Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on May 22, 2017

Dumpster Dying: Book 1 in the Big Lake Murder Mysteries

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Creekside Publishing (December 31, 2016)

Synopsis

Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster. Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They’re more like pot metal to Emily, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster. With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer.

Excerpt

Emily Rhodes, the new bartender at the Big Lake Country Club, blew damp tendrils of sun-bleached hair out of her face as she kicked and dragged three plastic trash bags across the sunbaked asphalt lot behind the clubhouse. A full moon illuminated the area’s lone palm tree under which sat a metal beast waiting for its nightly feeding.

“Here you go, big boy,” she said. She let go of the bags and, with one hand, lifted the dumpster’s lid on the side closest to her. The usual stench of rotting garbage assaulted her nostrils. She ignored the smell and tried to heave the bag into the container, but it tumbled back out. She shoved back the lid on the other side, and mentally crossed her fingers that she wouldn’t have to hop in there and stomp around on that stuff to make room like she did the other night.

By the glow of the security light she spotted a white object lying at the far end of the dumpster, a cowboy hat, a very special cowboy hat, a Silver Belly, expensive and worn by very few men. She’d encountered just such a man earlier in the evening. The circumstances of their meeting were not pleasant.

What the hell was that doing here, she wondered? Emily leaned in as far as she could. Her feet left the ground, and she teetered on the rim of the dumpster. She struggled to reach the hat, tugged at it and almost went head first into the bin, head first onto the man’s face hidden beneath the hat.

Ugh! She fell back and dropped the metal lid, the clang reverberating off the side of the building in the still night. She covered her mouth with her hand, and leaned against the dumpster. That can’t be. I didn’t see that, did I?

She turned, opened the lid once more, gingerly pushed a garbage bag to one side and peered in for another look. She remembered him from earlier in the evening when he had grabbed her blouse and tried to pull her across the bar. He had worn a brilliant white cowboy shirt with roses appliquéd on the front yoke. Now the shirt front was as dark as the blood-red flowers.

She gulped hard to hold back the bile working its way up from her stomach and looked around the lot. It was empty. She needed help.

She ran for the door of the clubhouse. The knob wouldn’t turn.

Oh, damn. I did it again, left the door on auto lock. Now I can’t get back in. She felt in her pocket for her cell phone, then remembered she had left it along with her keys lying on the bar counter. But she had hidden a spare car key in the wheel well. I’ll have to drive for help, and the sooner the better.

She gripped the steering wheel with sweaty hands and hunched over it, the tension in her neck sending shooting pains up the back of her head. As she turned out of the country club grounds and punched the accelerator, she saw the flashing lights of a police car heading toward her. She sat back in the seat and dropped her shoulders. Oh, good. Help was on its way.

As the cruiser’s lights caught hers, its driver slammed to a halt and did a controlled skid blocking her lane. She stood on her brake, and stopped the car, then jumped out and ran toward the police vehicle. Tears of relief poured down her face and onto her chin.

Two officers with drawn guns greeted her.

“Stop right there, on the ground, hands out,” said the officer who had been driving.

“But officer, there’s a man there. I think he’s dead.”

“On the ground, on the ground.” His voice chilled the hot, still night.

Emily raised her shaking hands and dropped on rubbery knees. This can’t be happening.

The other member of the duo placed his knee in her back, cuffed her, pulled her to her feet, and searched her.

“Why are you doing this to me? I was trying to help. The man back there, someone killed him, I think,” Emily said. The officer walked her to the police car.

“We know all about that. Got a call a few minutes ago, and we’re responding. Now we’d like to find out what you know about it.”

She began to hiccup, her usual reaction when she was frightened. “Me? (hic) Me? I found him (hic) when I took out the garbage. I would have called it in, but I locked myself out of the bar, and I left my cell phone inside.” Her explanation sounded lame even to her ears.

“Sure you weren’t running?” asked Officer Handcuffs.

They shoved her into the back seat and headed toward the clubhouse.

“Sure I was running. I was trying to get help.”

