Interview & Spotlight: CAT GOT YOUR SECRETS by Julie Chase

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to have Julie Chase as my guest as she celebrates the release of Cat Got Your Secrets, the latest addition to her Kitty Couture Mystery series.

Interview

Welcome, Julie.  I think the best place to start would be to tell us a little about yourself. 

JulieALindsey2Sure! I’m Julie Anne Lindsey, a writer-mom who stays home with her three busy kids, ages 9, 11 & 14. My children are growing up so fast in every way. My youngest is in 4th grade tomorrow and my oldest started high school last week.

Also, I write the Kitty Couture series as Julie Chase, but it’s a pen name for the project, and I write lots of other things as myself. Beginning April 2018, I will write romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

What sparked the idea to write this novel?

The Kitty Couture series was inspired by a trip to New Orleans in 2015. I fell in love with the city and wanted a reason to go back as often as possible. Once I climbed aboard a street car and got off in the Garden District, I knew that was where my next novel/series belonged. It’s an enchanting place. Since I can’t take the whole world with me physically when I visit, I figured a great novel set on those streets is just as good.

How long did it take you to write?

I wrote Cat Got Your Secrets in about 28 days. Though, the writing only began after 7-10 days of extensive plotting and detailed outlining. Once I understood all the pieces and how they would fit together, I began writing one chapter a day. Twenty-eight days/chapters later, I’d finished. I normally take 2 days at the end to reread my work, then huzzah! A novel. The entire process is more like six weeks, but I have it down to a science which helps me meet deadlines and know with confidence when I can turn something in or begin a new project. For this reason, I’m a huge advocate of outlining.

What book are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading Protection Detail by Julie Miller, it’s a romantic suspense from Harlequin Intrigue, and I’m also reading the first in the Outlander series for my book club. In addition, my high schooler and I are listening to the YA novel, Smoke & Bone, on audio disk during the hefty 45 minute commute to his new nerd school – I’m super proud of my over-achieving offspring. They talk about math the way I talk about books.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers that my readers might want to know about you or your series?

Only that this series is near and dear to my heart and has been so much fun to write. I’ve fallen in love with each character, and had plans to see them live on for years, having new and exciting adventures in New Orleans. However, the industry is what it is, and I’m not in control of the series duration. I have my finger crossed that the publisher will ask for more tales of Lacy and her crew, but at the moment, it looks like this will be my final installment. It’s something I haven’t mentioned before because it breaks my heart to share, but unless something changes, Cat Got Your Secrets is the final Kitty Couture Mystery.

About Cat Got Your Secrets

cgys-colored-cover-2017-1-4Lacy Marie Crocker has settled into a comfortable groove back home in New Orleans, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, she’s busier than ever running a thriving pet boutique, helping her mother organize the upcoming National Pet Pageant, and untangling her complicated love life. But when delivering a king-sized order of dreidel-shaped doggy biscuits for a Saint Berdoodle’s bark-mitzvah, Lacy stumbles into yet another murder scene—and the last person to see the victim alive was her own father.

It’s up to Lacy to clear her dad’s name from the suspect list before Detective Jack Oliver has to cage him for good. But just when she starts pawing at the truth, she receives a threatening letter from a mysterious blackmailer bent on silencing her with her own secrets. And Lacy’s not the only one with bones in her closet.

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a paperback set of books 1 & 2 in the Kitty Couture series and a themed wallet filled with mardi gras beads.

About the Author

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey. Learn more about Julie Anne Lindsey here.

Purchase Links:  Amazon     B&N     BAM!    IndieBound

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POW/MIA Day & Excerpt: EVER THE PATRIOT

Today, September 15, is National POW/MIA Recognition Day in the U.S. – a time to set aside some time to learn about our nation’s former POWs and missing servicemen,  and to honor those who continue to protect our freedom.

