Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Review Tour: A Shot Of Murder

Title: A Shot of Murder
Author: Brenda Gayle
Series: Charley Hall Mystery #1 
Pages: 150
Date Published: October 12th, 2020
Publisher: Bowstring Books
Format: Kindle
Genre: Historical Mystery

Synopsis:
In 1948, Charley Hall resents giving up her job as city reporter for the Kingston Tribune to a returning soldier. But her demotion to the women’s pages is the least of her worries since Gran is organizing a surprise birthday party for Charley’s older brother, Freddie. Trouble is, Freddie hasn’t come back from his latest bender. When Charley goes looking for him, she discovers the dead body of a woman, last seen with her brother. Beside the murdered woman is a torn newspaper article about local politician Dan Cannon, who also happens to be Charley’s best friend. To make matters worse, a police detective from Toronto shows up and begins nosing around. Charley is not about to stand by and let her brother nor her friend take a fall for a murder based on circumstantial evidence. Not by a long shot.
~My Thoughts~
Charley prooved to be a sound, intelligent, and determined heroine/main character. 

I loved how in touch with her emotions Charley was. You could feel her frustration with her brother and his shenanigans, but also get the sense of how much she cared about him and how worried she was about him. Family right?

The writing style was different. It was the slow drip of honey off a spoon into a cup of expensive, rich tea. If that makes any sense! You know how when you listen to film stars from early Hollywood where they have the peculiar sort of affluent accent? That was how the voice in my head read this book, and I really enjoyed it! The characters all had their own way of speaking and Charley (Brenda) did an amazing job painting the pictures of all the scenes. 

It was also a very quick read. I was able to polish it off in one baby nap time, which, knowing my son, is not long at all. It was a fun and interestingly witty mystery with a good plot, strong characters, and I'm excited to know that this is a series so I can continue to get to know Charley and company! 
~Try an Excerpt!~

Charley watched the pale liquid trickle into the fine china teacup. She’d have preferred a black coffee—or something stronger—but this afternoon ritual seemed to mean a lot to her grandmother, and despite their differences, her grandmother meant the world to her. When Gran had taken her first sip, Charley went on the offensive. “You fought for a woman’s right to vote. You marched in the streets. You were arrested. You taught me to be strong and independent. How can you not see the injustice in this?”


“You are not being fired from the paper. You are merely being reassigned to a position more suitable to your sex and social standing.”


“I’m not going to take it. I don’t want to get dressed up and go to all these hoity-toity social events—”


Gran had begun to giggle, quietly behind her teacup at first, but now her laughter shook her whole body and she had to put the cup down on the table or risk spilling its contents.


“What is so funny?” 


“You.” Bessie sobered. “As a Stormont, you already get dressed up and go to ‘all these hoity-toity social events.’ John is giving you the opportunity to do more than simply look pretty at them. You can write about who was there and who were the big contributors to whatever charitable cause was being celebrated. You will wield far more clout with the power brokers of Kingston on the women’s pages than you ever could on the city ones.”


“I don’t want to do it,” Charley said.


“Then don’t.” She shrugged and picked up her teacup. “There are many ways to be useful. The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire is always looking for intelligent young women to join our ranks and aid in service to our country.”

~Meet Brenda!~ 
Life is messy and I try to reflect that in my stories while still leaving readers with a feeling of hope. I want them to see themselves and people they know in my characters.

You could say writing is in my genes. My paternal grandmother was a formidable diarist; my father was a journalist and poet; my sister and cousin are both published authors; even my son has shown a talent for putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to tell awesome stories. So, it came as no surprise to anyone when I returned to my love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications–although some might argue there was plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too.

A fan of many genres, I find it hard to stay within the publishing industry’s prescribed boxes. Whether it’s mystery, romantic suspense or women’s fiction—my greatest joy is creating deeply emotional books with memorable characters and compelling stories.
~Website
 Brenda will be awarding a $30Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 19, 2020

Review Tour: Calla by Christina Bauer


 Title: Calla

Author: Christina Bauer
Series: Pixieland Diaries #2
Date Published: July 28th, 2020
Format: Kindle
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Synopsis:
Big news in Pixieland! The Blue Fairy is sending our fave pixie, Calla, and her crush, Dare, on a mini-quest. Unfortunately it’s an adventure that requires a lot of togetherness. We’re talking tons of touching, people.

Blue believes that since Calla and Dare are just friends, then this situation shouldn’t be awkward.

