Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on December 14, 2017

Honey-Baked Homicide (A Down South Café Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Berkley (December 5, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages

Synopsis

The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .

It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation…

Books-A-Million * Indiebound

Review

You never know who the killer might be in Winter Garden…or what might be on the menu at the Down South Cafe.

I really enjoy these books because it seems like I can never figure out the killer. I might come close now and again. I’m not sure if there are a lot of clues on this one, but there are many possibilities and it comes down to greed. I was quite surprised how the story unfolded at the end!

All the characters interact with each other quite well despite any quirky behavior. Aunt Bess always cracks me up and Homer always has some words of wisdom from his hero of the day. It is amazing how whoever the hero is, there is an appropriate quote to fit the situation.

I am enjoying the relationship between Amy and Ryan. They definitely have chemistry but are taking it slow and enjoying each other’s company.

We give this 5 paws up.

 

About the Author

Gayle&Cooper

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series. I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

 

Webpage * Gayle Trent Webpage * Facebook * Twitter * GoodReads

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Posted in 4 paws, Children, Review on December 13, 2017

Mamá Graciela’s Secret

Publication date: October 10, 2017

Written by Mayra Calvani

Illustrated by Sheila Fein

MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing

www.maclaren-cochranepublishing.com

36 pages, 3-7 year olds

Reading guide at: www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com

 

Synopsis

Mamá Graciela’s TENDER, CRUNCHY, SPICY bacalaítos fritos are the best in town…

Local customers (including stray cats!) come from all over the island to enjoy her secret recipe. But when the Inspector discovers that Mamá secretly caters to so many cats and he threatens to close her tiny restaurant, Mamá must come up with a plan to save it—and all of the animals she loves.

**This book also has version printed in the Dyslexic font, the typeface for people with dyslexia. Go to Dyslexie Font Website to find out more about the typeface. **

Review

What a sweet story about a woman that loved animals so much she was willing to give up her restaurant to keep the cats around.

Now you do have to set aside reality and common sense as an adult, but children will love this book especially if they are animal lovers. The story tells of how one woman put the needs of the cats she adored ahead of her restaurant when push came to shove. I think it also might teach them some character skills.

The graphics depict the story well, are very colorful and will hold a child’s attention while reading this story.

We give it 4 paws up!

About the author

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her children’s picture book, Frederico the Mouse Violinist was a finalist in the 2011 International Book Awards; her anthology Latina Authors and Their Muses was a First Place winner at the 2016 International Latino Book Awards; her nonfiction book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing, was a Foreword Best Book of the Year winner. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications like The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, Bloomsbury Review, and others.

She lives in Belgium with her husband of 30+ years, two wonderful kids, and her three beloved pets. When she’s not writing, editing, reading or reviewing, she enjoys walking with her dog, traveling, and spending time with her family. www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com

 

About the illustrator

Born in Queens, New York and living in Los Angeles since 1987, Sheila Fein has always been inspired by the changing world around her. Earning her BA in Design from Buffalo State College of New York, her concentration was on drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography. Sheila’s education as an artist has taken her everywhere from Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia to Bath University in England. Today, Sheila Fein runs two figurative workshops, Imaginings Sketch in LA and People Sketchers in Thousand Oaks. She has been featured in numerous collections, magazines, books, solo and group exhibitions. Her paintings and drawings reside in public and private collections. Sheila loves to make the imagination of others a reality and has done so through her commissioned Fein Fantasy Portraits and Interactive Paintings. In addition to being a fine artist Sheila works as an illustrator. She just completed the book “Mama Graciela’s Secret” for Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing.

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Posted in 5 paws, Review, suspense on December 11, 2017

Synopsis

A Kid’s Curiosity … A Parent’s Nightmare

The award-winning author of Anybody’s Daughter is back with an addictive courtroom drama that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile criminal justice system. Graylin Alexander is a model fourteen-year-old. When his adolescent curiosity gets the best of him, Graylin finds himself embroiled in a sexting scandal that threatens to ruin his life. Jenny Ungerman, the attorney hired to defend Graylin, is smart, confident and committed. She isn’t thrilled, however, when ex-prosecutor Angela Evans joins Graylin’s defense team. The two women instantly butt heads. Can they put aside their differences long enough to ensure Graylin gets justice? Unbeknownst to Angela, her boyfriend Dre is wrestling with his own drama. Someone from his past wants him dead. For Dre, his response is simple—kill or be killed.