Cover_EverPatriotI didn’t find out that my father, Vincent J. Riccio, had been a Prisoner of War in World War II until I was in high school. He didn’t seem to think it was all that important. In his words, “Not a big deal.” Almost 50 years passed before he would share his story with us, and only then after he began having nightmares and flashbacks. His story revealed to me a side of him that I had never known – a glimpse into what he was like as a young soldier – fun-loving, level headed, and resourceful.

Following his death, his words were transcribed into a short memoir –  Ever the Patriot that recounts his experiences in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an Instrument Technician, Aviation Cadet, and Flight Engineer in World War II.  He  served as flight engineer and top turret gunner in the 335th squadron (95th Bomb Group). When their B-17 was hit on Nov 5, 1944 on a bombing, he parachuted out and landed in Germany near Trippstadt. He was almost killed at least three times before reaching Stalag Luft IV, and he was on the forced march from Stalag Luft IV until Fallingbostel (Stalag XIB).

In honor of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Ever the Patriot can be downloaded from Amazon free on September 15 and 16, 2017.

Read an excerpt about the Forced March:

On the morning of February 6, 1945, they came around hollering in German to get out – fast. We all fell out and they marched us out. Each man was given one Red Cross package.

They marched us out of the compound that day in a column of threes; we didn’t know why. Our compound was the first one to leave.

They started us walking down the road. All day long we walked, until that night just before dark we came to a farm with a big barn. It was one of those communal farms. There must have been two or three thousand of us. They herded us into the barn and then closed the door. That’s it. You’re there for the night.

The next morning right at sun up, they shook us loose, got us outside, and we started walking again. This was in February, it was freezing cold. I guess just the walking kept us from freezing to death. For me, this “short hike” went on for more than 60 days. After the war, they called it the Black Hunger March, because the only food you got was the food you could scrounge. Every once in a while you got a steamed potato that had been steamed to feed the cattle. If we happened to be passing a farm that was doing that.

The German guards walked right alongside us. For the most part, they were not mean, they were not horrible. When you couldn’t walk anymore, the dogs would get you up and you would walk some more.

After a few days, the buddy system took over. Three men who marched together looked out for each other. My buddies were a cowboy from Utah named J.P. Red and a fellow from New York named Jack Gray. Whatever we could scrounge we shared.

I think everybody was sick. Everybody in the entire column had diarrhea or dysentery, or whatever you want to call it. The only time you were allowed to move to the side of the road was to “squat and squirt,” and when you did, it was complete with blood and everything else.

The days were pretty much all the same. Every night we wound up in a barn on a different farm. The day to remember in our march along the North Sea in the dead of winter was February 13th. On February 13th we started walking at daylight and marched through an area called Swinemünde. We crossed bridges and country roads, always away from people and towns. We marched all day long. Then it started to get dark and there’s no farm or barn in sight. All of a sudden they stopped the column near a big field, and they said, “here tonight.” They posted the guards around us, and wherever you fell is where you spent the night.

We woke up in the morning – it’s a wonder we all woke up – we woke up covered with snow. It had started to snow during the night. The only reason we didn’t freeze to death is that we were all laying down so close together, almost one on top of the other. Our body heat saved us. Anyway, we got through that night and they marched us off.

Some of the guards were sympathetic but could do nothing. They too were tired from marching alongside us. I must have looked real bad because one guard shared his ration with me, which I shared with my buddies.

We were having a scenic tour of northern Germany along the North Sea. There is one thing that I remember about the march that lifted our spirits. We had never gone through a town. Eventually, after about 30-40 days, I don’t remember exactly when, I think around the middle of March, we could see a town or village in front of us. We were coming to a more populated area, and the road we were on was going right though this town. We hadn’t had to do that yet.

As we got close to the town, someone from up front passed the word back – We march through town at attention. We all figured that when we walk through the town, and they know we are all flyers, we’re going to catch hell. So somebody up front had passed the word: we march through like soldiers.

