

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet house guest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance—and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

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Praise for Lady Jayne Disappears

“Emotional. Intriguing. Both haunting and romantic. . . In her historical fiction debut, Joanna Davidson Politano delivers a smart plot that navigates twists and turns with a mixture of wit, intelligent characters, and a refreshingly original voice. Reminiscent of Dickens’ classic storytelling, Lady Jayne Disappears is a debut to remember!” —Kristy Cambron, author of The Illusionist’s Apprentice

“Wonderfully unique, this compelling debut grabs you from the first intriguing line. The evocative English setting, textured characters, literary theme, and unusual romance make Lady Jayne Disappears a standout, the lovely cover offering a hint of the gem within. A must read!” Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

 

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her on her website.

 

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on October 19, 2017

Synopsis

An offer that’s impossible to accept…

Maggie Sinclair has tried everything to save her family’s business, including mortgaging their beloved beach house on the Jersey shore. But now, she’s out of options.

The Sinclair and Pierce families have been neighbors and enemies for almost thirty years. That hasn’t stopped Owen Pierce from crushing on Maggie, and he’s determined to invest in her success. Now he has to convince her that he’s more than just trouble with a capital T…

Excerpt

Sea Kiss, New Jersey

Tracy Parker was in love with being in love.

That worried her best friend and maid of honor, Maggie Sinclair, more than she cared to admit.

In the middle of the temporary dance floor, Tracy waltzed with her new husband in a satin-and-lace designer gown, gleaming with seed pearls and twinkling sequins. But the sparkle dimmed in comparison to the dreamy glow in Tracy’s eyes.

The sounds of wedding music competed with the gentle rustle of seagrass in the dunes and the crash of the waves down on the beach. The fragrance from centerpiece flowers and bouquets battled with the kiss of fresh sea air.

Connie and Emma, Tracy’s two other best friends and members of the bridal party, were standing beside Maggie on the edge of the dance floor that had been set up on the great lawn of Maggie’s family’s beachfront mansion on the Jersey Shore. Huddled together, Maggie and her friends watched the happy couple do a final whirl.

“She’s got it so bad,” Maggie said, eyeing Connie and Emma with concern past the rim of her rapidly dis- appearing glass of champagne.

“Do you think that this time he really is The One?” Connie asked.

“Doubt it,” Emma replied without hesitation.

As the DJ requested that other couples join the happy newlyweds, Maggie and her friends returned to the bridal party dais set out on the patio. Grabbing another glass of champagne, Maggie craned her neck around the gigantic centerpiece piled with an almost obscene mound of white roses, ice-blue hydrangea, lisianthus, sheer tulle, and twinkling fairy lights and examined the assorted guests mingling around the great lawn and down by the boardwalk leading to the beach.

She recognized Tracy’s family from their various meetings over the years, as well as some of Tracy’s sorority sisters, like Toni Van Houten, who in the six years since graduation had managed to pop out a trio of boys who now circled her like sharks around a swim- mer. Although the wedding invite had indicated No Children, Toni had done as she pleased. Since Tracy had not wanted a scene at her dream beachfront wed- ding, Emma, who was doing double duty as the wedding planner for the event, had scrambled to find space for the children at the dinner tables.

“Is that Toni ‘I’ll never ruin my body with babies’ Toni?” Connie asked, a perplexed look on her features. At Maggie’s nod, Connie’s eyes widened in surprise, and she said, “She looks…happy.”

A cynical laugh erupted from Emma. “She looks crazed.”

Maggie couldn’t argue with either of their assessments. But as put-upon as their old acquaintance seemed, the indulgent smile she gave her youngest child was positively radiant.

Maggie skipped her gaze across the gathering to take note of all the other married folk. It was easy enough to pick them out from her vantage point on the dais, where she and her friends sat on display like days’ old cakes in the bakery. They were the last three unmarried women in an extended circle of business and college acquaintances.

“How many times do you suppose we’ve been bridesmaids now?” Maggie wondered aloud. She finished off her glass and motioned for the waiter to bring another.

“Jointly or severally?” asked Connie, ever the lawyer. “Way too many,” replied Emma, who, for a wedding planner, was the most ardent disbeliever in the possibility of happily ever afters.

