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

The Culinary Art of Murder (The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
The Wives of Bath Press (November 27, 2017)
Print Length: 281 pages

Synopsis

Lee’s Uncle ‘Tío’ is smitten with a visiting chef at a Silicon Valley culinary arts institute. When the lady is arrested for two murders, a fellow chef and the dishwasher, Lee Alvarez, lead investigator for Discretionary Inquiries, Inc., the family owned detective agency, agrees to help find the real killer. But undercover work at the institute proves to be more difficult than whipping up a chocolate soufflé. The killer tries to get Lee out of the way and permanently. But just who is it? The lady chef? One of her two sons? Or one of the other inmates from a cooking school with secrets as plentiful as sauces? Can Lee find the real killer before her own goose is cooked? And if it turns out to be the ambitious southern belle chef, will Tío ever forgive Lee for sending his new lady love to jail?

Guest Post

On my mother, The-Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day, Lila Hamilton Alvarez

By

Lee Alvarez

 

My mother makes me crazy. I say this because she is perfect. I once heard a joke that went like this: Two men are drinking at a bar. One man says to the other, “What brings you here every night? For me, my wife can’t do anything right. I can’t stand being around her.” The second man shakes his head and replies, “It’s not my wife’s faults that are killing me. It’s her virtues.” The first man says, “Wow! You have my sympathy. That’s even worse.”

I can relate to the second man’s point of view like nobody’s business. All my life I have lived in the shadow of the most beautiful, in-control, stylish, intelligent, and knowledgeable woman on this planet, my mother, the Blond Ice Princess.

Since I was a little kid, my girlfriends used to tell me how lucky I was to have such a ‘with it and gorgeous’ mom. When I got a little older, all my boyfriends developed huge crushes on her. I think most of them hung out with me, just to get to her.

When Dad was alive, he said Mom was the only woman alive to clean fish in a beaded Halston gown. Mom would respond, while arching one of her eyebrows, that she didn’t see anything wrong with that, because she always wore an apron. Then they’d both laugh. It was a running joke between them.

These two were seriously in love. Dad worshiped Mom and Mom adored Dad. They were a modern day Romeo and Juliet, he the Mexican immigrant made good, and her the Palo Alto blueblood.

I’m told I take after my father in nearly every way. Dark hair, twilight colored eyes, fiery temper. When I was a kid, everybody said, “Lee’s got Roberto’s features but not his fixtures.”

Not that anyone ever said this around Mom. First of all, too crude. Gender-based innuendos are not made around L. H. Alvarez. She would be scandalized. And secondly, my mother can’t stand it when people use nicknames or abbreviations. She calls it lazy. I have been called Liana, since I dropped out of the womb. Whoops. Scratch that remark. Back to being too crude.

And what really makes her crazy – ha ha – is how at the tender age of eleven, I became enamored of Dashiell Hammett, the quintessential writer of hard-boiled detective stories. Dad had given me a set of the famous writer’s books for my birthday and, man oh man, it changed my life. I never looked back. Becoming a PI was the next logical step.

You could say I cut my teeth on Sam Spade. That’s who I emulate. Of course, I like to wear a Vera Wang and sip on a Starbuck’s mocha latté as I emulate.

Well, after all, I am my mother’s daughter.

About the Author

heather-havenAfter studying drama at the University of Miami in Florida, Heather went to Manhattan to pursue a career. There she wrote short stories, comedy acts, television treatments, ad copy, commercials, and two one-act plays, which were produced, among other places, at the famed Playwrights Horizon. Once, she even ghostwrote a book on how to run an employment agency. She was unemployed at the time.

One of her first paying jobs was writing a love story for a book published by Bantam called Moments of Love. She had a deadline of one week but promptly came down with the flu. Heather wrote “The Sands of Time” with a raging temperature, and delivered some pretty hot stuff because of it. Her stint at New York City’s No Soap Radio – where she wrote comedic ad copy – help develop her long-time love affair with comedy.

Her first novel started the Silicon Valley based Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series.  Murder is a Family Business, Book One, won the Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award 2011, followed by the second, A Wedding to Die For, 2012 Global and EPIC finalist for Best eBook Mystery of the Year. Death Runs in the Family won the coveted Global Gold for Best Mystery Novel, 2013. DEAD….If Only won the Global Silver for Best Mystery Novel, 2015. Her fifth novel of the series, The CEO Came DOA, won the Global Gold Medal 2017 and Dan Poynter Legacy Award 2017.  The Culinary Art of Murder is the sixth book of the series.  She loves writing this series mainly because she gets to play all of the characters, including the cat!

 

Heather’s other series, The Persephone Cole Vintage Mystery Series, is set in Manhattan circa 1942, during our country’s entrance into WWII. The Dagger Before Me, Book One, was voted best historical and mystery novel by Amazon readers in October, 2013.  It was followed by Iced Diamonds. Book Three, The Chocolate Kiss-Off, is a 2016 Lefty Award Finalist Best Historical Mystery.

On a personal note, her proudest award is the Silver IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Awards) Best Mystery/thriller 2014 for Death of a Clown. The stand-alone noir mystery is steeped in Heather’s family history. Daughter of real-life Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus folk, her mother was a trapeze artist/performer and father, an elephant trainer. Heather likes to say she brings the daily existence of the Big Top to life during World War II, embellished by her own murderous imagination.

Heather gives lectures, speaks at book clubs, and moderates author panels in the Bay Area, as well as teaching the art of writing. She believes everyone should write something, be it a poem, short story or letter. Then go out and plant a tree. The world will be a better place for it.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

December 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

December 1 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT – blogger unable to post

December 2 – Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW

December 3 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW

December 5 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 7 – A Holland Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 8 – T’s Stuff – INTERVIEW

December 9 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

December 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – INTERVIEW

December 13 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 14 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on December 6, 2017


TANGLEWOOD SERIES by Rachael Anderson

Three charming tales of tangled deception and love.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!
—Sir Walter Scott, Marmion

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THE FALL OF LORD DRAYSON – When handsome and arrogant Lord Drayson awakens from a fall with no recollection of who he is or whence he came, the fiery and headstrong Miss Lucy Beresford takes it upon herself to humble him.