As we approached the town, you could see the column start to straighten out – I have to tell you, I was proud to be an American. We were a ragged looking bunch, marching through at attention like soldiers. Nothing happened as we passed through town. The townspeople just stared at us.

By the end of March, the weather was better but most of us were not. The worst part was trying to walk with swollen feet. The guys who weren’t in as bad shape helped the others. Two men helped me because my both my feet and ankles were blown up like balloons. I was down to around 85 pounds and I felt awful.

Eventually, in early April, they stopped us at a different POW camp – Stalag XIB Fallingbostel. This was an old camp, originally a British Reprisal camp. This particular camp had all the British colonials that were captured at Dunkirk, and they had been there for three and a half years.

When they marched us all in, the British and South Africans came out and brought the two dozen or so of us who couldn’t walk any more into their barracks. The South African POWs took care of us. There was this Sergeant from Johannesburg who I called Sergeant Red because he had this big red beard. He brought me in and put me on his bunk, and then had the medics take a look at my feet.

Back before the march, I had sewed into the lining of my great coat as many packs of cigarettes as I could scrounge or barter for while I was in camp. I still had quite a few left. Cigarettes were never a problem, if you wanted to barter with a farmer, you could give him a cigarette for a carrot or two.

I pulled cigarettes out of my coat and passed them around to the British soldiers, which they appreciated because they hadn’t had any cigarettes in a long time.

The rest of the guys in our column were outside in a tent, and a few days later the word was the boys are marching out again. Sergeant Red said, “You aren’t going, you’re staying right here.” There were about two dozen of us Americans that the British wouldn’t let go because we would never have made it. They hid us until the rest of the column had moved out.

Review: LIES SHE TOLD by Cate Holahan

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Lies She Told, an engaging psychological thriller by Kim Davis.

Description

LiesSheTold_old-692x1024Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction.

Liza Cole has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing her down in both her professional and her personal lives, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine, Beth.

Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the same river and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

My Review

This was a unique and intriguing read that starts out by following two distinct storylines with the point of view switching between Liza (the writer) and Beth (her made-up character).  The book starts out slowly as you become acquainted with the players, but the pace picks up quickly as both Liza and Beth find themselves in complicated situations.  Both characters were well developed. It was easy to identify with Liza’s yearning to be a mother and with Beth’s distress at the state of her marriage. The partial mirroring of the two plots – Liza’s story and the story she was writing – led to a blurring of the line between reality and fiction. The path to the story’s resolution was peppered with suspense and twists that kept me turning the pages.  It was an enjoyable read, however the ending didn’t feel “right” to me – not so much in terms of the killer’s identity but more in that the factors that led to the killer’s actions seemed a bit far-fetched to me.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary ARC of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of Lies She Told.

About the Author

Holahan-Author-Photo-Credit-Martin-Bentsen-240x300-Copy-240x300Cate Holahan, author of the acclaimed psychological suspense novel The Widower’s Wife, is an award-winning journalist and a former television producer. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:    Amazon B&N

Review: SEEING RED by Sandra Brown

Nothing like a good thriller to keep me up way past my bedtime.  Seeing Red by Sandra Brown did just that.

41ws6iggcglDescription (from Amazon)

Kerra Bailey is a TV journalist hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to new heights. Twenty-five years ago, Major Franklin Trapper became a national icon when he was photographed leading a handful of survivors to safety after the bombing of a Dallas hotel. For years, he gave frequent speeches and interviews but then suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all media. Now Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get an exclusive with the Major–even if she has to secure an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.

Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, Trapper wants no association with the bombing or the Major. Yet Kerra’s hints that there’s more to the story rouse Trapper’s interest despite himself. And when the interview goes catastrophically awry–with unknown assailants targeting not only the Major, but also Kerra–Trapper realizes he needs her under wraps if he’s going to track down the gunmen . . . and finally discover who was responsible for the Dallas bombing.

Kerra is wary of a man so charming one moment and dangerous the next, and she knows Trapper is withholding evidence from his ATF investigation into the bombing. But having no one else to trust and enemies lurking closer than they know, Kerra and Trapper join forces to expose a sinuous network of lies and conspiracy–and uncover who would want a national hero dead.

My Review

The author weaves a well written and intriguing tale of suspense rooted in events that took the place when both of  the main characters were children, and which impacted on each of them in different ways.  Trapper’s fascination with the bombing drives him to seek answers about the persons behind the tragedy which brought about so much change in his life.  With “The Major” refusing interview requests, Kerra reaches out to his estranged son for help in obtaining access to the hero.  The result is a reluctant partnership of sorts between the two as they search for answers to difficult questions.

I found both Trapper and Kerra to be interesting and well developed characters.  The intricate plot has an abundance of twists and turns a real page-turner  with non-stop action and elements of romantic suspense and sexual tension.  Although the sexual tension enhanced the story, in my opinion, the explicit descriptions of their intimate physical interactions were somewhat gratuitous and detracted from the story.

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. 

Book Blast: MURDER SHE FLOATS by Rachael Stapleton

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As part of a Blog Blast organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post turns the spotlight on  Murder She Floats, a new cozy mystery by  Rachael Stapleton.

Description

MurdersheFloat_finalIt’s the end of the summer and Journalist Penelope Trubble has returned home to help her father with the Private Eye business. With a contest prize of ten thousand dollars on the line, the town is full of summer vacationers on the hunt for the rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel that was lost to Bohemian Lake over fifty years ago. With the help of spitfire local, Eve Berns and Cody Lumos, the town’s handsome new detective, amateur sleuth Lucky Penny takes the bait and goes diving for the story behind the legend of the million dollar coin. Unfortunately, her dive turns up more bodies than missing treasure. The deeper she digs, the more secrets she finds hidden in the sand, but will she be buried along with them?

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Temple of Indra’s Witch.

About The Author

Concert-PicRachael Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian home with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers.

Author Links:
Webpage     Blog    Facebook   @RaquelleJaxson 
Amazon     GoodReads 

Purchase Link:  Amazon

Review: A TIME TO LAUGH by Rose Verde

I recently had the pleasure of reading Rose Verde’s A Time to Laugh. It’s an enjoyable sweet romance set in Alaska.

Description

51v-sw1bivlIzzy Davies needs to make a decision within a matter of weeks. With emotions running high at home, she decides to take a little trip to North Pole, Alaska for some time away. Her first day and she becomes friends with a little girl.

Widower, Luke Marshall receives his Christmas wish—a coveted promotion as the hotel manager, but that means searching for a new babysitter for his daughter. Someone who can accommodate his work schedule, and plan the best Christmas his little girl could ever dream of.

When he asks Izzy to take up the temporary job, she agrees but too late she finds out her heart couldn’t stay uninvolved. But she fears that when he finds out about her secrets, there’d be no future for them.

My Review

This short novella features a young woman at a critical crossroads, who is thrown off balance when Luke and his delightful daughter come into her life.  The author does a nice job in conveying Izzy’s emotions as she becomes more and more attached to the girl and her relationship with Luke evolves. As in any good romance, Luke and Izzy face hurdles before they can find happiness. Set in Alaska at Christmas time and ending on a hopeful note, the story is sure to please fans of clean Christian romance.  An enjoyable light read.

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance review copy of this book without obligation and have voluntarily chosen to share my honest review. 

Review & Giveaway: THE DAY JOB IS MURDER by Carolyn Arnold

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours,  today’s post spotlights Carolyn Arnold’s McKinley Mysteries series and includes a review of the first book in the series, The Day Job Is Murder.

Description

51pr7xjlnel-_sy346_The bad guys aren’t the only ones on his radar…

For Albany PD homicide detective Sean McKinley, catching killers is the easy part of his job. Working next to his beautiful partner, Sara Cain, is what’s difficult. It might have something to do with the fact that he’s fallen in love with her, though. Fortunately, she feels the same way about him. But she’s convinced they should just be friends.

If only there was some way to change her mind…

(Check out the excerpt at the end of this post.)

My Review

An enjoyable read that sets the stage for the rest of the series, by acquainting the reader with the two main characters, Sean and Sara, and the relationship between them.  Because the narrative focused to a large extent on their repressed feelings for each other, it was more “romantic suspense” than mystery.  Although I also read romance novels, I’d liked to have seen more “mystery” in this one.  That said, I plan to check out additional books in the series – with their relationship established, I expect the pair to focus more on solving mysteries in the future.  If you are looking for a short light read, this book fits the bill.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

The book is available on:  AmazonBarnes & NobleKoboApple, Google Play

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an Amazon gift card from the publisher.

About the Series 

Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Hart to Hart, Castle, Colombo, Monk, Rockford Files, Psych, and Magnum PI.
Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.

Books in the Series

  1. The Day Job is Murder (2014)
  2. Vacation is Murder (2014)
  3. Money is Murder (2014)
  4. Politics is Murder (2014)
  5. Family is Murder (2014)
  6. Shopping is Murder (2014)
  7. Christmas is Murder (2014)
  8. Valentine’s Day is Murder (2015)
  9. Coffee is Murder (2015)
  10. Skiing is Murder (2016)
  11. Halloween is Murder (2017)

About the Author

carolyn-arnold-author-photoCarolyn Arnold is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with Carolyn Arnold online:

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Read an excerpt:

Excerpt from chapter 1 of The Day Job is Murder (McKinley Mysteries):

SARA WAS BENT OVER, inside the back of the department-issued sedan. “I can’t believe we’re still cleaning puke.”

“Some days are better than others.”

She smiled. “Leave it to you to always look at the bright side.”

“We’ve just exchanged drunks for nervous murder suspects.”

She laughed. He loved the way her eyes creased, and the way her nose wrinkled with the expression.

“Well, I consider that progress.”

“Easy to say when you’re not the one doing the cleaning.” She tossed the used towels in the garbage, returned the cleaner to the shelf, then picked up her coffee cup, taking a draw.

“You insisted. We could have gotten a uniformed officer to take care of it.”

“I know, but I don’t like to do that.”

“Yes, I know. Our car, our responsibility. You’re too good to be real, you know that?”

“There you go again.”

He shrugged and kept pace with her on the way to the interview room. Outside, she placed a hand on his forearm.

“Oh, I meant to tell you something.” She glanced in at Burton, and then back to Sean. “It’s probably poor timing now, but you still have time.”

She peered into his eyes and seemed to be studying them, assessing something. What, he wasn’t sure. So, while she probed his eyes, he appreciated the color of hers—brown with flecks of green and gold.

“I was reading the obits this morning and I came across the name Douglas Quinn. You knew him, didn’t you? I remember you mentioning him.”

His breathing paused. Old Man Quinn. It had been a long time since he’d heard that name, but he’d never forget him.

“His funeral is this afternoon at three o’clock. You have time to make it.”

“Nah, I have, we have—what happened?”

“The piece read ‘he died peacefully at home, at the age of eighty-three.’” She touched Sean’s arm. “It’s okay. Go. I can take care of this.”

Guilt weighed him down. It had been years—over a decade—since he’d last seen him. Sean was twenty-two when they first met and he’d be thirty-three this coming September. The sad part was he wouldn’t even have known about Quinn’s death if it wasn’t for Sara’s strange habit of reading the obituaries.

“Go on. I can tell you want to.” Concern laced her eyes. “Do you want me to go with you? You know, as a friend, for support?”

There was that word, again. Friend. It must have entered conversation twenty times a shift.

Sean leaned against the window and looked into the interview room. Burton was biting his fingernails. The bad habit made Sean shiver in disgust.

He looked back to Sara. “I should go.”

“Well then, go.”

He nodded slowly, saddened by Quinn’s death. They had been close for a time, but life got busy and their visits weaned off to non-existence—Sean’s fault, not Quinn’s. But he still remembered their first meeting like it was yesterday. It was around Christmas, and he was only a beat cop at the time.

Release Spotlight & Excerpt: OUT OF MY LEAGUE by Jennifer McCoy Blaske

Earlier this month, Jennifer McCoy Blaske released Out of My League, the second book in her Madison Musicians series.  I haven’t read this sweet romance yet, but it sounds like another one for the TBR list.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

OutLeagueCan a Google search lead to true love?

College freshman Annie O’Connor gets the opportunity of a lifetime when she’s hired to play keyboard alongside the amazing guitarist, Scott Stewart. He’s the perfect guy and she’s determined to get him to notice her as more than another musician.

In her quest to woo a guy who’s clearly out of her league, she stumbles across an Internet article called “5 Ways to Make a Guy Go Crazy Over You.” Maybe this is just the answer Annie is looking for.

However, Annie soon finds out that there are never easy solutions to life’s challenges, and that relationships — and people — are more complicated than she originally thought.

Read an excerpt:

My mother, who was a huge fan of 80s music, named me Annie Grace, after two of her favorite female songwriters, Annie Lennox, and Grace Slick. I hoped she wasn’t expecting me to follow in their footsteps and be a dazzling, flashy, and glamorous star in any way, because if she did, she had probably spent most of the last eighteen years of her life hiding her extreme disappointment.

I’m about as ordinary as they come. I have straight brown hair that usually hangs just below my shoulders, with bangs that seem to be the right length for four weeks of a year and slightly too long during the other forty-eight weeks. I rarely wear makeup, and I never wear any kind of trendy clothing or shoes. I never even know what is trendy. For all I know, I could be wearing it—but somehow, I kinda doubt it. I’m not a flashy, rock star kind of person. At all.

At least Mom ended up with a musician for a daughter, although whether her baby naming techniques worked is debatable. My older brother Peter—as in Gabriel—works for an accounting firm, so I wouldn’t recommend her strategy as a reliable way of programming your children’s personalities or careers. I’m a freshman piano performance major at Orchard City College. Now it might sound flashy and glamorous until you discover how my focus is on piano accompanying. Accompanists are probably the most unnoticed performers in existence. They get none of the glory, barely any applause, and to add insult to injury sometimes get their names left out of the program altogether. In fact, some people say the sign of a great accompanist is the audience never being aware of your presence. So, I certainly fit the part. Perhaps that’s why I’m so good at it.

Until Thursday, March 2, none of this ever bothered me. I was happy with my brown hair, my ordinary clothes, and my unnoticeable accompanist self. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of it enough to say that I was “pleased.” I never really thought about it. But all that changed on March 2.

Excerpt from OUT OF MY LEAGUE by Jennifer McCoy Blaske. Copyright © 2017

About the Author

When Jennifer McCoy Blaske isn’t writing, she works as a professional piano player for weddings and other events in the Atlanta area.

She has three kids, two cats, and one husband. Her TV shows of choice these days include The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidtt with her daughters and The Monkees with her 11 year old son. Jennifer and her daughters are patiently waiting for the second season of Stranger Things.

She loves to hear from fans and encourages them to connect with her in any of these ways:

Review & Giveaway: GAME OF DECEIT by K. A. Davis

GameDeceitAs part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Game of Deceit, an enjoyable mystery by Kim Davis.

DescriptionA-Game-of-Deceit-Cover_final_eBook

A father’s disappearance never solved, a mother’s secret taken to the grave, a daughter deceived…

Kathryn Landry thinks her life is just about perfect. She is the owner of a successful interior designer business in Newport Beach, California, and she has an attentive, supportive husband. But her world comes crashing down when her husband, Neil Landry, vanishes without a trace… in a situation almost identical to the disappearance of her father twenty years before.

With her father’s disappearance still a mystery, Kathryn is skeptical that the detective assigned to her case will be able to find her husband. Determined to uncover the truth, Kathryn is plunged into a world of politics, high-priced call girls and wealth. As she begins to search for her husband, a decades-old secret her mother took to the grave threatens to destroy all she holds dear. Caught up in a web of betrayals and deceit, and not knowing who to trust, Kathryn must find a way to survive as she discovers the past has a way of repeating itself.

My Review

Game of Deceit is a well written mystery.  Kathryn made for an interesting main character and it was easy to empathize with her dismay as events unfolded and with her conflicting feelings about the two men vying for her affections.  As I read the book I found myself  framing hypotheses and then revising them again and again, flip-flopping in my suspicions right along with Kathryn as the story progressed.  The pace was good and  held my attention throughout, although the resolution felt a bit rushed and was somewhat vague regarding the motivation of the main villain.  All in all, an admirable debut by a new author.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary ARC of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Purchase Links: Amazon  B&N

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of  Game of Deceit and an Amazon gift card.

About the Author

Kim DavisKim Davis lives in Southern California with her husband, near wildfire country. During the Portola Hills fire in October 2007, she had to evacuate her two young granddaughters, one of whom has Rett Syndrome, as a wall of one hundred foot flames crept towards their home. Thankfully, due to the brave efforts of firefighters, their neighborhood was spared and no loss of life or property occurred. She was able to use that experience to write a harrowing scene in A Game of Deceit.

She writes the Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder blog and 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.

Surprise release! THE MISPLACED DOG by Christa Nardi and Cassidy Salem

Christa Nardi and I are excited to announce the early release of our third Hannah and Tamar Mystery — The Misplaced Dog.  Thanks to speedy beta readers and an efficient editing process, it was ready ahead of schedule, so we decided not to keep our readers in suspense.

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Synopsis

A gorgeous addition places Playful Paws and its staff at the center of a mystery.

It’s love at first sight when Tamar meets Rusty – the newest resident at the local shelter where she volunteers. However, the arrival of the well-trained and affectionate dog coincides with the onset of suspicious and dangerous incidents involving the shelter and its staff. Is it a coincidence or is the dog the key to solving a major crime? In this latest addition to the Hannah and Tamar mystery series, the sisters are determined to find out.

Read an excerpt:

“I don’t get it. Why couldn’t you do your community service closer to home? I’m gonna be late for my study group at the library.”

The Playful Paws animal shelter was located on the eastern outskirts of Rosedale, Maryland. Only a 10 minute drive from Rosedale High, you’d think it was on the moon to judge from Hannah’s complaining.

“You know, I could drop you off at school and take the car the rest of the way myself. It’s not my fault you insist on driving.” Tamar knew that wasn’t going to happen.

“Fat chance.” Hannah shook her head.

Tamar had recently passed her driving test and was itching to spend more time behind the wheel, even if it meant putting up with her sister’s non-stop criticisms. Hannah, on the other hand, wasn’t about to give up the driver’s seat.

The Bertolet’s green Subaru Outback pulled up in front of a dreary, red brick building in Rosedale’s industrial area. The parking lot was half full.

“Be ready to leave at 6:30 – I’ll text you when I get here. And don’t make me wait for you. Dad’ll be mad if we’re late.”

“Alright. I get it. Your wish is my command.” Tamar slammed the car door shut and headed into the building.

The ever-present scent of disinfectant and incessant barking filled the building. Playful Paws was just one of the animal shelters in the greater Baltimore area that housed cats and dogs in need of a good home. Temporary residents, the animals were kept in two rows of enclosures in an old warehouse.

Tamar stopped to greet two other volunteers, Zola and Jason, who were busy sweeping out the enclosures and filling water dishes.

