Posted in 4 paws, Adventure, Giveaway, Historical, Review, romance, Western on June 28, 2017

BADLANDS

Sawbones, Book 3

by

MELISSA LENHARDT

!!NEW RELEASE!!

 

  Genre: Historical / Western / Action-Adventure / Romance

Publisher: Redhook

Date of Publication: June 27, 2017

Number of Pages: 416

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in the conclusion to Melissa Lenhardt’s fast-paced historical series.

Laura’s worst fears have been realized: Kindle has been taken into custody and she is once again on the run. The noose awaits her in New York, but Laura is realizing that there are some things worse than death. Finally running out of places to hide, it may be time for Dr. Catherine Bennett to face her past.

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The end of a trilogy that comes full circle for Catherine/Laura/Helen (the woman with many names).

When I first started reading this series, the grittiness and violence took me by surprise. While we know that the late 1800’s in the west was not a tame period or place to be, I was a bit surprised by how detailed the books were in describing the raids on and by the indians, the whore houses and just people in general. I have heard that some compare this to Outlander. I’ve never read that book but would imagine is it the raw and rough scenes that cause the comparison.

This book/series holds nothing back and really entranced me as the reader, imagining what it would be like to live in those times and under those conditions. The type of medical care that wasn’t really available and the charlatans that sold “snake oil” as cures for whatever ailed you.

Catherine/Laura/Helen is definitely a strong female character, but almost too strong in my opinion. I know that she never expected to fall in love and get married, and I know that this time period women were not seen as equals but almost as servants to their husband. Other women were fiercely strong too including Rosemond who is trying to make an honest living out her life and erase her own past. Laura and Rosemond may think they are different from each other, but really are alike in many ways and figure this out in the 2nd and 3rd books. I had to admire the gumption of many of the women in this book for taking their future into their own hands and not being dictated by society.

There are so many facets to this story that I thought the author did a wonderful job of exploring and leaving us with a mixed bag of emotions throughout the series.

We give this book (and the series) 4 paws up!

about the author

melissa-lenhardtMelissa Lenhardt writes mystery, historical fiction, and women’s fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Heater Mystery Magazine, The Western Online, and Christmas Nookies, a holiday romance anthology. Her debut novel, Stillwater, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest. She is a member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop and vice president of the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter. Melissa lives in Texas, with her husband and two sons.

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June 27-July 6, 2017

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Check out the other great blogs on this tour

6/27 Notable Quotable Momma on The Rocks
6/27 Notable Quotable Forgotten Winds
6/28 Review: Blood Oath CGB Blog Tours
6/28 Review: Badlands StoreyBook Reviews
6/29 Review: Blood Oath Reading by Moonlight
6/29 Review: Badlands Margie’s Must Reads
6/30 Review: Blood Oath The Librarian Talks
6/30 Review: Badlands The Page Unbound
7/1 Review: Blood Oath My Book Fix Blog
7/1 Review: Badlands Books and Broomsticks
7/2 Badlands Excerpt Books in the Garden
7/3 Bonus Review Blogging for the Love of Authors & Their Books
7/4 Bonus Review Hall Ways Blog
7/5 Badlands Excerpt Texas Book Lover
7/6 Badlands Excerpt Missus Gonzo

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Posted in 4 paws, Giveaway, Review, romance on June 27, 2017

Synopsis

Return to the beloved small town of Eternity Springs in the newest installment of Emily March’s New York Times bestselling series with A Stardance Summer.

Sometimes the end of one road
Brick Callahan enjoys every minute of chaos at his campground, Stardance Ranch, especially after the Tornado Alleycats arrive for an extended summer stay. The members of the all-female glamorous camping club are primarily seniors—active and adventurous, friendly and fun. But when he discovers Liliana Howe frolicking with the glamping grannies in a late night skinny-dipping session, he fears he’s in for a summer of trouble. Because his best friend’s kid sister has grown up to be drop-dead gorgeous.

. . .is the start of another

Betrayed by those she trusted, Lili decides she’s put her career first for too long. She sells her practical sedan, buys a travel trailer, and heads to Eternity Springs for a summer of rest, relaxation, and reassessment as the newest member of the Alleycats. The last person she expects to find running an RV resort is her high school crush. Their undeniable mutual attraction is a reminder that life is full of surprises. But when the past comes calling, will their summer romance stand the test of time?

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Books-a-MillionIndie Bound * Powells

Review

I was in the mood for a romance and this book fit the bill! I didn’t realize that there were 12 other books in this series but the hints and peeks into the lives of some of the others in Eternity Springs has me wanting to check out the other books to see how various couples got together.

This book focused on Lili and Brick aka Mark. They have known each other since they were younger and even though Mark was her brother’s friend, she had a crush on him. Of course as older brothers tend to do, she was off limits to Mark. They encounter each other again about 15 or so years later and she is not that pesky little girl he remembered from his childhood!