Review

I did not expect this book to enrage me and pull at my heartstrings at the same time.

This is the 3rd in a series and while reading the first two might help understand a few situations a little better, it is fine to read on its own.

You might have heard of sexting and that many teens do it all the time. This book takes a look at that issue and the case where the state of California is charging those teens as sex offenders and in same cases with a felony. If you stop for a moment and think of the long term effects should a 12-17 year old be charged with a felony of possession of pornography, it can be quite startling. Sure not all kids are angels but imagine a seemingly innocent child taken to the extremes because of how a law is being interpreted.

This story kept me on edge because it was hard to know how this was going to turn out. The various twists and turns of the legal system, the parents of the young woman affected and even the underlying story about Dre and his past was enough to keep me on my toes trying to figure out how it might end. I liked how Jenny and Angela came together to defend Graylin and despite some of Graylin’s actions, I felt bad for the situation in which he was placed by over zealous parents and the DA’s office.

I didn’t want the story to end and appreciated the notes from the author at the end to discuss this topic and how it needs to be discussed with your children, no matter their age. I plan to have a discussion with mine!

We give it 5 paws up!

About the Author

Pamela Samuels Young is an attorney and award-winning author of eight legal thrillers. Her most recent courtroom drama, Abuse of Discretion, tackles a troubling sexting case that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile justice system. Pamela is also the recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter. The former journalist received a bachelor’s degree from USC and earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of child sex trafficking, online safety, fiction writing, and pursuing your passion.

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Posted in 5 paws, christmas, Giveaway, Historical, Holiday, Review, romance on December 10, 2017

CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS

with stories by

ROSANNE BITTNER, LINDA BRODAY, MARGARET BROWNLEY,

LEIGH GREENWOOD, ANNA SCHMIDT, AMY SANDAS

  Genre: Romance Anthology / Western / Historical

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 512

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The Beating Heart of Christmas

In the wild and untamed West, it takes a cowboy’s embrace to see you through a long winter’s night. Stay toasty this holiday season with heart-warming tales from these bestselling authors.

Whether it’s a lonely spinster finding passion at last…an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman reaffirming the love that keeps him whole…a lost and broken drifter discovering family in unlikely places…a Texas Ranger risking it all for one remarkable woman…two lovers bringing together a family ripped apart by prejudice…or reunited lovers given a second chance to correct past mistakes…a Christmas spent in a cowboy’s arms is full of hope, laughter, and―most of all―love.

*Chick-a-Dee Christmas by Rosanne Bittner * The Christmas Stranger by Linda Broday * A Texas Ranger for Christmas by Margaret Brownley * Father Christmas by Leigh Greenwood * A Christmas Baby by Anna Schmidt * A Christmas Reunion by Amy Sandas*

Praise

“An emotional powerhouse! This classic historical western is destined for the “keeper” shelf.” RT Book Reviews, Top Pick for Rosanne Bittner

“Fun and sensual…great for fans of history, romance, and some good old Texas grit.” Kirkus for Linda Broday

“A great story by a wonderful author.” ― #1 New York Times bestselling author DEBBIE MACOMBER for Margaret Brownley

“Greenwood is a master at westerns.” RT Book Reviews for Leigh Greenwood

“The perfect read.” RT Book Reviews for Anna Schmidt

“A genuine page-turner…electric and absorbing.” Kirkus for Amy Sandas

 

If you love Cowboys, Christmas and the Wild West – then you need to read this book!

The six authors bring us back to the late 1800’s when the west was wild and life was nothing like what we know today.  But more than just a look into the past – these stories are of love, whether it be lost love, new found love or a love that has endured for decades.  In each story the main characters have some sort of issue to resolve, and each author weaves that tale into a succinct story that leaves us with a happy ending.

I don’t know if I can choose a favorite because they are all good!  I do think I liked the stories that included a dog a bit more, but that is the dog lover in me.  Animals always have their own personality that adds to the story.

Each story warmed my heart despite the difficulties that the characters faced in the beginning.  There are situations that probably everyone could relate to whether it was family issues, secrets or wanting more from life.

We give this book and all six novellas 5 paws up.  Perfect to read during this holiday season and since each story is about 100 pages, it won’t take long to enjoy each of the novellas.

