Review & Giveaway: THE QUEEN OF SECOND CHANCES by D.M. Barr

Time for a change of pace. Instead of my usual fare (mysteries), as part of a blog tour organized by Providence Book Promotions, I recently dove into recently released sweet romance – The Queen of Second Chances.

About the Book

Carra’s memoir-writing class teaches seniors to resolve the regrets of their past. But to win over elder attorney Jay, will she follow her own advice? Carraway (Carra) Quinn is a free-spirited English major confronting an unreceptive job market. Desperate for cash, she reluctantly agrees to her realtor stepmother’s marketing scheme: infiltrate a local senior center as a recreational aide, ingratiate herself with the members, and convince them to sell their homes. Jay Prentiss is a straitlaced, overprotective elder attorney whose beloved but mentally fragile Nana attends that center. More creative than mercenary, Carra convinces Jay to finance innovations to the Center’s antiquated programming. Her ingenuity injects new enthusiasm among the seniors, inspiring them to confront and reverse the regrets of their past. An unlikely romance develops. But when Carra’s memoir-writing class prompts Jay’s Nana to skip town in search of a lost love, the two take off on a cross-country, soul-searching chase that will either deepen their relationship or tear them apart forever.

My Review

A fun read. I really liked Carra and could relate to her efforts to find her own way, despite the real pressures she faces to do what she knows would be wrong. Jay would seem to be an odd match for her – older and much more sophisticated – except once you get to know him, you can see how there might be potential. For one thing, they seem to both love puns, which add a light tone to their banter. As befitting any good romance, the attraction is mutual; then there a few misunderstandings and obstacles that threaten to derail their relationship… until the happy ending. Overall, an entertaining, very punny light escape.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance reader copy as a part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of this review.

Giveaway

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

About the Author

By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire.

My background includes stints in travel marketing, travel journalism, meeting planning, public relations and real estate. I was, for a long and happy time, an award-winning magazine writer and editor. Then kids happened. And I needed to actually make money. Now they’re off doing whatever it is they do (of which I have no idea since they won’t friend me on Facebook) and I can spend my spare time weaving tales of debauchery and whatever else tickles my fancy.

The main thing to remember about my work is that I am NOT one of my characters. For example, as a real estate broker, I’ve never played Bondage Bingo in one of my empty listings or offed anyone at my local diet clinic. And I haven’t run away from home in fear that my husband was planning to off me.

But that’s not to say that I haven’t wanted to…

Find the Author Online:

DMBarr.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @DMBarr
Twitter – @AuthorDMBarr
Facebook – @AuthorDMBarr
Instagram – @AuthorDMBarr

Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

Visit the tour page for an excerpt, author interviews, and more reviews.

Review & Giveaway: WITH NEIGHBORS LIKE THESE by Linda Lovely

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime, I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance review copy of Linda Lovely’s latest release – With Neighbors Like These (An HOA Mystery)

About the Book

MANAGING AN HOA IS MURDER…

He championed shooting deer inside the HOA’s nature sanctuary. Now his corpse is posed curbside, cradling a trophy deer head. The theatrical murder panics residents, and Ted Welch asks Kylee Kane, retired Coast Guard investigator, to help his HOA management firm calm fears. Kylee agrees. Her own mother is getting death threats over her crusade to protect the deer.

HOA=DOA TERROR REIGNS…

When a belligerent owner in another HOA is murdered, terror reigns. The Sheriff’s Department blames Ted for letting HOA feuds spiral into homicide. Kylee discovers links between the victims and suspects a recently-pardoned general is next. Authorities and the arrogant general dismiss her warning. Can she foil the third act in the crafty killer’s death-as-theater game or will she be the next corpse on display?

