Posted in 4 paws, humor, Review, women on February 26, 2017

Synopsis

Divorced, broke, and living with her parents—forty-year-old Shannon Johnson is clearly winning at life.

She’s so awesome, she accidentally uses a tampon irradiated in Kazakhstan. Suddenly, this mush-mouthed loser becomes a superheroine who can shoot menstrual cramps from her fingers.

No, really.

But her new mission of saving NYC’s abused women gets complex for Super 40. With her teleporting partner Dolly Poppin’, Super 40 runs afoul of domestic abusers, jerky news anchors, and an evil scientist with cats. Even worse, someone’s trying to kill the partners for reasons unknown, which is just plain rude. Is it the mysterious flying Antihero? The robo-kittens? Or one of the delightful internet trolls always eager to call Shannon fat and ugly?

No matter, for the amazing Super 40 will get her mojo back through butt-kicking, self-love, and some hot dates with the world’s yummiest superhero.

If you ever thought Bridget Jones needed a borked-out superpower, you won’t be able to put down the hilarious adventures of SUPER 40. She’s a heroine for every woman society deems unsuitable, which is basically all of us.

To heck with that!

From Lucy – My goal for this book is for every woman who reads it to feel like a superheroine herself–no matter her circumstance, abilities, or dress size.

Amazon * B&N * Apple iBooks * Kobo * Scribd * 24Symbols

Review

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book….was I expecting mystery? romance? humor? wacky characters? I don’t know for sure but that is what you get when you read this book.

The book starts off rather odd (IMHO) and Shannon is over the top in the first chapter. But as the book progresses she seems to level off and while she does not have a lot of her life together, becoming a super heroine seems to be a good thing for her. It gives her confidence which allows her to see beyond what has been projected on her by her family and ex-husband.

I haven’t even mentioned her super power yet – she can shoot menstrual cramps into anyone that gets in her way. And these aren’t “light ones” either. These are strong enough to take down a big hulking man! It is rather humorous as she tried to figure out what to call her power.

Shannon does find herself in some odd situations as a super heroine, but she muddles through along with another super heroine, Dolly Poppins (aka Kayla), because there really isn’t much of a handbook to give you guidance. She does have 3 men interested in her and while she each has their own merits, I think she has focused on one that really captures her spirit and possibly her heart.

I think Shannon learns a lot in this book and actually inspires others that seem to have a problem with turning 40. They realize that you do not have to act any certain way and that only you control your destiny.

If you can get past the first chapter (that was the hardest for me because I think I didn’t know what to expect with the book) I think you might enjoy it.

We give it 4 paws up!

About the Author

Lucy Woodhull’s writing began in the womb, where she composed haiku about being claustrophobic. Unfortunately, her mother interpreted this talent as “heartburn,” so Lucy’s gifts went unappreciated in the world at large for several years.

In addition to writing le steamy romantic comedy, Lucy pens parody and satire, for she dreams of being the literary Mel Brooks. (You should imagine air quotes around the word “literary.”)

Her motto is “Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you’ll short-circuit your Kindle.” That’s why she writes funny books, because goodness knows we all need to escape the real world once in a while.

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Posted in Giveaway, romance, Spotlight, women on February 24, 2017

the-rise-of-miss-notley-gr
The Rise of Miss Notley by Rachael Anderson

When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow. The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?

 

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.”

 

RachaelAbout 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.

Website

 

 

 

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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, mystery, Review on February 23, 2017

Murder by the Book: A Mystery Mini
Print Length: 27 pages
Publisher: Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. (February 27, 2016)
Publication Date: February 27, 2016
ASIN: B01CC3NJQO

Synopsis

 

An ordinary work day at the western Massachusetts Sugarloaf Inn turns more chilling than the winter weather when staff member Candy Wadsen makes a gruesome discovery. Her day goes from bad to worse when Candy realizes that Detective Sergeant Dan Petrowski suspects her of committing the crime.

Review

This is a very short book (27 pages) but it packs a lot into the murder and solving the crime.

I liked that because it is short it was very fast paced and the reveal of the killer surprised me. I like how they figured out who the killer was – using a play on words, very unique.

I don’t know if there will be more with these characters but I could see a possible romance brewing between Candy the the police detective Dan.

We give it 5 paws up

About the Author

“What if?” Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of an award-winning literary historical fantasy series and several thrillers, she also penned Mystery Mini Short Reads and contributed short stories to popular fantasy anthologies. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats … and a dragon named Inky. 

 

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Posted in coming of age, Fantasy, Magic, Middle Grade on February 22, 2017

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume One


Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Published by: Wondertale, California
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
ISBN: 1-945353-11-2
ASIN: B01MQGHGBH
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.
Length: 85,000 words / 290 pages

Amazon * Goodreads

Synopsis
Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

The Magician’s Workshop, Volume Two

Authors: Christopher Hansen, J.R. Fehr
Print Length: 273 pages
Publisher: Wondertale
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
ASIN: B01N988TW7
Genre: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Magic
Ages: 12 and up.

Amazon * Goodreads

Synopsis
Return to the world of The Magician’s Workshop: Where Dreams Become Reality.

In Volume Two, the Festival of Stars has finally arrived, and the Color Ceremony is about to commence. As children from all over the islands gather to stand before a puller, one question remains: who will have a Color, and who will be found void?

Rejoin your favorite characters as they step forward and receive a label that will have the power to dramatically alter the course of their lives forever.


About the Authors

Christopher Hansen

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all the time and all around us, if you know where to look for them.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris began searching for this magic, prepared to be surprised and amazed by it. And he was: he found Wonder! Now he’s chosen to write stories about it.

 

 

J.R. Fehr
When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

 

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Posted in Giveaway, Historical, nonfiction, Spotlight on February 21, 2017

BULLETINS FROM DALLAS

Reporting the JFK Assassination

by

BILL SANDERSON

  Genre: Biography / Journalism

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Date of Publication: November 1, 2016

Number of Pages: 280

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

Thanks to one reporter’s skill, we can fix the exact moment on November 22, 1963 when the world stopped and held its breath: At 12:34 p.m. Central Time, UPI White House reporter Merriman Smith broke the news that shots had been fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade. Most people think Walter Cronkite was the first to tell America about the assassination. But when Cronkite broke the news on TV, he read from one of Smith’s dispatches. At Parkland Hospital, Smith saw President Kennedy’s blood-soaked body in the back of his limousine before the emergency room attendants arrived. Two hours later, he was one of three journalists to witness President Johnson’s swearing-in aboard Air Force One. Smith rightly won a Pulitzer Prize for the vivid story he wrote for the next day’s morning newspapers.

Smith’s scoop is journalism legend. But the full story of how he pulled off the most amazing reportorial coup has never been told. As the top White House reporter of his time, Smith was a bona fide celebrity and even a regular on late-night TV. But he has never been the subject of a biography.

With access to a trove of Smith’s personal letters and papers and through interviews with Smith’s family and colleagues, veteran news reporter Bill Sanderson will crack open the legend. Bulletins from Dallas tells for the first time how Smith beat his competition on the story, and shows how the biggest scoop of his career foreshadowed his personal downfall.

* Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Indiebound *

Praise for BULLETINS FROM DALLAS

“So much of what we know about any story depends on how reporters do their work. Bill Sanderson takes us through every heartbreaking minute of one of the biggest stories of our lifetime, with sharp detail and powerful observations. As you read the book, you’ll feel all the pressure and adrenaline rush of a reporter on deadline.” —Neal Shapiro, former president of NBC News, current president of WNET

“The life and work of a noted White House reporter…. Focusing on [Merriman] Smith’s reporting of the Kennedy assassination, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, Sanderson conveys the tension and confusion after the event, as Smith and other newsmen scrambled to ascertain facts.” —Kirkus Reviews

“To read Bulletins from Dallas is to touch the fabric of history, through Sanderson’s artful weave of many voices, from presidents across the decades to the last words uttered by J.F.K. Swept back through the corridors of time, we hear the urgent bells and clatter of the teletype machine: Merriman Smith’s first report to the world, ‘Three shots fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade today in Downtown Dallas.’ This compelling narrative takes us to that moment when our whole nation cried, and, even now, to tears of primal sympathy that never seem to end.” —Allen Childs, author of We Were There: Revelations from the Dallas Doctors Who Attended to JFK on November 22, 1963

 

photo by Annie Wermiel

Bill Sanderson spent almost two decades as a reporter and editor at the New York Post. His work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, and the Washington Post. Sanderson lives in New York City.

 

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Posted in Book Release, excerpt, romance on February 21, 2017
~ Release Day Blitz ~
A Way Back Into Love by Veronica Thatcher
21st February, 2017

Synopsis

Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love… Well, that makes complicates everything complicated. When you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.

Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life is turned upside-down when she realizes she’s in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken.

Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home… to the man she left behind?

Goodreads * Paperback * eBook


Excerpt

Emily stepped back from him and shook her head. “Oh, you know damn well what I mean. You know what, Derek? I’m done having this conversation with you. I’m so done with this conversation and I’m so done with you,” Emily spat out angrily before brushing past him.

“Emily, wait,” Derek said, catching her by her arm. “Where are you going?”

Emily spun around and gave him a bitter look before looking down at his hand gripping her arm. “Leave my arm,” she said in a low yet threatening voice, “And why do you care where I’m going? It’s none of your business.”

Derek didn’t leave her arm in spite of her warning and said, “Em, you’ve had too many drinks. You can’t drive in this condition. I’ll drop you home.”

Emily jerked her arm free from his grasp and replied in a bitter voice, “Thank you, but no. I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home on my own. I don’t need you to drop me home. Do you get it, Derek Thorpe? I DON’T NEED YOU!” Emily yelled the last words, causing a few people to look their way.

About the Author

Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one. When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them.  She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!

Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it.


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Posted in Giveaway, Interview, Monday, mystery on February 20, 2017

Synopsis

After months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

Trailer

Interview with Lauren

What’s your favorite thing about the writing process?

Oh, it’s the creative process—coming up with the plotline and figuring out how the murder is committed, who done it, how they are caught—all of that! For me, it is as close to being an amateur detective as you can get. They have the committed crime and work backwards toward the beginning. I am at the beginning and working forward, through the crime, and right up to where the culprit is caught.

How long have you been a writer?

Let’s just say my whole life. I believe writers are born. If you’re a writer, even if you aren’t writing books, you’re a writer. You’re thinking up storylines in the shower instead of singing. If you’re late for work, you can’t just say traffic was terrible, you have to tell a whole story about it being a dark and stormy morning …

I remember rewriting The Bobbsey Twins when I was in grade school to make it more suspenseful. That’s what writers do.

For what would you like to be remembered?

For making everyone around me smile.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert. Most writers are introverts—that’s what makes personal appearances hard for many writers. That’s why I love virtual book tours. I can do the whole tour naked!

What is the most daring thing you’ve done?

Skydiving. I was nineteen years old and dating a great guy who had scheduled parachuting lessons for him and his buddy. Well, his friend backed out, so I asked to go. Thing is—I had never even been up in a plane before! When I told my mother, she said it was okay, but not to tell her what day I was doing it—instead, tell her that I was going on a picnic. So, a couple of days before the jump I asked her for eighty dollars for my picnic on Saturday.

On the day of the lessons, we have six hours of instruction before going up in the plane. Two hours was on how to jump and how to land. The next four hours was on what to do if something went wrong. One of the things they stressed was that when you hit the ground to stand up quickly so that they could see you were okay. If you don’t stand up, they’ll send out the ambulance.

So then, we went up in the plane for our jump. We were suited up with our parachutes and our reserve chutes and all of this equipment. Back then, I weighed about a hundred and ten pounds and I was wearing close to sixty pounds of chutes.

Then, we went up. Remember, I have never been in a plane before. I was more excited about that than the jump. Jon, my boyfriend, jumped out first. Then I jumped.

It was fabulous! I loved it. I could see Jon down on the ground waving and jumping up and down and I was waving back.

Then, I hit the ground beautifully and rolled just like they told us to do. And then … I couldn’t stand up because I was wearing sixty pounds of chutes and equipment. I remembered them saying that I needed to stand up. So, I’m rolling on the ground in the field like a giant turtle on her back trying to get to my feet. In the distance, I hear the ambulance racing across the field and Jon yelling.

By the time I stood up I saw about a dozen people and an ambulance racing across the field toward me.

Jon told me that the whole time he was running across the field he was trying to think of how to tell my mother that I did great … until I hit the ground.

It was five years later before I went up in a plane and actually landed in it.

What is the stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

Recently or over the course of my life? This morning I ate two bags of chocolate truffles while answering questions for interviews. Now I have a stomach ache.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

Telling my husband that I couldn’t meet him for lunch because I have a stomach ache from eating two bags of chocolate truffles.

What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?

Deciding between eating a nutritious breakfast and two bags of chocolate truffles.

What would your main characters say about you?

There are two main characters in A Fine Year for Murder, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton. An heiress, Jessica is Mac Faraday’s daughter. She would say that I was obsessive about my writing to the point of being a workaholic. The solution would be spend a weekend at a spa without any Internet or technology.

On the other hand, Murphy Thornton would say that I had a brilliant mind—after all, I am the creator of three mystery series. However, it would do me some good to work on becoming more disciplined—especially when it comes to health and fitness. Cut out the chocolate truffles and go to the gym more.

How long is your to-do list?

I don’t know. You need to ask my husband. He’s the one who makes it up and keeps track of it.

What are you working on now?

Twofer Murder will be a treat for mystery lovers because it will be two mysteries in one novel. This book will contain all of the characters from the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose mysteries. The guys go fishing and get embroiled in a murder mystery. Meanwhile, the ladies go off to a murder mystery writers conference and end up wrapped up in their own mystery when an up and coming mystery writer ends up dead! Can’t beat that! Two mysteries for the price of one!

As for Murphy and Jessica of the Thorny Rose, sorry, readers, but the next Thorny Rose Mystery is at least a year away. I’m now working on three series! The working title for the next Thorny Rose Mystery is From Rags to Riches to Dead. In this mystery, Jessica’s best friend Amy receives news that her leech of a husband was killed in a freak accident at an expensive resort, where he had spent the last several days living it up. Amy, and Jessica are still trying to sort out this news when Dean walks in—alive and well. Upon investigation, they discover that a killer has been stealing the identity of deadbeat husbands who have been living off their rich wives, and then luring them to expensive resorts to murder them.

Lightning round:

Cake or frosting? Frosting!

Laptop or desktop? Laptop because I’ll write anywhere. Desktops are just too awkward to carry in a case with a shoulder strap.

Chevy Chase or Bill Murray? Bill Murray. Ghostbusters is one of my favorite movies.

Emailing or texting? Emails. I tend to send long wordy messages (the writer in me) and the keys for texting are just too tiny.

Indoors or outdoors? Indoors with central air conditioning. I have seasonal allergies with every change of season.

Tea: sweet or unsweet? Sweet, of course!

Plane, train, or automobile? Automobile—with me driving. My husband and son claim I’m a backseat driver.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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Giveaway

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Posted in excerpt, Fantasy, Young Adult on February 19, 2017

Synopsis

What if you thought you could play a better god than God?

Mudmen is a story unlike anything you have ever seen before. It all starts with a half-crazed dwarf scribbling furiously on a piece of paper while the world outside his little cottage is ravaged by a great storm. There is an artifact in his possession which gives him power over all else, but that artifact is stolen by the very creatures that he gave birth to in his frustration – these creatures are what we come to know as the Mudmen.

Excerpt

And for the first time in days he dreamt. He was climbing up a hill. It was the dead of the night and moonlight was his only guide to what lay ahead. His short legs carried him up the hill at a far slower pace than he had expected to cover.

Wait! What had he expected to cover?

All of a sudden the ground beneath his feet began to shake and a grumbling sound emanated from the top of the hill. It was almost as if the great giant that rests beneath the earth had finally decided to move and he was standing directly over him.

Why were there no trees on the hill? Why was the ground so barren?

He saw a light at the top, an orange glow that seemed to be taking on a more solid form as each second passed by and every step he took brought him closer to it. It was almost as if the night sky was on fire.

Oh no! This was not a hill – it was a volcano, one that was about to spew forth molten lava and rocks.

He fell down as the earth beneath his feet shook even more violently. A black cloud of smoke blocked out the moon but he could see the world around him a lot clearer now in the light of the fire that rained from the skies above. He turned around, willing himself to run away but his feet would not obey him. And then he remembered that he had to get to the top of the volcano no matter what happened, for what waited for him at the top was the only thing that mattered.

About the Author

Shitij Sharma is a nineteen year old budding author from India.He is the author of the book – THE GIRL FROM ROSTOV. He believes that he can successfully explain the world’s current situation in this one paragraph

‘This world was a strange place to live in. It was disorderly and chaotic. Therefore, we had to find our way through this labyrinth of human emotions and actions to arrive at a place where there was some resemblance to order, order in the form of disorderly governments and a moral compass that does not always point north.’

He currently resides in New Delhi, India. He spends most of his time writing his second novel which he hopes to complete before this year is out.

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Posted in Spotlight, Thriller on February 18, 2017

Synopsis

Sarah Appleton has been kidnapped from her university campus in Cambridge, England. When she escapes, killing her abductor, she sets in motion a chain of events that has repercussions all across the world. Sarah and her father, Martin Appleton, flee the Russian mafia, from whom Martin stole twenty million dollars in bearer bonds, leaving authorities to unravel the threat of a terrorist plot using biological weapons of mass destruction stolen from a Russian lab and sold to Middle Eastern extremists. As the authorities scramble to unravel the scant clues left by people who make few mistakes, terrorists gear up for an attack that will leave millions of innocent people dead and the governments of several Middle Eastern nations in chaos.

About the Author

At the end of 2016 my first novel, ‘Disciples of Death,’ a terrorist thriller set in the Middle East, is being published by Black Opal Books in America. I’m currently writing my second thriller about the hunt for a British serial killer, called, ‘Soulmates.’ My second book has a main character, Detective Inspector Sarah Machin, who is also the main character in two follow up books I have planned, ‘Bailey’s Land’ and ‘Camden Town.’ I have only been drawn to theatre work recently, having a short play, ‘The Clearing,’ produced by Whoop ‘n’ Wail, at their event at the Waterloo East Theatre, April, 2015.

I’m also working on a few short 10 minute plays to enter in various short play competitions. My longer work consists of a play, ‘Death of the Slasher,’ about a 1950’s serial killer, in prison awaiting execution for his crimes. In his cell he is visited by the ghost of one of his victims. While he awaits the hangman’s noose he contemplates with the ghost his crimes and what made him do what he did.

Being a home carer for my disabled girlfriend, I try to pack in as much writing as I can between care duties, because I find writing, especially for theatre, opens up a whole world of possibility. I’m 52 years old, and my main ambition for my writing is to try and improve and become the best writer I can.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, Romantic Comedy on February 17, 2017

Synopsis

Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Manhattan upper-cruster Cecily Sinclair now uses that pricey utensil to dish up fancy French fare on her cooking show, Serving Romance. When there’s an executive shake-up at the network, she’s not worried. Not much anyway. Her show’s a hit after all. Why would the new CEO want to mess with success?

The driving force behind several buzzed-about networks, Devlin Hayes is considered to be a wunderkind in the television industry. Although his plans to rebrand CuisineTV and make Serving Romance more Millennial-friendly don’t thrill Cecily, her charming, blue-eyed boss is a hard man to say “no” to and she really wants to keep her job—even if that means sharing screen time with a loathsome blast from her past.

Mercurial Italian chef Dante Marchetti a.k.a. “Il Duce” was once Cecily’s boss, and she has the PTSD to prove it. Now the owner of one of the hottest restaurants in town, Dante’s egomania knows no bounds and his constant attempts to provoke and upstage Cecily make her want to conk him on the head with a sautééé pan. She thinks they’re toxic together, but viewers love their chemistry and clamor for more.

As Cecily battles to maintain the integrity of her show, she finds herself scheming and manipulating right along with Dante and Devlin. Is she fighting a lost cause? Does she really belong on TV, or would her culinary talent be better served elsewhere? And could one of the men who makes Cecily’s blood boil ignite a passion in her for something other than food?

Review

If you like hunky men, comedy, romance and food/cooking then this is the book for you.

Cecily is a multi faceted protagonist. She is wealthy but was trained at Cordon Bleu and worked in restaurants before becoming a television chef. She has a very wacky family including a cousin, Dina, that is a flower child long past the 60’s. And a grandmother that makes everyone toe the line.

Then you have 3 potential love interests for Cecily – her ex-fiance’ Boyce (because is he really an ex if they still have a good relationship? maybe, maybe not), Dante – a former boss of Cecily’s who happens to have a hot body and seems to rub Cecily the wrong way. Is it conflict or perhaps chemistry? And finally we have Devlin – her boss, who despite shaking up the network and making huge changes, sees something in Cecily. So who will she end up with? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I really enjoyed the mix of characters and the interaction (whether good or bad) because it just added more dimension to the story. I was hoping Cecily would end up with who she did, but there were times when I wondered if other incidents might influence her decision. Dina is a crack up, I love her whimsical nature. Paige (the best friend) plays a minor role, but there are some interesting twists with her life near the end.

I also liked how Cecily’s character grew as the book progressed. Yes she may be formally trained and have had a “proper” upbringing, but she learns to bend and grows as a woman and even as a chef. I liked how down to earth she was despite her parents and grandmother. I think it is her and Dina having each other as best friends growing up (even though they are cousins) that helped ground both of them.

We enjoyed the book and give it 4 paws up.

About the Author

An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O’Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a “real” job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. Mixing It Up is her fourth Chick Lit release, and in it Tracie finally got to live out her fantasy of being a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

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