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

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

We give this 5 paws up.

Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anger seethed through my veins.

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

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

“Actually, business. Rather important business.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And is this business with anyone in particular?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I fought to protect my land.

He fought to steal it.

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

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

“Isn’t involved?”

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

“I highly doubt that.”

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

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

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

I did know, though.

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

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

“I beg your pardon?”

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

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

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

“I know you did.”

“But you can’t prove it.”

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

In December 2014, Angela launched Long Valley Press.

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Posted in Giveaway, romance on December 1, 2017

* $100 Kick-Off Giveaway *

12 Days of Clean Romance!

This promotion is hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader and features 12 of her favorite authors whose books you can trust to be clean, fun and 100% worth reading!

Just look at this great list of Participating Authors!!

12 Days of Clean Romance Schedule

Jennifer Peel – December 4th
Taylor Hart – December 5th
Rachael Anderson – December 6th
Josi S. Kilpack – December 7th
Janette Rallison – December 8th
Jennifer Griffith – December 9th
Taylor Dean – December 11th
Sheralyn Pratt – December 12th
Heather B. Moore – December 13th
Annette K. Larsen – December 14th
Lucy McConnell – December 15th
Cami Checketts – December 16th

In total $500 will be given away as part of this promotion so be sure to sign up for email updates so you don’t miss any of these giveaways!

If you have a blog and want to help promote these authors for the chance to win additional gift cards you can sign up here.

 

Now on to what you are here for

The $100 Giveaway!!

 

Giveaway Details

$100 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 Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on November 30, 2017

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder – Andi Anna Jones Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Imajin Books
Date of Release : NOV 30, 2017
150 pages

Synopsis

Andi’s step-mother is a real piece of work!

But is Ruby a murderer?

Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will lead to the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby will be the main suspect.

Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with the charming local sheriff, Manual Rodriquez. After an embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, a chance to check out an eyewitness to the murder leads her to Las Vegas.

In Vegas, a mysterious meeting in the Bodies Exhibition, a body preserving in the prep-room, and an evasive owner of a dance studio, give Andi clues to help Ruby. But when Andi is mercilessly drugged and locked in a storage room, she realizes dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.

Guest Post

It All Starts With Reading

Mary Cunningham, author, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder

When I was a kid, I had to cross a busy downtown street to walk the two blocks to the public library. Mom would take me across that first street then let me walk the rest of the way to my favorite spot on earth; well, except for the high school gym on Friday night basketball game night.

I guess you’d call me a tomboy. I loved sports; playing and watching. Although, I still had fun cutting out paper dolls with my friend, Cynthia, and playing with her Easy Bake Oven (I was so jealous she had one and I didn’t!)

But, back to the library. I’ll never forget the summer I discovered sports biographies. A whole set of them! Probably due to my yet-to-be-discovered OCD, I commenced reading them in order – A-Z.

I’ll never forget the thrill of learning all about Hank Aaron. I was a huge fan back then of the Milwaukee Braves outfielder. In 1957, as a 10-year-old, I would sit in front of the TV keeping stats during the Braves games. In a record-breaking year, he hit an 11th inning home run that propelled the Braves to the World Series, where he led underdog Milwaukee to an upset win over the New York Yankees in seven games. Yep, “Hammerin’ Hank” was my idol.

I tore through the biographies in record time. Patty Berg, Jim Brown, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzales, Byron Nelson, Warren Spahn. Then, the unbelievable happened. I finished Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Finished. Caput. A through Z. There were no more.

I was crushed.

I muddled along reading Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and then got interested in historical fiction. Then I got bored with the writing and storylines that I considered beneath my reading and comprehension level.

As luck would have it, my aunt replaced the ancient librarian who had been in her position for, oh, around 108 years. Or, at least it seemed like it. What a refreshing change! Nothing against Miss Georgia, but she single-handedly destroyed my older brother’s love of reading. It was the summer after his fourth-grade school year. He took “The Bears of Blue River” to the desk to check it out. Miss Georgia wouldn’t let him read it. “This is a Fifth Grade book. You’ll have to wait ‘til then.” Barely a month away. My brother, who had a bit of a stubborn streak, left the library and never returned, to my knowledge.