It’s totally awkward.
~My Thoughts~
What an absolutely charming read! I had such a blast while on this cute little adventure, that I had to immediately go back and read book number 1, then go ahead and re-read book two. It was super cute, super funny, and definitely a great book to cheer you up when you're feeling the 2020 drag. 

Meet Calla and Dare...you may have already met them in book one. Unlike me at first. These two are pixies, and what they lack in stature they more than make up for it with spunk, sarcasm at times, and a whole lot of heart. They are off on an adventure, and if finding your missing dad sounds a bit heavy, get over it, because this action packed adventure is the thing you need to cheer you up and make you laugh. 

Christina had such a playful writing style, I was giggling right along with Calla and Dare, and really just plain old enjoyed myself. It's been some time that I straight up laughed out loud while reading and I really had a blast. The romance between the two was very sweet. There's a little bit of (adult) eye rolling as you laugh at these silly kids who are so nervous to tell each other how they feel, yet are so obviously head over heels for one another it's laughable. Much like actual teenage romance I suppose, as I've seen many a preteen a-swooning over the boy/girl sitting next to them in class and hopelessly mooning to their friends about, "Gosh, he/she will NEVER notice me!" All while the object of their affection is side eyeing them as they lean over to get their books (more adult eye rolling). 

Nevertheless! Calla is a fun and spunky main character and brings a lot of depth and emotion to an otherwise cute and sweet read! Enjoy friends!
~Try an Excerpt!~

Day Seventy-One


Dear Diary, 


Today I drop some diabolic retaliation harmless prankster fun on my new royal subjects, the summer elves. 


Trust me, they totally have it coming. 


Why the revenge? Yesterday I held my first formal court as Queen of the Summer Realm. It should’ve been a bunch of long chats with all my elfy nobles. 


Only no one showed up. 


We are not amused.


Time to get tricksy. 


Today marks my second formal court… as well as my mega payback prank. While I write this, I sit upon a throne of red flowers. The shade goes perfectly with my pink hair, matching wings and violet eyes. And let’s not forget my ermine cloak; it adds a splash of white to the look. Clutch.


Yet appearances come second to my dazzling plan for the morning. Although my subjects been avoiding me for weeks, that will end once the court doors reopen in just a few minutes. 


I’ve so got this.


Sighing, I soak in the beauty of this moment. A huge atrium towers around me. Sunlight pours in through the open ceiling. The walls and tiles are painted gold. A pile of tiny purple bags sit in the middle of the floor. 


Hello, elf bait. 


Those packets hold fairy dust, which is powerful magic that any fae wants. My prank lies in how these bags also contain… wait for it… a freezing spell. Grab one and you can’t leave the room until I say so.


My scheme is so brilliant, I can’t stand it.

There will also be plenty of witnesses for my glorious success. My parents, Poppa and Muti, wait nearby. So does my best friend and major crush, Prince Dare of the Winter Elves. Let’s not forget my buddy Bilge, the hobgoblin, and his piggy familiar, Oinky. Two summer elf guards—I call them Blond and Blonder—hang out by the back wall. 


Speaking of the guards, they look expectantly in my direction. The moment has come to set aside my journal—it magically shrinks into a locket that hangs about my neck—and get ready for the fun to begin.


Prank on. 


- Calla


~Meet Christina!~ 

Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.

Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.

Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/CBupdates.

 Christina will be awarding a Faerie Forest Journal a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 16, 2020

Book Blast! A Family For Christmas!

 


Title: A Family For Christmas

Author: Nola Cross
Series: Burlesons of Texas #2
Date Published: October 8, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Format: Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:

He never thought he’d have a real family Christmas…


For the past eight years, Bill Smith has been unable to set down roots. But he never forgot the magical night he spent with an auburn-haired beauty in Last Stand, Texas. When she finally tracked him down, he was more than happy to donate a kidney to AJ, the son he never knew he had. But now that AJ is better, Bill wants more time with him and his mother. He wants a family.


Annie Burleson can’t help but be grateful to this almost-stranger for saving AJ’s life. Still, she’s a little wary. AJ has already been through so much—what if Bill leaves again? And with Christmas in full swing, it’s difficult to discern which emotions are festive and which are forever.


As Annie and Bill’s lives collide, their mutual love for AJ makes this more than a marriage of convenience. But is it enough to give them the family Christmas they all deserve?

~Try an Excerpt!~

Her door stood ajar, and he kneed it open. Inside, her bedroom was lit by candles that glowed softly from several locations. On either side of her bed, pink lightbulbs in the delicate glass lamps shed rose-colored light on turned-down bedclothes. She had prepared the room just for this moment. An invitation meant only for him. 


“I see what you’ve had up your sleeve here, Mrs. Smith.” He laid her on the bed. Her still-damp hair rippled out in an auburn fan on the white pillowcase. 


“Don’t you like it?” 


“I love it. What I love most is knowing you’ve been thinking about the two of us being here, about us making love.” 


She gave him a sly smile. “I figured we’d end up here eventually.” 


He ran his finger along the opening of her robe, from her breastbone to her waist. She gave a tiny gasp. “Can I unwrap you now?”

~Meet Nola!~ 

I remember as a small girl being fascinated with the idea that people could make up stories and the stories became books. I began writing my own stories before I even started school, and won my first writing contest at the age of nine. It’s always been my dream to be a published author. The road was a long and twisting one, but I finally made it. I’m proud to be a two-time Golden Heart finalist, and several of my stories have been Amazon best sellers.

For a while I penned erotic fiction under a pseudonym. Although it was fun to explore my “darker side”, I am now answering the true call of my heart: to write bigger stories that focus on emotion, loss, spirit, and true love, stories I hope my readers will relate to and want to read more than once. Small town America is my favorite fictional setting. I’m particularly enjoying my recent foray into writing Cowboy romance.


Nola will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Review Tour: The Unholy (+$25 Giftcard Giveaway)

 Title: The Unholy
Author: Paul DeBlassie III

Pages: 202
Date Published: August 1st, 2013
Publisher: Sunstone Press
Format: Kindle
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis:
Claire Sanchez, a young medicine woman, is intent on discovering the closely-guarded secrets of her past. Forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop, William Anarch, she confronts the dark side of religion and the horror of one man's will to power.
~My Thoughts!~
The Unholy is an interesting, thoughtful, fantasy adventure with lots of moments that make you think and reflect on how religion can be both an integral and detrimental part of society. 

The horror of the religious persecution in this book is neither for the faint of heart, nor for those who are unable to take a reflective look upon our current society. However, while this is obviously fiction, it makes you thankful for the time in which we live where we are (relatively) free to practice our own religion and do not face the kind of persecution seen here. When Claire watches what happens to her mother, gosh, I was so horrified and scared for her. It was certainly a memorable start to the story. 

The herbal medicine was interesting, and Paul did a great job (either with instinctive knowledge or heavy research into the subject!) in painting a picture about a somewhat primitive yet powerful way of healing. Claire goes on quite the journey of self discovery in connecting to her mother's herbal healing roots and figuring out how to proceed in a life forever changed by misery and violence. This is definitely a book to take to a quiet place. I was trying to read while being harangued by an insistent 14-month-old and had a somewhat difficult time finding my place and the story thread once I got back into things, so I would suggest a quiet nook to keep your head on straight while reading. Enjoy friends! 
~Try an Excerpt!~

As she ran forward, out of nowhere the two crows flew at her, scraping the air near her face with their sharp talons. Fists clenched, she struck out at one and grabbed at the other. They flew up, circled overhead, then dove, talons flaring. Unmoving, Claire placed her hands by her side and held their gaze.


They fluttered above her head for a minute, then left. Claire turned and saw an eagle soaring—a healer’s spirit manifestation. Medicine women said it came only when needed, when danger lurked.


Frantically tugging away bush, bramble, and cacti, she uncovered the mouth of the seventh cave and stepped in. She had the feeling somebody was watching.


Her eyes adjusted and she made out the contour of something. Squinting, she stooped and touched what seemed to be a circle of stones and charred, cold logs. She stood up and pulled back. A bat flew at her. She waved it away.


She stopped, waited for her breathing to slow, and, stepping sideways, touched the walls of the cave. They were damp and the stink of blood and guts was everywhere. Using the hard surfaces as a guide, her fingertips suddenly brushed through a hollow space roughly the size of a human body.

~Meet Paul!~ 

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D. is a depth psychologist and award-winning writer living in his native New Mexico. He specializes in treating individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis. His novels, visionary thrillers, delve deep into archetypal realities as they play out dramatically in the lives of everyday people. Memberships include the Author’s Guild, Visionary Fiction Alliance, Depth Psychology Alliance, International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the International Association for Jungian Studies.
 Paul will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Review Tour: Hidden Gypsy Magic (+$15 Giftcard Giveaway!)

Title: Hidden Gypsy Magic
Author: Tena Stetler

Series: A Witch's Journey #3
Pages: 330
Date Published: September 28th, 2020
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: Kindle
Genre: Romance

Synopsis:

The Salem Wildlife Sanctuary is Gwen Taylor's life work. Her Irish Gypsy heritage provides a hidden talent she uses to help the creatures under her care. But even her magical skills can't help new rescues in dire need of veterinary care.

The opportunity of signing on as the vet for Gwen's sanctuary dropped into Brock Scutter's lap after he expanded his practice to include wildlife. The personal attraction he and Gwen experience is undeniable the more their professional and personal lives collide.

Touring the only "non-haunted" house in Salem they both feel a spark of magic. A trip to his family's cabin uncovers a heritage he didn't know existed. If they want a future together, it means facing the consequences of awakening hidden Gypsy magic and a race against the clock to correct past wrongs.

~My Thoughts~
I totally adored the idea of Gwen's magic being an integral part of how she helped and worked with animals. It also made the romance with a vet so much cuter and obviously believable when the two leads can bond over such a deep and meaningful part of their lives! 

I felt time pass quickly as I immersed myself in this read. Gwen is so likable and obviously there are tons of cute animals. The magic was interesting and I did wish that we got to explore its history a little more. Obviously Gwen knows it already, she grew up with it, but I would have liked maybe a flash back or some more depth to understanding how the magic functions in this world and if gypsy witches were the only real supernatural group or if they functioned differently in society then non-magic gypsies. I know, Nerd Alert, but I love the inner workings of a magic world! I really did like how the historical connections to the Salem Witch Trials were explored. Those were some of my absolute favorite parts!

The romance between Gwen and Ted  Brock was so sweet! (Was I the only one thinking of an adorable Vet from Schitt's Creek while reading???) It was believable and built on a real connection and even though it took time to build, those building blocks were hard won and totally worth it in making the relationship believable. A fun and cute read, especially for this time of the year!
~Try an Excerpt!~

A mischievous twinkle in his eyes, he swept her off her feet and twirled her around. “Four glorious days, no clinic, no sanctuary, no emergencies—just you, me and the cabin in Puffin Cove, Maine.”

“Wow, you are excited.” She grinned. “Me too. But, I gotta ask. How’s the owl?”

He set her down on the ground and kissed her lips affectionately. “She’s doing great. Doubt she’ll ever fly again, but we’ll be transferring her to you when we get back. She needs rehab on that busted wing and to strengthen the other. Cuts and scrapes are healing well.”

“Great to hear. We look forward to having her. Everything is all set up for the birds arrival. I’ll see to her rehab myself. Though Pepper is going to consult. She did such a fantastic job with Kaylee years ago. In addition, she’s had a couple of endangered owls in her care recently.”

“Figured. Between the two of you, that’s one lucky owl.” He took her bag and wrapped an arm around her waist. “Ready?”

“You betcha.”

~Meet Tena!~ 
Tena Stetler is a paranormal romance and cozy mystery author with an over-active imagination. She wrote her first vampire romance as a tween, to the chagrin of her mother and the delight of her friends. With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, Tena sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures telling her their tales.

Colorado is her home; shared with her husband of many moons, a brilliant Chow Chow, a spoiled parrot and a forty-year-old box turtle. Any winter evening, you can find her curled up in front of a crackling fire with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of popcorn. Her books tell tales of magical kick-ass women and mystical alpha males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure, and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.
 Tena will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 12, 2020

Book Blast! A Family For Christmas


Title: A Family For Christmas

Author: Nola Cross
Series: Burlesons of Texas #2
Date Published: October 8, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Format: Kindle
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:

He never thought he’d have a real family Christmas…


For the past eight years, Bill Smith has been unable to set down roots. But he never forgot the magical night he spent with an auburn-haired beauty in Last Stand, Texas. When she finally tracked him down, he was more than happy to donate a kidney to AJ, the son he never knew he had. But now that AJ is better, Bill wants more time with him and his mother. He wants a family.


Annie Burleson can’t help but be grateful to this almost-stranger for saving AJ’s life. Still, she’s a little wary. AJ has already been through so much—what if Bill leaves again? And with Christmas in full swing, it’s difficult to discern which emotions are festive and which are forever.


As Annie and Bill’s lives collide, their mutual love for AJ makes this more than a marriage of convenience. But is it enough to give them the family Christmas they all deserve?

~Try an Excerpt!~

Her door stood ajar, and he kneed it open. Inside, her bedroom was lit by candles that glowed softly from several locations. On either side of her bed, pink lightbulbs in the delicate glass lamps shed rose-colored light on turned-down bedclothes. She had prepared the room just for this moment. An invitation meant only for him. 


