Posted in 4 paws, mystery, Review on September 22, 2016

stripped-bare

Synopsis

Kate Fox is living the dream. She’s married to Grand County Sheriff Ted Conner, the heir to her beloved Nebraska Sandhills cattle ranch, where they live with Kate’s orphaned teenage niece, Carly. With the support of the well-connected Fox Clan, which includes Kate’s eight boisterous and interfering siblings, Ted’s reelection as Grand County Sheriff is virtually assured. That leaves Kate to the solitude and satisfaction of Frog Creek, her own slice of heaven.

One night Kate answers a shattering phone call from Roxy at the Bar J. Carly’s granddad Eldon, owner of the ranch, is dead and Ted has been shot and may never walk again. Kate vows to find the killer. She soon discovers Ted responded so quickly to the scene because he was already at the Bar J . . . in Roxy’s bed. And to add to her woes, Carly has gone missing.

Kate finds out that Eldon was considering selling his ranch to an obscenely rich environmentalist. Some in town hate the idea of an outsider buying up land, others are desperate to sell . . . and some might kill to get their way. As she becomes the victim of several “accidents,” Kate knows she must find the killer before it’s too late.

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Review

I had read some other reviews of this book and wondered if I was going to like the storyline…so glad I decided to not listen to the reviews and judge for myself. the book was enjoyable and there were some twists and turns when tracking down the killer….I was shocked but probably shouldn’t have been because the killer usually turns out to be a person you least suspect.

Now when it comes to the relationship between Ted and Kate – how could everyone in town know he was cheating on her and not say anything to Kate? Of course, from the hints we are given into their lives, it isn’t too surprising that he cheated.

As it is with pretty much all small towns, everyone knows everyone else’s business and it is hard to keep anything a secret. But that is to Kate’s benefit as she tries to figure out who killed Eldon and why Ted is trying to take the blame. Her family is a bit dysfunctional too, but that isn’t always a bad thing because despite everything they do stick together.

We give this book 4 paws up.

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About the Author

Shannon Baker is the author of the Nora Abbott mystery series from Midnight Ink. A fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. Shannon is an itinerant writer, which is a nice way of saying she’s confused. She never knows what time zone she’s in, Timbuck-Three, Nebraska, Denver, or Tucson. Nora Abbott has picked up that location schizophrenia and travels from Flagstaff in Tainted Mountain, to Boulder in Broken Trust and then to Moab in Tattered Legacy. Shannon is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 Writer of the Year.

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Posted in 4 paws, fiction, Review, women on August 31, 2016

from the sideline

Title: FROM THE SIDELINE
Series:  The Wake-Up Series
Series Number: 2
Edition: First
Pages: 266
Author: Amy Avanzino

Synopsis

After losing her marriage, life savings, and waistline, Autumn Kovac is terrified of being hit by more heartache. So when her only child decides to try out for the football team, the overprotective, sports-illiterate mom has a near phobic reaction. But Zachary hasn’t smiled since his father left, and she’s desperate to make him happy (and doing nothing and hoping for the best hasn’t been working). She reluctantly enters a new world of youth competitive sports, full of overzealous coaches with Vince Lombardi dreams and fanatical parents trying to achieve vicarious glory.

Unexpectedly, Autumn begins transforming within this strangely addictive new culture, finding her voice, facing her past, tackling her fears…and uncovering the secret that’s been keeping her from her son. After meeting her ideal catch, she finds herself back in the dating game and discovers some fierce competition of her own. Will Autumn make it off the sideline? Can the underdog finally win?

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Review

I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book…for the first 10-11 chapters I wanted to reach in and slap Autumn and tell her that she is the reason her son is the way he is and to stop coddling him! That is what is wrong with a lot of parents/kids today.

But around chapter 12, something happened to turn the story around. Something happened in Autumn’s life to make her realize that perhaps letting her son live a little would be a good thing and that maybe letting him experience whatever happens in Little League Football will rewarding in the long run. Yes he is 10, but that is not too early for him to start learning that life can be hard and it is what you make of it.

