Posted in 4 paws, excerpt, fiction, Review, women on September 29, 2016



Title: The Things We Said Today – A Bennett Sisters Novel
Author: Lise McClendon
Publisher: Thalia Press
Pages: 274
Genre: Women’s Fiction


Five sisters, all lawyers, well-trained in the art of demanding what’s necessary.It’s enough to drive a wedding planner to tears. Then add in a European venue, a Scottish hunting lodge, and a reluctant bride, and things get dicey. Can the middle sister, Merle, rally the troops, deal with the in-laws, and stop a powerful storm from ruining everything? Merle has powers of persuasion, especially when it comes to her French beau, Pascal, but in Scotland she has no clue how to corral her out-of-control sisters who are hellbent on wringing every bit of drama from a bad situation.

Annie Bennett is getting married…. At the ripe old age of 55. She’s turned down a few proposals over the years and stayed true to her motto: Stay single, stay happy. When she met handsome Scot Callum Logan she had no intentions beyond her own personal Highland fling. Then it happened: she fell in love. Annie’s doubts about marrying a much-younger man continue to plague her. Callum wants to get married in the bluebells of his native Highlands. But does Annie want to get married at all?

Join the Bennett Sisters in their third rollicking novel, after Blackbird Fly and The Girl in the Empty Dress, in another summer adventure with romance, intrigue, men in kilts, plus wine and whisky, as they navigate the treacherous waters of middle-age, self-discovery, and understanding your fears.


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The Scottish landscape sped by the window in flashes of greens, ruby reds, and golds as Merle Bennett sat curled into the train seat, holding Pascal’s warm hand. All the planning, coordinating, and anxiety of the last few months evaporated as they passed fields of sheep, horses grazing on emerald pastures, trees aglow with new finery, and tiny villages squatting low along roadsides.

As a pessimist Merle never thought it could all come together, even with her prodigious check-lists. But there is one important reason to be a pessimist. As one you are subject to pleasant surprises, and Merle was experiencing one now. Things had come together. Stasia, the hyper-organized sister, had wielded her mighty binder full of maps, weather charts, and suitcase-packing diagrams. Merle provided lists of clothing required for each day of the week. Annie, the eldest and the bride, had floated along on everyone else’s plans. The younger sisters were blissfully ignorant of all lists, treating the whole thing as a big adventure. And it was, Merle supposed, if you looked beyond the machinations to make it all happen.

Annie’s wedding was in five days. Merle was crazy about Callum Logan, as he made her sister happy. That was easy to see. But it would be stretching it to say that she thought six months ago that this wedding would happen. Moving entire families across the Atlantic Ocean, coordinating flights, getting passports for some, renewals for others, hotel rooms, rental cars, all that plus the actual wedding planning. Not to mention trying to make everyone happy. It was a nightmare to Merle. In the end she only had to coordinate herself and Pascal. And that, as it turned out, was easy.

He had his head back, eyes shut, black curl drooping on his forehead. The sway of trains made most people sleepy but Merle rode one almost every day. She rubbed the back of his hand with her thumb. Almost everything about Pascal was easy, she thought, and that made her twitchy. Life in general didn’t fit that pattern. There were compromises and disappointments, failures and chaos. People left you, grew up, moved away, died. There was so much room for loneliness and disaster.

Life was irritatingly random. So she made her lists, trying to control what she could and cross the rest off.

They slowed to a stop in a small town. The station was bright, cheerful, with splashes of blue paint. Sunshine poured through glass panels in the roof. Everything she’d heard about Scotland seemed wrong. It was beautiful, peaceful, full of spring flowers, blue skies, and happy faces.

She made a quick promise to herself to smile all week. Her son Tristan wouldn’t be here to remind her. A glance at Pascal might do the trick. It shouldn’t be that hard. She was happy for Annie, who despite years of protestations and bohemian ways, was actually getting hitched.

It was amazing. It was romantic. And it felt inevitable the way the best things do, as if life had finally given up throwing obstacles in your path and wrapped its warm arms around you and whispered those happy words you’d been longing to hear.

This is your moment. Go live it.


This is the third in the series, but it can be read without reading the first two books. You may learn more about the sisters and their situations, but I don’t feel like I really missed much not having read the books.

This book is listed as women’s fiction, but there is a little bit of mystery/suspense wrapped up in this story.

There are 5 sisters and this book revolves around Annie, who is 55 and marrying a man that is 14 years younger than her. She has some serious reservations about marriage and whether it is really for her. Callum is her fiance and he has a few secrets of his own that nearly derail their relationship. And there is his very overbearing mother.

But the whole book is not just about them…there is a journey involved for Merle and her boyfriend Pascal; Francie; Elsie; and even Stasia. Each minor character adds to the overall flow of the story.

Overall the story was enjoyable and since it was set in Scotland, the picture that was painted made me feel like I was there. There is a good blend of characters that play off each other well to round out the story.

We give this book 4 paws up.

About the Author

lise-mcclendonLise McClendon writes fiction in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. She has been a film reviewer, a film maker, a journalism professor, and a PR flack. Since her first novel, The Bluejay Shaman, was published in 1994, she has served on the national board of Mystery Writers of America and the International Association of Crime Writers/North America, as well as on the faculty of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference where each year she critiques, speaks, and learns from writers new and old.

Lise McClendon also writes as Rory Tate.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on September 26, 2016


Murder in G Major

A Gethsemane Brown Mystery


Alexia Gordon

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Suspense / Paranormal

Publisher: Henery Press

Date of Publication: September 13, 2016

Number of Pages: 268

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Stranded in Ireland after losing both a gig and her luggage, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown hopes to win her way back to the States by accepting a challenge: turn rowdy school boys into a champion orchestra. She’s offered lodging in a beautiful cliffside cottage once owned by her favorite composer. The catch? The composer’s ghost. He can’t rest in peace until he’s cleared of false charges of murder-suicide. Desperate after a quarter-century, he begs Gethsemane for help. A growing friendship with the charming ghost spurs Gethsemane to investigate. Her snooping provokes a long-dormant killer and she soon finds herself on the wrong sort of top ten hit list. Will Gethsemane uncover the truth as she races to prevent a murderous encore or will she star in her own farewell performance?


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“Gordon strikes a harmonious chord in this enchanting spellbinder of a mystery.” —Susan M. Boyer, USA Today Bestselling Author of Lowcountry Book Club

 “Just when you think you’ve seen everything, here comes Gethsemane Brown, baton in one hand, bourbon in the other. Stranded in an Irish village where she know no one (but they all know her), she’s got just six weeks to turn a rabblesome orchestra into award-winners and solve a decades-old murder to boot. And only a grumpy ghost to help her. There’s charm to spare in this highly original debut.”  — Multi-award-winning author, Catriona McPherson

 “Gordon has composed a masterful and magical debut. . .Murder in G Major captivated me from the first page to the last, transporting me to the windswept cliffs of Ireland.”  — Gigi Pandian, USA Today bestselling author of Michelangelo’s Ghost

 “Alexia Gordon’s debut is delightful: an Irish village full of characters and secrets, whiskey and music – and a ghost! Gethsemene Brown is a fast-thinking, fast-talking dynamic sleuth (with a great wardrobe) who is more than a match for the unraveling murders and coverups, aided by her various –handsome – allies and her irascible ghost. Can’t wait to see what she uncovers next!” —J. Suzanne Frank, AKA Chloe Green, author of the Dallas O’Connor mysteries


Music, murder and ghosts….a trifecta for me! And I didn’t even mention that it is set in a small town in Ireland. While I haven’t been to Ireland, perhaps one day and I can imagine this little town (small enough to ride a bike everywhere, or so it seems).

The characters are diverse and sometimes downright comical. I can imagine Gethsemane’s horror at being able to see a ghost and converse with him. I don’t think she expected that at all, but the upside is that he was an amazing composer that she admired.

Gethsemane is a strong woman in her own right and despite being an American in Ireland, she pushes local police to really figure out what happened 25 years ago to Eamon and Orla. She also has to gain the respect of teenage boys and bring them together for a competition for orchestras. That is no small feat in itself as she has 6 weeks to pull that off.

The mystery turns into more than just who killed Eamon and Orla, more people die as Gethsemane pokes into the 25 year old mystery. I won’t say that I figured it out entirely, I had my suspicions but had to wait for the author to reveal the motive to truly understand.

The book does leave you hanging a little bit (can’t say too much without giving it away) so I will have to read the next book to find out if the situation is resolved or not.

We give this book 4 paws up


about the author

alexia-gordonA writer since childhood, I won my first (okay, so far, only) writing prize, a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, in the 6th grade. I continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. My medical career established, I returned to writing fiction.

Raised in the southeast and schooled in the northeast, I migrated to the southwest after a three-year stint in Alaska reminded me how much I needed sunlight and warm weather. I completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas then moved to El Paso, Texas where I currently practice medicine. If pushed, I will admit Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. I enjoy classical music, art, travel, embroidery, and a good ghost story.

I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers’ League of Texas. I am represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC and published by Henery Press.

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



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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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.


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

Series:  The Wake-Up Series
Series Number: 2
Edition: First
Pages: 266
Author: Amy Avanzino


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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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!


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


‘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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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.


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: A Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Minotaur Books (March 22, 2016)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250072566


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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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!


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


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)


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


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!


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


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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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.


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



Dana Glossbrenner

Genre: Humorous Literary Fiction

Publisher: Boldface Books

Date of Publication: June 7, 2016

Number of Pages: 270

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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


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!



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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   July 25 – August 8, 2016

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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

8/5       Margie’s Must Reads — Review

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


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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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!


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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