Maggie hadn’t given marriage a first thought, much less a second, in a very long time. She’d had too many things going on in her life. Not that there hadn’t been a few memorable moments, most of which revolved around the absolutely worst man for her: Owen Pierce.

But for years now, she’d been dealing with her family’s business and its money problems, which had spilled over into her personal finances. As she gazed at the beauty of the manicured grounds and then back toward her family’s summer home, it occurred to her that this might be the last time she hosted a celebration like this here. She had mortgaged the property that she had inherited to funnel money into the family’s struggling retail store division.

Unfortunately, thanks to her father’s stubborn refusal to make changes to help the business, she spent way too much time at work, which left little time for romance. Not to mention that none of her casual dates had piqued her interest in that direction. Looking down from her perch, however, and seeing the happiness on so many faces suddenly had her reconsidering the merits of married life.

“Always a bridesmaid and never a bride,” she muttered, surprising herself with the hint of wistfulness in her tone.

“That’s because the three of us are all too busy working to search for Prince Charming,” Connie said, her defense as swift and impassioned as if she were arguing a case in court.

“Who even believes in that fairy-tale crap?” Emma’s gaze grew distracted, and she rose from her chair. “Excuse me for a moment. Carlo needs to see me about something.”

Emma rushed off to the side of the dance floor, where her caterer extraordinaire, Carlo Teixeira, raked a hand through his thick, brown hair in clear frustration. He wore a pristine white chef’s jacket and pants that enhanced his dark good looks.

Emma laid a hand on Carlo’s forearm and leaned close to speak to him, apparently trying to resolve a problem.

“She doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but her Prince Charming is standing right in front of her,” Connie said with a sad shake of her head.

Maggie took another sip of her champagne and viewed the interaction between Carlo and Emma. Definitely major sparkage going on, she thought.

“You’re totally right,” she said with an assertive nod. Connie smiled like the proverbial cat, her exotic green-gold eyes gleaming with mischief. “That’s why you hired me to represent your company as soon as I finished law school. Nothing gets past me.”

“Really? So what else do you think you’ve seen tonight?”

Raising her glass, her friend gestured toward the right of the mansion’s great lawn, where some of the frater- nity brothers from their alma mater had gathered. One of the men slowly turned to sneak a peek at them.

“Owen has been watching you all night long,” Connie said with a shrewd smile.

“Totally impossible, and you of all people should know it. Owen Pierce has absolutely no interest in me.” She set her glass on the table to hide the nervous tremble of her hand as her gaze connected with his for the briefest of moments. Even that fleeting link was enough to raise her core temperature a few degrees. But what woman wouldn’t respond like that?

In his designer tuxedo, Owen was the epitome of male perfection—raven-black hair, a sexy gleam in his charcoal-gray eyes, broad shoulders, and not an ounce of fat on him, which made her recall seeing him in much, much less on a hot summer night on Sea Kiss Beach. She had been staying in the quaint seaside town on the Jersey Shore with her grandmother that summer, much as she had all her life. As they also had for so many years, the Pierce boys had been residing next door for the entire season.

The two beachfront mansions had been built side by side decades earlier, before the start of the Pierce and Sinclair rift. The cost of waterfront real estate had esca- lated so drastically since their construction that neither family was willing to sell their beloved home to put some distance between the warring clans.

Well, make that the warring fathers, because as far as Maggie was concerned, she had no beef with Owen.

About the Author

Caridad Pineiro is a transplanted Long Island girl who has fallen in love with pork roll and the Jersey Shore, but still can’t get the hang of tomato pies. When Caridad isn’t taking long strolls along the boardwalk to maintain her sanity and burn off that pork roll, she’s also a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author with over a million books sold worldwide. Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She is a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at the RT Book Club Convention, Romance Writers of America National Conference as well as various writing organizations throughout the country.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on October 18, 2017

Death Overdue: A Haunted Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 336 pages

Synopsis

Carrie Singleton is just about done with Clover Ridge, Connecticut until she’s offered a job as the head of programs and events at the spooky local library, complete with its own librarian ghost. Her first major event is a program presented by a retired homicide detective, Al Buckley, who claims he knows who murdered Laura Foster, a much-loved part-time library aide who was bludgeoned to death fifteen years earlier. As he invites members of the audience to share stories about Laura, he suddenly keels over and dies.

