Release Spotlight & Giveaway: TREASURE IN PARADISE by Kathi Daley

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight is turned on Treasure in Paradise, a new cozy mystery by Kathi Daley.

TreasureInParadise FRONT 2[15190]Description

Tj Jensen and her family head to Turtle Cove Resort for summer vacation, but their plans for rest and relaxation are thwarted when they find a dead treasure hunter in the attic of the resort’s main house. Initially vowing not to get involved, Tj quickly changes her tune when the Gull Island deputy on the case closes it after a bare bones investigation. All evidence points to foul play, and Tj’s determined to uncover what the deputy wants to keep hidden. With the help of her best friend and a chatty parrot, Tj digs up a centuries old legend, a hidden map, and secrets buried deeper than pirate’s treasure.

Giveaway:

For a chance to win an e-copy of Treasure in Paradise from the author, leave a comment about what your idea of paradise might be. (Winner to be selected at random.)

About the Author

Author of the Zoe Donovan cozy Mystery Series, Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery series, Whales and Tails Cozy Mystery Series, Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mysteries, and Seacliff High Teen Cozy Mystery Series.

KathiDaleyCome for the murder, stay for the romance.

Kathi lives in the beautiful alpine community of Lake Tahoe with her husband Ken and dog Echo. When she’s not writing she enjoys hanging out on the beach with her children and grandchildren. During the summer she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and sunset cruises on the lake. During the winter she enjoys cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling up by a fire with a good book.

Kathi uses her mountain home as inspiration for her books, all which include appearances by the wildlife she shares her life with.

Visit Kathi Daley:

Books in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series:

PUMPKINS IN PARADISE (#1)
SNOWMEN IN PARADISE (#2)
BIKINIS IN PARADISE (#3)
CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE(#4)
PUPPIES IN PARADISE (#5)
HALLOWEEN IN PARADISE (#6)
TREASURE IN PARADISE (#7)

Opening Scene from Treasure in Paradise

There is magic in beginnings. Some beginnings come as a rite of passage, such as a graduation from college, the birth of a child, or a wedding day. Other beginnings start off more subtly, as nothing more than an ordinary moment that evolves into a crucial event that, in the end, helps define who you are and who you will become. And then there are the beginnings that arrive on the heels of change. At times we welcome this change with joyful anticipation, while at others we fight to maintain that which we feel we’ve lost. Change can come in gentle waves that shepherd us into a new reality, or it can come in a tornado of destruction that tears apart everything we hold dear to our hearts.

My own new beginning occurred when I packed up two sisters, a grandpa, two very dear friends, four cats, and three dogs, and traveled across the country to help an old friend of my father’s renovate the oceanfront resort he’d been forced to sell. The resort, which consisted of a resident’s home and twenty cabins nestled artfully on a long stretch of beach on the southeastern corner of Gull Island, had been in Garrett Hanford’s family for four generations. Garrett was an only child who’d never married or had children of his own, so when his health began to fail he’d decided he had no choice other than to sell the property he was no longer capable of managing.

The problem was that the resort had fallen into disrepair, and the only buyers interested in the large slice of oceanfront land were developers who didn’t care about the cabins because they planned to tear them down and build a new infrastructure from the ground up. Garrett didn’t want to sell to those large corporations, so in spite of the fact that he was not likely to recover his investment, he’d decided to put some money into the resort and renovate the buildings prior to looking for a buyer who would maintain the integrity of the property he loved. When I learned Garrett had suffered a stroke and would need someone to oversee the renovations, I jumped at the chance to take a step away from a life that had undergone so many changes in the past few months that I no longer recognized it. What I didn’t expect was that by agreeing to spend the summer on Gull Island, I would be trading one set of problems for another.

“Someone from the sheriff’s office should be here in a few minutes,” my best friend, Kyle Donovan, informed me as he joined me in the attic of the three-story house where the two of us, along with my two half sisters Ashley and Gracie, my Grandpa Ben, and a dear friend, Stan Griffin, planned to live that summer.