There are several areas this book touches on – fostering/adoption, fraud, illness and family loyalty. The author does a great job of weaving these stories together into this book and it held me captive through out. I thought I had figured a few things out and that the story line would be predictable, but I was wrong! Plus this book touched multiple emotions and the very last sentence had me laughing out loud.

We give this 4 paws up

About the Author

Emily March is the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a “master of delightful banter,” and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Author Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Author Website * Pinterest

Giveaway

Print Copy of A Stardance Summer
Open to US Residents only

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Posted in 4 paws, Children, Review on June 23, 2017

Dominick and the Dragon, by Anne K. Edwards

Age level: 4-8

Pages: 42

Synopsis

Dominick is a little boy fascinated by dragons. When he finally meets one named Elvis that wants to eat everything, including him, he has to find a way to outsmart him. His adventure proves a boy can be smarter than a dragon.

Review

Dragons are real, aren’t they?

A great story for a new reader to chapter books. Not a long book but if a child likes magic, dragons and fantasy then this would be a book for them to read.

The old adage that you shouldn’t talk to strangers applies here especially when you have a dragon that perhaps doesn’t always tell the truth….especially since he has been on a vegetarian diet and is anxious for some people soup!

I thought this was very well written and hopefully will lead a child to use their imagination when writing their own story or using their imagination when playing (assuming they are not tied to electronics). The story also has some problem solving for Dominick to figure out how to get out of this situation with the dragons.

We give this 4 paws up!

About the Author

Anne K. Edwards enjoys writing tales for children when she’s not focusing on a mystery. Some stories are ideas taken from little misadventures of her cat who actually did fall off the porch and land on a large blacksnake as it was sunning itself. Both were more than a little surprised.

Posted in 4 paws, Children, Review on June 22, 2017

Changing Places, by Anne K. Edwards

Age level: 4-8

Pages: 14

Synopsis

A black cat named Whiskers encounters a snake that has lost his home when he goes outside to see the world.

Review

Cute children’s book that teaches you that the grass is not always greener on the other side!

A cat meets a snake and they both think they have the best lives and decide to trade places for a day. They learn quickly that what they had before is definitely the best for them and they shouldn’t try and be something they are not.

I thought the characters were cute and it was also a little educational about how a snake moves and eats and how cats climb trees (and get back down!).

It is only 14 pages and would be a great story to read to children especially if you make the hissing sounds for the snake!

We give it 4 paws up

About the Author

Anne K. Edwards enjoys writing tales for children when she’s not focusing on a mystery. Some stories are ideas taken from little misadventures of her cat who actually did fall off the porch and land on a large blacksnake as it was sunning itself. Both were more than a little surprised.

 

Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance on June 20, 2017

Synopsis

“My dog didn’t like men. Actually that was a lie – she didn’t like the men I chose. The only ones who rocked her world had been my father (who was no longer with us), Ross (who was gay), and the butcher on the high street (for obvious reasons).”

When Jenni Meadows has the opportunity to expand her dog-grooming business she takes it, and when a nice man appears on her horizon but fails to make any sparks fly, she decides she has enough on her plate with her business without adding a boyfriend into the mix.

Besides, Millie doesn’t like him and when her dog doesn’t like a man, Jenni knows all about it. So why does Millie take a very strange liking to the new vet, especially since he has a taciturn expression, wears a wedding ring, and wields a needle?

Under the Cherry Tree is a tale of love and hope, waggy tails, and cold noses.

Amazon * B&N * Kobo * iTunes

**Pick up the eBook for $0.99**

Review

I’m a sucker for any book that has dogs within the pages.

Jenni and Millie are quite tight for a dog and her owner, but I can see where Millie was a great source of support and unconditional love for Jenni especially after she lost her father. But Millie has some up side to her, such as knowing what people are not good and Jenni really should avoid…of course like any person, she doesn’t always make the right decisions.

There are several men that enter Jenni’s life and Millie has something to say (or bark) about them. She does not like Neil (and for good reason as you will find out later in the book) or Mark (he seems alright but lives too far away). Now she does like Scott – the substitute vet, but he has some issues of his own to work through.

I enjoyed the language of this book. That may sound like a strange thing, but it is set in England and while they speak English some of the terminology is different than the English I speak in America. Thank goodness for the dictionary on my Oasis for a few of those words! I also enjoyed the descriptions of the towns and landscape, it sounded very picturesque and a place I wouldn’t mind visiting.

There are also ghosts in this book – but not the scary kind. There is the owner of the property that died, Cecilia, and her ghostly efforts to push Jenni towards her future (which she does successfully but that is all I am saying). There is also a dog ghost which seems very real to Jenni.

