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Monday, October 28, 2013

Steven Manchester The Rockin' Chair

The Rockin' ChairMemories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days – or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy – Grandpa John – calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, THE ROCKIN' CHAIR is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.


My Review:

This is a deep story of a family that is like a lot of families.  They have their problems and don't really know how to show each other how they feel.  When Alice dies, John is devastated but realized that he needs to bring his family back together.  He sends letters to his three grandchildren to come home.  Georgey is a military man with issues of a an episode that happened in Afghanistan.  Evan just lost the love of his life.  Tara is destitute in New York city, an alcoholic and drug addict.  But they come home to Montana to heal.  Meanwhile, John has to try to make amends with his son Hank.  The families memories center around the rocking chair a good bit and little by little the whole family starts to heal.  A very poignant story that will make you want to hug your own family a little closer.  I think this is a good glimpse into the lives of too many families.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


Author Bio:  Steven Manchester is the published author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish (the holiday prequel to Goodnight, Brian) and Goodnight, Brian. He is also the Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of his short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

steven.h.manchester@sunlife.com
http://www.StevenManchester.com  http://www.facebook.com/#!/AuthorStevenManchester

Paperback & Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Rockin-Chair-Steven-Manchester/dp/161188067X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366203850&sr=1-1&keywords=the+rockin%27+chair+manchester
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rockin-chair-steven-manchester/1115092542?ean=9781611880670 

 





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LynDee Walker--Buried Leads--Interview, Review and Giveaway






Book Details
Genre: Cozy Mystery – 2nd in Series
Published by: Henery Press
Release Date: October 15, 2013
Number of Pages: 276
goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47
Synopsis
When an Armani-clad corpse turns up in the woods, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke smells a scoop. A little digging, and Nichelle uncovers a web of corruption that stretches all the way to Washington, D.C. Politics. Murder. And a dead lobbyist. It’s everything Nichelle’s ever dreamed of.
The cops are playing it close, the feds even closer, and Nichelle’s afraid her boss will assign the story to the political desk any day. Richmond’s new ATF SuperCop makes an arrest before she can say “Louboutin,” but Nichelle’s gut says he’s got the wrong guy.
Her sexy Mafia boss friend warns her off the case, her TV rival is hot on her designer heels, an ambitious copy editor wants her beat, and victims are piling up faster than she can track them down. As Nichelle zeroes in on the truth, it’ll take some fancy footwork to nab this headline before the killer nabs her.
 
My Review:
 
This was an interesting journey into the crooked world of politics.  LynDee Walker did a really good job writing about corruption in the political world.  Nichelle is a dogged reporter, who loves great shoes, who doesn't give up on the "story of a lifetime" even after she is threatened.  This is the first book I have read by LynDee and I was very impressed.  This is a fast paced book that kept my attention throughout.  Great job LynDee, I look forward to more and I plan to read the first in Headlines in High Heels series. 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 
About LynDee Walker
LynDee Walker grew up in the land of stifling heat and amazing food most people call Texas, and wanted to be Lois Lane from the time she could say the words “press conference.” An award-winning journalist, she traded cops and deadlines for burp cloths and onesies when her oldest child was born. Writing the Headlines in Heels mysteries gives her the best of both worlds. Her debut novel, Front Page Fatality (A Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery), is an amazon new humor #1 bestseller. LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel. You can visit her online at www.lyndeewalker.com.
Online links:
Twitter: @LynDeeWalker
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lyndeewalkerbooks
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/lyndee_walker
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/lyndeewalker
Website: www.lyndeewalker.com
PURCHASE BURIED LEADS FROM AMAZON
Purchase Front Page Fatality (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery)
 
 
Interview:
 
Thanks so much for having me today! I’m excited to be here.
1.       How long have you been writing?
Since I can remember. I know that sounds cliche, but my mother swore I read my first book when I was three, and I started writing little stories of my own before Kindergarten. I was a journalist for almost a decade, and have been writing fiction for four years.
 
2.        What or who are your influences?
People who have encouraged or inspired me to write are many, from wonderful teachers to folks I met while I was reporting who had great stories to tell. My mom was my biggest influence in everything, including pursuing fiction writing seriously. She believed I could do it enough for both of us.
 
As far as other writers go, I think my influences come from what I like to read, which is a rather eclectic mix. My favorites include Laura Levine, Harley Jane Kozak, Joshilyn Jackson, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Stephen King, Sarah Addison Allen, Agatha Christie, and Christopher Pike. To name a few. I’m a book nerd.
 
 
3.        Where did you get the idea for this series Headlines in High Heels?
It grew out of a single scene in the middle of the first book. I was sick, dozing off and on in the middle of the day (and if you’ve ever been a mom with two small children, you know how bad I felt by the fact that I was lying down). This sassy reporter in fabulous, impractical shoes popped into my head. She was in quite a tight spot, and when the idea wouldn’t go away and I felt a little better, I got my laptop and wrote the scene. Five weeks later I had a very long, very messy rough draft of FRONT PAGE FATALITY. And I wasn’t through having fun with Nichelle and her friends, so I started another book.
 
4.        What do you have planned next?
I have so much going on this year! It’s been amazing, and keeps getting better. I have a Headlines in High Heels novella coming out in December as part of the anthology HEARTACHE MOTEL with Terri L. Austin and Larissa Reinhart. We had a blast, taking our three series heroines and sending them to a seedy motel in Memphis for Christmas.
 