Now granted, Autumn had a tough life growing up and perhaps this is why she appeared to smother Zachary, she didn’t want him to have the life that she had and anything would be better.

Autumn grows a lot as a person in this book and even finds her backbone. I love a scene where she is defending herself to her friends and takes shots at their parenting skills. I think everyone learned something that day! Zachary even grows up some (as much as a 10 year old should at that age) and learns a few hard lessons himself.

Having this book as a part of the “wake up call” series is very apropos. I think a few people received a wake up call in this book!

We give this 4 paws up!

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About the Author

amy avanzinoAmy Avanzino received a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley and a Master’s from the University of Washington.  She is a former advertising executive, who has spent the last several years writing, while doing extensive hands-on research for her WAKE-UP series.  She’s a contributing writer of Hap Scotch, a play performed at the 2008 Frigid Festival in New York, which won two Audience Choice Awards.

Amy currently lives in the stands above the football fields, basketball courts, and baseball diamonds around Folsom, California, with her husband and four children.

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Posted in 4 paws, England, Review, romance on August 30, 2016

a summer romance

Synopsis

‘Milly settles into her new job but does her boss, Ashley Wilmot-Fox, have secrets that he is hiding in Briar Lodge? Will he be able to help Milly fight the ghosts from her past? Will Billy’s blundering romance last, and will Rafe’s secret affair be exposed? As the villagers prepare for their summer fete they have no idea what will be revealed on that day. ‘

Funny, Compassionate and Sizzling Sexy, A Summer Romance is a page-turning summer read.

A Summer Romance is the sequel to A Village Romance and is the third book in the Little Perran series by Lynda Renham writing as Amy Perfect. The first book was ‘A Christmas Romance’

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Review

After reading A Village Romance, I was afraid to pick this book up and read it. However, I’m not sure if the author found her groove or what because it was much better and very enjoyable. There is a little drama/mystery, some romance, betrayal and some humor.

I like how the townspeople of Little Perran come together in times of crisis. It makes me want to live there – other than having to deal with Stella who is quite the gossip and bitter as well. And while the town may seem idyllic, not everyone is perfect and they all have their own demons to battle.

While the characters may not be deep, they do have some complexity to them and all of them round out the story well.

We give this 4 paws up.

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About the Author

Lynda Renham has been writing for as long as she can remember and had her first work published in a magazine at age nine and has continued writing in various forms since. She has had several poems published as well as articles in numerous magazines and newspapers. Recently she has taken part in radio discussions on the BBC.

She has studied literature and creative writing and has a blog on her web page.

Lynda lives with her second husband and cat in Oxfordshire, England. She is Associate Editor for the online magazine The Scavenger and contributor to many others. When not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on August 19, 2016

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TERROR IN TAFFETA

Terror in Taffeta: A Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Minotaur Books (March 22, 2016)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250072566
E-Book ASIN: B014PELGRW

Synopsis

Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.

Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.

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Review

I chose to read this book because of the location, San Miguel, because I have a friend that owns a house there. And of course because it is a cozy!

So we have a couple that decides to get married in Mexico and one of the bridesmaids ends of dead right after the ceremony on the altar at the church. The bride’s mother (who is VERY pushy and not very likeable) seems to think it is the wedding planner’s job to solve the crime. Why, I’m not quite sure, but like I said, Mrs. Abernathy is not a very likeable character, comes across very entitled (as you might expect from someone that has money).

But solving the murder isn’t really the only surprise – mystery fiances, blackmail, drug smuggling and a few other surprises are in store for you if you read this book. There really isn’t a romance because Kelsey and Evan, while they like each other, they live too far apart to really have a relationship.

The only thing that I was disappointed in was the lack of description of the town and the sites. There are some that are mentioned, but I thought maybe there would have been more. It doesn’t taint my thoughts on the book overall, just a minor something I noticed.