EXCERPT

He stared at her incredulously, as though she had escaped Bedlam. “Are you in your right mind, woman?”
Lucy leaned forward and planted her palms on his bed so that her eyes were level with his. “My name is Lucy Beresford. I have lived in Askern all my life. I’m the sole daughter of a vicar and a seamstress who lived most happily despite their differences in station. When my father passed away, I came here, to this dower house. So yes, I am in my right mind. It is you who are not.”
The earl’s jaw clenched, and Lucy took some pleasure at the sight. Perhaps he would come down off his high horse and show at least a small amount of kindness or respect.
“I may not know who I am or where I came from,” he finally said, “but at least I do not feel the need to tell tales.”
“Tell tales?” Lucy gaped at him. Was he accusing her of telling untruths? Her, of all people?What untruths? How dare he!
Lord Drayson glanced down at his fingers, frowning when he spotted grime under his nails. He began to scrape it out as he spoke. “Claiming to be the daughter of a vicar and seamstress is all very romantic, but it cannot possibly be the truth.”
“And why not?” she asked.
His gaze returned to hers. “In my experience, the daughter of a vicar would behave with more decorum, would know how to make a palatable broth, and would never allow herself to be alone in a room with a man who is not her relative. If there is one thing I know with absolute certainty, it is that you are no relation of mine.”
Lucy’s jaw clenched as she fought to control the rage building inside her. Ever so slowly, she pushed herself up to standing and glared down at the earl. “You are correct in thinking I am no ordinary vicar’s daughter. I do not love unconditionally. I show decorum only when I wish to. And I despise those who care for no one but themselves. But I do not tell tales.”
He actually chuckled, but it was more of a scoff than a show of humor. “Did you learn those traits from your father?”
“Do not speak of my father.”
“I would prefer to speak of myself, but you do not seem to share that preference, so perhaps we should speak of your father instead.Where is he, by the by? I would very much like to meet him.”
Lucy’s fingers became fists while her conscience became a battleground between all that was good and evil inside her. It was a short battle, with evil making a quick triumph.
Ever so slowly, her body still trembling with anger, she lifted her chin. If he was going to accuse her of telling tales, then tell them she would. “Very well, Collins. If you must know, I am your employer. And though you may not remember me, or this house, or your position in it, or the fact that you are perfectly susceptible to coming off a horse, just like any other human, I still expect some kindness and respect from you.”
“What on earth are you talking about? What position?”
There was not a hint of hesitation in her voice when she answered. “You are a servant in this house.”

 

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THE RISE OF MISS NOTLEY – To escape an unwanted marriage, Miss Coralynn Notley must give up her riches for rags and become a servant in the household of the daunting and mysterious Mr. Jonathan Ludlow.

 

 

EXCERPT

Cora nodded and followed Mr. Ludlow into the parlor. He closed the doors and stood in front of them with his arms folded, looking far more intimidating than he had during their last meeting. He said nothing, merely lifted an inquiring eyebrow and waited.
Caught unprepared, Cora stared at him, trying to organize her thoughts into words.After a few moments of awkward silence, he lost patience. “What is it you wished to speak with me about, Mrs. Notley? Or are we to stand here staring at each other all afternoon?”
Not knowing how else to begin, Cora blurted, “Why have you hired me, sir?”
He blinked a few times before frowning. “I believe I have made that perfectly clear. You are to be the housekeeper, are you not?”
This was going to be more difficult than she had imagined. “Yes, of course, but there has been some talk about, or rather concerns expressed . . .” How did one put this delicately?
“About . . .?” he prodded, obviously not thrilled that his morning regime had been waylaid.
“About the reasons I have been offered the position,” she quickly said, hoping that would be enough to make him understand her meaning.
Unfortunately, his brows drew together in confusion. “What are you saying, Mrs. Notley? I have hired you to do certain duties that will hopefully make my household run more smoothly. What other reason could I possibly have for offering you the position?”
“You have hired me to do a job I am untrained to do,” she said. “While I am grateful for the opportunity, I also find it necessary to clarify that I have come here to be a housekeeper and only a housekeeper. Even though I am young and . . .” Her voice drifted off. Had she almost referred to herself as pretty? Goodness, this was proving to be very awkward indeed.
“Beautiful?” he finally guessed, not looking at all pleased with the direction the conversation was taking.
“I was going to say not repulsive,” she fibbed.
“Very well,” he said. “Even though you are young and not repulsive . . .” He moved his hand in a circular gesture, urging her to finish her thought.
Cora straightened her shoulders and forced herself to continue. “I am not the sort of girl who would ever . . . fraternize with her employer.” Her face infused with heat, but she forced her gaze to remain steady.
“I see.” He walked slowly towards her, rubbing his chin with his hand. A few steps away,he stopped and eyed her quizzically. “Have I made any improper advances towards you?”
“No, sir.”
“Have I spoken to you in an unprofessional manner?”
“No.”
“Have I looked at you in a way that has made you feel uncomfortable?”
“No.” Cora suddenly wished she had not felt the need to clarify anything. He made her feel as though she had put the cart before the horse when what she had been trying to do was see that the cart and horse simply stayed in their proper places. Was that so wrong?
“Might I ask who, exactly, has led you to believe that I am the sort of man capable of–how did you put it? Fraternizing with my help?”
“I, er, would rather not say, sir.” Though Cora felt no loyalty towards Sally, she refused to bring Mr. and Mrs. Shepherd’s names into the conversation. “I did not mean to besmirch your name or cause any offense, Mr. Ludlow. I merely wanted to make my feelings on the matter clear.”
“And you have.”
“Good.” Cora dropped into a quick curtsy, anxious to get away. “I shall go and find Watts now.”
She was almost to the door when his voice stopped her. “Once again, you are attempting to scuttle away before we have completed our conversation.”
Slowly, she turned around and lifted her eyes to his. “I never scuttle, sir.”
“What would you call that rapid walk of yours?”
“A rapid walk.”