The medical examiner reveals that poison is what did him in and Carrie feels responsible for having surged forward with the program despite pushback from her director. Driven by guilt, Carrie’s determined to discover who murdered the detective, convinced it’s the same man who killed Laura all those years ago. Luckily for Carrie, she has a friendly, knowledgeable ghost by her side. But as she questions the shadows surrounding Laura’s case, disturbing secrets come to light and with each step Carrie takes, she gets closer to ending up like Al.

Now it’s due or die for Carrie in Death Overdue the delightful first in a new cozy series by Allison Brook.

Review

As a book lover, how could I not enjoy a book set in a library?! I did of course. This is a new series set in a small town in CT and Carrie is thinking about leaving town but is offered a job in the library…one of my dream jobs!

The book has some interesting characters and the surface is just scratched on a few including a long time friend and new landlord for Carrie. There is also the library ghost, a former employee, but we don’t know why she is still tied to the library and hasn’t moved on. Interesting that Carrie and a young family member are the only two that can see her. But she comes in handy when Dorothy, the ghost’s niece, gets out of line and information about her is used to bring Dorothy back in line.

There are a couple of mysteries to unravel – a retired police detective, Al, and Laura Foster. Al thinks he knows who killed Laura after all these years, but he is murdered before revealing the truth about Laura’s death all those years ago. The killer has to be someone in the town. Not a lot of clues are revealed to help us solve it until near the end. I am not sure if I suspected this character, but they did act a little suspicious at times.

Overall a good start to a new series and I look forward to the next installment.

We give this 3 1/2 paws

About the Author

Allison Brook is the pseudonym for Marilyn Levinson, who writes mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She lives on Long Island and enjoys traveling, reading, watching foreign films, doing Sudoku and dining out. She especially loves to visit with her grandchildren on FaceTime.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

October 14 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW

October 14 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

October 14 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

October 14 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

October 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 15 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 15 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

October 16 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

October 16 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

October 16 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW

October 16 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

October 17 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

October 17 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

October 18 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

October 18 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST

October 18 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW

October 18 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

October 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

October 19 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

October 19 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

October 19 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW,

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October 20 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST

Posted in animals, christmas, excerpt, Holiday, romance on October 18, 2017

Synopsis

Sit! Stay! Speak! author Annie England Noblin’s novel takes one woman starting over, adds an aging pug named Teddy Roosevelt, and proves the power of a well-baked dog treat.

All she wants is a settled-down life.

What she gets is a dog—and a whole new normal . . .

There he stood in the doorway: overweight, depressed and nearly homeless—a pug named Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was Brydie Benson’s latest problem, arriving on top of her messy divorce and sudden move. Brydie needed a place to start over, so this rent-free home seemed a great idea. She just never counted on Teddy, or his owner, the Germantown Retirement Village’s toughest customer, Pauline Neumann.

And because rent-free doesn’t mean bills-free, Brydie gets a night-shift job at a big-box grocery. Whoever guessed there were so many people who wanted baked goods after midnight?

Then, she gets an idea—why not combine her baking skills with her new-found dog knowledge? And so her store Pupcakes is born. Along with a new start comes a possible new love, in the form of Nathan Reid, a local doctor with a sassy Irish Wolfhound named Sasha. And as fall turns to winter, and then to Christmas, Brydie begins to realize that life is a little bit like learning a new recipe for puff pastry—it takes a few tries to get it just right!

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Excerpt

After dinner, Nathan refilled their wineglasses and led her into the living room. Sasha and Teddy had settled there as well, and when Nathan built a fire in the fireplace, Teddy dropped right in front of it and started to snore. Sasha wasn’t far behind him.

“The living room at Mrs. Neumann’s house has a fireplace, too,” Brydie said. “I thought about lighting it the other night, but it hasn’t been lit in ages.”

“I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate it if you burned her house down trying to light the fireplace,” Nathan replied.

“No, I can’t imagine that would make her too happy.”

“Listen,” Nathan said, scooting closer to her on the couch. “I’m sorry if I asked too many intrusive questions earlier. I’m hopeless at small talk, and when I get nervous, I tend to fall back into doctor mode. I swear I didn’t mean to interrogate you over chicken.”

