Posted in 5 paws, Review, Spotlight, Young Adult on November 20, 2013



When seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench, she has no idea who or where she is. Yet after a week of being homeless, she’s reunited with her family. At school, she’s powerful and popular. At home, she’s wealthy beyond her dreams. But she quickly realizes her perfect life is a lie. Her family is falling apart and her friends are snobby, cruel and plastic. Worse yet, she discovers she was the cruelest one. Mortified by her past, she embarks on a journey of redemption and falls for Kyle, the “geek” she once tormented. Yet all the time she wonders if, when her memories return, she’ll become the bully she was before…and if she’ll lose Kyle.


While I wait for my driver, I sit on a step outside the school. I watch the kids go by. No one stops to say hello to me, and I’m starting to understand why. Then I see Kyle trudging out of the school, shaking his thick brown hair back from his brow. I decide to go talk to him. But he changes direction when he sees me approaching.

“Wait! Kyle? Is that your name? Kyle?”

He stops, but doesn’t turn around.

Undaunted, I run up from behind. “Listen, I just wanted to apologize for Duke in the cafeteria today.”

“Why? Can’t he take care of that himself?”

“I guess he can, but I don’t think manners are his strong point.”

Kyle squints at me, trying to read my expression, so I keep my eyes wide open. If he’s looking for dishonesty or cruelty, I’m determined he won’t find any there.

“I don’t get it,” he says skeptically. “Why would you apologize to me?

I shrug. “Because it was wrong of him to be like that.”

“If you’re gonna apologize on behalf of Duke, you should apologize to Ben, not me.”

“Um…okay, I will.”

After a moment of quiet, Kyle says, “Okay. Thanks.” He sniffs and looks at the ground, obviously uncomfortable. “As long as we’re apologizing, I guess I owe you one, too.” He runs his fingers through his hair. “I’m sorry about yelling at you at the soup kitchen. That was you, right?”

I nod.

“So I guess it was my yelling that made you run into the street, wasn’t it?”

I nod again.

“Well, I’m really sorry. About all that. I had no idea.”

“Of course you didn’t. Don’t worry about it.” I look down the street, past Kyle, but I can’t see John and the car yet. I glance down at my nails, still torn and ratty from living homeless. “What were you doing there, anyway?” I ask.

He shrugs. “I volunteer there sometimes.”


“My parents own a bakery nearby. I work there almost every afternoon. When we have day-old bread and stuff, I take it over to them.”

“You…Oh!” I suddenly recall the slice of bread I’d enjoyed just before Kyle yelled at me that day. Soft, homemade, and unforgetable. It brings a smile to my face. “Well, I know from personal experience that they really appreciate that. It’s very generous of you and your family.”

“It’s the least we can do.” He hesitates. “So you’d been eating there?”

“Yup. All week. With my friend Carol.”

“Carol? That older lady? I know her. She’s sweet. Helps a lot of the kids out. I guess she’s kind of a teacher for lost souls, huh?”

“You could say that,” I agree, remembering my wise friend fondly.

A dark car pulls up to the curb.

I smile with apology. “Sorry, but I have to go. That’s John, here to pick me up. So are we okay?”


“Yeah. You and me.”

After a second, he returns my smile and holds out a hand. “Sure.”

I step closer so I can shake it, and while I’m there I purposefully inhale the smell Amber had so detested. She’s right. He smells like bread. Banana bread, I think. And cinnamon. Not unpleasant at all.



I was a little nervous going into this book because of the 1 and 2 star ratings that I saw on Goodreads, but I have to say they are sooooo wrong and I LOVED this story!

Sia wakes up not knowing who she is and only had her name on an iPod to get that far. She stumbles across a homeless woman named Carol that takes her under her wing until Sia is hit by a car and ends up on the hospital and “found” by her parents. What unfolds in the rest of the story is a young woman’s wake up call that just because you are wealthy does not mean you are entitled to be mean to others or not care about the plight of those less fortunate.

I thought this book was well written and worth the read!  We loved this book so much we gave it 5 paws!


