Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Giveaway, Review, suspense on June 11, 2017

No Turning Back: A Novel
Women Sleuths/Suspense Thriller
Crooked Lane Books (June 13, 2017)
Hardcover: 352 pages

Synopsis

You’d kill to protect your child – wouldn’t you?

Anna Graves’s whole life has recently been turned upside down. A new mother, she’s just gone back to her job as a radio presenter and is busy navigating a new schedule of late night feeding and early morning wake ups while also dealing with her newly separated husband. Then the worst happens. While Anna is walking on the beach with her daughter, she’s attacked by a crazed teenager. Terrified, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her baby.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister. A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the “Ophelia Killer,” a serial killer who preyed on the town twenty years ago—and who abruptly stopped when Anna’s father committed suicide.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgivable, if committed to save your child’s life?

Internationally bestselling author Tracy Buchanan takes readers on an emotional roller coaster ride filled with heart-stopping secrets and hairpin turns in No Turning Back, her US debut.

Amazon B&N * IndieBound

Review

The first line of the synopsis really sets the reader up for this book – “You’d kill to protect your child – wouldn’t you?”. I think most people would said that yes they would to protect a child, spouse, etc if the situation warranted that drastic of an action. But how would you feel and act and react in the months following? Probably a lot like our main character Anna. She feels guilty about the situation and honestly didn’t mean to kill the teen that appeared to be attacking them and acting crazy. How was she to know that there was more to the situation than meets the eye?

What follows in the rest of the book is Anna dealing with her guilt, trying to figure out why the teen was crazy, trying to protect her child, and investigating these deaths and are were the deaths perpetrated by The Ophelia Killer (TOK) from 20 years ago that her father was investigating for an article?

The first 2/3 of the book fill in a lot of details and history is explained somewhat of the TOK but to me were a bit slow. Plus most of the chapters were really really long (personal preference is to stop at a chapter and was sometimes hard in this book). I also didn’t understand how a comb could kill a person even if they fell on it because that would have to be a lot of force for a comb to penetrate the skin (assuming plastic comb vs metal).

There are many characters to not like and a few red herrings mixed in to get you thinking that someone was behind all this that wasn’t really. I felt for Anna because of all the negative press she was receiving and how everyone painted her in a bad light and made assumptions that just weren’t true. Most of that was tied to the media and the stories they reported. Not too surprising considering what we see in the media today.

I’d probably give this 3 1/2 stars. I was originally give it 3 stars but it really picked up near the end and was not expecting the twist at the end!

About the Author

Tracy Buchanan lives in the UK with her husband, their little girl and their one-eyed Jack Russell. Buchanan traveled extensively while working as a travel magazine editor and has always been drawn to the sea after spending her childhood holidays on the coast visiting family–a fascination that inspires her writing. She now dedicates her time to writing and procrastinating on Twitter.

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June 5 – Books Direct  – INTERVIEW

June 5 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 6 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

June 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 7 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

June 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 8 – Bookworm Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

June 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 9 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

June 9 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

June 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

June 10 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

June 10 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

June 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

June 11 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

June 12 – Varietats – REVIEW

June 12 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

June 13 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

June 14 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

June 14 – The Editing Pen – INTERVIEW

Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 10, 2017

Cement Stilettos: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Polyester Press (June 13, 2017)
Print Length: 255 pages

Synopsis

Forget the cannoli. Take the shoes!

When newly engaged amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd discovers the body of a mafia princess dead in fiancé and shoe designer Nick Taylor’s showroom, her questions are so numerous she’d need a bookie to keep track. The victim’s ties to local organized crime are unexpected. Nick’s apparent vow of silence makes Samantha question the vows in their future, and despite past promises, all bets are off. Wise guys and leopard ladies keep her busier than a consigliere during tax season, and if she can’t keep her head above water, she’ll end up sleeping with the fishes.

 

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and DRESSED TO CONFESS will be out in August 2017.

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 9, 2017

Grand Theft Retro: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Polyester Press (May 17, 2016)
Paperback: 228 pages

Synopsis

Samantha Kidd is about to go retro.

When Samantha Kidd’s job at Retrofit Magazine leads her into the fashionable archives of seventies style, she’s prepared to report on patchwork velvet and platform shoes, but she never expected to uncover the theft of a major collection of samples from runway shows that took place before disco died. When the guilty party threatens Samantha’s family and friends, her priority shift into protection mode. The investigation heats up faster than fondue over sterno, and all too soon Samantha learns that while beat goes on, there’s no guarantee that she’ll go on with it.