I glanced in Kyle’s direction with what I was sure was a look of resignation on my face. “What do you think happened to him?”

Kyle’s sandy blond hair had grown long over the past few months and touched his collar as he shrugged. “I’m sure the deputy who shows up will be able to tell us. It looks like he’s been dead for a while.”

“Two weeks at least,” Stan, more commonly known as Doc, agreed. Doc was not only my grandfather, Ben Jensen’s best friend, but was also a retired coroner, so I imagined he knew what he was talking about. “I can’t say for certain without a closer examination of the remains, but based on the fractures on the man’s left temple, I’m going to say the cause of death was blunt force trauma delivered by a right handed individual facing him.”

I grimaced. I don’t know exactly what I expected to find on my first day in over twenty years at Turtle Cove Resort, but in spite of my reputation as an amateur sleuth, I certainly didn’t think I’d be thrust into a murder investigation before I’d even had a chance to unpack.

“Are you okay?” Kyle asked as Doc slipped on the latex glove he carried in his wallet and took a closer look at the body.

“I’m fine.” I looked around the dusty room. “It’s been such a long time since I was here but everything looks exactly like I remember.”

“You spent a lot of time in the attic as a child?”

“Actually, I did.”

Spotlight: FAMOUS BY DEFAULT by M.K. Harkins

MK Harkins recently released what has been heralded as a gripping YA Contemporary Romance.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but Famous by Default looks like a promising read – a sweet romance that touches on social issues.

Description

Jax
FamousbyDefaultcoverBuried, By my family’s fame. Dying to escape the limelight, And finally, I do. Being raised as a Jayne, I’m under constant scrutiny. The rock band my brothers formed makes it impossible to stay under the radar. Paparazzi, tabloids, rabid fans–you name it and I’ve got it. It all makes me sick. But getting shipped off to crazy Aunt Betty’s house in my senior year of high school isn’t any better. After all, there isn’t a stray kid or pet in the world that my aunt wouldn’t take in. Then I meet her. She’s cautious, suspicious, and not interested in me at all. But that’s fine by me. Sivan Holt may be beautiful and intelligent, but she’s nothing I’m looking for.
Sivan
Drowning, In my past. Struggling to feel settled. And finally, I do. Growing up in the foster care system, I longed for a sense of belonging. All I wanted was a place to call home. At the age of seventeen, I’m finally starting to feel it here. Home. When he comes along, it unsettles me. I don’t want him to ruin everything we’ve built–everything that matters. Jax Jayne is arrogant, privileged, and I want nothing to do with him. But those green eyes of his keep drawing me in. If I let down my walls, will it be my final undoing?
 

About the Author

MKHarkinsMK Harkins has always been a voracious reader. After hitting a dry spell of reading material, she decided to write the kind of book she’d like to read. This resulted in the creation of her debut novel, Intentional. (Award for Best Sweet Romance – eFestival of Words- August 2014) Unintentional, Breaking Braydon, Taking Tiffany and The Reader soon followed. MK’s newest, Famous by Default, released March 2017. The follow-up to The Reader, The Jack, is due out 2017.

When she’s not writing novels, she likes to spend her free time traveling the world, splashing in mud puddles (She lives in Seattle, what can she say?), watching movies and reading (!) She LOVES to hear from her readers!

Connect with MK:

Sign up for MK’s Newsletter and receive a free book: http://eepurl.com/clLfBf

Release Spotlight: DATING THE IT GUY by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Krysten Hager has been at it again. Her new YA contemporary romance – Dating the It Guy – was released earlier this month.  Check it out.

Description

DatingtheItGuy453x680.jpgEmme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.

Click here to view the trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HdfnUqZPKU

A short excerpt appears at the end of this post.

You can find the book on these retailers:

About the Author

author photoBesides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is a also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she’s addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She’s also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.

Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.

Follow Krysten:

Excerpt – Dating the It Guy

“By the way, did you hear Lauren got into Senator Agretti’s old school?”

“Seriously? I wonder if she applied there because Brendon did,” I said.

Margaux snorted. “Duh, of course. Seriously, she might as well just pee on him to mark her territory.”

“Margaux, shut up,” Kylie said.

“Whatever. Anyway, the important thing is if Brendon knew she was applying there,” Margaux said. “Em, do you think he knew?”

I hoped Lauren was just trying to follow Brendon, but what if they had planned this whole thing while they were dating? What if he convinced her to apply there so they could go to college together, wear matching American flag sweaters with big scarves while drinking hot chocolate, and jump into leaf piles just like a preppy clothing catalog. At least now I didn’t have to worry about them reciting poetry to one another in South Bend, but still, what if they had made plans to go to school together?

“Don’t worry about it,” Kylie said. “She was probably trying to follow him—like she always does. She’s so pathetic.”

Kylie was trying to make me feel better, but Lauren was far from pathetic. After all, she was pretty much the “Most Likely to Succeed” poster girl. While she was out overachieving and saving the world without messing up her perfect, bouncy hair, I was trying to get through each day. I tried to push away the image of Lauren and Brendon holding hands and drinking hot chocolate under a stadium blanket.

Review: WHO WE ARE INSTEAD by Kyla Stone

As some people may have noticed I’ve been expanding my reading horizons lately.  Today’s book is neither mystery or romance. Who We are Instead is a coming of age novel about two sisters, difficult family relationships, and emotional scars.

Note (December 2017): The author has rereleased this book under the title Before You Break with a new cover (not the cover shown here). 

Description (from Amazon)

whoinsteadTwenty-one-year-old Lena McKenna thought she escaped her past when she earned a photography scholarship to a top university. It’s been two years since she’s been home. Two years since she’s seen her troubled younger sister Lux or set foot in the house haunted by the memories of her dead mother.

Everything changes the day her father suffers a massive heart attack. Lena rushes home, only to discover that Lux has disappeared. Lena has no choice but to put her dreams on hold to find her sister and care for her dying father. Immersed in the memories of her childhood, she begins to uncover the long-buried secrets that broke her family. 

Eighteen-year-old Lux doesn’t want to remember. Nothing keeps the dark at bay, not her new drug-dealing boyfriend or her descent into reckless self-destruction. She’ll do anything to forget. Anything.

As their father’s condition worsens, Lux leaves a trail of devastation in her wake. Lena must choose: escape her past and leave her sister behind, or turn and face the demons threatening to destroy them both.

Who We Are Instead explores the volatile relationship between sisters and the way we blur the lines between loyalty and obligation, truth and deception, honor and betrayal.

My Review

This is a well-written, moving tale that provides a candid look at troubled family relationships.  The first-person narrative alternates between Lina and Lux’s point of view, providing insight into the differences in how they see things. Both Lena and Lux are struggling in their own ways as they face their father’s imminent death. They each remember different things from their childhood and have secrets they share with no0ne – not even each other. Lux uses substance abuse and ‘hook-ups’ to escape, she swears a lot, and lashes out at friends. Her stream of conscious style narrative highlights her mood swings and growing dependence on drugs. Lena wants to help her, but has no idea how to heal their relationship. As the story progresses, both characters learn about themselves and strive to heal their emotional scars.

The author takes on tough issues in this book – dysfunctional families, betrayal, drug abuse, and suicide. For this reason, although this book might be suitable for some mature YA readers, I am not sure I would recommend it for most teens.

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

News FlashWho We Are Instead is on sale for $0.99 for limited time only!

