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

Synopsis

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

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

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

Amazon * Blackstone Audio * Barnes & Noble

Review

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, fiction, Review, suspense on August 25, 2016

The House of Kane

Synopsis

Aislinn Marchánt, a writer and editorial consultant, is hired by the major New York publishing company, Kane Publishing House, to help determine why several submissions sent to them have mysteriously disappeared only to be published later by another publisher. Are the editors at Kane simply not being diligent enough with the in-coming material, or is there something more sinister going on? Working from her West Palm Beach home, Aislinn quickly becomes involved with the House of Kane as well as with Caldwell Kane, the man who hired her.

As Aislinn works toward uncovering the various layers of truth of her former husband, her elderly neighbor, and Kane Publishing House, she continues to research her own novel, the story of a love between two people that becomes fractured because of the misunderstandings created by two different cultures. Her research takes her to abotanica where a Santerian priest reveals the truth in her own life and a destiny that is joined to that of Caldwell Kane.

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Praise for The House of Kane

Simultaneously wise and poignant, exotic and suspenseful, House of Kane is a fascinating story of loyalty, treachery and the power of destiny. With an insider’s view into the world of high stakes publishing, Barbara Casey weaves a masterful story that haunts the reader long after the final page.  – Nancy Steinbeck, Author of The Other Side of Eden: Life with John Steinbeck

Barbara Casey’s House of Kane is a touchingly tender love story, set in an intrigue-riddled publishing industry. Her characters are interesting and varied. Her story is refreshing and engagingly told. Aspiring writers will want to read House of Kane to tap her wisdom about getting into print. – John DeDakis, Former CNN Senior Copy Editor, Author of Fast Track

Review

What a tale for readers as it is woven with the publishing industry.

Aislinn is a talented writer/editor and knows what will sell books, that is why she is sought out by many aspiring authors. I liked how her character was kind about her suggested rewrites and how many authors took it to heart and realized that their book was going to be so much better with those changes.

Caldwell Kane is the owner of a publishing house, yet books that were submitted to them are being published by a rival house. How is this happening? He asks Aislinn for her help in getting to the bottom of this mystery. But he doesn’t expect to fall in love with her along the way.

The book has many twists and turns, mystery and romance, deceit and truth. There are many bible quotes in the book so I’m not sure if it is meant to fall somewhere in the Christian book genre.

The characters are all well developed and each one brings depth to the book. Lottie, the next door neighbor, that lost her forbidden love when she was 16. It has haunted her all these years and writing a book about her father was very cathartic for her. Richard, Aislinn’s ex-husband, is still in love with her but realizes that his life as a doctor was all encompassing and didn’t leave much time for his home life and Aislinn. It takes a medical issue for him to understand what he has lost. Charles, a homeless vet that has some mental issues, but has a support system around him that helps him out however they can without infringing on his pride.

There are characters that learn some life lessons too, but you have to read the book to find out!

One thing I didn’t really understand was the story line of Margaret Peters – I’m not sure this added much to the book, but perhaps others will think differently. There is another character that just disappears at the end (can’t reveal too much!) but it would have been nice to see that story line resolved.

Overall though, a very good book and we give it 4 1/2 paws up.

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About the Author

Barbara CaseyBarbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Website

Giveaway

Win one of three copies of The House of Kane (choice of print or ebook). One winner will also receive a $25 Amazon gift card (open internationally)

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, chick lit, humor, Review, women on March 23, 2016

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Hershey’s Choice

Choices Series

Darlene Fredette

Release Date: December 11, 2015
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Small Town, Humorous/Romantic Comedy
Sweet Contemporary, 184 pages, 45015 words
Britt may be Hershey’s choice, but can the boisterous Labrador convince his owner?

Engineer Ryan Jerome has a knack for designing the future but can’t create one for himself. When Ryan lets his dog, Hershey, take the lead, going to the park is never the same. Unintentional meetings, a soiled coat, and a meddling mother are a few of the obstacles in his way of convincing Britt he’s not a stalker. Will he accept his dog’s direction and open his heart to the beautiful woman with a side of crazy?

Ruined weddings, divorced parents, and disastrous relationships have left event planner Britt Wells a non-believer in happy-ever-after. She’s readying for a future in interior design with one last wedding to oversee. Complications arise when she learns a suspected stalker and owner of an unruly dog is related to her client. Falling for Ryan and Hershey were not part of the plan. Can she put aside her doubts in relationships and take a chance on love?

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The Wild Rose Press * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Excerpt

A thunderous pounding trampled the ground behind her. She turned to glance over her shoulder, but the bench suddenly jolted forward to hover on its front legs before landing roughly on all fours. “Ohh.” She would have toppled face forward if her heels hadn’t been firmly dug into the grass. Britt straightened then froze in mid-motion. Warm panting breaths caressed the base of her neck. Her own breath suspended in her throat. Without moving her head, she shifted her stare to the right.

Two very large brown paws gripped the back of the bench.

“Bear!” Britt jumped to her feet. Her coat and cold coffee flew into the air in a tangled dance. With a racing pulse, she spun to see the vicious beast before her impending death. The image of a man doubled-over at the waist turned her panic quickly to anger. Beside the laughing man sat the dog she had mistaken for a bear.

“You arrogant jerk! How dare you laugh when your beast of a dog scared the life out of me.”

Review

This is a light and clean romance but humor peppered throughout and a little tension between a few characters….basically a really good story!

I was in the mood for something light and this fit the bill perfectly.  Britt is a frustrated event planner who has taken a week off to coordinate her best friend’s wedding.  Ryan is unlucky in love, mostly due to his chocolate lab Hershey that doesn’t seem to like the women he dates.  Dogs are smart and Hershey isn’t going to let Ryan date the wrong woman.  And when Hershey senses Britt from across the park, he knows that she is the one for Ryan.  Of course Britt isn’t too sure about all of this but who could blame her for falling in love with Hershey…and Ryan.

There are a few twists such as who Ryan is related to in the story (can’t divulge too much because it is quite interesting how things come about).  There are some ups and downs in their relationship, but it all works out as it should (and if the book didn’t end this way it wouldn’t be a romance!)

If you like dogs and romance, check this book out.  We give it 4 1/2 paws up

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About the Author

Darlene resides on the East Coast of Canada with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab. When not working on her next book, she enjoys spending time with her family. An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loves to develop the many stories swimming in her head. She writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners.

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery, Review on March 10, 2016

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secrets don't make friends
Suspense/Thriller
Date Published: 11/17/2015

Synopsis

Jeyne Dalton has graduated from college, medical school, and has slogged through half of a surgical internship year with flying colors, which she figures HAS to mean she’s put her past – and her family – behind her for good. If only she hadn’t answered that random ad for a roommate, her life would be pretty damn perfect.

Dinah Robbins knows that, no matter what she does, the horror that is her life will never be behind her…unless her controlling, threatening, abusive boyfriend finally kills her. She’s floating, waiting, and advertised for a roommate as a last ditch, listless effort to save herself a few beatings here and there.

Jeyne and Dinah may have been roommates for months, but they’re not anything like friends. In fact, they hardly know each other at all – until the night Jeyne comes home late to find Dinah in a heap of trouble. The two girls then find themselves sharing a secret that brings them together in a way they never expected. And upends their lives in a way they may never be able to set right.

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Excerpt

Jeyne’s dark-brown eyes latched on to mine. They were full of things I’d never associated with my annoyingly meek roommate before—desperation and terror so palpable my palms broke out in a sweat.

Her voice floated like feathers on a summer breeze, and her words seemed to take forever to make sense. When they rearranged, they hit me like yet another punch to the gut.

“We can’t call the cops, Dinah. We have to get rid of him.”

I knew I should’ve snatched the words back. It was crazy to ask anyone—especially Dinah—to cover up a murder, even an accidental one. But with multiple bad decisions during a largely misspent youth lurking in my past, maneuvering myself into a position at one of the best residency programs in the country hadn’t been easy in the first place. I would never get into another one if I got arrested again, and I could kiss a surgical specialty or the fellowship I had my eye on good-bye, too.

Unintentional or not, someone would pay for Tritt’s death. Boys like him came from the kinds of families who had been kicking families like mine into gutters for generations.

Dinah’s face contorted with disbelief. “We can’t do that, Jeyne. It makes it look like we did something wrong, and we didn’t!”

Her mouth hung open and one arm hugged her middle, probably trying to support the cracked or broken ribs that must hurt like a bitch. From my roommate’s resigned and frankly too-tough reaction, it couldn’t be her first time dealing with these sorts of injuries. It made me angry to realize I’d been right all along about Tritt and less sorry about the condition of his body in the other room.

Except for what it would do to my future.

“Dinah, listen to me. Who do you think people are going to blame? The rich dead guy?”

“I have injuries. They’ll have to believe us,” she said, but her voice wobbled.

Review

Fair warning, this book has some violence at the beginning – a woman being abused by her boyfriend, and while not for the faint of heart sadly happens to often in our society.

I thought the book was intriguing and I wondered how Dinah and Jeynie were going to keep their stories straight to avoid being found out about Tritt’s death.  Not that he would be missed, and as we like to say in the south, “he just needed killin’.”

Both Dinah and Jeynie had interesting lives growing up and it is a shame that it took Tritt’s death to really get to know each other as roommates.  But I’m sure that was because Tritt was controlling Dinah and she didn’t want anything to happen to Jeynie.

There is a great cast of characters and I like how both Dinah and Jeynie learn to trust other men as the story progressed.

Can’t tell you how it ends, that would give it away!  But definitely worth reading

I really enjoyed this book and give it 4 1/2 paws up!

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About the Author

lila payneLyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series and the Lowcountry Ghost stories. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us – past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey.

Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

If you’re a fan of Young Adult fiction–science fiction or otherwise–please check out her work that’s published under the name Trisha Leigh.

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, Review, romance on February 21, 2016

you and only you cover

Synopsis

Welcome to Book One in the Blessings, Georgia series of Southern contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala. With the support of her handsome, unassuming friend Mike Dalton, LilyAnne Bronte is finally ready to put the past in the past.

It’s never too late

Mike Dalton has secretly loved LilyAnn Bronte since they were all children together in the small town of Blessings, Georgia. But one fateful day T.J. Lachlan roars into town and starts showering LilyAnn with his charm, and Mike feels his dream of them being more than friends slipping away.

To find the love you missed

LilyAnn, as anyone in Blessings will tell you, let herself go after her fiancee was killed in Iraq. The attention of the handsome new guy shocks her into a revelation: she’s ready to live again, and maybe the best is yet to come. The thing is, everybody in Blessings is sure it’s Mike and LilyAnn who belong together-and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make LilyAnn realize the love of her life has been by her side all along.

(Originally published as The Curl Up and Dye.)

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Review

ahhh, a trip to Blessings GA and the quaint town and its citizens. This time the story focuses on LilyAnn and Mike who have known each other since kids and it is about 11 years past graduation. LilyAnn has her demons but Mike loves her anyway. We of course see Ruby in this story (she owsn the Curl Up and Dye beauty shop) and several other town folk from the other books.

I loved this book other than the fact that there were a few too many f* bombs for my taste. there weren’t that many but seemed like more than her other books…or maybe I just don’t remember. But the writing and characters draw you into the story and you are rooting for various characters and hoping others get their just desserts. There are a few surprises and LilyAnn learns how to take back control of her life.

If you have read the other books in this series you will definitely enjoy this one. I think I’d give it 4 1/2 paws.

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, Christian, Movie, Review on January 19, 2016

just let go

 

Synopsis

In the face of tragedy, Chris Williams made the most important decision of his life.

On a cold night in 2007, a devoted father of four and a seventeen-year-old drunk driver both received life sentences. In one violent, devastating instant, each face a drastically different future. But as Chris Williams sat in a demolished vehicle, realizing that his wife, unborn baby, nine-year-old daughter, and eleven-year-old son had just been killed, he committed to do something extraordinary: he would forgive. Chris Williams’ story is the cinematic tale of how someone can forgive despite the desire for revenge that surfaces within the dark corners of the human heart—showing the world that hope, love and forgiveness can overcome all when you just let go.

Henry Ian Cusick, Emmy Nominee, as Chris Williams in the true story “Just Let Go”.

As we begin the New Year, this message of forgiveness is an important reminder, that forgiveness can bring peace to your soul. “It has allowed a terrible tragedy … to be turned into, in many aspects, a tremendous blessing. That has been one of the most fascinating things to experience,” Williams said in a interview with the Deseret News. “To see the lives blessed since the crash, it has been overwhelming how many positive things have come from it.”

Rated PG-13 for accident images and thematic material
Movie Run Time – 106 mins

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Trailer

Review

This movie is a reminder as to why we should Forgive those that have wronged us because we aren’t always blameless in life.

The movie starts out and we see Chris being taken to the hospital and we know there has been a car accident, but you don’t actually see what happened until much later in the movie.  There is a lot of back and forth between present and the past, mostly with Chris remembering bits and pieces of the night that took most of his family, but also of happier times with his wife and children.  Now not all of his children died in the car, his oldest son Michael wasn’t in the car (my guess is he is around 16-18 since he can drive) and one of his sons, Sam, survived the car accident, but not without some serious injuries.

The movie comes across as dark and/or depressing, but that is to be expected due to the subject matter.  However, have tissues ready for about 3/4 of the way through.  We learn some things about Chris and why he is struggling with what was done to his family by Curtis – the 17 year old drunk kid that hit them.  Sometimes a life can be turned around by faith and forgiveness and this might be one of those stories…but you’ll have to watch it to find out the ending.

We give this 4 1/2 paws and it will make me think about how to handle a situation the next time I feel that I am wronged.

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, Cozy, excerpt, mystery, Review on September 17, 2015

It’s a Big Easy Mystery with Uneasy In New Orleans

UNEASY IN NEW ORLEANS has everything you love about the French Quarter, delicious food, sexy men, mystery, gossip, trouble, and dead bodies…Well maybe not all of what people love about the city. However Finnigan Jones is dealing with all of these things and more. UNEASY IN NEW ORLEANS is the first in a new series called the Big Easy Mysteries from multi-published author Carol Carson.

 

Uneasy in New Orleans

Synopsis

FINNIGAN JONES HAS A PASSION FOR COOKING AND A PECHANT FOR TROUBLE.

Dead bodies aren’t on Finn’s New Orleans walking tour of cemeteries and haunted houses. Ditto disappearing bodies. Now she has to explain to Detective Jack Boyle how her missing corpse has turned up in the Mississippi putting her smack-dab in the middle of a murder investigation.

Unfortunately, another of Finn’s odd jobs is taking questionable photos for Jack’s PI brother, Tommy. After she snaps shots of a dubious pair of lovebirds, they stalk her, then kidnap her. Now Finn’s dealing with two lunatics intent on killing her. Or driving her crazy. She’s not sure which.

Because lunatics and smokin’-hot brothers aren’t enough trouble, she’s gossiping, yes gossiping, with a chef ghost at culinary school, cat-sitting her aunt’s six felines and attempting to corral her wayward teenage sister.

All Finn wants is to survive school and become the best chef in the world.

FINN’S LIFE IS ABOUT TO GET EVEN MORE COMPLICATED.

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Excerpt

Was that a dead body?

Drawing a ragged breath, Finn Jones blinked hard to clear her vision.

She wanted to blame her eyesight, the harsh sunlight or the glare off the asphalt pavement.

She even wanted to blame her cheap, lousy-ass sunglasses. None of it worked.

She could still see it.

Her heart sped up. Perspiration trickled between her boobs. Gulping, she swallowed her dread. In the midst of conducting a walking tour through the French Quarter with eight, honest-to-God paying customers, she didn’t dare let them know panic was about to take her away like an alien abduction.

She darted a glance in their direction. Busy talking about how hungry they were and whether the hotdogs from the Lucky Dog vendor nearby were any good, they didn’t notice.

How could they be so clueless? How could they not see it?

She’d seen dead bodies before–in Uncle Ed’s funeral home. Until now, she’d never seen one in its natural state. Those other earthly remains had been dead for several days and embalmed. They were laid out nice and neat, appropriate wax-like figures, in a satin-lined coffin at Big Ed Finnigan’s Funeral Parlor and House of Rest.

Corralling her meandering thoughts, Finn moved her sunglasses to the top of her head. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and then opened them again. Her throat narrowed and she swallowed around a huge lump. From her position next to the two-story building, he–and she was sure it was a man–looked pale, stiff and decidedly dead. The body slumped across the gallery railing on the second story of the converted apartment building, one arm dangling over the side. Dear. God. And this, after seeing a ghost in class earlier.

On a muggy summer day when dead bodies had no business scaring the bejesus out of her, the corpse draped above her head like Spanish moss looked nothing like any she’d seen at a funeral.

Review

I loved the humor, the setting (New Orleans), that Finn was going to cooking school, the fun and somewhat quirky characters and of course the mystery. It doesn’t hurt there are two hunky brothers that are friends with Finn.

However it left me with a lot of questions – who is this ghost in the cooking school? Who is the tall dark stranger (although I have my guess!)? Why was Finn blamed for the fire in the cooking school – she didn’t set it and why didn’t the classmates step up and back up her story?

I think this is going to be a great series. There is a lot of development of Finn’s family (Emmy, Debbie, her parents, Aunt Gert) that can happen in future books.

We give this 4 1/2 paws

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About the Author

Carol CarsonMulti-published author Carol Carson was born and raised in central Iowa. She is a former finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest and is an avid bookworm who actually enjoys doing research. Her other passions include travel, American history, the Kansas City Chiefs, the St. Louis Cardinals and dark chocolate. She has lived in Colorado and Kansas, and currently lives with her husband in a log home on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri. Write to her at carol.carson@centurytel.net

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Aoleon The Martian Girl Part One
Book Title: Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga – Part 1: First Contact
Written and illustrated by Brent LeVasseur
Category:  Middle-Grade, ​94 pages
Genre: Science-fiction and Fantasy
Publisher: Aoléon Press
Release date: January 31, 2015
Content Rating: G

Synopsis

Crop circles magically appear in Farmer Johnson’s field. A mysterious light sweeps over the night sky and awakens Farmer Johnson and Gilbert, the boy next door.

Curious, Gilbert ventures out to discover the source of the light and stumbles into a beautiful Martian girl sitting in a crop circle. Farmer Johnson also investigates the strange light, and thinking that Gilbert and Aoléon are vandals, he chases them. But they sprint to Aoléon’s saucer and escape only to be pursued by the U.S. Air Force.

Gilbert has never been attacked by swarms of giant killer robots. Never met strange aliens from other worlds. Never skyboarded across a megalopolis hidden deep inside an extinct volcano. Never trekked across a vast Martian desert. And never been eaten alive by a gigantic slor (well, almost never, unless you count Billy the fat bully at school).

And luckily, he has never ever confronted an evil ruler of Mars bent on conquering the Earth to steal its cows.

Never…until now!

This may be the adventure Gilbert always wished for.

If only he can survive.

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Aoleon Single Album

Another World – Single, Featuring Élan Noelle

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Review

I don’t normally read books aimed at middle grade aged people, but this one sounded interesting so I had to check it out.  So glad I did because the book is fast paced from the beginning and doesn’t stop until it leaves you hanging waiting for part 2!  Gilbert is a typical boy and Aoléon is your typical Martian, I guess? Who knows what a typical Martian is like!  Anyway,  Aoléon takes Gilbert on the ride of his life in the spaceship and while it makes him nervous, he is also very excited by this experience.  After evading NORAD and NASA and every other government entity, they head to Mars where Gilbert gets a taste of what it is like on Mars.  I was surprised that during this escape that the spaceship didn’t seem to bring about as much attention as I would have thought considering it was close to the ground in several countries and seen by many.  This story is very engaging, descriptive and made me laugh along with keeping me on the edge of my seat during various parts of the book.  I was very sad to see part 1 end.

There are also illustrations in this book that are amazing.  Very lifelike and reminds me of some animated movies like Book of Life or Toy Story…there is probably a better example but that is what I could come up with off the top of my head!  There is one illustration I wish I could show you because it cracked me up….I was reading along and it talks about how Aoléon does something as they are trying to leave and cows start floating in this bubble. Then the military shows up trying to shoot down the spaceship and all of a sudden a cow is in the line of sight of the plane….I flip the page on my Kindle and there is the image.  It was just like I imagined and 100 times better.

We give this 4 1/2 paws and look forward to part two.

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About the Author

Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Website ~  Twitter ~  Facebook ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl
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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, Cozy, excerpt, Monday, mystery, Review on November 10, 2014

IF-THE-SHOE-KILLS-4

 

If The Shoe Kills_ebook

 

Synopsis

The tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .

As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ’tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops. . .

“Murder, dirty politics, pirate lore, and a hot police detective: Guidebook to Murder has it all! A cozy lover’s dream come true.” –Susan McBride, author of The Debutante Dropout Mysteries

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Excerpt

The holidays were supposed to be a time of goodwill, celebration, and community. You couldn’t tell it from the glares going around the table as Mayor Baylor talked. Earlier, the leader of our little town had the group eating out of his hand. Then all hell broke loose. Focusing on the uproar going on at the Business-to-Business monthly meeting, I wondered if the shop owners gathered around the mismatched tables had even seen the calendar. As South Cove’s council liaison, I volunteered my shop each month for the meeting. I’m Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More, and president of the I-Hate-Mayor-Baylor Club. A red-faced Bill Simmons, chair of the business council and owner of South Cove Bed-and-Breakfast, stood at the front of the table, trying to get the group to quiet down.

Aunt Jackie issued a shrill, earsplitting whistle, two-finger variety. My aunt could make me smile even in the worst situations. She’d been a rock the last year during all the craziness that had been my life. Now I didn’t know what I’d do without her help with Coffee, Books, and More. Or without seeing her on a daily basis.

The room finally quieted. I’d been the city council liaison with the business community in our little coastal California tourist town for the last five years. I’d never heard this kind of uproar over a mayor’s mandate before. Maybe the Honorable Mayor Baylor was losing a bit of his power over the group.

“Look, I know it’s a bad time for many of us to take on a charity project, but think of it this way, you’ll have an extra pair of hands for the season.” Bill pulled out what he’d thought would be his trump card.

“I don’t understand what you’re all so upset about. I got you free help for the busiest season of the year.” Mayor Baylor glared at me, like their reaction was my fault. “These people want to work. We need to be charitable in our attitude.” This time, his scowl was full-on directed at me.

I put on my sweetest smile, the one I saved for the few customers I truly didn’t like. “I’ve already signed up the coffee shop to participate. How about the rest of you?”

“Not all of us have South Cove’s finest working part-time in our shops.” Darla Taylor, owner of the winery and editor of the local news for the South Cove Examiner, sniffed. “I heard he couldn’t place these losers anywhere else so Ted paid the mayor to take on these stragglers.”

“That is totally unfounded speculation,” Mayor Baylor blustered, his face turning a bright shade of scarlet. He turned his stare from me to Darla. “I hope I won’t see anything close to that being reported in the Examiner.”

I turned my head so no one would see my smile widen. As one of the local media, Darla’s nose for rumors was spot-on. Ted Hendricks, program director for Bakerstown’s welfare-to-work program, had come to our tourist town of South Cove with an offer. Ten participants would work for eight weeks with a local business in an intern capacity. South Cove was their last chance.

The mayor’s gaze shifted down the table, landing on Josh Thomas, a strong Mayor Baylor supporter. Except even I could see that His Honor wasn’t winning any points with his friend today.

“Delinquents. You want me to let a delinquent run wild in my store. Talk to my customers and probably scope out my merchandise so they can rob me blind when I turn my back?” Josh owned Antiques by Thomas, the most recent business to open its doors on Main Street. Today, he pounded a chubby finger on the table.

“Of course, you’d have a problem with this. You don’t even know that they are kids, or if they had trouble with the law. Just because someone is down on their luck doesn’t mean they are a bad person,” Sadie Michaels shot back. Sadie, owner of Pies on the Fly, was my main supplier of desserts for the coffee shop. And a strong advocate for the underdog in any fight.

We’d gone down this path before. Josh and Sadie rarely saw eye to eye on any discussion. For my part, I liked the way she called him on his prejudice and narrow-mindedness. Bill tried again to short-circuit the argument he saw developing. “We don’t have time for a political discussion on the topic. This is a done deal. They’re coming today for the initial meet-and-greet with a walk through town.

Review

Another great installment in the Tourist Trap cozy mystery series.  Lynn has a great series going here and the books keep getting better and better.  The town is a place I would like to live (well as long as I am not the one that ends of dead!) with its small town charm and friendly residents.  Although the Mayor leaves a lot to be desired, but you have to have some conflict otherwise the story wouldn’t be as interesting.

Once again I never suspected this character as being the killer.  I guess I should start looking at the least likely character but that isn’t always the right choice either!  I enjoyed meeting new characters in the town and hope to see more from them.  I also like the altruistic side of Jill and Jackie.  Hopefully it might also encourage a reader to reach out and donate some time to worthy causes in their own town.

Definitely a fun read and we give it 4 1/2 paws up!  (April and Gracie would like to set up a playdate with Emma – well April anyway, Gracie would just bark at her.)

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About the Author

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

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Posted in 4 1/2 paws, Blog tour, fiction, Giveaway, Review, romance on October 1, 2014

Spinster Tour

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thirty twoThirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson

Julia Dorning is a spinster, or at least on the road to becoming one. She has no social life, hates her job, and lives in her parent’s basement with her cat, Charlie.

With the arrival of Jared Moody, the new hire at work, Julia’s mundane life is suddenly turned upside down. Her instant (and totally ridiculous) crush on the new guy causes Julia to finally make some long-overdue changes, in hopes to find a life that includes more than baking and hanging out with Charlie.

But when the biggest and most unexpected change comes, will the new and improved Julia be able to overcome it? Or will she go back to her spinster ways?

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Purchase your copy for just $2.99!!

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Praise for Thirty-Two Going on… Spinster

“Oh my, oh my. I have just finished wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes. This is seriously funny.”

~Julie Darley (Never judge a Book by its Movie)

“This was a refreshing change of pace for me to read. Some good clean romance was found in it’s pages and that is a rare find these days. It was some great chick-lit. I would not have thought this was Becky’s debut book, it was so well done.”

~Liberty Ann (SnifferWalkBooks)

Excerpt

Cupcakes are in the main break room. Enjoy! – Julia

I’m not going to lie. It took me over an hour to come up with this e-mail. Other drafts consisted of “Cupcakes up in the break room, y’all! Go and get ya some!” and “Yo, cupcakes in the break room. Peace.”

I’m feeling pretty solid with the one I went with.

It’s ridiculous that I’m all in a tizzy (yes, that’s right I said tizzy) about these cupcakes. I’m feeling… I don’t know how to describe it… vulnerable? I think I might know why.

So here is the deal with me: I live inside my head a lot. This has always been a part of who I am. Perhaps it’s not that abnormal. Of course, I have to because as I have already established, apart from work and baking, I have no life. So I tend to exaggerate things in my head a bit. I say this because it is highly possible that, in the late hours I was up making cupcakes, I may or may not have had a few, ahem, fantasies about the new guy, Jared. And no, they were not those kinds of fantasies.

They mostly consisted of… no really, they are just too stupid to admit. Okay, fine. They mostly consisted of him taking one bite of cupcake and falling madly in love with me and then we ran away into the sunset. It varied a little, but that is the gist of it. In my fantasies, he was no longer the job-stealing-smirking-jerk that he actually is, but this incredible guy who says and does everything right. You know, the type of guy who doesn’t actually exist.

It’s ridiculous, right? I mean I don’t know the guy at all. If I honestly think about it though, it’s not that ridiculous. Not the part about me fantasizing about a guy I don’t even know – no, that is totally ridiculous. But I work at an office full of complete and total nerds (and, by the way, I looked up “nerd” in the dictionary, and it said: “an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person”, which is so incredibly fitting, it’s scary) and along comes someone who is so not a nerd, well, I couldn’t help myself. Jerk or not.

 

Review

Julia is stuck in a dead end accounting job that she doesn’t like because she doesn’t like change.  She still lives in her parent’s basement for the same reason.  In fact, she thinks she is a spinster at 32.  Enter Jared, the new HR guy that shakes up her life for the better.

Despite the desire to shake Julia up to get her to stop being “safe” and go for her dreams, I found that I could relate to Julia a bit.  I could relate to her situation in a way, no relationship and not sure what I really wanted to do with my life.

This story is about finding your passion in life and it was interesting to see how Julia’s life would turn out with all of the situations that she was placed in during a very short period of time.

Definitely enjoyed the book especially since Julia loves to bake, and I love to eat!

We give this 4 1/2 paws

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Becky MonsonAuthor Becky Monson

By day, Becky Monson is a mother of three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful time will last… But it probably won’t. Becky runs a large book club on Facebook called “This Chick Reads”.

 

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Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/12/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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