Pearls Gone Wild: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Polyester Press; 6 edition (December 31, 2016)
Paperback: 218 pages

Synopsis

Amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd’s life is finally on track. It’s her normally cultured friend Cat whose life has lost its luster: eight months pregnant and abandoned by her husband the week before Christmas. She ropes Samantha into helping at her boutique, but a string of jewelry thefts threatens her business. And when Cat’s husband is found strangled with pearls inside the shop, the last thing she’s concerned with is profit. Samantha tries to get a bead on the killer, but when the suspects all clam up, she’s left tangled in knots. Add in an unexpected proposal, a flirtatious friend, and a brand new detective, and this is bound to be Samantha’s wildest adventure yet.

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

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Posted in coming of age, Giveaway, romance on June 8, 2017

Book Title: Dancing in the Rain (The Italian Family Series)
Author: Lucy Appadoo
Category: Adult Fiction, 274 pages
Genre: Historical Coming of Age/Romance/Family Drama
Release date: March 24, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is physical abuse and death involved.)

Synopsis

Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Amazon.com.au ~ Amazon.com ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Other online stores

About the Author

Lucy Appadoo is a registered counsellor and wellness coach with a part-time private practice. She also works as a rehabilitation counsellor for the Australian government. In her spare time, she self-publishes or writes nonfiction and fiction texts. She previously worked as a rehabilitation consultant, caseworker, English as a second language teacher, and proofreader.

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in psychology, education, and English as a Second Language teaching, as well as specialised qualifications in grief counselling and hypnosis. She has also completed wellness coaching courses (levels 1-3) at Wellness Coaching Australia.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and romance. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, playing tennis, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 8, 2017

The Brim Reaper: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Polyester Press (December 3, 2013)
Paperback: 266 pages

Synopsis

Former fashion buyer Samantha Kidd is in over her head

With no job prospects on the horizon, former fashion buyer Samantha Kidd convinces boyfriend and shoe designer Nick Taylor to give her a job in his showroom, but when a collection of vintage Hollywood costumes comes to town, it brings a hat box full of hype. Close friend Eddie is in charge of the exhibit and calls on Samantha for help, but all too soon hype turns to homicide. Brimming with good intentions, she loops in the cops, but after one too many cloche calls, she’s knee-deep in mystery. If she can tear the lid off the investigation, it might mean a feather in her fedora. And if she can’t? She might get capped.

Some Like It Haute: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Polyester Press (January 6, 2015)
Paperback: 248 pages

Synopsis

If you can’t stand the heat, get off the runway.

Fashion expert turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd is in the hot seat. After agreeing to help her ex-boyfriend’s former girlfriend with a runway show, her post-break-up life turns explosive. She recruits Dante, a smokin’ hot photographer, to turn up the heat on the investigation (and help her get over Nick), but even the third degree won’t expose an angry arsonist. With a crash course in sizzle, Samantha’s curiosity leads her into another inferno, and this time she either faces the fire or gets burned.

About the Author

DianeVallereI’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, nonfiction on June 7, 2017

THE REBIRTH OF HOPE

My Journey from Vietnam War Child to American Citizen

by

Sau Le Hudecek

  Genre: Memoir / Inspirational

Publisher: Texas Christian University Press

Date of Publication: June 15, 2017

Number of Pages: 160

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Born in a demilitarized zone during the Vietnam War to a Vietnamese mother and American soldier, Sau Le arrived in the United States as a young woman with only twenty dollars in her pocket. Though bullied and abused since childhood, she nevertheless came to her new homeland armed with courage and determined to build a decent life for herself, her infant son, and her traumatized mother. This is the story of how she overcame every conceivable hurdle—significant culture shock, a daunting language barrier, serious illness, heartbreak, and betrayal—to become a landlord, a successful business owner, a joyous wife and mom, and a woman blessed with generous, loyal friends. She describes an arduous journey, both physical and emotional, from a place of terror and utter despair to a life overflowing with love and prosperity. Ultimately, this is a story of hope, something Sau Le thought she’d lost long ago in the minefields of Vietnam. Her goal is both to uplift and to remind everyone born on American soil that anything in this land is possible for those willing to put dedication, faith, and passion to work.