Overall we give it 4 paws up!

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About the Author

Marla CooperAs a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

 

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August 15 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 16 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

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August 18 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

August 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

August 20 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

August 21 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – INTERVIEW

August 22 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW

August 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

August 24 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW*

August 24 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT

August 25 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – REVIEW

August 25 – deal sharing aunt – SPOTLIGHT

August 26 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

August 26 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW

August 27 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 27 – Booth Talks Books – SPOTLIGHT

August 28 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT

August 28 – CelticLady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in 4 paws, Pets, Review, Romantic Comedy, women on August 1, 2016

TheThingIs

TitleTHE THING IS
Author: Kathleen Gerard
Genre: General Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 275
Distributor:  Ingram
Publishing Date: March 9, 2016 (print)  February 9, 2016 (ebook)

Synopsis

Can a woman mired deep in the throes of grief have her heart and soul rallied by a therapy dog named Prozac who possesses supernatural wisdom and a canine Mensa IQ?
Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she’s not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.
Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.
Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it’s still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and  even love—along the way.
THE THING IS—a perfect read for fans of General Fiction,  Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Comedy, and Dog and Pet Lovers!

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Praise for the book

“A story brimming with humor and heart, and an ending that’s as unexpected as it is satisfying.” — Claire Ashby, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the novel, When You Make it Home
“Great story! Unexpected, delightful, uniquely creative…Kathleen Gerard not only understands the canine brain, but she gets people too. The Thing Is reminds us of how intricate and interwoven relationships are—and Prozac teaches us about grace and unconditional love.”  — Melody Carlson, author of the novels, The Christmas Joy RideFinding Alice, and The Christmas Dog
“Everyone could use a little Prozac. Kathleen Gerard’s heartwarming and uplifting book will have you heading to a pound as soon as you put the book down (if you can ever manage to do it). An absolute page turner, The Thing is provides all the proof you’ll ever need that dogs are truly nothing less than Four Legged Angels.” — Mary Curran Hackett, author of the novels, Proof of Heaven and Proof of Angels
“Kathleen Gerard captures the powers of caring, connection, and resilience in her wonderful novel, The Thing Is. Prozac, the book’s funny and wise canine hero, helps humans of all ages overcome their losses and grief, find happiness and adventure, and renew their joy in love and life.” — Susan Sipprelle, award-winning documentary filmmaker, Tree of Life Productions (Over 50 and Out of Work; Set for Life; Soldier On: Life After Deployment)
“A truly humorous twist on the issue of human frailty interacting with animal charm…offers a new take on grief recovery, which is both lighthearted and insightful!” — Trudie Barreras, Amazon “Vine Voice” Top Reviewer
“You don’t have to be a dog person to fall in love with The Thing Is. Funny and heartwarming, it’s a great read about love, loss, and what it means to be human.” — Alessandra Harris, author of the novel, Blaming the Wind

Review

Dog spirit guides can take many forms and in this book it is a 5 lbs Yorkie named Prozac.  He took this assignment not knowing what the TBD could possibly entail just so he could play Sandy in a revival of Annie sometime in the future.  He definitely was not expecting Meredith – a woman that lost her fiance 3 years ago and was still grieving.

This story goes back in forth primarily from Prozac and Meredith’s point of view.  I think there might be a few chapters from Helen or someone else’s POV, but not many.  It took me a couple of chapters to understand the flow, but once I did, I enjoyed the back and forth and especially when it was Prozac’s chapter because I found him to be a bit arrogant, but considering his history that he lays out for you in an early chapter, it isn’t too surprising.  Despite the arrogance, I think he learns something from Meredith’s pain and current situation, that perhaps there is more to the human emotions than he has experienced throughout time.

Meredith is another story, she is a mess!  Yes her fiance was killed in a brutal manner, but life goes on and one can still grieve and miss a loved one and continue with life.  However, it takes her petsitting Prozac and meeting a few other people to turn that life around.

