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Monday, April 28, 2014

Steeped in Evil by Laura Childs

Steeped in Evil (A Tea Shop Mystery, #15)  Pictures, Synopsis, and author info from Goodreads.com.

In the newest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Sweet Tea Revenge, Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is about to learn the true meaning of terroir…

Theodosia Browning has never considered herself a wine connoisseur—tea has always been her forte. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to pass up an invitation to a fancy wine-tasting party at the upscale Knighthall Winery, just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.

But a sweet evening takes on a bitter aftertaste when a dead body is discovered in one of the wine barrels. The son of proprietor Jordan Knight has been murdered.

Dissatisfied with the police investigation, Knight turns to Theo for help. She’s heard through the grapevine that there are both family and business problems at Knighthall. They say in vino veritas, but everyone at the winery seems to be lying through their teeth. Sorting through the guest list as well as family and staff, Theo has her pick of suspects. It may look like the killer has her over a barrel, but cracking tough cases is vintage Theodosia Browning.


My Review:


This is the first book in Laura's Tea Shop Mystery Series that I have read.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't my favorite by Laura.  I liked the setting, Charleston, SC is a very intriguing city.  I am not a tea drinker, I don't like tea, iced or hot, so that part of the story didn't appeal to me a lot.  I did think the tea shop that Theodosia owns is charming though, I probably wouldn't care for what they serve there.  I did like the fact that this cozy kept me guessing till the end.  There were very few suspects, so therefore, it was hard to try to figure out who the killer was.  I will probably read more books in this series because they are very well written with a believable plot.  If you enjoy drinking hot tea and all the delicacies that go with it, and also love a great mystery, then this is the book for you. 

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


About the Author:

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Laura Childs is a pseudonym for Gerry Schmitt and she is the best-selling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, the Scrapbook Mysteries, and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries.

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:

The Tea Shop Mysteries - set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She's also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn't rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.

The Scrapbooking Mysteries - a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans' spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!

The Cackleberry Club Mysteries - set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe's undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.



 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Jill Yesko Dog Park Mysteries--Guest Post

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tough Chicks Finish First

I’ve always had a soft spot for pulp novels and super heroes. As a kid I’d rush home from school to watch episodes of Batman. Kooky villains like Mr. Freeze and the creepy Penguin aside, I liked the bat fight words zap, pow, and crunch that practically popped off the TV screen like a coked up jack-in-the-box.

As an adult I’m still seduced by the sensational; the over-the-top elements of books like The Da Vinci Code and the gadgetry and high adventure hijinks of Mission Impossible movies.

The more improbable the plot and the more outlandish the device to accomplish it, the more I like it.

So it’s no surprise that as a crime fiction author, I’m influenced by Mickey Spillane, the master of pulpy, in-your-face detective fiction. Spillane’s Mike Hammer is as close to a comic book figure as you can get without pen and ink. That’s no coincidence: Spillane originally wrote Mike Hammer as the comic book character Mike Danger.

Hammer’s name is appropriate--a take no prisoners moniker with no room for ambiguity. Hammer hits first and possibly ask questions later. Much later.

"I don't want to arrest anyone. I just want to shoot somebody." -- Mike Hammer

Mike Hammer is as hardboiled hero as you will find. He is brutal; filled with a fury that holds everything and everyone in contempt. His only guiding light is his quest for justice in the extreme.

I find parallels to Mike Hammer in Lisbeth Salander, Stieg Larsson’s violent, truth-seeking heroine first introduced to readers in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Critics have argued that Lisbeth is mentally ill; possibly autistic or even sociopathic—labels that could also be applied to Mike Hammer.

Yet popular literature and media loves violent sociopaths. How else to account for the success of the blockbuster TV series Breaking Bad? As long as they remain in the fictional realm, we delight in their ability to exploit our deepest, darkest fantasies of revenge and freedom to release our id without consequence.

