Saturday, October 31, 2015

SPOOKY SPOTLIGHT: The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

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  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (August 4, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0147516366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0147516367

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Synopsis: In today’s “lean in” era, debut novelist Siobhan Adcock casts the issue of whether women can ever “have it all” into a superbly written novel that will have readers everywhere talking. Bridget has given up her career to raise her daughter, but now a terrifying presence has entered their Texas home—and only Bridget can feel it. In 1902, motherhood spurs Rebecca to turn her back on her husband, despite her own misgivings. As Adcock crosscuts these two women’s stories with mounting tension, each arrives at a terrible ordeal of her own making.

About the author
 photo CEF2B586-8575-4C2A-B36C-0627D09D6013_zpsvmrbbiqg.png Siobhan Adcock received her MFA in fiction from Cornell University, and her short fiction has appeared in several literary magazines. She has worked as a writer and editor for Epicurious,,, and The Knowm among other digital publishers. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

A RELUCTANT BRIDE (Amish of Birch Creek #1) by Kathleen Fuller

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Synopsis: She never wanted to marry. He hopes to make amends for past wrongs. Can love find a way to heal both of their hearts?

Sadie Schrock swore she would never marry. All of her other Amish friends could court and marry she was content to manage the family business and eventually take it over when her parents are ready to retire. But all of that changes when a reckless driver kills both of her parents and seriously injures her younger sister. With mounting hospital bills adding to the pile of debt her parents left behind, Sadie is left with no choice: she must marry. And not just any man the man who saw her at her weakest and walked away.

Aden knows what his brother did to Sadie years ago was inexcusable. And every day since that incident, Aden has lived with the guilt for not intervening sooner. When he is faced with the chance to protect Sadie once again, he can t let her down even if it means living with the scorn of the woman he loves for the rest of his life.

Working alongside Aden at the store, Sadie realizes he isn t the same boy who once betrayed her. Just when Sadie starts to let her guard down and perhaps develop feelings for her new husband, dangerous secrets are revealed. Now everything Sadie has worked so hard to protect is threatened, and she must find a way to save her family and herself.

Review: A very emotion-filled story of abuse, loss, arranged marriage, and secrets. There are some characters who are presented in a very unflattering light. Fortunately, at least one of them is able to see the error of his ways and to ask for forgiveness. 

Watching Sadie and Aden try to get along with one another after Aden's father forces their marriage, and seeing them get to know who each other really are (rather than the person they presumed they knew), is in turns heartbreaking and encouraging. 

There are several plot lines throughout this book, all of which tie together in an amazing climax scene. 

I look forward to getting to know this Amish community even better in future installments of this series.

I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Rating: Five stars

About the author
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Kathleen is the best-selling author of over thirty books, including the Hearts of Middlefield Series and the A Middlefield Family Series. She lives with her husband and three children in Northeast Ohio. Kathleen loves to hear from readers.

Friday, October 30, 2015

BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Flipped For Murder (Country Store Mysteries #1) by Maddie Day

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Book Information

New Cozy Series

• Series: Country Store Mysteries

• Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
• Publisher: Kensington (October 27, 2015)
• ISBN-13: 978-161773925

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Synopsis: In this freshly baked series, author Maddie Day lifts the lid on a small town in southern Indiana, where a newcomer is cooking up a new start–until a murderer muddles the recipe…
Nursing a broken heart, Robbie Jordan is trading in her life on the West Coast for the rolling hills of southern Indiana. After paying a visit to her Aunt Adele, she fell in love with the tiny town of South Lick. And when she spots a For Sale sign on a rundown country store, she decides to snap it up and put her skills as a cook and a carpenter to use. Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of Pans ‘n Pancakes, but when the mayor’s disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she’ll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town’s darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer–before she’s the next to die.
Review: A fun new series from an author whose other work I have enjoyed in the past.  The location is perfectly described and very quaint (and I think it's the first cozy series I've read that takes place in Indiana!), the characters are charming and engaging, and the entire experience is fun.

I loved the way the main character makes her mother, who is deceased, a major part of the story. She thinks about/talks about her often, as does her aunt. It's just the sort of thing you would expect in real life.

There are so many great characters in this book that I know there are going to be a lot of adventures to come for Robbie.  And there's romance brewing, too!

