Posted in 4 paws, Review, Romantic Comedy on February 17, 2017

Synopsis

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sautééé pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

Review

If you like hunky men, comedy, romance and food/cooking then this is the book for you.

Cecily is a multi faceted protagonist. She is wealthy but was trained at Cordon Bleu and worked in restaurants before becoming a television chef. She has a very wacky family including a cousin, Dina, that is a flower child long past the 60’s. And a grandmother that makes everyone toe the line.

Then you have 3 potential love interests for Cecily – her ex-fiance’ Boyce (because is he really an ex if they still have a good relationship? maybe, maybe not), Dante – a former boss of Cecily’s who happens to have a hot body and seems to rub Cecily the wrong way. Is it conflict or perhaps chemistry? And finally we have Devlin – her boss, who despite shaking up the network and making huge changes, sees something in Cecily. So who will she end up with? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I really enjoyed the mix of characters and the interaction (whether good or bad) because it just added more dimension to the story. I was hoping Cecily would end up with who she did, but there were times when I wondered if other incidents might influence her decision. Dina is a crack up, I love her whimsical nature. Paige (the best friend) plays a minor role, but there are some interesting twists with her life near the end.

I also liked how Cecily’s character grew as the book progressed. Yes she may be formally trained and have had a “proper” upbringing, but she learns to bend and grows as a woman and even as a chef. I liked how down to earth she was despite her parents and grandmother. I think it is her and Dina having each other as best friends growing up (even though they are cousins) that helped ground both of them.

We enjoyed the book and give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

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Posted in 4 paws, excerpt, mystery, Review on February 13, 2017

Synopsis

Luke McWhorter is one strange dude. He is America’s only sheriff with a Yale divinity school degree. That means he is able to use everything from existential philosophy to holistic psychology to old-time religion to cow-country street smarts as he deals with law and order issues in the obscure “West of Fort Worth” Texas county where he grew up.

During the dreadful autumn week recounted in Dudley Lynch’s debut mystery, McWhorter starts to wonder if even this will be enough. Four religion professors in Flagler’s three small church colleges are murdered on successive days. Sheriff Luke begins to understand that he is dealing with mayhem driven by one of America’s richest men, by Armenian cyber-revolutionaries, by Flagler’s own homegrown power-hungry provocateurs and by back-country caprice itself.

The jolts in Dudley Lynch’s ever-shifting, ever-surprising debut mystery don’t end there. To his near-disbelief, Sheriff Luke eventually realizes that Flagler’s religious colleges have been turned into killing fields by events connected to an astonishing discovery on Mt. Ararat in Turkey (no, it’s not Noah’s Ark).

It will be the rare reader who guesses the final shoe to fall in the autumn week that changes Sheriff McWhorter’s future and the legacy of Abbot County, Texas, forever.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter One of Beliefs Can Be Murder
by Dudley Lynch

I leaned in for a better view. I’d seen photos like this before. Usually, they were taken by an x-ray scanner mounted on a truck. Border patrol agents referred to the vans as “ice cream trucks.” They used them to spot illegals hiding in truckers’ sleeper berths or crouched between cargo shipments back in their trailers. In this x-ray, there didn’t seem to be any humans visible. Only one very large, longish, waist-high crate-looking object with indeterminate contents, if any. A cylinder that looked like a giant thermos bottle. An assortment of smaller boxes. And a jumble of what I took to be tanks, wires, hoses and other items although their vagueness made them hard to identify.

I cleared my throat. “What is it?”

“That’s certainly one of the questions.” Kane continued to gaze at me.

“What’s another one?”

Where is it?”

As was the case with many conference rooms, ours was like an aquarium. Lots of glass in the wall fronting the hallway. If the blinds weren’t lowered, passers-by could see in and the occupying fishes could see out.

As was my habit, I’d taken a seat that put my back toward the windowless inner wall. This allowed me to monitor activity in the hallway. That was why I was able to notice my long-legged, big-bellied chief deputy, Sawyers Tanner, as he strode by.

On an ordinary day, being briefed about what he found on his trip to a remote corner of Abbot County that morning would have been a priority. He and our C.S.I. team had been dispatched to investigate a gristly scene near a makeshift stone altar that contained the charred leftovers of a rancher’s most prized Angora goat buck. Well, most of the leftovers. The rancher had said the creature’s severed head was lying close by, abandoned in the dirt like a butcher’s bad habit. But my chief deputy’s briefing would have to wait. On this day, priorities were getting juggled.