“Looks like you’re the one who needs it,” said the driver. The other officer turned in his seat and looked at her. There was hardness in his eyes that she knew he reserved for the guilty.

“My car. It’s in the middle of the road,” hiccupped Emily. She twisted her head around to look out of the back window. If anything happened to that car, she wouldn’t be able to afford another, and her insurance rates would go sky high. There was little point in telling the officers her financial concerns. They were after a criminal, and they thought they’d found her.

At the clubhouse, the driver shone his high-powered flashlight into the dumpster, confirming their report.

“Shot in the chest. Gotta be dead. Lotta blood.”

She tried to shut out her memory of the body, but the officer’s words brought it back to her in IMAX and Technicolor. It was just the reminder she needed to experience the gory scene yet again.

Review

What an intriguing town in this mystery. I live in Texas and so usually think of the wild west being here and a bit further west, not in a sleepy little town in Florida with alligators.

I liked most of the characters and they played well off one another and really rounded out the story. Emily and Clara have a unique friendship that works for them and their family members really include each other as well. There are of course busy bodies in the town that you think are on your side…until they aren’t. Watch out!

The mystery was well written as I was very surprised near the end when the mastermind behind everything was revealed. I don’t think I was too surprised just because the character was annoying, but I didn’t think they could be involved in everything. There is more than 1 person involved and you know some of them through the story, but not all.

There is a hint of a love story between Emily and Detective Lewis, but that will have to come in future books since Emily is still getting over the death of her life partner.

We give this 4 paws up.

About the Author

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York.  In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport.  Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse.  When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series (Microbrewing Series, Big Lake Mystery Series, Eve Appel Mystery Series and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth) and numerous short stories.   

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Blog

Giveaway

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check out the other blogs on this tour

May 15 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW – Book 1, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 15 – My Journey Back My Reading Journeys –  REVIEW – Both Books, INTERVIEW*

May 16 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

May 17 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW – Both Books, INTERVIEW

May 17 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

May 18 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

May 18 – Book Babble – REVIEW – Both Books

May 19 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

May 19 – Bookworm Café –  GUEST POST

May 20 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW – Book 1

May 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW – Both Books *

May 21 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

May 21 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

May 22 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW – Both Books, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 22 –StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW – Book 1

May 22 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW – Both Books

May 23 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW – Both Books*

May 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW – Book 2

May 24 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW – Book 1

May 25 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW – Both Books

May 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 26 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW –  Both Books*

May 26 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 27 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW – Book 2

May 27 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW Book 1, GUEST POST*

May 28 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW Book 2*

May 28 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Posted in 4 paws, Historical, Review, romance on May 2, 2017

Synopsis

Cassie, the youngest of six daughters in the Wilton family, is bold, bright, and ready to enter society. There’s only one problem: her older sister Lenora, whose extreme shyness prevents her from attending many social events. Lenora is now entering her third season, and since their father has decreed that only one Wilton girl can be out at a time, Cassie has no choice except to wait her turn.

Evan Glenside, a soft-spoken, East London clerk, has just been named his great-uncle’s heir and, though he is eager to learn all that will be required of him, he struggles to feel accepted in a new town and in his new position.

A chance meeting between Evan and Lenora promises to change everything, but when Lenora proves too shy to pursue the relationship, Cassie begins to write Mr. Glenside letters in the name of her sister. Her good intentions lead to disaster when Cassie realizes she is falling in love with Evan. But then Evan begins to court Lenora, thinking she is the author of the letters.

As secrets are revealed, the hearts of Cassie, Evan, and Lenora are tested. Will the final letter sent by the vicar’s daughter be able to reunite the sisters as well as unite Evan with his true love?

Review

For me historical romance novels can be hit or miss, but The Vicar’s Daughter was a definite hit! Times were so different then and it is always interesting to see how the author handles the different aspects of gentry in that time period.