TCU Press * IndieBound * Barnes & Noble * Amazon

Praise for The Rebirth of Hope:

“Sau Le has an innate abundance of beauty, wisdom, loyalty and dignity which led her to overcome unbelievable challenges and fully realize her dream in America. Thus proving once again that adversity builds character. I couldn’t put it down.” —Dan Jenkins, bestselling author of Semi-Tough

“Sau Le lifted her head and walked through years of hard work and determination, inspiring other women along the way! Every word of her personal journey was written to remind all of us!” —Robin Sanders, Sanders Travel Agency

“An inspiring story of a Vietnam refugee’s journey to achieve the ‘American Dream.’ This book is a lesson for everyone.”  —Martin C. Bowen, financial executive

“To have written this remarkable story is one more example of the focus and tenacity that Sau Le Hudecek has shown in achieving her previous goals. You will remember this gripping tale of resilience and courage.”  —Gail Williamson Rawl

“A truly inspirational story of a fearless person who overcame unbelievable odds to make a better life and obtain the ‘American dream.’”  —Janie Beggs

You mention throughout the book feeling flickers of hope. Can you tell us about a specific time or event that you remember feeling this most strongly?

The first time I remember having a sense of hope after my sister died was my experience in the running rain (flash flood) when I knew at least God loved me enough to save me from being swept away in the flood.

Another time was when my mom’s friend said that my father came back to look for us. Whether this was true or she was just trying to make me feel better it did help.

I also had a strong sense of hope when I earned my beautician’s license here in America. My hard work and sacrifice paid off, and I knew that I could make a better life for my family and that anything was possible.

In the book, you say you wanted a job that made you feel valuable and connected to something important. How does that translate to working in a salon?

Because I was different from everyone else in my village in several ways, growing up, people tried to make me feel defeated by calling me a freak and always trying to make me feel “less than.” I still remember that hollow feeling, thinking that I was a freak just as many people were telling me. I knew how you look can have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Although while in Vietnam I didn’t know that that there was much I could do to help myself. I felt that if I could at least help others feel beautiful about themselves that I would feel I was worth something.

Once in America, listening to my clients talk, I found that everyone feels self-conscious or unhappy with something about themselves. Remembering my hollow feeling makes it natural for me to empathize with my clients, and if I can help them get past this negative feeling and allow them to feel better about themselves, I believe that it will make their lives better and that this positive energy will naturally be passed onto others as well.

Each time I see someone light up about how they feel about themselves I think that it also heals me a little bit.

How have your family members in Vietnam and your mother reacted to your story?

I don’t think my mom really understands. I’ve told her a few times about writing this book, but I don’t get the feeling that it registered with her. My mom didn’t have the opportunity to get an education, and she never read a book for pleasure or otherwise. She tries to read a Bible in Vietnamese, but other than that I don’t think she has the concept of a book that isn’t for instruction.

I haven’t told my brother and sister or anyone else in Vietnam.

What do you miss from Vietnam?

Two people who are now gone: my sister and my grandmother. They took care of me growing up. Other than them, only the few friends and neighbors who were kind to me when the easy thing to do was to act as the others who yelled at me, called me names, and were always trying to put me down.

There are also a few things I reminisce about, such as chewing on a good stalk of sugar cane.

When did you first feel like you’d found a home in America?

Day one! I woke up on June 4, 1993, and I felt I was home. It was like breathing fresh air for the first time. I had no clue what I was going to do for a job or what I was going to do to even survive, but I did know that now it was up to me. I felt home.

How has it felt to write and share your story with the world? What advice would you give others who might also want to share their stories, but may be a bit apprehensive?

Writing the book and then reading it back during the editing process were the first times I truly cried about many of the things that happened to me as a child because it freed memories that I had buried deep down below my skin and away from my heart just to survive.

Growing up, many people tried to ruin me, and I was lucky to find ways to cope and survive and not break and kill myself from feeling less than and hopeless.

I had originally started this book just for my children, hoping to teach them various lessons that I had learned without them having to live through the pain I did in order to learn what I have, but I found out that writing this book was healing many old scars that I had forgotten I had.

If someone has a feeling to share their story, chances are that they do have an important story to tell. Maybe as a book, but at least as a story to share with others. Maybe it will be painful, but telling your story won’t kill you. Not speaking up will kill you because your untold story will eat you up from the inside.