 

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THE PURSUIT OF LADY HARRIETT – Lieutenant Jamison is arrogant, ungentlemanly, and irritating. When Lady Harriett Cavendish sets out to put him in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.

 

EXCERPT

The corners of the man’s eyes crinkled in a mild show of amusement. “Lady Harriett, I presume?” Rather than look at her with appreciation as most men did, he appeared amused.
At her nod, he tucked his hands behind his back, remaining a few steps above her. “I am Lieutenant Christopher Jamison, an old friend of Jonathan’s.”
“I was expecting you days ago,” she answered. “Lord Jonathan charged me with the unhappy task of informing you he and his new bride are currently away on their wedding trip. He is sorry he cannot be here to meet with you and has asked that I relay his apologies.”
“May I inquire as to how long they will be away?” he asked.
No, you may not, she wanted to say. Her neck was beginning to ache from looking up at him, but she forced her gaze to remain steady. “They expected to be gone a fortnight, sir.”
“And they have been gone how long, exactly?”
She felt an unaccountable hesitancy to tell him. “A week.”
“Ah.” He sounded disappointed but seemed to take the news in stride, glancing at Charlie as though wondering whether he ought to retrieve his horse or not. Harriett prayed that he would.
When his gaze strayed back to her, he took the unwelcome, and ungentlemanly, liberty of perusing her figure. When his eyes met hers again, his lips twitched into a slight smile. “Forgive me, my lady, but you appear to have had a run-in with a mud puddle and lost.”
How kind of him to point that out. Harriett kept her hands at her side rather than attempt to brush the dirt from her face and pelisse yet again. The damage was done, and no amount of brushing or shaking would remove the muck. What she needed was a hot bath and a change of clothes.
“Actually, sir, I was merely an innocent bystander.”
“Indeed?”
She picked up her skirts and ascended the steps, stopping on the stair above him so that she was eye level with him. “Are you always such a reckless rider, sir? Do you not pay heed to your surroundings?”
“Of course I do.”
“If you had, you would have seen me standing at the side of the road and, I would hope, thought to slow your animal down so as to not splash mud all over my pelisse.” Her chilly set down did not have the desired effect. He did not appear the least bit repentant. Rather, he looked ready to burst into laughter.
“And your face, apparently.” He leaned forward and squinted. “If I’m not mistaken, there is a splash or two of mud on your bonnet as well.”
Harriett glared at him. “How observant you are, Lieutenant Jamison. One can only wonder why you didn’t put that skill to good use earlier. If you had, perhaps my pelisse, face, and bonnet would still be clean.”
“I am always observant, my lady,” he said. “But might I suggest that if you would like to be noticed at the side of the road, you should wear a color that does not blend so perfectly with your surroundings. That particular shade of green looks quite lovely on you, but only someone with the eyes of an eagle would have spotted you in front of a landscape of evergreens.”
Harriett opened her mouth to respond, but no words were forthcoming. The man did not even attempt to behave like a gentleman. How could he be so . . . so . . .
“Have you no apology to offer, sir?” she finally spluttered.
“Oh, did I not apologize? Forgive me.”
“For what? Forgetting to apologize or for not doing so in the first place?”

 

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Praise for the Tanglewood Series

“Thoroughly enjoyed this series. The dialogue between characters is delightfully witty and the stories are rich with color and depth.” (M. Michelle Condie, Amazon.com)

“I loved . . . the entire Tanglewood series! Every time I started reading, I escaped to a different time and place. I laughed a lot and even cried a little.” (Emily R., Amazon.com)

“Five stars for this author and the Tanglewood series! This series were the first books I’ve read by this author and I was not disappointed. Her characters come alive in her books and you can’t help but be drawn into their world. I’m always sad to see a good series like this one end.” (Simply Me, Amazon.com)

“Rachael Anderson has a unique ability to keep the reader intrigued with her characters. She writes with a sense of humor,knowledge of period she’s writing,about ,and sprinkles with Christian values.” Carolynn D., Amazon.com)

 

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Coming Spring 2018

My Sister’s Intended by Rachael Anderson

For as long as Prudence can remember, it has been understood that her sister will one day wed the eldest son of their nearest neighbor. Such an alliance will benefit both families and bring a great deal of joy to all parents involved.

Unfortunately, Prudence has never been able to feel as joyful. She believes her sister is mad to consider marrying a man she hardly knows, even if he will one day make her a countess. Titles and wealth shouldn’t factor into matters of the heart, and as an aspiring romance novelist, Prudence cannot fathom how anyone could even think of settling for less than love. She certainly wouldn’t, and she doesn’t want her sister to either.

Unable to stand by and do nothing, Prudence sets out to help the awkward couple discover the best in each other with the hope that they will eventually find love. What she neglected to foresee, however, was that she might fall in love with Lord Knave herself.

 

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About the Author

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

 

 

 

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Also by Rachael Anderson

 

 

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/19/17

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

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on December 5, 2017

Title: The Lord Meets His Lady

Author: Gina Conkle

Series: Midnight Meetings #3

Pub Date: December 5, 2017

ISBN: 9781492651901

Synopsis

Lord Marcus Bowles has stained his family’s reputation for the last time. Only after spending a scandal-free year restoring some far-flung property can this second son return in good graces. But Marcus isn’t one to abandon a lone damsel on a dark country lane.