Not only is this a peek into life in this time, there is a lesson about pride and willfulness and that sometimes life isn’t what you expect it to be and there is so much more. I couldn’t blame Cassie for wanting to be presented in society, but her family’s custom was that each daughter had to have a match in order of birth for the next daughter to be presented….and poor Cassie has been waiting for 3 seasons on her sister Lenora who is afraid of her own shadow! But as the book progressed I learned that it was partially the fault of the parents and family for sheltering her, pretty much like we see a lot in today’s society.

Evan is caught between two sisters. Thinking that Lenora has another side to her when it is really Cassie’s words that strikes a chord in his heart. On top of that he is not used to being a part of the gentry and society and it is a whole new world for him. Evan isn’t familiar with customs and such and finds himself in a few predicaments.

I enjoyed being swept away to another time and imagining what it would have been like to live then with more stringent rules. I also like the interactions of the family with each other and others in their church family.

We give this book 4 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 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on May 1, 2017

Bed and Breakfast and Murder (Fiona Fleming Cozy Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Patti Larsen Books (January 28, 2017)
Print Length: 189 pages
ASIN: B01N6W3JKN

Synopsis

A Poo Poo Kind of Morning

I tried not to look down the mouth of hell staring back at me from inside the glaringly pristine outer ceramic shell of the white throne, my throat catching, stomach doing half flips and a rather impressive rollover routine that would have gotten at least a 9.5 even from the Russian judges. Instead, I forced myself to smile and swallow and remind myself the elbow length yellow rubber gloves grasping the handle of the standard issue plunger were all that stood between me and Pooageddon.

Suck it up, Fee. Big girl panties and adulting and all that.

“At what point,” I waved the dripping plunger, wincing as droplets of yuck flew, “did I think owning a bed and breakfast was going to be glamorous and romantic?”

Fiona Fleming hasn’t lived in Reading, Vermont in over a decade, her escape from small town living leading her to New York City and a life of adventure. An adventure that has left her with no career, an ex who cheated on her and zero plans for the future. Her grandmother’s death grants her a new chance–inheriting Petunia’s, Iris Fleming’s bed and breakfast, seems like the ideal fresh start. But when Fee finds out ownership of the property Iris willed her might be in question, she’s drawn into the seedy underbelly of the cutest town in America after being singled out as the main suspect in a murder.

Amazon * Kobo * B & NiTunes * Google Play

Review

I always love reading new cozy series to see if they can match the mark left by so many authors before them. This series has a good mix of humor and mystery all rolled into one. There is even a little bit of potential romance brewing that I expect will be explored in future books.

The mystery itself – who killed Pete – was a total shocker when the killer was revealed. I catch myself saying this a lot when it is someone totally unexpected – but I did not see that reveal coming! The details fit and explain a lot but I don’t think there were any clues to point me in the direction of this character. I suspected other people, and while they were guilty of other things, murder was not one of them.

I think this series is going to be a hoot and look forward to reading more about Fee and this cozy little town in Vermont.  We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Patti Larsen is an award-winning author with a passion for the voices in her head. Now with over 80 titles in happy publication, she lives on the East coast with her patient husband and multitude of pets.

Webpage * And my NEW blog 😀 Magic, Mayhem and Murder * FacebookTwitterAmazonGoodReads

Giveaway

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check out the other blogs on this tour

April 24 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

April 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT

April 25 – Carole’s Book Corner – SPOTLIGHT

April 25 – Books Direct – GUEST POST

April 26 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

April 26 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

April 27 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

April 27 – My Reading Journeys  – SPOTLIGHT

April 28 – Books,Dreams,Life – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST

April 30 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

May 1 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

May 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

May 2 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

May 3 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 4 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

May 5 – My Journey Back –  REVIEW

May 6 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 7 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on April 22, 2017

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Date of Release: 13 April 2017
Number in Series: 1
Publisher: Beaverstone Press
Number of Pages: 352

Synopsis

Movies. Muffins. Murder.

Maggie Doyle moved to Ireland to escape her cheating ex and crumbling career in the San Francisco PD. When the most hated woman on Whisper Island is poisoned at her aunt’s Movie Theater Café, Maggie and her rock-hard muffins are hurled into the investigation.