My Review

Intrigue abounds in the world of Home Owners Associations, with all their rules and regulations and the self-appointed rule enforcers – real-life in deed-restricted developments, that is except for the puzzling and bizarre murders and attacks. With Ted’s business and Kylee’s mom at risk, the two team up to launch their own investigation. Ted and Kylee make a good pair, they complement each other in many ways, and I enjoyed watching them grow closer. The underlying plot was an interesting one, and unique. The author did a great job with the alternating narrative, giving us insight into the killer’s thinking without hinting at the killer’s identify. Overall, I found it to be a well-written, nicely paced mystery.

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

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card from the author.

About the Author

A journalism major in college, Linda Lovely has spent most of her career working in PR and advertising—an early introduction to penning fiction. With Neighbors Like These is Lovely’s ninth mystery/suspense novel. Whether she’s writing cozy mysteries, historical suspense or contemporary thrillers, her novels share one common element—smart, independent heroines. Humor and romance also sneak into every manuscript. Her work has earned nominations for a number of prestigious awards, ranging from RWA’s Golden Heart for Romantic Suspense to Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion for Best Cozy Mystery. A long-time member of Sisters in Crime and former chapter president, Lovely also belongs to International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America. For many years, she helped organize the Writers’ Police Academy. She lives on a lake in Upstate South Carolina with her husband, and enjoys swimming, tennis, gardening, long walks, and, of course, reading.

Catch up with the author:

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Visit the tour page at Partners in Crime for reviews, author interviews and more.

Spotlight & Giveaway: MUSIC IS MURDER by B.J. Bowen

As part of a virtual tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight shines on Music is Murder (A Musical Murder Mystery) the first book in a new cozy mystery series by B.J. Bowen.

About the Book

When a symphony musician is murdered—bashed with her own bassoon—flute player Emily Wilson becomes the prime suspect. To save herself and secure justice for her murdered friend, she must find the killer.

In the close-knit, unforgiving environment of the symphony orchestra Emily makes her way through the tender egos and warped relationships of her fellow musicians to find tantalizing clues. Blackmail, the victim’s abusive ex-boyfriend, an angry neighbor, and a shifty Symphony Board member all lead her to feel she is on the right track.

With the dogged Lieutenant Gordon on her trail, she must flee from the police so she can continue her search. She unexpectedly finds a loyal female friend and the possibility of a new man in her life. But she must learn to trust again after her failed and abusive marriage. With time running out, will she be able to evade the lieutenant, face her personal demons, and clear her name?

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

About the Author

Barbara Bowen is a freelance writer. She was a finalist and Honorable Mention in the 2018 Focus: Eddy Awards for her article, “Letting Go with Grace,” published in Unity Magazine. Ms. Bowen is also an accomplished professional oboist who played with the Colorado Springs Symphony for nineteen years.

Drawing on her quirky fellow musicians and orchestral experiences, she created the mystery series, “Musical Murders.” The first is “Music is Murder” (Release date, 6-9-21). The second is “Ballistics at the Ballet” (Release date TBA) The third is “Fireworks on the Fourth” (Release date TBA).

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, lives in Colorado with two canine friends, and has a stock of musical puns and a song for any occasion. Contact Barbara at: www.barbarabowenauthor.com or www.bookbub.com/authors/b-j-bowen

Author Links

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Bookshop  – Target 

Review & Giveaway: DRAW AND ORDER by Cheryl Hollon

As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to let you know about Draw and Order (A Paint & Shine Mystery) by Cheryl Hollon, which released last week.

About the Book

Appalachian artist and local guide Miranda Trent opens a new murder investigation after her Paint & Shine tour group discovers the remains of a missing hiker along an ancient trail . . .

For her latest excursion, Miranda is thrilled to take a close-knit group of rock climbers, the Risky Business Adventurers, up the challenging Battleship Rock Trail to paint and sample moonshine. But the outing is cut short when they discover a skeleton near the trailhead. Even more startling, the bones belong to Howard Cable, Miranda’s cousin…and a former classmate of the Risky Business group.

The sheriff chalks it up to a hiking accident, but Miranda isn’t convinced that Howard, an experienced woodsman, died within sight of a well-marked trail. So, with the help of Ranger Austin Morgan, Miranda sets out on her own investigation and discovers that the Risky Business group is keeping plenty of secrets. But is one of them hiding the truth about Howard’s death?

My Review

Miranda is an artist living in the process of establishing a distillery on the farm she inherited. She works hard to get what she wants, even in the face of setbacks. She seems to have a great relationship with her mom. Her new business – Paint & Shine – is the perfect way for her to combine her two loves – art and moonshine. And spend lots of time out on the trails with her art students. When her cousin’s body is found during one such outing, Miranda is eager to figure out what happened and, with Austin’s help, pursues her own investigatation, which has the added benefit of bringing them together more often. The plot unfolds at a steady pace, in the process exposing readers to a taste of life in rural Kentucky, its people, and its folklore. Sounds like a cool place to visit.

A well-written, enjoyable. cozy mystery.

FTC disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley. This has not affected the content of my review.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for you chance to win a print copy of Draw and Order (US only) from the author.

About the Author

Cheryl Hollon now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks.

Visit her online at http://cherylhollon.com, on Facebook or on Twitter @CherylHollon.

Purchase Links: Amazon    B&N    Kobo     Google Play  IndieBound 

Visit the tour page for more reviews, guest posts, and more.

Review: THE BONE CODE by Kathy Reichs

This week marks the release of a new book from Kathy Reichs featuring my favorite forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan Novel. Of course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to read an ARC of The Bone Code when it became available on Net Galley.

Description*

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her twentieth gripping novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, whose examinations, fifteen years apart, of unidentified bodies ignite a terrifying series of events.

On the way to hurricane-ravaged Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, Tempe receives a call from the Charleston coroner. The storm has tossed ashore a medical waste container. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Tempe recognizes many of the details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she travels to Montreal to gather evidence.

Meanwhile, health authorities in South Carolina become increasingly alarmed as a human flesh-eating contagion spreads. So focused is Tempe on identifying the container victims that, initially, she doesn’t register how their murders and the pestilence may be related. But she does recognize one unsettling fact. Someone is protecting a dark secret—and willing to do anything to keep it hidden.

An absorbing look at the sinister uses to which genetics can be put, and featuring a cascade of ever-more-shocking revelations, The Bone Code is Temperance Brennan’s most astonishing case yet—one that gives new meaning to today’s headlines.

* Description as appears on Amazon.

My Review

Unlike the previous book in this series, the focus this time was mostly on the case and less on character development. The original, highly complex plot of this book features events spanning miles and years – and an investigation into what most would seem to be distinct cases, if it weren’t for Tempe’s gut telling her otherwise. True to form, she is like a dog with a bone and insists the two cases must be related. Sub- and side-plots, including a strange request from an elderly twin, add to the intrigue. Although it started out a bit slow, the pace picked up as the story built. Strange coincidences and unpredictable twists made for an interesting and enjoyable read.

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

Click here to read my review of A Conspiracy of Bones.

Spotlight & Giveaway: FRAMED AND FROSTED by Kim Davis

As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book tours, today’s post shines the spotlight on Framed and Frosted, a new culinary cozy mystery by Kim Davis. And with its colorful, patriotic cover, it’s just in time for America’s Fourth of July celebrations next week.

About the Book

Framed and Frosted, the third book in the Cupcake Catering Mystery series, finds cupcake caterer, Emory Martinez, working at a Laguna Beach society Fourth of July soiree, with her sister and their new employee, Sal. With a host that seems intent on accosting both catering employees and guests alike, things go from bad to worse when he accuses Sal of murdering his long-dead son.

As the crescendo of exploding fireworks overhead becomes the backdrop for cupcakes and champagne, a deadly murder occurs. Can Sal and Emory explain why the cupcake the host ate, after shoving a trayful of buttercream frosted cupcakes onto Sal, resulted in his death? Or will the guests and detective alike believe that Sal is a murderer? Emory and her octogenarian employer, Tillie, whip into action to find out who framed Sal after being frosted by the victim.

Includes recipes!

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card plus 1 print copy of book (for U.S. residents only) from the author.

About the Author

Kim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband. When she’s not spending time with her granddaughters she can be found either writing stories or working on her blog, Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder or in the kitchen baking up yummy treats.  She has published the suspense novel, A GAME OF DECEIT, and cozy mystery, SPRINKLES OF SUSPICION and CAKE POPPED OFF. She also has had several children’s articles published in Cricket, Nature Friend, Skipping Stones, and the Seed of Truth magazines. Kim Davis is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

Website:  http://kimdavisauthor.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Kim-Davis-Author-1532277473479031/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Kookiesandbooks
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/kimdavishb/

Purchase Links: Amazon 

Check out other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts and more.

Review: KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS by David Bell

Already a fan of David Bell’s work, I was quick to snap up a pre-release copy of the author’s latest book, Kill All Your Darlings. Though I must admit, even if I wasn’t already familiar with the author its gorgeous cover would certainly have caught my eye. It doesn’t release until next month, but it’s already available for pre-order.

Description*

After years of struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son, English professor Connor Nye publishes his first novel, a thriller about the murder of a young woman.    

There’s just one problem: Connor didn’t write the book. His missing student did. And then she appears on his doorstep, alive and well, threatening to expose him.    

Connor’s problems escalate when the police insist details in the novel implicate him in an unsolved murder from two years ago. Soon Connor discovers the crime is part of a disturbing scandal on campus and faces an impossible dilemma—admit he didn’t write the book and lose his job or keep up the lie and risk everything. When another murder occurs, Connor must clear his name by unraveling the horrifying secrets buried in his student’s manuscript.  

This is a suspenseful, provocative novel about the sexual harassment that still runs rampant in academia—and the lengths those in power will go to cover it up.

* as appears on Amazon

My Review

This is the kind of book that pulls you in from its first pages. It is a fast-paced read and full of surprises. Although you know that what Connor has done is wrong, very wrong, you can’t help rooting for him as he tries to prove he is innocent of murder. Connor and Madeline are both well developed yet somewhat tragic characters. They are complemented by a cast of diverse characters, with the true nature of several of them revealed only over time.

As the mystery unravels, you are exposed to real issues in the academic world – the pressure to publish or perish, the temptations of plagiarism, and most important – sexual harassment and the “old boys” network. Shining light on these issues gives this book added relevance on top of its page-turning quality.

If you enjoy mystery and suspense, you’ll want to add this well-written book to your TBR list.

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Review: THE LOST GREAT DANE by B.L. Blair

As part of a virtual tour organized by RABT Book Tours and PR, I recently read The Lost Great Dane by B.L.Blair. A novella-lengthy cozy mystery, it is the first in six tales in the Lost and Found Pets Mystery Series.

About the Book

The Lost Great Dane is the first novella in the Lost and Found Pets series. Alexandra Prescott is a licensed private investigator specializing in finding missing animals. Reuniting pet and owner is more than just a job.

While looking for a lost cat, Alex finds a weak and injured Great Dane. The dog has no collar, no tags, and no microchip. And the only person looking for him is a man who might have murdered his own wife.

Within 24 hours, Alex has a hunted dog, a cryptic message, and a hitman after her. She realizes the only way out of this mess is to solve the mystery of the lost Great Dane.

My Review

This is an enjoyable cozy mystery. Alex has found her niche in focusing her investigative skills on cases involving lost pets. She is observant and has good instincts. The mystery itself was interesting, though not truly riveting. It was interesting to follow her efforts as she puzzles through the clues and rooted out the truth. I also enjoyed seeing how she handled interactions with an old flame. And I really liked her relationship with her elderly neighbor.

Great light reading likely to please fans of the genre.

FTC disclosure: I received a review copy of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card.

About the Author

B. L. Blair writes mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Leah Norwood Mysteries and the Lost and Found Pets Mystery Novellas. She loves reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

Contact Links

Purchase Links

Vist the tour page for additional reviews, guest posts, interviews and more.

Spolight & Giveaway: GUILT IS MIDNIGHT BLUE by Josalyn McAllister

As part of a virtual tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight shines on the first book in a new cozy mystery series – Guilt is Midnight Blue – by Josalyn McAllister.

About the Book

Hazel Dean has an ability to see other’s emotions in color. She mostly uses it to help people find the perfect book in her shop, Books and Chocolate. When one of her customers is murdered, the police point to an old feud. Only Hazel can tell that the accused is innocent. Hazel must navigate around her husband, the DA and her surrogate uncle, the police captain, to find out what really happened. Hazel drives, hikes and snoops all over her small Appalachian town in an attempt to bring peace to the victim’s family and prevent her community from being torn apart by old grudges.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a copy of the book and a bunch of other great goodies.

About the Author

Josalyn McAllister is a cozy fiction author whose most recent works include Love Over Easy and Guilt is Midnight Blue. Josalyn started writing character descriptions at the tender age of seven, inspired by the works of LM Montgomery. In her teenage years she moved on to Newsies fan fiction. Inspired by National Novel Writing Month, she wrote her first novel about a child she mentored in college. She has never stopped writing. Josalyn taught middle school history before deciding she would rather spend time with her own children than other peoples. A restless soul, she has moved all over the country and collected an eclectic array of hobbies. Her writing has a relatable quality that will charm and entertain you.

 Author Links

Purchase Links

TBD

For reviews, guest posts, and more, visit the tour page.

Excerpt & Giveaway: TRUFFLE ME NOT by M.K. Scott

As part of an online event organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today’s post spotlights Truffle Me Not, which promises to be a delightful mystery by M.K. Scott.

About the Book

The future of Cupid’s Catering Company hangs in the balance. With a rival bakery, owned by the queen of all mean, rich girls, Della is at a distinct disadvantage.

Della hinges her financial future on winning the local truffle contest. As if there wasn’t enough on her mind, additional problems arise, including missing cats, jewel thieves, and her desperate attempt to find the incredibly kind man who’d lent her hand when she had tire trouble.

Can she solve all these problems and find time to whip up a cookbook at the same time?

Read an excerpt:

Della inhaled, knowing what she was going to say next wouldn’t go over well. “Tony should have been on a leash. I know Prince should have been in his own yard but consider this. Your pup could run out into the street and be hit.”

“There’s not much traffic on our street. Besides, Tony never leaves my side.”

She could point out the dog had done just that, but she didn’t. Seeing her mother so happy with Tony brightened her day, but even Della acknowledged her mother could be a trifle unreasonable about the newest addition to the family. “If he got loose, someone could take him.”

“Oh, my!” A long pause continued after the exclamation. Some rustling and footsteps carried over the phone line. “Just checking. I thought I saw some strangers in the neighborhood earlier. They could be potential dog nappers. They had that look about them, three-day old beards, night watch beanies, dark hoodies, disheveled. You know the type.”

The scruffy look may have gained popularity with the introduction of grunge bands, television shows with unshaven actors, and male models who appeared to have just rolled out of bed, but it never appealed to Della’s mother. Even her detective father had been more accepting of current fashions than Mother. In Mabel’s mind, scruffy equaled criminal or the possibility of being influenced by one.

“Mom, there are no dog nappers in your neighborhood. Someone probably had company leaving. Keep in mind, living with a detective may have made us all a little paranoid. All the same, try to keep my little brother on a leash.”

“I will,” her mother grudgingly agreed.

“How was your day?”

“Good.” No need to mention the arrival of a foul wind in the form of Lacey Dankworth. The Delacroix family could only handle one crisis at a time. After all, it may all come to nothing.


Buy the book on Amazon – only 99 cents for limited time only.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $40 Amazon gift card from the author.

About the Author

M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries and The Talking Dog Detective Agency. Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands-on approach.  Morgan’s daughter, who manages a hotel, provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple’s dog, Chance, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna’s dog. Overall, both are fun series to create and read.

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