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Monday, June 30, 2014

Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

About the book: 

In a secluded corner of Hope Beach, one woman must decipher a stranger's memories . . . before they cost her everything.
Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit.
But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks---and vivid dreams of being strangled---she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor's murder.
Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked---by a man she's only met in her nightmares.
The police are dubious of her story, but one off-duty FBI agent is eager to help her: Agent Marc Everton, the father of Elin's daughter.
Of course, he doesn't know about that. Yet.
Now, in a remote cottage on Hope Island, Elin and Marc must probe the secrets buried in her borrowed heart. And there's no time to waste. One man is desperate to silence her---before she remembers too much.

Purchase a copy:
My Review:
This book was Colleen Coble at her best.  I have read the other two books in the Hope Beach Series, and they have all been good, but this was non-stop action from the very beginning.  This book will grab a hold of you and not let go, it is easy to sit and read it all in one sitting.  There were so many twists and turns in this book, I thought I was on a roller coaster.  I also love the location of this series and the characters in this book were great, plus we got to meet some new characters.  There is not just the intrigue and suspense going on with Elin and Marc, but also a hundred year old intrigue as well.  Great job, as always, Colleen.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About the author: 

Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.

Colleen can be found at: website, Twitter, Facebook

Don’t miss Colleen Coble‘s latest release in the Hope Beach series, Seagrass Pier. The book releases July 1st, and Colleen's publisher is offering the ebook at a special pre-order price of just $4.99 between now and 6/30 everywhere ebooks are sold.

PLUS . . . between 6/9 – 6/30 Colleen will be hosting a Kindle giveaway.

One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Seagrass Pier and the rest of the Hope Beach series by Colleen Coble
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 30th. Winner will be announced on Colleen's blog on July 1st.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning and be sure to stop by Colleen's blog on July 1st to see if you won!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Forever Amish by Kate Lloyd

About the book: 

The latest book in the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy, Forever Amish introduces us to a young woman about to uncover a shocking secret and find an invitation to a new way of living. This is a story of forgiveness, legacies, and the ties that bind through generations.
It's the Last Thing She Expects to Find
Sally Bingham needs some time away to sort through the changes in her life and to rethink her upcoming marriage. Despite her ailing father's hesitations, she takes off for a bed and breakfast in Lancaster County for a weekend away. But her best-laid plans leave her in a near collision with a bishop's buggy and in the home of a mysterious Amish woman named Lizzie. Lizzie introduces her to a different perspective on life, a charming farmhand named Armin--- and opens a Pandora's box that will forever change Sally's life.

Purchase a copy:
My Review:
I have read all the books in the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, and this one was my favorite.  This one flowed really, a lot better than the other two.  It may be that it flowed so well because I liked the characters in this book better than in the first two.  Kate Lloyd is an exceptional writer.  Sometimes, I didn't like Sally, but in the end I did.  If you are looking for a great Amish read that will keep you entertained, and has a little mystery to it, then this is the book for you.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About the author: 

Author Kate Lloyd is a passionate observer of human relationships. A native of Baltimore, Kate spends time with family and friends in Lancaster County, PA, the inspiration for her novels. She is a member of the Lancaster County Mennonite Historical Society. Kate and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest. Kate studied painting and sculpture in college. She's worked a variety of jobs, including car salesman and restaurateur.

Kate can be found at: website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

The latest book in Kate Lloyd's Legacy of Lancaster trilogy, Forever Amish, introduces us to a young woman about to uncover a shocking secret and find an invitation to a new way of living. This is a story of forgiveness, legacies, and the ties that bind through generations.

Kate is celebrating by giving away an Amish-made prize pack!