The murder mystery was very well developed, and kept me guessing to the very end. I have to say, though, that even in the short time we "saw" Stella alive in the beginning of the book, I was not surprised or even sad to find out she was the victim.  :)   

I can hardly wait for my next visit to Pans 'n' Pancakes!
Rating: Four stars
About the author
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MADDIE DAY (aka: Edith Maxwell) is a former farmer of a certified organic farm, holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics, and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies Stone Cold, Fish Nets, Burning Bridges, Thin Ice, Riptide, and The Larcom Review. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts, where she’s currently working on her next Maddie Day mystery when she isn’t out gardening.
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Thursday, October 29, 2015

BOOK BLAST AND GIVEAWAY:A Stitch To Die For (Anastasia Pollack #5) by Lois Winston

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A Stitch to Die For by Lois Winston


A Stitch to Die For-ebook
A Stitch to Die For (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) (Volume 5)
5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Lois Winston (July 7, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1940795300



Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.

About The Author –

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Visit Lois/Emma at; and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog,;.  Follow everyone on Tsu at;, on Pinterest at;, and onTwitter at;.  Sign up for her newsletter at;

Author Links 
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October 29
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October 31

BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Dangerously Dark (A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery #2) by Colette London

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Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (September 29, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617733475
E-Book ASIN: B00RRT323O

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Synopsis: Chocolate-whisperer Hayden Mundy Moore has just arrived in Portland, Oregon, where she’s about to scarf soufflés and sip cacao-based cocktails at her friend’s engagement party. Fresh from nabbing her first candy-covered killer, the last thing Hayden wants to do is mix her love of chocolate with criminal mischief again. But then the groom-to-be turns up dead before beginning his renowned Chocolate-After-Dark tour. . .
Hayden’s friends insist that Declan’s death was a freak accident, but she knows there’s no mistaking the bitter aftertaste of homicide. In the midst of habañero hot chocolate and mocha-chunk gelato, a choco-crazed killer waits to strike again. Hayden will need to use more than her extraordinarily gifted taste buds to bring this murderer to justice, but she just might have bitten off more than she can chew in the process.
Review: This is the sequel to Criminal Confections, which I just recently read and enjoyed. Once again, there is a lot of discussion about chocolate, which was the hook that got me started on this series. However, there were a few issues I found with this story.

Hayden is a bit flighty and impulsive, and I do hope that she will begin to grow and mature as the series continues. I spent basically the first third of the book wondering if there even was a murder, as everyone else seemed content to believe Declan's death was a tragic accident.

The story did pick up a bit after that point, however. We learn that Declan might not have been who he seemed, and that several people had reasons to want him dead. Once again, Hayden finds herself in danger while she tries to get to the truth.

So far, my favorite character in this series is the mysterious Travis Turner, Hayden's financial advisor. She's never met him, only talked to him on the phone, and he stays aloof and mysterious in his interactions with her. I hope we get to know him better as the series goes on.

Looking forward to book 3, to see where Hayden goes next, and whether or not the character begins to evolve.
Rating: Four stars
About the author
Colette London is the pseudonym of a best-selling novelist who’s published more than three dozen books worldwide.
Twitter: @Colette__London
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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Animals Have Feelings Too by Karen Lee Stevens

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Title: Animals Have Feelings, Too!: Exploring Emotions From A to Z
Author: Karen Lee Stevens
Publisher: All for Animals
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s Picture Book

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Synopsis: Filled with humor and whimsical illustrations, this enchanting and educational A to Z guide takes young readers on a journey through the alphabet with a lovable Labrador retriever named Sandy, who shows kids that animals and people share many of the same feelings. From A is for Affectionate to Z is for Zonked, Animals Have Feelings, Too! helps children to understand and express their feelings and to treat animals with kindness and respect.

For More Information

  • Animals Have Feelings, Too!: Exploring Emotions From A to Z is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Review: This is a great book to introduce young children to a variety of words for emotions. Using animal in the illustrations and in the sentences that use each emotion, as well as giving a simple definition for each one, makes them relatable for children. From affectionate to zonked, and 24 emotions in between, Sandy the yellow Lab and his feline friend Willow do a wonderful job of sharing their feelings, which gives youngsters a chance to talk about situations where THEY might experience that emotion.

