Tuesday, July 11, 2017

BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Duplicity (Julia Gooden Mystery #2) by Jane Haseldine

Duplicity by Jane Haseldine | Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tour Banner

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Kensington Publishing
Publication Date: April 2017
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 149670407X (ISBN13: 9781496704078)
Series: Julia Gooden Mystery #2 | Duplicity can be read as a stand alone novel
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Duplicity by Jane Haseldine

















Synopsis: In Jane Haseldine’s new novel of riveting suspense, Detroit newspaper reporter Julia Gooden is up against the city’s most devious criminal—and her own painful past. Julia Gooden knows how to juggle different lives. A successful crime reporter, she covers the grittiest stories in the city while raising her two young boys in the suburbs. But beneath that accomplished façade is another Julia, still consumed by a tragedy that unfolded thirty years ago when her nine-year-old brother disappeared without a trace.

Julia’s marriage, too, is a balancing act, as she tries to rekindle her relationship with her husband, Assistant District Attorney David Tanner, while maintaining professional boundaries. David is about to bring Nick Rossi to trial for crimes that include drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and bribery. But the story becomes much more urgent when a courthouse bomb claims several victims—including the prosecution’s key witness—and leaves David critically injured.
Though Julia is certain that Rossi orchestrated the attack, the case against him is collapsing, and his power and connections run high and wide. With the help of Detective Raymond Navarro of the Detroit PD, she starts following a trail of blackmail, payback, and political ambition, little imagining where it will lead. Julia has risked her career before, but this time innocent lives—including her children’s—hang in the balance, and justice may come too late to save what truly matters…

Review: This is the second book in a series, but it is easily read as a standalone story. It is perfectly titled, as the entire book is filled with lies, backstabbing and plenty of twists and turns.

Julia is a fascinating lead character. She is determined,  tough and smart, as well as being a loving mother to her two boys.  

The story starts a little slow, but once it picks up, there is no slowing down, and the action builds and builds to a definite rollercoaster ending.

I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in the series.

Rating: Four stars

What Reviewers are Saying about Duplicity:

“Haseldine has a gift for atmosphere, setting, and suspense, and the many twists and turns will keep readers guessing.”—Library Journal
“Julia, introduced in The Last Time She Saw Him (2016), is ferociously bold and persistent as she deals with professional and personal adversity laced with duplicity in this action-packed, plot-driven mystery. This is hard-bitten crime fiction with changes ahead for its unrelenting series protagonist.”—Booklist
“Haseldine (The Last Time She Saw Him, 2016) uses her experience as a crime reporter to bring authenticity to this exciting and gritty tale.”—Kirkus Reviews