Rosanne Bittner

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Linda Broday

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Margaret Brownley

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Twitter * Goodreads

 

 

 

Anna Schmidt

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Amy Sandas

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Leigh Greenwood

Website * Goodreads

 

 

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December 1-December 10, 2017

Four Winners will each get a prize pack which includes Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms + another book(s) by one of the authors.  Three of the packs will also include a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

(U.S. Only)


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Check out the other blogs on this tour

12/1/17 Christmas Memories Hall Ways Blog
12/2/17 Review Books in the Garden
12/3/17 Spotlight on Amy Syd Savvy
12/4/17 Review Bibliotica
12/5/17 Spotlight on Anna Missus Gonzo
12/6/17 Spotlight on Linda Margie’s Must Reads
12/7/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
12/8/17 Spotlight on Margaret The Librarian Talks
12/9/17 Spotlight on Rosanne Tangled in Text
12/10/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews

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Posted in 4 paws, fiction, Giveaway, Historical, Review on December 8, 2017

 

UP NEAR DALLAS

Winds of Change — Book III

by

GINA HOOTEN POPP

  Genre:  Texas Historical Fiction / Romance

Date of Publication: November 12, 2017

Number of Pages: 307

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The year is 1934. Economic turbulence rocks the country. And record drought dries up crops, along with the spirits of every farmer south of the Mason-Dixon. Yet for sixteen-year-old Mick McLaren, life is good as he takes to the open road to chase his dream of being a musician. Riding boxcars, hitchhiking, walking and driving his way across Depression Era Texas, he finds not only himself, but the love of a girl from Dallas named Margaret. Along the way, they befriend Cowboy Larson, a Delta Blues guitarist. Together the three teens, from three very different worlds, come-of-age as their life-changing journey carries them through killer dust storms, extreme poverty, and the unprecedented gangster activity of the Dirty Thirties.

Amazon ▪ Barnes & Noble ▪ iBooks ▪ Kobo

This book takes you on a journey during the height of the great depression and gives us a peek into how people came together as a community to help those hurting the worst. But it also hits on some of the history of the time – like Bonnie & Clyde and how their actions bring together a young couple that may not have met otherwise – Mick and Margaret.

While there is a multitude of positive moments, it would not be a well rounded book without hitting on some touchy topics like racism and perceived guilt. However, the characters take everything in stride and actually stand up for their actions which causes others to rethink their initial reactions to what they heard. It doesn’t mean that every situation has a happy ending, but it might make one think about how they are treating others based on gossip or sensationalized news stories.

And this book wouldn’t be complete without some romance. There is Mick and Margaret, Cowboy and Saint, and even Mick’s parents – Lucky and Antonia. Each couple has their own issues to overcome and round out the story.

Each chapter of this book is told from a different character’s voice. I felt like this really helped engage me as a reader because it allowed me to look into their thoughts, dreams and actions which added layers of complexity to the story. There are even some quirky characters that are very lovable such as Nana Michelle and an incident with a dust storm and a cow. You’ll have to read the book to find out more about that!

Overall a very enjoyable book and while it is the 3rd book in this series, you do not have to read the first two to understand this book. However the first two books are about Mick’s Grandfather and Father, so it might make some actions of Lucky (Mick’s father) more understandable.

We give this 4 paws up.

A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. Along with writing novels, Gina has enjoyed a long career as a professional writer in advertising. Her debut novel THE STORM AFTER was a finalist in the 2014 RONE Awards, and her just-released book CHICO BOY: A NOVEL was a 2016 Medalist Winner in the New Apple Annual Book Awards. Recently, her novel LUCKY’S WAY, about a young fighter pilot from Houston, was endorsed by the United States World War One Centennial Commission.

Website ║ Twitter ║ Instagram

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December 5-December 13, 2017

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

12/4/17 Guest Post Books and Broomsticks
12/5/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
12/6/17 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
12/7/17 Playlist The Clueless Gent
12/8/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
12/9/17 Notable Quotable A Page Before Bedtime
12/10/17 Excerpt Texan Girl Reads
12/11/17 Review Missus Gonzo
12/12/17 Author Interview The Librarian Talks
12/13/17 Review Reading by Moonlight

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Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on December 4, 2017

Of Murder and Men (A Cat Latimer Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (November 28, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages

Synopsis

Love is in the air in Aspen Hills, and it’s making a terrible mess of Cat Latimer’s writers’ retreat—especially when blood stains the plot . . .