One stolen kiss and Genevieve Turner’s handsome midnight savior disappears. Typical. No matter, Gen is finally on the way to her new post, and hopefully to finding her grandmother as well. Instead she finds her mischievous hero is her new employer. Surely a few more kisses won’t hurt…

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How to Create Page Turning Dialogue by Gina Conkle

Dialogue is a much-debated topic in romance. One day you’re at a conference and a bestselling author spouts rules of dialogue. The next day, you’re reading another bestselling author’s book, and she’s broken every one of those rules.

How do you navigate writing with mixed signals?

It’s maddening…like driving in Italy. My one trip to Florence highlights this point. Our car had the green light. We started to go when another car zoomed through a red light. My husband’s Italian colleague slammed the brakes and shrugged it off with, “Red lights. They’re suggestions.”

The same phrase was said in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. Maybe it’s an Italian thing, but the spirit of those words stayed with me. In writing, it’s good to learn the rules. Then you can break them. After all, your job is to woo your reader, draw them into the world you created.

This is why one rule guides me: Don’t get in the way of your story.

But every traveler needs a roadmap. Here are five suggestions:

  1. To Tag or Not to Tag

You may have heard the only dialogue tags you need are said and ask. It’s true. You can get by with said and ask. But where’s the fun in that? I use whisper, coax, call, cry, murmur, or nothing at all. You know when dialogue sounds clunky. It can happen as easily with said and ask as yell or whimper.

The point is, tell your story. If an offbeat dialogue tag does the trick, be judicious, but go with it. It’s your voice. Don’t be afraid to drive outside the lines.

  1. Nonverbal cues speak louder than words

Less than 10% of our communication comes from what we say. The next tier (more than 30%) comes from vocal elements such as tone, pitch, and rate of speech. The final tier (more than 50%) is pure body language with hands and eyes top contenders.

Here’s a challenge. Grab some paper and create columns for nonverbal cues: tone, pitch, rate of speech, breathing, eyes, eyebrows, mouth, nose, hands, fingers, chin, etc. Then, go through a current manuscript and put a hash in each nonverbal cue column. Did you discover certain writer habits? I once had a reviewer nab me for too much “head snapping” and you know what? She was right!

Mix up your nonverbal cues—like the boob shoulder. Marilyn Monroe made this pose famous: a woman’s coy glance past her shoulder (bare is better). Men view it as sexual. Women generally view it as favorable and friendly.

Actions speak louder than words in life and on the page. From page one to “The End” vary the body language.

  1. Be aware of gender differences in speech patterns and behavior

Men tend to be less profuse with their facial expressions. They will tease or use more vocal cues such as sarcasm in dealing with sensitive topics, while women are more stream of conscious talkers. Men give less eye contact during conversation and frown or squint more. It means they’re mulling over what’s being said. They prefer being shoulder to shoulder in conversation while women prefer being face to face. Women tolerate interruptions more than men.

Don’t be afraid to turn gender norms upside down. While the above is scientifically proven, consider the outliers. There are blunt women and effusively verbal men. Consistency is the key to character authenticity.

  1. It’s in the voice

Do all your characters speak like east coast college grads? If they are east coast college grads, fine. Now dig deeper. Look at their verb choices. Do they have pet phrases? A manner of speaking which reveals personality?

If number three above was the how of character speech, number four is the what. In one of my books, the hero was a well-educated man while the heroine was self-educated. She is fighting tooth and nail for every bit of progress. I made sure her voice reflected that on the page.

Men use commands more often than woman, and in a problematic situation, women ask more questions (to the chagrin of the males in the room). And that brings us to the next interesting point.

  1. Dyads are it

Do you feel overwhelmed when writing a scene with three or more people? It’s a lot to juggle. Intimacy can get lost in the shuffle of setting and action. And what do you do when you’re writing, say a band of brothers series? Secondary characters need to shine for your readers to fall in love with them but not take over the book.

Dyads foster intimacy. In interpersonal communication theory, this means communication really is between two people and two people only. Person A speaks with person B and vice versa. They are both aware Person C is with them, but communication is always between two people. Person A can shift to Person C (thus creating a new dyad and Person B is out of the connection). This is why small group scenes can overwhelm. Ever had feedback like “There was too much going on” or “It was too much of XYZ characters”?

How does this translate to say a boardroom or ballroom scene?

Be aware of the dyads you create. More than ever, each word matters in an ensemble scene. You’ve heard the wisdom, if you show the reader a bat in chapter one, it better come back at later in the story (i.e. foreshadowing). Likewise, with your secondary characters and their dialogue, make it count.

Ask yourself, if their words reveal character? Move the story forward? Or feed the conflict?

If you find you’re writing group scenes, and the heroine and heroine’s arc is drifting, shift gears. Bring them together. Focus on a private moment in a crowd before returning to the ensemble cast. Your reader will feel the connection.

And that’s what dialogue in romance is all about.

Thanks for hosting me here on StoreyBook Reviews and a lesson in Romance University ~ Gina

Excerpt

She yanked the door wide open, blinking at bright sunlight and an even brighter man.

Her breath caught. “Lord Bowles.”

“Miss Turner, how nice to see you again.” His greeting alone could be a proposition the way his voice caressed her name.

She stood mutely, the floor uncertain beneath her feet. Behind him the Beckworth geese waddled through the yard, their orange beaks poking the ground. The rogue followed her?

Her mind spinning, she blurted, “What are you doing?”

Hazel eyes glinted beneath his black tricorn hat. “I’m standing on your doorstep. Will you let me in?”

“No.” She stuffed the crumpled letter in her pocket. “Mr. Beckworth and his brothers aren’t here. They have business in Learmouth Village.”

Creases deepened at the corners of his friendly eyes. Lord Bowles wasn’t put off. There had to be a social nicety for this, but where she came from, if you didn’t want someone at your door, you told them.

“I know they aren’t.” His voice dropped lower. “I came early to see you.”