“I see what you’ve had up your sleeve here, Mrs. Smith.” He laid her on the bed. Her still-damp hair rippled out in an auburn fan on the white pillowcase. 


“Don’t you like it?” 


“I love it. What I love most is knowing you’ve been thinking about the two of us being here, about us making love.” 


She gave him a sly smile. “I figured we’d end up here eventually.” 


He ran his finger along the opening of her robe, from her breastbone to her waist. She gave a tiny gasp. “Can I unwrap you now?”

~Meet Nola!~ 

I remember as a small girl being fascinated with the idea that people could make up stories and the stories became books. I began writing my own stories before I even started school, and won my first writing contest at the age of nine. It’s always been my dream to be a published author. The road was a long and twisting one, but I finally made it. I’m proud to be a two-time Golden Heart finalist, and several of my stories have been Amazon best sellers.

For a while I penned erotic fiction under a pseudonym. Although it was fun to explore my “darker side”, I am now answering the true call of my heart: to write bigger stories that focus on emotion, loss, spirit, and true love, stories I hope my readers will relate to and want to read more than once. Small town America is my favorite fictional setting. I’m particularly enjoying my recent foray into writing Cowboy romance.


Nola will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 9, 2020

 


Title: Waiting for Grandfather

Author: Michael De Stefano
Pages: 246
Date Published: 2020
Publisher: Night to Dawn Magazine
Genre: Coming of Age

Synopsis:
Meet the Corelli clan. Told by the oldest grandson, Frank, this family tapestry, with pathos and hilarity, begins weaving itself in the 1930s and rollicks through four riotous decades. The strongest thread is its oldest member, Antonio. To the ragtag Corelli clan, he is an ocean—an unwavering force upon which they rely. Lizzy, the youngest Corelli, is the brightest thread. Emanating from her is the light by which they see the world. Spanning these dynamic figures is an oddball cast of characters that keep one another in stitches right up until the life-affirming surprise birthday party of their beloved patriarch.

~Try an Excerpt!~

With the long hours he worked, along with the time and trouble of looking after Uncle Al and Uncle Nunzio, who were always full of surprises, Antonio hardly had time for a love interest. But since Mama Corelli moved in, his load has been lightened. He began to consider his life, where it was headed, and the possibility of finding a nice girl with whom he could settle down. With his share of the newspaper tucked under his arm, he turned about and began his slow, plodding walk home. Never before had Antonio seen the slim, elegant woman around Swampoodle, and he wondered if he would ever see her again. He hadn’t gone but a few paces in the direction of Twenty-sixth and Indiana, when he heard someone call out, “Sir.” Alertly he spun around and saw the mysterious woman walking briskly in his direction, as briskly as she had run from him earlier. Throughout the day, she had heard speculations and murmurings regarding the volatility and unrest that led up to the Germany Invades Poland headline; and since she was a learned young woman who prided herself in keeping informed, she was anxious to get her hands on a newspaper. “I just remembered,” she said, for in her alacrity she had forgotten, “my father, without fail, buys the Bulletin every day at four.” After apologizing for the oversight, she handed over her sections of the newspaper to Antonio and again went scurrying off. Before Antonio had the presence of mind to call after her, out of the corner of his eye, he saw written on one of the paper’s white margins: Elizabeth Erwin, Cumberland 9-4762. 


Nothing can make a man’s day or boost his demeanor more than having been acknowledged by a pretty girl, especially if it’s a girl with whom he has developed a sudden interest. As a young man, I wished that whenever it was my turn to meet Miss Right, I, too, would experience a chance encounter and have an enchanting tale to tell; but such scenarios only seemed to have occurred back in a time called the good old days, when our country was innocent and its society less guarded—a time when an out-of-the-blue romantic encounter with a handsome stranger was not only permissible or possible but something a gal might even hope for. Nowadays it’s difficult to imagine two people reaching for the same newspaper, assuming newspapers will continue to exist. Clunking heads while walking the mall, because both are fixated on a miniature screen while trading thumbed messages with someone at another mall would seem the more likely scenario; although, it’s unlikely that anything resembling romance would follow such an encounter. I’d put my money on assault charges.


~Meet Michael!~ 

Michael DeStefano is from Philadelphia, where he is the owner of a hairstyling salon. Currently, he makes his home in Cinnaminson, New Jersey, is the husband of a Gulf War veteran, and author of The Gunslinger’s Companion. Any thoughts or criticisms readers of Waiting for Grandfather wish to share may be sent to dtbhs@aol.com.


Night to Dawn Magazine and Books LLC will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway