Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review: The Cowboy's Surprise Baby

Author: Deb Kastner
Title: The Cowboy's Surprise Baby
Publisher: Love Inpspired
Publish Date: Aug 2015
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Harlequin and Book Trib
Book Blurb: 
Hometown Reunion

After years away serving his country, Cole Bishop finally returns home—with a newborn baby in tow. As a single dad, Cole needs help. But the last thing he expects to encounter at his new job is his high school sweetheart—all grown up and more beautiful than ever. Tessa Applewhite might have broken Cole's heart years before, but she's never forgotten him. And he can wrangle her heart like no one else ever has. But Tessa rejected him when the stakes weren't nearly as high. Can Cole trust her again—and in the process, form a forever family?

Review: I've read a lot of second chance at romance novels lately. A LOT! This one attracted me because I love ranch romances and frankly after so many 2nd chance books that were more, erm...smutty, I was glad to read this Love Inspired novel.

Tessa and Cole have a history together. Cole has left the military to care for his newborn son. The problem is, his son Grayson doesn't figure into the story as much as I would have liked. In fact, the baby felt more like a plot device rather than a mini character, and that kind of made me sad. I love stories with babies.

Instead, the story focused on Cole and Tessa's work at Redemption Ranch. Cole really seemed to grow in the job he didn't feel he could do, but not without mishap. Though the mishaps aren't earthshattering.

I really loved how Cole handled Kaylie and her personal issue near the end of the book. It really showed how he had grown as the story progressed, as well as how he effected the young girl's life.

This was really a sweet novel. I felt the story put the romance on the back burner, even though you know there's still chemistry between them. The ending seemed a little much to me, since the two never really resumed their relationship, at least in a girlfriend/boyfriend sort of way.

Rating: 4 flowers

Saturday, August 29, 2015

TLC Book Tour Book Reviews: Dark Screams Vol 4

Author: Various
Title: Dark Screams Vol 4
Publisher: Hydra
Publish Date: Aug 4, 2015
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & Net Galley
Buy: Amazon
Boo Blurb: 
Clive Barker, Heather Graham, Lisa Morton, Ray Garton, and Ed Gorman lead readers down a twisted labyrinth of terror, horror, and suspense in Dark Screams: Volume Four, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the revered Cemetery Dance Publications.

THE DEPARTED by Clive Barker On All Hallows’ Eve, a dead and disembodied mother yearns to touch her young son one last time. But will making contact destroy them both?

CREATURE FEATURE by Heather Graham What could be better publicity for a horror convention than an honest-to-goodness curse? It’s only after lights out that the hype—and the Jack the Ripper mannequin—starts to feel a little too real.

THE NEW WAR by Lisa Morton Mike Carson is a war hero and a decorated vet. He doesn’t deserve to be trapped in a hospital with some black thing sitting on his chest as patients die all around him. His only hope is to take out the nurse—before it’s his turn. uspense in Dark Screams: Volume Four, from Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar of the revered Cemetery Dance Publications.

SAMMY COMES HOME by Ray Garton It’s what every family prays for: a lost pet returning home. But when Sammy, the Hale family sheepdog, appears on their doorstep, he brings back something no parent would ever wish upon his or her child.

THE BRASHER GIRL by Ed Gorman Cindy Marie Brasher is the prettiest girl in the Valley, and Spence just has to have her. Unfortunately, Cindy has a “friend” . . . a friend who tells her to do things . . . bad things.

Review: Dark Screams is a collection of short stories by some pretty amazing authors.  I was excited to read anything that had stories by Clive Barker and Heather Graham, two of my favorite authors in the genre of all things creepy.

Like all collections, some stories are better than others. Clive Barker's The Departed is more bittersweet than terrifying, but as always a story where you connect with the characters. I think this one might have been phoned in a bit. It needed more, or at least I felt it needed more.

The New War is another one low on the creepy factor but still one that makes you feel for the character. Mike is in a care facility after a hip surgery and he's battling with something black in the shadows. It isn't quite what you think it is. too.

Sammy Comes Home is just rather gross, and I'm not sure I understood it at all. It has a bit of a Pet Sematary sort of feel to it.

The Brasher Girl is truly the best of the bunch when it comes to creepy. Spence's girlfriend has a friend that telepathically to do things..bad bad things. Oh and this friend is in a well, and is possibly not human.

This is one of the longer stories in the colletion, and I think that's why it ended up being the best.
There was more time for character development, as well as getting your creepy on.

One of the stories I was most excited for was Creature Feature. I love Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunters series and this is a short story that ties in. Its a shame it was too hurried to be enjoyable.

If you are ready to get in the Halloween mood, this is a good place to start. I really loved The Departed and The New War because they really had a human touch to them. The Brasher Girl was by far the best of the bunch as a horror story.

A enjoyable read.

