Posted in 5 paws, Giveaway, LDS, Review, romance, Young Adult on February 4, 2014

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rules of engagement cover

Synopsis

For Annemarie Whitted, her youngest sister’s engagement starts as a happy event, and ends as a slap in the face when she comes to the harsh realization that she’s a failure at relationships, a person in stasis. Annemarie is motivated and organized, a woman on a mission, and she’s getting married now.

Her Rules of Engagement ensure she’ll make the right choice, and her committee will find her potential eternal companions. She assigns the job to her closest sister, Lisa, and Lisa’s husband, Tanner. Of course, Tanner comes with baggage— his brother, Ben, Annemarie’s lifelong nemesis.

The war between the two of them gives a brand new meaning to Annemarie’s Rules of Engagement, and his presence isn’t helping her at all. Especially when he disapproves of her methods and questions every step she makes. Especially when their forced proximity makes each of them really see each other for the first time. Especially when she discovers that her heart has secret corners she never knew, and that the Rules might have been her biggest mistake of all

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Review

Loved this clean romance. Annemarie doesn’t think she is capable of love so she sets off to find someone to marry with the help of a Rules of Engagement committee which includes one of her sisters, her brother-in-law and his brother. What ensues is hilarity, I can’t tell you the number of times I started laughing out loud at some of the dates she went on. I liked how at the beginning of new chapters there was the list of her requirements and how items are added or crossed off as she figures out what she does not want. And then there is Ben (brother to her brother-in-law and long time family friend). He is just as awkward as she is (after all he is a Nobel Prize winning Physicist). It is no surprise that these two butt heads during this whole process. Will they realize what is in front of them?

I will say that I don’t understand what wards are in the Mormon faith, but that doesn’t make this book any less enjoyable.  I have another book of Amber’s to read, Glitch, which is the first in this series.  Luckily I didn’t need to read that first to enjoy this book!

We give it 5 paws and highly recommend it!

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About the Author

Amber Gilchrist lives in New Mexico with her husband and three children. She writes YA for upper teens, as well as LDS Romantic Comedies. She calls her lifetime of jumping from one job to another ‘experience’ for her books and not an inability to settle down. Amber loves mysteries and a good, happy romance. She also loves to laugh. Sometimes she likes all of them together.

A fan of quirky movies and indie books, Amber likes to be with her family, is socially inept, and fears strangers and small yippy dogs. She alternates between writing and being a mom and wife. She tries to do both at the same time but her kids don’t appreciate being served lunch and told, “This is the hot dog of your discontent.” So mostly she writes when everyone else is in bed.

Amber loves to hear from readers and can be reached at ambergilchristbooks@gmail.com. If you would like to be added to her newsletter please email your address to be notified about future releases and events.

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Giveaway

Amber is giving away an eBook copy of Rules of Engagement.  Open internationally
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Fantasy, Review, Urban on February 2, 2014

all that glitters

All That Glitters by Jackie Sonnenberg

Genre – Urban Fantasy/Crime

Synopsis

A jewelry thief is on the loose in the town of Wickerwire, Iowa. He leaves behind no trace except for his newly-established calling card: candy in place of the jewels he steals, the media giving him the nickname of “The Candy Caper.”  He makes his mark and vanishes, and no one seems to have any leads on him whatsoever. He won’t give up until he finds his special item…but what exactly is he looking for? And what exactly is in it for him?

Said to be a “backwards superhero story” telling the story of a would-be villain, All That Glitters is a satisfying read for everyone and anyone who has ever fantasized about having a double life, a secret identity as well as a special ability…and whether this ability is seen as a gift or a curse.

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Review

Overall this book has a great storyline. Nick is a dentist but is also a kleptomaniac and has been since he was a kid. Bridget is a new jewelry store owner in town…a town that has just seen a rash of robberies of jewelry stores and the calling card by the thief is candy in the empty cases. There is also lore that there are pieces of jewelry that turn negative aspects into something positive.