Ever since her business partner, Shauna, fell for a wealthy landowner in town, Cat has been working double time to keep her writers’ retreat running. And with the January session almost underway, that spells trouble. As if scheduling mishaps aren’t disastrous enough, Shauna skips out on kitchen duties one morning, forcing Cat to serve unsuspecting guests store-bought muffins . . .

But best laid plans really go awry when Shauna discovers her beau missing from their bed. When his body later turns up in the horse barn, they quickly find out the victim’s scandalous lifestyle left many dying for revenge. While balancing an eccentric group of aspiring writers and a suspect list for the record books, Cat soon finds herself on the heels of a killer—and authoring her most deadly conclusion yet . . .

Review

I really love this series and especially that there is an underlying mystery about Cat’s ex-husband that has continued through each of the three books so far. Sadly I think it was concluded in this book but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be more that is unraveled going forward.

I love the concept of this book – a writer’s retreat at a small B&B in a small town in Colorado. And with each retreat it seems like someone is being murdered, stumbles across a crime or is involved with it somehow. Crazy, right?! But that seems to make this series even more interesting to me.

This time it involves Shauna’s boyfriend and while most are not fans of Kevin, he seems to make Shauna happy…until he ends up dead and Shauna is a suspect. And there are some interesting twists with those involved with the writer’s retreat and how they play into the crime. Some might seem obvious but others are not.

I hope that the 4th book picks up where this one ends because there is a bit of the story that leaves you hanging and I want to know how a certain scenario plays out for Shauna.

We give this 5 paws up.

About the Author

CahoonUSA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

Goodreads * Twitter * Facebook * Website * Amazon author page

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

December 1 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW

December 1 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 2 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST

December 3 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT – unable to post

December 3 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

December 4 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 5 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – REVIEW

December 5 – Deal Sharing Aunt – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 6 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST

December 7 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 7 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 8 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 9 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

December 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

December 11 – Book Babble – REVIEW

December 12 – Babs Book bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

December 14 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

December 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in 4 paws, Fantasy, Review on December 3, 2017

Synopsis

Racine stumbles into her own “herstory” on a visit to the Library Of Congress, as her own “herstory” unfolds, Racine discovers she is part of a great, sweeping mythological world that transcends time and space; and along the way, the 19 year old Racine comes to understand that all the adversity she faced is part of a greater story, and one in which she has the power to narrate for herself. Racine discovers the ultimate truth of good is wrapped up in the magic of Story. Stories have the power to change the world, but first, the stories need unlocking.

Amazon CA * Amazon UK * Amazon AU

Review

While normally not a huge reader of fantasy novels, I picked this one up because the character hides in a library to escape those wishing her harm or to torment Racine.  What I found was a story woven in several realms, with druids and dragons and a young woman learning more about herself and learning how to become someone that was more in control of her being, thoughts and dreams.

While some of the story is in our reality, most of it is not and perfect for those that enjoy the mystical world.  The descriptions bring those worlds into vivid reality for the reader and we can feel like we are there experiencing everything with Racine.  I felt like Racine learned a lot and from many wise female characters and you could liken it to mentors and role models that young women have today.

We give this 4 paws up.

About the Author

Alison Clarke is a writer/artist who also enjoys painting and drawing. She also experiences life as a spoken word artist.

Alison is the author of The Sisterhood, a young adult fantasy novel about Oppie, a sorceress’ daughter, and her best friend, Aurie, who is a dragon, and the journey they go on to save the universe. The Sisterhood is Book One of The Sisterhood Series, and is published by Little Bird Publishing House in London, England.  The second book in the series is Racine, about a young woman’s journey learning about her mystical beginnings on a trip to the Library Of Congress. Both books incorporate themes of the power of friendship, teamwork, and love.

Before Alison entered mainstream publishing, she was indie published with two picture books: The Adventures Of Eli The Elephant, and Eli Goes To The Moon. The second book she also illustrated.

Alison is very involved in the community, participating in events such as Black Arts Matter, a festival focusing on the arts of black artists. In August, 2017, Alison was also part of Chapter.con, a book convention where she met fantasy authors from around the world.

She was also a panelist talking about the importance of diversity in young adult literature. Chapter.con was organized by the publisher of her Sisterhood Series, Little Bird Publishing House. For Alison, life is an interesting journey. Whether she is immersing herself in poetry, prose, or visual art, Alison is at home.