Rating: 4 flowers

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: The Forgotten Flapper

02_The Forgotten Flapper_CoverThe Forgotten Flapper: A Novel of Olive Thomas (Forgotten Actress Series, Volume 1) by Laini Giles

Publication Date: August 1, 2015 Publisher: Sepia Stories Publishing Formats: eBook & Trade Paperback Pages: 411 Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical Add to GR Button A presence lurks in New York City’s New Amsterdam Theatre when the lights go down and the audience goes home. They say she’s the ghost of Olive Thomas, one of the loveliest girls who ever lit up the Ziegfeld Follies and the silent screen. From her longtime home at the theater, Ollie’s ghost tells her story from her early life in Pittsburgh to her tragic death at twenty-five. After winning a contest for “The Most Beautiful Girl in New York,” shopgirl Ollie modeled for the most famous artists in New York, and then went on to become the toast of Broadway. When Hollywood beckoned, Ollie signed first with Triangle Pictures, and then with Myron Selznick’s new production company, becoming most well known for her work as a “baby vamp,” the precursor to the flappers of the 1920s. After a stormy courtship, she married playboy Jack Pickford, Mary Pickford’s wastrel brother. Together they developed a reputation for drinking, club-going, wrecking cars, and fighting, along with giving each other expensive make-up gifts. Ollie's mysterious death in Paris’ Ritz Hotel in 1920 was one of Hollywood’s first scandals, ensuring that her legend lived on.


Review: I love reading books about local people. I didn't realize when I signed up for this tour exactly how local Olive Thomas was. Olive Thomas was born in Charleroi, PA.
That's where I live!!!
I couldn't believe it when I saw my town on the first page of the book I was reading. That was a huge reason for me to keep reading. I never knew we had such an illustrious person in part of our town's history, even though Olive and her family moved closer to Pittsburgh at a young age.
I really love how Laini portrayed Olive. I loved her as a ghost, which really is said to haunt the New Amsterdam theater in New York. But it was really learning about Olive's life that will pull you in. She was quite a "character," in every sense of the word.
She was definitely the epitome of the small town girl that longs to break out. She did whatever she could to get where she wanted to be including becoming a part of the scandalous Midnight Frolic show that was part of the Ziegfried Follies.
Olive is just a fun loving inquisitive girl. A good time girl, as some would say. I hated knowing what her fate was because she was really the type of person you were rooting for. I really wish she would have had a chance to turn her life around.
This was a great read and it was from one of my favorite time periods in American history. If you are a fan of old Hollywood this is definitely a book for you.
Rating: 5 flowers

03_Laini Giles_Author ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A native of Austin, Texas, Laini Giles grew up the daughter of bookworms, and became a Nancy Drew devotee early on. When she realized there might be no escape from hairy tarantulas and bad guys with guns, she put her detective dreams on hold and wrote about them instead, finishing her first mystery novel with custom illustrations when she was eight. It was this love of mystery combined with a love of old MGM musicals and The Marx Brothers that led her to check Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon out of the library during her formative years. Ideas began to simmer. A graduate of the University of North Texas, she put the writing on hold for a while when real life got in the way (i.e.—she met and married her Canadian husband and headed north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer). She highly recommends moving to another country and not being able to work for a year for finishing any novels you may have laying around. Laini and her husband live in Edmonton, Alberta with their three gray girl cats, nicknamed The Supremes. For more information visit Laini Giles' website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter and Goodreads.


Monday, August 3 Kick Off & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Tuesday, August 4 Interview at The Maiden's Court Wednesday, August 5 Book Blast/Spotlight at History From a Woman's Perspective Thursday, August 6 Review at Book Nerd Friday, August 7 Book Blast/Spotlight at What Is That Book About Monday, August 10 Review at Book Babe Tuesday, August 11 Book Blast/Spotlight at Room With Books Wednesday, August 12 Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More Thursday, August 13 Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog Friday, August 14 Spotlight & Giveaway at To Read, or Not to Read Saturday, August 15 Book Blast/Spotlight at Please Pass the Books Monday, August 17 Book Blast/Spotlight at A Literary Vacation Tuesday, August 18 Book Blast/Spotlight at Let Them Read Books Wednesday, August 19 Review at A Book Drunkard Thursday, August 20 Spotlight & Giveaway at View From the Birdhouse Friday, August 21 Book Blast/Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Wednesday, August 26 Review & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl Thursday, August 27 Book Blast/Spotlight at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Review at A Chick Who Reads
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Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours: Owen Archer Series

The summer is heating up with the re-issue of Candace Robb's Owen Archer historical crime series! Nine of the ten books were just released in eBook format, with all new, beautiful covers, and is now available to download for your eReader! At only $2.99 per eBook, it's a FAB deal on a great series!

The Apothecary Rose (Small)


"Suspenseful, historically accurate, and blessed with a wonderful cast of characters, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is an absolute delight from start to finish..." — Charles de Lint, author of the Newford Series

In the year of our Lord 1363, two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Mary’s Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresby’s ne’er-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton. In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to York to find the murderer.

Under the guise of a disillusioned soldier keen to make a fresh start, Owen insinuates himself into Wilton’s apothecary as an apprentice. But he finds Wilton bedridden, with the shop being run by his lovely, enigmatic young wife, Lucie. As Owen unravels a tangled history of scandal and tragedy, he discovers at its center a desperate, forbidden love twisted over time into obsession. And the woman he has come to love is his prime suspect.

Lovingly detailed, beautifully written, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is a captivating and suspenseful tale of life, love, and death in medieval England.

The Lady Chapel (Small) (2)


“A lovingly detailed background informs and animates the plot at every point.” —KIRKUS

Perfect for fans of both Ellis Peters and CJ Sansom, THE LADY CHAPEL is a vivid and immersive portrait of court intrigue and a testament to the power of the medieval guilds.

Summer in the year of our Lord 1365. On the night after the Corpus Christi procession, a man is brutally murdered on the steps of York Minster. The next morning his severed hand is found in a room at the York Tavern—a room hastily vacated by a fellow guild member who had quarreled with the victim.

Archbishop Thoresby calls on Owen Archer to investigate. As Owen tracks the fleeing merchant, he uncovers a conspiracy involving a powerful company of traders, but his only witness is a young boy who has gone into hiding, and his only suspect is a mysterious cloaked woman. When Owen discovers a link between the traders and a powerful coterie in the royal court, he brings his apothecary wife Lucie into the race to find the boy before he is silenced forever by the murderers.

The Nuns Tale (Small)


“[An] engrossing tale…imbued with the flavor of English medieval life, Robb’s story melds true events with fiction to create a gripping historical mystery.”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Based on an enigmatic entry in the records of Clementhorpe Nunnery, this authentic, gripping mystery conjures a 14th century ripe with forbidden passions and political intrigue.

When young nun Joanna Calverley dies of a fever in the town of Beverley in the summer of 1365 she is buried quickly for fear of the plague. But a year later, Archbishop Thoresby learns of a woman who has arrived in York claiming to be the resurrected nun, talking of relic-trading and miracles. And death seems to ride in her wake.

The archbishop sends Owen Archer to retrace the woman’s journey, an investigation that leads him across the north from Leeds to Beverley to Scarborough. Along the way he encounters Geoffrey Chaucer, a spy for the king of England, who believes there is a connection between the nun’s troubles, renegade mercenaries, and the powerful Percy family. Back in York, however, Owen’s wife Lucie, pregnant with their first child, has won the confidence of the mysterious nun and realizes that there are secrets hidden in the woman’s seemingly mad ramblings...

The Kings Bishop (Small)


“Robb continues to adeptly blend politics with period detail and three-dimensioned characterizations in the Owen Archer tales.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

From the marshy Thames to the misty Yorkshire moors, murder stalks Welsh soldier-sleuth Owen Archer and one of his oldest friends.

On a snowy morning in 1367, Sir William of Wyndesore’s page is found in the icy moat of Windsor Castle, and some whisper that the murderer was Ned Townley—a former comrade-in-arms of Owen Archer. Burdened with a reputation as a notoriously jealous lover, Ned cannot hope to clear his name; even Mary, his ladylove, is unsure of the truth. Hoping to put Ned out of harm’s way while solving the murder, Owen places his friend in charge of a mission to Rievaulx Abbey at the edge of the moors. But when the travelers receive news of Mary’s drowning, Ned vanishes into the wild.

Riding out in search of his old friend, Owen does not know whether he will be Ned’s savior or executioner. With his one good eye, Owen sees more than most, but now he must find a way to penetrate the curtains of power that surround the Church and England’s royal court and discover the truth of Ned’s innocence or guilt...

The Riddle of St (Small)


“Gripping and believable…you can almost smell the streets of 14th-century York as you delve deeper into an engrossing plot.” —PRIMA

In the year of our Lord 1369 the much-loved Queen Philippa lies dying in Windsor Castle, the harvest has failed, and the pestilence has returned. In York, the atmosphere of fear and superstition is heightened by a series of thefts and violent deaths at St. Leonard’s Hospital and rumors that these crimes are connected to the hospital’s dwindling funds. The Master of St. Leonard’s, Sir Richard Ravenser, hurries north from the queen’s deathbed to summon Owen Archer, soldier-spy, to investigate the scandal before it ruins him.

While Owen’s wife Lucie faces the plague-panicked townsfolk at the apothecary, Owen encounters a seemingly random series of clues: a riddle posed by one of the victims at the hospital, a lay sister with a scandalous past, the kidnapping of a child from the hospital orphanage, and a case of arson. The answer to the riddle of St. Leonard’s lies in the past, and as Owen’s family is caught up in the sweep of the pestilence, he must abandon them to race across the countryside to save the next victim.

A Gift of Sanctuary (Small)


“Robb deftly interweaves a complex story of love, passion and murder into the troubled and tangled fabric of Welsh history, fashioning a rich and satisfying novel.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Under the pretense of escorting his father-in-law and the archbishop’s secretary on a pilgrimage to the sacred city of St. David’s in Wales, Owen Archer and Geoffrey Chaucer are carrying out a mission for the Duke of Lancaster. England and France are at war, and the southern coast of Wales is vulnerable to invasion—Owen and Geoffrey are to recruit archers for the duke’s army and inspect his Welsh fortifications on the coast, while quietly investigating whether the duke’s steward at Cydweli Castle is involved in a French plot to incite rebellion in Wales.

But trouble precedes them in the cathedral city of St. David’s. On Whitesands Beach beyond the city a young man is beaten and left for dead, then spirited away by a Welsh bard. Shortly afterward a corpse clothed in the livery of the Duke of Lancaster is left at the city gate, his shoes filled with white sand. And at Cydweli Castle a chain of events begun by the theft of money from the castle’s exchequer ends in a violent death and the disappearance of the steward’s beautiful young wife. Owen and Geoffrey begin to see connections linking the troubles in city and castle, and see they must unravel the complex story of betrayed love and political ambition to prevent more deaths.

But in the course of his investigations in the land of his birth, Owen is haunted by doubts about his own loyalties...

A Spy for the Redeemer (Small)


“Fascinating…crisp, evocative writing…. The tapestry here is rich and varied.”—CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

Late spring in the year of our Lord 1370, and Owen Archer is anxious to leave Wales for home. His mission for the Duke of Lancaster complete, he attempts to arrange safe passage on a ship sailing for England, but the hanging of a stonemason interrupts his plans. On the surface it appears the young man was driven to suicide by a broken heart, but to Owen the signs all point to murder. As his investigation stretches on, however, Owen finds himself drawn into the influence of the leader of a Welsh rebellion whose manifesto speaks to his heart, and a choice is offered to him: join or die.

At home in York, Owen’s wife Lucie is troubled by rumors that her husband’s long absence is permanent, as well as threats by a customer who claims she was poisoned by a physic from the Wilton apothecary. Meanwhile, Lucie is tempted by the attentions of a friend’s steward, even as she uncovers a shattering betrayal in her own household.

The Guilt of Innocents (Small)


“It’s…the Machiavellian intrigue that makes this such an enjoyable read. When the iron curtain came down people said the spy-thriller genre was dead. They were wrong. This is as full of intrigue as a Deighton or a Le Carré.” —THE GUARDIAN

Winter in the year of our Lord 1372. A river pilot falls into the icy waters of the River Ouse during a skirmish between dockworkers and the boys of the minster school, which include Owen Archer’s adopted son Jasper. But what began as a confrontation to return a boy’s stolen scrip becomes a murder investigation as the rescuers find the pilot dying of wounds inflicted before his plunge into the river. When another body is fished from the river upstream and Owen discovers that the boy Jasper sought to help has disappeared, Owen Archer convinces the archbishop that he must go in search of the boy. His lost scrip seems to hold the key to the double tragedy, but his disappearance leaves troubling questions: did he flee in fear? Or was he abducted?

On the cusp of this new mystery, Owen accepts Jasper’s offer to accompany him to the boy’s home in the countryside, where they learn that a valuable cross has gone missing. A devastating fire and another drowning force Owen to make impossible choices, endangering not only himself, but the two innocents he fights to protect. The bond between fathers and sons proves strong, even between those not linked by blood.

A Vigil of Spies (Small)


“As always, Candace Robb writes a powerful story intertwined with genuine characters of the day.” —HISTORICAL NOVEL REVIEW

Archbishop Thoresby of York, the second most powerful cleric in England, lies dying in his bed. The end of his life is seen by the great families of the North as a chance to promote one of their own as his successor, and Thoresby himself announces he will leave the matter to the dean and chapter of York. On the eve of this decision, the dying archbishop agrees to a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales, wife of the Black Prince, heir to the throne of England, and Thoresby’s captain of the guard, Owen Archer, has no doubt that trouble will follow.

As soon as the company rides into the palace yard he is proved right: they arrive burdened with the body of one of their party, and Owen finds evidence that the man’s death was no accident. Within days of this discover, a messenger carrying an urgent message for the Archbishop is found hanging in the woods. With guards surrounding the property, it is clear that the murderer walks among the palace guests. The powerful Percy and Neville families are well represented in the entourage, including a woman who remembers an afternoon tryst with Owen as much, much more. Even the princess’ son is suspect. As Owen races to unmask the guilty and rid the palace of the royal party, his final wish for his lord is that he might die in peace.



Growing up, Candace Robb wanted to be a ballerina, tap dancer, folk singer, journalist—but on the day that she walked into Liz Armstrong’s undergraduate class on Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, that all changed. A gifted teacher, lively, witty, always laughing even when cringing at a lazy response, Dr. Armstrong launched into the opening stanzas, and within a few lines Candace’s ears adjusted to the middle English—and she was hooked. Chaucer’s psychological study of the two lovers was a revelation to her. The next quarter was The Canterbury Tales. That clinched it. Candace went on to graduate work in medieval history and literature, and ever since she’s been engaged in bringing to life the rich culture of the period, from the arts to the politics. She is the internationally acclaimed author of thirteen crime novels featuring the sexy, brooding, clever Owen Archer, who solves crimes for John Thoresby, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England, and the young Margaret Kerr, searching for her missing husband and her role in a Scotland overrun by English soldiers. Candace is currently under contract with Pegasus Books for a new crime series set in 15th century York, the Kate Clifford mysteries, which will debut in 2016.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published two historical novels about the women of the English court in the 14th century, A Triple Knot and The King’s Mistress.

Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Candace grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she loves for its combination of culture, natural beauty, and brooding weather so like Yorkshire, Wales, and Scotland, which she visits as often as possible. She has taught the art of writing the crime novel in the University of Washington’s certificate program, and offers workshops in writing the historical novel and in creating and plotting the crime series. Candace (and Emma) blog about writing and medieval topics at A Writer’s Retreat,



Monday, August 17
The Reading Queen
CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, August 18
Genre Queen
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 19
The Lit Bitch
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, August 20

Friday, August 21
Boom Baby Reviews
Buried Under Books

Saturday, August 22
Book Nerd

Sunday, August 23
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Monday, August 24
A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, August 25
Puddletown Reviews

Wednesday, August 26
A Book Geek

Thursday, August 27
A Chick Who Reads

Friday, August 28
A Fold in the Spine


3 Sets of THE APOTHECARY ROSE, THE LADY CHAPEL, and THE NUN’S TALE in eBook are up for grabs! Enter using the Rafflecopter Widget below.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, August 21, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Reviews The Uninvited

The Uninvited (430x648)About The Uninvited

• Paperback: 368 pages • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 11, 2015)
Twenty-five-year-old Ivy Rowan rises from her sickbed after being struck by the great influenza epidemic of 1918, only to discover that the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.
But Ivy's lifelong gift—or curse—remains. She sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked for and unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918, Ivy sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother's chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death in the Great War of Ivy's other brother, Billy.
Horrified, she leaves home and soon realizes that the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for today, because they could be stricken by nightfall. She even enters into a relationship with the murdered German man's brother, Daniel Schendel. But as her "uninvited guests" begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once again, and terrifying secrets will unfold.
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42064Review: I'm not really sure what to ay about this book, except that it ended up being not exactly what I expected. I wanted much more in the ghost story element and I didn't really get that.

I've had a hard time with a lot of books I've been reading lately I don't know what's wrong with me, but my attention span has been somewhat along the lines of a teetsy fly these days. I had to put this one down and pick it up several times before finishing it.
However I did like Ivy when all is said and done I enjoyed the story and how Winters blended history in with the story.
Rating: 4 flowers

About Cat Winters

Cat Winters's debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, was released to widespread critical acclaim. The novel has been named a finalist for the 2014 Morris Award, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, and a Booklist 2013 Top 10 Horror Fiction for Youth. Winters lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two children. Find out more about Cat at her website, and follow her on tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Naked Eye

About The Naked Eye

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (July 14, 2015)
How can you catch a killer when everyone thinks he’s dead?
Kendra Michaels was instrumental in bringing serial killer Eric Colby to justice. And yet, despite his apparent execution at San Quentin, Kendra is convinced that Colby is still alive. The problem is that she can’t prove it. Even her razor-sharp powers of observation-developed to an amazing capacity during the twenty years she spent blind and now in constant demand by law enforcement agencies-have gotten her nowhere.
But then a reporter who very publicly humiliated Kendra is murdered. Visiting the crime scene in search of anything that might link the brutal homicide to Colby, Kendra instead finds evidence that points to her. Finally Colby’s master plan becomes clear to her: he is framing Kendra for murder.
Suspicions mount and Kendra is thrust into deadly pursuit to clear her name and catch the killer no one believes exists anymore. A killer who is always nearby, watching, waiting to make his next move, even as everyone believes him to be dead. A killer whose trail of destruction is invisible to the naked eye, despite the carnage he leaves in his wake. It will take everything Kendra has to find and stop Colby-and save her own life one more time.
“Exciting… a thrilling race against time.”–Publisher’s Weekly
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Review: The Naked Eye is a step out of my comfort zone. I love mysteries and thrillers to a lesser extent but I'm not usually one for books that feel like a weeknight tv drama, but something about this particular series drew me in. It is also the third book in the series. It is a stand alone novel, but to be honest, I wish I had read the other two books first. I have them, but I didn't have the time to read the series in order.

Dumb me.

It is an enjoyable series, especially if you like shows like Medium. Kendra is really an interesting character, a former blind person who can hunt down serial killers. Its a unique super power, if you will and it made for some interesting and fun reading

Rating: 4 flowers


iris_roy_portraitAbout the authors

IRIS JOHANSEN is The New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Witness, Live to See Tomorrow, Silencing EveHunting EveTaking EveSleep No MoreWhat Doesn’t Kill YouBonnieQuinnEveChasing The NightEight Days to LiveBlood GameDeadlock, Dark SummerPandora’s DaughterQuicksandKiller DreamsOn The RunCountdownFirestormFatal TideDead AimNo One To Trust and more.
ROY JOHANSEN is an Edgar Award winning author and the son of Iris Johansen. He has written many acclaimed mysteries, including Deadly Visions, Beyond Belief and The Answer Man.
Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen have together written Close Your Eyes, Shadow Zone, Storm Cycle, and Silent Thunder.

Connect with Iris and Roy

Iris’s website | Roy’s website


TLC Book Tours Book Review: A Pattern Of Lies

A Pattern of Lies (429x648)About A Pattern of Lies

Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (August 18, 2015)
Bess Crawford must keep a deadly pattern of lies from destroying an innocent family in this compelling and atmospheric mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of A Question of Honor and An Unwilling Accomplice

In 1916, at the height of the war, an explosion and fire at an armament factory in Kent killed more than a hundred men. With Ashton Powder Mill situated so close to the coast—within reach of German saboteurs—the Army investigated, eventually ruling the event an appalling tragedy. Now, two years later, suspicion, gossip, and rumor have raised the specter of murder—and fingers point to the owner, Philip Ashton, whose son is battlefield nurse Bess Crawford's friend and former patient.

While visiting the Ashtons, Bess finds herself caught up in a venomous show of hostility that doesn't stop with Philip Ashton's arrest. Indeed, someone is out for blood, and the household is all but under siege. The police are hostile—the Inspector's brother died in the mill explosion—and refuse to consult either the Army or Scotland Yard. Why, after two years, has the village turned against Ashton?

In France, Bess searches for the only known witness to the explosion, now serving at the Front, and tries to convince him to give evidence about that terrible Sunday morning, only to find herself and the witness hunted by someone intent on preventing anyone from discovering what—or who—is behind this web of vicious lies. Uncertain whom to trust, she can rely only on her own wits and courage, but how can she stop a killer whose face she has never seen?

Philip Ashton is urged to throw himself on the mercy of the court—where he will surely find none. Time is running out. And Bess, at the point of a gun, has only one choice left: to risk her life to save the Ashtons.

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Review: I read An Unwilling Accomplice a few weeks ago for another tour and I really enjoyed it. I was really glad to take up with Bess and co. again.

Once again I'm transported to England circa, WWI, which is really my favorite time period in modern history.

I wish I were one that could really write a longer review, but the best I can say about the Bess Crawford series, is that they are like the Maise Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear only a little lighter. From the first page I start comparing the two series, both of which I love, and each have a lot of similarities, starting with the time period and the heroine's occupation. The only differences I find are with the relationships the main character has. Bess doesn't seem to have relationships with the opposite sex, at least not passionate ones or really "loving" ones. There's Simon, yes, but no real romance there.

This story features a munitions factory that explodes and how they go about finding out what happened. This was a different sort of mystery, but that's really how all these WWI mysteries are. Its always more than who killed who.

I love this series and have to read the rest of the prior books!

Rating: 5 flowers

Charles ToddAbout Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.

Visit their website at and like CharlesToddNovels on Facebook.

Monday, August 17, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Reviews: Last Summer at Chelsea Beach

Author: Pam Jenoff
Title: The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: July 28, 2015
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Young Adelia Montforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she meets and falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are soon throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.

Grief-stricken, Addie flees—first to Washington and then to war-torn London—and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper, as well as a chance to redeem lost time, lost family…and lost love. But the past always nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.

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Review: I read Pam Jenoff's The Winter Guest awhile back, so I wanted to give her latest offering a shot. Jenoff writes about WWII and the struggles the go along with it really well.

This is a period in time that I didn't always like but in recent years I came really enjoy the stories set in the 40s. 

Pam Jenoff really pays a great deal of attention to detail in this time period which really allows you to get engrossed in the story.

Addie isn't always the easiest character to like. She makes a lot of decisions that aren't always thought through, but to me that's what made Addie more real.

I loved the settings of the book, particularly Atlantic City which is my favorite place to visit.

Rating: 5 flowers

Friday, August 14, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Excerpt Tour: Starlight on Willow Lake

About Starlight on Willow Lake

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira (August 25, 2015)
Join #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs on a journey to a charming Catskills town that feels like home and where a cast of brilliantly drawn characters awaits in a poignant story of reconciliation and the healing power of love.
 Mason Bellamy’s world is fast, loud and decorated with the most extreme risks. Nothing can tempt him to give up his high-rolling Manhattan life and high-maintenance girlfriend—not even family. When he’s called home to upstate Avalon to help his quadriplegic mother in her deepest time of need, he sets his mind on temporary, determined to craft a way to care for her from a distance.
Alice Hayes is supposed to be his best solution. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet struggling caregiver as a live-in nurse gives Alice and her two daughters shelter, his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to escape to his adrenaline-pumped, no-attachments routine. But Alice’s beautiful presence promises to repair Mason’s frayed family ties. And his unstoppable attraction to Alice could lead to the most exhilarating thrill of his life.
“Wiggs’s storytelling is heartwarming… [for] romance and women’s fiction readers of any age.”—Publishers Weekly
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About Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America.

Connect with Susan

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Shit.” Faith McCallum stabbed a finger at the keyboard of the ancient hand-me-down laptop. “Come on, you son of a bitch, work for me one last time.”
The job posting had finally brought results. As her email had flashed past, she’d seen the subject line: “Response to your posting.” But the moment she’d clicked on it, the damn thing had gone into blue-screen meltdown.
She had rebooted, but now the computer screen was frozen on its opening page—daily devotions for diabetics. Today’s thought was particularly annoying. Leap, and the net will appear.
Faith had done her share of leaping but so far, she hadn’t accomplished anything but a bumpy landing. Leap of faith. Ha ha.
She got up in frustration, went outside and refilled the cat’s water dish. It wasn’t her cat. It wasn’t even her dish, for that matter. The stray had started coming around a few weeks ago; it wouldn’t let anyone near it, so Faith named it Fraidy and put out food and water under the stoop.
Returning to the computer, she stared for a moment at the still-frozen screen, then tried clicking the link to the job posting site she had been checking three times a day, without fail. Her search for a new position was getting desperate. The home health care agency she had been working for hadn’t sent anything her way in three months. Even when they did find work for her, the outfit didn’t pay her enough to sustain a pet gerbil, let alone two growing daughters. Faith was already two months behind on the rent, and the place was under new management.
In desperation, she had posted her résumé on every home health aide job site she could find, hoping to negotiate a living wage on her own rather than going through yet another agency that helped itself to a hefty percentage of her wages.
Finally, the sluggish browser responded. The mobile home park’s “free” Wi-Fi unfurled at leaden speed. She usually got several chores done while waiting for a page to load.
“Mo-oo-om!” Faith’s younger daughter, Ruby, stretched the word to several whiny syllables. The little girl stomped inside, slamming the door open wide. The impact caused the rented double-wide to shudder. “Cara forgot to wait for me at the bus. And she stole my lunch ticket—again.”
“Did not,” said Cara, following her younger sister into the room and flopping down on the tiny swaybacked sofa. With elaborate nonchalance, she opened her AP biology textbook.
“Did so.”
“Did not.”
“Then where did my lunch ticket go, huh?” Ruby demanded. She shrugged out of her backpack, depositing it on the built-in table.
“Who knows?” Cara asked without looking up. She twisted a strand of purple-dyed hair around her index finger.
“You know,” Ruby said, “because you stold it.”
“Stole,” Cara corrected her sister. “And I didn’t.”
“You’re the one who took it last time.”
“That was a month ago, and you were sick that day.”
“Yeah, but—”
“Did you eat anything for lunch?” Faith broke in, exasperated.
Ruby pulled her mouth into a pout that somehow made her look even more adorable than usual. Sometimes Faith believed Ruby’s cuteness was the only thing that kept her alive, she was so fragile. “Mrs. Geiger gave me half of her tuna fish sandwich and a carton of milk. And those yucky dried apple chips. I hate tuna fish. But then after school, Charlie O’Donnell gave me Bugles during soccer practice.”
Ruby had a little-girl crush on Charlie O’Donnell, an eighth-grader who helped coach the primary school soccer team.
“Get some water and sit down,” Faith said. “We’ll check your levels in a little bit.” A familiar knot of tension tightened inside her. Every day, Ruby’s type 1 diabetes brought a new worry, and a new challenge. She turned to Cara. “You’re supposed to wait for her at the bus stop.”
“I forgot.”
“How can you forget something you’re supposed to do every day?”
“She knows the way home.”
Faith suspected the real reason was that Cara didn’t want people to see where they lived. Lakeside Estates Motor Court wasn’t all bad, but no kid wanted to admit she lived in a trailer park. Despite its name, the place was not beside the lake, and it was far from an estate, but it was safe and close to the girls’ schools.
The page finally loaded, and Faith turned her attention to navigating her way to the job-posting response. Outside, the Guptas’ dog went crazy barking, heralding the daily arrival of the mailman in the central courtyard. Ruby, who was scared of dogs, cringed at the sound.
“I’ll go.” Cara shoved aside her homework and went to check the mail.
The response to Faith’s carefully worded posting, offering her services as a skilled caregiver, looked promising. She leaned toward the screen, her interest piqued. “We’re looking for an experienced individual to supervise all aspects of in-home care for a wheelchair-bound lady with a spinal cord injury. Salary and benefits package to include on-site living quarters.”
Okay, so maybe not. Faith and her girls couldn’t all fit into a closet-sized guest room in some woman’s house. Still, the position was right here in Avalon, which made it worth looking into, because the girls hated the idea of changing schools at the very end of the school year.
She wrote down the contact information in case the laptop crapped out again. Then she replied to the interview request, suggesting a meeting the following morning. Tomorrow was Saturday, so Cara would have to miss work at the bakery to watch Ruby, which meant squabbling, but that was too bad. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Cara came in from the motor court, sorting through the mail. “Bills and junk,” she said.
“You were expecting maybe we’d won the Publishers Clearing House?”
Cara dropped the bills on the counter next to Faith and put the rest in the recycle bin at her feet.
Faith picked up a glossy brochure. “What is this from Johns Hopkins? It’s addressed to you.”


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Invisibles

The Invisibles (430x648)About The Invisibles

• Paperback: 400 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 4, 2015)

"We'll choose to remain invisible. To everyone except each other . . . "

Brought together by chance as teenagers at Turning Winds, a home for girls, Nora, Ozzie, Monica, and Grace quickly bond over their troubled pasts and form their own family, which they dub The Invisibles. With a fierce loyalty to each other, the girls feel that they can overcome any obstacle thrown their way. Though the walls they've built around themselves to keep out the rest of the world are thick, they discover one night, when tragedy strikes, that there are cracks in their tight-knit circle.

While Ozzie, Monica, and Grace leave after graduation to forge a fresh start, Nora decides to stay behind in Willow Grove. Now, fifteen years later, she's content living a quiet, single life working in the local library and collecting "first lines"—her favorite opening lines from novels. But when Ozzie calls out of the blue to let her know Grace has attempted suicide and is desperate for them to reconvene, Nora is torn between elation at seeing the women who were once her most cherished, trusted friends and anxiety over the unresolved conflicts that will most certainly surface.

As the women gather and reminisce, the truth about their lives comes to light. And when The Invisibles decide to take the road trip they always dreamed of, they will be forced to reveal their deepest secrets and confront the night that changed them forever.
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Review: I've read so many great books in the last few weeks. This one is one of them. I love stories of friendship and how it changes over the years. I also like that the girls, now women aren't the typical type that you find in "friendship" stories. These girls aren't Monica, Phoebe and Rachel, m'kay, and I like that.

I found it really interesting that they became friends at an orphanage. That definitely sets this story apart from the rest.

The past is affecting the present and their friendships are tested, strengthened and renew

A totally fantastic story that I recommend to everyone

Rating:  5 flowers

Cecilia Galante author photoAbout Cecilia Galante

Cecilia Galante is the author of three young adult novels, three middle-grade books, and a children's chapter-book series. She is the recipient of many awards, including a NAIBA Book of the Year and an Oprah's Teen Read Selection for her first novel, The Patron Saint of Butterflies. Her books have been translated into Japanese, Turkish, and Polish.

Find out more about Cecilia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

'Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Give 'Em Pumpkin To Talk About,

Give Em Pumpkin To Talk About
Cozy Mystery
Print Length: 199 pages
Publisher: J. Lavene (August 4, 2015)
Richmond attorney Sarah Tucker returns to sell her family’s abandoned farm in Misty River, Virginia despite unanswered questions about her grandparents’ disappearance sixteen years earlier. Sarah was only twelve when she went to visit and found her grandparents had vanished. No amount of searching has brought answers.
Now Sarah is faced with other issues when a man is killed who claimed to have information about what happened to her grandparents. She learns of a Confederate chest of gold that is said to be buried on the property, and treasure hunters who are willing to do anything to get their hands on it.
Were her grandparents murdered for the gold? Sarah can’t sell the land and go back to her life until she has answers. But the cost of the answers may be her life.
Includes farm-fresh recipes!
Review: Ah the pun of this book's title. All the while I was reading I had the Bonnie Raitt song stuck in my head.
So before I go on, I'll let it get stuck in your head too.
This is the first book in a new series, and any new series by the Joyce and Jim Lavene is one for the TBR pile.

Sarah returns to sell the family farm and then someone that is supposed to have information on her grandparents, who vanished when she was 12, ends up dead and it looks like Jack, who has been squatting in the barn on the farm.

What I love about the Lavene's writing is that their stories are fast paced and gripping. Once you get started reading on, you don't want to stop until you reach the end. There are also lots of twists and turns, and that's the case here. Three words, civil war treasure.


That's all I'll say, other than READ THIS BOOK!

Anything by the Lavene's is a winner!

Rating: 5 flowers

10497504_10203996507538565_7985334038155587208_oAbout these Authors
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.
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