About the Author

Josh Grayson was born in Mexico, raised in Massachusetts, and now lives in Martinsville, Virginia. It was his move to the South that stirred his imagination and gave him the courage to start writing. When he’s not writing, Josh spends his time reading, jogging, swimming, and watching YouTube videos.

Josh currently works as a medical driver, shuttling people all over Virginia and North Carolina. He has also worked as a machinist, film sales rep, administrative assistant, and telemarketer (he apologizes if he called you).

Sia is his debut YA novel.

Website * Goodreads * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Q & A with the author

If you could fly anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

Italy, simply because it’s always ranked as having the best food in the world. Its beaches are nice too. I’ve Googled it.

What is your favorite genre to read/write?

Young adult (YA), because those stories carry universal themes we can all relate to, a peek into the lives of characters who are more intriguing, real, and raw.

What is one silly fact about you?

I can mimic Enrique Iglesias’s voice pretty well. I sang “Hero” at a friend’s birthday party once and received an enthusiastic response. Some applauded, others laughed. Overall, though, I felt good about my performance.

What got you started on your writing journey?

My move from Massachusetts (where I’d lived most of my life) to Virginia. The first year here was difficult. I was alone, depressed, and in completely new surroundings. But it was here in the South that I began seeing all these stories in my head, and that my “writing gene” got activated. So it seems the old saying is true, everything does happens for a reason.

Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? 

I don’t choose, per se. I just write whatever I see in my head. And so far, all the romantic parts have been sweet and clean, which is fine with me.

What other things do you have planned with your writing for the rest of the year 2013?

I’m working on another YA novel that Sia fans should enjoy as well. If things go according to plan, I’ll publish that in the summer of 2014.
I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Comments Off on Review: Sia by Josh Grayson @josh_grayson
Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, Review, romance on November 19, 2013
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After eighteen years of marriage, Amy has finally found a man to talk to, and it’s not her husband. She’s tried everything she can think of to put the umph back into her marriage, but when she meets Cool_Hand_Luke in a movie chat room, he validates her thoughts and opinions in ways her husband seems incapable of. With the holidays fast approaching, Amy tries to hold herself together for her family, while simultaneously exploring her new online relationship. Will she meet him in real life? Or will she figure out how to save her own marriage? Find out in this Holiday novella from Serendipity, Texas.
This is a cute story and a quick read.  I have to admit that I pretty much knew who Cool_Hand_Luke was and it was interesting to see how it all played out.  One party knows who the other is but nothing seems to change with the online chats.  Despite knowing how it would play out the story was well written and had some interesting twists.  We give this 4 paws and if you are looking for a quick read, check this one out.  Just a forewarning there is some graphic language and sex so is intended for mature readers.
Author Links
I raise goats. I raise children. I write. I don’t do any of it well, but I try to have fun with all of it. And I read. I’m not too terribly technologically savvy, but I’m working on that. My life is a continual work in progress. And when it gets to be 
too much for me (quite frequently, I’m a little embarrassed to say) I read some more.
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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Review, romance on November 12, 2013



Cassidy Reeves is normally a self-assured professional publicist, capable of reigning in the most recalcitrant of clients in the Big Apple. That is, until she has to deal with her own modern-day devil in denim jeans, David Madison. But are his Italian temper and smoldering good looks any match for her velvet glove tactics? Banter abounds in this modern-day Tracy and Hepburn collision…with the requisite happy ending.

This light-hearted romantic comedy detailing the modern perils of finding love in the big city will be sure to delight readers.


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The story takes place over a 12 hour period. Cassidy is the publicist for David, a famous author who also thinks a lot of himself and not a lot about others. He has come to a meeting where she has a list of complaints that he must address. I don’t think they made it through the whole list but you get a good idea of David’s ego. Of course they both have a thing for each other but won’t admit it or act on their feelings. I didn’t like David much because of that ego, but you could see underneath that he did care for Cassidy and had for a few years. Will they get together? You’ll only find out if you read the book!

We give this 3 1/2 paws


About the Author

Sarah O’Rourke is the alter ego of two best friends who have taken their passion for romantic fiction and erotica to the publishing world. Born and raised in the southern United States, one lives near Louisville, KY, while the other resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Neither is ever very far from a tall glass of sweet iced tea, their dog-eared copies of Gone With the Wind, or their Steel Magnolias DVDs!