Then, they got juggled again.

Shortly after Sawyers walked by, he reappeared from the opposite direction. This time, he was running. Hard. Another of my deputies was right on his heels. Both were clutching a Colt AR-15 Tactical Carbine in each hand. Usually, these light-weight, rapid-fire, military-styled rifles were locked up in a gun case. Four of them represented half of our department’s total supply. Our deputies liked them because, as one had once explained it to me, “they can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.” They were never unchained without good reason. Usually, the reason was that some of my people somewhere feared that the guns were going to be needed.

The burly F.B.I. agent hadn’t seen my deputies race by. But the concerned look on my face was all the tip-off he required to the new weather conditions in the room. Getting to his feet abruptly, he headed toward the end of the room where we had a large highway map of West Texas mounted on the wall. He took his brief case with him because he was still attached to it.

That was the precise moment that Helen charged back into the picture. The collision with the startled F.B.I. agent was a hard one, but it only slowed her. She shoved around him like he was a linebacker arriving a step too late and thrust a sheet of paper into my hands. The handwriting on it betrayed no urgency. I hadn’t expected it to. But the same was not to be said for her message. In her usual letter-perfect, schoolmarmish cursive, she had written: “Shooting in Bible Building at Hills U. Sawyers, deputies, paramedics en route. No other details.”

I read the note again—not for meaning but for its implications. Campus shootings were one thing that our department drilled for often with the university security departments in Flagler. A smart, pro-active thing to do, I’d always thought, when you have not one but three institutions of fairly decent size in your otherwise thinly populated, isolated, back-prairie-ish shallow West Texas county. One of the incidents we’d studied exhaustively was the one in Blacksburg. This was the one where a lone gunman had murdered 32 students and wounded 17 more at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. But we’d also combed through law enforcement analyses of the mass shootings at Columbine High, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, the movie theater in Aurora, Umpqua Community College in Oregon and a number of others. There was no reason why such shootings couldn’t happen in Abbot County—the Good Lord knew there were enough guns in the county. Now, it appeared one had.

Getting to my feet, I raised an index finger in the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick Kane. Told him that I didn’t mean to be rude, but he had 90 seconds. That was how much time he was being alloted to explain to me exactly why he was here. If he failed to do so, he and his compañeros would be promptly escorted to the parking lot and shown the way to the street. They’d each need a special pass before they’d be allowed to reenter our parking lot, much less our courthouse. Because this was still my conference room, my department, my county and my show.

To his credit, Special Agent Kane didn’t need 90 seconds. He finished in less than a minute.

For added emphasis, he tucked the X-ray photo of the cargo container under his chin with his free hand in his most earnest show-and-tell stance.

“We believe—or rather, we fear—this container is filled with weapons of mass destruction originating with terrorists in the Middle East. We lost track of it in Istanbul 22 days ago. Didn’t know where it was until today. We think it’s in Flagler or close by. The shipping industry’s computerized tracking system shows it was off-loaded in your rail yard about nine this morning by somebody, identity unknown. If we are right, there may be enough destructive power hidden away in your county right now to blow half this place to kingdom come. If not that, to poison nearly everything that breathes for miles around it.”

I studied him for a moment. “Do what you gotta do.” And bolted for the door.

Review

This was quite an interesting book and the concept of a small west Texas town being home to several bible colleges. There isn’t much in west Texas so I thought this was quite intriguing.

Luke may be the sheriff but he never planned to take that position, in face he wanted to be a minister and has a degree in divinity. It makes for an interesting back story for Luke and his dreams and education and I’m not sure it really fits in with being the sheriff…..but he was born into a family of law enforcement so it is hard to escape it at times.

The mystery was not easy to figure out, in fact I didn’t know who the killer was or why. It made sense as the story was winding down and the pieces all came together.

I did enjoy the story and the various story lines that intersected. And of course, the story line with Fresca (a dog) because I love dogs and there are some “oh no” moments when it comes to Fresca.

Overall we give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Author/journalist/thinking skills expert Dudley Lynch says the abiding themes of all our lives are transition and breakout, which are two very different things.

