Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bed & Breakfast & Murder-Book Spotlight

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Patti Larsen Books (January 28, 2017)
Print Length: 189 pages
ASIN: B01N6W3JKN
Synopsis..
A Poo Poo Kind of Morning
I tried not to look down the mouth of hell staring back at me from inside the glaringly pristine outer ceramic shell of the white throne, my throat catching, stomach doing half flips and a rather impressive rollover routine that would have gotten at least a 9.5 even from the Russian judges. Instead, I forced myself to smile and swallow and remind myself the elbow length yellow rubber gloves grasping the handle of the standard issue plunger were all that stood between me and Pooageddon.
Suck it up, Fee. Big girl panties and adulting and all that.
“At what point,” I waved the dripping plunger, wincing as droplets of yuck flew, “did I think owning a bed and breakfast was going to be glamorous and romantic?”
Fiona Fleming hasn’t lived in Reading, Vermont in over a decade, her escape from small town living leading her to New York City and a life of adventure. An adventure that has left her with no career, an ex who cheated on her and zero plans for the future. Her grandmother’s death grants her a new chance–inheriting Petunia’s, Iris Fleming’s bed and breakfast, seems like the ideal fresh start. But when Fee finds out ownership of the property Iris willed her might be in question, she’s drawn into the seedy underbelly of the cutest town in America after being singled out as the main suspect in a murder.


Click Here to visit the tour and read additional reviews

Monday, April 24, 2017

Murder Is No Accident by A.H. Gabhart

Cover Art

About the book (provided by 
One body may be an accident. A second body means murder.
The old Chandler place should be empty. The magnificent Victorian mansion is for sale, even if its aged owner Miss Fonda doesn't realize it. But when real estate agent Geraldine Harper enters the house on a sunny October day, she's not alone. Minutes later, there is a body at the bottom of the steep steps leading to the tower room.

Deputy sheriff Michael Keane is called in. At first blush, it looks like the death was a tragic accident, but clues point to foul play. And when a second body is discovered, the race is on to find the culprit . . . before someone else dies.

If you like your small-town America sweet and quirky--with a dash of sinister--you'll love this latest whodunit from deft storyteller A. H. Gabhart.
And I thought
Another great story in Hidden Springs!  I enjoyed meeting Deputy Sheriff Michael, his aunt Malinda high school math teacher, Reese the next door neighbor; Betty Jean the 'Jill' of all trades at the police station.  And Michael's love interest Alex.  I wasn't fond of Alex. Who kept Michael at arms length.
A few new characters joined the party in  Miss Fonda the owner of the mansion, Maggie Green who ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time,Anthony the older boy from the church group who is interested in Maggie.  And a few others
Miss Fonda's nephew  who wants to sell the mansion.  A couple of newcomers to town who've opened new businesses that seemed to have some hidden agenda's.  Are they suspects?
As Michael looks for clue's things get murky and twisty turny.
All while Michael is trying to establish a permanent relationship with Alex who's come back to town because he uncle Reese has a mild stroke.  

Murder Is No Accident is indeed a page turner and gets
my 5 star rating.  

I enjoyed Murder Is No Accident and Murder Comes in The Mail.   I look forward to returning to Hidden Springs. 

I received a complimentary copy from Revell books.
This review will appear on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, 
Good Reads and My Journey Back.

Available
About the series

Murder at the Courthouse (The Hidden Springs Mysteries Book #1): A Hidden Springs Mystery by [Gabhart, A. H.]     Murder Comes by Mail (The Hidden Springs Mysteries Book #2): A Hidden Springs Mystery by [Gabhart, A. H.]

