Saturday, October 31, 2020
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Kitty Underhay’s dance card is full… of death.
November 1933. Amateur sleuth-cum-dutiful granddaughter Kitty Underhay stifles a sigh of boredom as she attends the annual Hoteliers' Association Dinner and Dance on behalf of her grandmother, the proprietress of the Dolphin Hotel. She hopes the company of ex-army captain Matthew Bryant will enliven the otherwise dull evening. That is, until bullish and overbearing local councillor Harold Everton drops dead into his bowl of consommé.
While the local police are still scrambling for their whistles, Kitty and Matt waste no time leaping into action. Soon they find themselves caught up a dangerous search to uncover who amongst the distinguished guests used cyanide for seasoning?
When their digging throws light on a corruption scandal brewing in the local council involving Everton’s assistant Thomas King, they are sure they’ve cracked the case. But before he can be questioned further, King’s body is found in a smouldering car wreck. Meanwhile, the murderer has made a sinister plan to avoid detection or punishment, and it will lead Kitty and Matt into a dangerous dance with death…
A fast, fun and utterly unputdownable Golden Age cozy murder mystery, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, T E Kinsey and Lee Strauss.
Nell Dixon was born and continues to live in the Black Country. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 with her book Marrying Max, and winner of Love Story of the Year 2010 with her book, Animal Instincts. She also writes historical 1930's set cozy crime as Helena Dixon.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Where Butterflies Go by Debra Doxer
Genre: Historical FictionFormat: Kindle ARCNo. of Pages: 272Date of Publication: October 7, 2020My Rating: 5 Stars
In this incredibly touching story by Debra Doxer we meet Meira Sokolow, a Jewish woman born in Poland in 1912. She married young to a man her parents wanted for her older sister. Then after the German army invaded Warsaw, everything Meira had was lost. Along with her husband and daughter, she survived in the ghetto for years. Things were horrid during those years. They suffered from hunger and disease, with things ending very badly for everyone Meira loved.
A rare survivor, she was able to emigrate to New York City, and had hopes of starting over, and at the very least, with her sister who fortunately got out of Poland before things changed so drastically there. Although Meira is now safe, she is hardly the woman she used to be, and is more like a shadow passing through time. While she struggled to make her way she met a man named Max, who was enamored with her from the very start.
The seriousness of this book did not let up, especially as Meira went through the various phases of her life, to the moments of levity when hope began to shine through. I loved the tie in with the butterflies as the story progressed, all the way through to the heartwarming ending.
While reading this book I felt for Meira more than words could express. To see her go through the motions every day of her life, with challenge after challenge facing her was so very hard. But to see her life take a turn for the better, especially when love began to slowly enter into the picture was quite remarkable. This incredible story is one that I will not forget any time soon.
Many thanks to Debra Doxer and HF Virtual Book Tours for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2020
One Constance slammed on her brakes. Steam rose from the street as rain gurgled through the ditches. She killed the engine, stepped into the pattering droplets and scanned the shoulder of the road. Nothing there but the remains of a goose carcass. “Where are you, boy?” Constance gave a low whistle.
It hadn’t been her imagination. The picked-over goose only made her more certain she’d seen a dog, weaving through the foggy afternoon air like a phantom. A lost dog, with his head bent against the rain as he loped along the muddy ditch.
Constance whistled again. Silence, but for the sound of rain hitting the trees that lined the road. “Maybe I’m just tired.” She’d done a lot of massages today, which made her feel wrung out. Constance almost ducked back into the van, but halted.
There he was: a white face with brown patches, peeking at her from behind a bush. “Hey, boy.” Constance squatted down, making herself smaller, less threatening. The dog watched, motionless. Constance drew a biscuit from her coat, briefly recalling the cashier’s amusement at the grocery store today when she’d emptied her pockets on the counter, searching for her keys. Five dog biscuits had been in the pile with her phone, a used tissue and the grocery list.
“Dog mom, huh?” the elderly cashier had said.
“Something like that.” More like dog aunt, to all of the rescues at Pittie Place. Her sister, Sunny, had quite the brood.
Constance laid the biscuit near her foot and waited. A moment later, the bush rustled and the dog approached. He had short hair and big shoulders. He got only as close as he needed to, then stretched his neck out for the prize. As he gingerly took the biscuit, Constance noted a droopy abdomen and swollen nipples, like a miniature cow.