With the help of her UFO-enthusiast friend, a nun, and a feral puppy, Maggie is determined to clear her aunt’s name. Can she catch the murderer before they strike again? Or will her terrible baking skills burn down the café first?

Cozy, quirky, and fun, this tongue-in-cheek mystery is a delicious introduction to the Movie Club Mysteries Series. Grab a cocktail and join Maggie as she takes her detective skills across the pond in Dial P For Poison.

Review

I enjoy a good mystery and this one is set on a small island in Ireland and is a place I wouldn’t mind visiting especially because the cafe is a refurbished theater – the kind you see in movies from the 50’s or you might see in a small town. It is a creative way to refurbish an abandoned movie theater!

Maggie spent summers on Whisper Island with her aunt Noreen, so she has ties to the community and some of the residents. She is here to figure out what she wants to do with her life and Aunt Noreen has kindly offered her a place to stay. Of course Maggie is supposed to fill in at her aunt’s cafe but here is the catch, she doesn’t know how to cook and gets a 1 day crash course. It makes for some amusing scenes but at least the residents take some pity on her.

Of course it wouldn’t be a mystery without someone dying and in this case it is Sandra – probably the most despised woman in town between her attitude and writing a blind gossip column that while doesn’t name specific people, it is a small community and most can be figured out. Once I learned more about Sandra and her actions, it is no surprise she ended up dead. I won’t spill the details but trust me that you won’t like her much either. I was totally surprised at who the murderer was because it was never someone on my radar. I had different people in mind until they were cleared and then I had no real idea who to suspect.

This book/series has a lot of potential between the humor and potential romance between Maggie and the new detective from the main island. And Maggie’s UFO/Alien chasing friend adds a quirky twist to the town. And of course who knows what is going to happen next.

We give this book 4 paws up!

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Zara Keane grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and spent her summers in a small town similar to the fictional Smuggler’s Cove, the setting of her new cozy mystery series.

She currently lives in Switzerland with her family. When she’s not writing or wrestling small people, she drinks far too much coffee, and tries – with occasional success – to resist the siren call of Swiss chocolate.

WebsiteFacebook * Twitter * Facebook Reader GroupGoodreads

 

Giveaways

There are two giveaways on this tour.

I was lucky enough to be chosen to giveaway a Kindle copy of Dial P for Poison

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Click on the image or on the link below to enter the other giveaway 

Zara Keane’s Movie Club Mysteries Launch Giveaway

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Posted in 4 paws, Book Release, Review, romance on April 4, 2017

Synopsis

Veterinarian Rory Gallagher chose a different path from his brothers, both of whom became first responders in the lovely little town of Darling, Vermont. Rory’s always had an affinity for animals—and the ladies. Known for his impressive track record in breaking hearts, Rory never meant to hurt anyone; he’s just never been in a hurry to settle down. It’s not as if he needs to pay a visit to the town’s famed Kissing Bridge to magically find love. He’ll know The One when he sees her. . .right?

Oaklee Ferguson is the kid sister of Rory’s best friend—and, even now that she’s all grown up, remains immune to the pet-doctor’s charms. When she shows up at Rory’s clinic late one night—devastated after hitting a stray dog with her car—Rory’s so-called “bedroom eyes” are the last thing on her mind. Still, his care and kindness toward the dog, and his concern for her feelings, catches Oaklee by surprise. . .and soon the two (and rescued dog makes three!) begin to share a deep connection that neither could have ever imagined. Could it be that love has been waiting for them by the bridge all along?

Macmillan * Books-A-Million * Indie Bound * Powells

Review

I will pretty much read any book when there are dogs involved and it doesn’t hurt when there is a cute vet in the story too.

This is the 3rd in a series and I’ve haven’t read the first two and it isn’t necessary other than maybe to be clued in to the back story of Rory’s brothers and a few other characters.

Rory and Oaklee have some major baggage with past relationships and it does infringe upon their potential relationship with each other. I think most people can relate to bad relationships that leave them feeling vulnerable or skittish on getting involved with someone again. This is definitely where Rory and Oaklee are but they are wise enough to learn that perhaps being together is worth the risk. I think this makes them very relatable because who hasn’t had their heart broken making it hard for them to trust again?