One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Qillow (A pillow with a lovely surprise inside! It opens to a 40” X 60” quilt ideal for traveling, sports events, and home.)
  •  A Center Diamond wall hanging (Hand-stitched by Old Order Amish quilter Emma Stoltzfus of E.S. Quilts in Lancaster, PA. It measures 42” x 42” and is a traditional Old Order Amish design.)
  • Darling Amish-made faceless dolls (Hand-crafted in Lancaster County, PA. Each measures 12 inches and is individually named. Meet Martha and Henry!)
  • Forever Amish and the rest of the Legacy of Lancaster trilogy by Kate Lloyd
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 29th. Winner will be announced at Kate's blog on July 1st.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning and be sure to stop by Kate's blog on July 1st to see if you won!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Breath of Spring by Charlotte Hubbard, Review and Guest Post

Breath of Spring 1  Title: Breath of Spring
Author: Charlotte Hubbard
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 352
Genre: Amish Romance/Inspirational
As a bright season brings a fresh start to Willow Ridge, Annie Mae Knepp feels she can never make peace with the past. Her disgraced ex-bishop father is furious that she’s has taken her five siblings to live with her. She’s never been truly at home in her faith…or believing in herself. And Annie Mae fears no man will want to take on the responsibilities she’s gladly shouldered. True, her quiet neighbor Adam Wagler has been steadfast and unshakable, helping her through her trials, but he surely couldn’t think of someone so lost as more than a friend. Believing she is unworthy because of her doubts, Annie Mae will find, in a moment of surprising revelation, that God can work impossible miracles—and that love makes all things new.


My Review:

I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the sense of community that this book had and how everyone in the community stood by each other through lots of different things.  This book continues the story of the gang from Willow Ridge, MO.  I loved the writing in this story, as it just flowed so well.  If you are a fan of Amish Fiction, then I highly recommend this series.

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

About The Author:

I’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.

Guest Post

No More Mr. Nice Guy!        
I’m getting ready to speak to the local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, on the topic of how to write and sell a series. As I was skimming the Series Overview I wrote as part of my original proposal for the Seasons of the Heart series, back in 2010, these lines leaped off the page about one of my major characters:
Their bishop, Hiram Knepp, focuses them on God’s will for their lives in Willow Ridge and in the outside world they separate themselves from. As he offers thanks for the meals served up in the Sweet Seasons Cafe, his mellow voice . . . and his patience will bless you as you enjoy these stories of his Plain flock, the sheep of his pasture.
My mouth dropped open. This is so not the Hiram Knepp we now love to hate! And it’s a perfect example of how characters can change dramatically between the time a writer first conceives of them and when they take on their own lives as the story actually gets written. Indeed, the man you might picture from the above quote would seem to have angel-white hair and wings with a halo, when in fact, in this fourth book of the series, BREATH OF SPRING, Hiram Knepp has gotten himself excommunicated from Willow Ridge for owning and hiding a car—among other things. And at one point in this story, he shows up with a short English-style haircut and a close-clipped goatee, both of which have been dyed coal black!
As I think back over Hiram’s slip-slide from grace, I realize it started in SUMMER OF SECRETS, the first book of the series, when Hiram was pestering Miriam Lantz to marry him and she refused . . . and with each refusal, he thought of the next nasty way to get even, to get revenge, and to try to get everything from her.
Enter the two Hooley sisters, Jerusalem and Nazarath, in AUTUMN WINDS to distract him from his pursuit of Miriam—but Hiram still kept finding ways to come down on the Lantz family. In WINTER OF WISHES, he was intent on shaming Rhoda Lantz for riding in a car and kissing English nurse Andy Leitner—but by the end of that drama, when Hiram had finagled a large plot of land to start a new colony, claiming God Himself had told him to do this, the good folks of Willow Ridge sent him packing. (Well, actually, Hiram refused to confess his sins or do penance, so he cooked his own goose . . . and then left it on the Christmas dinner table to rot.)
In BREATH OF SPRING, which is Annie Mae Knepp’s story, Hiram of course will be in full fettle once again—and even I was aghast at the way he chose to disgrace her. I’m grateful to my astute editor for once saying that Annie Mae would make an interesting heroine, because if I’d followed the pattern, the next Lantz girl to marry off would’ve been Rebecca. While readers love Rebecca, because she has made Willow Ridge her home despite saying plain-out that she won’t become Amish, therein lies the problem: I would be writing a non-Amish story if she were a heroine. So for now she remains a reliable, tech-savvy character whose website design business is bringing a lot of new folks to visit her mother’s Sweet Seasons cafe as well as the Hooley brothers’ new Mill at Willow Ridge—which is so beautifully illustrated on the cover of BREATH OF SPRING.
I think you’ll agree that Annie Mae must rise above many challenges the average seventeen-year-old couldn’t hope to face. At the end of WINTER, we saw her and her sister Nellie walk away from their father Hiram, absolutely refusing to go to his new colony—knowing they were inviting his wrath for defying him. In BREATH OF SPRING we see the return of her former beau, Yonnie Stoltzfus, in a sleek blue sportscar . . . with trouble on his mind. And then when Annie Mae sees that her four younger sibs are being mistreated by Hiram’s new um, live-in, Annie Mae gathers them in and takes them home to Willow Ridge and safety. But always in this story, she’s looking over her shoulder, living in the shadow of her relentless father’s arrogance and love of power.
Our hero, by comparison, is a rather quiet, unassuming fellow you’ve met at many a breakfast in the Sweet Seasons. Adam Wagler is busy with his home remodeling business, living with his widowed brother Matthias in a man-cave of a house that’s anything but clean or homey. While most of the local guys are warning him not to take up with Annie Mae because he’ll be supporting her entire family, Adam is wondering what such a strong young woman could possibly see in him. He has an illegal surprise from his past parked in his barn, however, and it enables him to save the day and Annie Mae in true heroic fashion.
I hope you’ll find a lot to enjoy in BREATH OF SPRING! And I think you’ll agree that the Seasons of the Heart series much more interesting because Hiram has evolved into such a villain—and because not all of the folks who live in Willow Ridge are squeaky clean or free from secret sins.
Sounds a lot like real life, doesn’t it?
If you’d like to read the first chapter of BREATH OF SPRING now, and see the recipes that are featured in that story, check it out at And if you’d like to sign up for my e-newsletter so you don’t miss any of the upcoming books in this series (HARVEST OF BLESSINGS and THE CHRISTMAS CRADLE are slated for 2015) fill out the little sign-up at the bottom left of my homepage. You can also Friend me on Facebook! Thanks so much!   ~Charlotte

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chez Stinky by Susan Daffron Review and Guest Post

Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn't laid eyes on her great aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she's stumped when she inherits Abigail's house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.
Kat's uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn--with a touch of antique skunk--and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that's before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools). 

Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul.
My Review:
I love animals, so I really enjoyed this book.  I also like the characters in this story.  There was a little bit of drama and intrigue that made the book interesting.  This was a fast read that was well written, if a little rushed maybe.  That is the only thing I didn't like about it.  I liked the setting of a small town, and would have liked for the book to have explored the town and it's occupants a little more.  Otherwise this was a charming book that made me smile.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
Susan Daffron is the author of one novel and 14 nonfiction books, including several about pet care and animal rescue. She lives in a small town in northernIdaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat--the last three, all "rescues." Her latest book, Chez Stinky ( is the first of a series of romantic comedy novels that will feature the small town of Alpine Grove.
When she's not writing novels, Susan works as the president of Logical Expressions, Inc., a book and software publishing based company in Sandpoint,Idaho. You can read more about her at her
Social Media Links:
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Guest Post:

Postal Social Hour

by Susan Daffron
One of the things readers of my book Chez Stinky often find amusing is the depiction of rural, small town life. The little hamlet of Alpine Grove that I've created in my novels is based to some degree on my life here in northern Idaho.
Where I live, if you want to see pretty much everyone you know, the best place to go is the local post office. Why? Because you get to spend quite a bit of quality time in line. And in that line, you are likely to see at least one person you know.
For even more fun, you can time your visits around national holidays, such as Memorial Day. If a Monday will be a holiday for the USPS, there is always considerable postal anticipation, which can result in a line that stretches past the stamp machine way out into the lobby beyond the bulletin board. (Take my word for it, that’s a seriously long line.)
Postal anticipation also can lead to small town traffic jams and parking issues. People end up dropping off their passengers and circling the lot in their quest for a parking space. The last time I had this experience, by the time my husband finally parked and joined me in line, I had made it past the stamp machine and was the person with the honor of using my foot to hold open the door to the inner postal sanctum.
When you have whole lot of people in line and a small number of postal employees to help them, chatter ensues. And like I said, in a small town, odds are good that at least a few people in line will know each other and get into deeply involved conversations as the overwrought postal employees deal with the onslaught. Unlike the big city, small town postal employees are often cheerful and nice, but they do have to answer countless questions about insurance, delivery confirmation, and stamps, so each transaction takes a while.
In my novel, spending time in line with the crowd at the post office turns into an embarrassing moment for my main character, Kat Stevens. Half of Alpine Grove learns more than Kat might like about what's going on in her personal life.
But you have to expect that kind of thing when the post office is the social mecca of town.

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Coming Home by Holly Kerr Review and Guest Post

Coming Home 2

Loving your sisters is easy. Liking them is the hard part.
Brenna Ebans always wanted more than what Hill n’Valley could give her, so it seemed a simple decision to follow her black-sheep sister Dory’s footsteps and leave Hill n’Valley in her rearview, hoping to locate their missing father. Leaving her sisters and her first love Seamus was harder than she thought, but she’s made a life for herself in Vancouver, started her career at a prestigious law firm, and has found the man of her dreams. But when she finds her husband Toby in a compromising position at work, she loses both her love and her job, and has nowhere to go but home.
Youngest sister Cat has remained in Hill n’Valley, leaving a string of broken hearts—and ex-husbands—in her wake. She’s happy living in the family home, with the ghost of their dead mother to keep her company during the day, and her latest conquest—Brenna’s old boyfriend, Seamus—to keep her warm at night. And she’s less than thrilled to hear about Brenna’s return.
But when tragedy strikes, it brings their father back to Hill n’Valley, and the sisters will have a lot of issues to resolve….

My Review:

This is a story about family and, like the title says, coming home.  Brenna comes home to Hill n'Valley after a bad break-up with her husband.  There is tension between two of the sisters.  This was a well written story and end really well.

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

Guest Post:

10 Things to Know About Holly Kerr

*I worship the creative genius of Joss Whedon! He could write those drug warnings in magazines and I would devour every syllable.  From Buffy to the Avengers, Firefly to Dollhouse,  I love everything he’s done, except that cabin in the woods movie because I don't do scary movies any more

*I used to watch a lot of horror movies as a teenager, and now I don’t because I’m older and wiser and don’t enjoy being scared silly.  Plus, it’s scary enough raising kids – I don’t need the added stress!

*I also love anything Star Wars related and even have an extensive collection of the books.  While I’m sad the new Star Wars movie won’t be following the books, I’m still waiting with bated breath for the 2016 release date and will be there on opening day in my Princess Leia outfit!  I’m in awe of how George Lucas’s vision of a simple tale of good vs. evil created an entire world of interconnecting books, movies and videos 
I find it difficult to do anything without music in the background.  You’d think with kids, I should relish the quiet, but no.

*I like mayo with my French fries instead of ketchup. Garlic mayo preferably. St. Louis’ garlic dill sauce would be best

*I love roller coasters but not the way my head feels after I ride them. My limit is now 5 in one day. :(

*I make the best mushroom risotto of anyone I know. Not to brag but this includes professionals

*I hate the taste of coffee but love the smell except when I've spent too long in Starbucks and then I really hate the smell of myself. I do love their green tea lattes though

*I prefer potato chips over chocolate and sometimes feel I might be the only women who does, except my mother.

*I would love a dog but I love my husband and he does not love dogs.  So I like to borrow my friends’

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart

About the book: 

For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman's best qualities. She knows she's fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stammer she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.
But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.

Purchase a copy:
My Review:
This was a novel that took us from the a millinery shop in New York City in the 1920s to London during the wedding of Prince Albert to Elizabeth and finally to Kentucky.  I really enjoyed this story and getting to know the character or Nell, she is a really strong character.  I liked reading about a woman who in the 20s was more worried about making her own way in life than she was about finding a husband.  This was a well written novel that flowed really well.  I say great job Carla.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About the author: 

Carla Stewart is the award-winning author of four novels. With a passion for times gone by, it is her desire to take readers back to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called "home." She and her husband live in Tulsa and have four adult sons and six grandchildren (with one on the way!). 

Carla can be found at: website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Season of Change by Lynette Sowell

About the book: 

An Amish widower finds love in unexpected places.
Amish widower Jacob Miller believes it was a mistake to visit the Amish village of Pinecraft for winter vacation, especially after his daughter is struck by a car. Stranded in Sarasota until his daughter recovers, Jacob grows increasingly wary of events that unfold in his unfamiliar surroundings---including the strange curiosity of Englischer Natalie Bennett.
Natalie never thought her circus career as an aerial silks artist would end with a blown-out knee at the age of 25. She also never knew her late mother had a secret---that she was once Amish.
When Natalie meets the Millers at the Sarasota hospital, she is attracted to their warm hospitality and simple ways---and soon wonders if they can help her find her mother's family. As Jacob and Natalie fall in love, their worlds collide. Will their differences tear them apart? Or will their love be strong enough to blend their clashing cultures?

Purchase a copy:
My Review:
This book started out kind of slow for me, but once I got about halfway through, I didn't want to put it down.  I really liked the characters in this book, and I really rooted for Natalie and Jacob to find their way to each other.  This is the first Amish book that I have read that was set in Pinecraft, and it seems like a very nice place, one that I would like to visit.  This was well written book that flowed really well.  I also liked that there was more going on in the book than just Jacob and Natalie's romance.  I look forward to reading more in the Seasons in Pinecraft series.  Great job, Lynette.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About the author: Lynette Sowell is the Carol Award-winning and ECPA best-selling author of more than 15 titles, including A Season of Change and Tempest's Course. When Lynette is not writing, she works as a medical editor and part-time newspaper reporter. She makes her home in Copperas Cove on the doorstep of the Texas hill country. 

Lynette can be found at: website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest


In A Season of Change, book one of Lynette Sowell's new series, Seasons of Pinecraft, readers will discover a different side of the Amish community. A Season of Change follows Natalie and Amish widower Jacob Miller as they each discover the mysterious ways God works. Inspired by the image of a Plain woman sitting on a three-wheeled bicycle by the Pinecraft (an Amish community in Florida) post office, Sowell’s latest is a new take on the popular trend in fiction.

Lynette is celebrating with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a Facebook author chat party on June 12th.


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • A Season of Change by Lynette Sowell
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 12th. Winner will be announced at the A Season of Change Facebook author chat party on June 12th. Connect with Lynette for an evening of fun book chat, Amish-themed trivia, and prizes. Lynette will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in the Seasons of Pinecraft series!

So grab your copy of A Season of Change and join Lynette on the evening of June 12th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 12th!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Maltipoos Are Murder by Jacqui Lane Review and Guest Post

Maltipoos are Murder
A Doggie Spa Mystery

Published by (Entangled Ignite)
Cozy Mystery – 320 Pages

Release Date: 5/27
Can a murder investigation keep these opposites from attracting?
Cara Rogers wants a fresh start after a slew of bad luck in Washington DC. Moving to Virginia to help her aunt run La Maison de Chien, a doggie spa, is just the peace of mind she needs. No stress. Just her aunt, the dogs, and wide-open country.
But when she finds Aunt Marian floating in the doggie swimming pool, the rest she so desperately needs flies out the window. The only witness to the death is Rex, an apricot maltipoo, and while he may not be able to talk, he’s communicating the only way he knows how—one paw at a time. And Rex’s clues lead to murder.Can Cara keep the doggie spa afloat, convince Middleburg homicide detective Cole Sampson that Aunt Marian’s death was no accident, and keep Rex from the killer’s clutches before they all end up as dead as dogs?

My Review:

If I could afford it, I would take my dogs to La Maison de Chien, even though there was a murder there.  This seems like a very cool place for dogs.  I really enjoyed this cozy.  It was just the way I like a cozy to be, the killer is someone you don't suspect at all.  I love when a writer does that with a cozy.  I also liked the characters in this story.  I was very well written and was very fast read.  It flowed really well.  Once I started it, I couldn't put it down.  The only bad thing, it wasn't long enough, lol.  Great job!

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

About This Author
Jacqueline Corcoran and Lane Stone have teamed up to write about some of their favorite topics – dogs, mysteries, and Middleburg, Virginia, which is known as the nation’s horse and hunt capital.  MALTIPOOS ARE MURDER is the first in their doggie day spa romantic suspense series.
Jacqueline Corcoran lives in Arlington, Virginia with her rescue animals, husband, and two children. She holds a Ph.D. in social work and is on faculty at the Virginia Commonwealth University. She has published numerous professional academic articles and fourteen books in her field.  Her mysteries include Maiming of the Shrew (Cozy Cat Press), A Month of Sundays (Whimsical Publications), Backlit (Etopia Press), and Memoir of Death (Etopia Press).  See her website at
Lane Stone and her husband, Larry Korb, divide their time between Sugar Hill, Georgia and Alexandria, Virginia.  She’s the author of the Tiara Investigations Mystery series.  When not writing, she’s usually playing golf.   Her volunteer work includes raising money for women political candidates and conducting home visits for A Forever Home, a dog foster organization.  She is on the Political Science Advisory Board for Georgia State University, and she serves on Sugar Hill’s 75th Anniversary Planning Committee.
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Guest Post:

My Favorite Tips from Writing Craft Books


Jacqueline Corcoran


Since I was a teenager, I’ve loved writing craft books, and I’ve picked up many tips along the way.  What are some of the best tips I’ve learned?  Here is a list of the books and the “best of” from them. 



Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass and the other Maass books, Fire in Fiction and Writing Twenty-First Century Fiction.  I like the Maass books because they offer ways of writing that are non-linear.  I don't like books that have you outline each scene in a mechanistic way, because I’m more on the pantsing side of the plotting equation.  The Maass books rely a lot on reversal.  Think of an idea, and then reverse it, have the opposite happen, or have the opposite motivation for a character. I rely regularly on reverse brainstorming for when I’m stuck on “what happens next?”


Another tip I use regularly from Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook is to describe the quality of light in a scene.  It’s unique writing advice and, if you think about it, light is present in every moment we’re in, and it can set the mood for your scene.


A dialogue tip I’ve gotten from Fire in Fiction is to limit lines of dialogue to five words.  No one wants to read speeches, and this forces you to do the snappy dialogue thing.  Another dialogue tip Maass gives is to only have one character speaking and the other responding through body language alone.  This forces you to rely on non-verbals for communication.  When you revise, you’ll put in more dialogue typically but it helps for me with first draft writing to get down some interesting ways of portraying character exchanges. 



Elizabeth George’s Write Away.  Elizabeth George is one of my favorite mystery novelists, and I was delighted when she came out with a writing craft book.  The tip I like best in Write Away comes from how Elizabeth George describes her process.  She writes in present tense, summarizing what is going to happen in a scene, and then goes back and writes it as a scene later.  I’ve adopted this technique because I find that figuring out what’s going to happen can really be difficult, and at least this way, you know where you’re going and are not just stumbling blindly around in the dark.



The Art of the Book Proposal by Eric Maisel. I write non-fiction as well as fiction and in the The Art of the Book Proposal, he has a great technique where he takes the reader through all the ways you can approach a non-fiction work from the secular to the spiritual, from the formal to the more colloquial.  It really gets you thinking about different angles on how to structure a book, and I have used it for my fiction as well.



Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan. This is a wonderful book about crafting descriptions.  Each chapter ends with a list of exercises that have you try out the material that was discussed.  One of my favorite exercises is switching the lens.  I can start with interior monologue within a character, then have the character focus on something close up, and then switch to looking at something faraway.  




Writing Dialogue by Tom Chiarella. I haven’t picked this one up in awhile but it has given me some invaluable lessons on writing dialogue, such as not having characters ask each other “why?”  I write mysteries mostly and questioning and determining motivation is a stock part of how to figure out who committed the murder.  But I learned that you don’t have to rely on questioning all the time, and that making statements instead can make the dialogue much more interesting, less obvious and linear.  The author also poses an exercise in which each character has his or her own direction and agenda for the dialogue that is not necessarily linked to what the person before has said.  I still do this exercise at times in order to make a section of dialogue more snappy and interesting.


What are your favorite tips that you’ve incorporated in your writing that you originally learned from writing craft books?


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Thread End by Amanda Lee Review and Guest Post

Thread End: An Embroidery Mystery
Series: Embroidery Mystery (Book 7)

Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Signet (June 3, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0451467396
ISBN-13: 978-0451467393
Marcy can’t wait to see the new exhibit at the Tallulah Falls museum on antique tapestries and textiles, including beautiful kilim rugs. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to terror when, the day after the exhibition opens, she discovers a dead body behind her store, the Seven-Year Stitch, wrapped up in a most unusual fashion. The victim appears to be a visiting art professor in town for the exhibit. Did someone decide to teach the professor a lesson, then attempt to sweep the evidence under the rug? Along with her boyfriend, Detective Ted Nash, Marcy must unravel an intricate tapestry of deception to find a desperate killer.  
My Review:
I really loved the Irish Wolfhound, Angus, in this story.  I think it would be awesome to walk into a shop and see a dog like him there.  I enjoyed this cozy, it is the first I have read in this series, but I will certainly read more.  It kept my attention throughout, though it wasn't really and edge or your seat who-dunnit.  It was little more laid-back.  I liked the setting of this story and the friendships among the characters.  It was well written and pretty easy to follow.  Great job, Amanda Lee, I am looking forward to more.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

About The Author

Amanda Lee, also writing as Gayle Trent, is a full-time writer living with her family in Southwest Virginia. She writes the embroidery mystery series as Amanda Lee and writes the cake decorating series and the Myrtle Crumb series as Gayle Trent.

Author Links
Purchase Links Amazon      B&N
Guest Post:
THREAD END, the latest book in the Embroidery Mystery Series, involves a museum exhibit of antique textiles known as the Padgett Collection. Included in the exhibit are kilims, tapestries, and wall hangings.
I love going to museums, and the textiles are some of my favorite displays. Years ago, I was touring an antebellum mansion and saw dresses and military uniforms in glass cases. They were so tiny that I thought they must have belonged to children, but the tour guide said people were that much smaller in those days compared to the present day. I enjoyed seeing the First Ladies’ inaugural gowns at the Smithsonian too. Gowns and dresses from bygone eras enchant me.
My children and I went to a living history museum one day and saw how wool was spun into thread. While we were there touring the rooms, my son saw a deck of playing cards on one of the tables. They were spread out so visitors could see the individual cards. My son, who was only about eight at the time, frowned and said, “There aren’t any numbers on these cards.”
The woman giving the tour said, “Why would you need numbers on the cards when you can count?”
There were some beautiful handmade quilts at both this living history museum and at a museum my daughter and I visited in Pennsylvania. The quilts in Pennsylvania were Amish and had some lovely, distinctive designs. There was a quote on a plaque in the Pennsylvania museum that gave the sentiment that the quilter’s finished piece knew a lot of secrets and held a lot of tears.
I enjoy wandering through these rooms—be they in mansions, farmhouses, or storefront buildings—and imagining what life must have been like for the woman who wore that gown…or crafted that quilt…or spun wool at that spinning wheel. There are stories all around us. We simply have to listen.

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