Tell your story—all of it. And be true to yourself. Don’t leave anything out just because you think it is uncomfortable. Those uncomfortable things are probably the parts of your story that you need to tell for your own self, for something in you that needs healing. Maybe it’s related to your skin color, hair, shape, weight, religion, beliefs, intelligence, clumsiness, speech, your past. No matter what, don’t be afraid. Don’t feel alone.

If publishing this book helps someone beyond my children who feels “less than” for whatever reason, it would be a blessing.

What do you hope your children learn from your story?

I want my children, and others, to stand tall and honor themselves. To be true to themselves and accept where they are at so that they can get where they need and want to be. To understand the importance of being polite and kind to others and to understand the damage that can be caused if they aren’t. To honor their country and be good citizens.

Sau Le Hudecek owns a successful salon in Fort Worth, Texas, while still serving her own elite clientele.  In 1993, she arrived in the United States at the age of 22 and was sworn in as a citizen in 2001. She lives with her family in Granbury enjoying the sunsets from their home on the lake.

 

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Spotlight on June 7, 2017

Designer Dirty Laundry (Samantha Kidd Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Polyester Press (June 5, 2012)
Paperback: 274 pages

Synopsis

Meet Samantha Kidd.

Ex-buyer turned trend specialist turns amateur sleuth! She designed her future with couture precision, but finding the fashion director’s corpse on day one leaves her hanging by a thread. And when the killer fabricates evidence that puts the cops on her hemline, even a chance run-in with hot shoe designer Nick Taylor can’t keep her life from unraveling. She trades high fashion for dirty laundry and reveals a cast of designers out for blood. Now her job, her love life, and her future are put on hold as she tries to expose a diabolical designer before getting marked down for murder.

Praise for Designer Dirty Laundry

This story will put a smile on you face and maybe even have you laughing out loud! ~Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book

The writing was smooth and conversational. The world the author created was described well and I could play the story out in my head right down to the outfits and shoes. ~Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

This is a fast paced cozy. Something is ALWAYS happening, often to Samantha Kidd. ~Laura’s Interests

Buyer, Beware: A Samantha Kidd Humorous Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Polyester Press (March 5, 2013)
Paperback: 258 pages

Synopsis

Samantha Kidd: Bag Lady?

Out-of-work fashion expert turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd is strapped. But when the buyer of handbags for a hot new retailer turns up dead and Samantha is recruited for the job, the opportunity comes with a caveat: she’s expected to find some answers. With shoe designer Nick Taylor off in Italy, she turns to a sexy stranger for help (with humorous results!). But as the walls close around her like a snug satin lining, Samantha must get a handle on the mystery or risk being caught in the killer’s clutches.

Praise for Buyer Beware

Samantha is such a fun character. She bases most of her sleuthing on what she’s seen in old movies or on television shows, which of course results in her getting into a few tight spots here and there. ~Book Babble

About the Author

DianeVallere

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries,  Material Witness Mysteries, and the new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST, CRUSHED VELVET and SILK STALKINGS.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRY ; BUYER, BEWARE ; THE BRIM REAPER ; SOME LIKE IT HAUTE; GRAND THEFT RETRO; and PEARLS GONE WILD . (A short story, “Just Kidding ,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor).

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK , and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL . A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE .

The Costume Shop mysteries debuted with A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, which introduces Margo Tamblyn, costume shop owner, who helps solve a murder after one of her clients is found dead at his own costume party (dressed as Sherlock!). MASKING FOR TROUBLE, the second in the series was released last October and Dressed to Confess will be out in August 2017.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on June 6, 2017

Marriage Is Pure Murder (A Blossom Valley Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (May 30, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages

Synopsis

Wedding bells are ringing at the O’Connell Organic Farm and Spa in California’s postcard-perfect Blossom Valley. The entire staff is pitching in to send one of their own down the aisle. But no one knew the nuptials could turn up so many secrets—or that marriage and murder could go hand in hand . . .

Dana Lewis is marrying Jason Forrester, a talented reporter and the love of her life. She couldn’t dream of a better venue than the farm where she works, and her friends are determined to give her the wedding of her dreams. Even her florist, Bethany Lancaster, is making sure she has just the right flowers. But Dana’s happiness wilts when she finds Bethany shot dead—and discovers her friend was a busybody with a blackmail list longer than a cathedral veil. With so many enemies, finding Bethany’s killer seems all but impossible. And when Dana herself is eyed as a suspect, she’ll have to chase down the culprit faster than she can say, “I do”—or she’ll be trading in her wedding dress for prison stripes . .