The illustrations are simple so that they don't overwhelm the young reader. I would recommend it for parents, teachers, or anyone with a youngster in their life.

Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Rating: Five stars

About the author
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Karen Lee Stevens is the founder and president of All for Animals, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a compassionate world for animals and children through humane education and literacy programs that nurture the human-animal bond.
Karen is also an author and a Certified Humane Educator who, for the past 14 years, has given presentations to thousands of elementary school children and has helped them learn how to treat animals with love and respect.
In February, 2013, Karen launched ARF! (Animals + Reading = Fun!), a unique literacy program that gives children from all walks of life an opportunity to improve their reading skills and inspire them to become life-long readers by reading aloud to specially trained therapy dogs.
Her latest children’s picture book is Animals Have Feelings, Too!: Exploring Emotions From A to Z.
For More Information

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Conflict Of Interest by Teresa Michaels

Conflict of Interest
by Teresa Michaels
Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations


Ambitious and insightful, Gabby DiVergilio only has one thing standing in the way of her climbing the corporate ladder: her new business partner, Lucas McCarthy. He's arrogant and dismissive, driving her mad with his sexy Irish accent in every possible way.

Recently promoted to the executive ranks, Lucas must prove that he’s the right man for the job. He never expected that the HR professional he’d be forced to work with on a daily basis would be gorgeous, challenging and smart as hell. He’s not the type to accept help from anyone, especially not a bubbly, policy-enforcer that he’d rather bend over his desk. Never one to lose focus, Lucas avoids Gabby at all costs until circumventing her becomes career suicide.

Fraternizing in the workplace is strictly prohibited and neither one of them are willing to break the rules. But with their undeniable chemistry about to ignite, Lucas and Gabby must decide which consequence is worse – combusting from sexual frustration or violating company policy.

Meet the Author

Teresa Michaels lives in the New England area with her husband and children.  Curveball is her debut novel.
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BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Diner Knock Out (Rose Strickland Mystery #4) by Terri L. Austen

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Book Information

Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Henery Press (October 20, 2015)

Paperback: 302 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1943390090
E-Book ASIN: B012B59QM4

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Synopsis: Rose Strickland's life is complicated. Besides her waitressing gig, she works part-time for Andre Thomas, a PI with no faith in Rose's ability to investigate, her love life with Sullivan has stalled, and her BFF, Roxy, has found a new bestie, leaving Rose out in the cold.

Determined to prove herself, Rose takes a case on the sly. As she searches for a missing MMA fighter, Rose discovers an illegal fight club, a group of ruthless businessmen, dead bodies, and a trail of drugs.

Hunting down clues that lead too close to home, Rose finds herself in the fight of her life. Can she beat the killer to the punch before she gets knocked out for good?

Books in the Rose Strickland Humorous Mystery Series:


Review: This is my first foray into the Rose Strickland series, but I don't think that it will be my last. Not only Rose, but also the supporting characters who surround her as this story plays out, are so much fun to get to know.  Roxy and Sugar are hilarious, as is Ma Ferguson. 

The mystery is very well developed, leaving the reader guessing at the identity of the murderer throughout the book. The characters are realistically written and believable. When Rose gets jealous of Roxy's budding friendship with Sugar, which is cutting into the time Roxy and Rose spend together, the reader can feel her pain.

I would definitely recommend this book, and the series, for anyone looking for a quick, enjoyable read.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**

Rating: Four stars

About the author
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As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she’d outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she’s made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers. Drop her a note at
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Monday, October 26, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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What I read last week:
1) Faux Paw by Sofie Kelly
2) Guaranteed To Bleed by Julie Mulhern
3) Those Children Are Ours by David Burnett
4) Diner Knock Out by Terri Austen
5) Killer Retreat by Tracy Webber
6) Dangerously Dark by Colette London
7) Flipped For Murder by Maddie Day
8) A Reluctant Bride by Kathleen Fuller

What I listened to last week:
1) Forgiven

What I'm currently reading:
1) Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon
2) Mrs. Covington's Sunday School Dropouts

What I'm currently listening to:
1)  You Are The Love Of My Life

What I plan to read this week:
1) Rust by Corbin Bernson
2) The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
3) Bone Box by Jay Amberg
4) Auditory Viewpoint by Lillian R. Melendez
5) Love In The Time Of Murder by D.E. Haggerty
6) Empty Nest by Marty Wingate
7) Look Both Ways by Carol J. Perry

What I plan to listen to this week:
1)  Undecided

BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Those Children Are Ours by David Burnett

Jennie Bateman screamed at her daughters, cursed at her husband, packed a bag, and walked away. Twelve years later, she petitions the family court for visitation with her daughters, Alexis and Christa.