Then in the spring, the third Headlines in High Heels novel will be out! I’ve just turned SMALL TOWN SPIN in to my editor, and it’ll be on sale everywhere in April 2014. Nichelle is investigating a suspicious death in a teensy town in Tidewater. The local sheriff wants to write it off as a suicide, but Nichelle thinks there’s more to the story.
 
 
5.        What are your interests besides writing?
My family. This year has been a whirlwind of writing and editing and book launches and marketing, so generally, when I’m not in front of my computer, you can find me playing with my kids, cooking, or drinking coffee. Or all three at once if I’m feeling particularly ambitious.
 
6.        If you could visit anywhere, where would it be?
This has a two part answer: my favorite place to go on vacation is Walt Disney World, so that’s usually my first response to this. I love everything about the parks and enjoy going there as much or more than my little ones do. We’re headed to Florida in January, as a matter of fact, and I can’t wait!
 
I also love the beach, though, and I’ve always wanted to go to Australia. So if I could go anywhere in the world I wanted to go, just myself and my hubby, I’d choose Australia. With time enough to see the outback, relax on the beach, and snorkel in the reef.
Giveaway:
 
 


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Bargain--Stephanie Reed

About the book: Book one in the Plain City Peace series.

It's 1971, and Betsie Troyer's peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.

When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth-a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie's marriage to Charley Yoder.

Purchase a copy here: http://ow.ly/ptivJ






My Review:

This was a very interesting book.  I enjoyed reading about Betsie and her experience living with the
"English".  She strikes up a friendship with Michael, the son, of the English family.  There is a lot of drama with the family.  The year is 1971 and Michael fears the draft.  He has quit college after a traumatic experience and he and his father don't see eye to eye.  It is a stressful situation for Betsie, besides having to deal with her parents deciding to leave the Amish Faith because they realized the true gospel message of being saved by the blood of Jesus.  Betsie decides to stay Amish, because that is all she has ever known, and she fears that she won't get to Heaven if she leaves the Amish Faith.  I find books about the Amish fascinating, but it is also confusing in a way.  This book had a lot going on and my mind is still reeling for it, this book and the characters will stay with me for a while.    Stephanie Reed did such a good job writing this book, that I feel that I know the characters personally and I find myself kind of worrying about them like I would a friend.  Great job Stephanie.  This book also left me wondering what happens next and I can't wait for the next in Plain City Peace series.


I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About the Author: Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio, as she did for her previous books, "Across the Wide River" and "The Light Across the River."

Learn more at Stephanie's website: http://www.stephanielreed.com/




Landing page: 







Stephanie L. Reed is celebrating the release of The Bargain, the first book in her new series, Plain City Peace, with a Kindle Fire 'Bargain Bundle' giveaway!

bargain-raffle-copter
 




One winner will receive a 'Bargain Bundle':


  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Bargain by Stephanie Reed
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 27th. Winner will be announced at the Litfuse blog on October 28th.



Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to their blog {enter your email in the blog sidebar} and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox)!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pamela Rose--Sherlock's Home--Review and Guest Post



Synopsis: Life imitating art? That’s Finn Sherlock’s first bizarre thought when she stumbles across a dead body within the Civil War era hiding place inside Sherlock’s Home Mystery Bookstore. Thinking that it’s her gnome-like Uncle Oz costumed to play the part of a fortunetelling druid for ‘All Hallows’ Eve,’ she is relieved when she learns that the hooded figure is not her favorite uncle, but the town’s favorite outcast, Odds Bodkins.
Unfortunately, murder suspects abound due to the fact that the mystery bookstore and its adjoining 221b Bakery were the first stop on the Leapers Point’ Halloween circuit and any number of people were on the scene for the annual ‘Fright Night’ tour. More than that, Odds Bodkins was almost universally detested; far too many would agree that the assisted demise of the loathsome little witch was more treat than trick…possibly even a community service.
With a little help from Uncle Oz and her identical twin sister, Echo, Finn sets out to discover who amongst the congenial southern townsfolk had the audacity and plain bad manners to murder the contentious crone right under the Sherlock family noses. Was it the fire and brimstone preacher Willie Ping? ‘Blooming Idiots’ talented but slightly mental florist? Or what about fluffy nonagenarian Eula May Binks…can anybody really be that sugary sweet? But, when the local Sheriff, Wavy Davey, learns that it was Uncle Oz’s Halloween prop – a bona fide hangman’s noose – that was the murder weapon, there’s more heating up inside the 221b Bakery than just the ovens.
Join the heart of Dixie’s new sleuth Finn Sherlock as she resolutely follows in the footsteps of her namesake to create more than a little mayhem and detect a folksy murderer. Sherlock’s Home Mystery Bookstore…where the game is always afoot.

My Review:

I really, really liked this book.  It is a great cozy mysteries, plus it starts at Halloween and ends at Christmas, which is my absolute favorite time of year.  That made me like this book all the more.  I really enjoyed getting to know the Sherlock's and the other quirky characters from Leaper's Point, a small town in Northern Georgia.  Finn is an awesome sleuth.  This cozy had everything that makes a great cozy.  There was food, pets, books, and a great mystery that left me guessing till the end.  There was not one, but two separate murders in this book.   I highly recommend this great cozy to get you started on your Holiday reading.  Great job Pamela!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About The Author:Many moons ago on an Indiana farmstead My Weekly Reader became Pamela’s first true love, miraculously discovered at the behest of her somewhat humorless third-grade teacher, notorious among her students for being a bit of a pickle-puss. About the same time Pamela realized her ability to cleverly manipulate prose when she read aloud in class her very first book report on a small, much beloved book appropriately named Twig. She was startled to learn subsequently that nearly all of her classmates signed up to read the tiny tome as a result. It was Pamela’s first brush with true power and it was intoxicating. Love affairs with The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden soon followed. Before very long, a grand obsession with all things related to Sherlock Holmes ensued. Ever fickle, Pamela moved on to a brief fling with Ellery Queen. Her short attention span regarding other equally engaging mystery writers soon became obvious to those who were paying attention. However, it should be said that Pamela wistfully returns from time to time to revisit these former loves and renew her passion.
Little did Pamela realize that a true career path had been decided upon. It would be years before this avenue would manifest after Pamela successfully dabbled in careers in advertising, television retailing and radio; eventually teaching in subjects related to all areas at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
Pamela Rose currently lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her tuxedo cat Jake who amuses himself by impersonating a multi-syllabic, tirelessly fetch-playing dog. Also being of a benevolent mind, Jake graciously allows Pamela to serve as his personal valet in exchange for long periods of quiet in which to write.
Pamela Rose Links:
Official Website: http://pamelarosebestsellin.wix.com/pamela-rose
Finn Fan Club Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/finnfanclub
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/author/pamelarose
Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/1aX8lN0
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Guest Post:


1.        Finn Sherlock is a divorced woman, still recovering from the blow.  Can you relate to that as a woman and/or a writer?

2.       Why did you decide to use a pen name?

3.       Regular or Crispy? i.e. Where do you get your story ideas?

 

1.       Ah…you found me out.  Yes, as a woman and a writer I can certainly relate to the subject of divorce.  Just ask my former husband!  (It’s okay…we’re friends now.  I think.) Seriously, writing wisdom advises to ‘write what you know.’  Like many others, I’ve had the opportunity to become well acquainted with the whole divorce scene―in its many harrowing incarnations.  I used that experience somewhat in writing about Justin Thyme in A Thyme to Harvest and again as Finn Sherlock in Sherlock’s Home: The Adventure of the Contentious Crone.  Book characters don’t exist in a vacuum, and they don’t spring fully formed from the head of Zeus.  To create a character that is believably real, they have to have a history, what is called in the writing ‘biz’ a back story.  Divorce is a subject upon which many can relate, myself included.  When I wrote the line in ‘Contentious Crone’ about Finn Sherlock and the “hole had been torn through her heart big enough to float a freighter through,” I could speak of that with some authenticity.  Good writing is always authentic, if nothing else.  Vicariously, the reader is given the opportunity, then, to experience healing and growth right along with the fictional character.  Hopefully, there’s a similar method to any writer’s madness.

 

2.       I chose to write under a pen name for two reasons, one personal and one practical.  Speaking practically, a woman’s last name can be subject to change if she marries and chooses to adopt her husband’s name.  As I already mentioned, I’ve had occasion to learn that.  Should I chose to remarry that might be a point of contention with my new hubby if I decided not to adopt his last time. So, being the absolute coward that I am, I circumvented that problem by creating my pen name, which by the way, is my real first and middle name.  To this day, I can still hear my mother’s voice chastising me with a sentence that usually began with, “Pamela Rose…” (Fill in the blank.)  The personal reason for adopting a pen name is one, alas, not one I’m exactly pleased to point out, even though it is a real answer and absolutely true.  I decided that I didn’t want my former husband to get any credit whatsoever for my writing. There.  That’s about as real as it gets.  (Just because we’re now friends, doesn’t mean there isn’t a history!)

 

3.       Oh, regular, of course.  (I dallied with crispy once, but regular wooed me back.)  My story ideas come from many places, from my lifetime experiences of growing up on a farm, my careers and the many jobs I’ve held.  Also, because like most writers I’m an avid reader, I’m always gleaning something from somewhere that sparks a story idea.  And I love to travel, so sometimes I’ll be off on an excursion and something will just ‘click’ for me.  For instance, I was traveling through the countryside in Costa Rica and noticed the rivulets of yellow water off in the distance that were run-offs from a somewhat active volcano.  That’s information upon which I expanded when I wrote about volcanoes in The Eyes of the Jaguar.  There’s an experience I collected when floating through the Panama Canal that I also intend to use some day when it’s appropriate:  I’m on a large tender with my friends going through the locks of the canal, a smaller sailboat has been tethered to our sides as we descend through the locks.  I look up and there’s a construction crew a couple of stories high off to one side of the canal watching our passage.  Among the hard-hatted crew I inadvertently locked eyes with one man who seemed to be avidly observing our boat.  On impulse, I smiled and waved.  He responded by pointing at me and wildly mimicking that his heart was beating (for me).  I laughed and responded in a similar fashion.   At which point, we both doubled over with laughter as did the others around me and the other workers gathered around him.  It was one of those serendipitous moments in time, never to be personally replicated, I’m sure.  I don’t know where or when, but someday I will use that in my writing.  It’s too unique not to.   And it just emphasizes my point that no matter how small the incident, everything is just grist for the mill in the hands of a writer.
 
 

 




Thursday, October 17, 2013

Merry Humbug Blog Link-Along




Welcome to the 3rd feature in the "Merry Humbug Christmas" blog link-along!
This link-along will take you through eight blogs which all talk about different aspects of the wonderful novellas in "Merry Humbug Christmas" by Sandra D. Bricker! On the last blog you can enter to win a copy of the book! Thanks for joining us!
Please share this link-along with your family and friends via this link: http://tinyurl.com/Merryhumbug



 
 
 
Patrick Brenneman From Once Upon a Jingle Bell:
 
 
Patrick Brenneman is a handsome Irish man that Joss runs into before she boards what she thinks is The Bah Humbug Cruise.  You met Joss in the previous blog post.  Patrick is on the 12 Days of Christmas Fun Cruise with his mother, Kathleen, and her friend, Lilibeth, and Lilibeth's daughter and son-in-law.  Patrick is an Architectural Historian and he is very devoted to his mother.  He is also a Christian who believes in the true meaning of Christmas.  Patrick and Joss find out that they are at the same table in the dining room.  On the first night of the Cruise, which is Christmas Eve, there is an ugliest sweater contest and Patrick ends up winning the contest, with his sweater with several Manger scenes on it.  Patrick takes an instant liking to Joss and they spend a lot of time together on the Cruise, they even realize they live near each other.  When Joss makes a blunder with a would be client, Patrick takes it upon himself to talk to her potential client for her.  Joss thinks that Patrick is too bossy and overbearing, so when Patrick doesn't see her for a day or two, he goes to her cabin and tells her that when she decides what she wants to do, he will be waiting.  Who couldn't fall for a guy like Patrick, with his wonderful Irish brogue and his devotion to his mother.  Check out a copy of this wonderful book to find out what happens with Joss and Patrick.  You won't be disappointed. 
 
See my previous post of my review of this book.
 
I was given a copy of this book for my participation with the launch team for Merry Humbug Christmas, and for my honest review.
 
Be sure to visit all of the blogs on this link-along.  There is a contest on the last blog stop.  Use the navigations buttons below to visit each blog in the link-along.  Have fun and enjoy this link-along. 
 
 
 



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Merry Humbug Christmas--Sandra D Bricker

Synopsis:

A Merry Humbug Christmas features two holiday romance novellas from hilarious and heartwarming author Sandra D. Bricker. -- the perfect gift to yourself or someone else at this most wonderfully stressful time of year.

In "Once Upon a Jingle Bell," A Bah! Humbug cruise to the Mexican Riviera is Joss Snow’s answer to this year’s quest to avoid the holidays completely; at least until she’s rebooked on a different kind of cruise altogether. Candy canes, holly wreaths, reindeer and ornaments seem to be stalking her on the 12 Days of Christmas holiday cruise extravaganza. An escape back to land is her only goal . . . until she meets a kindred spirit in rugged Irishman Patrick Brenneman, and then the game is on! Avoid Christmas festivities at all costs . . . except maybe for that one stop under the mistletoe.

In "It Came Upon a Midnight Deer," Reese’s guilt over abandoning best friend Joss on their holiday tradition of avoiding all things Christmas is trumped by the joy of her recent engagement. Meeting Damian’s family for the first time on idyllic Sugarloaf Mountain is about as far from that Bah! Humbug cruise as she can get, and Reese can hardly wait to get there. But from the moment they hit that deer in the road just two miles from the cabin, everything seems to go wrong. There are no drummers drumming or pipers piping this particular year! And once she sets her future in-laws’ family cabin ablaze, she’s pretty sure there won’t be even ONE golden ring in her future.

 
My Review:

What a great start to my Holiday reading!  Two great novellas by a master story-teller.  This book is about two best friends Joss and Reece.  Joss doesn't like to celebrate Christmas, so they always do a girls only trip over Christmas.  Well, this year, Reece is engaged and is spending the Holiday with her fiancé and his family, so Joss goes on a Bah Humbug cruise. The Bah Humbug cruise gets canceled and Joss gets booked on the 12 Days of Christmas Fun cruise.  She has a lot of mishaps on this cruise, but she also meets a lot of great people, Patrick Brenneman being one of them.  Will Joss and Patrick have a chance after the cruise?  Meanwhile, Reece goes with her fiancé Damien to his families vacation home on Sugarloaf.  It seems that everything goes wrong for Reece, sometimes her mishaps will have you laughing out loud!  She wants a Norman Rockwellesque Christmas, but what she gets is a "Meet the Parents" type of Christmas.  Will everything turn out in the end. 

Pick up a copy of this wonderful book, you won't be sorry, It is a feel good Christmas book that will get you in the Holiday spirit.  Great job, as always Sandie!  Loved it! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review as part of Sandie's launch team for Merry Humbug Christmas.


About the Author:

SANDRA D. BRICKER was an entertainment publicist in Los Angeles for 15+ years where she attended school to learn screenwriting and eventually taught the craft for several semesters. She is now a best-selling, award-winning author of LAUGH-OUT-LOUD fiction for the inspirational market, best known for her Another Emma Rae Creation series for Abingdon Press; the final novel in the series, Always the Baker Finally the Bride, is available in bookstores now. As an ovarian cancer survivor, she gears time and effort toward raising awareness and funds for research, diagnostics and a cure.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Murder by Syllabub--Kathleen Delaney--Review and Interview










Murder by Syllabub



by Kathleen Delaney



on Tour September - October, 2013













Book Details:


Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Camel Press

Publication Date: July 1, 2013

Number of Pages: 298

ISBN: 978-1-60381-957-2

Purchase Links:








Synopsis:


A ghost in Colonial dress has been wreaking havoc at an old plantation house in Virginia. The house is owned by Elizabeth Smithwood, the best friend of Ellen McKenzie’s Aunt Mary. Mary is determined to fly to the rescue, and Ellen has no choice but to leave her real estate business and new husband to accompany her. Who else will keep the old girl out of trouble? When Ellen and Aunt Mary arrive, they find that Elizabeth’s “house” comprises three sprawling buildings containing all manner of secret entrances and passages, not to mention slave cabins. But who owns what and who owned whom? After Monty—the so-called ghost and stepson of Elizabeth’s dead husband—turns up dead in Elizabeth’s house, suspicion falls on her. Especially when the cause of death is a poisoned glass of syllabub taken from a batch of the sweet, creamy after-dinner drink sitting in Elizabeth’s refrigerator. Monty had enemies to spare. Why was he roaming the old house? What was he searching for? To find the truth, Ellen and her Aunt Mary will have to do much more than rummage through stacks of old crates; they will have to expose two hundred years of grudges and vendettas. The spirits they disturb are far deadlier than the one who brought them to Virginia. Murder by Syllabub is the fifth book of the Ellen McKenzie Mystery series.

My Review:
 
This was one of those cozies that kept my attention the whole way through.  I liked the plot and I liked the characters.  There were lots of twists and turns in this story.  I also liked the setting, Colonial Williamsburg was a very good place to set a cozy mystery.  Ellen and her Aunt Mary leave California to go help Mary's friend Elizabeth when Elizabeth thinks she has a ghost in her house.  It really isn't a ghost, but they do find a couple of dead bodies, one is a skeleton!  I highly recommend this book, it was great.  Wonderful job Kathleen.
 
I received a complementary copy of this book for my honest review




Read an excerpt:



Mildred leaned back against the drain board, as if she needed it to prop her up. “Do you think he’ll be back?”

I set the dish on the drain board along with the other rinsed dishes. “You mean the murderer?”

Mildred nodded.

I’d wondered the same thing. “I think it was Monty prowling around upstairs, looking for something. Why he was dressed like that, I can’t imagine, but I don’t think he found whatever it was he was looking for. The only reason I can think of for both Monty and whoever slipped him the poison to be here is they were looking for the same thing. I don’t think they found it. So, yes, I think whoever it is will be back.”

Mildred nodded. “I think so, too. That crate was no accident.” She paused before going on, her voice filled with apprehension. “You know, McMann isn’t going to buy the mysterious prowler story. He’s going to take the easy way out. Elizabeth fed Monty the poison before she left for the airport and we’re protecting her.” She sighed deeply and turned to the dishwasher. “Might as well load this. Can you hand me that bowl?”

She opened the door, pulled out the top rack and froze. “How did that get in here?”

“What’s the matter? Oh no.”

We stood, frozen, staring at the immaculately clean crystal glass, sitting on the top rack in solitary splendor.

“That’s one of the old syllabub glasses.” Mildred turned around to look at the glasses on the hutch and returned her gaze to the dishwasher. She pulled the rack out all the way but the dishwasher was empty, except for the one glass.

I’d had a close enough look at the glass next to Monty to know this was from the same set. “It’s the missing syllabub glass.”

“Missing?” Mildred’s hand went out to touch it, but she quickly withdrew. “Where are the others? Cora Lee and I packed these away years ago. There were eight of them. How did this one get in here?”

“Noah didn’t tell you?”

“That boy only tells me what he wants me to know. What was it he should have told me?”

“The set of these glasses were on the sideboard in the dining room where Monty was killed. Six of them. One was beside Monty with the remains of a sticky drink in it. That made seven. One was missing. The one the murderer used.”

We stared at each other then back into the dishwasher. “That’s got to be the missing one, right there.” Mildred took a better look. “It’s clean. Someone’s trying to frame Elizabeth.”







Author Bio:


Kathleen Delaney has written four previous Ellen McKenzie Real Estate mysteries, but has never before transported her characters out of California. A number of years ago she visited Colonial Williamsburg and fell in love. Long fascinated with our country’s history, especially the formation years, she knew she wanted to set a story there. Another trip with her brother and sister-in-law solidified the idea that had been rolling around in her head but she needed more information. A phone call to the nice people at Colonial Williamsburg provided her with appointments to visit the kitchen at the Payton Randolph house, where she got her first lesson in hearth cooking and a meeting with the people who manage the almost extinct animal breeds the foundation is working to preserve. A number of books purchased at the wonderful bookstore at the visitor’s center gave her the additional information she needed and the story that was to become Murder by Syllabub came into being. Kathleen lived most of her life in California but now resides in Georgia. She is close to many historical sites, which she has eagerly visited, not only as research for this book but because the east is rich in monuments to the history of our country. Luckily, her grandchildren are more than willing to accompany her on their tours of exploration. You can find Kathleen on the Web at delaney.camelpress.com.




Catch Up With the Author:










 
Interview:
 
1. How long have you been writing: Do you mean writing and hiding what I wrote in the cedar chest, of how long has it been since I got up the courage to send out something I’d written? That would be-oh-about twelve years. I wrote an article about my children’s adventures in 4H. Neither their father nor I had any farm experience, so those years we spent as a family learning how to raise, breed milk and show dairy cows, beef, rabbits, swine were filled with fun, tears, as well as some pretty hilarious adventures. Family Fun bought it. My next project was a full length mystery. Dying for a Change ended up a finalist in St. Martins’ Malice Domestic contest, Harlequin purchased it and the next Ellen and Dan mystery Give First Place to Murder, for their WorldWide Book club. They are still in libraries all over the country and are still available in E-book form for Kindle. All together there are five Ellen and Dan books as well as numerous articles, short stories, essays and blogs.
 
2. What interests do you have besides writing: Reading, for one. I can’t remember when I didn’t have a book in my hand and several more on the nightstand. Cooking has been another. I came back from my first trip to France with a whole different approach to food. Then I got Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I haven’t made every recipe in the book, like Julie in the movie Julie and Julia, but I’ve made a bunch and have collected many more cook books, even those with eighteenth century recipes. I draw the line at making a cake with eighteen eggs and a pound of butter, however.
3. What I loved Most about Colonial Williamsburg:  There were so many things it’s hard to sort out the one best thing. My first trip there was with an Elder Hostel service program. We dug in the dirt around the Governor’s Palace, made gift baskets for the garden shop, planted tulips everywhere, and learned a whole lot about Colonial life. I kept going back and vowed someday to set a story in or around it. I think, perhaps, my favorite thing is how you get drawn into history, how the re-enactors bring you into that world in a way no book, as much as I love them and I have many, cannot. But, in Murder by Syllabub, I tried.
 
4. Do I believe in ghosts:  The jury is still out on that one.
 
5. Will there be more Ellen and Dan books: It’s highly likely. I am currently writing the first in a new series and I have outlines for a couple of stand-alones, but I’d like to do at least one more.
 
6. What historical places would I like to visit next:  I didn’t get to Montpellier when I was roaming around in Virginia and would like to. I also want to see the Hermitage. I was closed the day I had planned to go. I want to go back to Washington DC and take my grandkids. That one is a must. They haven’t been to Salem either or to Boston. They need to walk the freedom trail, visit Lexington, see Louisa May Alcott’s house (that’s for Dalia, don’t think Ronald will be too interested but I think we can make a good case for visiting where “the shot fired around the world” happened.  Then we need to see the Liberty Bell and roam the streets of Philadelphia. From there…

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Christmas Gift For Rose--Tricia Goyer

About the book: Rose turned her back on the man she loves after he assisted the Englisch during World War
II---only to discover she's an Englischer herself. Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns that she was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work. Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own
kind---Englischers? When the man she loves leaves her behind, Rose is certain he left for good. Yet Rose discovers sometimes our greatest gifts are the ones we fear.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/pfhBl



My Review:

I really liked the storyline of this book.  An Amish girl who finds out that she is "adopted".  I wish the story would have been a little longer.  I felt it was kind of rushed because it is a novella.  If you are looking for a quick Christmas read, then this is the book for you, because it is a very quick read.  Rose had planned to marry Jonathan, but he enlisted in the Army as a Medic to serve during WWII.  Rose felt her turned his back on the Amish, because they don't believe in war.  Then Rose finds out a secret about herself.  Can Rose and Jonathan overcome their differences.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

TGoyer

About Tricia:  USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of over 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and "Lead Your Family Like Jesus," (co-written with Ken Blanchard). She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like TheBetterMom.com and MomLifeToday.com. She is the host of Living Inspired, a weekly radio show. Tricia and family live in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have six children.

Landing page: 


Tricia Goyer is celebrating the release of her first Christmas novella, A Christmas Gift for Rosewith a Christmas Gift giveaway! 



Enter to win a NEW Kindle Fire HDX for you AND one for a friend!



christmas-gift-rose-rafflecopter



One grand prize winner will receive:


  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX and one to give away to a friend!
  • A Christmas Gift for Rose, by Tricia Goyer for you and your friend!
Four second place winners will receive:


  • A Christmas Gift for Rose Christmas pack (includes a recipe card, bookmark, a signed book plate, discussion questions, and a Gathering & Giving handout!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. All winners will be announced October 21st at Tricia's blog.



Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Tricia's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Plain Disapperance--Amanda Flower

A Plain Disappearance (Appleseed Creek Mystery #3)

The Book



It's Christmastime in Amish Country, and Chloe Humphrey has begun settling into her life in Appleseed Creek excited to see where her new relationship with Timothy Troyer will lead. Unfortunately it leads to murder when the couple discovers the body of Amish teenager Katie Lambright while on their first date.

Near the scene there is evidence that Timothy's friend and auto mechanic Billy Thorpe is involved with the crime. The police reveal Billy is not really who he said he was and has been living the last decade in Knox County under a stolen alias. Now, Chloe and Timothy must find Billy, bring him to justice, or prove his innocence.
My Review:
This was my first visit to Appleseed Creek.  This is a series that you need to read in order, I was a little lost.  But other than that, I enjoyed this book.  Trouble seems to follow Chloe wherever she goes.  Her and her boyfriend, Timothy Troyer, find a the body of local Amish girl, Katie Lambright.  Chief Rose asks Chloe to talk to the Amish community to see what she can find out from them.  Chloe and Timothy get themselves into some dangerous situations trying to find the killer.  There is also more to the story than the mystery of who killed Katie Lambright.  Becky Troyer is still trying to decide if she wants to be English or Amish.  Filled with a great cast of characters this is a book that not only Amish fiction fans will enjoy, but mystery fans also.  Great job Amanda.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


Amanda Flower

Amanda Flower, an Agatha-nominated mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. Her debut mystery, Maid of Murder, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. She also writes mysteries as Isabella Alan.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wendy Tyson--Killer Image--Review and Giveaway

 
 
 
 

Book Details:
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Henery Press
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 316
This is a Brand New Series

Synopsis

As Philadelphia’s premier image consultant, Allison Campbell helps others reinvent themselves, but her most successful transformation was her own after a scandal nearly ruined her. Now she moves in a world of powerful executives, wealthy, eccentric ex-wives and twisted ethics. 
 When Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence when no one else will. But unraveling the truth brings specters from her own past. And in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish what’s real from the facade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive
 

 

My Review:

This one started out kind of slow for me and I was really wondering if I could even finish it.  Well, I was able to finish it, because halfway through it really gets interesting.  Allison really starts to look into the two murders that have occurred and that her teenage client Maggie is accused of committing.  She knows that Maggie could not have committed these vicious murders and her and her assistant, Vaughn set out to prove it.  There are a lot of secrets revealed in this book, other than who the killer is.  I am glad that I finished this book as it kept me on the edge of my seat.  Great job.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. 

About Wendy Tyson
Wendy Tyson wrote her first story at age eight and it’s been love ever since. When not writing, Wendy enjoys reading other people’s novels, traveling, hiking, and playing hooky at the beach – and if she can combine all four, even better. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again with her husband, three kids and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs. She and her husband are passionate organic gardeners and have turned their small urban lot into a micro farm. Killer Image is Wendy’s first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.
Author Links:
http://www.watyson.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WendyTysonAuthor
Purchase Killer Image From Amazon


Giveaway:
Wendy is giving away a print copy of Killer Image.  Just leave a comment about why you want to win and your email address.  The giveaway ends on the 14th.



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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Charlotte Hubbard-Winter of Wishes-Review, Interview and Guest Post

Winter Wishes


ABOUT WINTER WISHES
Snow is falling, cookies are baking, and Christmas is just around the corner in Willow Ridge, Missouri, where a new season marks fresh beginnings for the residents of this tranquil Amish town . . .
As another year draws to a close in Willow Ridge, life seems to be changing for everyone but Rhoda Lantz. Her widowed mother is about to remarry, her twin sister is a busy newlywed, and soon Rhoda will be alone in her cozy apartment above the blacksmith’s shop. An ad posted by an Englischer looking for someone to help with his mother and children may offer just the companionship she’s looking for, but if she falls for the caring single father, she may risk being shunned by her community. Certain she can only wish for things she cannot have, Rhoda must remember that all things are possible with God, and nothing is stronger than the power of love.
Purchase at:

Barnes and Noble
Amazon

My Review:

This was a charming story that gave a good glimpse into the Amish way of life.  Rhoda was such a down-to-earth character, I really liked her.  Even though this was fiction, I think it gave a good example of what it is like to live in the Amish Faith.  Rhoda developed feelings for Andy, even though she knew it was wrong.  I wish I would have read the first books in the series though, I wasn't really lost, but I think I would have understood some things better. I also liked how the community didn't put up with the things that their Bishop was doing, most Amish fiction I read, the community and people never question the Bishop.  I say great job Charlotte.  I have the other books in this series in my TBR pile and I look forward to more in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

ABOUT CHARLOTTE HUBBARD

Charlotte-HubbardI’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too! While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.
Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.
Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.
I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.
You can visit her website at www.CharlotteHubbard.com

Interview:




1.             How long have you been writing?

 

 Short answer: a looooong time! My first story was published in “True Love” magazine in 1984, and I went on to write about 70 stories for the confessions market. Meanwhile, in 1990 I sold my first book, and after the first 6 came out I hit a non-selling gap of about 7 years. I’ve remained published since then. My first Amish book, SUMMER OF SECRETS, came out in 2012.

 

 

2.             How long have you lived in Missouri?

I grew up in Kansas City, MO, later lived in St. Louis for 4 years, and then we spent more than 22 years in Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri. That’s where I lived when I got my first contract to write these Amish books, so—because Missouri is also home to so many Plain people, and because I’d not seen any other Amish books set in Missouri—I decided to set both of my series there. We moved to St. Paul, MN a couple of years ago, but we still have many friends in MO and make trips back a couple times a year.

 

3.       What made you interested in writing Amish fiction?

                   I was invited to write Amish fiction! This is a wonderful and rare opportunity in the publishing world: an editor for whom I’d previously written my faith-and-family Angels of Mercy series asked if I would write an Amish series for her, so that’s how the Seasons of the Heart series was born. Shortly after that, my agent heard from an editor who wanted another author to write Amish romances, so I took the pen name Naomi King and am writing the At Home in Cedar Creek series for her, which has morphed into the One Big Happy Family sub-series. Same characters as I began with, but with an additional “Brady Bunch” family entering the story line in the upcoming November book.

 

4.     How much interaction do you have with the Amish and how many Amish communities have you visited?

 

I have visited Lancaster County, PA and various Amish and Mennonite communities in Missouri over the years, and did the serious research for my writing in Jamesport, Missouri. Jamesport is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, and a fascinating town. Because the Amish are private people who don’t like writers exploiting them, I spent a few days with a non-Amish tour guide who has lived in Jamesport all his life, and knows all the Amish families (and takes his buses to their stores, etc.)—but we did not announce that I was a writer. Now whenever I have questions about any little Amish thing I can email Jim and get my answers, and now my books are for sale in a Christian bookstore in Jamesport—and now those Amish owners want to meet me because they really enjoy reading my books! I consider this quite an honor.