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Posted in 4 paws, Children, Giveaway, Middle Grade, mystery, Review, Texas on December 2, 2017

THE SECRET ROOM

(Amber-Autumn Series, #4)

by

JOHN ALEXANDER

  Genre: Children’s Mystery / Chapter Book

Date of Publication: October 14, 2017

Number of Pages: 159

Scroll down for giveaway!

Amber and Autumn, elementary school sisters, don’t seek out problems to solve, but they often find themselves engaged in uncovering truths, solving mysteries, and helping others in the process. Autumn’s natural curiosity, combined with her boldness, leads her to push for answers to anything she does not understand. Amber, her older sister, more cautious and easily spooked, prefers to let Autumn drive ahead to solve mysteries which come their way, but her keen skills of observation often lead to the resolutions they seek.

In The Secret Room, the girls, during their stay at a  B&B, discover a long-forgotten room in the attic and uncover its secrets. The story takes place at the House of Seasons, a bed-and-breakfast in historic Jefferson, Texas. Their quest to uncover secrets takes the girls on a journey through Jefferson history including a cemetery, a river boat tour, and even an evening ghost walk.

 

Amazon     Barnes & Noble

 

PRAISE FOR THE SECRET ROOM

“Great book, really enjoyed reading.  I’d guess a target audience would be 7 to 13-year-olds. Thank you for allowing me the honor to preview your book.  I look forward to purchasing your published work.” — Joseph (Teen Beta reader)

The Secret Room is a fun read. Not only is it a mystery; it also contains some of the history of Jefferson, Texas, and the surrounding area, as well as pictures of some special places there. Children and adults will enjoy reading it, just as I did.  — Carol (Adult Beta Reader)

“Overall I thought it was a great book. I would be excited to read the next book in the series.” –Madeline (4th grade Beta Reader)

“The whole time I liked the suspense and the mystery side of it.” – Beta Reader

“I relate more to Amber because she doesn’t like a situation without light and she doesn’t like doing scary things first. She sends her little sister in to do it first and I do that. Amber is the older sister and so am I.” – Beta Reader

 

A book chock full of mystery and history!

This may be the 4th book in the series but you can definitely read them out of order. Amber and Autumn are sisters and have a penchant for uncovering mysteries. This time it happens in Jefferson Texas which is known for its history. The author did a fantastic job of weaving some of history into the story. I liked the photos that were included at the beginning of the book since they depicted the B&B where Amber and Autumn were staying in Jefferson.

Since this is aimed at middle grade readers, there is no murder – just a secret room and a famous owner. Amber and Autumn are able to uncover many clues to the delight of the owner.

If you want to get a young one interested in mysteries, this would be a good starter series for the younger crowd.

We give this 4 paws up!

John writes chapter books that appeal to elementary school children to capture their imagination and help them discover the love of reading early in life. John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife and his King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Charlie Brown.

John spent his childhood in a small town in east Texas. He attended college at the University of Texas earning a BS in Physics and a BA in Math (minor in Computer Science). His years in the high-tech industry, most of it on the “bleeding edge,” allowed him to develop new technology with software.

John had the privilege of co-authoring two editions of CallManager Fundamentals. The two books sold over 23,000 copies, exceeding the publisher’s goal of 8,000. Having discovered his love for writing while still working in high tech, he began writing fiction in his spare time and published The Enclave, a mystery / suspense novel, in 2010.

After leaving high-tech in 2014, he now spends full time pursuing his writing passion. He loves writing books that help children discover early in life that reading is a fun adventure. He recently released illustrated editions of the first three books in the Amber-Autumn mystery series: Christmas Garden Illustrated, Grandfather’s Blessing Illustrated, and Golden Campout Illustrated. The Secret Room is the fourth book in the series.

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GRAND PRIZE: Signed copies of all four Amber-Autumn series books + $10 Starbucks Gift Card

TWO RUNNERS-UP: Signed copy of The Secret Room

November 27-December 6, 2017

(U.S. Only)

 


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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR

11/27/17 Book Trailer Hall Ways Blog
11/27/17 Excerpt Chapter Break Book Blog
11/28/17 Review Momma on The Rocks
11/29/17 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
11/29/17 Guest Post A Page Before Bedtime
11/30/17 Review Missus Gonzo
12/1/17 Notable Quotable Forgotten Winds
12/1/17 Notable Quotable The Page Unbound
12/2/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
12/3/17 Review The Librarian Talks
12/4/17 Sneak Peek Texan Girl Reads
12/4/17 Excerpt Reading by Moonlight
12/5/17 Review Tangled in Text
12/5/17 Author Interview Books in the Garden
12/6/17 Review Syd Savvy

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Posted in 5 paws, excerpt, Historical, Review, romance on December 1, 2017

Synopsis

Armed with her six-shooter, Ava De La Vega dips the pen into the inkwell and etches her name on the Esmeralda County tax record book. A formidable force, that’s what her peers have called her. The woman in a man’s world, what did she know of mining ore, silver, and copper? Plenty. And it’s this knowledge that makes her of the richest miners in Nevada in 1903. Of course, it also makes her a target.

Traveling back and forth from Tonopah, Nevada and San Francisco, Ava blazes the trail from the dirt and grime of her mines to the fanciest hotel rooms, enjoying the finest wines, the most decadent meals, and the company of attractive young men.

Unfortunately, for Ava, she doesn’t see Craig Harrison coming.

A miner from the snowy Klondike, Craig has traveled from the harsh Canadian mountains down to city streets of San Francisco. Not looking for work, he’s happy with the comfortable life away from the deep mines, the dirt, and the ever sought-after gold.

Unfortunately, for Craig, he doesn’t see Ava coming.

Review

I was in a reading funk until I picked up this book and was pulled into a story of love, loss, adventure and deception.

I have many thoughts about Ava and her character. She is very strong willed, and at times I thought too strong. However, Ava does have a softer side it just isn’t revealed as much because she is a woman in a man’s world in 1899. Because she owns many mines, she has to be tough and aware of what is going on around her and of those that want to take what she has away.  This does not stop her from enjoying women’s couture.

Craig’s character is a bit deceptive – but not in a bad way. He meets Ava and falls for her right away and perhaps he lets her be the alpha in the relationship in the beginning, but i think that is to break through her defenses and learn to love him and what he can bring to their relationship. While many may consider him a “pretty boy”, he offers wisdom and knowledge to the mines and some issues that have appeared.

The relationship between Ava and Craig seems fast, but then who is to say how long it takes to find your soul mate? While they may be lovers it takes longer for them to admit their feelings and talk about their past with each other. The tension between the two made it harder for me to put the book down.

Overall I really loved this book – imagining life in Nevada as a miner, having a woman own so many mines, a lonely past for both Ava and Craig and the desire to make their lives better.

We give this 5 paws up.

Excerpt

Face after face fluttered past my vision until I finally found the oval one I’d been searching for, a familiar one amongst a sea of strangers.

Sitting in the corner just as John had mentioned, Walter McCoy flipped through the pages of the latest issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. The newspaper glowed with the sunlight, making the parchment appear almost translucent and the black letters jumble together. Dressed in his usual cream-color suit, his sandy blond hair was flecked with silver gray strands that showed his age and matched the salt and pepper color in his handlebar mustache.

My grip tightened on the handbag in my arms so tight my knuckles whitened. Although I desired to cause a scene, doing so would only reflect poorly upon me, not him. Instead, I needed to remain calm and reserved—the picture of sophistication, and yet, still holding the disposition of someone not to underestimate. Reflections of polite behavior I’d learned long ago that would bring me what I wanted faster than raving like a lunatic who would be denigrated to nothing more than a pathetic woman.

“Good afternoon, Mr. McCoy,” I said as I approached him. My stride deliberately calculated with each step.

“Why Miss De La Vega, this is quite the surprise seeing you at the Cliff House, of all places.” Although Water smiled as he peered around yellow parchment, a darkness that clouded through the blue hue of his irises and seemed to deepen his sonorous voice.

Always the man of statute, he spoke and moved slowly, as though he believed this display of eloquence propelled him to a higher social standing above everyone else. In my youth, I thought it did too, but the older I became and the more knowledgeable about the man Walter was, I just found it annoying.

“Are you really so surprised, Mr. McCoy? I mean, we both frequent the place when we are in town, so it’s almost inevitable for us to see one another, isn’t it?”

“I suppose that is so . . . or perhaps, it’s as simple as some of your little messengers around the city informed you of my whereabouts.”

He folded his newspaper, laying it on the table before he fetched his glass of sinfully red wine and took a sip, letting out a satisfied breath.

Anger seethed through my veins.

