Review & Giveaway: FALLOUT by Carrie Stuart Parks

So why did I pick up this book? The cover caught my eye and the description intrigued me. What I discovered was an intriguing read.

About the Book

Her carefully crafted life is about to be demolished.

After a difficult childhood, Samantha Williams craves simplicity: jigsaw puzzles, lectures at the library, and the students she adores in her role as an elementary art teacher in the dusty farming community of LaCrosse, Washington.

But when an SUV crashes into the school where she teaches, her entire world is upended. She manages to keep all of the children safe, but her car isn’t so lucky. Oddly, her purse—containing her driver’s license, credit cards, and other identification—is missing from the wreckage.

After authorities discover that the driver in the school accident was shot seconds before the crash, Samantha quickly becomes entangled in increasingly strange events that have her looking over her shoulder.

Samantha has long tried to forget the tragedy of her past, but the twisting maze she discovers between the murdered driver, a deadly secret government project, and an abandoned town can’t be ignored. Those involved are determined to keep these secrets buried, and they’ll use any means necessary to stop Samantha’s search for truth.

My Review

Samantha’s past is complicated and shrouded in mystery. And her life becomes more so when an SUV crashes into the school where where she teaches. She makes for a quirky character who guards her secrets and keeps to herself. For the most part, the story is told from Sam’s point of view, with occasional switches to another character’s viewpoint – I found the transitions were confusing in a few places. Set against the historical backdrop of a nuclear facility during the Cold War created a counterpoint between Sam’s quirkiness and some serious and intesting subject matter. The action was paced nicely, accelerating significantly in the second half of the book to keep those pages turning. Overall, an enjoyable read.

Note: This is a clean read (categorized as Christian suspence on Amazon) with ongoing references to the main character’s faith, however this is not a “preachy” read and is not likely to offend those of other faiths.

FTC disclosure: I received an advanced review copy of this book via NetGalley. This has not affected the content of this review in any way.

Giveaway

Enter a giveway for your chance to win a print copy of Fallout from the author.

About the Author

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy, multiple Carol, and Inspy Award–winning author. She was a 2019 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence in mainstream mystery/suspense and has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

Keep up with Carrie Stuart Parks:

·       www.CarrieStuartParks.com

·       Goodreads

·       BookBub – @CarrieStuartParks

·       Instagram – @carriestuarparks

·       Facebook – @CarrieStuartParksAuthor

Book Links: 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads

Release Spotlight: SOMEONE KNOWS by Marc Atteberry

Today’s post highlights the release of a new thriller, Someone Knows, by Marc Atteberry. I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds promising.

About the Book

Meet Jason Vincent, a good man doing a bad thing. A school principal, he has allowed himself to slip into an affair with one of his teachers. Now, haunted by guilt, he decides to end it and get back to being the husband his wife deserves. But this is only the beginning of Jason’s problem. It seems that his secret wasn’t a secret after all. Someone knows what he’s been up to and that someone is ready to make him pay. Jason has gotten to know guilt. Now he is going to meet terror.

About the Author

Mark Atteberry’s life has been spent working with words. He has been a teacher, counselor, and speaker; high-impact roles where every word matters. In 2020, Mark retired and devoted himself fully to writing. While still penning his own books, he has dedicated the majority of his time to ghostwriting. His body of work now sits at fourteen books, including the multiple award-winning suspense novel, Dream. Currently, Mark lives in Florida with his wife, Marilyn.

Contact Links

Website: https://alittlestrongereveryday.com/

Purchase Links: Amazon B&N

Guest Post, New Release & Giveaway: THE MYSTERY OF THE TEA CUP QUILT by Jodi Allen Brice

Just wanted to let you know about a new series from romance author Jodi Allen Brice. Set in a small town, the Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt is the first installment in the Harland Creek Mystery Quilters cozy mystery series.

Description

Hi! I’m Dove Agnew, former successful dress designer who was living the high life in New York, until my sleazy business partner used my business to move his drugs, leaving me to pack my ruined reputation and move back home to the tiny town of Harland Creek.

Despite the setback, all was going relatively well until I found Gertrude Brown’s body on the floor of my mom’s quilt shop. Now, rumors are flying and all eyes are on me. I’m a murder suspect! Even my ex-boyfriend, the current chief of police, is suspicious of me.

Now, it’s up to me to clear my name and find out who the real killer is before someone else gets hurt. But I’m going to need help, and the Harland Creek Quilters, and a goat named Petunia, are just the group to get things done.

Welcome to the new series set in the beloved town of Harland Creek. With the quilting club ladies and a sidekick, which happens to be a goat, this book will keep you guessing and laughing out loud!

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win one of three copies of The Mystery of the Tea Cup Quilt provided by and signed by the author.

About the Author

Jodi Allen Brice has written numerous books under different pen names. Under Jodi Allen Brice she writes women’s fiction, small town clean sweet romance, and cozy mysteries.

She transitioned away from paranormal romance in the year 2020 when the virus hit. She still writes about lovable characters who overcome the impossible to get what they want. You’ll find yourself laughing and crying when you are reading her books. She is also an avid quilter and loves camping. Sometimes she does both at the same time!

Author Links – Website,  Facebook
Purchase Links – Amazon, Kobo,  GoogleNook 

Review: LOVES BILLIONAIRES AND DOGS by Gina Robinson

In the mood for another feel-good romance? I sure was. Penned by an author new to me, this one didn’t disappoint. I’ll be adding the next in series to my TBR list.

Description*

Hot billionaire asks me for a fake relationship. ✓
He doesn’t recognize me as the runaway bride he helped escape in Vegas two years ago. What happens when he does…

Once upon a time in Vegas, I left my groom at the altar in a twenty-four-hour discount wedding chapel. And ran away with my bridal bouquet — the most adorable Corgi puppy you’ve ever seen.

In a nearby casino, a gorgeous stranger with blue-violet eyes helped me escape. An unforgettable stranger I’ve been thinking about nonstop for the past two years, but thought I’d never see again.

Until his handsome Aussie in a studded leather collar finds my little Corgi bitch in the park — irresistible, alone, and in heat…

*As appears on Amazon

My Review

Both main characters are likable and the banter between them entertaining. The narrative alternates between Shelby’s and Dex’s points of view – making clear their respective feelings and reservations as their relationship progress. And there are great dogs and humorous situations. Although there was perhaps a bit more detail on the mechanics of dog breeding than necessary, this was a quick, enjoyable read. Overall, a feel-good romance – as advertised – that makes for an enjoyable escape.

Review & Giveaway: THE SERAPHIM’S SONG by Barbara Casey

When I was given the opportunity to read an advance review copy of the The Seraphim’s Song, I was quick to snap it up, having read and enjoyed the first book in the series. This is the fifth book in Barbara Casey’s F.I.G. (Females of Intellectual Genius) Mystrey series which follows gifted teens on their advantures to explore unsolved mysteries.

About the Book

When a powerful key falls into the wrong hands and disaster begins to strike around the globe, the F.I.G.s must find the artifact and return it to its rightful home. With odds stacked against them, and only their unique intellectual gifts to rely on, they are in a race against time to save the world.

Join the F.I.G.s – females of intellectual genius – as they solve mysteries of historic proportions. Dara Roux with her mastery of foreign, ancient, and obsolete languages; Mackenzie Yarborough with her ability to solve complicated math formulations; and Jennifer Torres with her talents in musical composition and painting are all recent graduates of Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. As the F.I.G.s embark on their own journeys, Wood Rose will always be their home. And Carolina Lovell, the teacher who was tasked with supervising the F.I.G.s during their senior year, will always be like a big sister to the three girls.

Follow the F.I.G.s on adventures to different countries, as they explore some of history’s unsolved mysteries! Mysteries that can only be solved when the F.I.G.s work together and support each other.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $20 Amazon/B&N gift card from the author.

My Review

Caroline and the F.I.G.s are back, and the comraderie between the uniquely capable young women are the stronger than ever. This time they face the challenge of preventing widespread natural disasters and saving Caroline from a curse placed by an evil gypsy with a grudge against her mother. The background for The Seraphim’s Song is founded in the first book in the series, The Cadence of Gypsies, in which Caroline discovers that her biological mother is a gypsy with special powers. Like The Cadence of Gypies, this book is rich in gypsy folklore and legends, with a generous dose of supernatural/paranormal phenomena.

Although the Seraphim’s Song was a pleasant read, I felt that the author included more backstory from previous books than necessary, including details about the girls’ previous adventures that had no bearing on the plot of The Seraphim’s Song, slowing the pace down at times. That said, it makes a nice read for young adult fans of fantasy.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher. This has not affected the content of my review.

Note: You can read my review of The Cadence of Gypsies here.

About the Author

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction.

Release Spotlight: THE ITCH OF MURDER by Christa Nardi

Christa Nardi is at it again. She recently released a new book in her Izze Di Sante Mystery series, which features an investigative journalist turned restauranteer as she tackles interesting mysteries in her home town.

About the Book

A well-dressed man killed at a demolition site, at night in a snow storm.

Izzie Di Sante loves a challenge and Chance Corcoran’s murder sparks her curiosity. While managing the day-to-day business of the family restaurant, she searches for some connection between the victim and the site of the future Elite Townhomes. A co-worker of the victim disappears, the foreperson of the construction site is injured, and someone’s after Izzie. As her sister, Chloe, prepares for an Easter buffet like none other, Izzie needs to put the pieces together before it’s too late.

You’ll find the book on Amazon. As of this posting, only $0.99 for Kindle.

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an accomplished author of cozy mysteries. Christa’s background is in higher education and psychology, much as her protagonist, Sheridan Hendley in the Cold Creek mystery series. She has always loved mysteries – reading them, writing them, and solving them. Christa is a member of Sisters in Crime. When not writing or reading, Christa and her husband enjoy travel, three grandchildren, and their dogs.

Murder at Cold Creek College is the first in the Cold Creek series, set in a small, fictitious town in Virginia and Sheridan is an accidental sleuth called on to assist the detective in charge of a colleague’s murder. The fifth and last in the series, Murder and a Wedding, was released on August 10, 2017. Sheridan may be moving, but she still gets involved in mysteries with the Sheridan Hendley series.

Christa also authors the Stacie Maroni Myseries. Stacie is a strong female at a crossroads in her life who works with victims of domestic violence. Going back to memories of the Dana Girls,

In addition, Christa collaborates with Cassidy Salem on a YA mystery series featuring teen sisters.

You can contact Christa via twitter @ChristaN7777 or via email: cccnardi@gmail.com or on her blog christanardi.blogspot.com Visit her website at https://cccnardi.wixsite.com/mysite. Sign up for her monthly newsletter at https://cccnardi.wixsite.com/mysite/contact.

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: DEVIL’S KISS by Michelle Bennington

Today’s post introduces the first book in a new cozy mystery series by Michelle Bennington. Set in Kentucky, Devil’s Kiss (A Small Batch Mystery) promises to be packed with southern charm.

About the Book

Rook Campbell is broke, divorced, jobless, and in desperate need of steady employment, which is hard to come by in the small town of Rothdale, Kentucky. With the help of her friend and neighbor Bryan, she lands a good job at the Four Wild Horses Distillery and meets an attractive co-worker with lots of dating potential. Her life is finally headed in the right direction until a co-worker dies under suspicious circumstances and a shipment of rare small-batch bourbon goes missing. Worse, her personal life begins to unravel as her beloved grandmother falls ill. Normally she can depend on her ex, Cam, for help, but his new fiancée’s jealousy is getting in the way. As the body count rises, Rook becomes ensnared in discovering who’s committing the crimes—or she might be the next to die.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a prize package from the author, including the book, mug, chocolate, candle, bookmark, and more (US only).

About the Author

Born and raised in the beautiful Bluegrass state of Kentucky, Michelle Bennington developed a passion for books early on that has progressed into a mild hoarding situation and an ever-growing to-read pile.

When she’s not creating contemporary or historical fictional worlds full of mysteries, she obsesses over all things British and historical. In rare moments of spare time, she can be found engaging in a wide array of arts and crafts, dance, and attending ghost tours.

Author Links

Purchase Links:  Amazon – Barnes and Noble

Review: OVERKILL by Sandra Brown

Whenever I spot an upcoming release for an author whose work I enjoy, I do my best to snag an ARC. As luck would have it, I was able to get a pre-release copy of Overkill by Sandra Brown via NetGalley. I have read and enjoyed several of her previous works. Besides, it has a lovely cover.

About the Book

Former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Zach Bridger hasn’t seen his ex-wife, Rebecca Pratt, for some time—not since their volatile marriage imploded—so he’s shocked to receive a life-altering call about her. Rebecca has been placed on life support after a violent assault, and he—despite their divorce—has medical power-of-attorney. Zach is asked to make an impossible choice: keep her on life support or take her off of it. Buckling under the weight of the responsibility and the glare of public scrutiny, Zach ultimately walks away, letting Rebecca’s parents have the final say.
 
Four years later, Rebecca’s attacker, Eban—the scion of a wealthy family in Atlanta—gets an early release from prison. The ludicrous miscarriage of justice reeks of favoritism, and Kate Lennon, a brilliant state prosecutor, is determined to put him back behind bars. Rebecca’s parents have kept her alive all these years, but if her condition were to change—if she were to die—Eban could be retried on a new charge: murder.
 
It isn’t lost on Zach that in order for Eban to be charged with Rebecca’s murder, Zach must actually be the one to kill her. He rejects Kate’s legal standpoint but can’t resist their ill-timed attraction to each other. Eban, having realized the jeopardy he’s in, plots to make certain that neither Zach nor Kate lives to see the death of Rebecca—and the end of his freedom. 

My Review

A former sports celebrity, Zach has fallen from grace in the public eye and adopted a hermit-like lifestyle when his past comes back to haunt him. He is tasked with making an impossible decision – whether or not to withdraw the life support that is keeping his ex-wife alive (technically anyway). A controversial issue for sure.

Zach is an okay guy who regrets events from his past, while Kate (the state prosecuter) is sharp and determined – but for this reader, not all that memorable. The sparks between them tended to dominate the story. Although the sexual tension enhanced the story, in my opinion, the explicit descriptions of their intimate physical interactions were gratuitous and, at times, a bit vulgar.

The main plot — what happened to Rebecca and how to see that justice would be served — held my interest. It had a fair share of twists — with an unexpected turn as the story neared its end. Not being able to guess how it would all turn out is always a plus in my eyes. Overall, an interesting and enjoyable read.

Content Advisory:  If you are offended by strong language and explicit graphic sex, this book is not for you.

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance review copy of this book and have voluntarily chosen to share my honest review. 

Review: CORPSE AND ROBBERS by Stephen Kaminski

Imagine a cozy mystery with a housekeeper as the main character. Not unheard of. But if that housekeeper is male, it’s a whole other story. That’s what prompted me to agree to read an ARC of the latest addition to Stephen Kaminski’s Male Housekeeper Mystery series – Corpse and Robbers.

About the Book

Paul Bearer & Sons has two memorial services on the schedule, but three dead bodies. When Rusted Bonnet’s funeral home becomes the site of a murder, Cam Reddick finds himself as a prime suspect. To distance himself from the allegations, Cam must untangle a host of clever cons and mini mysteries, from corpse robbing to a fine art scam to a modern-day treasure hunt. Cam soon discovers that Paul Bearer’s more closely resembles a con artists’ colony than a funeral home. With help from his ex-wife and mother, Cam ultimately unearths the most devious and deadly ploy of all.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a paperback copy of Corpse and Robbers from the author.

My Review

This is a cozy mystery with a man playing the role of amateur sleuth. Cam was an interesting character – smart and sensible. Likable. Cam has inherited his mother’s housekeeping business and is kept busy handling the admin side as well as pitching in on the cleaning side, giving him a unique perspective and the dubious honor of being treated as a suspect when one of his clients is found dead. I found the storyline to be unique, with an intricate plot. There was also an abundance of characters, some more memorable than others, which were introduced early on in the story at a rapid pace. I found it a bit confusing at first, but eventually I was able to keep track of who’s who, and things fell into place. The journey to the mystery’s resolution was filled with twists and turns, making for a satisfying mystery.

This is the second book in the series, however it can easily be read as a standalone (I have not read the first book).

FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher. This has not affect the content of my review.

About the Author

Stephen Kaminski is the author of two cozy mystery series: The Male Housekeeper Mysteries and the Damon Lassard Dabbling Detective series, both published by Cozy Cat Press.

“Corpse & Robbers” (2022) is the latest of Kaminski’s Male Housekeeper Mysteries. The first installment of the series, “An Au Pair to Remember,” was penned in 2019.

Each of Kaminski’s Damon Lassard books — “It Takes Two to Strangle” (2012), “Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk” (2013), and “Murder, She Floats” (2014) — was awarded the Reader Views Literary Award for the Mid-Atlantic Region, and Don’t Cry Over Killed Milk was named Best Classic Cozy in the 2014 Murder & Mayhem Awards and was a 2013 Chanticleer Media CLUE Award Finalist.

Stephen is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Law School and currently serves as the chief executive officer of a national energy association. He lives with his 120 lb Swissie, Siberian forest cat, rescue kitty, and a gaggle of occasionally tolerable but always loveable humans in Bethesda, MD.

Purchase link: Amazon

Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway: THE FRIDAY NIGHT MYSTERY CLUB

It’s always nice to hear about a promising new cozy mystery series. And even nicer when the author, Joanna Campbell Slan, takes the time to visit my blog as she celebrates the release of The Friday Night Mystery Club and reminisces about life in the1980s.

Remembering the 1980s by Joanna Campbell Slan

The Friday Night Mystery Club (FNMC) is the first book in a new flagship series for me. Unlike my other two cozy mysteries, FNMC is set in 1980s rather than contemporaneous times. Of course, I’ve lived through the 80s, but I have to admit, I’d forgotten a lot about life back then. It feels strange to research a time I should know, but I’ve had to do exactly that. Here are a few of the topics that I’ve remembered/researched:

  • Car phones – Not the slim cell phones we now use, but honking big things bolted to the floor of our cars.
  • Mazda RX-7 – This is my protagonist’s car, and it’s one I owned back then. They no longer sell these in the US.
  • Beepers – Because we didn’t have cell phones, we carried beepers that would display the phone numbers of people who wanted a call-back.
  • Phone answering machines – These typically had a small cassette tape recorder inside. They were not portable. To access your messages, you had to be there, literally.
  • 1-800 lines – Back then, you had to pay extra for long-distance phone calls. An 800 number line allowed people to phone the number free of charge to them…but not to you.
  • ERA – The Equal Rights Amendment was a big deal at the time as women strove to codify their rights to equality under the law.
  • Career women hurdles – Living as we do now in the “Me, Too” era, it’s easy to forget that back in the 1980s, women who worked outside the home were a brave new species.
  • Free love – Helen Gurley Brown had published Sex and the Single Girl, a paean to sex without strings.
  • AIDS – At first considered a problem only for gays, the world quickly learned anyone could die from this disease.

These are only a few topics that I’ve considered as I write my new series, The Friday Night Mystery Club. If you, too, have lived through the 80s, I bet you have all sorts of thoughts about the changes we’ve seen. I’m curious…will you share them with me?

About The Friday Night Mystery Club

Decatur, Illinois/1986 – A nasty divorce leaves Cragan Collins with a mountain of bills and her grandmother to support. She takes a job as an ad salesperson for The Gazette. The market is tough, but Cragan finds a mentor in business reporter, Robert Smithson. One icy January day, Robert is found dead in a city park. His murder is dismissed as gay-on-gay crime. Cragan asks The Friday Night Mystery Club to find justice for Robert. Will Cragan’s quest for the truth land her on the obituary page?

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card from the author.

About the Joanna Campbell Slan

Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.

Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul). Currently, she writes six fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s books), the Tai Chi Mystery Series (featuring a mature female amateur sleuth!) and the Friday Night Mystery Series (set in Decatur, IL in 1986 with a spunky female heroine.)

A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at jcslan@joannaslan.com or visit her website at https://linktr.ee/jcslan

Author Links

Purchase Link – Amazon