Thursday, October 19, 2017

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Secrets and Pies



                   

Secrets and Pies

by Jenny Kales
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Self Published
Release Date - October 19, 2017
Approximately 200 pages 
Book will be up on Amazon and other retail sites soon.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of Callie’s Kitchen! Greek-American restaurateur Callie Costas faces down another killer in the small waterfront town of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included!
Summertime in Crystal Bay means tourist season for Calliope “Callie” Costas, owner of Callie’s Kitchen, a Greek-meets-Midwest from-scratch eatery. Business is booming but so is the stress. Callie can barely keep up with the demand for her famous summer fruit pies and savory Greek delicacies, plus she’s agreed to bake dozens of “pitas” for the annual Greek Fest.
When Callie is asked to deliver cast party treats for a Murder Mystery Night at the historic Harris House, it seems like a welcome break from her hot stove. That is, until she finds herself an unwilling player in yet another suspicious death. Worse yet, the victim is a family friend and graduate student working on a project involving Crystal Bay’s colorful past.
Before long, a motley crew of suspects makes things as juicy as the succulent berries strewn around Callie’s Kitchen. And that’s not all Callie’s got on her plate. Add family obligations, a deepening romance with a local detective and unexpected personnel problems to the mix. One thing’s for sure: Callie’s got the recipe for a long, hot summer!
SECRETS AND PIES is the third installment in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

Review:  Secrets and Pies is book three in The Callie's Kitchen mystery series.  I'm jumping head first into this series and I'm loving it.

When Callie was at the murder mystery dinner, she encountered her ex's new wife Raine, and Raine's actions reminded me of Barbara Jean on Reba.

I also love that the family is Greek, because one of my favorite cozy series, Sofie Metropolis, is about a Greek family.

When Callie finds her daughter's favorite teacher dead, while waiting for her ex to drop Olivia off.

This was a fast paced mystery, with Callie having to do an awful lot along with trying to solve the murder.


Rating: 5 flowers







About the Author
Award-winning writer Jenny Kales is the author of The Callie's Kitchen Mystery series. Though she's worked as a writer and journalist for years, fiction writing is her first love and her marriage into a Greek-American Midwestern family inspired The Callie's Kitchen mysteries, featuring Calliope Costas, food business owner and amateur sleuth. The setting of the story, "Crystal Bay," is inspired by a fav
orite family vacation spot - Wisconsin's beautiful Geneva Lakes. Kales is an avid reader, cook and baker and she's addicted to mystery TV, especially anything on Masterpiece Mystery or BBC America. She lives just outside of Chicago with her husband, two daughters and one cute but demanding Yorkshire terrier.



  • Purchase Link -  Amazon

  • Wednesday, October 18, 2017

    TLC Book Tours Book Review: Last Christmas In Paris

    About Last Christmas in Paris


    • Paperback: 400 pages
    • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 3, 2017)

    New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

    August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

    But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

    Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

    Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

    Purchase Links


    HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

    Review:  Some books are destined to be tear-jerkers. I knew this was one in just the first few pages. By the time I hit page 100, tears were freely flowing.

    I love stories that stir my emotions and I can always count on Hazel Gaynor to be a writer of one. I haven't read any of Heather Webb's work, but after this book, I am sure to do so.

    Don't let the book title fool you though. This isn't a Christmas story, though a Christmas trip to Paris, that was supposed to happen before war broke out weaves its way into the fabric of the letters. The holiday itself is the subject of many of the letters sent between Evie and Tom.

    The letters written by Evie and Tom are wonderfully emotional. The other letters between friends and family just add to the brilliance of this story. These are characters that you care for and your heart aches for when bad things happen to them, and during wartime, you know that it is bound to happen.  No, you more than care for them, you love them.

    My heart hurt for both of them so many times through this book. Each suffers different kinds of losses throughout the war, a brother, a father.

    Thomas and Evie correspond continuously throughout the war and their relationship changes and as the war changes them. Evie is falling in love with Tom, though she never really gets around to telling him properly.

    Through these letters you get the day to day observations on the home front as well as the front lines. You see the war from both points of view, and as Evie takes up her pen, you see it through the column she writes for Tom's family's newspaper.

    There is a small part of the story told in Tom's point of view in 1968. He is making his "Last Christmas in Paris" shortly after Evie has died. In his last trip to Paris, you also get a sweet reveal to the mystery of Evie's brother's love affair, before he was killed in combat.

    The ending of the book is bittersweet.  I cried like a child at the end.

    This was quite possibly the most beautiful book I've read this year. This is one for my keeper shelf.

    Rating 5 flowers




    About Hazel Gaynor




    HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year.

    Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages.

    Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

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

    About Heather Webb


    HEATHER WEBB writes historical fiction for Penguin, including her novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin's Lover.

    As a former military brat, Heather naturally grew up obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before channeling these passions into fiction. When not writing, she flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world.

    Heather is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women's Fiction Writers Association.

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

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    Book Review: The Accidental Wedding



    The Accidental Wedding
    by Debra Elizabeth

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    GENRE:   Contemporary Romance

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    BLURB:

    Unemployed Keira Callahan decides to try her luck at the casino before delving back into job hunting. As she walks through the casino, she bumps into the most handsome man she’s ever seen. When he asks her to dinner, she doesn’t hesitate. As she learns Cade Tyndale’s story—he needs to wed or lose his British estate, her impulsive nature rears up and she agrees to marry him and move to England for one year. What does she have to lose except her heart to the impossibly handsome Earl of Barrett?




    Review:  This book made me go Squee! This is a plot that my younger self had floating in my head when I daydreamed about marrying a handsome Brit...and if not a member of the aristocracy, at least Davy Jones from The Monkees or George Harrison...or Simon Le Bon.

    I'm a sucker for a cute accent.

    This was a wonderful quick read that gave me warm fuzzy feelings. Keira and Cade are just a perfect couple. 

    Keira is sweet and more than a little naive, but that is what made you love her. She's really a bit of a Cinderella, without the wicked stepmother/step sisters thing going on. She loves her sister and her family and she's good with children and she is looking for a new job and a place to live.

    Cade is the type of hero we all want in a sweet romance too, plus there's no sign of an alpha male to be found. That gets a two thumbs up from me. He is also a victim of a will that says he must be married for a year before he turns thirty or else he must forfeit his inheritance to his not so nice brother Edward and his wife Courtney.

    I liked that both were at crossroads in their lives and somehow through a whole lot of craziness managed to get together in an almost fairy tale sort of way, complete with some twists and turns along the way. 


    A sweet fun fairytale-ish read.


    Rating: 5 flowers


    Friday, October 13, 2017

    TLC Book Tours Book Review: Unforgivable Love

    About Unforgivable Love


    • Paperback: 528 pages
    • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 26, 2017)

    A People Magazine October pick!

    "A dazzlingly dark and engaging tale full of heartbreak, treachery, and surprise.” - Kirkus

    In this vivid reimagining of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it’s the summer when Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier and a sweltering stretch has Harlem’s elite fleeing the city for Westchester County’s breezier climes, two predators stalk amidst the manicured gardens and fine old homes.

    Heiress Mae Malveaux rules society with an angel’s smile and a heart of stone. She made up her mind long ago that nobody would decide her fate. To have the pleasure she craves, control is paramount, especially control of the men Mae attracts like moths to a flame.

    Valiant Jackson always gets what he wants—and he’s wanted Mae for years. The door finally opens for him when Mae strikes a bargain: seduce her virginal young cousin, Cecily, who is engaged to Frank Washington. Frank values her innocence above all else. If successful, Val’s reward will be a night with Mae.

    But Val secretly seeks another prize. Elizabeth Townsend is fiercely loyal to her church and her civil rights attorney husband. Certain there is something redeemable in Mr. Jackson. Little does she know that her worst mistake will be Val’s greatest triumph.


    Purchase Links


    HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

    Review: Dangerous Liasions (Les Liasions Dangereuses) is one of my favorite classic novels and it is one of my favorite movies.

    I loved the idea of reimagining this story for modern times.

    It has been a long time since a book has blown me away, but this one did that.

    It was perfection.

    Really, it was.

    I loved the name she chose for the male lead. (You really can't call him a hero) Valiant...in the original book was de Valmont.

    ~sigh~

    This book was just as sexy as the original and fabulously written.

    Rating: 5 flowers (and then some)

    About Sophfronia Scott


    Sophfronia Scott hails from Lorain, Ohio. She was a writer and editor at Time and People magazines before publishing her first novel, All I Need to Get By. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard. Her short stories and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and son.

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

    Thursday, October 12, 2017

    TLC Book Tours Book Review: Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery

    About Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery


    • Paperback: 320 pages
    • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 10, 2017)

    It's the most wonderful time of the year… and the perfect moment to escape to a charming English village! From the beloved author whose novels are "sheer indulgence from start to finish" (SOPHIE KINSELLA) comes a delightful holiday story — funny, heartfelt, romantic and packed with recipes — perfect for the winter months.

    In the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne, the Christmas season has arrived. It’s a joyous time for family, friends, and feasting, as decorations sparkle along the town’s winding streets and shop windows glow with festive displays. And in Polly’s Little Beach Street Bakery, the aroma of gingerbread cookies and other treats tempts people in from the cold.

    Though Polly is busy keeping up with the demands of the season, she still makes time for her beekeeper boyfriend, Huckle. She’s especially happy to be celebrating the holiday this year with him, and can’t wait to cuddle up in front of the fireplace with a cup of eggnog on Christmas Eve.

    But holiday bliss soon gives way to panic when a storm cuts the village off from the mainland. Now it will take all of the villagers to work together in order to ensure everyone has a happy holiday.

    Full of heart and humor, Jenny Colgan’s latest novel is an instant Christmastime classic.

    Purchase Links

    HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

    Review: I <3 bakery="" beach="" colgan.="" jenny="" love="" nbsp="" p="" series.="" st="" the="">
    More so, I love Polly and Huckle. I've followed this series from the very first book. I totally adore Neil the puffin, too. I can't forget Neil.

    I can't even begin to say how much I love these characters and when you add a Christmas setting, well that makes this book darn near perfect.

    As always, things go wrong in the days leading up to the holiday and that is what is makes these stories so heartwarming and fun. There's always some fun conflict.

    I plan to read this book over again closer to the holiday to stay in the spirit.

    Rating: 5 flowers

    About Jenny Colgan


    Jenny Colgan is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Bookshop on the Corner, Little Beach Street Bakery, and Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

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

    Wednesday, October 11, 2017

    TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Sweet Life

    About The Sweet Life

    • Print Length: 225 pages
    • Publisher: Lyrical Press (September 19, 2017)
    In Italy, the best attractions are always off the beaten path . . .

    Mamie Weber doesn’t know why she survived that terrible car accident five years ago. Physically, she has only a slight reminder—but emotionally, the pain is still fresh. Deep down she knows her husband would have wanted her to embrace life again. Now she has an opportunity to do just that, spending two weeks in Tuscany reviewing a tour company for her employer’s popular travel guide series. The warmth of the sun, the centuries-old art, a villa on the Umbrian border—it could be just the adventure she needs.
    But with adventure comes the unexpected . . . like discovering that her entire tour group is made up of aging ex-hippies reminiscing about their Woodstock days. Or finding herself drawn to the guide, Julian, who is secretly haunted by a tragedy of his own, and seems to disapprove any time she tries something remotely risky—like an impromptu scooter ride with a local man.
    As they explore the hilltop towns of Tuscany, Mamie knows that when this blissful excursion is over, she’ll have to return to reality. But when you let yourself wander, life can take some interesting detours . . .
    “Struth has a gift for layering stories within stories while keeping them all connected.”—Library Journal
    “The plot is refreshing and will definitely keep the reader turning page after page.”—Fresh Fiction, SHARE THE MOON
    “Sharon Struth writes a good story about love and loss. She knows her characters and has a path she wants them to take.”—Eye on Romance
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    Purchase Links

    Amazon | iBooks | Google | Kobo


    Review: This was a sweet book. Mamie is joining a group of people that went to Woodstock on a trip to Tuscany. She lost her husband and daughter 5 years previously and has pretty much given up on living.

    This trip is giving her a chance to start living again. On the trip she meets handsome tour director, Julian who has his own issues.

    This is wonderful story of second chances at life and at love with some secrets tossed in for good measure.

    Both Mamie and Julian have had some pretty horrific things happen to them in their recent past, and for Julian even back to his youth.

    They both need to start living again in different ways and they need to come to terms with the past. For Mamie, it is embracing new challenging things, that are sometimes a bit dangerous.  Julian is the exact opposite. He's had enough danger. He wants to put his past behind him

    Mamie is taking the trip to Tuscany in place of her uncle. Therein starts the drama, as the tour group wasn't informed of the switch.

    This is where Julian starts his change too. By allowing Mamie on the tour, he is starting to take risks again, just as Mamie is by simply being there. It also begins a rather unlikely and sweet romance.

    Sharon doesn't make the romance the be all and end all of the story, though it is definitely an important part of what's happening between the two characters. Its the backdrop of Italy and group of aging hippies that all went to Woodstock that are taking the tour that really bring this story to life.

    There is one scene where the tour bus stops for the group to take photos of a field of sunflowers. It is something that you can visualize perfectly and when you do, you desperately want to be there.

    Sharon makes both Mamie and Julian characters that need something the other has to offer and when they start to come together you see that they really complete each other and you know they have to find a way to be together.

    This is a simply beautiful story.

    Rating: 5 flowers







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    Wednesday, October 4, 2017

    TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Other Alcott

    About The Other Alcott


    • Paperback: 432 pages
    • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 5, 2017)

    Named one of POPSUGAR's 25 Books to Read This Fall!

    Elise Hooper’s debut novel conjures the fascinating, untold story of May Alcott—Louisa’s youngest sister and an artist in her own right.

    We all know the story of the March sisters, heroines of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. But while everyone cheers on Jo March, based on Louisa herself, Amy March is often the least favorite sister. Now, it’s time to learn the truth about the real “Amy”, Louisa’s sister, May.

    Stylish, outgoing, creative, May Alcott grows up longing to experience the wide world beyond Concord, Massachusetts. While her sister Louisa crafts stories, May herself is a talented and dedicated artist, taking lessons in Boston, turning down a marriage proposal from a well-off suitor, and facing scorn for entering what is very much a man’s profession.

    Life for the Alcott family has never been easy, so when Louisa’s Little Women is published, its success eases the financial burdens they’d faced for so many years. Everyone agrees the novel is charming, but May is struck to the core by the portrayal of selfish, spoiled “Amy March.” Is this what her beloved sister really thinks of her?

    So May embarks on a quest to discover her own true identity, as an artist and a woman. From Boston to Rome, London, and Paris, this brave, talented, and determined woman forges an amazing life of her own, making her so much more than merely “The Other Alcott.”

    “Elise Hooper’s thoroughly modern debut gives a fresh take on one of literature’s most beloved families. To read this book is to understand why the women behind Little Women continue to cast a long shadow on our imaginations and dreams. Hooper is a writer to watch!”—Elisabeth Egan, author of A Window Opens

    Purchase Links


    HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

    Review: I feel like I missed out. I love reading but I've never read the Little House books or Little Women. I'm not sure how that has happened, but I plan to rectify it sometime soon.

    This book focuses on May Alcott, Louisa's younger sister, who is also the inspiration for Amy March.

    This was a wonderful book especially for fans of Little Women.

    As a person who has never read the book, and yes, I hang my head in shame when I say that, this is a book that made me very curious about Louisa's life and that of her sister. This is a book that required me to google quite a bit as I turned the pages, and for me that's the mark of a great historical novel. If I'm intrigued enough to fact check and try to learn more, then it is a good book


    Rating: 5 flowers

    About Elise Hooper


    Though a New Englander by birth (and at heart), Elise Hooper lives with her husband and two young daughters in Seattle, where she teaches history and literature.

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

    Tuesday, October 3, 2017

    TLC Book Tours Book Review: Caroline Little House Revisited

    About Caroline


    • Hardcover: 384 pages
    • Publisher: William Morrow (September 19, 2017)

    A September Indie Next Pick

    One of Refinery29's Best Reads of September

    In this novel authorized by the Little House Heritage Trust, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.

    In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

    The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

    For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.

    Purchase Links


    HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

    Review:  I hang my head in shame and say I never read the original Little House books. I didn't read a lot of books that most young people read. I jumped from Richard Scarry and Little Golden Books straight to adult fiction, it seems.

    I do however remember the tv series and I think that was what intrigued me and made me want to read this book.

    It was an easy and enjoyable read, told from Caroline Ingall's point of view. I felt the pain of her leaving her home and some of the things she loved to move to Kansas, while pregnant, no less.

    I can't imagine making a trip such as this, with two small children in tow and in a wagon.

    Yikes!

    Reading this for me was like reading any historical novel that took place as people were settling west. It was an enjoyable read, but you really do have to know something of "Little House" to fully appreciate it, because there wasn't a lot of action.

    It seemed sad that they uprooted house and home and only stayed in Kansas for a year.

    I was truly surprised that a woman as fearful of Indians would have agreed to make the journey without putting up a fight. I know that in that time, the husband had the final say in most things, but her feelings towards Indians were very strong.

    The Christmas spent in Kansas with their neighbor Edwards was so heartwarming and bittersweet. Regardless of how well you know "Little House" this part of the book will bring a tear to your eyes.

    Caroline is a hard woman at times, but she's a good wife and mother, doing her best with what she has. You see some changes in her, especially when she and Charles have to rescue Mr. Scott and then later when his wife aids in her child-birthing.

    I read this book in one day. I simply couldn't put it down. I have now put all the Little House books on my TBR pile.

    Rating: 5 flowers



    About Sarah Miller


    Sarah Miller began writing her first novel at the age of ten, and has spent the last two decades working in libraries and bookstores. She is the author of two previous historical novels, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller and The Lost Crown. Her nonfiction debut, The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century, was hailed by the New York Times as "a historical version of Law & Order." She lives in Michigan.

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

    Bewitching Book Tours Book Review: Halloween Is Murder





    Halloween is Murder
    McKinley Mysteries
    Book 11
    Carolyn Arnold

    Published by: Hibbert and Stiles
    Publishing Inc.

    Genre: Cozy Mystery

    Pages: 154
    Word Count: 38,534

    Release Date: October 3, 2017

    Book Description:

    Beware of all that goes bump in the night…

    Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.

    But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinley’s to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.

    As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.


    Kobo             Google Play          Goodreads



    Excerpt from chapter 2 of Halloween is Murder (McKinley Mysteries)

    Chapter 2

    SHOCKING TURN OF EVENTS

    IT WAS NEARING SIX O’CLOCK in the evening, and Sean and Sara were home in their media room on a large sectional couch, getting ready to watch their spotlight on the evening news with some friends and colleagues. They’d left the haunted house in the hands of some capable employees, who would be posted there until closing at eight.
    Jimmy Voigt, their former sergeant when they worked for the Albany PD, also worked for them at the PI firm. He was on the couch next to his girlfriend, Meredith, for the viewing. Sara had told Sean more than once that it was a match made in heaven. He was pretty sure he’d rolled his eyes every time. Not because he didn’t believe in love—he was married to his soul mate—but he just found it hard to picture his former boss whispering sweet nothings to a lady love.
    Helen was seated at the other end of the sectional, and Mia was on the floor at her feet, still dressed up as a princess. She really was a good kid—as far as kids went anyway. And it’s not that Sean had anything against children, but for now, he and Sara had decided they weren’t going to have any. And honestly, it was probably for the best, as they traveled a lot and solving crimes didn’t leave much free time.
    “I’m going to be on TV.” Mia’s face lit up as she grinned. “I can’t wait!” She seemed more excited about this than she had been at the announcement that pizza was for dinner. Mia stared at the muted television. “That lady was so pretty.”
    By “that lady,” Sean assumed she meant Chloe Parsons. Sean had to agree that based on appearances and initial impressions, she was good-looking. But he didn’t understand why she took such issue with Susannah when she didn’t want to talk.
    Mia turned to Sara and flashed another smile. “You looked great, too.”
    “Thank you.” Sara returned the smile and swept her long brown hair over her left shoulder. “Did you have fun today?”
    “Oh yeah. My favorite part was the mummy.”
    “That didn’t scare you?” Sara laced her voice with concern but couldn’t hide the underlying amusement.
    Mia’s expression faded, and her eyes enlarged. She nodded. “I was, but I like to be scared. And I love mummies!” She bounded to her feet and jumped onto her mother’s lap. Helen let out a whoosh of air but quickly recovered.
    “It’s the other kind of mummy, though, sweetheart.” Helen ran a hand over her daughter’s silky hair.
    “Oh, it’s almost time,” Meredith said, obviously getting swept up in Mia’s enthusiasm.
    Sean looked at the digital clock on the cable box: 5:59.
    “It’s on!” Jimmy said, sitting up straighter.
    Sean turned up the sound and sank back into the couch, putting an arm around his wife.
    Mia wriggled on her mother’s lap.
    “Come on, honey, back on the floor.” Helen’s voice strained with the desperation of her plea.
    Sean smiled, not because of the woman’s discomfort but because he loved seeing how excited Mia was.
    “My costume was the best. They have to show me!” The little girl’s eyes were wide and fixed on the screen.
    “You are a beautiful little princess,” Sean said.
    Mia glared at him. “I’m not little.” She held up both hands, fingers splaying as she counted them off. “I’m six.”
    “My apologies,” he said with a slight bow of his head.
    Sara laced her fingers with his, and he met her gaze, which said, You’re aren’t the best with kids…
    Message received.
    “Shh.” This came from Jimmy, and when Sean turned to look at him, he shrugged. “You want to hear it, don’t you?”
    Sean increased the volume a bit more.
    “We have some somber news this evening,” a chic reporter announced from the news desk. Based on the set of her mouth and the sad look in her eyes, she wasn’t reading from a script. “Your Source has just received word that one of our own has died.”
    Sara tapped her fingers on the back of his, leaned in, and whispered, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
    He didn’t look over at her, but his wife had this way of sensing things. He wouldn’t label her clairvoyant, but she certainly had strong intuition.
    “Tonight, we say good-bye to”—the reporter, while she kept her tone modulated, was clearly battling with her emotions—“Chloe Parsons.”

    The news was a sledgehammer to his chest, knocking the wind out of him.



    What to Expect from the McKinley Mysteries

    Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

    About the Author:

    CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

    Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

    Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

    She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

    Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:





    And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters .


    Review: I love seasonal books. I really love Halloween stories, cos I love mysteries and spooky stuff. 

    This was a fabulous cozy.  It was a quick and fun read that is perfect for lovers of the genre. Its the kind of book you can read easily in an afternoon, and it will definitely get you in the mood for the holiday.

    Rating: 5 flowers

    Monday, October 2, 2017

    TLC Book Tours Book Review: Thief's Mark

    Author: Carla Neggers
    Title: Thief's Mark
    Publisher: Mira
    Publish Date: Aug 29, 2017
    Book Blurb: A murder in a quiet English village, long-buried secrets and a man's search for answers about his traumatic past entangle FBI agents Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan in the latest edge-of-your-seat Sharpe & Donovan novel

    As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.

    Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma's grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York's country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.

    As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver's account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver's small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the US, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again.

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    Review: I have a tendency to job head first into a series, with whatever book I find first. This was not a 100% of a good idea with this series, as the lives of most of the characters are pretty complicated. However it didn't take me long to get into the story, which I loved, even though the pacing was very slow.

    I loved the setting and more than that I loved Emma and Colin. I like stories with established relationships. The book opens as Emma and Colin are finishing up their honeymoon. Even better, as the story goes along, I learned Emma was once a nun! I really have to go back and read the earlier books, just to learn how she came to marry Colin.  This is the seventh installment of the Sharpe and Donovan series.

    There are so many characters in this intricate mystery, that involves a thirty year old murder and a child, who was kidnapped and is now a grown man, turned art thief, turned MI5 informant. Oliver reminds me a bit of Neal Caffery from White Collar. He's a criminal but he's lovable. You can definitely understand why Henrietta has feelings she's trying to hide from him.

    Most of the action takes place in the last quarter of the book. Its a slow buildup, kind of like a children's toy that you wind up and then let it loose. Once the action starts, it doesn't stop and the end results definitely aren't what you are likely expecting.

    I liked the complexity of the secondary characters that really felt more like main characters; Martin, Ruthie, Henrietta, and Finian to name but a few and of course the dog, Alfred, named after Batman's butler.

    The setting is fabulous. I really hope to get the other books so that this series will pull together for me.

    Rating: 5 flowers





    Friday, September 29, 2017

    Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Book Review: Evita, My Argentina


    Evita...My Argentina by Helen R. Davis

    Publication Date: February 10, 2017
    Custom Book Publications
    eBook & Paperback; 228 Pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical
    EVITA … My Argentina Evita Perón tells her own spectacular story. Tracing her life back to her humble beginnings, when she is abandoned by her father, Evita takes the reader on her journey to become an actress and later, to the pivotal moment when she meets Colonel Juan Perón. Never content to stay in her husband’s shadow, Evita reveals how she shares his belief that Peronism will help the working class. Eventually she begins doing work on her own as the president of the Society of Benevolence, helping the poor and winning the peoples’ trust. As the times change and women get the vote, Evita becomes even more powerful, running the Ministries of Labor and Health, starting a foundation, and organizing the first female party, The Female Peronist Party. A larger-than-life story, told in her own fictional words, the powerful novel is as educational as it is entertaining.

    Amazon | Barnes & Noble

    Review: I have to say, Evita has intrigued me since I first listened to the musical back in my high school days. I'll even go as far as to admit to having the songs from the musical in my head as I read the book.

    I learned quite a bit from this book. Up until this book, I had only found one biography. This book really made me want to learn much more about this woman who is very much a modern mystery.

    It's told from Eva's point of view and in some ways that was a little detrimental to the story. Eva's voice didn't come across as strong, but rather more childish and immature. The book definitely could have been longer. Eva lived a lot in her 33 years.

    Eva Peron is a cross between good and evil, depending on what you read. There are hints of Eva's darker side, and how anyone that was a threat to Peronism disappeared, but for the most part, this book painted Eva as Santa Evita.

    From what I've read Ms. Davis did a very good at giving the details of Eva's life, but there was a lot that I felt was omitted. (One of the reasons I found the book to be a bit too short) I expected more about her relationship with Juan. I couldn't imagine Evita telling the story of her life without telling of her relationship with her husband. Also, from everything I read, Eva was totally unaware that she had cancer.

    The one thing that really stuck me about Eva was how hard she worked for the poor people, regardless of whether it was done to make her look good, or if she really was the humanitarian. I hadn't heard of her children's city, until I read this.

    This was an enjoyable read and a good book for Evita fans to read.

    Rating: 4 flowers




    About the Author

    Helen R. Davis is an American author. Her first novel, Evita: My Argentina was previously published as Evita: My Life and republished with Custom Book Publications in Hong Kong. Her second novel, CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED, which is the first in a series, imagines a world in which Antony and Cleopatra, rather than Augustus Caesar, are the victors of the Battle of Actium. the sequel, CLEOPATRA VICTORIOUS, will be released soon, followed by the titles CLEOPATRA MAGNIFICA and CLEOPATRA TRIUMPHANT. Her third novel, or at least, her third historical novel/alternate history, THE MOST HAPPY, will be published with Callipe Editorial, based out of Madrid Spain, on July 25th, 2017. For more information, please visit Helen Davis' website. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

    Blog Tour Schedule

    Monday, September 25 Interview at Passages to the Past
    Tuesday, September 26 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective (The Most Happy) Wednesday, September 27 Review at A Bookish Affair Guest Post at A Holland Reads
    Thursday, September 28 Review at Pursuing Stacie (Cleopatra Unconquered)
    Friday, September 29 Review at A Chick Who Reads (Evita)
    Review at 100 Pages a Day (The Most Happy)
    Monday, October 2 Review at Must Read Faster (The Most Happy)
    Tuesday, October 3 Review at Book Nerd (Evita)
    Wednesday, October 4 Review at Tudor Enthusiast (The Most Happy)
    Thursday, October 5 Review at Faery Tales Are Real (The Most Happy)
    Friday, October 6 Review at Pursuing Stacie (The Most Happy)

    Giveaway

    During the Blog Tour we will be giving away eBooks of Cleopatra Unconquered & Evita...My Argentina & a paperback of The Most Happy! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to residents in the US only. – 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. Helen R. Davis

    Monday, September 25, 2017

    Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Crepe Factor





    CREPE FACTORCrepe Factor by Laura Childs with Terry Farley Moran

    Cozy Mystery 14th in Series Berkley (October 3, 2017) 
    Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages 
    ISBN-13: 978-0425266717 
    E-Book ASIN: B01AHKY37I
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    Synopsis
    The Winter Market in the French Quarter is in full swing, but murder isn’t taking a holiday in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Parchment and Old Lace...
    The holidays are a busy time for scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand—but not so hectic that she doesn’t have time to enjoy browsing the booths at the Winter Market with her best friend Ava. The last thing the ladies expect to see is a lurching man stabbed by a serving fork, dying in front of them.
    The victim is loathed restaurant critic Martin Lash, who posted his scathing reviews on the Glutton for Punishment website. And the prime suspect is New Orleans restauranteur Quigg Brevard—who was seen giving the critic a tongue-lashing minutes before someone stuck a fork in him. An old flame of Carmela, Quigg asks for her help, which does not please her current beau, Detective Edgar Babcock, to say the least.
    Before her relationship is the next victim, Carmela needs to find a murderer who had no reservations about punishing the culinary curmudgeon...
    Scrapbooking tips and recipes included!

    Review:  Laura Childs is an author that I usually read when I find her books. I usually get them at the library, so I've seldom read any of them in order. I've read book 1 and 3 in this particular series, and I have to say, I 'm a huge fan of Carmela and Ava. Carmela is more conservative in dress, whereas I see Ava as being a southern version of Fran Drescher's Nanny.

    These two women are the type of people you'd want to have as friends. They are always going out and eating at fabulous restaurants and drinking loads of wine or "refreshing beverages". I don't know how they aren't hungover most of the time!

    As always, Laura brings NOLA to life. The reader really feels like they are in New Orleans, seeing the sights and smelling all the good food that seems to be everywhere in this story. I also really longed to be crafty when I read these books, because all the fabulous things that get made at Carmela's Memory Mine Scrapbook Shop seem so beautiful and fabulous.

    I love the foodie aspect of this story and the characters are super quirky and fun. The murder happened at a winter carnival and the victim was a food critic/environmentalist, who was hated by one and all. The prime suspect, is an ex of Carmela's, Quigg. Even though she's dating Babcock, she gets roped into investigating the murder, and things heat up with Quigg.

    Carmela's investigation gets her into trouble with the Detective and she manages to find another dead body. (As if seeing Martin Lash with a fork in his neck wasn't enough!)

    There was a point in the story where I knew who was involved in the killing, but it wasn't completely obvious.

    I had such fun reading this one, there were plenty of laugh out loud moments and the ending will definitely get you excited for the next book.


    Rating: 5 flowers



    laura childs from facebookAbout The Authors
    Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.
    Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:
    The Tea Shop Mysteries - set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.
    The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!
    terrie farley moranThe Cackleberry Club Mysteries - set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.
    Laura’s Links: Webpage - http://www.laurachilds.com/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/laura.childs.31
    Short-listed twice for The Best American Mystery Stories, Terrie Farley Moran is delighted to introduce mystery fans to the Read ’Em and Eat café and bookstore, which debuted with Well Read, Then Dead. followed by Caught Read-Handed and Read to Death released in July of this year.  The only thing Terrie enjoys more than wrangling mystery plots into submission is playing games and reading stories with any or all of her grandchildren.
    Terrie’s Links: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terrie.moran.9 Blog:  www.womenofmystery.net Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/23186092-terrie-moran  

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