“At least my spies didn’t follow you around at night while you are going to dinner, or wait around in your hotel lobby for you to leave your room.”

His lips twitched with my accusations, claims he ignored as he asked. “What brings you to San Francisco, business or pleasure?”

“Actually, business. Rather important business.”

His interest piqued, sparkling in the arch of his brow as though he didn’t expect my answer. “Oh really? I believe that is a first for you, is it not? Aren’t you usually in town to . . . enjoy the pleasures of the city and the men living in it?”

“And why would I not enjoy myself if I am here to see to my bank accounts or take pleasure in some rest and relaxation? Honestly, Walter, you act as though you are jealous of me.”

“Sorry to disappoint you, but jealousy isn’t in my nature. It shows weakness, and I am not weak.”

I shrugged my shoulders, hinting to the fact that I also shrugged off his words.

“May I sit for a moment?” I grabbed the back of the chair and slid onto the cushion before he answered my question.

“Well, since you left me no choice, I suppose then it would be my pleasure to enjoy the company of a woman, even if it has to be one such as yourself.”

I laughed. “Oh, Walter, I always have found it amusing that you believe your words can wound me when they don’t.”

His shoulders tensed as his lips curved into a scowl. He grabbed the bottle of wine sitting on the table and filled the empty glass sitting in front of me.

“So what is this important business?” he asked.

“A little of this, a little of that.” I clutched the glass in my fingers and took a sip, toying with his curiosity in order to torture him, even if it was just for a few seconds. Always privy to the gossip, not knowing information bugged him the most in life.

“And is this business with anyone in particular?”

As I cocked my head to the side, my eyes narrowed. “As a matter of fact, it’s you.”

“Me?” He ever so slightly jerked his head. A faint smirk lit his expression and he gulped the rest of the wine in his glass. “Are you finally ready to sell me your land and all your claims, then?”

I placed both of my elbows on the table and clasped my hands together. Tension brewed between us, darkening over the table with an invisible thick haze that I wanted to bathe in. I loved making him squirm inside, believing—even if it was just a moment—that he might finally have what he’d always desired most in life: my land.

“For the rock bottom price you keep offering me? Not a chance in hell.”

“My offers have always been fair market value. It’s not my fault that you have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the net worth of what you own.”

“Fair market value is double what you offered me. Don’t think for one second that I haven’t researched my deeds.”

“I’ve always said the mines are no place for a woman.” Walter poured himself another drink, tapping the top of the bottle against the rim to fend off spilling a single drop. “Rough and rugged, mining requires a strength that the fairer sex just doesn’t possess. You really should consider one of my offers.”

“Ah, yes, the notions that a dainty female shouldn’t own, excavate, or protect a claim.” I leaned back in my chair and crossed my arms. “And yet, here I am, one of the richest land owners in the Tonopah basin—even more than yourself.”

“I suppose you are one of the lucky ones, then.”

“Yes, because it’s luck that keeps me in business.”

He rolled his eyes as though my words were nothing more than a preposterous notion. “If you are not here to sell me your land, then what can I do for you today, Ava?”

“You can stop ordering Billy Jack and your men to attack my homestead.”

Accused of a crime, tautness built through Walter’s chest. Words swam in wrinkles of his face, deepening with every slight twitch of his lips or the furrowing of his brow as though he was thinking of different excuses to lie at my feet. Which would he use? Which untruth would speak from his evil lips? Would he create an elaborate story or simply deny it? Given he had done both in the last few years; the chance ran right down the middle.

“I’m afraid that I have no idea what you are talking about,” he said.

I lifted my glass and sipped the wine again, clicking my tongue as I set it back down. I knew the back and forth game about to occur between us, a battle of wits, a battle of landowners.

I fought to protect my land.

He fought to steal it.

“Is that the stance you are going to take, then?” I asked. “That you know nothing of the recent attack on my homestead?”

“Well, when one isn’t involved then usually they know nothing of the events that transpired.”

“Isn’t involved?”

“That is what I said, isn’t it?” He paused for a moment as if to exaggerate his defense. “Billy Jack and his men haven’t worked for me in over two years. I have no more control over that man than you do. What he does is his own business. I know nothing of his actions, nor do I order him to do my bidding anymore.”

“I highly doubt that.”

“You know, one shouldn’t hold onto resentment and anger when it comes to the past.”

“I don’t hold concern over what happened all those years ago anymore, and I haven’t for a long time.”