Her attorney tells Jennie that, ordinarily, she could not imagine that some type of visitation would not be granted. But, she warns, the situation is hardly ordinary. True, Jennie suffered from a bipolar disorder when she began to drink heavily, abandoned her family, and moved in with another man. True, she has turned her life around: leaving her boyfriend, returning to school, entering therapy, taking medication, finding a job, and joining a church.

But she pressed no claim for her children when her husband divorced her, and she has made no attempt to contact them in any way since then. Her daughters, now sixteen and fourteen, live four hundred miles away. They have busy lives that do not include her, lives that will be totally disrupted by the visitation that she requests. Their father is engaged to be married to a woman who has taken the role of their mother for a decade. Alexis remembers nothing good about Jennie. Christa recalls nothing at all.

Conflict ensues as soon as Jennie’s petition is served: her former husband does not want to share his children with the woman who deserted him; her children have no interest in knowing the mother who abandoned them, and her father insists that she is being timid and ought to demand full custody, not simply visitation.

As court convenes, Jennie’s past is dredged up− the desertion, the men, her drinking, her mental health − and paraded before the judge. Her claim to be a different person, now, is attacked. The judge hesitates to grant Jennie’s request, but reluctantly agrees to order three trial visits.

If persuading the judge to let her see her children was difficult, convincing them to allow her to be a part of their lives seems to be almost impossible. What happens as she finally begins to connect with her daughters places them all in grave danger and threatens her life, itself.

Available to buy from....   Barnes and Noble   Printed Books

Review: This is the second book I've read by this author, and once again his writing has touched my heart and soul. To Fall In Love Again was about a couple in my age group finding love, which resonated with me in so many instances. Those Children Are Ours is also about mature adults, but in a very different circumstance.

There were so many levels to this story, and the author managed to make them all realistic, and make all the pieces fit together just right. We have a mother who is a recovering alcoholic, as well as dealing with mental health issues; a father who has had to raise two young girls for more than a decade; the two girls who each deal with their mother's return in very different ways; the father's fiance, who has been the only mother the girls really know; the maternal grandfather who is about as chauvinistic and backward-thinking as you can get, and a host of other family members and friends.

I hated that Thomas and his attorney were able to use Jennie's past against her, when she had worked so hard to get past it, but I also know that is how the system works. The interactions between Jennie and her daughters were extremely realistic--at times I could see my own daughters in their conversations.

The climax of the story was VERY emotional, and my heart was racing, wondering how it was going to be resolved. The last four pages were a bit of a surprise, but definitely a happy one.

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

Rating: Five stars

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.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY: Guaranteed To Bleed (The Country Club Murders #2) by Julie Mulhern

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Guaranteed to Bleed
The Country Club Murders #2
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (October 13, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1943390052

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With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”
Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way.
Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly-rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased.
Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby and elude the killer—all before her next charity gala committee meeting.
Review: Since I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, The Deep End, I was looking forward to the chance to read this one as well. I was definitely not disappointed!

The story begins with Ellison stumbling across a nearly dead body and promising to fulfill his dying request. Unfortunately, Ellison has no idea who the mysterious "her" is in his request to "Tell her I love her." In the process of trying to find the right girl, Ellison begins to discover possible reasons for the murder. We learn a lot of secrets about people in town---some that I would rather have NOT known, to be honest.

This book also introduces us to Detective Jones, who has obvious feelings for Ellison. I look forward to seeing that relationship develop in future installments.

The plot was very well developed. I managed to figure out who the mystery girl was before she was revealed, but I was totally confused at to the killer until very close to the end.  Now I can hardly wait for Ellison's next adventure!
Rating:  Four stars
About the author
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Julie Mulhern is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is—she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

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