“That’s okay,” Brydie replied. “It was actually kind of nice to talk about it with someone who doesn’t know anything about my life before I moved here.”

“How do you like Memphis so far?”

“It’s getting better,” Brydie said with a sly grin. Between the wine and the fire, she felt deliciously warm.

“I’m glad to hear it.”

Brydie watched him watching her. She liked the way his curly black hair fell in his eyes when he was concentrating. She liked the way his T-shirt fit, not too loose or too tight. She liked the way he asked her questions—soft, curious, but not intrusive. It made her want to tell him everything, anything, just to keep him looking at her. Paying attention to her.

But more than that, she realized, there was something familiar about him, comfortable. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was, but despite the constant butterflies in her stomach, he made her feel calmer somehow. She could understand why people would be drawn to him as a doctor. She could even understand why a woman might visit her elderly aunt in order to be near him.

Nathan moved a hand up to Brydie’s face, tucking a wandering strand of damp hair behind her ear. It sent a bolt of electricity through her, and when he moved his hand away, Brydie felt herself grabbing a fistful of his T-shirt and pulling him closer to her until her mouth was on his, and she could taste the wine on his lips.

Brydie fell back into the couch and pulled Nathan down on top of her. She could feel his hands exploring her body underneath her T-shirt, and she burned with a need she hadn’t known existed until that very moment.

“Do you want—” Nathan began in between frenzied kisses, but before he could finish, the ringing of his phone in his pocket cut him off.

“Ignore it,” Brydie murmured.

“I can’t,” Nathan said, pulling himself away from her with a groan. “I’m on call at the nursing home tonight.”

About the Author

Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Her poetry has been featured in such publications as the Red Booth Review and the Moon City Review. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

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Posted in Fantasy, Giveaway, Interview on October 17, 2017

Synopsis

Dahlia, a centuries old genie, lies hopelessly trapped in a damaged golden locket charm attached to an ankle bracelet. Its owner, sixteen-year-old Liana, wears it for the first time during her father Jamison’s opening night illusion spectacular. Not only does its presence cause Jamison to folly his performance, but it also starts a chain of bizarre events that lead to a showdown with Dahlia’s mortal enemy, Stefan, and an unsuspecting romance between Liana and his son.

Interview with Matt

How did you do research for your book?

I did most of my research online. I had a lot of ideas that I wanted to incorporate into the genie/djinn folklore, but I didn’t want them to be completely without foundation. My goal was to create a world that was intriguing to those who had no knowledge of genies, aside from Disney’s Aladdin, and true to those who hold may this folklore dear to their heritage.

In your book you make a reference to quantum physics. How did you come up with this idea?

While I was writing the first draft, I stumbled upon an online news article about a new discovery where particles seemingly knew what was going to happen before it actually happened. This theory more or less answered the question: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see or hear it, does it still fall/make a sound? The answer, according to this theory is, No; the tree only falls/makes a sound if someone/something in the future knows that another will witness it. I used this theory as an explanation of genie powers and how they are able to make the impossible, possible.

There are many books out there about genies, what makes yours different?

I incorporated two things that I thought would set this story apart from typical genie stories: the idea of a half genie/half human entity and the very real possibility that the entire mythology of the djinn is a product of mental illness.

Your book is partially set in the Middle East. Have you been there?

I have not been there, but my brother in-law is from Syria, so I have a decent amount of exposure to the culture.

What is the last great book you’ve read?

While I’ve liked Kurt Vonnegut for some time, I recently read his “The Sirens of Titan” and loved it.  I think a lot of people feel that they have been used by others and feel that their worth is summed up by the cliché, “what have you done for me lately.” And while this sentiment may cause great despair, the book reminds us of the alternative: “The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody, would be to not be used for anything by anybody.”

Do you have another profession besides writing?

Yes, I am the co-founder and Vice President of a boutique medical billing firm in New York City.

About the Author

Matt Dallmann has a background in acting and holds a BFA from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. His films and screenplays have been featured at film festivals across the United States including Cinequest, Big Apple Film Festival, Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival, DragonCon and Zero Independent Film Festival. His piano compositions have been published for commercial use and he is a member of ASCAP. Matt is also the Co-Founder and Vice President of the boutique medical billing firm VGA Billing Services, Inc. in New York City. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters.

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