There are some witty characters, along with some that learn lessons along the way.  I think this book touches many emotions and creates many learning moments for many of the characters.

We give this 4 paws up!

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About the Author

Kathleen Gerard writes across genres. Her work has been awarded many literary prizes and has been published in magazines, journals, widely anthologized and broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). Kathleen writes for Shelf Awareness. Kathleen’s woman-in-jeopardy novel, IN TRANSIT, won “Best Romantic Fiction” at the New York Book Festival.

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Posted in 4 paws, Dystopian, Review on July 28, 2016

TV Apocalypse cover 5

Synopsis

Even the suburbs aren’t safe from the end of the world…

Daisy Danner is your typical busy stay-at-home mom. On most days she tries to keep her head down and finish her never-ending work. Today is different. Today is the apocalypse.

When an eerie attack starts to tear the neighborhood and the world apart, Daisy shuts the doors and prays that her husband Justin will return soon. Her mind begins to fray as she tries to cope with the possibility of single motherhood in a menacing new world.

With her mental and physical abilities compromised, Daisy must keep her family together as the world falls apart.

TV Apocalypse is a psychological apocalyptic thriller set in an all-too-real suburb. If you like end-of-the-world tales, humor mixed with tragedy, and incredible suspense, then you’ll love Kathleen Rover’s chilling glance into post-apocalyptic suburbia.

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Review

What a unique premise for a book! I thought I had heard/read it all but a “virus” transmitted over the television is definitely new to me. They call those that have the virus “influenced” and they take on a zombie like appearance and tend to go a little nuts and try to harm those around them including loved ones. A twist on a dystopian scenario.

Enter Daisy – she might be influenced but not like the others, she just wants to protect her family. It seems that she has a split personality and the other side of her has all these skills that seem second nature but Daisy is anything but a fighter.

I really enjoyed this book and it was hard to put down because I wanted to know what the heck was going on in the world. In a way it seemed to correlate to all of the issues we have in the world today. This is a series and so the book does sort of leave you hanging but at least there is a sneak peek into book 2.

We give it 4 paws up.

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TV Apocalypse Teaser

About the Author

I am a mother, a writer, and an avid reader. I write under a pen name due to another professional career. Everyone has a secret in their life, mine is writing.
What’s your secret?

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Posted in 4 paws, fiction, Giveaway, Literary, Review on July 25, 2016

Banner The Lark

THE LARK

by

Dana Glossbrenner

Genre: Humorous Literary Fiction

Publisher: Boldface Books

Date of Publication: June 7, 2016

Number of Pages: 270

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synopsis

The Lark Cover

 

You’re never too old to learn—or too young

Good-looking, good-hearted Charley Bristow’s the most sought-after hair stylist in five West Texas counties. He’s an expert on the dance floor and sharp at the pool tables, too—but when it comes to pick­ing cars, dogs, and women, luck hasn’t quite gone his way lately. And there’s the ever-present worry over his mother, whose own trailer-park plight he’d just as soon steer clear of.

Just when he’s sworn off temptation of the female sort, an evening at the local honky-tonk drives two prime targets right into his path. Weighing the sudden wealth of options in his love life, while also searching for the right choice of wheels to suit his needs, Charley stumbles upon a long-hidden secret and an unforeseen road to re­demption.

The colorful denizens of the Wild Hare Salon, Jarod’s Automotive, and Hopper’s nightclub, along with those of the Briargrove First Methodist Church and the Sulfur Gap Centennial Celebration, will two-step their way right into your heart, to music as familiar as Willie Nelson and Charley Pride. And you just might start to fall in love with an old Johnny Mercer tune, too, as Charley Bristow faces his past and embraces the challenge of his future.