Formerly an accountant and a chemist, they are now overworked, stay-at-home moms who adore their children, their husbands…and writing about love in every way possible!

Website * Facebook * Amazon * Goodreads

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Posted in 4 paws, mystery, Review, suspense on November 9, 2013

reckless engineer


Love is a battlefield.  

The aftershocks of an affair reverberate out to those in the lives of the lovers, who will NOT take it lying down.

Jack Connor’s lives an idyllic life by the Portsmouth seaside married to Caitlin McAllen, a stunning billionaire heiress, and working at his two jobs as the Head of Radar Engineering of Marine Electronics and as the Director of Engineering of McAllen BlackGold, his powerful father-in-law Douglas McAllen’s extreme engineering company in Oil & Gas.  He loves his two sons from his first marriage and is amicably divorced from his beautiful first wife Marianne Connor.  Their delicately balanced lives are shattered when sexy Michelle Williams, with whom Jack is having a secret affair and who is pregnant with his child, is found dead and Jack is arrested on suspicion for the murder.

Jeremy Stone brings London’s top defense attorney, Harry Stavers, to handle his best friend’s defense.

Who is the bald man with the tattoo of a skull seen entering the victim’s house?  Who is “KC” who Caitlin makes secret calls to from a untraceable mobile?  Has powerful Douglas McAllen already killed his daughter’s first partner and is he capable of killing again?  Is Caitlin’s brother Ronnie McAllen’s power struggle with Jack for the control of McAllen Industries so intense that he is prepared to kill and frame his brother-in-law?  Is the divorce from Jack’s first wife as amicable on her part as they believe it to be?  Are his sons prepared to kill for their vast inheritance?  Who are the ghosts from Caitlin’s past in Aberdeen, Scotland haunting the marriage?  What is the involvement of Jack’s manager at Marine Electronics?

The cast of characters is made even more colorful by the supporting entourage: the big Scott and his gang, Hosé and Heineken, who carry out Douglas McAllen’s “troubleshooting;” McAllens’ bumbling solicitors McKinley and Magnus Laird; Caitlin McAllen’s handymen, Cossack and Levent; and Jeremy’s sidekick, the gay black actor working in the London West End.

While Jack is charged and his murder trial proceeds in the Crown Court under barrister Harry Stavers’ expert care, Jeremy runs a race against time to find the real killer and save his friend’s life, if he is in fact innocent, in a tense saga of love, desire, power, and ambition.


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The first chapter started off well, the 2nd chapter I had a hard time with and keeping people straight, and then it flowed well again after that. I will say I was NOT expecting the ending! I kept thought about who could have killed Michelle, but the answer wasn’t one I expected.  I will say I missed some of the clues or didn’t think twice about them.  I should pay closer attention!  Oh and for my fellow US residents, it is set in the UK so I had to get used to some different words/spellings, but nothing that took away from the reading, just different that our every day life.

We give this 4 paws and suggest it next time you are looking for a mystery to read….see if you can figure out who did it before the last chapter!


About the Author

Jac Wright is a poet published in literary magazines, a published author, and an electronics engineer educated at Stanford, University College London, and Cambridge who lives and works in England.  Jac studied English literature from the early age of three, developing an intense love for poetry, drama, and writing in Trinity College Speech & Drama classes taken every Saturday for fourteen years, and in subsequent creative writing classes taken during the university years.  A published poet, Jac’s first passion was for literary fiction and poetry writing as well as for the dramatic arts.  You will find these influences in the poetic imagery and prose, the dramatic scene setting, and the deep character creation.

These passions – for poetry, drama, literary fiction, and electronic engineering – have all been lovingly combined to create the first book in the literary suspense series, The Reckless Engineer.  There are millions of professionals in high tech corporate environments who work in thousands of cities in the US, the UK, and the world such as engineers, technicians, technical managers, investment bankers, and corporate lawyers.  High drama, power struggles, and human interest stories play out in the arena every day.  Yet there are hardly any books that tell their stories; there are not many books that they can identify with.  Jac feels compelled to tell their stories in The Reckless Engineer series.

Jac also writes the literary short fiction series, Summerset Tales, in which he explores characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances in the semi-fictional region of contemporary England called Summerset, partly the region that Thomas Hardy called Wessex.  Some of the tales have an added element of suspense similar to Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected.  The collection is published as individual tales in the tradition of Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Thomas Hardy’s Wessex Tales.  The first tale, The Closet, accompanies the author’s first full-length literary suspense title, The Reckless Engineer.

 Amazon Author Page * Website * Facebook * Blog * Twitter


I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


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Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, mystery, Review, suspense on November 8, 2013

banner large seduction of miriam


A sordid sex tape.

A venture capital firm.

A secret society of women.

A Catholic nun.

Can Delilah figure out who killed Miriam Cross . . . . before she becomes the killer’s next target?

Miriam Cross, author, feminist and philanthropist, disappears from her Philadelphia home.  A year later, a lonely recluse named Emily Cray is brutally murdered in her bed in a small Pennsylvania town.  Miriam and Emily are one and the same.

As Delilah and her staff of female detectives – a militant homemaker, an ex-headmistress and a former stripper – delve into Miriam’s life, they become submerged in an underworld of unfathomable cruelty and greed with implications that go far beyond the gruesome death of one woman or the boundaries of one country.  Eventually Miriam’s fight for justice becomes Delilah’s own …. and Delilah’s obsession with finding the truth may prove just as deadly.


Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle format) * Amazon (Print) * Kobo


WOW!  This book really surprised me with its twists and turns.  Part of me figured out what Miriam was involved with pretty quickly, but not the whole story.  I also couldn’t figure out how everyone fit in, the author did a good job of hiding the motives of the characters until just the right time.   I thought the characters were pretty well developed for a first book and imagine there are more back stories that could be revealed in future books and perhaps there might even be a love story?  Only time will tell.

We give this book 4 paws and next time you are looking for a good mystery, check this one out!


Henery Two - WATysonAbout The Author

W. A. Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers.  The Seduction of Miriam Cross, to be published by E-Lit Books in November 2013, is the first in the Delilah Percy Powers mystery series.  She has also authored Killer Image (Henery Press, October 2013), the first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.

 Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads


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Tour Participants

November 1 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Interview

November 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Guest Post

November 4 – A Blue Million Books – Interview

November 5 – THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK – Review

November 6 – readalot – Review

November 7 – Dru’s Book Musings – Guest Post

November 8 – Omnimystery – Interview

November 9 – Musings and Ramblings – Interview

November 10 – Brooke Blogs – Interview

November 11 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review

November 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review


I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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Posted in 5 paws, nonfiction, Reference, Review on November 6, 2013

steal this resume


The truth is there are a ton of books out there on how to write Resumes. Many of the books are quite good. But studying an entire book about writing Resumes is like learning auto mechanics just to drive across town.

Why bother?

Instead, why not find a great Resume that’s already written and use the best parts for yourself?

It’s easy, cheap and saves you time better spent searching for that next great job.

Since Kindle cannot properly display Resume and Cover Letter formats I’m including a special link at the end of this publication where you can download your free PDF version of “Steal This Resume”. This eBook is 913 pages long and contains over 500 job-winning Resumes and Cover Letters formatted specifically to fit on regular-sized 8 ½ by 11-inch paper — exactly the way you’d submit a hard copy to a prospective employer.

As an added bonus I’m including three Special Reports you’re sure to find useful. Special Report #1 contains resources listing over 100,000 jobs available right now. Special Report #2 discloses what the hottest jobs will be from now until 2020. And Special Report #3 reveals the very best locations for finding great jobs.

Steal This Resume is the perfect resource for job-seekers. Each of the over 500 Resumes and Cover Letters is precision-crafted using persuasive phrasing and powerful language aimed at finding great employment. The hard work has already been done. All you need to do is search out the perfect phrase or paragraph or description and make it yours.


And it’s a ton easier than writing your own great Resume from scratch. Much faster, too.

The only way I can make this any easier is by coming over to your place and writing a Resume for you. Which I’m happy to do but professional Resume writers like me are very expensive.

Now let me tell you a little secret no professional Resume writer wants you to know: we all use the same power verbs and action adjectives and marketing phrases over and over again. Really.

Think about it. When I’m writing a great Resume for a new client I always refer back to my previous Resumes and pull out the best words and phrases to use again.

And why not? There are really only a limited number of words and phrases to use anyway. But once you know what they are and where to put them you can use them yourself with great success.

And they’re all in my 913-page eBook Steal This Resume just waiting for you.

Picture it like strolling down a restaurant buffet where you can select the choicest words or phrases or descriptions and load them all onto your plate. Yours for the taking. And reasonably priced, too.

You’ll like the powerful wording and strong descriptions. Instead of spending valuable time and effort hunting for just the right word or phrase you can simply use what’s already worked for someone else. See, I’ve already done the hard part for you. Each Resume and Cover Letter in my 913-page eBook is powerfully engineered to present the job-seeker in the very best light for the very best job. That job-seeker could be you.

Why shouldn’t it be?

So what are you waiting for? With so many others out hunting for good jobs time is critical.

500 job-winning Resumes and Cover Letters plus 3 Special Reports all for just $7.95. When you think about it that’s less than two cents per sample. Holy Mackerel – I’m selling Resumes for pennies! Now that’s affordable.

Order the Kindle version of Steal This Resume now and have it downloaded instantly. On the last page you’ll find the link to download the 913-page PDF version free.

But don’t delay. This is your future and now is the time to find the perfect job you deserve.

And it all starts with your job-winning Resume and Cover Letter. Don’t wait any longer.

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Mark contacted me to write a review of his book (and therefore provided a copy to me) and what timing!  I have worked for the same company for 22 years and while have held various jobs, do not currently have a resume…..and any smart business person will tell you that having one on hand is a very smart idea because you never know when you might need to have one.  While I admit I still have not written a resume for myself, I was very impressed with the buzz words, basics, formats and examples provided in this book.  I know that I will be able to create that amazing resume that will wow potential employers at some point in the future!

I have to give this 5 paws, it is that good!  Now you can get the tips and such for free from Mark’s website, but not the examples and cover sheets.  I have to say, this book is well worth the $4.95 it costs to get good guided help and so many examples for various industries that you would be crazy not to spend the money if you are looking to write or update your resume.  The examples you get cover a variety of industries and even if your specific industry is not covered there is bound to be something close that would help you in creating the perfect resume and cover letter.


Posted in Blog tour, contest, Giveaway, Historical, Review, romance on November 6, 2013

bargained tour

Tour Schedule

a bargained

A Bargained-For Bride by Marcia Lynn McClure (Novella)


“You’re the sweetest girl in Mourning Dove Creek, you know?” Jack mumbled as he paused in kissing Jilly a moment.

Jilly smiled. “And you’re the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek, you know,” she flirted in return.

Jack smiled. “I do know,” he said.

Jilly giggled. Jack Taylor was so predictable—and a little conceited. He really did think he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove—and he was, for the most part.

Secretly, however, if Jilly ever allowed herself to be completely honest about it (which she tried to avoid), there was one other man in Mourning Dove who always crossed her mind when the subject of the handsomest man in town arose. Yet there was no lingering on thinking of that man—no sirree! Not for a moment! Not for any reason—ever. And so Jilly just kept telling Jack that he was the handsomest man in Mourning Dove Creek. Besides, it was almost true—being that the other man lived outside of town and not right in town the way Jack did

Amazon * Distractions Ink


I first became aware of Marcia’s books when I read another novella, A Good Lookin’ Man, and just fell in love with the simple and clean writing style and story line.  This novella was no different.  It did take you back in time to probably around the mid to late 1800’s.  The characters are very real and I feel like they could be people that I know.  The story has all the elements you would expect – love, betrayal, devotion, and a little action to boot.

If you have time to pick up this book or any of the others by her,  you won’t be disappointed!  We give A Bargained For Bride 4 paws up.



marciaAuthor Marcia Lynn McClure

Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.”

Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.

Social Media Website Social Media Blog Social Media Facebook Social Media Twitter Social Media Goodreads


Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 11/12/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Posted in 4 paws, fiction, Review on November 3, 2013

a medical affair


Nobody talks about it, but it happens all the time. Twelve percent of medical doctors admit to having had at least one affair with a patient.

Until the night of her first asthma attack, Heather Morrison is a successful New York City executive in the process of adopting a daughter from China. On the first night in her newly-purchased condo on the Upper West Side, she awakens in a panic, fighting for breath.

Moments later, her panic-stricken eyes meet those of Dr. Jeffrey Davis, a pulmonary specialist. Jeff gets Heather’s breathing under control, but their mutual attraction is undeniable. Despite the fact that he is married, Jeff Davis soon steps beyond the bounds of ethically correct behavior to pursue Heather, resulting in a late-night tryst in his office that escalates quickly into a passionate but dangerous affair.

Despite her increasing discomfort with the situation, Heather rationalizes her relationship with Jeff, hoping for a happy ending she knows deep down won’t occur. Six months into it, Jeff’s wife discovers his involvement with Heather, driving him to abruptly break off the affair, but not before Heather begins, with the help of friends, to understand the ethical and legal impropriety and seriousness of what has transpired. Emotionally overwrought and fragile after the breakup, Heather also struggles with an addiction to several medications Jeff prescribed while she was under his care.

With initial misgivings, she begins the process of bringing Jeff to justice, discovering to her horror after initiating legal action that by doing so, she has jeopardized her chances of adopting the daughter she has dreamed of adopting for so long. Heather’s life comes crashing down around her as she sinks into the depths of humiliation and despair, only to find the strength within her, through the help of friends and compassionate professionals, to fight her way back into life, and to bring the doctor to justice.

A MEDICAL AFFAIR is a story that must be told.


After Melissa left, Heather stayed behind in the restaurant. She went through the motions of taking care of the bill. Smile. Pay. Tip. She lifted the two crisp tens Melissa had left on the tray. Adding two of her own, she returned them to the gold-trimmed jade tray that held the bill. Her legs were weak and shaking, her knees grazing the bottom of the table.

She stood and left the restaurant. Instead of heading for the subway, she walked a few blocks until she saw a Rite Aid drugstore. She went inside and bought two gigantic bags of M&M’s—one plain, one peanut.

“Sweet tooth got ya, sister?” the checkout clerk asked.

“I just need chocolate,” Heather said.

“Got to be a man, then,” the clerk said, two gold front teeth centering a friendly smile.

Heather felt a bond with the woman, a bond with every woman who had ever been wronged by a man. “Isn’t it always?” she asked, not needing a reply.

One block turned into another. Barely noticing how different this part of the city was from her own, Heather trudged forward, shoveling the candy into her mouth. Shoveling, chewing, and swallowing. She felt like she was walking beside herself, an unsettling feeling at best, calmed only slightly by the chocolate.

Melissa had said her affair with Jeff had lasted over six months; Suzanne’s had lasted only three. Heather counted back the months since July. Clearly I’ve met my expiration date, too.

Surrounded by the brilliant sights and sounds of Harlem, she saw nothing and heard less. It was just her and her two gigantic bags of M&M’s shoved inside a plastic Rite Aid shopping bag. Red, yellow, green, and blue. When had they started adding blue to the mix?

She walked as if on auto- pilot, navigating the streets and sidewalks, robotically obeying the Walk and Don’t Walk signs, crossing the streets with the crowds. Along the way, she stuffed one candy after another between her lips, filling the cavernous emptiness inside her with anything that tasted remotely like love.


My first thought when I read the synopsis is, wow, does this really happen?  And then I think about society and the people in it and then I realize, of course it does and it probably happens often.  There are some doctors that have a “god” complex and think they can do no wrong.  That would be the main character Dr. Jeffrey (Jeff) Davis.  He is tending to Heather when she is brought into the ER for a severe asthma attack.  He notes that she is rather attractive and his type, but he tries not to act on anything.  That changes when Heather makes a follow up appointment for his office.  I’m sure he thought, why not?  Now don’t think that Heather is totally innocent in this whole matter, most normal people would realize that you don’t meet your doctor for coffee or lunch and you don’t let your doctor try and treat you for things that are not within their specialty!

I had mixed feelings about the characters while I was reading the novel.  I wasn’t wild about Jeff because he is a typical philanderer and I don’t like people that can’t be faithful to their spouse.  Heather was caught up in a moment, but then couldn’t figure out how to get out of the situation and I’m not sure she wanted out until it was a bit too late.  I felt pity for her but then at times I just wanted to throttle her and ask her what she was thinking!  I think her friends wanted to do the same thing!

This type of story can never end well.  There are winners and losers and those that win also lose something and this is no different.  A gripping read and we gave it 4 paws.



About the Author

anne straussAnne McCarthy Strauss is a versatile writer, researcher and public relations professional.  She is also an avid supporter of victims’ rights.  She has spent the last decade educating women and men on the seldom revealed but all too frequent occurrence of affairs between doctors and their patients.  Her novel, A Medical Affair, is the story of a doctor who violates a sacred trust by having an affair with one of his patients.

The veteran of dozens of MediaBistro courses and Maui Writers Retreats, she is a staunch advocate of lifelong learning.  She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), and holds a B.A. in Journalism from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Anne’s byline has appeared in Old House Journal, Waterfront Home & Design, Design Trade Magazine, Design New England, Distinction, Log Home Design Ideas and Florida Design Review.  She has been a regular contributor to Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and Vineyard Style.

A lifelong New Yorker, Anne lives on Long Island with her husband and their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Blog tour, Cozy, mystery, Review on October 29, 2013

banner large RELATIVE DANGER




Title: Relative Danger (A Cealie Gunther Mystery, #1)
Author: June Shaw
Published by Untreed Publishing
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Number of Pages: 256


This is book one in a trilogy featuring widowed Cealie Gunther, who “thinks” she wants to avoid her hunky lover Gil Thurman, but he opens Cajun restaurants wherever she travels — and she is so bad at avoiding tempting dishes and men.

RELATIVE DANGER — Spunky widowed Cealie Gunther is a woman of a certain age whose zeal for adventure keeps her in the thick of things—like trouble. She pops up in town early to watch her motherless granddaughter Kat graduate, only to discover that because of a death—accidental—or murder?—graduation might not take place.

Determined to find the truth, Cealie snags a job as a substitute teacher, exposing much violence, lurking menace and more disturbing questions than answers. The only thing certain is that a killer has decided she and her grandchild need to be expelled—permanently.


I applauded. The man onstage pointed beyond me, and my heart lurched.

There, at a corner table, sat Gil. The gunmetal gray of his sports jacket matched his thick hair, teased now with silver streaks. The top button of his white shirt was open. He stood, and I saw that he wore dark jeans. Colorful jockey shorts would be underneath.

Applause rang in my ears. Or maybe it was blood rushing.

“Thank you all for coming,” Gil said, the deep richness of his voice sending molten urges through my body.

People at his table raised their hands toward him and clapped. At the chair beside Gil’s sat a young woman with a bronzed cherub face. Hair like liquid ebony draped around her face, and a black knit top revealed mega cleavage. She gave Gil an expansive smile, her eyes sparkling like those of a woman in love.

Gil’s gaze fell to the woman. He grinned and then peered at his customers. “Please enjoy yourselves. And don’t forget to tell your friends where we are.” He began to sit when his gaze located mine. Gil sprang to his feet, mouthing, “Cealie.”

Somersaults bounced through my belly.

Gil strode to me, saying, “You’re here.” He leaned and kissed my lips. Gil’s lips were warm, his scent manly. I let my mouth linger.

Behind him, someone snickered. The waiter stood, holding my entrée. He set it down and left. Gil stared at me. “What a treat.”

I didn’t speak, enjoying the marvelous twinges in my torso.

“Cealie, I can’t believe you’re really here.”

I struggled to draw my gaze away from his mesmerizing dark gray eyes. Gil’s neck filled his open collar, and chest hair sprinkled the V above his top button. That same chest hair had often tickled my cheeks. I felt a rush of passion no lady should feel while out in public.