The smirk on his lips told me that a rebuttal sat on his tongue, and yet, he didn’t utter a word. Ah yes, another method of denial—silence—as if to say how dare I come at him with this. Did I not know who he was? Did I not know what he was capable of?

I did know, though.

It was he, who didn’t know what I was capable of doing.

“Is there anything else I can do for you today, Ava?” he finally asked. Indifference breathed through the tone of every word.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I’m rather busy and, quite frankly, I do not wish to waste any more of my time speaking with you if you are only going to accuse me of actions I know nothing about.”

“I know you calculated the attack on my homestead.”

He slightly shook his head. “As I told you before, I didn’t.”

“I know you did.”

“But you can’t prove it.”

I rose to my feet and yanked dozens of red satchels from my handbag, dangling them in my fingers for a few minutes before I tossed them on the table. A few of them fell open and coins rolled from the material, dropping to the floor with a few clangs.

Walter scrutinized the bags, but didn’t move an inch. A detail he hadn’t seen coming. A detail that pinned him to the crime. Evidence he couldn’t refute and that condemned him as though he was there that day.

“I’m sorry to inform you that you lost all of your men in the attack,” I continued. “I know you ordered the attack on my homestead.”

I stepped forward until I stood next to him. I leaned down, my face inches from his, and my hot breath whispered against his skin.

“And if you plan another one, I promise that I’ll gun you down myself.”

About the Author

Growing up in Nevada, reading was always a pastime that took second place to trail riding and showing horses. When she did find the time in her youth to curl up with a book, she found enjoyment in the Saddle Club Series, the Sweet Valley High series, and the classics of Anne of Green Gables, The Box Car Children, and Little House on the Prairie. Although, writing always piqued her curiosity, it wasn’t until September 2009 that she worked up the courage to put her passion to paper and started her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Angela spends her days from dawn to dusk as a stay at home, homeschooling mom. She also works in her garden and takes care of her many farm animals, as well as loves to bake and cook from scratch. She doesn’t show horses anymore, but she still loves to trail ride her paint horse, Honky, as well as enjoys teaching her daughters how to ride their horses, Sunny and Cowboy.

In December 2014, Angela launched Long Valley Press.

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Posted in 5 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, mystery, Review on November 26, 2017

Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts: A Cozy Witch Mystery (Spells & Caramels)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Self Published (October 29, 2017)
Paperback: 300 pages

Synopsis

With the Summer Sea Carnival visiting the enchanted island of Bijou Mer, Imogen jumps at the chance to help run the royal bakery booth. It’ll get her out of the palace and allow her to continue avoiding her feelings for a certain engaged prince.

Imogen’s plans to lay low are shattered when the world-famous necromancer, Madame Zerna, is found dead, sawed in half on the dark magician’s table and Imogen’s friend Rhonda is caught red-handed. With incriminating evidence piling up against Rhonda, Zerna’s rival, Imogen promises to help clear her name by finding the real murderer.

But between running the booth, encouraging Maple as she struggles to lead as head baker, and taking spell lessons from the friendly strong man, Imogen’s got her hands full. And it’s no easier getting information from the evasive dark magician or Madame Zerna’s secretive assistant. Even Rhonda’s hiding something.

With the Night of the Dead fast approaching, and Rhonda headed for a maximum security witch prison, Imogen races to unearth the real killer in time to save her friend. But in a mysterious carnival where nothing’s as it seems, will Imogen have the magical powers to keep from being on the chopping block herself?

Review

This series really caught my attention with the first book – Seashells, Spells & Caramels. The series is a cross between our world and a magical world.

Imogen is a fascinating character because I try and imagine myself in her shoes – never knowing that I had magical powers and how to learn how to harness those powers and use them properly. Plus being in a land that has normal human tourists but is filled with various magical people and beings. But Imogen takes it all in stride.

With this book, not everyone/everything is as it seems. There were some things that I figured out but how they were revealed was intriguing. I can’t spill too much otherwise it will give away some of the ending!

I do wonder if Imogen and Hank (Prince Harry) might get together at some point. Yes he is engaged to someone else BUT there is such a connection. Is it because they are both swallows or is there more to the chemistry they have together?

This is a fun series – it might be because I don’t read a lot of magical/paranormal type books, but I think it is also the light feel to the story and it is not intense like some books might come across.

We give it 5 paws up

 

About the Author

A native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh.

In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more).

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Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway