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Hi Everybody!

I apologize for the sporadic discussions. There are lots of reasons but no really good ones! I’ll try to get better. I think one reason could be that I did a year of discussions and am a little burnt out. I will work on it. Today I am drinking a dark chocolate hot chocolate. It’s cold here in the NorthWest and I need something to keep me warm!

Today I am drinking a dark chocolate hot chocolate. It’s cold here in the NorthWest and I need something to keep me warm!

What are you drinking?

I’ve read enough cozy mysteries in the last couple of years I now consider myself a connoisseur of cozy mysteries. What makes a cozy mystery a cozy mystery? An even more ironic question how is murder cozy! So the first component of a cozy is that they usually involve murders.

The next thing you can expect from a cozy is cheesy titles like Meet your Baker by Ellie Alexandar. I’m not making fun of the title I love it! It’s part of the fun in a cozy. For me the more clever the title the better!

The cozy mystery usually has an amateur sleuth who has ties to the local law enforcement and has an uncanny ability to somehow get involved in various murders. There is usually a romantic factor. A romantic triangle makes it even juicier. The triangle is not necessary in the cozy but it adds a fun factor.

Cozies are usually clean but not always. I like the more family friendly cozies I get a little put off with edgier main characters. I feel like authors that add edge to their characters like crass talk and cussing are going against the unspoken cozy code of clean fun. I feel like they are rebellious and need a good spanking or a time out in a corner for bad behavior. That is more personal preference.

In the end, Cozies are just fun mysteries that tend to be tongue in cheek. They are easy fun reads and finding a good series of cozy is even better!

What are your thoughts on Cozy Mysteries?

 

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Review – Fudge and Jury by Ellie Alexander

Review – Fudge and Jury by Ellie AlexanderFudge and Jury (A Bakeshop Mystery, #5) by Ellie Alexander
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
Source: Purchased Amazon
Goodreads
Amazon

Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bakery where the pastries are delicious…and, now, suspicious.
It’s almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin’ at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules’ team whips up crèpes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year’s confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn’t be sweeter—unless murder taints the batter.
Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die for—literally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead…right after sampling a slice of Jules’ decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tries to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?

Jules is back and busier than ever getting torte ready for Ashland’s annual chocolate festival. All is going well until Even Rowe ends up dying after eating Jule’s chocolate cake. Murder always puts a wrench in the plans and Jules is at it again to get to the bottom of the mysterious death. Teamed up with her torte team and the other locals in Ashland Jules is out to find the truth.

In an Oyster Shell – My favorite book in the series so far!

The Pearls –  I am not sure why but this book became my favorite in the series. I think that it has something to do with the nice rhythm and routine you can expect from a Bakeshop Mystery. Jules trying to better Torte, a murder to solve, and all the wonderful, quirky characters that are in the mix. It’s like coming home again. I think another reason that I loved this particular book so much was it had a lot do with one of my staple food groups… Chocolate!

I can’t write a review about this series and not talk about my favorite character Lance. He’s kind of like Jules uninvited sidekick. He’s funny, yet serious to help Jules find the truth. In this book, you see a little vulnerability in Lance that you don’t usually see. It’s refreshing and probably another reason I really liked this book.

The other characters seem to be stronger than ever. Jule’s Torte team, her mom, the professor and of course Thomas. Which brings me to the inevitable topic of this series, the romance. There’s a twist in this book in the epic love triangle between Jule’s, Thomas, and Carlos. The plot thickens that’s all I can say.

How the romance will go is even more of a mystery than the murders Jule faces. I wonder if she would rather face the murders! Ha! It’s a fun facet of the series that I wasn’t thrilled about at first but its grown on me. I can’t wait to see how it ends up!

The Sand – It’s the best book in the series thus far. Impeccable execution of the story.

5 Pearls!

 

4.5 Stars

About Ellie Alexander

Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her blog at

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Review – The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

Review – The Bookstore by Deborah MeylerThe Bookstore by Deborah Meyler
Published by Gallery Books on August 20th 2013
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 352
Goodreads
Amazon

A witty, sharply observed debut novel about a young woman who finds unexpected salvation while working in a quirky used bookstore in Manhattan.Impressionable and idealistic, Esme Garland is a young British woman who finds herself studying art history in New York. She loves her apartment and is passionate about the city and her boyfriend; her future couldn’t look brighter. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.
Esme’s boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, is old-money rich, handsome, successful, and irretrievably damaged. When he dumps Esme—just before she tries to tell him about the baby—she resolves to manage alone. She will keep the child and her scholarship, while finding a part-time job to make ends meet. But that is easier said than done, especially on a student visa.
The Owl is a shabby, second-hand bookstore on the Upper West Side, an all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters: handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke; Chester, who hyperventilates at the mention of Lolita; George, the owner, who lives on protein shakes and idealism; and a motley company of the timeless, the tactless, and the homeless. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her? Even when Mitchell, repentant and charming, comes back on the scene?
A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them, The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.

The world is Esme Garland’s oyster. The possibilities are endless a British student in New York city. That is until she finds out she is pregnant. When she goes to tell the father he dumps her. After figuring out that she is keeping the baby she endeavors to go it alone. She finds employment at a quirky used bookstore, The Owl. The father comes back into the scene. In the end the bookstore becomes her saving grace.

In an Oyster Shell- I am so disappointed that I spent money on this book.

The Pearls – The concept was interesting. Centered around a bookstore that becomes Esme’s safe place is one of the few redeeming qualities of the book.

The setting was really interesting. I feel that the author really did justice to New York city. There were lots of restaurants and places that were mentioned in the book. It made the book come alive.

The supporting characters added a nice depth to the story. More competent than the main character. The author gave the supporting characters quirky attributes that made the read more interesting.

The Sand –  The protagonist did not show much growth in the story. She didn’t learn from her mistakes. It was quite frustrating. This is the most bland character I’ve read in a long time. She chose to stay in an emotionally abusive relationship. When it was over she still pined for the guy. It was disappointing and aggravating, The ending was anti-climatic.

3 Stars

About Deborah Meyler

I was born in the grim but friendly north, in Manchester, within sight and hearing and inhalation distance of the M62, one of the busiest motorways in the country. You can also see the Pennine hills from my bedroom window, which is still my bedroom window because my mum still lives there.

Things ticked along merrily for 17 years and then I went to Trinity College, Oxford. I chose it because the photograph in the Oxford handbook looked nice. I didn’t think I had a chance of getting in really, and nor, encouragingly, did my teachers. I like to think they thought that this was more about class and previous lack of good schooling than innate dimness.

More later…

Now, where was I. Oh yes, I went to Oxford, and it was immensely pleasurable. I fell in love, and remain in love, with Oxford. So let me plunge headlong into the cliche of Brideshead, and quote Evelyn Waugh, where Charles is talking of the texts he has neglected; “I remember no syllable of them now, but the other, more ancient, lore which I acquired that term will be with me in one shape or another to my last hour.”

After Oxford I did an M.Phil at St Andrews University, under the supervision of Phillip Mallett. It was on the commodification of women in late nineteenth century American fiction, supposedly, but actually became a thesis on Edith Wharton. St Andrews is another place that it is easy to fall headlong for.

Next I won a scholarship from The Guardian to go to City University, to do a post-graduate diploma in journalism. And after that I messed up a bit by coming to America, where my husband had been offered a job by Cambridge University Press. I wasn’t allowed to work at first, which caused some loneliness, but then I got a job in a bookshop, and all was well.

After that I had three babies, and decided, in my great folly, that it was a good idea to stay off work entirely while they were little, and so resent them wildly for the atrophying of my mind. I’m kidding. I didn’t resent them. I did resent the piety and wrongheadedness that made me think it was a good idea to opt out of working entirely – it works for lots of women but I found it very very hard.

I don’t know if this autobiography is too long, but I am enjoying myself. My two older children got bigger and went to school. I put my littlest daughter into nursery for two hours or so a day, and decided I would write in good earnest. I wrote a book that is under my bed, because I was just warming up and it is all right but not quite good enough, and then I wrote The Bookstore. I enjoyed writing it hugely, despite the difficulty of overcoming idleness every day. Through the very kind offices of a friend named Siobhan Garrigan, I got an agent, who is a tremendously wise person despite her great youth, and she took it from there. Now I am organising my thoughts and ideas for a new book.

I work part time in a parish church in the middle of Cambridge.

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Review -How to Get Over Your Ex in Ninety Days by Jennifer PeelHow to Get Over Your Ex in Ninety Days by Jennifer Peel
on December 26th 2016
Pages: 240
Goodreads
Amazon

How to Get Over Your Ex in Ninety Days
• Break off all contact for ninety days.• Stay away from social media.• Remember all the things you liked to do when you were single and revisit those activities.• Think carefully about starting any new romantic attachments. • Wine, lots of wine. No, don’t. It could end badly. • Be mindful of anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. • Remind yourself it takes ninety days for your mind to switch gears and picture your life in a new direction.
Presley Benson thinks she found the perfect plan to get over her ex-boyfriend, Jackson Montgomery. All she needs is ninety days. There’s a problem, though. Jackson Montgomery is the newly appointed vice principal of Riverton High School where she teaches drama.
And oh yeah, he wants her back.
So what’s a girl to do? Stick with the plan of course.

Presley Benson is ready to join her friends in wedded bliss. She is eager to get her proposal, instead gets a break-up. Thanks to her friend Capri’s obsession with internet articles, they come up with a plan to get Presley over Jackson in ninety days. The plan calls for total deprivation of the person you are trying to get over. The hic-up in the plan is Jackson is the vice principal for the school Presley works for. Another wrench in the plan is Jackson wants her back.

In an Oyster Shell – A cute and creative romance, one  would expect from Jennifer Peel.

The Pearls – It was a cute and creative story. It’s not often that a man breaks up with a woman and wants her back. It was a fun twist on a break-up. I appreciate Presley’s determination to stick to the plan.

Presley was a lively tenacious character. She had a lot of gull. She also had a lot of curiosity that got her in some interesting entanglements. There were great supporting characters that made for a well-rounded story.

The romance was unique. Presley was fighting Jackson the whole way from getting her back. Jackson stuck to his mark and made for an entertaining romance.

The Sand – It was good.

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About Jennifer Peel

Jennifer Peel is the mother of three amazing kiddos. Wife to her one and only for the past twenty-one years. Lover of late night talks, beach vacations, mountains, pink bubble gum ice cream, tours of model homes, and southern living. She can frequently be found with her laptop on, fingers typing away, indulging in chocolate milk, and writing out the stories that are constantly swirling through her head.

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Review – Unliving the Dream by Sandra Vischer

Review – Unliving the Dream by  Sandra VischerUnliving the Dream by Sandra Vischer
Published by Trill Publishing on March 23, 2016
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 390
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Author

I received this book for free from Kindle Unlimited, Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

Things are darn near perfect for Alex Fisher: she runs a successful business with the love of her life, her husband and the father of her two great kids. She's managed to sail through nearly forty years without so much as a hiccup. That is, until the night her husband announces he would like to make a change-a change that has apparently been going on for months without Alex's knowledge. Yes, he has been having an affair with Alex's assistant. Suddenly Alex is bouncing through divorce, through her daughter's subsequent rebellion, and through the big questions of who she really is and what she wants in life. No longer living the dream, Alex uses her calm logic, internal dialogue, and sizzling wit-not to mention her friends-to turn the shock of a lifetime into an adventure of self-discovery that takes her from the tropical waters of the Caribbean Sea to the Utah wilderness and along the impoverished streets of Peru. In this universal tale, told through Vischer's unique voice, Alex finds that no one escapes unscathed-but we can all have a good laugh and some major personal growth along the way. A humorous, compassionate, and honest look at how the worst time in one's life ultimately leads to unexpected fulfillment and authenticity.

Alex has it all two kids, a successful business, loving husband… or so she thought. She is shocked when her husband admits he’s been having an affair with her assistant and close friend and wants to move out. Eventually, they get a divorce and the dream life Alex has been living has to be totally redefined. As part of the regrouping, she has to deal with her wayward teenage daughter who is going down a destructive path fast. Taking drastic measures to help her changes her and the family dynamics. Will Alex be able to put back the pieces of her broken life and unlive her previous dream?

In an Oyster Shell – This book had a lot going for it and would work for a lot of people. For me, it took more time than usual to read and wasn’t really a book I really enjoyed.

The Pearls – The camaraderie of Alex and her girlfriends set a nice tone in this sometimes bleak book. They were the silver lining in some very strenuous circumstances. Who Alex was with them was nice to see. I liked seeing her prankster side coming out with them.

The passion with which the author wrote was palpable. She was invested in her pages and you can’t help but respect her for that. She tackled some heavy social issues. That alone was commendable. She wasn’t afraid to be raw in her prose.

The idea of the book is encapsulated in the title, Unliving the Dream. Alex was going in one direction and life circumstances brought her somewhere completely different. In the end the different direction became doable after some very tough breaks. The title was ironic and appropriate.

The Sand – It took me over a week to get through this book. That’s unheard of for me. It wasn’t so terrible that I would put it down but I drudged through it. I think the hardest thing for me was Alex made some decisions that were disheartening. She was weak in ways I couldn’t respect.

The other hard thing for me there was a lot of content. The content was disjointed at times. It could go all over the place.  It spanned over years and years. It could have been at least two books.

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t enjoy this book but if you’re a women’s fiction fan you might enjoy it.

3 Pearls!

3 Stars

About Sandra Vischer

I grew up in Palatine, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, the second of four daughters to loving parents, Trudi and Bill, who provided me with an idyllic childhood. While attending Southern Illinois University as an English Lit major, I was also a member of the Famous Writer’s School of Westport, Connecticut, a correspondence school whose faculty included Rod Serling, Bennett Cerf, Max Shulman, and Faith Baldwin. After my junior year and two months abroad, I married my college sweetheart and started working for IBM in the Chicago area.

A year later, we decided to make a change and moved to Portland, Oregon, a place where natural beauty abounds. I continued with IBM for another five years until I decided to be a stay-at-home mom to our son and daughter. Some years later when my kids were in school, my husband and I started a business that created exhibits for museums. Within a year of its beginnings, we were a huge success with prestigious clients like the John Steinbeck Museum in Salinas California, The Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Warm Springs Museum in Warm Springs, Oregon, and the Academy of Achievement in Washington, DC.

While I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was a teenager, life led me into the business world, which was satisfying for my analytical mind, but my dream never died. In my twenties, I’d read a couple of Shirley MacLaine’s books, Don’t Fall Off the Mountain and Out On a Limb (where she’d journeyed to Peru). A long-time admirer of her and her life of adventure and search for spirituality, I felt a kinship with her and her way of being. Back then, many people thought Shirley was a little out there in her beliefs, and yet I totally related! My discovery has continued with writers like James Redfield, Eckhart Tolle, Brené Brown, and for a good laugh, Nancy Meyers!

At the age of 39, I found myself divorced and single parenting. Eventually, with my children grown, I sold my share of the exhibit business and spent my time traveling and writing, just like I’d imagined so many years before. After a devastating 2004 tsunami hit Thailand, I wanted to go there to help. I checked with several organizations and they said what they really needed was money not more people. It was then I decided to merge my desire to follow Shirley’s Peruvian journey of self-discovery with my need to volunteer. I found a New York City based group called Cross Cultural Solutions to facilitate my adventure. In the spring of 2005, I made it happen.

When I returned, I began writing Unliving the Dream. I still live in Portland, still love to travel and spend time with my family, and look forward to life’s next divine lesson.

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Review – Can’t Always Get What You Want by Chelsey KrauseCan't Always Get What You Want by Chelsey Krause
Published by Loveswept on January 13th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 312
Goodreads
Amazon

Fans of Ruthie Knox, Rachel Gibson, and Molly O’Keefe will love this deeply romantic and uplifting debut novel about losing everything you thought you wanted—and getting exactly what you need.
Sophie Richards has been looking forward to a much-needed girls’ night out: a Rolling Stones tribute-band concert, a few drinks, a distraction from her grueling nursing shifts in acute care. But when her best friend bails, Sophie gets stuck with a blind date.
Although Brett Nicholson may be the hottest carpenter alive, and Sophie may technically be single, she isn’t exactly on the market. Six years ago she found The One. He was everything Sophie dreamed a man could be—and then she lost him. In an instant, her whole life changed, and she forgot all about happily ever after.
But as she gets to know Brett, Sophie starts to wonder about the future for the first time. With a broken heart still clouding her mind, jumping into a new relationship feels impossible. When she’s in his arms, walking away feels even harder. Now Sophie faces an impossible choice: living in the past or choosing love in the here and now.
Advance praise for Can’t Always Get What You Want
“Can’t Always Get What You Want is heart-wrenching in all the right ways. Smartly written and emotionally satisfying, this story will stick with you long after the last page.”—USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne
“A sweet, moving story about love and loss, Chelsey Krause’s debut is full of heart.”—Clodagh Murphy, author of Girl in a Spin
“Can’t Always Get What You Want is a delightful mix of humor, heart, and the struggle to move on from past grief. I am definitely looking forward to more books by Chelsey Krause!”—Mary Frame, author of Imperfect Chemistry
“This is a funny, heartfelt story about moving on, a touching debut from a very promising author. Romance lovers looking for both a giggle and a cry will get what they need from Can’t Always Get What You Want.”—Stephanie Pegler, editor, Chicklit Club
“Very romantic . . . I loved this book mainly for Sophie trying to figure out that everyone deserves a second chance at feeling loved again. . . . [I] can’t wait for more from Chelsey Krause.”—Reviews by Melena
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Sophie Richards is looking forward to going to a Rolling Stones tribute band concert. Her best friend bales at the last minute leaving her with a blind date. Sophie hits it off with Brett Nicholson. Sophie is not looking for a relationship so when she hits it off with Brett they agree to be just friends. Quickly friendship is not enough and Sophie finds herself in a relationship. The problem with that is she is not over her last love that died. Fighting with the past will Sophie be able to reconcile to have a future with Brett?

In an Oyster Shell – A poignant story that will leave you emotional at times.

The Pearls – This book evokes a lot of emotion. The author carries the reader through the journey of Sophie’s grief. I feel that the author took a lot of risks in the depth she takes Sophie’s grief. It pays off.

I like the element of Sophie being a nurse. It adds a layer of depth to the story with all of Sophie’s learning experiences.

The characters were expertly crafted. They were memorable. Well-developed characters made for a page-turning story. The characters were complex and had a lot of depth.

The Sand – Sophie being lost in her grief got frustrating and distracting at times.

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About Chelsey Krause

Chelsey Krause has a thing for thrift stores and used bookshops. A nurse, wife, Starbucks addict, and mom to two children, she can often be found repurposing other people’s junk or considering whether the library would let her move in. The rest of the time, she’s reviewing for Chicklit Club or writing. All Shook Up is her second novel.

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Review – King of the Friend Zone by  Sheralyn PrattKing of the Friend Zone (Power of the Matchmaker) by Sheralyn Pratt
Published by Wicked Sassy on August 29, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 351
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Goodreads
Amazon

Esme Taylor has an amazing fiancé, a lifelong best friend, and a problem. The problem stems from the fact that her best friend is named Hunter and, well. . .he’s kind of (totally) hot. It’s hate at first sight when her fiancé, Jon, and Hunter meet. Jon’s convinced that Hunter is in love with Esme, and that Hunter must be out of the picture if their upcoming marriage is to succeed.
Esme thinks Jon is paranoid.
The truth is, Jon’s not that far off. Hunter is in love with his best friend and always has been. What Jon has wrong, however, is that Hunter never had any plans of ruining Esme’s happily ever after. Hunter wants what’s best for Esme, even if that’s not him.
When Jon pushes hard to end Esme and Hunter’s friendship, opposition comes from the most unlikely of places. It’s an eccentric lady with a cookie cart who suggests a different solution to Esme’s problem: Hunter and Esme should give each other a chance.
They’ve both thought of the possibility over the years—of course they have. But with a ring already on Esme’s finger and a heap of hurt feelings and broken trust in the mix, there hasn’t been a worse time to explore the depths of their feelings for each other.
Both Esme and Hunter think it’s time to move on and leave childhood crushes in the past. The question is: Can one woman and the taste of one cookie change their minds?
Note to Reader: This book is a "clean" read with mainstream values and minor language.

Esme Taylor gets engaged. The first person she tells is her life long best friend Hunter. Hunter wants to meet this guy and when he does it does not go over well. Esme’s fiance thinks Hunter is in love with her. Jon wants Hunter out of the picture. Esme thinks he is paranoid little does she know that Jon is right. Hunter has been in love with Esme for forever. Torn between sharing his feelings and ruining Esme’s ever after Hunter finds himself in quite the conflict.

In an Oyster Shell –  It was a well-composed narrative that was beautifully romantic.

The Pearls – It was a lovely romance with a lot of conflict to make me want to keep turning the pages. It was a delicious tension between Esme’s fiance and her best friend Hunter. Hunter did all he could to endure while nursing his broken heart that he may have lost Esme forever.

The story had a lot of depth. There was fullness from the different elements of the story. Esme’s job was interesting and made for a good storyline. Hunter’s life as a firefighter added another element to the story. There were a lot of interesting aspects.

The characters were well-defined and distinctive. My favorite character was Hunter. He was strong and determined. He was a complex character with a lot of redeeming qualities. I liked that the author gave him some learning disabilities it made him more interesting having him work through that conflict.

The Sand – Esme was a selfish naive character that hindered the story at times.

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About Sheralyn Pratt

I like to keep things light and fun, and believe that life is journey so if you’re going to buy a book, your life should better for it. Whether a book I write is intended to help you escape for a few hours or designed to teach you a new skill, I hope you find it unforgettable…in a good way. ;)

Current/Upcoming Titles:
– The Kiss that Launched 1,000 GIFs (June 2015)
– Pimpernel (January 2016)
– Walk of Infamy (Spring 2016)
– King of the Friend Zone (September 2016)
– The Third Wheel (Fall 2016)

About the Rhea Jensen series. I like to tell people, WARNING: This Series Contains Mormons. This series is more mystery/adventure with a dab of romance. HOWEVER, the last book in the series, Walk of Infamy, will be a stand-alone novel and end to the Rhea Jensen series that Pimpernel fans will likely enjoy.

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Blog Tour Spotlight – The Riverman by Alex Gray

The Riverman

by Alex Gray

on Tour January 9 – February 15, 2017

Synopsis:

The Riverman by Alex Gray

Fans of atmospheric police procedurals will love watching Glasgow vividly come to life with the shocking twists and turns that have made Alex Gray an international bestseller

When a dead body is fished out of Glasgow’s River Clyde the morning after an office celebration, it looks like a case of accidental death. But an anonymous telephone call and a forensic toxicology test give Detective Chief Inspector William Lorimer reason to think otherwise. Probing deeper into the life and business of the deceased accountant, a seemingly upright member of the community, Lorimer finds only more unanswered questions.

What is the secret his widow seems to be concealing? Was the international accounting firm facing financial difficulties? What has become of the dead man’s protégé who has disappeared in New York? And when another employee is found dead in her riverside flat these questions become much more disturbing. Lorimer must cope not only with deceptions from the firm, but also with suspicions from those far closer to home . . .

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659138 (ISBN13: 9780062659132)
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

April

THE RIVERMAN

The riverman knew all about the Clyde. Its tides and currents were part of his heritage. His father and others before him had launched countless small craft from the banks of the river in response to a cry for help. Nowadays that cry came in the form of a klaxon that could waken him from sleep, the mobile phone ringing with information about where and when. It wouldn’t be the first time that he’d pulled someone from the icy waters with only a hasty oilskin over his pajamas.

This morning, at least, he’d been up and doing when the call came. The body was over by Finnieston, past the weir, so he’d had to drive over the river towing a boat behind him on the trailer. He was always ready. That was what this job was all about: prompt and speedy response in the hope that some poor sod’s life could be saved. And he’d saved hundreds over the years, desperate people who were trying to make up their mind to jump off one of the many bridges that spanned the Clyde or those who had made that leap and been saved before the waters filled their lungs.

George Parsonage had been brought up to respect his river. Once it had been the artery of a great beating heart, traffic thronging its banks, masts thick as brush-wood. The tobacco trade with Virginia had made Glasgow flourish all right, with the preaching of commerce and the praising of a New World that was ripe for plucking. The names of some city streets still recalled those far-off days. Even in his own memory, the Clyde had been a byword for ships. As a wee boy, George had been taken to the launch of some of the finer products of Glasgow’s shipbuilding industry. But even then the river’s grandeur was fading. He’d listened to stories about the grey hulks that grew like monsters from the deep, sliding along the water, destined for battle, and about the cruise liners sporting red funnels that were cheered off their slipways, folk bursting with pride to be part of this city with its great river.

The romance and nostalgia had persisted for decades after the demise of shipbuilding and cross-river ferries. Books written about the Clyde’s heyday still found readers hankering after a time that was long past. The Glasgow Garden Festival in the eighties had prompted some to stage a revival along the river and more recently there had been a flurry of activity as the cranes returned to erect luxury flats and offices on either side of its banks. Still, there was little regular traffic upon its sluggish dark waters: a few oarsmen, a private passenger cruiser and the occasional police launch. Few saw what the river was churning up on a daily basis.

As he pushed the oars against the brown water, the riverman sent up a silent prayer for guidance. He’d seen many victims of despair and violence, and constantly reminded himself that each one was a person like himself with hopes, dreams and duties in different measure. If he could help, he would. That was what the Glasgow Humane Society existed for, after all. The sound of morning traffic roared above him as he made his way downstream. The speed of response was tempered by a need to row slowly and carefully once the body was near. Even the smallest of eddies could tip the body, filling the air pocket with water and sending it down and down to the bottom of the river. So, as George Parsonage approached the spot where the body floated, his oars dipped as lightly as seabirds’ wings, his eyes fixed on the shape that seemed no more than a dirty smudge against the embankment.

The riverman could hear voices above but his eyes never left the half-submerged body as the boat crept nearer and nearer. At last he let the boat drift, oars resting on the rowlocks as he finally drew alongside the river’s latest victim. George stood up slowly and bent over, letting the gunwales of the boat dip towards the water. Resting one foot on the edge, he hauled the body by its shoulders and in one clean movement brought it in. Huge ripples eddied away from the side as the boat rocked upright, its cargo safely aboard.

The victim was a middle-aged man. He’d clearly been in the water for some hours so there was no question of trying to revive him. The riverman turned the head this way and that, but there was no sign of a bullet hole or any wound that might indicate a sudden, violent death. George touched the sodden coat lightly. Its original camel colour was smeared and streaked with the river’s detritus, the velvet collar an oily black. Whoever he had been, his clothes showed signs of wealth. The pale face shone wet against the pearly pink light of morning. For an instant George had the impression that the man would sit up and grasp his hand, expressing his thanks for taking him out of the water, as so many had done before him. But today no words would be spoken.There would be only a silent communion between the two men, one dead and one living, before other hands came to examine the corpse.

George grasped the oars and pulled away from the embankment. Only then did he glance upwards, nodding briefly as he identified the men whose voices had sounded across the water. DCI Lorimer caught his eye and nodded back. Up above the banking a couple of uniformed officers stood looking down. Even as he began rowing away from the shore, the riverman noticed a smaller figure join the others. Dr. Rosie Fergusson had arrived.

‘Meet you at the Finnieston steps, George,’ Lorimer called out.

The riverman nodded briefly, pulling hard on the oars, taking his charge on its final journey down the Clyde.

Excerpt from The Riverman by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins | WitnessImpulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website 🔗 & on Twitter 🔗.

 

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Blog Tour with Review – Theodora by Christina McKnightTheodora (Lady Archer's Creed Book 1) by Christina McKnight, Amanda Mariel
Published by La Loma Elite Publishing on January 17, 2017
Genres: Regency
Pages: 325
Source: Barclay Publicity

I received this book for free from Barclay Publicity in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Amazon

Friendship…
Lady Theodora Montgomery departed Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality to attend her first London Season—her three dearest friends by her side. With her sharp wit and skill on the archery field, Theo is far more interested in winning a large purse prize than securing a husband. But when she is unmasked on the tourney grounds, her face exposed to all, she fears her identity and days spent gallivanting around London will cause not only her undoing, but the downfall of her friends as well.
Loyalty…
Mr. Alistair Price, heir to the elderly Viscount Melton, arrived in London with his eight younger siblings in tow. He is charged with keeping his family name above reproach until the Season starts and his sister, Miss Adeline Price, is presented to society—though that proves far more difficult than Alistair ever expected when he discovers his rebellious sister climbing down the side of their townhouse and scurrying off to Whitechapel for an archery tournament. His focus remains on saving his family from the certain ruin and disgrace Adeline’s actions invited—until Alistair catches sight of another female archer, her arrow connecting with far more than the center of her target.
And honor above all…
With Theodora’s future—and that of her friends—in jeopardy, will she agree to a marriage devoid of affection, or risk everything for the man who won her heart?
More about the Lady Archer's Creed Series: A love of archery brings four young girls together to form The Lady Archer’s Creed. Through their mutual love of the sport, they solidify an unbreakable bond, and each woman has a unique quality that adds to their dynamic friendship:
Theodora, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book One) Lady Theodora with her sharp mind and love of academics becomes the perfect archery coach. Despite being the last to join their group, and the obvious outcast, she will risk her future for her friends.
Georgina, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Two) Lady Georgina makes the perfect financier. The forgotten daughter of a wealthy duke, she seeks to belong to something—or someone—by any means necessary.
Adeline, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Three) Miss Adeline is a natural leader. Having grown up in a large and often spirited family, she now allows no one to place her in the shadows.
Josephine, Lady Archer’s Creed Series (Book Four) Lady Josephine, having a sweet and impressionable nature, strives to please everyone—and keep their bond intact, even after they return to London for the Season.
Adeline, Georgie, Theo, and Josie live each day by the Lady Archer’s Creed, which they developed during their school days at Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality. “Friendship, loyalty, and honor above all” is their mantra. Now, as they face the challenges that come with adulthood, the creed is more important than ever.

Lady Theodora Montgomery has her brother has one of her only friends until she attends Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality. She finds three friends whom she connects with after they leave. Getting ready for her first London season she is also helping her friends with archery contests. Her friend Adeline Price is also waiting to be presented for her first London season aided by her her brother Mr. Alistair Price. He finds them up to no good with the archery and seeks to stop them before they can start a scandal and ruin their chances at a good match.

In an Oyster Shell – A most excellent and satisfying Regency romance.

The Pearls – Right from the beginning Theodora becomes a character that is vulnerable yet has spunk and you become excited to follow her through her story. The concept of her impeccable archery skills just by applying simple physics and mathematics is genius. At that time women are not known for their sharp mind, it is even discouraged. Having Theodora as an astute academically minded female makes for a great story.

The characters make this book the delectable read that it is. Theodora is more quiet and demure while her friend Adeline is outspoken, rash and determined. Adeline pushes Theodora into circumstances that she would rather avoid. It is pinnacle to the whole story. It also helps that her brother gets involved concerned for Adeline to avoid scandal so she can marry well. This puts Theodora and Alastair together more which becomes the romance of the story.

The romance is sweet and elegant with a touch of scandal which makes it more interesting. Alastair comes to Theodora time and again to find his sister Adeline who keeps disappearing.  It is improper for a gentleman to be in the presence of a lady without being properly introduced to her guardian. Alastair takes the risk again and again to save his sister but ends up developing feelings for Theodora as well. It was everything a regency romance should be.

The Sand – It was a well-written story.

4.5 Pearls!

rating-4_5-pearls

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Jan 16th
I Love Romance – Review
Jen’s Reading Obsession – Spotlight
Kimmie Sue’s Book Review – Review
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Spotlight
Books,Dreams,Life – Spotlight

Jan 17th
Barbara’s Book Reviews – Spotlight
Lisa’s Loves(Books of Course) – Guest Post
Mommabears Book Blog – Spotlight
RoloPoloBookBlog – Spotlight
Sportochick’s Musings – Review
What Is That Book About – Spotlight
Writing Pearls – Review
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Jan 18th
Book Lover in Florida – Spotlight
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Jan 19th
Becky on Books – Guest Post
OMGReads – Spotlight

Jan 20th
It’s All About the Romance – Interview
LadyTechie’s Book Musings – Review
Twinsie Talk – Review
My Book Addiction and More – Guest Post
Those Crazy Book Chicks – Spotlight

About Christina McKnight

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. Currently, she focuses on Historical Romance.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

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Review – The Parking Space by  Angela Christina ArcherThe Parking Space by Angela Christina Archer
Published by Long Valley Press on September 14th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 220
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

After her fiancé leaves her at the altar and a blind date stands her up, Helen Wright is done with love. Married to her real estate career instead, the only thought on her mind is selling a top listed house in San Francisco so she can finally afford the home of her dreams.
After her wealthiest client fires her, Helen's vision of moving away from her cramped apartment and the person stealing her parking space vanishes. Her professional life is now feeling just as pathetic as her love life. So when her best friend, Lisa, informs her that she's getting married in Bora Bora, Helen packs her bags for a much-needed vacation and boards a plane with the excitement of leaving all her Mr. Wrongs behind.
A new practice and a new place to live, those are the only two things that veterinarian Rick Stark needs after finding out his fiancé cheated on him. With his trust in women shattered, he jumps at the chance for the perfect job, leaving San Francisco in the dust. However, while visiting his possible new boss on the islands of Bora Bora, he finds himself in the company of a familiar face---the attractive owner of a patient who he once thought he wasn't interested in.
Could it be that maybe he was wrong about her? And if so, what's he supposed to do when her old flame falls into the picture wanting to rekindle what they once had?

Helen Wright is left at the altar. Left reeling she tries to pick up the pieces by focusing on her Real Estate career. Her wealthy client suddenly drops her and she’s left with nothing. She meets handsome veterinarian Rick Stark. Neither of them are looking for love. Helen heads to Bora Bora when her best friend decides to do a destination wedding. She is much surprised when she runs into Rick. A romance ensues though both are hesitant. Will they be able to put aside their hesitations and find lasting romance?

In an Oyster Shell – A really endearing read that is very poetic in its entirety.

The Pearls –  The action in this book starts right away which engrosses the reader immediately. The book is constant forward motion which keeps the reader engaged.

The romance was the star of this story. It was very romantic and fun. It was creative and inviting. It didn’t hurt that most of the book takes place in Bora Bora which makes for an intriguing setting for the romance.

The ending of this story was epic. It was a very satisfying conclusion. It was ironic what happens and really cute.

The Sand – A good book.

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About Angela Christina Archer

Author of THE WOMAN ON THE PAINTED HORSE, IN THE LAND OF GOLD, WHEN THE BLACK ROSES GROW, AS THE LIQUOR FLOWS, and THE PARKING SPACE.

ALL AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON

Living in a small town in Oklahoma with my husband and two daughters, I spend my days enjoying the outdoors with my family and chasing around two horses, four goats, six chickens, a dog, and two cats. I live life on a farm, milking goats, collecting eggs, and cooking and baking from scratch. It’s hectic, at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Growing up, I always wanted to write a novel. I never believed I could, though, so every time the desire flickered, I shoved the thought from my mind. Burying it deep down and ignoring it until one morning I awoke with the determination to finally follow my dream.

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