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Praise for The Lark

“Good-time Charley” Bristow is a popular twenty-something West Texas hairstylist who’s already dodged two bullets with two failed marriages (the second time, literally). . . . The Lark invites us to join Charley’s friends, the rural cosmopolitans of Sulfur Gap, and ride shotgun alongside this rogue with an honest heart . . . on a journey into his past.  Dana Glossbrenner has crafted a totally engaging quest for happiness, set it in a totally genuine contemporary Texas, and delivered up great characters for a great read.  — Cliff Hudder, author of Splinterville and Pretty Enough for You

Charley Bristow takes some things seriously–work, dancing, pool-playing, and women, but maybe not in that order. He finds the true importance of friends and family.  — Rick Smith, San Angelo Standard Times

Review

When I started this book I thought it was going to be a romance book from a guy’s perspective which would have been a little different, or at least how this story seemed to start. But as I continued to read it became evident that this was much more than just a romance. It is a story about family, friendships and finding true love.

Charley is a hotshot hair stylist/barber in his small Texas town. He has been married twice and is only 25. He seemed to feel pressured to be in a relationship, but that pressure only came from within himself and not from anyone else. He has a good relationship with his mother, who has become something of a recluse so he checks in on her and picks up groceries and such for her each week.

I felt like this story could happen in any small town. There is the gossip that runs rampant, but also the citizens of the town really watch out for one another. There are times when you really feel for Charley and his childhood, but all is not as it seems. I can’t give away too much, but suffice it to say that Charley is in for a journey that will change his life forever. Charley learns who he really is and what he is capable of and what really matters in life.

We give this 4 paws up!

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about the author

Glossbrenner PicDana Glossbrenner’s debut novel, The Lark, features Charley Bristow, a successful young hair stylist in a small West Texas town. His misadventures provide humor, intrigue, and catharsis, as he discovers a lost family history. Women Behind Stained Glass: West Texas Pioneers, a historical work, recounts the lives of women who helped settle the area around San Angelo, Texas.

Glossbrenner taught high school and university English classes and worked as a guidance counselor. She grew up in Snyder, Texas, earned degrees from Texas Tech, Angelo State University, and Texas State University. She now lives in San Angelo, Texas.

She cites Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, and Elmer Kelton as major inspirations for writing about Texas.

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Lark giveaway

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7/25    StoreyBook Reviews– Review

7/26    The Librarian Talks – Author Interview #1

7/27    Texas Book Lover – Excerpt #1

7/28    Reading By Moonlight — Review

7/29    It’s a Jenn World – Author Interview #2

7/30    Country Girl Bookaholic – Review

7/31    The Crazy Booksellers — Promo

8/1       Missus Gonzo – Guest Post

8/2       Byers Editing Reviews & Blog – Excerpt #2

8/3       Kara The Redhead — Review

8/4       The Page Unbound – Author Interview #3

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8/6       Books and Broomsticks — Promo

8/7       Forgotten Winds – Excerpt #3

8/8       My Book Fix Blog – Review

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on July 25, 2016

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ADDRESS TO DIE FOR

Address to Die For (A Maggie McDonald Mystery)
New Series
Cozy Mystery
Lyrical Underground (July 19, 2016)
E-book – 320 pages

Synopsis

For professional organizer Maggie McDonald, moving her family into a new home should be the perfect organizational challenge. But murder was definitely not on the to-do list . . .

Maggie McDonald has a penchant for order that isn’t confined to her clients’ closets, kitchens, and sock drawers. As she lays out her plan to transfer her family to the hundred-year-old house her husband, Max, has inherited in the hills above Silicon Valley, she has every expectation for their new life to fall neatly into place. But as the family bounces up the driveway of their new home, she’s shocked to discover the house’s dilapidated condition. When her husband finds the caretaker face-down in their new basement, it’s the detectives who end up moving in. What a mess! While the investigation unravels and the family camps out in a barn, a killer remains at large—exactly the sort of loose end Maggie can’t help but clean up . . .

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Review

This is a new cozy series that I think will be a winner. Set in a small town in CA, Maggie and her family has just moved to this town and it is not starting off very well when they find a dead body in their home. It only goes downhill from there.

I thought this book had some really interesting characters and it was different from other cozies I have read. From the start, Maggie’s husband has to fly to India for work right as they move to this new town, so we get a peek at their email correspondence during the fiascos that occur.

There isn’t a large collection of characters to try and decipher who the killer is and I have to say that the author did a great job of leading me down some wrong paths! When the killer was reveals I was quite shocked. I would never have suspected this person. There were plenty others that I wanted to pin the murders on just because I didn’t like their attitudes.

I liked that at the beginning of each chapter there is an organizational tip. Many of them were actually quite helpful and I hope to incorporate a few into my life.

I will be interested to see what happens in the next book (and we got a sneak peek at the end of this book and it sounds really good!)

We give this book 4 paws up!

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About the Author

Mary FelizMary Feliz has lived in five states and two countries but calls Silicon Valley home. Traveling to other areas of the United States, she’s frequently reminded that what seems normal in the high-tech heartland can seem decidedly odd to the rest of the country. A big fan of irony, serendipity, diversity, and quirky intelligence tempered with gentle humor, Mary strives to bring these elements into her writing, although her characters tend to take these elements to a whole new level. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and National Association of Professional Organizers. Mary is a Smith College graduate with a degree in Sociology. She lives in Northern California with her husband, near the homes of their two adult offspring.

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July 19 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 19 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
July 20 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
July 20 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &,Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
July 21 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW
July 22 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
July 23 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
July 23 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
July 24 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – REVIEW
July 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
July 25 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 26 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
July 26 – Tea and A Book – REVIEW
July 27 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW  
July 28 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
July 28 – Bookjunkie’s Book Blog – INTERVIEW
July 29 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
July 29 – Booklady’s Booknotes – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 30 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
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August 1 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
August 1 – fuonlyknew – REVIEW
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Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance, women on July 19, 2016

first comes love

Synopsis

In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

Review

I have always enjoyed this author’s books and this was no exception.

I like that despite the dysfunction of the family that they can come together in times of need, even after the death of the oldest child, Daniel, 15 years ago. There are still issues that each person is dealing with (primarily Josie and Meredith since the book is from their perspective). But both of them learn more about themselves and grow and are able to overcome the shadows they have been hiding in over the past 15 years.

Josie is a bit of a wildcard and her choice to become a single mom was admirable. There are some twists in regards to the “sperm donor”, but it was very interesting and I wonder if there will be any follow up books to see where they are in a year or so and if anything changes in her personal life.

Meredith is in a spot that many women probably find themselves, in a marriage they may not want to be in and not sure what they should do. I think some women will be able to relate to her and the struggles she faces.

We give it 4 paws up.

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Posted in 4 paws, Giveaway, mystery, Review, suspense, Thriller on July 9, 2016

Winning Texas Banner

 

WINNING TEXAS

by Nancy Stancill 

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Date of Publication: April 26, 2016

# of pages: 230

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synopsis

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When a female body is found floating in the Houston Ship Channel, Annie Price, an investigative journalist for a struggling Houston newspaper, is propelled into a dangerous web of intrigue. She must solve a complex mystery that includes a corrupt strip club empire, a ruthless human trafficking scheme, and deadly competition between two separatist groups seeking to impose their twisted visions on the Lone Star State. As two murders hit close to home, Annie and a fellow reporter risk death to expose the hidden secrets of a Texas ranch.