Unsinkable Faith--Book Review

Unsinkable Faith

About (provided by Litfuse)
Unsinkable Faith: God-Filled Strategies to Transform the Way You Think, Feel, and Live (David C. Cook, April 2017)
For many people, remaining optimistic and feeling positive about themselves and their lives is a constant battle — especially when circumstances are difficult and life is hard.
For others, negativity is something that only sneaks up from time to time, yet still wreaks havoc in their hearts. Regardless of the root causes, once pessimistic thoughts permeate our minds, our feelings and emotions begin to control us instead of us controlling them. Eventually it doesn’t seem possible to stay positive, happy, and full of joy, and negative thought patterns shake our faith, causing us to sink emotionally, mentally, and spiritually over time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Despite what storms roll in, hearts anchored in God don’t sink. When we change the way we think, we can change the way we feel and live, even if our circumstances remain the same. Intentionally embracing the opportunity to experience a transformed heart and a renewed mind opens the door for a changed life, because a positive mind will always lead to a more positive life.
In Unsinkable Faith, author and Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Tracie Miles offers hope for women who struggle with negativity. Each chapter explores Tracie’s and other women’s personal stories, showing how they rose above their circumstances by transforming and renewing their minds. Unsinkable Faith is a breath of fresh air for anyone longing for a heart full of joy, an unbreakable smile, and a new, more optimistic perspective on life. This book will equip you to:
—Replace pessimism with positive thinking by becoming the captain of your thoughts;
—Learn how true joy and happiness are based on choice, not circumstances;
—Overcome unhealthy habits of negative thinking by intentionally implementing three easy mind-renewing steps;
—Stop feeling hopeless and pitiful, and start feeling hope-filled and powerful instead; and
—Discover that when you change the way you think, you change the way feel, and in turn you can change your life completely.
And I thought
What a great book for all believers.  We all struggle with things that bring us down. 
Tracie Mils shares stories and insight to help you keep your 
'hearts anchored in God don't sink'
This is a delightful and easy read. 
I loved the Mind-renewing verses at the end of the chapters. 
The book is filled with personal stories that help women 
strengthen their faith.


Available on the authors website. Click Here

This review will post on retail sites where available.
I received a complimentary copy from Litfuse.
Visit litfuse for more reviews.  Click here

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Spotlight-Think Again by Jared Mellinger


About the book (provided by Litfuse)

by Jared Mellinger  
Christian Living
New Growth

Evaluating yourself---being mindful of who you are and what you are doing---is necessary and can lead to positive change. But what about the dark side of introspection? Do you ever feel weighed down and exhausted by your own self-analysis? Perhaps you made a mistake, said a careless word, or even messed up big time. Your self-examination spirals into a full-blown cross-examination. You keep revisiting what happened. Your mind circles around the event, fruitlessly trying to somehow make the outcome different so you don't feel the embarrassment, shame, and regret.

The modern self-esteem movement has left us empty and self-focused. We exhaust our healthy introspection and pervert it into constant self-evaluation, wrong views of ourselves, self-accusation, and false guilt. Introspection was never meant to bear such weight.

Think Again offers real relief from the burden of introspection that so many of us carry each day. Pastor Jared Mellinger, who tends to overdose on self-analysis himself, shows us how the hope of the gospel can rescue us from the bad fruit of unsound introspection. Mellinger's short, story-filled chapters help readers identify and turn away from unhealthy introspection.

There is an outward-focused God who delights to rescue an inward-focused people and lead them into a better way to live. When we truly understand it, we'll see that the gospel actually sets us free from thinking about ourselves too much. 

Available:
New Growth Press

About the author 
Jared Mellinger
Jared Mellinger joined the Covenant Fellowship Church pastoral team in 2006, upon graduating from Pastors College of Sovereign Grace Churches. He became senior pastor in 2008. Jared graduated from Kutztown University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. He enjoys reading, rollerblading, poetry, drinking coffee, building fires, and listening to Josh Garrels. Jared is the author of Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection. He resides in Glen Mills, PA with his wife Meghan and their six children.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Guest Post Author-Elena Hartwell

My review with Giveaway is at My Journey Back Click Here

elenahartwellheadshotb

The Life of a Novelist, When it Rains it Pours by Elena Hartwell

To say it has rained a lot in Western Washington this year is an understatement. It’s the first week of April and the rain gauge at my house in North Bend shows just under twenty-seven inches since the start of the year. That’s a lot of water. When it rains, it pours.

Did you know the original expression, “it never rains but it pours,” was from England and considered negative? It meant bad things happen in clumps. But then in 1911, the Morton Salt Company came up with a solution to salt clumping together from any amount of moisture in the air by making finer grains and adding a small amount of an anti-clumping agent. Their clever ad team came up with, “when it rains, it pours” – meaning even when the rain is coming down, our salt still pours. That’s why the little girl on the label stands in the rain under an umbrella. It became a positive expression in the US.

Yet here we are over one hundred years later and most people consider the expression negative again, even in the United States.

Personally, I’ve always thought it was contextual. Sometimes good things happen all at once and sometimes bad.

Writing is a lot like that expression. When it rains, it pours, sometimes in a good way, some times not so much.

As a playwright, a single play of mine would get produced at different theaters with different outcomes. One production might earn stellar reviews, while another got bashed by the local press. I’d be touted as a brilliant voice in theater in one state and read, “don’t quit your day job” in another.

When it rains, it pours.

As a novelist, I’ve had very good reviews for my first novel. One Dead, Two to Go garnered several four- and five-star reviews on Amazon and some fantastic reviews on blogs and magazines. Two Heads are Deader Than One started out with two five-star reviews before it officially launched on April 15.

In a very short space of time, One Dead was nominated for a Foreword INDIE award for best mystery of 2016 and Two Heads was picked up by Harlequin for inclusion in their Worldwide Mystery Series. This means they will reprint the original Camel Press publication and that reprint will go out to Harlequin subscribers and be available on their website.

When it rains it pours.

The writing process can feel a lot like a long, wet winter. For the most part, I love writing. I enjoy sitting down at my computer and working on my latest draft. My characters entertain me. I discover interesting new things in my plot. I also love the research aspects. I get to meet with amazing experts, who provide me with details of careers and areas of life I’ve always been curious about. Working with my beta readers gives me insights into my own work, great ideas to take into rewrites, and inspiration for reaching the finish line.

But some days, I just wish the sun would come out. One more round of notes feels like a slog. I wake up and think, I’m ready to work on the next book, why isn’t this manuscript finished? And I look out the window and it’s raining again.

When it rains, it pours.

I’m often asked how long it took to get my first book published. The answer depends on where you want to start measuring. The short answer is I pitched One Dead, Two to Go to one publisher, they picked it up a month later, and in a year and a half it was on the shelf. The more complicated answer is I started writing my first novel in 2007 and three manuscripts, hundreds of rewrites, and several rejections later, my first novel was published April 15, 2016. Nine years later. The most complicated answer is I started writing when I was about four. I even hand stitched a book together complete with tassels when I was six. I wrote for the theater for twenty years, with wonderful productions interspersed with hundreds of rejections and then spent years learning how to write fiction, until finally, at the age of forty-seven, my first book came out, so call it forty-three years. But by 2018, I’ll have three books out.

When it rains, it pours.

Many readers believe the most important thing a successful writer needs is talent. I would argue it’s tenacity. The difference between the published and unpublished author is often that the published author endured one more rejection than the unpublished author. They sent their manuscript one more place. Rewrote their manuscript one more time. Read one more book on craft or went to one more conference, where they participated in one more workshop, met one more agent or pitched to one more editor. The published author went out in the rain and got wet one more time than the writer who didn’t.

When it rains, it pours.

Even a published author isn’t guaranteed a career. The second book might never get finished. The publisher might go out of business. The editor could retire. The reviews might be terrible and the contract ends. The only thing a writer can control is the writing. Just as we here in Western Washington can’t control the weather, we can only decide what to do with it. Do we go out and live our life, mud or no mud? Or not. Does the writer go out and write, failure or no failure? Or not.

The only thing I know for sure, is when I go downstairs into the kitchen, while taking a break from my current draft, the Morton Salt will pour, even with moisture in the air.


When it rains, it pours.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Children's Book Review-Gertrude and Toby Meet the Wolf




About the book (provided by ebooks for Review)
Gertrude the goat and Toby the tortoise are going fishing at Trout Lake for their Friday adventure. While at the lake, they see a little boy being dragged off by a hungry wolf! They follow the wolf and rescue the little boy, but the wolf doesn't give up. He goes after them, determined to get his lunch back!

And I thought...
Gertrude and Toby meet the Wolf is the 3rd book in the 
Fairy Tale Adventure Series. 
It's a delightful retelling of  The Three Little Pigs story with a modern twist.
All the characters including Gertrude and Toby are delightfully illustrated by Jim Heath.  
The story begins with Gertrude and Toby making plans to spend the day at the lake fishing. Their plans go awry when the wolf 
stalks a little boy when he can't find the 3 pigs.  Gertrude and 
Toby comes to the rescue and saves the day for everyone.  

This was a cute and fun story.  

Parents of younger children may wish to preview.   

I receive an e version of the book so I can't make comment 
as to the paper back or hard copy version. 
Based on other books I've seen and read as a preschool teacher I would be likely to buy the hard cover copy and read the story to my grandchildren.  

I received a complimentary copy from EBooks for review.
This review will be posted on Amazon and Good Reads.

Available



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Book Review-Dying On The Vine by Marla Cooper


About the book...(provided by Great Escapes Tours)
When wedding planner Kelsey McKenna goes to the Wine Country Wedding Faire, the last thing she expects to do is take on new clients. After all, she’s just there to help out her friend Brody and maybe score some free cupcakes. But when a young couple in a pinch asks for her help, she just can’t say no.
There’s only one problem: they’d been working with Babs Norton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings—and things did not end well. Kelsey wants to make sure there are no hard feelings, but unfortunately she never gets the chance. When she goes to Babs’ office, she finds the wedding planner dead on the floor.
Babs’ high-strung assistant Stefan knows exactly who killed Babs: Kelsey. At least, that’s what he very publicly accuses her of at Babs’ funeral. When Kelsey decides to do a little sleuthing to clear her name, she uncovers a myriad of secrets and lies. And when a second wedding planner is attacked, Kelsey begins to wonder if she might be next.
Set against the stunning backdrop of California wine country, Marla Cooper’s Dying on the Vine is a mystery brimming with gossip, wine, and, of course…murder.
And I thought....
Delightful new author and series for me.  Dying On The Vine was a fun read from page one.  
And suspenseful almost immediately.  
I enjoyed the banter between Kelsey and her friend Brody throughout the story.  
When Kelsey goes from witness to possible murder suspect she becomes determined to clear her name and get back to business and 'stay in business.    Brody is quick to help and suggests a 'Suspect Board' which  gets Laurel Kelsey's assistant involved in investigation.  And Kelsey in a little hot water when a client 
discovers it and His name!

Rumors fly about Kelsey and her business practices.  As crimes and accusations against Kelsey seem to pile up the three search out leads sneaking and snooping around the crime scenes finding evidence that the police seem to over look.  

Not only was I kept intrigued with the mystery I was intrigued with who Kelsey might end up in a romantic involvement with.  
There is the 'good cop' who is very nice looking.  Then there is Luke the winery business manager.  And then Brody introduces her to Jake.  Hmm.  There are some interesting bachelors in the mix giving the reader a fun few hours of reading enjoyment. 

I rate Dying On The Vine as one of my top favorites.  

And then there's the list of suspects from the very disgruntled father of the bride, to Bab's (the victim) assistant, along with Miles the winery owner and ultimately his brother Luke who falls off the list  of eligible bachelors.  

It becomes a race against time as Kelsey and the gang search for the murder and run for their lives!

I am looking forward to reading the series beginning with book 1
Terror In Taffeta and future installments in the 
Destination Wedding Murder Series.

I received a complimentary copy of Dying On The Vine from 
Great Escape Book Tours.
This review will appear on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and 
Good Reads.
This review will appear on My Journey Back and be linked at blog parties.  

Coffee with a character... I am not sure I can choose just one character or sub character to enjoy a little chat with!
I was infatuated with Brody and Laurel and of course Kelsey. 
So I think I would just like to sit and maybe have a glass of champagne or maybe a few quarts of ice cream and discuss how to solve a murder with all three.

Available...

About the author...
As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

Connect with the author...
Webpage – www.marla-cooper.com

Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review-Long Time Gone-Mary Connealy

Product Details

About the book...
Someone Will Stop at Nothing to Claim the Boden Homestead!

The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they uncovered the real plot to take their 1880s New Mexico ranch? Justin Boden is a top rancher and a rugged man, and yet with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn't help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on. 

With her and the doc's timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend. Now Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the threats facing them. It's clear now that everything that's occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they pull together all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the risk of losing the ranch even greater than any of them could imagine?
About the series...
 The Boden Birthright   No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy Book #1) by [Connealy, Mary]  
Available...
Christian-buy   bn-buy   amazon-buy
And I thought....
Another great ride!  A bit of a surprise to me book two took up almost immediately where book one left off.  
I had the opportunity to read book 1 so I was excited to be offered  Long Time Gone I was surprised to see that book 2 took up only minutes after book 1 ended. 
I enjoyed all the characters from book 1 and book 2. 
The romance that developed between Justice and Angie who he met in book 1 was fun to witness.  They each had their on struggles and challenges to overcome while they became closer acquainted with each other. 

All the characters that Mary has created in this series are likeable, strong, independent and God fearing men and women. 

I would like to read The Boden Birthright.
Although I don't feel the reader needs to read all the books in order because Mary does a great job of keeping the story moving and helping the reader stay connected with each story.  
If you have the chance to read this series in order I would suggest you might enjoy it more.  

I am looking forward to book three.  I am curious to see if Cole gets married off. 
Is neighbor Mel going to become part of the family?
Are Ronnie and Chance going to make it home for a family reunion?  

Book three here I come!

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House. 
This review will appear on retail sites where available.
This review will appear on Good Reads and My Journey Back.

About the author
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“Don’t be afraid to strive and sweat and pray and fail 
and strive and pray some more for the desires of your heart. Because my books and this site are proof that dreams can come true. That with God all things are possible.”

Authors website: Maryconnealy.com Click Here
Find Mary online at:

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review-Duplicity-by Jane Haseldine

About the book (provided by TLC tours)
• Hardcover: 352 pages
• Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation (March 28, 2017)
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…
And I thought...
As I thought about what I wanted to say about this book I began to think about the main characters Julia and her husband the D.A. David Tanner.  I thought about the suspense and twists and turns in the story.  
Then I thought about the title and how it fit into the characters and the story.  
And I realized the definition of 'Duplicity' tells it all. . . 
du·plic·i·ty
d(y)o͞oˈplisədē/
noun
  1. 1.
    deceitfulness; double-dealing.

The story line is filled with characters that are dishonest, double-dealing, deceitful etc. etc.  which for me made for a good story. 

Not necessarily a story that had me interested in becoming friends with or have coffee with a few of the characters. 

I enjoyed the story.  It was a little slow in the beginning but there was a steadiness that kept me interested enough to stick with it till the tempo sped up to the roller coaster ending.  

I have no desire to 'spill the beans.'  I just suggest if you like a good suspenseful story you'll enjoy Duplicity.

There are a few bedroom seems.  In fact the story begins with a scene that some people might read and stop then and there. 
That is not the theme of the book.  Its a short part that sets the story into motion.   There are a few descriptions of some sexual acts further into the story that are described by the police as a video tape is watched while the are gathering evidence.   And there is a little graphic detail in some of the crimes that are committed.  
This didn't bother me.  I just mention it because some people might wish to have a heads up.  

Overall I really liked Duplicity and look forward to reading additional books in the Julie Gooden series.

I received a complimentary copy from TLC book tours. 

This review will appear on retail sites where the book is available.
This review will appear on My Journey Back and Good Reads.

Coffee with a character
I had a hard time choosing the character that I wanted to chat with. It was easy to know who I didn't want to 'get to know'.  And actually it wasn't difficult know who to choose.  The hard part was choosing 1.  So I didn't choose 1.  I chose 3. 
 Never done before. Probably never done again.  But here goes in no particular order.
Character #1 is Salvator Gallo I suspect that if I was to sit, chat and consume some sort of beverage with 'Gallo' who is kind of a 'mob type' fellow but ends help helping Julie.  He just seems like the character that I would love to see in another book. 
Character #2 is an informant that has helped Julie in the past and comes to her rescue in Duplicity he makes a short appearance but I was fascinated with his character. Tyrone is a rapper that is 
wheelchair bound.  He has connections and associates that he utilizes to help get Julie out of some jams.  And he 'knows' and has 'information' that helps Julie in her investigation. 
The last Character that I would love to share probably a cup of tea or coffee with is the neighbor/baby sitter Helen.  Helen is a grandmotherly type woman that jumps in and helps with her children.  Helen covers the home front for Julie when business and investigations call Julie away.  

This review will appear on retail sites where the book is available.
This review will appear on My Journey Back, Good Reads and
Springtime in Magnolia.

Available

About the series  
  In Jane Haseldine’s gripping and brilliantly crafted debut, a reporter searching for her kidnapped son must untangle the connection to her brother’s long-ago disappearance.

Julia Gooden remembers nothing about the worst night of her life. Thirty years ago, her nine-year-old brother Ben—the person who promised he would always protect her—was abducted from the room they shared. Try as she might to recall any clue or detail, there is a black hole where Julia’s memories of that terrible event should be.

Now a crime reporter at a Detroit newspaper, Julia tries to give others the closure she’s never found. But guilt and grief over Ben’s disappearance have left her fearful that whoever took her brother is going to come back. Nowhere seems safe—not the city, not the suburbs, not even the secluded lake town where she plans to raise her children. And then, on the anniversary of Ben’s disappearance, Julia’s worst fears are realized when her two-year-old son, Will, is snatched from his bed.

Convinced that the crimes are related, Julia tries to piece together memories from her final day with Ben. Are the sudden reminders of her brother clues that will lead her to her son’s abductor, or merely coincidence? Julia knows she has hours at best to find Will alive, but the deeper she digs, the more personal and terrifying the battle becomes, and an undying promise may be her only hope of saving herself and her son.

About the author...
Jane Haseldine is a journalist, former crime reporter, columnist, newspaper editor, magazine writer, and deputy director of communications for a governor.  Jane graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a degree in journalism. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons, but previously lived in Boston, San Francisco, New York, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana. 

Connect with the author