The story tugged at my heartstrings nearer to the end when Millie is diagnosed with some health issues and the story that ensued after that. I am not ashamed to admit I was teary eyed because it reminded me of what I went through with one of my dogs not quite a year ago.

A very enjoyable story with a little bit of everything within the pages.  We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Lilac spends all her time writing, or reading, or thinking about writing or reading, often to the detriment of her day job, her family, and the housework. She apologises to her employer and her loved ones, but the house will simply have to deal with it!

She calls Worcester home, though she would prefer to call somewhere hot and sunny home, somewhere with a beach and cocktails and endless opportunities for snoozing in the sun…

When she isn’t hunched over a computer or dreaming about foreign shores, she enjoys creating strange, inedible dishes in the kitchen, accusing her daughter of stealing  borrowing her clothes, and fighting with her husband over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, mystery, Review on June 16, 2017

Killer Music: A Cooper Harrington Detective Novel
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Lone Mountain Press (April 7, 2015)
Paperback: 212 pages

Synopsis

When private detective Cooper “Coop” Harrington meets record label mogul Grayson Taylor at a swank gathering of country music artists and politicians he never imagines he’ll be investigating his brutal murder less than twenty-four hours later.

The suspects are plentiful. More than a handful of people could have wanted him dead. Retained by Taylor’s widow, Coop works alongside his best friend and Chief of Detectives, Ben Mason. The investigation leads Coop and Ben to visit the luxurious mansions of recording industry magnates, navigate the murky undercurrents of the political world, and probe complicated family matters. Scandalous indiscretions, secrets, and hints of corruption swirl in the midst of their pursuit of the killer.

Coop’s faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle and his loyal golden retriever, Gus, both lend a hand during the investigation. Even his Aunt Camille mines the local gossip mill to unearth potential killers with motive. Yet the case seems hopeless until a crucial piece of evidence emerges that sends Coop and Ben on a race to catch the killer before someone else dies.

Review

I love a good mystery and this book did not disappoint! Grayson Taylor is murdered at a party and there are really no suspects in site. Sure there are tons of people at the party but it doesn’t seem like anyone has a motive to kill the music executive despite the fact that he was cheating on his wife and planning to start his own music label.

The author does not really lay out any clues for you to guess who the killer is, which is a good and bad thing. I followed along and wondered if it was this character or that character but never really knowing why. It is crazy what breaks the case wide open for Coop…that and some PI work that had unexpected benefits. Once that clue comes out the book moves at a faster pace and really kept me hooked until the end.

I think this will be a good series and I wonder if Coop and his office manager, AB (Annabelle) are destined to become love interests for each other. They have a good chemistry and I could see it happening.

We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Tammy L. Grace is the award-winning author of The Hometown Harbor Series of women’s fiction set in the picturesque San Jan Islands in Washington and a mystery series set in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring Cooper Harrington, Private Detective.

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

Website * BlogFacebookGoodreadsTwitterAmazon

Check out the other blogs on this tour (some have giveaways!)

June 12 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

June 12 – My Journey Back – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

June 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

June 13 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 13 – Books,Dreams,Life – INTERVIEW

June 13 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

June 14 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – INTERVIEW

June 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, GIVEAWAY

June 15 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

June 15 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

June 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

June 16 – Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT

June 17 –  Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

June 17 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST

June 18 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

June 18 – Community Bookstop – INTERVIEW

Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Monday, mystery on June 5, 2017

Synopsis

Fashionista Cassie Hall’s skills as a concierge (and amateur detective) at the upscale Parkstone Manor in Bethesda, Maryland, are being sorely tested. After discovering the dead body of professional golfer and resident millionaire, Kip Ace, in the Parkstone’s courtyard, Cassie is soon overwhelmed with residents’ worries about the crime. When the detective in charge (and Cassie’s long-term boyfriend) slams a 24-hour lockdown on the ritzy residence, Cassie must maintain calm among the residents as she sorts through their possible motives for murdering the golf pro––which have piled up quicker than rent checks on the 1st of the month. Mysterious power outages, a missing lease, and a wine cellar fiasco are just par for the course. Can Cassie find the holes in the residents’ alibis and catch the killer before it’s too late?

Review

This is the first book in a new series about a concierge who solves crimes.

Cassie moved to Maryland to be with her boyfriend of 15 years (who has yet to pop the question) and for now is working as a concierge for an upscale apartment building. Apparently she has a talent with fashion because throughout the book she mentions having picked out something for a resident or offering fashion advice.

The victim is a resident of the building (of course) and a famous golfer that Cassie sort of has a crush on, or so it seems. The building is on lock down for 24 hours per the building’s rules and that makes for an interesting situation because the killer is among them but who could it be?

This may be the first in the series but it seemed like there was information that would have been disclosed in a previous book. I got the impression that Cassie was a pro at solving mysteries based on some of her comments, but it didn’t seem that way from her actions. Plus it seemed like she was in a competition with her boyfriend (who is a police detective) to see who could solve the crime first. And of course like with all cozies, she rushes into situations not thinking about her safety but trying to be the winner in solving the crime. When will these characters ever learn?! LOL

I thought the mystery portion was very well written because I was totally surprised at the ending and the murderer reveal. There were clues that would have pointed you in this character’s direction but I didn’t put them together until they were revealed.

The residents of Parkstone Manor are very intriguing. Each one added a little something to the story to round it out.

The story has some funny bits too and I actually thought it was humorous that Eric and Cassie tried to keep their relationship a secret. They were found out fairly quickly.

We give it 4 paws up!

About the Author

Sherry Lodge has been writing for more than a decade for both print and online. She’s written for local newspapers in both Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., where she currently writes and edits web material for a major non-profit organization.
In addition to writing, Sherry loves to watch golf, which inspired Kip Ace as one of the main characters in her debut novel, Courtyard Corpse. Sherry has a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, excerpt, Giveaway, mystery, Review on May 24, 2017

 

 

Grilled, Chilled and Killed: Big Lake Murder Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Creekside Publishing (December 31, 2016)
Paperback: 330 pages E-Book 224 pages

Synopsis

It seems as if Emily is destined to discover dead bodies. This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbecue cook-off dead and covered in barbecue sauce in a beer cooler. She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong. Lewis’ denigration of Emily’s speculations is condescending enough to stimulate her dormant snooping skills. As the two of them go on their separate paths to find the killer, Lewis’ old partner, Toby the dirty, tobacco-spitting cop interferes in the investigation leaving Lewis with the wrong man in jail. Killers, bootleggers, barbecue and feral pigs—it’s a lethal game of hide and seek in the Florida swamp.

Excerpt

Emily shook the metal canister filled with ice, liquor and mix until her hand numbed from the cold. Perfect. She tapped the edge of the lid to loosen it and tossed the ice cubes she’d placed in the martini glass into the sink. A young man stepped up to the bar and opened the lid of the container, which held cherries and slices of lime and lemon. He reached in to extract a piece of the fruit.

She slapped his knuckles with a mixer spoon. “Yow!” He snatched back his hand.

“I do the bartending around here. Keep your hands out of my stuff.” Emily shook the spoon at him, threatening to hit him once more. He spun on the heel of his boot and left.

She poured the icy concoction into a glass and placed it on the bar in front of the man sitting there.

“You’re a tough gal.” The man’s gaze swept over the tiny blonde bartender with admiration. “But I already knew that.”

“He just came out of the bathroom. I’ll bet he didn’t even wash his hands before he pawed through my fruit.” She plunged the shaker into the soapy water in the sink and looked around the bar.

“Good drink. Just enough vermouth. Almost as good as mine.”

“Don’t sass your boss.”

“Where’d you learn to use the word ‘sass’?” There was almost a chuckle in his voice.

Emily knew Donald Green rarely laughed, never chuckled and chose to dole out his smiles with infrequency. The bass fisherman with the tall, muscular body and long, silver ponytail didn’t care if anyone found him pleasant or not. Emily figured he didn’t care about most people. Sometimes she worried she might be an exception. She didn’t need Donald paying attention to her as a woman, so she tried to aggravate him as much as possible. She thought that might take his mind off romance and put it back on catching bass or mixing drinks.

“You drink that drink, and I’ll drive to the festival grounds. It would look bad for the country club if their backup bartender got picked up for DWI.”

Review

I enjoyed this book as much as the first book since all the characters were back including a few “bad” guys (they just weren’t the killers in the first book!).  There are even some new characters added to this story that may just be passing through, but perhaps we will see them in book 3.  It is interesting how Emily is still treated as a Yankee and a visitor even though she has lived in this town for quite some time.  Maybe one of these years she will be treated as one of the gang and not an outsider.

While this is a mystery there are also quite a few comedic moments that caused me to chuckle and my husband to ask what was so funny.  Sometimes you just can’t explain those little bits because they are part of a larger story and takes too long to explain.  I kept going back and forth on suspecting different characters for the murder and their motive.  Of course I didn’t figure it out and I was glad that it wasn’t easy to figure out and kept me guessing.

Emily seems to have two love interests…Donald who is interested in her but I don’t think she is interested in him, and Detective Lewis who is married but getting a divorce and they seem to have some crazy sexual tension between them.

I thought the setting where the dead body was fun, a barbecue competition.  Living in Texas, I am quite familiar with those competitions and can be quite intense with the contestants.

Overall we enjoyed visiting Big Lake and hope to visit again soon!  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.   

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Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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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.   

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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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