Mr. Lynch grew up in small towns in the American southern Great Plains and southwestern U.S. He was the son of a fundamentalist Christian minister who moved his family, on average, about as often as military families move.

Dudley’s dad intended to be a transition for his son, expecting him to follow in his footsteps in the church. Instead, the son choose breakout and got (two) degrees in mass communication (with an extra major in religion) and moved into American journalism. For a time, he worked for newspapers, including The Dallas News and the Arizona Republic.

Again, break-out took over. Dudley decided he’d rather write for himself, so he chose to free-lance. In the next ten years, his by-lined articles were published in about 250 periodicals on six continents—Reader’s Digest, Business Week, Newsweek, Fortune Magazine (special sections), The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, The Economist and many others.

In the late 1970s, Reader’s Digest assigned him a story on creativity. Shortly after the story’s publication, a major Manhattan insurance company invited Dudley to stage a half-day seminar in thinking skills improvement for fifteen of its senior executives, and he suddenly found himself at the helm of a management consulting business that he called Brain Technologies Corporation.

Then, more breakout! A voracious life-long consumer of mysteries, Dudley decided to write one about the all-encompassing themes of his life, transition and breakout, and about the mindsets and geographical trappings he knows best: churchy people in the red-dirt prairies and hills of shallow West Texas.

He sees a lot of himself in his POV character, Sheriff Luke McWhorter. Like his creator, McWhorter also trained to be a minister but in making the transition, one break-out after another got in his way. The latest, the murders of four Bible department professors at Flagler, Texas’ three church universities, requires McWhorter to use everything in his experience about transitions and break-outs—and religion—to restore order and a sense of calm to an excessively churchy community that never dreamed its citizens could commit such acts of self-destruction or that it would find itself the target of such mayhem from the outside.

Dudley now lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he and his wife, Sherry, continue to operate their company, Brain Technologies Corporation. He has written his acclaimed LEAP!psych blog for years.

Posted in 4 paws, Giveaway, mystery, Review, Thriller on January 23, 2017

Synopsis

After a murdered partner, a cheating wife and a lost job in Houston, Nick Sibelius sets up a private investigation business in a small Texas town hoping to find some peace and maybe, himself. When two lovers disappear and a fisherman turns up dead, he finds himself drawn into a web of crime and deceit involving MaryLou, a beautiful woman with a mysterious past; Junior, a failed farmer whose best intentions seem to always result in a dead body; and Barry, a sociopathic dentist turned illegal toxic waste entrepreneur with a violent right wing agenda. When the felon who killed Nick’s partner in Houston joins forces with Barry, Nick must not only stop the toxic waste dumping while finding his client’s missing daughter, but keep from being killed in the process. In the end, MaryLou’s dark secret will either save him or kill him — whichever comes first.

Review

Not only is this a crime thriller (I don’t think I can call it a mystery because you know what is going on and there isn’t really anything to solve) but it is quite funny too.  The cast of characters is very quirky but they all meld together nicely to make this a very enjoyable story.

I don’t even know where to start with this cast of characters. Nick is the PI that is searching for a preacher’s daughter that he swears was taken by a man….however, I think the preacher can’t accept his daughter dating!  Nick has his own past that has shaped him to be who he is today and he is pretty gutsy but that might be his former police training kicking in during the various incidents.  Junior is something of a redneck that has gotten into some precarious situations all because of money.  Just shows that if you don’t want to work for a living and make a quick buck it isn’t going to pretty or even legal!  Al/Alice is Nick’s office manager and he/she is quite a hoot.  I say he/she because Al wants to become Alice but not quite sure where in the process he/she is, but Nick is good and refers to Alice as a she.  I never knew what to expect and thought it was funny that he/she hit on Nick.  And then there is a love interest for Nick, MaryLou a journalist from Houston.  It is instant chemistry.

This author has hit on a great combination of action and humor and I’m not sure if I have read anything like this, but he has a fan of his work now!  Definitely pick it up if you are looking for something new to read that will keep you on the edge of your seat and laughing at the same time.

We give this 4 paws up.

About the Author

Richard Hacker has been writing most of his life, and professionally, in support of his work in management consulting, public speaking and training in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. In 2009 he moved, along with his wife, from Austin to Seattle, shifting his professional focus from business consulting to writing fiction full time. Wanted by authorities for smuggling Texas BBQ across state lines, he now writes and lives in Seattle. His writing has been recognized by the Writer’s League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. As a judge in literary contests such as PNWA and ChicLit, he enjoys the opportunity to give writers honest critique to move their craft forward. In addition, he is the science fiction and fantasy editor for the Del Sol Review, an online literary magazine.

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Posted in 4 paws, Middle Grade, Review, Western, Young Adult on January 20, 2017

Synopsis

When Annabelle Fortune, the fastest gunslinger in the wild west, inadvertently stops a stranger from attacking a train — and he wears a suit that enables him to fly! — the government believes she’s the only one to have witnessed the Locomotive Reaper and survived to tell the tale.

Promising to find out what he can about her missing father, the Director of the Secret Service persuades Annie to swear in. Too soon, her detested nickname re-stakes its claim.

Partnered with Beau Slokam, whose penchant for gambling leads them straight to the Doom Gang, Misfortune Annie guides the smooth-talking Southerner in a chase through the Rockies, with her Cheyenne friend, Wontoa, rounding out their unlikely trio.

When Annie again meets the Locomotive Reaper, his gadgetry proves far more advanced — and deadly — than even top scientists could have imagined.

A sequel is already underway! Visit Annie at MisfortuneAnnie.com for updates on release, as well as announcements regarding future books in the series!  You can also check out the Facebook page.

Praise

“At a time when women weren’t typically adventurers, especially at Annie’s age, it’s great fun to see a story about a girl who loves an adventure, is capable, and well-respected.  Annie is a great model for young girls.”

“Annie is whip smart and a dead shot. If you are looking for western action, train robbers, and a sharp shooter – look no further.”

“A fast-paced, action filled adventure in the Wild West with a wonderful heroine. Misfortune Annie’s bravery and determination leap off the page from the first scene.”

Review

This book was entertaining and a little different from what I normally read, but enjoyable all the same.

Annie is a gunslinger, and while I don’t know her age, I assume she is rather young (teenager or early 20’s at the oldest). Despite that, she is apparently known for having misfortunes on a regular basis, hence the nickname. She is persistent and when shooting at people tries not to kill them, but rather shoot guns out of their hands or just wound them. Sometimes that is to her detriment as they seem to continue coming after her. She is also a whiz with a rope and does some impressive roping throughout the book. Despite her scrapes and adventures, she is a character that is very likable.

Despite the era, she is educated and likes to read. That is a plus near the end of the book…but I can’t tell you why because it will spoil some of the anticipation while reading the book.

The book does leave you with a little of a cliffhanger that I assume will be addressed in a future book.

This book would be great for kids to read because of the action adventure, humor and historical setting.

We give this book 4 paws up!

About the Authors

Janet Fogg

Janet Fogg’s focus on writing began when she was CFO and Managing Principal of OZ Architecture, one of Colorado’s largest architectural firms. Fifteen writing awards later, she resigned from the firm to follow the yellow brick road. Ten months after that, she signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press for her historical romance Soliloquy a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner.

With husband Richard, Janet co-wrote Fogg in the Cockpit (Casemate), one of five books nominated in 2012 by the Air Force Historical Foundation for best World War II book reviewed in Air Power History.

Keeping her historical knowledge sharp, Janet manages the 359th Fighter Group’s Facebook page, sharing WWII stories and photos about the Fighter Group.  She is also a proud member and 2015/16 Vice President of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She previously served as Published Author Liaison in 2010.

Website | ChiseledInRock.com |  Janet “The Kid” Fogg on Facebook | Goodreads | YouTube

Dave Jackson

Not your typical author, Dave Jackson started writing in his constant pursuit to become a renaissance man, but later fell in love with the art form. He performs stand-up and skits regularly, as Comedy remains one of his many passions and he writes and performs skits, as well as stand-up. Also a songwriter and guitarist, Dave has composed over 300 musical titles.

A country boy, Dave was raised in Oklahoma and taught 6th grade English for two years. He enjoys sharing the tale about when he climbed high into a towering black jack tree and grabbed a dead branch. Snap! He hurtled toward his death, but he held tight to the branch and it slowed his fall, saving his life.

In 2013, Dave enjoyed the release of Tattoo Rampage by Curiosity Quills Press. The novel follows Evangelina Marquez-James, a strong female heroine, who gets her first tattoo as a symbol of courage to carry on after her police officer husband dies in the line of duty.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance on January 4, 2017

Synopsis

From bestselling romantic comedy author Stacey Wiedower comes a story about bucket lists, reality TV, and love despite all modern obstacles…

Four years after completing her first 30 First Dates challenge, blogger and TV producer Erin Crawford is once again racing the clock, this time checking off 35 goals she wants to achieve by her 35th birthday. In the meantime, the network behind YOLO, a reality show based on Erin’s bucket list, shifts her from behind the scenes as producer to center stage as a participant. Amidst growing pressure at work and home, including a cross-country travel schedule that never seems to align with her new husband’s, Erin has the added stress of a camera following her every move as she checks off her list for a national TV audience. From a wedding fiasco to a fateful dance lesson to a nemesis who’s determined to make trouble in her brand new marriage, everything that can go wrong definitely does. So wrong, in fact, that Erin starts to wonder if YOLO is recording her life … or ruining it.

The Unlucky in Love novels:
#1 30 First Dates
#2 Now a Major Motion Picture
#3 How to Look Happy

Review

This is a follow up to 30 dates in 30 days (that I didn’t read) and while this book can be read by itself, I can see where it might be handy to read the other book first, just to get an intro to the characters and how Erin and Ben came to be together.

Erin and Ben have a good relationship but they need to work on their communication and discover this at various points in the book. Perhaps they wouldn’t have found themselves in some of the situations had they talked more earlier on. But that provided the tension that the book needed in various places. not a lot, just enough.

This book made me think about my own bucket list…well the fact that i do not have one. But since I am turning 50 this year I thought I would do a modified one and choose 5 things to accomplish this year. That ties into what I really took away from this book – that we need to live life and not get stuck in ruts and push the boundaries of what we can do or experience in life before we die.

All in all I really enjoyed the book and it leaves you hanging for another one and whether Erin has accomplished #35 on her bucket list!

We give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

Stacey Wiedower started her career as a newspaper reporter before following her passion to interior design school. After spending three years at a firm with bizarre similarities to “Designing Women,” she began funneling all her experience into her work as a full-time writer. Now she pens novels, short stories, magazine articles, website copy and more, and the wacky characters she’s met poke their heads into her stories from time to time. Stacey lives in Tennessee with her husband, also a writer, and a son who’s inherited their overactive imaginations.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, Thriller on December 17, 2016

 

bullseye breach

 

Synopsis

Ripped from recent headlines, this gripping cyber-attack tale has all the elements of an international thriller, including a floating corpse in the Gulf of Finland. Meet an underground criminal supply chain, its innocent victims, and an unlikely midwestern IT group with an ingenious way to fight back against the theft of millions of credit-card numbers. If data breaches were not routine by now, this story would be unbelievable.

Instead, it’s a snapshot of life in today’s interconnected world, and an unforgettable Internet safety education. IT security has never been so riveting!

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Read an Excerpt

Review

I have to say I’m a bit of a geek and I really liked this book. We hear about companies getting hacked all the time and this story describes what might have happened occurred when the company was breached.

I enjoyed how the author told the story with enough technical detail, but not so much that a non-technical person couldn’t understand or enjoy the story. I may not have understood all the jargon, but a lot of it was familiar.

The characters in this book were very real. One example were the heads of companies (CEO and such) sometimes do not understand the importance of security when it comes to their computer infrastructure. And this doesn’t just mean large companies, but the smaller ones too. As the author put it, you have to guard your front door, back door and several side doors. There there were some IT employees/management that didn’t understand the importance either. And while I’m not wild about outsourcing to other countries, in this book there was actually a group in India that sharing concerns but not being heard.

The only thing that disappointed me about this book was that a minor story about a woman named Regina that was getting her life together and how she was affected by this breach/hack. Her story wasn’t really finished in my book. We can guess what might have happened but it would have been nice to know for sure how her story ended.

Overall this was a really good book and fast paced (I had a hard time putting it down at times). While fiction, the story is very real and it might make you think twice about how you approach technology.

We give this 4 paws up.

 

Trailer

About the Author

Greg Scott is a veteran of the tumultuous IT industry.  After working as a consultant at Digital Equipment Corporation, a large computer company in its day, Scott branched out on his own in 1994 and started Scott Consulting.  A larger firm bought Scott Consulting in 1999, just as the dot com bust devastated the IT Service industry.  Scott went out on his own again in late 1999 and started Infrasupport Corporation, this time with a laser focus on infrastructure and security.  In late summer, 2015, after “Bullseye Breach” was published, he accepted a job offer with an enterprise software company.

He currently lives in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area with wife, daughter, and two grandchildren.  He holds several IT industry certifications, including CISSP number 358671.

Scott graduated from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1979 with a double major of math and speech.  He earned an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis in 1996.

In the 1990s, he wrote a popular column on the back page of IT industry publication ENT Magazine titled, “NT Heartland,” and another column in Enterprise Linux Magazine titled, “Converts Corner.”

Inspired by The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt, a business textbook disguised as a fiction story about the resurgence of a rundown factory, Scott decided to write what would become Bullseye Breach after becoming frustrated from too many sensational headlines about preventable data breaches.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance, women on December 6, 2016

unraveling-the-pieces-banner

unraveling-the-pieces

Title: Unraveling the pieces
Author: Terri DuLong

Release Date: November 22, 2016

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Format: Ebook/Paperback

Synopsis

“DuLong reminds me of a Southern Debbie Macomber but with a flair all her own.” –Karin Gillespie

New York Times bestselling author Terri DuLong casts on her newest tale of heartbreak and hope in Ormond Beach, Florida, a sun-dappled haven where one woman finds the comfort she’s always needed…

Petra Garfield has no real attachments tying her down to one place. She’s ready for an adventure, so what could be better than an extended stay at Koi House with new friends and old in enchanting Ormond Beach. Having recently lost her mother, Petra is riddled with questions about the father she never knew. She certainly never thought she’d begin to find the answers in a tiny town in Florida…

As much as she wants to search for the truth, Petra knows she can’t spend all her time wallowing in the past, and her friends at the Dreamweaver yarn shop aren’t about to let her. The ladies encourage her to volunteer at a local animal shelter, where she hits it off with a young boy–and his handsome father. Tangled in secrets she didn’t even know she had, Petra must learn to stitch her life back together even as she unravels lifelong mysteries–and perhaps she’ll find unexpected happiness along the way…

Includes An Original Knitting Pattern!

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Review

Such an enjoyable romance novel! This is the third in a series and you don’t have to read the first two to enjoy this book, but it would help to explain some of the other character’s back stories and understand some of the dialogue.

Petra is quite an interesting woman and I could appreciate her desire to find out about her father since she was told he died shortly after she was born. I know it had to be a hard thing for her mom to do considering the times (late 60’s early 70’s) and being an unwed mother wasn’t easy. It is too bad that as she got older that her mother couldn’t tell her the truth about her father. She did leave some clues in case Petra decided to really look for him.

I also liked that Petra was older (late 40’s) and had never been married. I could relate to her in a way because my life was somewhat similar in that regards. She had her issues to battle when it came to relationships, but I liked her strong character and kindness towards friends and dogs. But she does find love and they take their relationship slow because they both have a past to come to grips with before they can truly move forward.

While some of the story was predictable (or obvious as to where a story line would go), it was still very enjoyable book and it touches the heart.

We give this 4 paws up.

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About the Author

terri-dulongBorn and raised north of Boston, Terri DuLong was a previous resident of Cedar Key, Florida. She now resides on the east coast of the state in Ormond Beach with her husband, three dogs and two cats. A retired Registered Nurse, she began her writing career as a contributing writer for Bonjour Paris, where she shared her travel experiences to France in over forty articles with a fictional canine narrator. Terri’s love of knitting provides quiet time to develop her characters and plots as she works on her new Ormond Beach novels.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on November 29, 2016

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Cat Got Your Diamonds: A Kitty Couture Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (November 15, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1629538426
E-Book ASIN: B01H082DOU

Synopsis

Grandeur and opulence are everything in the famed New Orleans Garden District where pets are family and no bling is too big. Opening Furry Godmother, pet boutique and organic treat bakery, is Lacy Marie Crocker’s dream come true–until the glitter gun used to make her Shih Tzu tutus becomes a murder weapon. And Lacy becomes public enemy #1.

Now Detective Jack Oliver is hounding Lacy, and her Furry Godmother investor wants out before his name is tarnished by association. To make matters worse, a string of jewel heists with suspicious ties to the murder case has New Orleans residents on edge. To save her dream, Lacy must take a stand, put her keen eyes to work, and unravel what really happened at her shop that night. But can Lacy sniff out the killer cat burglar in time to get her tail-raising designs on the catwalk?

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Review

A great start to a new mystery series!

I’ve read several of this author’s books and truly enjoyed them so wanted to see how this new series would compare. Very enjoyable! Lacy is a strong woman back home in New Orleans and running a couture and bakery for pets called Furry Godmother (love the name!). This is a big business so she should do well. And of course outfitting Llamas, cats, dogs, and other animals just adds to the quirkiness of the characters. I could just imagine some of these animals in the costumes she designed for them. She may come from a wealthier family but wants to do this on her own and is lucky to get the assistance of a local businessman, Mr. Tater (really I swear that is his name!), who pays her rent for a share of the profits.

So what would be any mystery without a murder? And since it happens in Lacy’s shop and she is suspected of being the killer, of course she has to get involved. There are some interesting twists I didn’t suspect and I thought I knew where the stolen jewelry would be and I was so wrong. Shame too because that would have been a good hiding space. I’m not going to tell you what in case you think along the same lines…you need to be surprised too. Anyway, the murderer is quite the surprise, but there is another surprise twist which shocked me because it wasn’t even something I considered.

And of course there has to be a love interest….or two. The studly Detective Jack Oliver and pro-volleyball player, Chase (brother of her best friend’s husband). Both have their pros and cons and we will have to wait and see who might be her love interest in future books.

We give this 4 paws up.

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About the Author

julie-chaseJulie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sisters in Crime (SinC). She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyons Literary Agency. Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey.

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Giveaway

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check out the other great blogs on this tour

November 15 – The Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

November 15 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW

November 15 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 16 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – REVIEW

November 16 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

November 17 – Grace. Gratitude. Life. by Marie McNary – REVIEW

November 18 – Melina’s Book Blog –  REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 18 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

November 19 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 19 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too ! – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Island Confidential  – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

November 20 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle – GUEST POST

November 20 – Readeropolis –  SPOTLIGHT

November 21 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

November 21 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 21 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 22 – Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my! – REVIEW

November 22 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 22 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 23 – Book Babble – REVIEW

November 23 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 23 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW

November 24 – THANKSGIVING

November 25 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 25 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 26 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

November 26 – Community Bookstop –  REVIEW

November 27 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 27 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

November 28 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW

November 28 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 28 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

November 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

November 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, mystery, Review on November 28, 2016

 

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2nd in Series
Alibi (November 8, 2016)
E-Book ASIN: B01AERZS0A
Approximately 225 pages

Synopsis

As Susan Breen’s compelling cozy mystery series continues, Maggie Dove’s budding detective agency has given her a new lease on life. Only one thing stands in the way of success: her clients—or lack of them.

After catching the killer who shook her small Hudson River town, former Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove stumbled onto an exciting new career and found a way to take her mind off her own tragic past. Now, despite her best efforts to promote the agency, Maggie can’t seem to land any new cases—until Racine Stern, one of the village’s wealthiest residents, offers her a thousand dollars to convince her “evil” sister, Domino, to stay out of town.

While Maggie’s business partner thinks she’s crazy for turning down a potential client, she doesn’t want her agency to get a reputation for accommodating bizarre requests. However, Maggie is soon caught up in the family drama anyway. Racine may fear for her life—and her inheritance—but it’s Domino who takes the fall when she plunges to her death from a tower at Stern Manor. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Maggie’s investigation will test her faith—and her ability to survive.

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Review

This is the second book in the series and I thought there was a great bit of improvement over the first book. The first book was good but seemed to drag on for me, but this book rolled right along and kept me interested in the story and trying to figure out was Domino murdered, did she commit suicide or was it an accident. While I wasn’t surprised at the ending, I did not expect the end result.

There are some interesting characters and I’m not sure about Agnes who is bankrolling the new detective agency. She is all over the board with her emotions and it can be very tiring at times. Hopefully she will settle down in future books.

I liked that we learned more about Helen’s past since Maggie just wants to help her where she can when it comes to Helen’s son, Edgar. He is 6 and a bit rambunctious and I’m surprised there hasn’t been any move to try and get him to be more calm or at least not head butt Maggie in the stomach. Maggie sure does put up with a lot from him but since she is alone, I imagine she loves being looked on as a grandmotherly type for Edgar.

Overall a good book and I’ll be interested to see how this detective agency continues in the future.  We give it 4 paws up

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About the Author

susan-breenSusan Breen is the author of The Fiction Classher debut novel that won the Washington Irving Book Award. Her stories and articles have appeared in many magazines, among them The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Compose, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. She teaches at Gotham Writers in Manhattan; is on the faculty of the New York Pitch Conference, South Carolina Writers Workshop, and the Women’s National Book Association; and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters-in-Crime. Breen lives in a small village on the Hudson River with her husband, two dogs, and one cat. Her three children are flourishing elsewhere.

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Posted in 4 paws, Dystopian, Giveaway, Review on November 27, 2016

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Release Date: December 3rd 2016

Published by: The Writers Coffee Shop

Genre: Fiction, Dystopian

Synopsis

A generation has passed since the pandemic known only as the Infection ended the world as we know it. In a little town in the Appalachian Mountains, Taylor has known only a harsh and brutal struggle for survival in a land littered with the rusted-out remnants of a lost world. By day, she labors in a coal mine. In the evenings, she tends a secret collection of beehives, and uses the honey to pay for lessons in survival skills, such as hunting, fishing and collecting herbs. Her home is a single room in a crumbling old motel, and her only companion is a pet box tortoise named Go she’s had since she was a child.

When her town is destroyed by a vicious gang of raiders known as the Nine, Taylor escapes with Dylan, the son of the mayor. Their only plan is to head south and escape the Nine’s vast territory, avoiding areas contaminated by meltdowns and industrial pollution where mysterious illnesses plague the residents.

Dylan has never known hunger or hardship and struggles to learn survival skills. He’s never known a woman like Taylor either. He tries to pay her back by teaching her to read and telling her the stories passed down from the world of Before.

They certainly didn’t plan on falling in love. Taylor fights it every step of the way, because in her world, any emotional attachment is dangerous. She’s been taught since childhood that love slows you down, makes you weak. But the feelings growing between them cannot be denied.

Taylor finds herself slowly breaking every one of her hard-learned rules of survival. She discovers that perhaps some of those things she’s always fought to avoid are the very things that make life worth living.

. . . And death shall have no dominion . . .”

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Amazon * Kobo * Barnes and Noble * iTunes * Powells * AbeBooks * TWCS PH

Praise for The End of All Things Series

Hope, love, and the strength of the human spirit are the backbone of this surprisingly uplifting offering from Lissa Bryan. ~ CBL Book Reviews

The End of All Things is more about hope and second chances, and I very much enjoyed the tale …. highly recommended for all fans of apocalyptic fiction. It’s a well-written book with excellent pace, plot, and best, it has real soul. ~ Jade Kerrion, Goodreads

Review

While this book does not pick up right after the first three, it is a continuum of this series.

While I haven’t read a ton of dystopian books, this is one series that I have truly enjoyed. The books have kept me curious about a different world and even wondering how I would fair under these circumstances. Probably not too well at first but I feel like I could learn and adapt (at least I hope!)

Taylor is a tough, smart young lady (age isn’t really know, but would guess 20ish). Dylan is somewhat pampered since he was the son of the mayor (as pampered as you can be in a dystopian world). So it wouldn’t seem like this would be a likely pair to hook up, but they do out of necessity and it was probably the smartest thing either one of them does. Taylor has the skills to survive out in the wild and Dylan brings more cultured skills (like reading, understanding maps and dealing with people) and this makes the unlikely pair a good match. Along the way the friendship turns into more.

This book help me captive as Taylor and Dylan made their way out of the Appalachian mountains, away from the town they lived in and away from the group that was hunting Taylor for killing someone higher up in a terror group. Many times I wondered if she was going to be caught or how they were going to survive obstacles that presented themselves.

There is more that I liked but that would spoil things…needless to say there is something of a happy ending. But that is all I’m going to say!

We give it 4 paws up.

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About the Author

lbryanLissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot . . . though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

She is the author of five other novels, Ghostwriter, The End of All Things, its sequels, The Land of the Shadows and Shadows Have Gone, and Under These Restless Skies.

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