Back to my reading boredom. Between my eight grade and freshman year, the aforementioned librarian, my beloved Aunt Gertrude, began setting books aside she thought I’d enjoy reading. To Kill a Mockingbird, of course, and anything by Steinbeck. I graduated to slightly steamier novels like Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor, and later, in high school, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. She made me swear not to tell my mother she let me check that one out. I believe I hid the book under my mattress until I finished reading and returned it, safely, to the library.

I now consider myself to be a pretty fair writer. My children’s book series, Cynthia’s Attic, has been well-received by readers of all ages. My new series, Andi Anna Jones Mysteries, is making its debut and am I ever excited! Writing these mysteries has given me a new perspective. While I love writing for middle-grade, it does keep the creative juices flowing when you change things up every now-and-then.

I wouldn’t be writing, however, if not for one important fact.

It all starts with reading!

About the Author

Author, Mary Cunningham, grew on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.

Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia’s Attic.

Through the author’s horrifying stint as a travel agent, protagonist, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, sprang to life. This series gives extra meaning to the phrase, “Write what you know.”

Cunningham is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Writers Guild.

When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband. Together they’ve raised three creative children, have 2 granddaughters, a grandson, a great grandson, and an adopted, four-legged, furry daughter, Lucy.

Margaritas, Mayhem, & Murder: Andi Anna Jones Mystery #1 will be released NOV 30, 2017 by Imajin Books. Book # 2 is in process.

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Check out the other blogs on this tour

November 26 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

November 26 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

November 27 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

November 27 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

November 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

November 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT

November 30 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

December 2 – Queen of All She Reads –  SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Valerie’s Musings – GUEST POST

Posted in excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on November 29, 2017

Title: The Duke Knows Best

Author: Jane Ashford

Series: The Duke’s Sons, #5

ISBN: 9781492621683

Pub Date: December 5, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis

They’re wrong for each other, for all the right reasons…

Lord Randolph Gresham has come to London for one reason only-to find a suitable wife. Verity Sinclair may be intelligent, beautiful, and full of spirit, but her father knows a secret about Randolph that makes her entirely unsuitable as his bride. Not right for him at all, never, not a chance.

Verity knows that Lord Randolph lives in a country parish, and she wants nothing more than to escape to town. He may be fascinating, attractive, rich, and the son of a duke, but she’ll never marry him, nor will she talk to him, flirt with him, walk with him, or dine with him. She’ll sing a duet with him, but only this one time, and only because everyone insists.

But one duet invariably leads to another.

 

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Excerpt

Looking around the front hall of Langford House, with its soaring stair and rich marble floor, Verity judged it the grandest house she’d ever entered. Light poured down from high windows, glittered in a huge crystal chandelier, and gleamed in the gold stripes of the wallpaper. A hint of potpourri scented the air, along with beeswax and lemon. The clatter of the London streets didn’t penetrate the gracious silence. “Goodness,” murmured her mother. Verity was determined not to be intimidated.

A liveried footman led them through two beautiful reception rooms to the back of the house. He opened a door and stood back. Verity and her mother stepped over the threshold into a perfectly splendid music room. For a moment Verity forgot everything else as she took in the fine instruments waiting to be played, the older ones adorning the walls, and the piles of expensive sheet music. She could spend hours in a place like this and be blissfully happy, she thought.

And then a tall, stately woman came forward to greet them, and Verity was making her curtsy to the duchess, as well as wondering where Lord Randolph could be.

He hurried in on the heels of that thought. “I beg your pardon,” he said. “I was just… Mama, this is Mrs. Sinclair and Miss Verity Sinclair. Ladies, my mother.”

“Your Grace,” they murmured.

The duchess said, “Welcome to Langford House.” And with the warmth in her blue eyes and the ease of her smile, Verity felt the atmosphere in the room change from grandiose to relaxed. Or perhaps it was simply her own mood that had shifted, she thought. As they sat down and exchanged remarks about the weather and the season, she found she could talk to Lord Randolph’s mother with surprising ease.

“I know you have musical matters to discuss,” said the duchess after a while. She rose. “I will leave you to it. But I wanted to make sure you have all you need, Mrs. Sinclair.”

“You’re very kind.”

“I’ve seen to the arrangements, Mama,” said Lord Randolph.

“Sponge cakes and macaroons?” she asked.