Review: BOOMER’S BUCKET LIST by Sue Pethick

I don’t quite know why but dogs on the cover seem to be tugging on my heartstrings and calling out to me lately.  Alright, I admit it. They always do. But lately even more than usual.  And the cover definitely factored into my decision to read Boomer’s Bucket List.

boomerDescription (from Amazon)

When her cuddly canine companion Boomer is diagnosed with a rare heart condition, Jennifer Westbrook decides to take a leave of absence from her busy PR job—and take Boomer on the greatest road trip of his life.

Charting a course from Chicago to California, Jennifer plans some pet-friendly pit stops for her four-legged friend, including a dog show, a fire hydrant museum, and a factory full of squeaky toys. But when she tries to sneak Boomer into a NASCAR press box—disguised as her seeing-eye dog—Jennifer’s cover is blown by a curious, but very cute reporter named Nathan Koslow.

Boomer takes an instant shine to Nathan, unlike the other men in Jennifer’s life. When the charming journalist asks to join them on their journey, she can’t say no. But when she learns that someone has created a website called “Boomer’s Bucket List”—and it’s gone totally viral—the trip takes a wildly unexpected turn for Jennifer, Nathan, and the dog who brought them together.

It almost seems as if Boomer’s last wish is that his two favorite humans fall madly, deeply, in love . . .

My Review

An enjoyable light romance featuring a loveable and furry matchmaker. Boomer is delightful. You can almost visualize his antics and expressions, and his antics will make you laugh. And Jennifer is truly devoted to her dog – not many dog owners would take time off from work to spend time with their dog. Nathan, the man Boomer seems to have chosen for Jennifer, is a good guy who is at a crossroads in his career. The road trip and budding relationship with Caroline cause him to reflect on his past actions and future goals.  Although the outcome is foreseeable, unlike most romance novels, the ending is bittersweet. Make sure you have a tissue on hand.

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

Boomer’s Bucket List is available from Amazon.

Cover Reveal: SHACKLED by Angela Carling

shackled_acarlingShackled by Angela Carling has just had a makeover.  Check out the new cover on this moving read, inspired by real-life events.

Description

After shy, quiet Lucy and her family move from their small hometown in Minnesota to Seattle, Washington, she is surprised when Ryan, the most popular boy at school asks her out. Soon, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance and her naïve and trusting nature allows her to fall head over heels in love with her too-good-to-be suitor. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself enraptured by the excitement of her new relationship, leaving her blinded to the warning signs of danger ahead. Can her fairy tale romance last, or will she find that her prince charming is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

A note from the author:

“Today I’m excited to share the new cover and make a big announcement! Shackled, originally written as stand-alone story will stand-alone no longer! I’ve already begun work on part two of this truly emotional story inspired by real-life struggle in my own family. The new book will be called RELEASED! If you’ve read Shackled and ever wondered what happened to Ryan, Released will change everything!”

Shacked is available on Amazon. And for the quick to act, it’s on sale for just 0.99 cents today.

Want a bit more?  Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter.

If you’d asked me about my life a year ago, I would’ve told you it was boring, white-bread, middle-class-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-in-my-pink-polka-dot-lunch-bag-every-day boring. That was before everything changed. That was before I met him. So, here I am a year later, on the floor of some stranger’s parked car, trying not to breathe for fear of being discovered. The inside of the car reeks of day old fast food and dirty feet, but I don’t dare raise my head, even for cleaner air. Instead, I wait for the headlights to fill the cracks where the doors hinges leave tiny fissures in the metal, letting small bits of light through. I know the light is coming from his headlights and when the light passes over me, there will be a brief window of opportunity I can use to escape and run for my life.

Finally, after I hear the distinctive ping of his diesel engine, and his precious cherry red Mercedes passes me, I carefully open the door and climb out of the backseat as noiselessly as possible. My eyes dart nervously, taking in my surroundings. The long, orderly, suburban street looks quiet. All the houses are black, with the exception of a few scattered televisions sending pulsing light out into the night. Now is my chance. Mason is only ten houses away and he has the tools to free me from this hellish nightmare. He knows my anguish. Tonight he will be my white knight.

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