What was she supposed to do about this? A polite refusal formed, but his lordship’s vision snagged on her cleavage before popping back up to her face.

A scoundrel always showed his true colors.

She crossed her arms and leaned against the doorjamb, all pretense of a proper servant gone. “And who’d be calling? The honorable vicar?”

Lord Bowles chuckled. “I apologize for the surprise. Mr. Beckworth and I are longtime friends. I started to tell you about the connection when we repaired the coach brace.” He paused and took a measured tone. “But our road side conversation went in a new direction before I had the chance.”

She smarted when he said a new direction, a stinging reminder she’d pleaded with him to hide her true identity…from his friend no less. What a neat bit of trouble this was. Did his lordship think she was here to steal the family silver? A laughable thing since the humble Beckworth cottage had none.

“Then you would be the old army friend coming to dinner,” she said flatly.

“I am. Worse for the wear but not…so old.”

She shoved off the doorjamb, her mind assembling all the pieces. His lordship’s gentle humor was a balm in this clumsy moment. Lord Bowles was tonight’s honored guest and the reason for the small feast she was preparing in the kitchen. She wanted to tell him to come back later, but Mr. Beckworth might take offense if she did. What would a proper housekeeper do? There was also the matter of her character, such as it was. She didn’t want Lord Bowles thinking ill of her.

Mildly chastened, she clasped dough-flecked hands together. “I am not a thief, milord. If that’s your concern, please know I’d never cause harm to Mr. Beckworth or his family.”

“I believe you.”

Never had three words sounded so lovely. They’d rolled off his tongue without a second’s hesitation. She hesitated. Shutting the door on Lord Bowles wouldn’t be wise. Letting him in didn’t work either.

“I knew there was a possibility our paths might cross,” she said, stalling in hopes wisdom would strike.

“And you thought I’d pretend we’d met for the first time should we be introduced in the village.”

“Yes.”

Lord Bowles nodded, hands clasped behind his back. “While I don’t believe you’re out to harm Mr. Beckworth, this still makes me complicit in your deception…against my friend.”

Her status hung in the balance. Did he have concerns about her circumstances? Or was he in search of a dalliance? Power was his.

“Does that mean you’ll not mention my real name or The Golden Goose to Mr. Beckworth?”

“I already gave my word.” He flashed a disarming smile. “Now will you let me in?”

She was doomed. Lord Bowles was trouble on two legs. He knew how to open doors with his smile alone. A sculpted lower lip balanced his thinner upper lip, a scale of sensuality and wit. Her solitude and better judgement were about to be breached by a consummate flirt wielding his version of honor. Men were by no means a novelty. She was skilled at brushing them off or being unnoticed when the mood struck, but she’d have to face facts.

London allowed obscurity. Cornhill-on-Tweed would not.

“No harm in showing you to the parlor. Mr. Beckworth and his brothers should return within an hour.”

He stepped inside and passed his hat to her, sunshine crowning his chestnut-colored hair. “Any chance you’ll sit with me awhile?” He stretched free of his black redingote, the collar brushing curls at his nape.

“None. I clean the parlor, milord I don’t sit in it.”

He laughed at her bald rejection, and a single lock slipped free of his queue’s black ribbon. The curl hid behind his ear, the strands a sun-kissed contrast to the rest of his brown hair. The vulnerable lock of hair begged to be neatened. She hung his hat and coat on pegs, glad for her hands to have something to do. Lord Bowles stood less than an arm’s length from her at the cross roads of proper and intimate, a winsome smile on his face.

And her wish to be a respectable domestic slipped a notch.

About the Author

Gina Conkle writes sensual Georgian romance and lush Viking romance. Her books offer a fresh, addictive spin on the genre, with the witty banter and sexual tension that readers crave. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she’s known to occasionally garden and cook.

Website * Twitter * Pinterest * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, romance on December 5, 2017

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The Christmas Groom by Taylor Hart

Nathan Pennington, aka billionaire attorney, had only one idea on his mind the week before Christmas…forget about the past year and enjoy the beautiful Park City ski slopes. His plan was working, until some annoying ski bunny sprayed snow in his face. Her rudeness wasn’t something he could let slide. Nathan chases the woman down the hill intent on chewing her out, but when face-to-face, he’s struck by the vulnerability and anger in her eyes.

Storm Goodman has heard every weather joke in the book—and she’s not in the mood for another. Lately her life has lived up to her name. After a year of personal setbacks in her skiing career and her grandfather passing, she thought the worst of it was over until Four days before Christmas her lawyer tells her she can’t inherit the ranch her grandfather left her—unless she’s married by noon on Christmas day. Good thing she has a guy to marry—too bad he’s also the same guy who cheated on her last year. She’ll have to put up with him if she wants to keep the land from being turned over to the BLM.

When a mysterious guy shows up, chewing her out for spraying snow on him, she never would have imagined she’d end up on a date with him. Or kiss him! Why does her life have such rotten timing? After night skiing, soaking in the hot tub, and dancing at an old folk’s home, Storm begins to wonder if she can really go through with the marriage to her ex.

Now she and Nathan are faced with a choice—walk away or let the timing of love sync up once and for all.

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

Praise for The Christmas Groom

I’m a big fan of the Bachelor Billionaire Romance Series. I read it all in one day and loved every word! Park City is one of my favorite places, and I loved the spunky interaction between Nathan and Storm. I highly recommend. It’s the perfect book to read this Christmas!—Jennifer Youngblood

This was another Billionaire success! The characters were fun, the location was awesome and I loved that it was a clean romance.—Donna C.

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“So don’t stand here and give me life lessons, okay? When people like you already have their millions, they can say anything they want.”

He decided not to correct her statement by informing her he was a billionaire. Instead, he turned for the tent opening.

She sighed. “I’m sorry. Look, it’s just been one of those days, okay?”

He turned back.

She shook her head and reached for another coat, letting out a derisive laugh. “It’s kinda been one of those years to tell you the truth.”