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AMAZON * BLACK ROSE WRITING

PRAISE FOR WINNING TEXAS

“Sex traffickers and guns-for-hire meet in a nefarious plot to see Texas secede and America shaken to its core. Witty, gritty and filled with brilliantly realized characters, this book is a pure delight for lovers of suspense as the ever-dogged Annie Price risks life and limb to uncover the truth.”  – Tony D’Souza, author of Mule

Winning Texas is a moody thriller, an ode to people with outsized dreams and the ones they prey on; to those who populate the city by day, and those who rule the night. In the wake of L.A.-noir and Florida glare, Nancy Stancill gives us Bayou City grime. In her pages, Houston seduces and leaves us breathless, begging for more.”  – Stefan Kiesbye, author of The Staked Plains

Nancy Stancill “captures a newsroom’s camaraderie and angst . . . while her descriptions of Houston and the whole of Texas make you feel the heat and see its beauty.”  — Mary Cornatzer, The News & Observer

Review

 

Wow, what a surprising book! I have not read anything by this author and apparently this is the 2nd book in a series (the first being Saving Texas). I have this thing about reading a series in order but this book was well written and only a few references to things in the past that I am assuming are in the first book, but nothing that made me feel like I was missing out.

The book is set in Houston and while I am only slightly familiar with locations and such, I felt like I was there with the various descriptions and location mentions (including a reference to a restaurant called Ninfa’s that I remember eating at in the DFW area back in the 90’s and sadly is now closed)

Annie is an editor that is pulled back into reporting when a body is found in a Houston waterway and her main reporter that covers this beat is out of town. I don’t think she is expecting the tale that unfolds, I know I wasn’t! And if you want a sneak peek into the gentleman’s club scene, this book gives you a glimpse. It can be good and it can be bad, all depends on the owners and managers. There is also a glimpse into human trafficking, but not where women are kidnapped, but are brought into the US illegally to perform at strip clubs and do other things but are basically held hostage until they repay the cost to bring them here.

I found one of the underlying stories about groups wanting Texas to secede fascinating. Sure it has always been a joke here, but let’s face it, there would be so many things that would have to change that it may not be for the best (currency, trade, etc). But don’t let some of the characters in this book convince you otherwise.

There is a vast array of characters and just when you think that you like a character or two, they turn on you and they are not quite so likeable. I was very surprised at the changes in a few of the characters, did not expect the change in attitude/beliefs.

I was definitely surprised at how some events turned out including the big secret about “the ranch”. I was wondering if we would find out what was up with that location and what julianna was doing there, and you do find out but just FYI it isn’t until the end. Keeps the mystery going.

I also liked how the author addressed the newspaper industry and that printed papers are becoming a dying industry and that all of our news is gathered from online sources. It is the fate of the world due to advances in technology. Why wait on day old news when you can have the latest, most update news 24/7? Of course you hear all the bad news 24/7 and it can be a downer.

Overall, enjoyed the book and will be on the lookout for upcoming books from this author.  We give it 4 paws up!

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about the author

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Nancy Stancill spent more than 30 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before she began writing fiction full-time. She was an award-winning investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle and the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and worked as a reporter and editor at other newspapers in Texas, Virginia and California. Stancill is a journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and received her master’s in creative writing from the University of Tampa in Florida in 2015.  She and her husband lived in London for three years before moving back to the United States in 2012.  She has a son in Virginia and she lives in Charlotte, N.C. with her husband, Len Norman, and black cat, Spud. Saving Texas was her first novel. Winning Texas is her second.

 

Website * Facebook * Goodreads * Twitter * Amazon Author Page

 

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

TWO WINNERS EACH WIN:

* Signed Copies of Winning Texas and Saving Texas *

* $15 Starbucks Gift Card * 

(US ONLY)

  June 30 – July 9, 2016

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Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

6/30    Texas Book Lover  – Promo

7/1       The Librarian Talks – Review

7/2       Margie’s Must Reads – Excerpt

7/3       A Novel Reality — Promo

7/4       Country Girl Bookaholic  – Review

7/5       The Crazy Booksellers  – Promo

7/6       The Page Unbound  – Guest Post

7/7       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Review

7/8       Forgotten Winds – Author Interview                    

7/9       StoreyBook Reviews  – Review

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