“Nice to see you, too,” I said, willing my voice normal. I slid my left hand into my right palm and pinched, an action I’d discovered was more discreet than slapping myself. You are woman, remember? You want to do your own thing.

“I don’t know what brought you, but I’m glad it did.” He cocked his head and gave a smile that made me sizzle. “Would your visit have anything to do with me?”

Kat’s horrid situation sprang to mind. “No,” I said.

“I didn’t think so.” Gil looked disappointed. He indicated the place where the pretty woman sat watching us, her red mouth now puckered in a pout. “Come over to my table and join us.”

“Why don’t you just join me for a minute,” I said, pointedly adding, “if you can?”

Gil sat and drew his chair close. My gaze flickered toward his table. Surely that young woman’s skirt was black and clingy. Black pantyhose would probably run beneath that tiny skirt the entire length of her long legs.

Her gaze locked with mine. We gave each other appraising stares.

My skin had more sag than hers, and my waist was surely not as tapered. I was a decade or two (okay, maybe three) older. Was Gil dating a child now, I wondered, my teeth clenched.

Well that was his decision to make. Still, I wished I’d worn something sassier than the boxy lime-green pantsuit made of crinkled fabric. It was a wise choice in some ways, loose and comfortable with an elastic waistband. The cropped pants were fashionable but made my legs appear shorter. Comparing me in this outfit to the woman staring back, I looked about as chic as Chicken Boy.

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This book falls into the cozy genre – a character that is not a police officer that helps solve the crime.  However, Cealie seemed to do things that put herself and her family into danger that just wasn’t smart.  Cealie is a very caring and concerned grandmother and that can override some of her action.   I’m not sure that we got a true feel for the characters and their backgrounds.  It seems like a lot of the back story wasn’t woven into this first book.  Usually you find some clues that might point you in the direction of who the killer might be, but looking back I remember 1-2 vague clues….I will say the killer is NOT someone that I was expecting at all!  The author did inject some humor into the story with the mail truck that Cealie rented for part of a week, that cracked me up trying to imagine a grandma driving such a vehicle.

We give this book 3 1/2 paws.  It wasn’t bad for a first book and I’m sure we will learn more about Cealie and Gil because I think there is a good story there.

About the author

june shaw

June Shaw serves her third term as Louisiana’s representative on the board of Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest Chapter. For Romance Writers of America’s South Louisiana Chapter, she is the Published Author Liaison.

She’s written for numerous periodicals and created highly-praised novels, including this first in her cozy mystery series, which Deadly Ink nominated for Best Mystery of the Year.


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I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Posted in 5 paws, humor, nonfiction, Review on October 27, 2013




The Barber’s Conundrum and Other Stories is a collection of humor essays that address every day life including parenting (The School Project: An American Tragedy), relationships (How Bananas Almost Destroyed My Marriage), religion (If We’re Late Again for Church, I Will Kill You), the media (There But for the Grace of God Goes the Weather Reporter), animals, specifically geese who tie up traffic by refusing to fly (Behold the Goose), the afterlife (An Unwanted Glimpse of the Afterlife), and other topics readily identifiable and relatable to anyone who doesn’t employ and house a staff of servants that outnumber their immediate family by a ratio of 16:1.


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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book.  I don’t remember how much of the synopsis that I read before delving into the book.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised at the stories in the book. I loved that they were short (easy to find a stopping place when necessary) and a variety of topics.  Several found me bursting out laughing or nodding in agreement with his musings.  I’m not sure which one was my favorite but I know that I found myself reading excerpts to my husband when he asked what was so funny.

We give this 5 paws and I’m planning to add his blog to my RSS reader so I can keep up with his “observations from the cheap seats”!


About the Author

John Hartnett was born in Jersey City, NJ, grew up in Cranford,NJ, and moved to Los Angeles in 1984 after graduating from Emerson College. He has worked in the restaurant, construction, entertainment and publishing industries as well as several others which thankfully have been suppressed from memory. He moved back to his hometown of Cranford in 1997, where his parents still reside, and is married with three children. His first love has always been comedy and his second love is his wife, but sometimes the order is reversed depending on who’s in the room with him.

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