“What else?”

The humorous look they exchanged gave Verity a glimpse into the Gresham family, which seemed a pleasant place. The door opened, and a maid came in with several sturdy working candles. “You said you’d bring some embroidery,” said Lord Randolph to Verity’s mother. “I wanted to make certain you had good light.”

The duchess gave him an approving nod and went out. Lord Randolph made a great production of getting Verity’s mother settled with the candles set just so and a cushion for her back and offers of tea or other refreshment. “So kind,” she murmured as she was settled in the front corner of the room.

Verity noticed that it was the corner farthest from the pianoforte. And that the special candles and cushions—which a less observant person might dismiss as finicky items for a man to consider—effectively rooted Mama at a distance. It was unlikely that she would overhear much of what they said, unless they started shouting. Which she might, if Lord Randolph tried to maneuver her in a similar way. And where had he acquired such skill at diverting chaperones?

“I’ve pulled out piles of music,” he said when they were at last free to begin. He led the way over to the table where the sheets were displayed. “I was thinking we should choose popular pieces rather than anything too complicated. Perhaps even repeat the song we did at Lady Tolland’s.”

Their eyes met, mirroring memories of that astonishing experience. Verity’s cheeks grew hot. A self-conscious silence stretched out. She could actually hear her mother’s needle prick the embroidery canvas.

Lord Randolph cleared his throat. “Ah, our audience at Carleton House will be varied,” he went on. “Not all will be particularly musical. But I’m eager to hear your opinion about the program, of course.”

He stopped and waited for her to speak. He gazed at her as if he actually wanted to know her views, and wasn’t just pausing to give the appearance of listening before telling her what to do. It was a point in his favor. “What about some Italian songs, varied with Scots or Irish ballads?” she suggested. “How long need we sing, do you think?”

“Long enough to satisfy the prince’s wounded vanity,” he responded wryly.

Verity looked down to hide a smile. “That sounds rather difficult to measure. An hour?”

“No more, certainly. We are doing a favor, not putting on a full concert. Shall we say six pieces? With one in reserve in case they insist on more?”

Verity agreed, and they looked through Mozart’s and Haydn’s arrangements of popular tunes and sheets of songs by Robert Burns and Thomas Moore. Langford House appeared to possess any piece one could desire, and Verity envied the bounty. She had to ration her purchases of sheet music on her allowance. The money her grandfather had left her was in trust until she married. And why was she thinking of that now? “‘Robin Adair’ would make a lovely base for a set of variations,” she said.

They bent over the music together. “It would indeed,” said Lord Randolph. He sat at the pianoforte and began to play the simple melody, and then to embellish it. Verity hummed along, following his elaborations. “Just here,” he said, playing intricate series of notes. She caught the idea at once. Spontaneously they sang a verse with the new adornments, their voices blending in a twining harmony. By the end they were staring at each other, mutually astonished.

“Very pretty,” said Verity’s mother from the corner.

It was as if he could predict exactly what she meant to sing, Verity thought. Or, perhaps, his musical impulses ran in precisely the same direction. The phrase in tune took on a whole new meaning as they ran through the entire song, consulted briefly, and then tried it again. The result was equally lovely and interesting, but different with the varying choices of the moment. This must be what it was like to be intoxicated, she thought, as she fell into the music and a give and take with this man she barely knew— somehow they vibrated to the same pitch.

About the Author

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. She has written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She lives in Beverly Hills, CA.

 

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy, mystery on November 29, 2017

When Lucy Berberian quits her Philadelphia law firm and heads home to Ocean Crest, she knows what she’s getting—the scent of funnel cake, the sight of the wooden roller coaster, and the tastes of her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. But murder wasn’t on the menu . . .
 
Things are slow in the off-season in this Jersey Shore town, but Lucy doesn’t mind. She doesn’t even mind waitressing at the Kebab Kitchen. Her parents have put in a new hummus bar, with every flavor from lemon to roasted red pepper. It’s fun to see their calico cat again, and to catch up with her old BFF, who’s married to a cop now.

She could do without Heather Banks, though. The Gucci-toting ex-cheerleader is still as nasty as she was back in high school . . . and unfortunately, she’s just taken over as the local health inspector. Just minutes after eating at the Kebab Kitchen—where she’s tallied up a whole list of bogus violations—she falls down dead in the street. Word on the grapevine is it’s homicide, and Lucy’s the number one suspect . . .

Recipes included!

Ready…..

Set…..

Reveal!!

Coming February 27, 2018 from Kensington Books!!

You can pre-order your copy today!!

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Posted in Giveaway, Historical, Interview, mystery on November 28, 2017

Death at Thorburn Hall

A Drew Farthering Mystery, #6

by

Julianna Deering

  Genre: Historical British Mystery / Suspense

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Date of Publication: November 7, 2017

Number of Pages: 336

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Investigating a suspicious accident leads Drew on a path that points to international intrigue and ever-growing danger

Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield, hoping for a relaxing holiday with his wife, Madeline, and friend Nick. But death meets him once again when Lord Rainsby, their host at Thorburn Hall, is killed in a suspicious riding accident–only days after confiding in Drew his fears that his business partner was embezzling funds.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each appears to have dark motives for wanting Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

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PRAISE FOR Death at Thorburn Hall

“Amateur sleuthing at its finest!”–Fresh Fiction Review

“Another great mystery headed by the charming Drew Farthering and his intelligent wife, Madeline. There is murder, mystery, intrigue and a little romance, which makes Death at Thorburn Hall a most enjoyable read . . . The plot has twists, turns and a few surprises throughout the story. Deering is at her best when penning Drew Farthering mysteries.”–RT Book Reviews

“This sixth series entry will delight Agatha Christie fans.” —Library Journal

 

Character Interview with Madeline Parker Farthering

I’m delighted to have a moment to chat with Madeline Parker Farthering, the wife of the celebrated amateur sleuth, Drew Farthering.

So, what’s it like being an American married to a high-society Britisher?

In one word? Delightful. Not that I don’t worry about him when he goes off to investigate. And not that we haven’t been in our fair share of tight spots when we’ve crossed paths with a murderer or two, but thank God, we’ve made it through. Of course, there is much more to our life together than just solving mysteries. It can be fairly dazzling going to some of the affairs we’re invited to, especially knowing that famous, noble and even royal people will also be in attendance. But we’re as likely to spend a quiet evening at home with our cats, a good book, and a nice cup of tea.  The people of England have been so delightful to get to know. Apart from the murderers, of course. Drew makes me laugh, he makes me think, and he makes me feel like I’m the most wonderful girl in the world. How can I not adore him and love the life we have together?

How did you and Drew meet?

I was supposed to be on a brief visit to Hampshire in the middle of a European tour with two girlfriends of mine. My Uncle Mason was also Drew’s stepfather, so of course I had to stop by and visit him during the trip, and that’s when I met Drew. More quickly than I thought possible, I realized that I never wanted to leave Farthering Place. Not as long as Drew was there. Of course, I didn’t let him know that. Not right away.

How do you manage to put up with Drew and Nick?

They’re such boys, aren’t they? I don’t think they’ll ever grow up, but I suppose I’d be very disappointed if they did. They’ve been friends since they were babies. I know either of them would do anything for the other, but I’m sure they’d both strenuously deny that if you asked them about it. Even when they’re exasperating, they’re so much fun to be around. I hope they never change.

You mentioned reading. Is that one of the things that brought you and Drew together?

Oh, absolutely. When I found out Drew loved mystery novels, and that was on the day after we met, I couldn’t help being interested. Add in his love of Shakespeare and Austen, Sherlock Holmes, the Brontës, and even such frivolity as Gilbert and Sullivan, and I was smitten.

But surely it wasn’t just his mind that attracted you, was it?

Well, he is awfully nice looking, don’t you think? Not many men, even the well-built ones, know how to dress so stylishly without being foppish. And I can’t help loving the way Drew smells. The boys I went out with when I was still in America all smelled like cigarettes and liquor, but Drew always smells of fresh linen, new books, and tea and honey. And, of course, there’s that smile of his . . .

Do you miss America?

Sometimes I do very much. I don’t have much family back there anymore, just an uncle and two aunts, but I would like to see them again. And Drew has promised we’ll go to that new golf tournament in Georgia, The Masters, before long. As much as I love it here in Hampshire, and it really is wonderful, I’d still like to go back to America. I’d like Drew to see what my home is like. He’s fairly keen to see some of the big bands we hear sometimes on the radio, The Dorsey Brothers and a few others, so I hope we’ll get a chance to go sometime soon.

What would you be doing now if you hadn’t married Drew?

I don’t even want to think about it!

JULIANNA DEERING (also writing as DeAnna Julie Dodson) has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness, and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching, and watching NHL hockey. Her series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted from Bethany House with Rules of Murder (2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (2014). Dressed for Death (2016), and Murder on the Moor and Death at Thorburn Hall (2017). She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books and Such Literary Agency.

 

Julianna Website ║ Twitter ║ Deanna Website

║ Amazon Author Page ║  Facebook

 

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11/28/17 Character Interview StoreyBook Reviews
11/29/17 Review Missus Gonzo
11/30/17 Excerpt Chapter Break Book Blog
12/1/17 Review Syd Savvy
12/2/17 Author Interview Texan Girl Reads
12/3/17 Excerpt A Page Before Bedtime
12/4/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
12/5/17 Top Ten List Forgotten Winds
12/6/17 Review The Clueless Gent
12/7/17 Series Sneak Peek A Novel Reality

 

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Posted in Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery, women on November 28, 2017

Hunting Hour: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery
Mystery/Police Procedurals/Woman Sleuths
3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (August 8, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages

Synopsis

Deputy Mattie Cobb is in a dark place and has withdrawn from Cole Walker and his family to work on issues from her past. When she and her K-9 partner Robo get called to track a missing junior high student, they find the girl dead on Smoker’s Hill behind the high school, and Mattie must head to the Walker home to break the bad news. But that’s only the start of trouble in Timber Creek, because soon another girl goes missing—and this time it’s one of Cole’s daughters.

Knowing that each hour a child remains missing lessens the probability of finding her alive, Mattie and Robo lead the hunt while Cole and community volunteers join in to search everywhere. To no avail. It seems that someone has snatched all trace of the Walker girl from their midst, including her scent. Grasping at straws, Mattie and Robo follow a phoned-in tip into the dense forest, where they hope to find a trace of the girl’s scent and to rescue her alive. But when Robo does catch her scent, it leads them to information that challenges everything they thought they knew about the case.

Mattie and Robo must rush to hunt down the kidnapper before they’re too late in Hunting Hour, the third installment in critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima’s exhilarating mystery series.

Booksamillion * Indiebound

Guest Post

THE VALUE OF SEARCH AND RESCUE DOGS

By Margaret Mizushima

 

Throughout the past thirty-five years, my veterinarian husband and I have shared our lives with a pack of dogs. When our children were young, we decided to train two of our dogs in search and rescue. A tragic event in our community precipitated this decision.

We live in an agricultural area nestled against the foothills of the rugged Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. The mountains to the west offer scenic pleasure in the form of river rafting, fishing, hiking, and picnicking for locals as well as tourists from all over the country. Countless families spend weekends and vacations on the river or hiking in the forests without incident, but family fun can turn deadly when a loved one, and especially a child, strays from the group and becomes lost.

In 1978, soon after our older daughter was born, a ten-year-old boy disappeared while hiking with his parent on the Gray Rock Trail in the Cache la Poudre Canyon north of Fort Collins. The media reported that this child and the adults he was hiking with made it to the top of the trail and had turned around to head back downhill. The boy asked if he could go ahead and meet them below. After gaining permission, he hurried ahead on his own. When the rest of his party arrived at the trailhead, he wasn’t there. Trace of him has never been found, and he remains missing to this day.

People speculate that this child misread the twists and turns of the trail, became lost in the wilderness, and subsequently perished. Others believe that he was kidnapped and taken far from his family and our community. His family erected a memorial for him at the Gray Rock trailhead, and I stop each time before hiking there to say a prayer for him and his family.

Sometime after our second daughter was born, we decided to head for the mountains to camp on summer weekends when we could take time away from the vet clinic. Memories of this devastating event motivated us to train at least one of our dogs in search and rescue, primarily so that we would have the option of our own dog tracking our child immediately if necessary. We joined a search and rescue training group, taking our Rottweiler, Ilsa, and our Austrailian shepherd, Jessie.

Wow, the things we learned! This is where I learned the value of using water to moisten mucous membranes to enhance scenting ability as well as how to combine the search and rescue equipment with the activity involved. At first, the dogs were allowed to play and socialize, but as soon as search harnesses came out, the tone became serious. You could observe which dogs caught onto this over time and which ones struggled to switch off the urge to tussle with the other dogs.

Dog owners themselves laid down the scent trail, keeping it very short in the beginning and then following a training protocol to increase the difficulty in incremental steps as the dog advanced through the stages. Once the scent trail was set, the dog owner would hide, and the group leader would set the dog onto the track. The best reward in the world is finding someone you love at the end of the track, and dogs did a happy dance as they joyously reconnected with their “lost” owners. Gradually, strangers were substituted for owners, and that joyful response still carried over at the end of each search.

Thankfully, we never needed to use our dogs to search for lost children, but our entire family, kids included, enjoyed those months of training and reinforcement of search skills. Due to job commitments and time constraints, neither my husband nor I were able to join the county search and rescue team ourselves, but we gained a new respect for the level of dedication and fitness required of these volunteers.

In those days, I had no idea that someday I would write a mystery series that featured a German shepherd K-9 with search and rescue skills. It’s safe to say that this experience helped set the stage for the creation of K-9 Robo and his handler Deputy Mattie Cobb, and I invite you to join me in their adventures.

About the Author

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mysteries, which includes Killing Trail (Crooked Lane Books, 2015) nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice award for best first mystery, Stalking Ground (Crooked Lane Books, 2016) a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards mystery category, and Hunting Hour (Crooked Lane Books, 2017). She has a background in speech pathology and practiced in an acute care hospital before establishing her own rehabilitation agency. Currently, she balances writing with assisting her husband with their veterinary clinic and Angus cattle herd. She enjoys reading and hiking, and she lives on a small ranch in Colorado where she and her husband raised two daughters and a multitude of animals.

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check out the other blogs on this tour

 

November 24 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

November 24 – Because I said so – Adventures in Parenting – REVIEW

November 25 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 26 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

November 27 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

November 28 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

November 29 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 30 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – INTERVIEW

December 3 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 4 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

December 5 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Posted in Christian, excerpt, Giveaway, Historical, romance on November 27, 2017

TOO FAR DOWN

Cimarron Legacy Book 3

by

MARY CONNEALY

  Genre: Western Historical Christian Romance

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Number of Pages: 322

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With Danger Drawing Ever Closer, The Boden Clan Risk Losing Their Ranch Forever

Having returned home to the ranch, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back east and appreciating all that New Mexico Territory offers. Sure, he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys his new job running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone, particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who can’t seem to make up his mind about staying in New Mexico.

When a deadly explosion damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them. Melanie is determined to help Cole and the family finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Baker Book House

Praise for Too Far Down

“Connealy crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love, loyalty, and fortitude, and the mystery remains intriguing until the end.” Publishers Weekly

“Recommended for those who enjoy a fast, smart historical-set suspense.” RT Book Reviews

EXCERPT: CHAPTER ONE, PART ONE

TOO FAR DOWN

BY MARY CONNEALY

 

Skull Gulch, New Mexico Territory

February 1881

 

An explosion brought Cole Boden to his feet. His chair slammed backward into the wall. Cole ran for his office door and ripped it open.

Murray Elliot, his assistant, rounded his desk in the outer office. “What happened?”

A second explosion rocked the whole building.

Cole didn’t bother responding. He charged outside into the winter chill, just in time to duck flying rocks from the mountaintop. He threw himself back inside as stones blasted right over his head with the force of cannonballs.

“Murray, get down!” Cole grabbed at the man who’d responded much more cautiously and was well behind. He tackled Murray to the floor just as another explosion went off.

The log wall of the office buckled. This building was small but solid, so the rocks were coming with terrific force. Rocks sprayed in through the open door and smashed into Murray’s desk.

“What is happening?”

“I don’t know.” Cole glared at the man. “Something blew up. We’re not blasting today, are we?”

“Nope, but we just got a supply of dynamite in.”

“Where is it?” Cole imagined a wagonload of dynamite, and explosion after explosion. But no, that’d be just one big explosion.

“It’s stopped.” Murray lifted his head.

“Is the dynamite stored in that big cave?”

“Just like always, boss.”

Cole knew explosives, and he knew they brought them in by the wagonload. And they stored them in a cold cave a good distance from where anyone worked. Even if they exploded, they shouldn’t have done anything but rock that cave. At the worst it might seal the mouth of it.

Three explosions and nowhere near a wagonload had blown—which meant there was plenty more to come.

“I’m heading for the big cave. You stay in here.”

“No, I’m coming with you.”

“You aren’t.” Cole heaved himself to his feet. “It’s my mine and my risk.”

“I’m coming, Cole.” Murray was up.

A fourth explosion sent a rock the size of Cole’s head slamming through the roof.

Murray fell onto his backside, then scrambled into the kneehole of his desk. He’d been hired for his brains, not his guts.

Cole was glad he’d been delayed from running outside. But he also knew he was going now, and it was most likely a blamed fool idea.

“Stay under there until we’re sure the explosions have stopped.” He hoped Murray stayed put under the solid oak desk. It should protect him even if the whole building collapsed.

Cole raced out the door to see the smoldering ruins of the newly opened mine only about a hundred yards from his office. The entrance was collapsed, and he knew men were trapped inside. Before he could deal with that, though, he had to make sure the dynamite was done blowing up.

He charged toward the cave.

He hoped and prayed his men inside the new mine were all right. If they’d been far enough in, around the corner from the blasts, out of the line of any flying debris, they should still be alive. The entrance had collapsed, but they’d shored the mines up with thick timbers. There was a good chance the inside of the mine was still intact.

Once he got near the cave, grit and dust filled the air. Choking, Cole jerked his kerchief out of his pocket and covered his mouth. His eyes burned, but he had to see. Cole raced faster, thinking of all that could have gone wrong, all the men who could be hurt.

He saw one still form on the ground, so covered with dust he couldn’t identify the man. Yet Cole could see clearly enough to know the man was beyond help.

Running, stumbling over rocks, barely able to breathe, Cole finally reached the cave. Outside it was a burning fuse, heading for a wooden box, torn open, full of explosives.

He slid on his knees to beat the fuse from burning down. It ran shorter by the second. Cole fumbled for the knife he kept in his boot as he crawled the last foot through the rubble. He caught the fuse only inches from burning down. He slit the sparking fire with one slash.

He looked down the side of the mountain. The office of the CR Mining Company was near the top of Mount Kebbel, with only its snowcapped peak higher. The CR leased claims to many men, all spread over a hundred square miles. A few dozen of them were right here close to headquarters.

Cole’s eyes swept down the long, steep slope dotted with mine entrances and saw boxes of dynamite burning at a bunch of them. Enough to account for nearly every box they had in storage. Cole could never reach them all in time.

Yards away, he saw the next fuse burning toward a wooden box. Thinking furiously, he saw this fuse was longer. Whoever’d done this wanted the explosives to go in separate blasts, and the boxes were far enough apart not to be set off by an earlier explosion. Men were deep in their mines, so they might hear the explosions, and they might not.

This time, with the men inside, was deliberate. Midmorning. All the miners were hard at work at this time of day and very few were outside. The explosions would bury them alive.

(Click to read PART TWO on the 11/29/17 Lone Star Book Blog Tours stop with A Novel Reality blog.)

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

Website ║ Twitter

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 Blog ║ Facebook

 

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November 27-December 3, 2017

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11/13/17 Missus Gonzo
11/14/17 Books and Broomsticks
11/15/17 Books in the Garden
11/16/17 Hall Ways Blog
11/17/17 The Page Unbound


VISIT THESE BLOGS ON THE SPECIAL FEATURES TOUR:

11/27/17 Special Feature StoreyBook Reviews
11/27/17 Special Feature Forgotten Winds
11/28/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
11/28/17 Special Feature Syd Savvy
11/29/17 Review The Librarian Talks
11/29/17 Special Feature A Novel Reality
11/30/17 Review Texan Girl Reads
11/30/17 Special Feature Momma on The Rocks
12/1/17 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
12/1/17 Special Feature Bibliotica

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

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

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

We give it 5 paws up

 

About the Author

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

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

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Posted in Cover Reveal, Giveaway, romance on November 25, 2017

 

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.

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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