The setting of the book really makes me want to move there. I love the ideas of small towns and a close knit community. Maybe not that everyone knows your business but knowing everyone and knowing who you can call for different things.

All in all a very enjoyable book and we give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict.

Twitter * Author Website * Facebook * Author Blog

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Posted in 4 paws, Book Release, Children on April 1, 2017

Written by Holly L. Niner, Illustrated by Isabella Ongaro
April 2017, Hardcover, 32 color pages, ages 4–8, $17.95 US/CAN
ISBN 9781936261895
Published by Flashlight Press
Distributed by IPG

Synopsis

While Dad tucks her in, a little girl named Grace calmly recounts her day—which was anything but calm. She had a tantrum (because of some injustices involving a purple shirt and breakfast cereal) and was banished to her bedroom before deciding to run away. Understanding that kids have ups and downs, Grace’s mom wisely gave her daughter the space and time she needed to reach her own decision to return home—to open arms.

The Day I Ran Away amusingly captures Grace’s mutable moods and childlike logic, making her a character readers care about and can relate to. Warm, humorous digital paintings offer fun details to keep little listeners busy. Kids can compare the bedtime and daytime scenes and try to figure out how Grace got that purple paw-pint on her cheek—and when it got washed away. They can mimic Grace’s facial expressions or copy her poses for some soothing bedtime yoga. And of course, they can create a safe place to run away to when the injustices of Pre-K existence become too much to bear. A pop-up tent in the yard and the haven beneath the dining room table are excellent run-away destinations, as long as you come home for dinner.

Review

This is a cute story with a bit of a lesson for both children and parents. All children (actually people of all ages) will get upset at one time or another and this story shows that if you handle it properly and have taught your children well that it will all work out. I like how the mother handled the situation – giving her daughter some freedom and letting her think she was running away from home without actually leaving the yard. In a small way she turned it into an adventure and having taught her daughter some lessons earlier in her life about crossing the street, she was able to keep her close. It was really ingenious!  Hopefully though it doesn’t teach the little girl that she can throw a tantrum and get away with it.

The only thing that was wrong is that the story never says the little girls name in the text.  No where in the story does mom or dad call her by her name. (at least not in the ARC that I had been provided).  Her name does appear in an illustration, and while I did look at the illustrations (they depicted the words beautifully) I would not have expected to have to look there for her name.

We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Holly L. Niner grew up in Newburgh, NY, where on a bad day she would run away with a book to a swing under a willow tree. She is a speech therapist and the award-winning author of I Can’t Stop and Mr. Worry. Holly lives in Fort Wayne, IN, and this is her third picture book.

About the Illustrator

Isabella Ongaro grew up in Verona, Italy, where on a bad day she would run away to her garden shed to draw her cat in her notebook. She creates 2D animation, character designs for apps, and illustrations for the educational and fashion markets. Isabella lives in Paris, France, and this is her fourth picture book.

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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.

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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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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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Comments Off on Review & #Giveaway – The Big Inch by Kimberly Fish @kimberlyfish #Historical #HistFic #WWII #TheBigInch #LoneStarLit #KristineTHall
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 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on March 14, 2017

The Art of Vanishing (A Lila Maclean Academic Mystery)
Publisher: Henery Press (February 28, 2017)
Paperback: 262 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635111699
Kindle – ASIN: B01NBHR7Y6

Synopsis

When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English department is thrown into chaos by the news, as Damon is supposed to headline Stonedale University’s upcoming Arts Week.

The chancellor makes it clear that he expects Lila to locate the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.

Review

I think this is the first time in a long time that I have ready a mystery and no one has died! There is still a mystery to solve, but not why someone was killed. This time they are trying to figure out what the scoop is behind celebrated author Damon Von Tussel. Is he really just a recluse or is there more to his story?