 

5.      I have heard before that Amish fiction is nothing like how the Amish truly are, since you have experience with the Amish, how true is this?

                   This is true of any sort of fiction, isn’t it? For many reasons, authors often idealize the wonderful qualities of cultures they write about and soft-pedal the parts their readers might not like to hear, or which might make their books unsalable to editors. The Amish differ from one settlement to another, as well—each colony tends to reflect the personality of its bishop, far as how “liberal” things become concerning machinery, appliances, clothing, etc.

Is there some abuse and chauvinism and shunning going on in these Plain towns? Yes, there is (or at least we non-Amish folks would see it this way.) Are all Amish children perfectly behaved? Of course not! Are all Amish women fabulous cooks? Nope. Do all Amish households have floors so clean you could eat off them? I doubt it! Do families really leave a settlement—or change from Old Order Amish to being Mennonite—because they get upset with their bishop? Yes, they do. And while most readers crave the “simplicity” of a life without computers, cell phones, electricity, and cars, they don’t realize how very hard the Amish must work to raise their large families and support themselves on small farms and with outside jobs at times.

Here again, novels are fiction, no matter who they’re written about. I have set both of my series in fictitious Amish towns inhabited by characters of my own creation. Many incidents in my stories are based on real happenings, but I’m a storyteller, not a biographer or a historian. I tend to pretty things up a bit!

 

 

6.       Besides writing, what are your other interests and what do you like to do in your spare time?

I have a Border collie, Ramona, who keeps me active and herds me to my office each day. I love to travel with my husband, especially on cruise ships—we celebrated my birthday this year with a cruise to Hawaii! I crochet, especially on long car trips back to MO or to visit our families in IA and PA. I’m in my church choir and a member of various writer organizations, too. And sometimes it feels good to just chill in a deck chair . . . what with writing two Amish series, I have back-to-back-to-back deadlines for my books, so “spare” time is something I have to set aside for trips and holidays.

 

7.      What do you have planned for the future as far as your writing goes? 

      This fall, I have 3 books out: WINTER OF WISHES, AN AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS, and AMANDA WEDS A GOOD MAN. Next spring, BREATH OF SPRING will be out, as well. Right now, my Seasons of the Heart series is contracted through book #6, and along with some other Amish titles, I will be going full tilt and full-time through the end of 2015, and those later stories will appear in 2016! I think it’s amazing, how long this interest in the Amish has lasted—as well as how my editors all predict it will continue for a few more years.

 

Guest Post:


Why Does Amish Fiction Appeal to Us?

 

            As I ponder the appeal of Amish stories, I think I can best illustrate it with two very compelling images: the image of a family gathered at the dinner table, and the image of a family seated in a church pew.

            Faith and family are the essence of Amish lifethe unshakable foundations of that lifeand we who read (and write) these stories are drawn by those values. For readers my age and older, these images takes us back to The Way We Were as a nation in our own lifetimes: we can recall when sports and social activities and business demands were not allowed to intrude into our family lives during the dinner hour or on Sundaysand often on Wednesday nights, which were reserved for youth and choir activities at church.

             And while we know those times were not as perfect or ideal as Norman Rockwell paintings depict, we crave those days. Faith and family came first, and parents and grandparents took responsibility for seeing that those priorities were maintained in our homes. Thats how the Amish have lived for centuries.

            I suspect readers who are 40 or younger are drawn to the same ideal, the same Norman Rockwell simplicity of times gone by. It's not so much that the Amish don't appreciate what modern technology can do (and I lump electricity, cars, and computers/the Internet into this term). Many of them partner with Mennonites to have websites and electricity for their businesses (as my Miriam Lantz does, in the Seasons of the Heart series) to attract tourists, which in turn better supports their families. But the Amish control technology, rather than allowing technology to control them.

            By not allowing electricity or phones into their homes, they have decreed that recreational chit-chat, TV, texting, tweeting, gaming, and Facebook will not distract them from their two bedrock priorities: faith in God, and keeping their families together, emotionally and financially. I think this is what readers respect most about the Amish, even if they wouldn't want to live that way themselves.

            It's also important to note thatjust as Norman Rockwell idealized the everyday aspects of our lives 50 years agoany sort of fiction idealizes real life. Stories have been a favorite escape for centuries, and this current wave of Amish fiction doubles that: we readers (and writers!) are escaping into fictional homes and towns and families where we feel far more comfortable than we really would, were we to become Amish! It wouldn't take us long to miss our cars and and our dishwashersespecially those, in families where eight to ten kids is the norm!

            But in our books, we also see Amish characters tackling the ongoing chores of canning, cooking, cleaning, barn raising (and barn mucking!) as a family and as a community. Nobody goes it alone. Nobody competes to be the best, or to stand out and be noticed. Everyone encourages and supports their neighborsand best of all, these characters are expected to admit when they've done wrong, and the community and their families are expected to forgive them.

            Does this always happen willingly and joyfully in real life for the Amish? Of course not! They struggle with their personal desires, just as we do. But, as with technology, they are expected to take responsibility for their actions. They believe that in the end, God will be holding them accountable for the way they lived their lives on Eartheven as they believe that God's will controls every little thing that befalls them in this life. 

            So, what's the appeal of Amish fiction? Simplicity, yes. But also the accountability, honesty, cheerfulness, and sense of family/community of the characters we've come to love. We wouldn't want to live their lives, but we love to put ourselves in their places as we read stories about them!