There are a host of other characters that add to the storyline – Detective Anthony Massey, the wrestling icon Thunder God (who is seeking the good luck jewelry!), Dustin and Cheryl (Dustin works with Nick) and Alex who works with Bridget and is her loss prevention specialist.

I had some small problems reading the story because it took me a little while to realize whose POV the story was coming from.  Was it The Candy Caper?  Was it Nick?  Was it Detective Massey?  The author used “he” a lot and it took awhile to figure out who “he” was at that moment.  However, as the book progressed and we learn who The Candy Caper is, then the book became a little easier to read.

We give this 3 1/2 paws

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About the Author

Jackie Sonnenberg is an author/entrepreneur, or “authorpreneur” and has worked in journalism, creative writing, event planning and marketing. Favorite authors are Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Lisa See, Gregory Maguire, Edgar Allen Poe, Stephen King, Sarah Addison Allen, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling and, the bard himself, William Shakespeare. Outside of her favorite job of Microsoft Wording at 2 A.M. in pajamas, Sonnenberg is a lover of video games, costuming and conventions, and an avid member of the Haunt industry thriving on every Halloween season.

Sonnenberg’s books mainly theme around suspense and thriller. She is currently at work on the YA Paranormal novel  Guardians of Light and outlining a horror series. More clues about this series will be revealed at a later time!

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I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

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Posted in 4 paws, contest, fiction, Giveaway, Review on January 31, 2014

Colony Tour

Tour Schedule

 

The ColonyThe Colony by Cami Checketts

To protect her sons from the mistakes of her past, Brinlee Trapper escapes to a secluded mountain home. But there are dangers lurking in the mountains she has never encountered. The little family is saved from injury by Jed, a mysterious hunter. Brinlee is drawn to him, but she worries about his involvement with a peaceful commune hidden deep in the mountains behind her property.

Lance, Brinlee’s attentive neighbor, has his own troubled history. Between his obvious attraction to Brinlee and his developing love for her children, Brinlee finds it more than difficult to guard her heart against this tender intrusion.

While Jed offers a life of excitement and freedom, Lance holds the key to the family Brinlee always wanted. When it comes time to choose, she learns that both men have secrets that could shatter her fledgling trust in men and the wrong decision could leave more than her heart exposed to danger.

Excerpt

“You’re going to give me a lesson in shooting?”

He grinned. “I figured you’d want to try it out before I brought Trevor. Make sure it’s safe and everything.”

Brinlee waited by the truck while he retrieved the .22 and a box of bullets. The gun range was empty, which was nice. She didn’t need any die-hard hunters laughing at her as she fired a gun for the first time in her life.

Lance escorted her to a box. He set up the target and showed her how to load the gun, take off the safety, and fire. Brinlee was hyperaware of him tonight. How he smelled like musk and metal when he leaned in close to her. The feel of his strong hands wrapped around hers as he taught her gun techniques. The bulging muscles in his chest brushing against her back. The look in his eyes every time he glanced her way.

She shivered with delight. The way Lance looked at her made her feel clean and desirable at the same time. He wanted her, but he respected and admired her more.

Brinlee sighted in the target with Lance’s arms wrapped around her own.

“Okay, you’re looking good,” he whispered against her neck.

Her skin tingled. Brinlee closed her eyes and inhaled his musky cologne.

“Gently pull the trigger.”

Opening her eyes, she squeezed the trigger.

“A bit harder,” Lance whispered, his lips brushing her neck.

Brinlee jerked and pulled the trigger. The shot went into a nearby straw bale. Lance chuckled and straightened with his arms still around her. “Looks like we need to try again.”

Brinlee set the gun on the table and spun in his embrace. She stared straight into his eyes. “Yeah, maybe this time you can keep your lips off my neck so I can concentrate.”

Lance’s eyebrows arched. “Oh, was that distracting you?”

She glanced at him from beneath her lashes. “What do you think?”

Pulling her closer, Lance lowered his head. His lips touched her ear. “Is this distracting?”

Brinlee shut her eyes and leaned. “Yes.”

His lips trailed down, along her jaw line and to her neck. “How about this?” he murmured.

“Worse.” Brinlee savored each touch.

One of his hands rose to cup her cheek while the other covered her lower back. He guided her mouth to his and took his time, gradually increasing the pressure of his lips until every nerve tingled. “How about that?”

“That’s terrible,” Brinlee said. “I can’t even think when you’re doing that.” Heart thundering, she hoped for more. Lance didn’t disappoint. His kiss was sweet yet all-encompassing. She didn’t ever want it to end.

Colony 299

Review

This book is very fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat especially at the end. There are two love interests for Brinlee but only one of them can win her heart and really it wasn’t much of a contest. Jed reminded her of her past and how she came to be a single mother of two children. Would she allow him to be part of her future? Or will it be Lance, the man hired by her brother to watch over her?  What are these men hiding from her?

There were times I wanted to tell Brinlee to stop letting her older son Trevor get away with so much! He was just a little too precocious for his age.  And the people living in the colony, were they just that clueless?  They scoff at the laws of the land yet they have their own rules and don’t think twice about what Isaac has to say?  I liked that Jed stood up to Isaac and challenged the rules of the colony, but there is a lot more to the story that you find out at the end.  Definitely not something I saw coming!

Overall good book, enjoyed it and we give it 4 paws.

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Praise

“Cami Checketts is a genius! She writes about topics that aren’t widely discussed, in and out of books, and she does such a brilliant job of crafting these things into wonderful stories that touch your heart and remain with you for days afterwards.” ~Myra, Reviewer, Pieces of Whimsy

Grab your copy for just $2.99!

Author Cami Checketts

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction.

Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. Cami teaches strength training classes at her local rec and shares healthy living tips on her fitness blog: http://fitnessformom.blogspot.com.

Cami and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn’t snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.

 

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Fitness Blog

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/6/14

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, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, Cozy, Review on January 29, 2014

large banner picking lemons

 

PickingLemonsPicking Lemons: A C.J. Whitmore Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (October 2, 2013)
Paperback: 194 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1939816221
E-Book File Size: 1384 KB
ASIN: B00GF4ZZA0

Synopsis

Economic theories can predict many things – just not the death of a renowned Economics professor. When Professor Edmund DeBeyer is found dead in his office, strangled to death by his own Ph.D. hood, the police don’t have to look further than his colleagues in the Economics Department for suspects. After all, Edmund was the most despised member of the department. C.J. Whitmore, the department’s only tenured female, (who also has a penchant for wearing pink cowboy boots to class) resolves to get to the bottom of the mystery using economic principles. Comparing tracking down murder suspects to to selecting a used car, she attempts to discern the real deals from the “lemons.” That is, which suspects are really telling the truth and which are lying to protect their guilt. Will C.J. be able to pick the lemon before her clever adversary strikes again?

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Review

Interesting premise for a new series….set in an Economics department at a prestigious university. CJ is a wise cracking Texan that once she was given her tenure reverted to her real self, after all economics is not known to be a “fun” field.  I love that she walks around in pink cowboy boots and throws out southern euphemisms at every turn.  The book is fairly fast paced and spans a week. I thought it was interesting how each chapter was a day of the week.

As CJ is revealing the killer at the end it came to me “whodoneit” but until that point I had no idea.  I was hoping for one person, but no such luck!  He is just a slimeball.

I also like how they used economic theory/model to come up with the title of the book. I’ll admit to Econ being part of my major in college but I sure don’t remember much of it!

We give this book 4 paws and can’t wait to see what the author has in store next for us and CJ.

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About This Author

Toman Author Photo BW BorderJ.T. Toman lives in Boulder, Colorado. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and has taught econometrics at the University of Sydney and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also has a degree in zookeeping from Pikes Peak Community College and has cared for everything from butterflies to elephants. She now teaches math at Front Range Community College, and truly believes fractions are useful in everyday life.

In her spare time, J.T. Toman joins the rest of Colorado hiking, biking and skiing. However, much like her cats, she finds food more inspiring than scenery. J.T. particularly loves home- grown tomatoes, udon noodles and tall glasses of chocolate milk, but not at the same time.

Picking Lemons is her first novel.

Author Webpage

 

 

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Tour Participants

January 26 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
January 27 – Queen of All She Reads – Review
January 28 – Books-n-Kisses – Review
January 29 – readalot blog – Review
January 29StoreyBook Reviews – Review
January 30 – Book Club Librarian – Review
January 31 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review
February 1 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review – Interview

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Posted in 5 paws, Blog tour, fiction, Historical, mystery, Review on January 28, 2014

roses underneath

Genre & Subject:   Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Release Date:         January 28, 2014
Publisher:              Ypsilon & Co Press
ISBNs:                    9780615868363 (paper), 9780615883908 (Kindle)
Pages:                    411

Synopsis

It is August 1945 in Wiesbaden, Germany. With the country in ruins, Anna Klein, displaced and separated from her beloved husband, struggles to support herself and her six-year old daughter Amalia. Her job typing forms at the Collecting Point for the US Army’s Monuments Men is the only thing keeping her afloat. Charged with securing Nazi-looted art and rebuilding Germany’s monuments, the Americans are on the hunt for stolen treasures. But after the horrors of the war, Anna wants only to hide from the truth and rebuild a life with her family. When the easy-going American Captain Henry Cooper recruits her as his reluctant translator, the two of them stumble on a mysterious stash of art in a villa outside of town. Cooper’s penchant for breaking the rules capsizes Anna’s tenuous security and propels her into a search for elusive truth and justice in a world where everyone is hiding something.

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Review

This was a wonderfully told story of post WWII Germany. If you have recently seen (or read) The Book Thief and The Monuments Men – this is like a combination of the two.  Throw in a little bit of mystery and you have a winner of a story.

The story focuses on Anna, her daughter Amalia, Captain Cooper and Oskar, a displaced child that was found in a villa where artwork was discovered. There are many other characters that add to the story – both good and bad – and create a setting that is fraught with lies, desire and hope.  The characters are no different than people you might already know in your life – some are honest, some are out to get whatever they can at the cost of anyone but themselves.

I felt that the author did a great job of providing the reader with an insight into what the German citizens went through at the end of WWII.  I would say it was probably very similar to what people experienced during the depression in the US.  It was also fascinating to read some history into a subject I am not familiar with.  I always enjoy learning something new and with The Monuments Man movie coming out, this continues that story and would be a great history lesson for everyone.  I know in the past, history was not one of my favorite subjects.  But as time has passed, I love learning new things about how we have gotten to where we are in the world.

I was surprised at some of Anna’s actions throughout the story.  While she started in the typing pool, she then started working for Captain Cooper as a translator.  Their big find was artwork in a villa, along with Oskar.  But as the story progressed, she would leave work, “borrow” a jeep and other actions that would get most people fired from a job.  Perhaps it was her growth as a woman and dealing with the reality that was handed to her and her desire to survive along with her daughter, Amalia.

We give this book 5 paws and highly recommend it!

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About the author

Yetmen headshotCanan Yetmen began her career as an Editorial Assistant in the English department of Prestel Books in Munich, Germany, where she worked with editors and authors to facilitate publication of exhibition catalogues and artist monographs. She then worked as a freelance German translator and book researcher focusing on art history and architecture texts. While at Prestel and as a freelancer she worked on titles including Kandinsky, Watercolors and Drawings, edited by Vivian Barnett and Armin Zweite; Clyfford Still, edited by Thomas Kellein; and Architecture in Transition, edited by Peter Noever. She also completed bibliographical research for Keith Haring, edited by Germano Celant; and Josef Hoffman Designs, edited by Peter Noever; she was credited as a translator on Christo: The Reichstag and Urban Projects, edited by Jacob Baal-Teshuva.

Between 1994 and 2001 Canan was Associate Publisher and Publisher of Texas Architect magazine; she directed marketing and business management of the magazine as well as public outreach and communications efforts for the 5,000-member Texas Society of Architects (TSA). She was also responsible for the statewide TSA Design Awards program and TSA convention communications.

Her first book, The Owner’s Dilemma: Driving Success and Innovation in the Design and Construction Industry  co-written with Barbara White Bryson, was published by Ostberg Design Library in August 2010.  The Roses Underneath is her first novel.

Canan received her Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in German from the University of Texas. She has given presentations on architectural communications to the Texas Society of Architects Convention; AIA chapters in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Albuquerque; and the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Building Communities Conference. Her writing appears regularly in Texas Architect and Interiors Texas magazines and has been included in SMPS Marketer, Austin Home and Tribeza. She lives in Austin with her husband and daughter.

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Posted in 4 paws, Monday, mystery, Review on January 27, 2014

It’s another Monday and that means another featured mystery book!  This week it is book 3 in the Emily Castle series.  The first two books are Three Sisters and Showstoppers both of which I reviewed last year.  These two were more of a novella to introduce us to the character, so maybe this is really book 1!  This book came out last year…I was just a little slow on getting to the book.

invitation to die

Synopsis

Twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles is out of work… again. So when famous romance author Morgana Blakely offers her a job helping out at a conference in London, Emily accepts. Just as eagerly, American blogger Winnie Kraster accepts an invitation from Morgana to attend as a guest, not realizing she has, in effect, accepted an invitation to die.

As a cast of oddball characters assembles at the conference hotel, grievances, differences, and secrets begin to emerge. When Winnie goes missing, and then is found murdered nearby, Emily begins to suspect that someone involved with the conference is responsible. Could it be one of the organizers, one of the authors, a member of the hotel staff, or even the supplier of the chocolates for the conference gift bags? Emily teams up with guest speaker and eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel to find out.

Offbeat and engaging, this entertaining comic mystery is the first full-length novel featuring amateur British sleuth Emily Castles.

Review

I wonder if I should be concerned as a blogger that an author might be out to get me! This is the 3rd book in the series (although the first two were novellas) and the characters have become more fleshed out since those two short stories. I never suspected the killer and was surprised when Emily had it all figured out because it seemed like she was thrown into the situation to reveal the killer and didn’t seem very confident when she was approached.

I do wonder if Emily is going to have a romantic relationship with the detective. guess we shall see!

We give this 4 paws and look forward to the next book – Beyond Belief (which I have on my Kindle to read)

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Author Helen Smith

helensmithHelen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She’s the author of bestselling cult novels Alison Wonderland, Being Light and The Miracle Inspector as well as the Emily Castles Mystery Series.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Blog tour, Giveaway, Review, romance on January 25, 2014

Love-and-Cupcakes-Tour-Banner

An Adult Romance

By Susan Bishop Crispell

Released January 17, 2014

Publisher: Swoon Romance

Love and Cupcakes Cover

Synopsis

For Jaclyn “Jack” Pace, sensing what sweets people crave is as easy as breathing. But it’s not enough to keep her cupcake bakery in the black.

So, when her estranged sister Harper comes back to town with an affinity for making art out of icing—and a past full of secrets—she reluctantly gives Harper a job and a place to crash.

As their sisterly relationship begins to thaw, the one with her business partner Graham starts to heat up. Given the legend that says Hollingsworth men will recognize their soul mates at first touch, Jack’s always been resigned to the fact that she’s not his.

But when she starts sensing desires that are decidedly not dessert-related, it’ll take all of her magic to set things right with customers and make her own desires come true.

Love and Cupcakes is a delightfully sweet and sensual romance from Susan Bishop Crispell.

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Review

I thought that there were a lot of great premises in the book: cupcakes (yum!), crushes and secrets. There was a fair amount of tension due to the secrets and the crushes, but sometimes I wondered why Jake (Jacyln) was so hard headed. And how did she develop the talent for knowing what people wanted before they ordered? I could see that being a bigger part of the story.  Graham is her older brother’s best friend but Jake and Graham have had a thing for each other since they were kids running around in her back yard.  However, Hutton (the older brother), is just a little too over the top.  Yes he should be concerned for his sisters, but to get in the way of romance?  Then there is Harper, the baby sister.  She is the artistic type and rolls back into town but no one knows why….until later in the book (don’t want to spoil it!).  There are a few minor characters that are out to cause trouble for Graham and Jake and their cupcake shop, but plenty of others that want to help and help shut down the troublemakers.

I think there could have been a lot more character development but the story has some promise and if nothing else you will be drooling over the cupcake flavors!  Good thing we can’t smell sweet things in books…yet!

We give it 3 1/2 paws

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 About the Author

susan crispellSusan Bishop Crispell is not one of those writers who’s been scribbling down stories since she could hold a pencil. She didn’t read constantly growing up (blasphemy!), and she can still be found in public without a book tucked into her purse (again with the blasphemy!).

She is, however, the kind of writer who lives for the imaginative spark that introduces her to a new character or story idea that pushes her to turn everyday life into something magical.

She lives and writes near Wilmington, NC.

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Publisher’s Site

 

Giveaway

(1) $10 USD Gift Card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble – International
(5) eBook copies of Love and Cupcakes (mobi and epub) – International

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Tour Schedule

Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, Cozy, mystery, Review on January 22, 2014

TRAPPED BY REVENGE 640

trapped by revenge

Trapped By Revenge: A Shelby Nichols Adventure (Volume 5)
Cozy Mystery
Paperback: 192 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492936411
E-Book File Size: 2536 KB
ASIN: B00GMCIG24

Synopsis

With summer over Shelby is looking forward to having some time to herself while the kids are back in school. A phone call from Uncle Joey ruins her plans, but she manages to take it in stride. After lunch with her friend, she promises to meet with the private investigator who was spying on Uncle Joey, but this simple task turns into a disaster. Not only does she find the P.I. dead, but a slip of paper with her name on it under his lifeless hand implicates her for his murder. Desperate to prove her innocence and find the person who killed him, Shelby begins a frantic search. She enlists the aid of the local mob boss, Uncle Joey, his hit-man, Ramos, and her police detective friend, Dimples, but soon finds that nothing can save her from becoming entangled in a sinister plot. With her life on the line and no way out, she finds herself trapped by revenge, and realizes it will take all her skills to escape. Now she must choose where her loyalties lie, and hope she doesn’t trade something bad, for something even worse.

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Review

This is book #5 in the series. I have not read any of the previous 4 (but might have to now) so I was a little lost on how some of the relationships had developed, but the author does a good job of explaining how Shelby could now read minds and sort of filling in some gaps in the personal story. The actual mystery is self contained and could be read on its own. There is an interesting chemistry between Ramos and Shelby, but Shelby is married to Chris and he is a very supportive husband despite the pickles that Shelby finds herself in thanks to Uncle Joey.

It was a really good story and never would have guessed whodoneit. Well written and very fascinating. This is probably a very good series but start with book 1, not book 5 like I did!

We give this 4 paws up.

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About This Author

colleen_helme_smallA long career as a wife and mother while juggling several part-time jobs gave Colleen the ambition to dream of being a published author, where she could put her imagination to good use. Now instead of making up stories to tell her children, she writes books they love to read. Hopefully you will too. She is the author of three romantic fantasy novels, Songbird, Flame of Destiny and The Relic. Her Shelby Nichols Adventures include Carrots, Fast Money, Lie or Die, Secrets That Kill, and Trapped by Revenge with more to come.

Website * Shelby’s Website * Facebook * Twitter

 

Giveaway

The author is giving away a copy of each of the 5 books in the series – what an awesome prize, I’m going to have to sign up myself!
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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, mystery, Review on January 21, 2014

forget me knot

 

Synopsis

Welcome to San Fernando Valley, California, where Martha Rose and her coterie of quilters are enjoying life on the good side of retirement—until murder pulls a stitch out of their plans…

Martha and her besties Lucy and Birdie are set to expand their Quilty Tuesdays by inviting newcomer Claire Terry into their group. Though at forty Claire’s a tad younger than their average age, her crafty reputation could perk up their patchwork proceedings, especially as they prepare for the fancy quilt show coming to town. But when they arrive at Claire’s home and find her dead inside the front door, and her exquisite, prize-winning quilts soon missing, Martha is not one to leave a mystery unraveled. Especially if she wants to stop a killer from establishing a deadly pattern…

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Review

Great start to a new series. I love that the main character is a little older and curvy. I was curious how she could be single and not work but support herself, it was explained about halfway through the book. I don’t know how to quilt but always have been amazed by what I have seen and the amount of time it takes to put one together. There are great explanations about the quilting world.

I don’t know if I’m getting better at figuring out who the killer is, but I had a gut instinct and was glad to see I was right at the end. However, the reasoning was not one I would have expected so that was a nice twist!

Overall we give it 4 paws and if you like quilting and cozies, you will like this book!

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About the Author

Born and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011.

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Posted in 3 1/2 paws, Fantasy, paranormal, Review, Young Adult on January 16, 2014

spellweaver

Synopsis

Book One of the Spellweaver Chronicles

Felicity Lucas never really knew her mother. Even though they had lived together for all the fourteen years that Felicity had been alive, they had barely even had a meaningful conversation. It was a relationship that was far from perfect.

So when her mother dies in a car crash and Felicity is sent to live with her estranged father in a deprived London borough, she is determined to move on. It isn’t easy – content with her solitude, she’s never had friends before, but the most popular girl in her new school won’t leave her alone and she’s forced to attend counselling. To make things worse, it’s obvious that her father doesn’t want her around.

It is only after she discovers a book of spells and is attacked by a strange boy who can conjure flames in his hands that she starts to realise that her mother was far more than what she seemed. She had a great many secrets, secrets that promise to thrust Felicity into a terrifying world of magic and straight into the path of beings who are determined to destroy her.

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Review

Felicity is raised without the knowledge that she has special magical abilities, so when things start going awry after her mother dies, she doesn’t know which way to turn or who to believe.

I thought the plot was interesting and I felt for Felicity since growing up she never really had friends and she has been “adopted” by Hollie who was asked to show her around school.  This felt strange to Felicity, but she came accustomed to having people around.  Sure Hollie is shallow, but that doesn’t make her any less of a friend. There are some characters that you will love and hate and some that will surprise you that they are not who you think. Can’t say too much or it would give it away.

Overall we give this 3 1/2 paws and if you are looking for a fantasy/paranormal YA book you just might like this one.

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About the Author

cj bridgemanClaire Bridgeman is a secondary school English teacher living in Norwich, England, with her husband, their 1 year old daughter Pearl, their black fluffy cat and the fly infestation currently inhabiting the conservatory. She has written many books but it was only in 2013, at the age of 28, that she felt her work was good enough to be thrust upon the general public. She thinks it’s an awful shame that there isn’t more creative writing in the current education system of the UK and believes that every child should be encouraged to explore the wondrous depths of his or her imagination through an artistic medium.
Bridgeman loves all things fantasy. At the age of 16 she went to see The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at the cinema 7 times. She recently replayed Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark just to relive the Valen Shadowbreath romance. She wishes that Alistair from Dragon Age were a real person (so she could marry him). Her favourite book series is the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. She met him once. He was very nice.

Her debut novel is an amalgamation of all her favourite fantasy things – a pinch of Dungeons & Dragons, mix in some Buffy the Vampire Slayer (without the vampires) and top the whole thing off with a sprinkling of Harry Potter and there you have it – the Spellweaver Chronicles. Bridgeman hopes to tell human stories as much as fantasy ones, stories that deal with common, everyday themes and feelings like love, loss, grief, friendship and bullying. She wants to explore human emotion and experience using the fantasy genre, and with urban fantasy in particular, she feels that she has found the place to plant her stories and watch them grow.

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