“Hi, Tamar. How’s it going?” Zola was a second-year student at Towson University, where she was majoring in zoology. Tall and slim with long blonde hair and big blue eyes, she looked like a model.

“Great. So looking forward to our next adoption event.”

Jason watched the two young women but didn’t say anything. A senior at a different high school, Jason flashed Tamar a shy smile. It was his second year volunteering at the shelter, and he was almost never at a loss for words, except for when Tamar was around. Zola was amused by his obvious interest in the slender, dark haired teen who seemed oblivious to his admiration.

Tamar spoke softly to the residents as she walked down the long row of enclosures to reach the office in the back. This Paws shelter had a total of 18 enclosures, eight large enclosures on one side of the aisle, 10 smaller enclosures on the other. The center currently housed 19 dogs.

Two dogs were curled up together in the enclosure closest to the office. A bit of an odd couple – a small dachshund and a full grown Irish Setter. When the setter raised its head and gazed into Tamar’s eyes, her heart melted. She immediately spoke to the setter.

“Hey there, how’d you end up here?”

Joel Newman, the manager, stood in the doorway to the office. Passionate about animal welfare, the thirty-something year old worked as a free-lance designer to pay his bills. He always wore jeans and a t-shirt regardless of the weather, and today was no different. “I see our latest guests have made an impression.”

“Wow. That setter is gorgeous. Where did she come from? How could anyone surrender such a beautiful dog?”

“First, she is a he. Of course, it’s hard to tell the way he’s curled up right now. A lady found him wandering around the industrial area and dropped him off right before you got here. He has a collar but no tags. I was about to check to see if he’s chipped.”

“I’ll do it.”

Tamar reached for the handheld RFID reader. Although Maryland doesn’t require owners to have microchips implanted in their pets, the widespread practice makes it easier to identify and contact the owners of lost pets. As soon as she let herself into the enclosure, the dog sat upright and smiled; at least it looked like a smile to her.

She crouched down and held out her hand, waiting for the dog to come to her. He ambled over and smelled her hand before giving it a gentle nudge. She scratched him behind the ears and stroked his silky fur. He had a leather collar, his fur wasn’t matted, and he wasn’t shy.

The small brown dachshund was soon bouncing around her feet, demanding her share of attention. With the scanner tucked under her arm, Tamar tried to pet them both.

“You do realize you can’t play with them and scan the setter at the same time.” Joel chided her. “I think I’d better do it myself.”

Tamar shrugged.

Joel let himself in and took the scanner from her. Standing next to the setter, he commanded, “Sit.” And the dog sat. As he waved the scanner over the animal’s left shoulder, an indicator on the device flashed.

“Great, it looks like he has a chip.” He pressed a button on the device to save the reading and smiled. “Now, maybe we can find out who he belongs to.”

Back at the desk, Joel attempted to pull up the scanned data on his screen. “That’s odd.” A popup message indicated that no ID data had been found.

Tamar peered over his shoulder. “Must be an old or faulty chip.”

“What about the dachshund?”

“Already checked. No chip. No collar, either. Found her sitting outside when I got back from lunch. Well, since it looks like these two guys are going to be here for a while, we might as well give them names.”

Zola had walked over and heard the latter part of the conversation. “Let’s call the dachshund Ducky.”

“And the setter looks like a Rusty to me.” Tamar said.

“Sounds good to me. Let’s get their general descriptions, nicknames, and photographs into the database. I didn’t notice any immediate medical needs, still I’ll let Dr. Goodman know we have two new guests.”  

Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved

 

The third book in the Hannah and Tamar YA mystery series,  The Misplaced Dog is available for Kindle at a special introductory price of just $0.99 for a limited time only.  Of course, it is also available in paperback or through Kindle Unlimited.

About the Series

The release of The Mysterious Package in October 2016 marked the launch of the Hannah and Tamar Mystery series, a new mystery series for young adults and teens written by Christa Nardi and Cassidy Salem.  Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook was released in April 2017.  For more about the series, click here.

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