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
Glenlivet, light on the rocks. A cocktail waitress with bright fuchsia lipstick delivers the drink and motions her head in the direction of the aged fifty-something women two tables down. The recipient of the cocktail turns his head toward the hoots and low whistles from the likely recent divorcees who are ogling him like a lusty spectator sport.
“Want to join us, hon?” the ringleader asks and adjusts her leopard print halter-top to reveal an extra inch of orange, tanned cleavage. In case her intent wasn’t clear enough, the woman scoops a sugar cube from her champagne cocktail, places it between her teeth and starts sucking.
“No thank you,” the businessman answers coolly and places the unwanted drink back on the cocktail waitress’ tray.
He turns his back on the spurned women and locks in on a tall, willowy blond in a white dress that clings to her slender curves as she moves fluidly across the casino floor in his direction.
She pauses at his table, slides into the empty seat across from him and carefully tucks a leather briefcase between her legs.
The rowdy commotion from the neighboring table of women abruptly stops as they wordlessly concede, they’ve been bested by a thoroughbred.
The businessman slips an Italian charcoal grey suit coat over his tall and tightly muscled frame. He tips back the last few sips of the drink he ordered for himself ten minutes earlier and heads toward the lobby, not bothering to look back. He knows the blond will follow.
In the elevator, the mouth of a camera lens captures its occupants’ activities. The pair stand close, but just far enough apart so it doesn’t look obvious they are together, just two attractive strangers in an elevator heading up to their respected rooms. The blond stunner holds the briefcase in her left hand and takes a risk. She lifts her pinky finger up and brushes the back of the businessman’s hand for less than a second.
The elevator arrives on the VIP floor, the best the MGM Grand has to offer.
The blond bends down, slides a key out of the front pocket of the briefcase and opens the hotel room door. Inside, the man stands in front of the floor to ceiling windows. He takes a quick pan of downtown Detroit and then snaps the curtains shut. When it is safe, when they are alone, the blond, now anxious and wanting, drops the briefcase and goes directly for his zipper.
“Wait.” He takes the briefcase over to the bed, opens it, and fans the stack of bills across the mattress like a seasoned blackjack dealer some thirty stories below.
“Two million. You don’t trust me now?” the woman asks with a contrived pout.
He ignores the question until the cash has been fully accounted for.
“Come here,” he commands.
He starts to remove his coat, but she is already there.
“I’ve missed you,” she whispers and cups her long, delicate fingers around his crotch.
He reciprocates by running his hand across the thin silk of her dress directly over her breast, and then squeezes until the blond lets out a gasp.
The blond easily submits when the man pushes her down hard on the bed, letting him believe he still has the upper hand, that he is the aggressor. She stares up at his beautiful face, his breath coming faster now as his body starts to move in a rapid, steady rhythm above her. She doesn’t mind when he closes his eyes. He wants her again, reestablishing her position of control, at least for now. That’s all that matters.
When they are finished, the businessman turns toward the wall in disgust.
“I knew you weren’t through with me yet,” she says. “You take all your hostility out on me in bed. You’re a rough boy, but I like it.”
He ignores her, gets up from the bed, still naked, and heads to the bathroom. The blond is useless to him now. She knows it but still holds on.
“The birthmark on your ass is so sweet. It looks like a crescent moon with a shooting star underneath,” she remarks. “Come back to bed and let me take a closer look.”
The man spins around, anger flashing in his eyes as if the blonde’s comment violated something personal.
“Shut up,” he says.
“No need to talk dirty to me. You know I’ll give you what you want, as long as you give me my share of the money.”
“When it’s over, you’ll get it. That’s the agreement.”
“How do I know you won’t screw me?”
“Because I’m not that guy. The money will be in a safe place.”
“I want access to it.”
“I don’t think so.”
The door to the bathroom slams shut and she is dismissed. Inside the shower, he scrubs every trace of the woman off his body, hoping she will be gone when he comes out. But the blond is still in bed. At least she is sleeping.
The businessman climbs back into his suit, grabs the briefcase and closes the hotel room door quietly behind him. The second elevator in the hallway opens and he disappears inside just as elevator one chimes its arrival to the VIP floor. Its single occupant emerges, a man, squat and thick but moving swiftly like a gymnast. He wears all black, a bulky windbreaker, sweatpants and a baseball cap as if he’s just come from the hotel gym. He lets himself into a room with a key he extracts from a bulky fanny pack that flanks his waist. Inside, he quickly assesses the scene, pulls a tiny camera out from its hiding place inside a fake antique clock on the dresser and tucks it into his coat pocket.
He then retrieves a razor blade and scarf from the pack and heads toward the bed where the blond is still sleeping.
The man moves silently as he eases his body onto the bed. He inches forward across the mattress and then straddles the blond with his hips, locking her in place until she is prone and pinned to the bed. Without opening her eyes, she smiles, thinking her lover has returned. She flicks her tongue across her lips and then opens her mouth expectantly.
“Shhh,” he whispers. “You pay now. We know what you did.”
The woman’s eyes fly open, and she tries to scream out her assailant’s name, but he cuffs one stubby hand across her mouth before she can utter a word. He lifts the razor from his pocket and begins to gently slide the unsharpened side of the blade down her stomach until it reaches the top of her public bone.
“Please!” she begs. “I’ll give you what you want.”
The razor stops short before it makes its final descent.
His breath is warm and steady against her ear. “How do you know what I want?”
“Money. I’ll give it to you.”
He pauses as though considering the request and flicks the dull side of the blade back and forth across her skin.
“God, please. You don’t want money then. Okay. Just tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you.”
He shakes his head and teases the sharp edge of the razor blade against her leg.
“Who is it?” he whispers as the razor makes a tiny, precise knick on the inside of her thigh, drawing a single drop of blood that trickles down her ivory skin like a crimson teardrop.
“The name. I’ll give you the name!” she pleads. “Sammy Biggs, the Butcher. He’s the one. I just found out, I swear. I didn’t betray you. He did. Now please! Let me go.”
The hired hand sighs deeply, as if savoring an indulgent pleasure, now finally satisfied. But not quite. Lessons must be learned and never forgotten. The man stuffs the scarf down the woman’s mouth to muffle the pain of her penance. It is engrained in his soul those who sin must atone. He clasps the razor blade between his thumb and middle finger and cuts the blonde’s left earlobe off in one clean slice.
“Hail Mary, full of grace,” he prays as he pulls out a locket from underneath his black T-shirt. He kisses a likeness of the face of the blessed Virgin Mary etched into the front of the gold necklace charm and stuffs his newly won keepsake from the blond into his pocket.
Chapter 2
Concrete, grey, cold, and quickly passing is the only thing Julia sees. The running started the previous summer when she was at the lake house, the place she mistakenly thought would be a sanctuary for her boys after the separation from her husband David.
The runs started as just one lap around the rocky coastal loop along Lake Huron. But when Julia migrated back to the Detroit suburbs for a second shot at her marriage, her runs progressed and three times a week turned into seven and the start times became earlier and earlier.
Five a.m. Julia conquers the stretch of her Rochester Hills comfortable suburban neighborhood within five minutes. She expands her perimeter to downtown and then all the way to the Auburn Hills border. Ten miles today. No negotiation.
Julia races through the darkness just starting to break and ignores everything she passes, the funky downtown stores, the tidy homes with daily papers waiting on the icy driveway blacktops and the Assembly of God church with its bulletin board warning “Sin: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.”
None of the scenery matters. The steady rhythm of her sneakers pounding against the concrete pushes Julia forward, getting her closer to some invisible finish line as she race her one constant opponent: herself.
Spring officially arrived in Michigan a week prior, but the depressing mounds of frozen grey snow from another cruel Midwestern winter obviously didn’t get the memo. Julia pushes herself harder and starts to sprint as she passes her oldest son Logan’s middle school, her half-mile mark to home, and breathes in deeply. The cold air stings as it goes down, but it’s worth it. Julia is certain she can smell the beginnings of the ground starting its impatient thaw and the bulbs, in a deep slumber since October, beginning to stir. Change is coming and she is ready for it.
A car drives by slowly, reaches the corner and then turns back around in her direction. Julia instinctively moves away from the curb and reaches down toward her waist pack. Instead of a water bottle, Julia packs protection, pepper spray and a folding knife with a three-inch blade. Paranoia always ran hard and deep after what happened to her brother when Julia was a little girl, compounded by twelve years covering the crime beat, not to mention a deranged religious fanatic who kidnapped her youngest son. For Julia, it all adds up to one thing: Trust no one.
The car slows to a crawl as it approaches a second time. A dark sedan, nondescript, probably a Ford model about five-years-old with tinted windows, Julia calculates as her hand sweeps inside her pack. She runs her fingers across the flat side of the knife’s blade as the car’s driver side window opens.
“Hey, Gooden, I thought that was you. If you’re going to jog in the dark, you better wear brighter colors or you’re going to get mowed down out here,” Detroit Police Detective Leroy Russell says. Julia recalls Russell lives somewhere in the Rochester Hills community, where his ex-wife is an assistant professor of journalism at Oakland University.
Julia finally exhales, her breath turning into a puff of white that disappears into the frigid late March morning. Now knowing she won’t have to engage in hand-to-hand combat, Julia fixes her gaze back on Russell whose trademark Mr. Clean buzz cut looks freshly-shaven. She feels the sting of adrenaline coursing through her body as the fear leaves her.
She begins to respond to Russell when the smell hits from the open car window. Julia makes out the distinct aroma of almost metabolized late-night, heavy drinking and Old Spice, the latter applied so liberally, it makes her eyes sting.
“How are you doing, Russell?” Julia asks. “Are you on the early shift?”
Russell reaches toward his glove compartment and extracts a green bottle of Excedrin which he pops open and then crushes four white tablets under his tongue.
“Retirement party last night for Sergeant Walter Shaw,” Russell explains. “I’m meeting Navarro for breakfast, so hopefully an order of scrambled eggs and home fries will soak it all up before a hangover hits.”
“You and Navarro are meeting up to discuss the Rossi trial,” Julia states, no question necessary. “I caught both your names on the prosecution’s witness list.”
“That’s right.”
Julia jogs in place without realizing it and strategizes how she can pump Russell for information for her story. The court part of the crime beat is her least favorite, despite the fact Julia is married to a lawyer. To her, courtrooms feel like tight little boxes where various versions of the truth run fast and loose amidst the big show, and the winner is often selected not by the culmination of the presented facts, but by which side puts on a better performance.
“I heard there’s going to be a surprise witness the prosecution is going to pull out at the last minute. Do you know anything about that? We can go off the record. You know I won’t burn you. I just need a name,” Julia pushes.
Russell reaches up and massages his right temple with his index finger.
“I don’t know,” he says. “Even if there is some last-minute witness, Judge Palmer probably won’t allow it if they aren’t on the list. Why are you asking anyway? You’ve got a much better source at home. You and David are back together, right?”
“We’re working on it. I can’t ask David though. It would be a conflict of interest. The D.A.’s office doesn’t want to get sued for leaking information to the press. Plus, David and I are pros. Neither of us would cross that line.”
“Come on. You can’t tell me you don’t pull some favors in the bedroom to get your husband to talk. Sex is a woman’s secret weapon. It always has been since the dawn of time. A sweet, firm ass has toppled many a mighty man. I’m more of a leg man, myself though,” Russell says as he gives Julia’s well-toned runner’s legs a nod of silent approval.
At thirty-seven, Julia has long mastered the fine art of the dodge and weave around unwanted advances. Unless the guy is completely out of line, Julia ignores the come-on like it never happened. The talent serves her well covering the cop beat, where egos and virility are often intertwined, enormous, and surprisingly fragile.
“Where are you and Navarro having breakfast?” she asks.
“Chanel’s in Greektown. You want to join us?”
Julia gives just a hint of a smile. Dodge and weave successful.
“Thanks for the invite. I’ll try.”
“All right, Gooden. Tell the assistant D.A. we’ll see him later. And be careful out here in the dark,” Russell answers and raps a red-chafed hand outside his driver side window before he disappears behind the tinted-glass.
Julia watches Russell’s car pull away and a small shiver runs down her back.
(Don’t ever take a ride from a stranger, Julia, or I swear, I’ll kick your butt).
The sudden childhood memory jolts her, and Julia starts to sprint as if she could race fast enough to outrun the passage of time and warn her younger self to lock the door the night her older brother Ben was taken.
Julia finally reaches home, nowhere left to run. She drops onto the front step, looks up at the first soft lights of dawn finally penetrating through night’s heavy cloak of darkness and chokes back a sob. She knows how to get through the pain. She always has. Julia pushes her emotions down deep and focuses on what she can control.
Her mind clicks off the pieces of the Rossi story she will have to assemble and file into some kind of compelling piece to run in the paper’s online edition before opening arguments. The facts will be the bones of her story: Nick Rossi’s illegal Detroit empire is believed to encompass hijacking and shipping stolen goods, mainly computers and electronics, illegal gambling and drug trafficking. Both the feds and the Detroit PD had been trying to nail him for years. Rossi finally got busted in a city police sting courtesy of hidden cameras placed in the VIP suites of the MGM Grand Hotel. Images on the tapes showed payoffs to the former Detroit mayor and a city councilman, in addition to drug trafficking and cash exchanges for high-stakes gambling bets.
Julia kicks at the frozen ground with the toe of her sneaker and assembles the color elements she will add as sidebars to the main article, the ones that will make the story real to the readers and ultimately make them care: the seventeen-year-old West Bloomfield high school track star who overdosed and died at a party after he graduated that night from ecstasy to heroin for the first and final time, courtesy of Rossi’s stash. Then there is the story of Rossi himself, only nine years old when he witnessed the rape and murder of his mother during a home invasion while the young Rossi bore silent witness as he hid inside a closet and watched the horror unfold through a crack in the door. Since Rossi’s dad had taken off before his son was born, the young Rossi moved in with his uncle, Salvatore Gallo, who ran a moderately successful dry cleaning business with a small bookie operation on the side. Julia and Salvatore Gallo have history, and Julia makes a mental note to herself to call Gallo before she gets to the courthouse to see if he’ll talk.
Julia’s cell phone buzzes inside her waist pack. She looks suspiciously at the phone. 6:15 a.m. Even as a reporter, no one calls that early unless it’s an emergency, and she knows David is still at the house with their boys, Logan and Will, who are sound asleep. She is about to hit the ignore button but stops at the last second when she recognizes the number. Gavin Boyles, the acting mayor’s chief of staff. The other piece of color she needs for the story.
“Gooden here. You’re lucky I’m up.”
“You told me you ran at dawn, so I figured I’d catch you before you got into the newsroom,” Boyles answers. “I checked online a few minutes ago, and I didn’t see your story posted yet.”
“It’ll be up later today. Do you have something for me?”
Boyles, a former TV news anchor before he became a flack, still has the oozing, ultra-smooth voice of a game show host. Julia met him ten years earlier at the scene of a major fire that obliterated a Detroit high-rise and eighteen of its residents who were trapped inside. Boyles showed up late and asked Julia if he could take a look at her notes and she could debrief him on the situation.
“Always working the story, that’s why you’re so good,” Boyles says.
“You’re too kind,” Julia answers and plays the pleasantry game while she waits for Boyles to cut through the bullshit.
“Are you including Mayor Anderson in the story?
“Acting Mayor Anderson?” Julia asks.
“Semantics. We’d prefer not to have Mayor Anderson’s name mentioned unless it pertains to how he is working tirelessly to turn the city around since former mayor Slidell’s indictment for his involvement in the Rossi case. If you write another story about how Slidell took bribes from Rossi to shut him up, you’re doing a disservice to the people of the city. Detroit has suffered enough, don’t you think? You could turn this into a positive story.”
“And how has Anderson turned the city around exactly?”
“Public perception. I want to share something with you. This is off the record for now, all right?”
“Of course,” Julia answers and wonders whether the call might not be a complete waste of her time after all.
“Mayor Anderson will be holding a press conference today announcing a strategic task force dedicated solely to promoting all things positive in Detroit, including a volunteer-driven beautification project to help improve blight. It was my idea. Detroit is trying to make its way back. The residents don’t need a rehashing of another corrupt city official story.”
“Politics isn’t my beat.”
“Neither is business, but your articles are hurting the casinos. Detroit got gutted after the auto industry crashed, and God knows we can’t afford to take any more hits. There’s a responsibility, a fine line, we journalists need to ethically tow.”
“I’m still a journalist. Last I checked, you weren’t.”
On the other end of the phone, Boyles blasts an obnoxious guffaw.
“Always blunt, aren’t you? The press conference is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on the steps of city hall. I assume you’ll be available since the trial will break for lunch. Mayor Anderson specifically asked for you to be there.”
“Thank you for the invitation. I’ll run this by my managing editor and let her decide who to send. You know how this works. It’s not my call.”
“Got it. I’ll call Margie myself and put in the request. I’m surprised the paper is letting you cover the story when your husband is prosecuting it. Good for you though. You won’t have to work as hard this time.”
Julia grits her teeth and forces herself to still play nice. She may need Boyles in the future.
“I always work hard.”
“I just meant…”
Julia cuts off Boyles before he can finish. “Thanks for the call and the heads up on the press conference.”
Julia gives her phone the finger, the sentiment she’d really like to give Boyles directly. Instead, she shuts her phone off and heads into the warmth of her house that hits her like a blowtorch. She strips off her North Face jacket and then peels off her running pants and nylon shirt that stick to her clammy skin. She frees her curly, dark brown hair from its ponytail and pads softly down the hall as not to wake the boys. Inside the office, she leans over the desk and begins to search for her competitor’s coverage of the Rossi trial. She pulls up the Detroit News website and feels a tug in her stomach. In addition to a big picture preview story on the case, Julia knows the Detroit News reporter is writing a sidebar profile on David as first chair for the prosecution and his likely run for D.A. next year, a promise David made to himself after he gave up a lucrative private practice partnership six months earlier to become a public servant. Still standing, Julia bends down closer to the desk and begins to search whether the Detroit News found out about the surprise witness, or worse, if they got the name before she did.
***
Excerpt from Duplicity by Jane Haseldine. Copyright © 2017 by Jane Haseldine. Reproduced with permission from Jane Haseldine. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

author
Jane Haseldine is a journalist, former crime reporter, columnist, newspaper editor, magazine writer, and deputy director of communications for a governor. Jane writes the Julia Gooden mystery series for Kensington Publishing.

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Dead Storage (A Maggie McDonald Mystery #3) by Mary Feliz

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Book Information
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Maggie McDonald Mysteries (Third in series)
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Lyrical Underground (July 4, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601836686
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601836687

Synopsis: As a professional organizer, Maggie McDonald brings order to messy situations. But when a good friend becomes a murder suspect, surviving the chaos is one tall task . . . 

Despite a looming deadline, Maggie thinks she has what it takes to help friends Jason and Stephen unclutter their large Victorian in time for its scheduled renovation. But before she can fill a single bin with unused junk, Jason leaves for Texas on an emergency business trip, Stephen’s injured mastiff limps home—and Stephen himself lands in jail for murder. Someone killed the owner of a local Chinese restaurant and stuffed him in the freezer. Stephen, caught at the crime scene covered in blood, is the number one suspect. Now Maggie must devise a strategy to sort through secrets and set him free—before she’s tossed into permanent storage next . . .


Review: 

Maggie is a fascinating, enjoyable character who would make a great friend to have if she were a real person. She likes to keep things organized and ordered and could teach me a lot. :)

All of the characters are well-developed, and you can see growth in the core group from the first book. I look forward to seeing the friendships grow and evolve in future stories. The various settings are described so vividly that you feel as if you are right there with the characters.

The mystery kept me guessing through the entire book...I was blaming the wrong person for about 80% of the story!

**I received a copy of this book with no expectation of a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**
 

Rating: Four stars

About the author
 photo 14904553_zpsl1apg9gl.jpg Mary Feliz has lived in five states and two countries but calls Silicon Valley home. Traveling to other areas of the United States, she’s frequently reminded that what seems normal in the high-tech heartland can seem decidedly odd to the rest of the country. A big fan of irony, serendipity, diversity, and quirky intelligence tempered with gentle humor, Mary strives to bring these elements into her writing, although her characters tend to take these elements to a whole new level. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and National Association of Professional Organizers. Mary is a Smith College graduate with a degree in Sociology. She lives in Northern California with her husband, near the homes of their two adult offspring. Visit Mary online at MaryFeliz.com, or follow her on Twitter @MaryFelizAuthor.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Just Three Dates by David Burnett


Book Information
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 14, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1544202342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1544202341



























NEW RELEASE...
When their mothers become matchmakers, entangling them in a series of dates with each other, Karen and Mark must each decide whether to entertain the idea of a “marriage of convenience,” or to hold out for an increasingly unlikely marriage based on love. 

Since breaking with her last boyfriend, Karen has refused to trust any man her age. For the past three years, she has not dated the same one twice, and only one in ten has received even a goodnight kiss as she turned him away. Karen is an artist. She follows her feelings, lives in a cluttered loft, and gushes over vivid sunsets.

Mark still dreams about his almost-fiancée, and his date book has been empty since he threw her out a week before he’d planned to ask for her hand. His friends call him the “Ice Man,” since he seldom smiles, especially at a woman. A math professor at the College, logic guides his behavior, he loves order, and an elegant proof is a thing of beauty.

Both Karen and Mark have all but abandoned hope of ever falling in love, and, left on their own, these opposites would never attract. So, their mothers become matchmakers, entangling them in a series of dates by extracting promises that Karen and Mark will go out together three times, suggesting that, in the absence of love, a “marriage of convenience” is a live option.

If you enjoy heartwarming stories based on true-to-life behaviors, with complicated relationships and a less-than-certain outcome, this book is for you.

Available to buy from....
Amazon    Barnes and Noble   Paperback


Review:  This is the fifth book I've read by this author, and I absolutely LOVE his work! His romantic stories, like this one, are so realistic, you feel as if you know the people, and find yourself hoping everything works out for the best for them. 

Mark and Karen have mothers who are friends and who are determined to get their children married off to an "appropriate" spouse, so they take it upon themselves to fix the two of them up and insist they go on three dates with each other. Not only do we get to go along on the dates, we also get each character's perspective on the dates, as well as their actions and emotions between dates. There is a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding, and at times you will want to knock some sense into both of them. There is also quite a bit of humor, and you may even find yourself laughing aloud as you read.

Will Mark and Karen have more than three dates, or will they be glad to be rid of one another? You'll have to read the book to find out!

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

Rating:  Five stars

Other books by the author...  
About the author
David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston.

David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, a Native American powwow, and his grandson, Jack. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen. In The Reunion, Michael's journey through England and Scotland allows him to sketch many places they have visited.

David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.

Find the author on the following sites...


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Monday, July 3, 2017

Literary Escapes Challenge--June Update

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Challenge – Try to read 1 book set in each of the 50 states + the District of Columbia. (51 Points). If you complete the challenge you earn 50 Bonus Points. You also can earn Bonus Points for books set in Countries around the world. 1 Bonus Point for each country. (No repeats – only 1 point can be earned for each country.) Your books can be fiction or non-fiction and can be in any format, print, digital, audio. 


Alabama--
Alaska--
Arizona--
Arkansas--Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women Of Little Rock by David Margolick
California--Scheduled To Death by Mary Feliz
Colorado--Fatality By Firelight by Lynn Cahoon
Connecticut--Pick Your Potion by C.C. Dragon
Delaware--
District of Columbia--Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich
Florida--Child's Play by Merry Jones
Georgia--15 Minutes by Larissa Reinhart
Hawaii--Murder At Turtle Cove by Kathi Daley
Idaho--
Illinois--Life After by Katie Ganshert

Indiana--When The Grits Hit The Fan by Maddie Day
Iowa--
Kansas--Brake Failure by Alison Brodie
Kentucky--A Ghostly Mortality by Tonya Kappes
Louisiana--A Fatal Romance by June Shaw
Maine--Telling Tails by Sofie Ryan
Maryland--Courtyard Corpse by Sherry Lodge
Massachusetts--The Witch And The Dead by Heather Blake
Michigan--My Perfect Imperfections by Jalpa Williby
Minnesota--
Mississippi--
Missouri--
Montana--
Nebraska--
Nevada--
New Hampshire--It's Always The Husband by Michele Campbell
New Jersey--
New Mexico--
New York--
North Carolina--Purr M For Murder by T.C. LoTempio
North Dakota--
Ohio--Ill Will by Dan Chaon
Oklahoma
Oregon--The Shadow by Kathi Daley
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina--What She Inherits by Diane V. Mulligan
South Dakota
Tennessee--The Big Overnight by Libby Kirsch
Texas--Say Goodbye For Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Utah
Vermont--The Sleepwalker by Chris 
Virginia
Washington--A Winter's Tail by Kathi Daley
West Virginia
Wisconsin--Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What "Making a Murderer" Gets Wrong by Ken Kratz
Wyoming


International Settings

Canada--Holiday Hangover by Kathi Daley
Italy--A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay
Greece--Evanthia's Gift by Effie Kammenou
France--Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Egypt--Exodus 95 by Kfir Luzzatto
England--I Found You by Lisa Jewell

BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: My Brother Is Special: A Cerebral Palsy Story by Murray Stenton


Book Information
  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 2
  • Paperback: 39 pages
  • Publisher: Loving Healing Press (December 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615993096
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615993093



















My Brother Is Special: A Cerebral Palsy Story by Murray Stenton

Ethan is a big brother like no other!

Life with a special need child has its fair share of challenges. These challenges are not only for the parents but extend to those other wonderful little children, the siblings. This book helps shine some light on the difficulties and the job siblings special needs children experience every day. It is a light-hearted take of one little boy's thoughts of his big brother Ethan, who was born with Cerebral Palsy.

Available to buy from....

From Loving Healing Press http://www.lhpress.com/

"As a mother, and advocate for, special needs children, I highly recommend this book as a learning tool for others. I gave my child a voice, as this author is doing for his, and I applaud him for it." -- Chynna Laird, author of I'm Not Weird, I Have Sensory Processing Disorder and Not Just Spirited

"Engaging and lighthearted, My Brother is Special captures what children with cerebral palsy and their families may experience. The characters are loveable and entertaining. Children will enjoy this book and relate to their experiences" -- Jill Osborne, EDS, LPC, CPC, RPTS, author of Sam Feels Better Now

Review:   This is a superb story. It tells readers about two brothers, the older of whom has Cerebral Palsy. It would be fitting for any family where one sibling has a condition which makes them "different," however. It is also good just to teach children that not everyone is the same.
The book is written in rhyming text, and is very easy to read. The illustrations are bright and colorful to hold a young child's attention. 

I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

Rating:



About the author
From an early age, Murray was artistic. His favorite pastime was and still is doodling cute and fun little characters. As Murray entered the working world he utilized his natural creative talent in his graphic design profession. Illustrating being his true love, Murray started looking for freelance illustration work. Murray had no idea that answering a Kijiji ad would help his long time ambitions come to life. A well-known children’s book author and disability advocate, Jewel Kats gave him a shot at illustrating one of her children’s books. That experience gave Murray the courage to pursue other illustration contracts. Murray had an instant connection to Jewel, through the world of physical disability. Murray’s oldest son Ethan had a stroke at birth causing CP and other life altering conditions. With his new found courage and through the help of Victor R. Volkman and Loving Healing Press Murray brings this wonderful story to children everywhere. Murray’s hope is those siblings of children with disabilities will know they too are not alone.

Find the author on the following sites...


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