Which is why I’ve created Jane Ronson, a private investigator who lives by her own rules and skirts the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Jane never met a bar fight she wouldn’t back down from. And even though she goes through life with her middle finger extended, buried in her psyche is a good person. She loves her dog and protects her vulnerable cousin Lenny (her only living relative) with a savage passion.

That said, I’ve infused my novels Murder in the Dog Park and Dog Spelled Backwards: An Unholy Mystery with humor and just enough humanity to keep Jane Ronson from being a Mike Hammer knockoff. Because all violence and no redemption makes for boring characters.

I hope you enjoy my tough chick heroine as she takes down bad guys with Archie, her bull terrier with a bad attitude.


Jill Yesko Headshot   About This Author
Jill Yesko’s 20+ year writing career has included stints as a sport writer, NPR commentator and investigative reporter. She’s written about everything from body piercing to human pyramids in Spain. After a solo trek around the world, Jill was profiled as an “adventurous traveler” in O, the Oprah magazine. Before becoming a writer, Jill was a national-class cyclist and graduate and cartographer. A New Jersey native, Jill now patrols Baltimore’s dog parks with her basset hound.



--
Author of:
"Murder in the Dog Park: Bad Girl. Good Cop. Bad Dog"
"Dog Spelled Backwards: An Unholy Mystery"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Second Helping of Murder--Christine Wenger

A Second Helping of Murder (A Comfort Food Mystery, #2)  Picture from Goodreads, Synopsis from Amazon

Trixie Matkowski is warming up to running her family’s diner in the small town of Sandy Harbor in upstate New York. But the only thing more demanding than serving up piping-hot comfort food twenty-four hours a day is getting to the bottom of a double homicide....

Trixie fondly remembers summers as a child spent visiting the shores of Lake Ontario. Not much has changed—there are still vinyl booths at the Silver Bullet Diner, families eating home-cooked comfort food, and days of swimming in the lake.

But before Trixie can say “Order’s up,” someone’s summer is abruptly cut short. One of the cottage residents is found dead, and Trixie suspects the crime might be linked to an unsolved disappearance in the picturesque town’s past.

As Trixie works with Deputy Ty Brisco to solve both mysteries, their shocking discoveries will shake up the small town. And when word gets out that she’s on the case, Trixie’s in trouble—after all, the murderer won’t spare her life just because she makes a killer corned beef sandwich....

Includes Delicious Home-Style Recipes!

My Review:

This second installment in the Comfort Foods Mystery Series was better than the first, and the first, Do or Diner, was really good.  I loved visiting with Trixie and the folks in Sandy Harbor and the Silver Bullet Diner.  Christine is an excellent writer.  Reading this story made me feel like I was really there, experiencing everything the characters were experiencing.  This story was one, that once I started it I couldn't put it down, and I devoured it, just like I would like to devour some of the great food that Trixie makes.  I am looking forward to more in this series, as it is one of my favorites.  I guarantee if you pick up a copy of this book, you won't be disappointed.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Code of the Hills--Nancy Allen--Review and Giveaway


The Code of the Hills

by Nancy Allen

on Tour April 14 - May 16, 2014



Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 9780062325945




Purchase Links:




Synopsis:

A powerful debut thriller set in the Ozark hills, about a young female prosecutor trying to do right by her vulnerable clients-but by breaking their silence, she herself may fall victim to THE CODE OF THE HILLS.


Elsie Arnold may not always have it all together, but a raucous night at the bar now and then is just how she blows off steam after a long week of hard-fought trials. When she is chosen to assist on a high-profile incest case, Elsie is excited to step up after four years of hard work as an attorney for the prosecutor’s office, and ready to realize her ambition of becoming the Ozarks’ avenging angel. There might even be media attention.


But as soon as Elsie she begins to sink her teeth into the State of Missouri vs. Kris Taney, things start to go wrong -which is when her boss dumps the entire case on her. The star witness and victim’s brother, who has accused Taney of sexually abusing his three daughters, has gone missing. The three girls, ages six, 12, and 15, may not be fit to testify, their mother won’t talk, and the evidence is spotty. To make matters worse, it seems that some people in town don’t want Elsie to lock Taney up - judging by the death threats and chicken parts left for her to find.


Elsie is determined to break the code of silence and find out what really happened, refusing to let a sex offender walk, but the odds - and maybe the community - are against her. Even as Elsie fights the good fight for her clients, she isn’t so different from them: her personal life is taking a one-two punch as her cop boyfriend becomes more and more controlling. And amidst all of the conflict, the safety of the three young Taney girls hangs in the balance.

My Review:

This was a very fast paced read that kept me riveted.  I could not hardly put this book down.  The writing was superb, I actually felt like I was in the court room, and on witness interrogations with Elsie.  Elsie is a very strong character, who sometimes doesn't make the best decisions, but she is tenacious.  She not only had to fight to win this case she had a couple of other battles to fight also.  I can't wait to read more work by this author, as this was my first Nancy Allen book, but it won't be my last.  Great job, Nancy!

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

Author Bio:



Nancy Allen is a member of the law faculty in the College of Business at Missouri State University. She practiced law for 15 years, serving as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and as Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks. When Nancy began her term as prosecutor, she was only the second woman in Southwest Missouri to serve in that capacity. During her years in prosecution, she tried over 30 jury trials, including murder and sexual offenses, and she served on the Rape Crisis Board and the child protection team of the Child Advocacy Council. THE CODE OF THE HILLS is her first novel.

 

Catch Up With the Author:


Read an excerpt:

Tiffany picked up the tiny pink plastic brush and ran it through the Barbie’s silky hair. Smoothing the blond hairdo with her hand, she turned the new doll around to closely inspect every detail of its face and figure. She’d never owned a new Barbie before, just had to make do with cast-off dolls her older sisters passed down: old Barbies with missing clothes and limbs and ragged hair.


This doll was a Christmas gift, but it had to be a secret, because Tiffany’s daddy wouldn’t like it. Daddy didn’t hold with Christmas; he said it was a waste of money. When it came to presents and such, they kept their mouths shut if they knew what was good for them.


But the PTA ladies from Tiffany’s school delivered a basket on Christmas Eve, when Daddy was out. Mom wouldn’t have been allowed to open the door to them if he was home, because Daddy and Uncle Al didn’t like people snooping around.


So when they spied the new Barbie in the box sitting on top of the canned goods, her mom told her to grab it and get it out of sight, because Daddy would take it back to the store and swap it for money if it was still in its plastic box.


Tiffany got it out in the nick of time, right before Tiffany’s daddy and Al came home with a bottle. The men sat on the front steps, drinking and laughing until the liquor ran out. Then the fighting started, and Daddy beat Al up pretty good. Storming from the house with his face dripping blood, Al yelled about getting even. Mom said the commotion was likely to bring the police down on them. Then Daddy said he’d teach her a lesson about back-sassing.


Tiffany ran upstairs so she wouldn’t have to watch it. She took the Barbie to bed with her and stuck it under her T-shirt for safekeeping.


The next afternoon, on Christmas Day, Tiffany hid with her new Barbie, whispering secrets into her plastic ear. Huddled against the tattered back of the couch, she heard heavy footsteps stride through the living room. Tiffany froze, hardly daring to breathe, as her dad stomped into the kitchen.


The feet returned to the living room. She could see his scuffed toes when she peeked under the couch.


“Where the hell is Charlene?” he demanded.


Tiffany’s mom called from the kitchen. “She’s out back. What do you want her for?”


“I want a rubdown.”


“She don't like to,” her mom responded in a hoarse whisper, tiptoeing into the room. The silence that followed was terrible. Tiffany could imagine the expression on his face. When he said, “I ain’t gonna tell you again,” her mom went to the kitchen window and called for Charlene.


Charlene came inside. When he took her to the b


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Maybelle in Stitches--Joyce Magnin

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.



About the book: Maybelle Kazinzki can't sew. She was after all, the only girl in the seventh grade Home Economics class to sew the zipper in the neck hole of the A-Line dress they were supposed to make. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother's house she gets the crazy idea to finish it---somehow, come heck or high water. She thinks it will help fill the lonely nights while her husband, Holden, is serving overseas during World War II.

Her recently departed mother's quilt is made from scraps of material Maybelle traces back to her mother's childhood, her grandmother's childhood and her own childhood. She tries to add one of Holden's stripes to it but the sewing is not going well and neither is her life. After receiving some harsh news, Maybelle's faith falters and she puts the quilt away and stops trusting God. But God is faithful---no matter what. And it'll take a group of neighborhood women armed with quilting needles to help Maybelle believe that.

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

My Review:

This was an okay book.  I like to read about this era in history.  I thought that the writing in this story was great.  I enjoyed reading about Maybelle and her friends.  Sometimes I had to chuckle at their antics.  But there was seriousness in this story as well, because it is set during WWII.  I couldn't imagine being home and my husband across the ocean in a war.  If you enjoy quilting and the WWII era, this is a great book for you.

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


About the Author: Joyce Magnin is the author of the Bright's Pond novels, including the award-winning The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow. A member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship, Joyce is a frequent workshop leader and the organizer of the StoryCrafters fiction group. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 
 
Learn more about Joyce at: http://joycemagnin.blogspot.com

Don’t miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Maybelle in Stitches, by Joyce Magnin. Maybelle can’t sew. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother’s house, she gets the crazy idea to complete it.


Joyce is celebrating the release with a $200 Modcloth giveaway. Enter today for a chance to spruce up your spring wardrobe!

qol-maybelle-400-click



One winner will receive:


  • A $200 ModCloth.com gift card
  • Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron
  • A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare
  • Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 19th. Winner will be announced on April 21st on the Quilts of Love blog!



Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER





Thursday, April 10, 2014

Organized for Murder--Ritter Ames--Review. Giveaway, and Guest Post





Release Date: February 24
Approximately 250 pages
Synopsis
The right business hook is the most important criteria for success, and Kate McKenzie thinks she’s found a perfect one.  As an organizational expert, Kate knows Americans are running out of space and money, and renting more storage units is usually not the best solution. Starting an organizational business, Stacked in Your Favor, in her new hometown of Hazelton, Vermont seems like an answer to her family’s budget problems and an answer to southern Vermonters’ prayers.  Business looks good when she snags collector, Amelia Nethercutt, as her first client, signing on to organize the wealthy woman’s eccentrically-filled mansion.  But things take a turn beyond chaos when Amelia is murdered and Kate’s fingerprints are found on the poison that killed her.





My Review:

This book really threw me for a loop!  I was guessing clear up to the very end, and was very surprised, I really like when a book does that.  I don't like to read a book that is really predictable and this book was not predictable at all!  The organization tips in this book are also great and will be really useful.  I also liked the characters in this book, and some of the characters surprised me also!  This book was just full of twists and turns.  I hope there are more in this series, as I am really looking forward to visiting Kate, her friends, and Hazelton, VT again!  Great job Ritter!

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

About This Author
Ritter Ames lives in a small town in the middle of America, but spends each day globe trotting the art world from her laptop, with her cat riding shotgun and Pandora blasting from the speakers. COUNTERFEIT CONSPIRACIES is her first full-length fiction. A second cozy mystery series, starting with ORGANIZED FOR MURDER will be released by Gemma Halliday Publishing in January 2014. She tries to blog regularly at http://ritterames.wordpress.com/ and uses her Pinterest boards at http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/ to capture great places and ideas she wants to use in both series. Follow her blog and boards to learn more about Ritter and her upcoming books.
 
 
Author Links:
Web page: http://ritterames.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ritter.ames
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RitterAmes
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ritterames/

Giveaway:

There is a rafflecopter form the author and she has also agreed to give away an e-copy of either this book or her other book Counterfeit Conspiracies (a different series), winner's choice.  Just leave me a comment, with your email address, about why you need to get organized and I will pick a winner around April 13!  Good luck.  Below is the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Guest Post:


One of the best things about being a writer is getting to share information and entertaining ideas with others. Whether I’m writing my Bodies of Art series and adding bits and pieces gained through my travels in other countries, or writing my Organized Mysteries series and tailoring organization tips to blend with the story, I’ve found readers enthusiastic about the outcome. I’ve met so many new people through my blog and through Facebook and Twitter, simply because they loved reading my books. As a new author, that’s like an extra birthday, and getting a fabulous surprise party thrown in your honor where everyone shares in the gift-giving.

 

Even better, I have a wonderful, hardworking publisher who feels the same way.

Long before the release of Organized for Murder, my publisher, Gemma Halliday, connected with groups and individuals who love to read, appreciate cozies, and like discovering new authors. She offered ARCs of my book in PDF form, and only asked people to give honest reviews. I think she closed down the option at something around 500 requests, and we hoped at least a tenth of the readers would post a review the week Organized for Murder launched.

 

My publisher chose not to use a pre-order option with Organized for Murder, so readers had to wait for the link to go live to post. On the first day, over 100 Amazon reviews posted and the numbers kept climbing. By the third or fourth day the tally was over 400 unique and wonderful four- and five-star reviews, as well as enthusiastic feedback from each individual reader on the book sale pages at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Now more than month after release, more than 500 reviews are posted on Amazon alone.

 

Most gratifying for me were the emails from happy readers who loved the book, bought their own copies afterward because they wanted Kindle or Nook copies on their ereaders, and told friends and family about the novel. My publisher shared these messages of encouragement with me, after she and her assistant read all of the hundreds and hundreds of emails that poured into her inbox. As a new author this was unbelievably validating, and my heart swells again every time I think about reading those amazing messages of support and feedback.

 

I’ve read cozies almost my whole life. When I’m not reading this type of clean, comfy mystery I’m reading fun escapist fiction—again, usually mysteries—instead. This is what I love to read, and what I love to write. Life can be mean and painful. I like my reading fiction to bring the fun and balance back to day-to-day living, with the added bonus of a great puzzle to solve.

 

So, whether I globe trot across Europe with my characters in Counterfeit Conspiracies, or am in the middle of thinking up new twists to bring a little chaos to my organization expert’s world, I’m always writing with a smile on my face. Because I know in the end my goal is for every reader to have a good time, learn something new, and see justice prevail. I like win-win novels.



Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Killing Notion--Melissa Bourbon--Review, Interview, Giveaway

 
 
 
A Killing Notion: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery (Magical Dressmaking Mysteries) Cozy Mystery
Published by Obsidian (April 1, 2014)
Penguin Publishing Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451417206
E-Book ASIN: B00F9EZBXS
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18492490-a-killing-notion
goodreads-badge-add-plus

Synopsis:
Harlow Jane Cassidy is swamped with homecoming couture requests. If only she didn’t have to help solve a murder, she might get the gowns off the dress forms…. 
Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows—without letting clients know about her secret charm. When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls—including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow’s heart—she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause.
But when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won’t be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player’s name. If Harlow can’t patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.

My Review:

This was probably the best book that I have read so far this year!!  It grabbed my attention and kept it the whole way through.  Melissa Bourbon's words flowed so well, making this a very easy and fast read.  I loved the small, hometown feel of the book.  And I also loved that it was set during Homecoming time in Bliss, which brought back memories.  This book had many, many twists and turns that kept me guessing till the very end.  I would think I had it figured out, and there would be an twist that made me think again.  Great job Melissa Bourbon, I will definitely be reading more from this great series!

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

About The Author
Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas.  She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.
She is the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing guide for authors.


Giveaway:

The author has her own Rafflecopter, plus she has agreed to gift a copy either the first in this series, Pleating for Mercy, or the first in the Lola Cruz series, Living the Vida Lola!  To enter this giveaway, leave a reply and I will pick a winner on, Friday, April 11.  Tell me why you so want to read this series, leave your email so I can contact you.  Also enter Melissa's Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Interview:


1.       How long have you been writing? 

Oh my gosh! I just counted the years, and it’s actually been a really long time. I started dabbling about fifteen years ago. I was teaching middle school Language Arts and was on my first maternity leave. I began a middle grade book (it was before middle grade and YA had taken off) and I was hooked!  It took another 7 years or so before I wrote what would be my first published book (Living the Vida Lola), so, yeah, I’m an overnight success ;)

 

2.      What is your favorite thing to write about?

Every single one of my books has strong family elements, and also strong female relationships.  These are two themes that I think I will always love writing about and incorporating into my stories. They resonate with me and create a foundation for whatever story I’m telling at the time.

 

 

3.      What has been your biggest inspiration when it comes to your writing?

This is such a hard question! I don’t know that I have a single hugely inspiring thing, but rather a lot of smaller inspirations that come when I need them. My family, of course, my husband, sewing (which became a huge inspiration for A Magical Dressmaking mystery series), food, which tends to factor into each book in one way or another (my favorite dish at the time tends to make an appearance!), Texas, which is where I now live…  Texas and the small town of Bliss, for example, give so much flavor to the Harlow Cassidy stories so inspiration is all around me.

 

 

4.      Who has been your biggest influence?

I think I would have to say that my husband has had the most influence on me in terms of encouraging me to keep going and not give up when things were rough and the rejections kept coming, and for his awesome support. After him, I think my family as a whole, particularly generations past and their history, has affected me most and continues to find pathways into my stories.

 

5.      Where did the idea for your Magical Dressmaking series come from?

 

The women in my family are sewers. I learned to sew when I was in fifth grade and made my first dress that same year. When I knew I wanted to write a cozy mystery series (because I love mysteries and knew that would be the framework of my series), it made perfect sense to make Harlow a fashion designer. It’s something I’m interested in and have knowledge about, and before long, Harlow had an entire backstory, her passion was clear, and those elements have informed the story so much.

 

6.      Besides writing, what are your other interests?

Sewing J Although I have very little time for anything crafty these days. I like yoga and walking (again, time is a factor!). I take a boxing class, which is SO challenging, but I also really like it. It’s a great way to burn through stress. I enjoy cooking, particularly healthy things. We have two kids with Celiac disease and one with type 1 diabetes, and I have a dairy allergy, so cooking can be quite an adventure. I do a lot from scratch and am really loving trying new recipes.

 

7.      Who are your favorite authors?

Sarah Addison Allen and Maria Semple are two that I enjoy. I’ve always loved Gone with the Wind, too.  “After all, tomorrow is another day” is a favorite quote. I have a necklace with that saying! I read pretty widely and love a lot of different authors!  Within the cozy mystery genre, I love Wendy Lyn Watson/Annie Knox, Paige Shelton, Heather Blake, and Juliet Blackwell.

 

8.      Where is your favorite place to vacation and where would you love to go that you have never been?

I’d love to go to Europe and hope to one day in the not so far future. Italy. Spain. Ireland.  I’d love to see it all!  We don't vacation a lot (with five kids, it’s too expensive), but we love a good beach.  This year we hope to go to Florida for the first time.


Thank you for having me!  Happy reading
J

 

~ Melissa

Connect with Melissa

 



Twitter: @MelissaBourbon


 

 

 

 


 





Friday, April 4, 2014

Gatehaven by Molly Noble Bull--Review and Giveaway

 
 
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Ephesians 6:11
 
Shannon Aimee, a young peasant woman living in Luss, Scotland in the late 1700s, is pleasantly surprised to receive a marriage proposal from the wealthy Earl of Northon. With the reluctant consent of her parents, Shannon agrees to accompany the young earl to Gatehaven, his residence in northern England with a dark history. 
Escorted by her lifelong friend, Ian Colquhoun (who has his on motives for visiting the haunting mansion notorious for its disturbing secrets and occult practices). Shannon embarks on her journey. But before long she realizes that there is more to Gatehaven than meets the eye. 
When deadly deception is revealed and the truth comes to light, will Shannon and Ian be able to save their loved ones before it is too late? Or will the forces of darkness win? 
 
About Gatehaven:
Gatehaven by Molly Noble Bull is a Christian Gothic historical novel set in a haunting mansion in the north of England where Ian Colquhoun and Shannon Aimee battle a Frenchman with dark secrets—spiritual warfare vs. the occult.  Will they learn enough about God’s words to defend themselves and others or will evil overcome them?
Click below to see and hear Gatehaven’s book trailer.
 
My Review:
 
I enjoy reading "Gothic" novels, but haven't read any in a long time.  This novel did not disappoint.  It was set in the late 1700s and had the scary house to make it a great "Gothic" novel.  This book had a great faith element, though, as the main characters learned to lean on GOD to get them through some very dangerous times.  The danger was spiritual as well as physical.  I thought that the character Ian was a strong, likable character, while I thought that Shannon was a little flighty at times.  I enjoyed reading this novel and look forward to more from this author. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
 
 
Molly Noble Bull was born in Kingsville, Texas—home of the famous King Ranch. Her father and maternal grandfather were real Texas cowboys, and she enjoys writing western romances. But she also writes historical novels.
Gatehaven, her long Christian gothic set in Europe in 1784, won the 2013 Creation House Fiction Writing Contest while still a manuscript, and Gatehaven is the novel being featured today. However, Molly’ first two published novels came out from Zondervan. Her Zondervan novels were later reprinted and published as Promise Romances from Guideposts. Molly also sold novels to Love Inspired and Tsaba House, and Westbow Press published The  Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities, a non-fiction book she wrote with four other Christian authors. Molly owns the rights to her Zondervan romance novels now, and she will soon self publish The Rogue’s Daughter as an e-book. Rogue is a western set on a South Texas cattle ranch in 1890.
From Molly:
I was born in Kingsville, Texas—home of the famous King Ranch, and my father and maternal grandfather were ranch managers, real Texas cowboys. I spent part of my growing up years on a sixth-thousand-acre cattle ranch and married my college sweetheart. A history major, he encouraged me to write about far away places. But my ranching background wasn’t lost either. All three of our grown sons are involved in ranching in Texas today, and our grandchildren take part in 4-H and FFA activities and raise animals for the local stock-show every year. 
My first two novels were published by Zondervan and later reprinted and can out as Promise Romances from Guideposts. I also sold novels to Love Inspired and then Tsaba House. Tsaba House bought five of my books but went out of business before the second novel came out.
Westbow Press published The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered Learning Disabilities, and it is a non-fiction book I wrote with four other Christian authors, telling about our learning disabilities. All five of us had learning problems, and all five became published novelists.
I struggled with dyslexia as a child and still struggle. But with God’s help, I overcame. Not only that, I am a member of the Family of God.
Who could ask for anything more? 
 
Giveaway:
 




 
Giving away one print copy of Gatehaven.




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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Sky Without Stars--Linda Clare

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.


About the book: In 1951, Frankie Chasing Bear is a Lakota caught between cultures. She wants to raise her son Harold to revere his Lakota heritage, but she knows he will need to become as a white man to succeed. After his father's killed in a barroom brawl, Harold and Frankie move to Arizona, where she begins a Lakota Star pattern quilt for Harold with tribal wisdom sung, sewn and prayed into it.

She distrusts Christians, as her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian School, until she meets BIA agent Nick Vandergriff, a half-Lakota who's also caught between cultures. Nick must convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren't all bad as he tries to win her heart in order to put the stars back into her sky.

Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.


My Review:

A well written story that gives a good glimpse of what life was like for a single Native American mother in the 1950's.  I like reading about this era in US History.  Linda Clare did a really good job with story.  You usually don't think of quilts when you think of Native Americans, but the quilt in this story kept the culture of the Lakota's alive.

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


About the Author: Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them (with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She is also the author of The Fence My Father Built. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!

Learn more about Linda at: http://www.lindasclare.com