He paused and then moved back, offering his hand. “Let’s start over. I’m Nathan.”

Letting out a puff of air, she looked at his hand, but shook her head.

“Really, let’s start over. I’m Nathan.” He insisted.

“You’re not going to leave until I give you my name, are you?”

He had to smile at her brashness, her sarcasm with a bit of pissed off sprinkled in. Every woman he’d dated for the past few years had been the political type—polished, schooled in the right topics, dressed in the right clothes, and they always said the right things. This woman was refreshing. “Nope, not gonna leave without a name.”

Shaking his hand, she gave him a little smile. “I’m Storm.”

Oh yeah, that fit her.

She pulled back. “And I’m not in the mood for weather jokes, okay? My mother grew up here and was fascinated by the storms that blew through.”

The information interested him, but he didn’t push her. “Nice to meet you.”

She studied him for a moment before grinning. “Man, that’s a practiced smile.” Cocking her head to the side, she lifted an eyebrow. “Completely fake.”

Finding all thoughts of aches and pains and hunger gone, he realized he wanted to know more about her. “Really?”

“Completely.”

“How do you know?”

She gestured to him. “’Cause I’ve been talking to you, and I’ve seen the real one.” She stuck her chin out. “When you were teasing me. Now it looks like you’re running for president.”

Thoughts of his father flashed through his mind. His gut twisted, and he felt himself wincing.

“I’m sorry.” She was giving him an intense look.

He quickly changed the subject. “Tell me about this bad day or year.”

A derisive laugh escaped her as she opened another bin and loaded more merchandise into it. “Ah, no. It’s … complicated.”

Taking a chance, he put his bag of stuff down and moved next to her, folding one of the coats the way she was doing.

She shook her head, but kept packing. “Now you’re helping me?”

“Why not?” He leaned over the table and put it neatly in her bin. Then he reached for another. “It’s the Christmas spirit, right?”

Lifting her eyebrows, she put another coat in the bin and closed it. “So you’re a Mr. Do-Gooder, are you?”

He was the completely opposite kind of guy, and he knew it, but he just grinned and said, “Yep, that’s me.”

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

 

About the Author

Taylor Hart has always been drawn to a good love triangle, hot chocolate and long conversations with new friends. Writing has always been a passion that has consumed her dreams and forced her to sit in a trance for long hours, completely obsessed with people that don’t really exist. Taylor would have been a country star if she could have carried a tune—maybe in the next life.

 

 

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Also by Author Taylor Hart

Nathan’s story’s is a stand alone book. But, there’s more other fun bachelor billionaires who have already fallen in love.
If you wanted to read Bachelor Billionaire Romances in order it would go like this:
The Football Groom
The Country Groom
The Unfinished Groom
The Barefoot Groom
The Masquerading Groom
The Christmas Groom
The Lost Groom
The Undercover Groom
The Lone Star Groom



 

Last Play Romances:
Last Play
The Rookie
Just Play
A Player for Christmas
End Zone
Hail Mary


 

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/18/17

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

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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 excerpt, Giveaway, romance on December 4, 2017

 

Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

What does dating the boss + meddling ex-wife + most adorable three-year-old ever equal? Trouble in Loveland.

At seventeen, Charlee Jensen packed her bags and left her beloved hometown of Loveland, swearing she would never have anything to do with the men that left her heartbroken: her father, the man that taught her heroes can fall; and Ryan Carter, her much older neighbor and teenage crush.

Now eight years later, Charlee has two degrees she never wanted and no job prospects, forcing her to swallow her pride and come home to work for her father’s accounting firm—the same firm where newly divorced Ryan Carter is now a partner.

But trouble starts to stir when Ryan realizes the girl next door is all grown up and completely smitten with his adorable three-year-old. Ryan finds it hard to resist his beautiful, yet annoyingly charming neighbor and coworker, but is torn between his feelings and trying to keep the peace with his ex-wife, the mother of his child. It’s a recipe for trouble. Will Charlee and Ryan find the formula for success?

 

Praise for Trouble in Loveland

“Jennifer Peel’s writing captures you from the start and pulls you in. Trouble in Loveland is a fantastic book and was the perfect escape that I look for when I read. It has it all! Drama, humor, and romance. Highly recommend!” – Becky Monson, Author of The Spinster Series ★★★★★

“I absolutely loved this book! I just discovered Jennifer Peel, and I’m so glad I did. Her writing is fun, the dialogue witty, and her character development brilliant. Trouble in Loveland is the third book I’ve read by this author and it won’t be my last. I am definitely a new fan!!” Cindy Roland Anderson,Author of Under a Georgia Moon ★★★★★

 

 

Trouble in Loveland Excerpt

My heart pounded erratically as Ryan looked up at me and smiled. The butterflies were beyond excited and swearing like sailors. I bit my lip nervously and watched Ryan walk my way. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I knew it didn’t mean anything to him, but not to sound cheesy, it was like a dream come true for me. All I needed was some fog behind him as he sauntered over to me.

He held out his hand as soon as he approached me. “Will you give me the pleasure of dancing with me?” I think that was the sexiest thing I’d ever heard in my life.

I couldn’t talk very well, which was saying something. I always had something to say. I nodded my head and held out my hand, that I prayed wasn’t sweaty. Before he led me away, I tossed the bouquet to Amy, who wore a sly grin.

As we made it to the middle of the floor, I heard the DJ say, “Now don’t they make a lovely couple? Maybe there will be another love connection tonight.” I think I turned about ten shades of red. Ryan didn’t seem fazed by it as he pulled me to him and held me firmly, but gently. His hand rested on my mid-back. With his other hand he took my hand, and instead of holding it out, he brought it in, more intimately, against our bodies. Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” began to play. Ryan was obviously an experienced dancer as his steps kept in time with the rhythm of my new favorite song.