Lila puts up with a lot where she works, mostly from the Chancellor, but also from a fellow professor, Simone, who has it out for her. I never knew the world of academia could be so competitive. The Chancellor is a bit of a jerk expecting Lila to do all these things with no care for her life or if she has a conflict and can’t jump and fill his demands. But at least she has her cousin, Calista, on her side.

The actual mystery was quite a shock when all was revealed. I never expected it to turn out the way it did and for some people to reveal their true intentions. There are a few clues to point you in the right direction, but not many.

There is also a potential love interest between Lila and Lex (the police detective). But there is also Nate, but even though Lila sees him as a friend, could he be interested in more?

I did find one inconsistency (and it may have been fixed by the final printing of the book, I had an ARC). At an event, Lex asks Lila if he can take her to dinner the next night. She said no because of an author reading that was happening. However, the following text seems to span a few days before the actual event. It is a minor thing that I noticed but it threw me off as I read that section.

I still enjoyed the book and am curious to see what the author has in store for the next installment.  We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

cynthia kuhnCynthia Kuhn teaches and writes in Colorado. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD and other publications. She is the current president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado and blogs with Mysteristas. Visit her at cynthiakuhn.net or @cynthiakuhn.

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check out the other blogs on this tour

March 1 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

March 2 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

March 2 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

March 3 – Books Direct – INTERVIEW

March 3 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

March 4 – Mystery Playground – INTERVIEW

March 5 – The Editing Pen – INTERVIEW

March 6 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

March 6 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

March 7 – My Journey Back – REVIEW, INTERVIEWAdding interview

March 7 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

March 8 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Girl with Book Lungs – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 9 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 10 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

March 11 – Connie’s History Classroom – REVIEW

March 11 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

March 12 – Varietats – REVIEW

March 12 – Babs Book Bistro – CHARACTER INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

March 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

March 14 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

March 14 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Posted in 4 paws, Book Release, Review, romance on March 10, 2017

Synopsis

Would you abandon your present for a second chance at your past?

Cecelia Reynolds has spent most of her life trying to forget the commitment-phobic man who broke her heart. It wasn’t easy, but eventually she did it, or so she thought…

As Cecelia and her husband gather for a friend’s wedding, her perfect world is thrown into complete turmoil. Even though it’s been twenty years since she last laid eyes on Keith Emerson, all it takes is one glance for her to feel emotions she thought were long gone. When Keith ends up officiating the ceremony, she quickly realizes his message of love is directed at her, not the happy couple. But can she believe him?

We live our entire lives thinking we know ourselves. But do we ever really?

As secrets and lies cause Cecelia’s world to spin completely out of control, she is forced to seek advice from the most unlikely ally. In the process, she must confront the demons of her past and the events that shaped her into the woman she is now. Will she finally learn the real meaning of love, friendship, and family?

While this book is a sequel to Plan Bea, it also reads as a standalone.

Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. The main character, Cecilia, has her issues (as do most people) but when faced with the supposed love of her life, Keith, from 20 years ago, she throws everything she has now away (or so it seems). She is trying to figure out if she missed out on something or not. We have probably all been at that point in our lives but perhaps made different choices.

Keith is another matter, he seems to have regretted letting Cecilia walk away from him…but as the story continues, I wondered if he was really sad she left or if he just wanted a fling because she was married and he still wouldn’t have to commit.

I did like seeing characters from Plan Bea continue in this story, I liked picking right back up where that story left off. The dynamic of the friends and family is probably similar to one you have in your own life. There are ups and downs and the ties of friendship are truly tested in this book.

I have to say I wasn’t thrilled with Cecilia and her actions. She redeemed herself to me at the end and the story ended where we don’t really know what is going to happen to Cecilia and her husband, Bryce. Perhaps another book is in the works?

We give it 4 paws up!

Plan Bea is Free on Amazon  (as of 3/9/17)

About the Author

By day, Hilary Grossman works in the booze biz. By night she hangs out with her “characters.” She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and high heel shoes. She’s been known to walk into walls and fall up stairs. She only eats spicy foods and is obsessed with her cat, Lucy. She loves to find humor in everyday life. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. She lives on Long Island.

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