Guest Post

The Joys of Research

by Staci McLaughlin

One of the fun aspects of writing the Blossom Valley Mysteries is the research I get to do. A large part of each book takes place on the organic farm and spa where Dana, my main character, is not only the marketing guru but also a Jill-of-all-Trades. She helps Zennia, the cook, prepare and serve healthy meals to the guests of the bed-and-breakfast, fills in for the manager at the front desk when he’s called away on business, and even occasionally cleans out the pig sty for Esther, the owner. All of these jobs have required research on one level or another, particularly when it comes to Zennia’s cooking.

When Dana first started working at the farm, she was downright terrified of the healthy but unusual dishes that Zennia created for the guests. One dish that made her cringe was tofu fish sticks. Strips of tofu were first rolled in a combination of mayonnaise and milk before being rolled in a mixture of dry ingredients that included sea vegetable flakes. Apparently the flakes were supposed to provide a taste similar to traditional fish sticks.

While I wasn’t brave enough to make my own tofu fish sticks, even in the name of research, I did try a wheat grass shot, another thing Zennia absolutely loves, thanks to all those vitamins and minerals. I didn’t have my own wheat grass machine, but I managed to find a little packet of dried powder at the health food store. With my expectations high, I dumped the powder in water, stirred up the mixture, and took a good, long sip. The flavor reminded me of when I was a kid and used to wrestle with my sister on the lawn and end up with a mouthful of grass. The thick, goopy liquid was green like grass and smelled like grass, so I’m not sure why I expected it to taste any different.

After the wheat grass experiment, I decided to take a less hands-on approach and stick with the more traditional way of finding out information, namely through internet searches. One of my secondary characters in the series is a pig named Wilbur, who Dana likes to bounce ideas off of when she’s trying to solve a mystery. He usually doesn’t provide much of a response, other than the occasional oink, but she still finds it useful to talk to him. During one conversation, I wrote that Wilbur wagged his tail in reply to something Dana had said, and that got me thinking.

Do pigs even wag their tails, or was I breaking the laws of animal science? After searching online, I found out that pigs do indeed wag their tails, much like dogs. The same article mentioned that pigs also wag their tails to indicate they are looking for a fight, but Wilbur is a very even-tempered pig who gets along with all of his pig pals, so he only wags his tail when he’s happy.

Through research, I’ve also learned about different flowers in wedding bouquets, what sorts of tricks monster truck drivers can do, how communes are organized and run, and how to offset carbon footprints.

I can’t wait to find out what I’ll need to learn for Dana’s next adventure. Heck, if I’m feeling brave, I might even try those tofu fish sticks.

About the Author

Staci McLaughlin graduated from the California State University, East Bay before becoming a technical writer for a number of years. Now she is a stay-at-home mom and a cozy mystery writer in my spare time (Ha!). Once she can wrangle the kids into bed, my husband and I enjoy watching scary movies and playing both board games and video games.

She is currently a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, as well as a contributor to the LadyKillers blog at http://www.theladykillers.typepad.com/. She lives with my family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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check out the other blogs on this tour

May 30 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

May 31 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

June 1 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW

June 1 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT

June 2 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW

June 2 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

June 3- Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

June 3- Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

June 4 – Teresa Trent Author Site – SPOTLIGHT

June 5 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

June 6 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW

June 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

June 7 – My Journey Back – REVIEW

June 8 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW

June 9 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

June 9 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 10 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

June 10 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

June 11 – Varietats – REVIEW

June 11 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

June 12 – Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in Children, Family, Giveaway, Spotlight on June 4, 2017

#BABYLOVE:

MY TODDLER LIFE

by

CORINE DEHGHANPISHEH

  Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Technology / Family

Publisher: My Art to Inspire

Date of Publication: September 20, 2016

Number of Pages: 40

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A curious toddler loves to play…especially with his mommy’s smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment.  Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

Her simple reminder: Put down our phones.

Praise for #BabyLove: My Toddler Life

“This poignant and entertaining tale about a playful toddler aimed at young lap readers works on a much deeper level for parents.” – Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“This light-hearted reflection on social media habits is a great tool for starting discussions with young children.” — Forward Clarion Reviews (5 Stars)

“Dehghanpisheh’s illustrations and text are simple, colorful and charming, and many families will relate to the question of how, and how much, to integrate technology into their child’s day.  #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is a fun and timely picture book for 21st century preschoolers. — BlueInk Review

“I can’t wait to read this to my 2 year old grandson.  This book is his life curious, sweet and funny.  His mommy has a collection of his photography on her phone.  Priceless. — Kindle Verified Purchase

 

Corine Dehghanpisheh is an award-winning author, whose own family life serves as inspiration for her fun and engaging children’s books.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Arts Therapy & Creativity Development from Pratt Institute in New York City.

Ms. Dehghanpisheh currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her family.  There she continues to write the #BabyLove series, focused on the blending of modern technologies with classically familiar child raising situations.

The 2nd book in the series, #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is now available along with #BabyLove: My Social Life, which is a Next Generation Indie Book Awards winner.

Her debut children’s book Can We Play Again? is a Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient and a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist. Corine’s inspiration for this book came from her work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NYC.

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  May 29-June 7, 2017

Grand Prize: Signed Copies of #BabyLove 1 & 2 + $20 Amazon Gift Card

First Runner-Up: Signed Copies of #BabyLove 1 & 2 + $10 Amazon Gift Card

Next Two Winners: Signed Copy of #BabyLove: My Toddler Life + $5 Amazon Gift Card

 

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5/29 Promo Hall Ways Blog
5/30 Review Missus Gonzo
5/31 Sneak Peek Excerpt 1 Forgotten Winds
6/1 Character Interview Books and Broomsticks
6/2 Review The Page Unbound
6/3 Sneak Peek Excerpt 2 Reading By Moonlight
6/4 Promo StoreyBook Reviews
6/5 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
6/6 Scrapbook CGB Blog Tours
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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, nonfiction, True Story on June 2, 2017


After the Miracle: The Cody Parmer Story

In the summer of 1999, doctors raced against the clock to save Cody Parmer’s life after a terrible car accident on a rural Idaho road. His parents, Brenda and Kreg Parmer, prayed that God would save him, and received their miracle. Months after his recovery a mysterious new discovery threatened to take Cody’s life once more, but this time the doctors couldn’t fix it. As Cody fought for his life, his mother searched for answers. Why would God let this happen? Would God save her son, just to let him die a short time later? Even if Cody lived, could the family handle his injuries and limitations? Even after receiving a miracle, the strength to accept God’s will would be the greatest blessing they could ever ask for.

Praise for the Book

“Such an amazing story! I read this book cover to cover all in one day. I could not put it down! It is very well-written, and you feel as if you are right there with the family experiencing every part of their incredible journey first hand. I cried through a lot of it but found parts that made me laugh too. When a book can make you do both of those things, you know you’ve found a good one.” Shannon Dooley, Amazon Review

“This is a book about amazing resiliency in the face of the kind of trauma every parent dreads. It’s told with incredible honesty and transparency. But, it’s also a story about struggling faith that grows into a deep belief in the goodness of God even in the face of adversity…” MarSue, Amazon Review

“This book was an inspiring read. Very well written, and a page turner. Cody’s family made it through some impossible odds. You really feel the struggles that they go through as they try everything to get the best results for their son.” Nora, Goodreads Review

 

 

Excerpt

I turned to Cody and he truly looked lost. The charts didn’t lie, Dr. Pike had done the tests again and again. It was done. Finished. Cody was gone and he wasn’t coming back. No amount of wishing or hoping or praying was going to fix it. And instead of him just dying naturally, we had to be the ones to flip the switch and cut off his air, his food, his medication. It was cruel. It was torture. It was too much.

Kreg was trying to be strong for me but I knew he felt it too. I could see it in his eyes. The pain, the struggle of the impossible choice, the burden of our whole family’s emotions on his back. It was too much for him to bear as well, though he had to maintain some sense of composure for all our sakes.

I gave up trying to make decisions and buried my head in my hands. Then, in the middle of our solemn and painful silence, came a knock on the door.

 

 

About the Authors

Brenda and Kreg Parmer met in high school in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and fell in love on the night of graduation. Brenda graduated from cosmetology school and Kreg went to work for a farm equipment company, and soon married. They had one son, Cody, and three beautiful daughters. Since the accident in 1999, a major part of Brenda and Kreg’s lives have been devoted to caring for Cody, who still suffers from major limitations. They love being with family, enjoying the beautiful Idaho scenery, and visiting their grandchildren. Along with their family, their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the most important thing in their lives.

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Ends 6/25/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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