Ryan’s eyes seared into mine. “I was hoping I would get to dance with you tonight.”

“You were?”

“Yes, but you’ve been quite popular.” He pulled back a tad and looked down at my dress. “You look very …”

“Please don’t say grown up.”

He smiled and shook his head. “I wasn’t going to say that, I was going to say …” he tried to think of something.

“You were going to say it, weren’t you?”

He sighed. “Charlee, you really know how to make a guy feel inadequate, don’t you?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I find I like it.”

“You do?”

He nodded his head. “I also find you to be very …” he hesitated.

“Very what?”

“Beautiful and annoyingly charming.”

“How can somebody be annoying and charming at the same time?”

“See what I mean?” He held me close.

 

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More Trouble in Loveland by Jennifer Peel

Another Timeless Single Romance! Join Jennifer Peel for MORE TROUBLE IN LOVELAND, a companion story to the beloved romance TROUBLE IN LOVELAND.

Charlee Jensen-Carter has been looking forward to her first Christmas with her new husband, Ryan, and her adorable stepson for weeks. Not only is her dad tying the knot, but she’s looking forward to two weeks of no exes, no drama, and especially no trouble. At least that’s what she thinks.

First, she gets talked into wearing red hooker heels again. Next, she finds herself trying to save her dad’s wedding. And if that isn’t bad enough, more than one ex shows up, and she’s suddenly in the middle of more trouble than she ever bargained for.

Will she ever find the right moment to give Ryan the best Christmas present ever? Or will her Christmas hopes and dreams die a fiery death in this comical holiday tale?

Praise for More Trouble in Loveland

“Are you in the mood for a Christmassy book full of love, laughter and swoon worthy moments? Then look no further than More Trouble in Loveland! It’s the perfect afternoon read!” – Kathy Jo, KJ’s Book Nook ★★★★★

“Jennifer Peel’s holiday-themed contemporary romantic comedy novel, More Trouble in Loveland, is a humorous and enjoyable tale . . . highly recommended.” Jack Magnus, Readers Favorite ★★★★★

“I’ve been eagerly awaiting a return trip to Loveland with some of my favorite characters. Oh how I’ve missed Charlee and her very active, sighing and swearing butterflies! Even in the midst of heaping family drama, Charlee and Ryan’s love is the stuff happy sighs are made of.” – Aimee Brown, Getting Your Read On ★★★★★

 

Excerpt

Before I finished up the case and psychotherapy notes, I pulled out my phone and called my favorite number. “I love you.” I didn’t even let him say hello.

“Rough sessions today?”

“How did you know?”

“Because I know you.”

The butterflies in my stomach still erupted when he talked to me like that. Some of them had been on a 24/7 bender ever since we were married six months ago.

“I could move some meetings around and come have lunch with you,” Ryan offered.

“Sounds perfect, but I have my last study group in an hour. I can’t wait until finals are over at the end of this week. And then we get Josh all to ourselves for two weeks. It’s going to be perfect.”

“Even with all the wedding chaos?”

“Thanks for reminding me.” My dad and Felicity were finally getting married on Christmas Eve. Their love affair had been a series of ups and downs. They had planned on getting married in May, but they broke up in April, only to rekindle in June at my surprise wedding. Summer was mostly good for them. The beginning of fall was iffy, but supposedly this was a done deal. I wasn’t so sure, but I was trying to keep my personal and semi-professional feelings out of it. I loved Felicity. I loved my dad. But they had more trouble in Loveland than most couples, as my dad liked to say. Not unlike Danica and Jake, my dad and Felicity had insecurities too. Unfortunately, a lot of them were fueled by Felicity’s mom. That dear needed to get a new hobby and stop bashing my dad. But I couldn’t think about it right now. I had finals, a husband who adored me, and a stepson I loved to pieces.

“I’m sorry. Take a breath, Charlee. I love you. And if you aren’t too tired tonight after Josh’s Christmas concert, I’ll show you exactly how much.”

The butterflies were now swearing. “I’ll do my best. Sorry I’ve been so exhausted lately, you know it’s not you, right?”

“I’ve been wondering,” he teased. “I know you’ve had a lot on your plate lately.”

My schedule had been insane. Between school, practicum, wedding, Ryan, Josh, Victoria (Ryan’s ex-wife), my best friend Krissy and her baby Taylar Ann (Krissy reneged on naming the baby after me. She went with her mom instead. What could I say to that?), I was wiped out. I fell asleep every night as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was being a pitiful newlywed, which was a shame because I loved every part of Ryan, and he was a rock star in the bedroom. “You’re always my main course.”

“I love it when you talk dirty to me like that.”

I laughed. “I love you. I’ll see you tonight.”

“You have no idea how much I look forward to it.”

Believe me, I did.

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About the Author

Jennifer Peel is the award-winning bestselling author of the Dating by Design and Women of Merryton series, as well as several other contemporary romances. Though she lives and breathes writing, her first love is her family. She is the mother of three amazing kiddos and has recently added the title of mother-in-law, with the addition of two terrific sons-in-law. She’s been married to her best friend and partner in crime for a lot longer than seems possible. Some of her favorite things are late night talks, beach vacations, the mountains, pink bubble gum ice cream, tours of model homes, and Southern living. She can frequently be found with her laptop on, fingers typing away, indulging in chocolate milk, and writing out the stories that are constantly swirling through her head.

 

 

Also by Author Jennifer Peel

 

 

Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/17/17

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

 

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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.

Website  Facebook  Pinterest

   Twitter  Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

 

—————————————-

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

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 excerpt, romance on December 2, 2017

Synopsis

Welcome back to New York Times bestseller Sandra Hill’s Cajun country, where love heats up the Louisiana bayou . . .

Former Chicago cop Simone LeDeux is back home in the bayou, sharing a double wide in the Pearly Gates trailer park to help her mama recover from surgery. Her one rule: no Cajun men. Loved and left by too many double-crossing Cajuns, Simone puts bad experience to good use by opening Legal Belles: an agency that uncovers cheating spouses.

Suddenly she’s confronting a two-timer about to swindle his wife out of millions and antagonizing New Orleans bigwigs over an illegal sex club. Adam Lanier learns of the dangerous game Simone is playing . . . and the sexy single dad comes to her aid. Known as a rogue in the courtroom and a player in the bedroom, the ragin’ Cajun has Simone triply on guard.

With their crazy chemistry, danger on their trail, and infamous LeDeux relative Tante Lulu working her magical matchmaking, the bayou has never been this steamy.

Google Play * Indiebound

Excerpt

“I’ve been attracted to you from the first moment we met.”

“I’m surprised that you would admit that. Kind of lessens your odds.”

“You’re assuming this is a game. I’m too old to play games. Actually, they never interested me

much. How about you?”

“Oh, games can be fun sometimes.”

“Tease!” Adam said with a chuckle and nipped her on the chin with his teeth.

It wasn’t a kiss or a bite, but she felt it all the way down to “Red-dy and Willing,” the color of her toenail polish.

Simone remembered her bad history with Cajun men and her resolution to avoid them in the future.

“Um, I think it’s time to cut this flower in the bud. I am not going to do this again.”

“Do what, darlin’?”

That damn “darlin’ ” again! “Get involved with another Cajun man.”

“You’re going to give me the boot just because

I’m Cajun?”

She nodded.

“Well, lucky you, babe, because I’m only half Cajun.”

About the Author

 

Sandra Hill is a graduate of Penn State and worked for more than ten years as a features writer and education editor for publications in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Writing about serious issues taught her the merits of seeking the lighter side of even the darkest stories.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads

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Posted in Giveaway, romance, Young Adult on December 2, 2017

Synopsis

Summer vacation is Levi London’s favorite time of the year. Each summer, he and his brothers are shipped off to Florida to stay with their grandparents. For ten weeks everything is perfect. He has freedom, fun, and Summer West—the cute and spunky girl across the street—for whom he’s planned to confess his giant crush. Right before the London boys are scheduled to leave, a scandalous family situation causes their mom to accompany them on vacation. Not only does Levi’s fun quotient promise to take a nose dive, but all the drama has him feeling less than his normal happy self. Summer decides that Levi needs a distraction, in the form of a prank war. But he gets more than he bargains for when his older brother Lucas is both better at pranking and determined to date Summer too. Levi is a peacekeeper, but he isn’t sure he can mediate his family’s struggles or strike the right balance between mischief and romance. Especially when Lucas keeps reminding him that all is fair in love and war.

Excerpt

“So, your birthday is coming up soon. The big 1-6. We need to do something epic. I’m thinking a huge party…” I trailed off, knowing she’d shoot me down. There’s only one thing she’s ever wanted to do for her sixteenth birthday. That was to go on her first date.

Summer’s parents only had one formal rule—that I knew of, at least. No dating until you’re sixteen. I was surprised the first time I heard it, because her parents never seemed to care that I was always in her bedroom. I mean, we didn’t shut the door or do anything dodgy, but still. Hunter broke that rule all the time, but Summer had stayed obedient. She’d yet to go on an official date. I think the reason she didn’t push it the way Hunter did was because she was scared and a little naïve. But, regardless of the reason, the waiting had built up a lot of anticipation for her sixteenth birthday.

“You know me better than that by now.” Summer smiled. “I don’t want a party.”

I winked at her. “I know you don’t. The real question is, who do you want to take you on your very first date?” I tried to play it off like I didn’t care, but I already knew the answer. “Let me guess, you want me to pull some strings so my dopey older brother will ask you out?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, that’s never going to happen.” She waved me off, then got quiet, like she was nervous. Summer looked down at the stuffed animal she was holding. “Actually, I was hoping you’d take me on my first date.”

“Me?” I was beyond surprised.

Summer grinned and said, “Yes, you. Who else would I want to take me?”

Something exploded in my chest, and my body got warm and tingly. I’d been out on plenty of dates, kissed my share of girls, too. But the thought of doing either of those things with Summer made my emotions do a happy dance. She wanted me to take her on her first date. Maybe by default because she didn’t think Lucas was an option, but I’d take it. This would be the perfect opportunity to show her why Lucas sucked and I should be the man of her dreams.

“I’d be honored,” I replied coolly, trying to hide how giddy I was. I didn’t want to look like a desperate chump. “Do you have anything specific that you want to do?”

“Nope. I trust you to make it amazing and unforgettable.”

“Geez, no pressure or anything.”

Summer laughed. “Of course not. No pressure at all. I’ve only got a full page reserved for the event in my scrapbook.”

“Do you really?”

“What do you think?” she countered, but I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or not. Forget one page. Honestly, I could see her making a whole “first date scrapbook”.

“I’m invoking my right to plead the Fifth Amendment on this matter.”

“I think you’re smarter than Lucas gives you credit for,” she replied.

About the Author

Robin Daniels is married to an amazing guy and has five equally amazing but crazy kids. When she’s not chasing children or writing books, she’s probably coaching volleyball or working with her church youth group. She tries to read as much as possible, especially if she’s got housework to do. And if she’s not home during the day, you’ll likely find her hanging out at her sister’s house—where they mostly talk about writing and reading books. Robin loves long naps, yummy food, Diet Coke and being outside in the Arizona winters.

 

Amazon Author Page * Website * Facebook * Instagram * Twitter

Giveaway

Winner receives a signed copy of each book in the Perfect Series along with a Christmas/Holiday card containing a $20 Amazon gift card. Winner can keep for themselves or choose to gift the prize. If gifting, I will wrap and mail directly to the recipient upon request—hopefully in time for Christmas.

Ends December 10th at midnight

Click Here to Enter

 

 

 

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