So. He was a she. Constance inched toward her. The dog held on to the biscuit, but reared back. Constance extended her fist, slowly, so the mom could smell her. “You got puppies somewhere?”
The dog whimpered, but crunched up the biscuit.
“Where are your puppies?”
The dog whimpered again. Her legs shook. Her fur was muddy, feet caked with dirt. She had blood on her muzzle— probably from the dead goose. By her size and coloring, Constance decided she was a pit bull.
Constance rose up, patted her thigh and headed toward her van. She slid open the side door, grabbed a blanket and spread it out, but when she turned around, the dog was several yards away. Her brown-and-white head was low as she wandered beneath a streetlamp, the embodiment of despair in the drizzle that danced through the light.
Constance followed, slipping on the leaves that clogged the drainage ditch. The dog glanced once over her shoulder, but her pace didn’t quicken. Constance decided her calm demeanor was working, keeping the dog from fleeing. And let’s be honest: the biscuit hadn’t hurt. Chances were, the dog would be happy to have more as soon as she got wherever she was going. “Let’s see where you’re headed, then. Show me if you’ve got a home.”
Constance followed her across the road, around the curve and down the narrow lane. Frogs popped like happy corn all over the slick street, but the chill of the oncoming winter slithered through Constance’s blood.
She followed the dog for a good quarter mile. Even before she hooked a left down the unpaved road hidden behind the trees, Constance had figured out that the mama was headed to one of the handful of empty places that sat decomposing on the hundred or so acres the Matteri family owned. Constance paused only long enough to squelch the sizzle of anger that bubbled up inside before she pressed on, determined to know if the dog was a stray or a neglected mother from Janice Matteri’s puppy mill.
Constance took the same turn and watched as the dog neared the abandoned house up ahead. Nobody had lived there in years. It was only a matter of time before it became condemned. The dog bypassed the crumbling porch of the old colonial and went around back. Constance knew little daylight was left, and she hadn’t brought a flashlight. She broke into a trot, clutched her coat tighter around her and didn’t slow until the dog came back into view. Constance followed her, her heart thumping harder with each step.
The dog passed the rusted chain-link fence and disappeared over a rise in the property, near an old shed so overgrown with trees it was only recognizable by a pale red door. Just as she reached the hill, Constance heard a squeak. The sort of high-pitched noise that echoes from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Another squeak came. And another. She crested the hill and saw the dog slink inside the shed door. Constance got to the shed and pushed inside. The dog had reached her destination: a battered old mattress, three shades of brown, lying a few feet inside. The mewls, now loud and hungry, came from a shredded section of the mattress.
Constance narrowed her eyes. At first, she counted only two bobbing, brown heads, but as she drew closer there was a third. Then a fourth. The last one didn’t move nearly as much, just sort of waded on his stomach. The puppies had cocoa-colored fur and black muzzles. Eyes open. The ones that moved didn’t really walk, just stumbled into each other, like drunks. Mama dog curled around them and they all wiggled toward her abdomen.
Constance knelt down next to the mattress and watched the suckling puppies. She decided they were about two weeks old. The air in the shed smelled of sour milk, poop and urine. She dug out another biscuit and reached, slowly, her hand in a fist to protect her fingers, her gaze on the mama for any sign she was upset, such as pinned ears, bared teeth or a raised ridge of fur down the back. The energy around the mom and her pups was calm, to the point of exhausted. Constance had certainly helped with enough of Sunny’s dogs over the years to know. She offered the biscuit and the mom took it. With her mouth busy, Constance carefully touched the smallest puppy, who shook so hard the tremble came from deep inside, beneath his skin and fur, straight from his bones.
Constance rose slowly and did a quick search of the vicinity for more puppies, which turned up nothing but trash, vermin and an old orange crate, which she brought over to the mattress. Now to see if Mom was going to accept help.
Though daylight was precious, Constance waited until the pups were done suckling before she offered a third treat. “Let’s go back to my place,” Constance said as Mom accepted the biscuit. “My sister has a rescue for critters, just like you. And I help her all the time. You’ll be safe there. Does that sound okay?”
While Mama crunched, Constance reached for the two pups closest to her and, keeping an eye on Mom the whole time, she lifted them and settled them in the crate. Mom’s chewing quickened, so Constance acted fast, lifting the last two pups swiftly but carefully. She rose to her feet, crate in her arms. The mother dog was on her feet almost ahead of her, pointing her muzzle at the crate and whining.
Constance knew the mom would follow her anywhere she took those pups, but she also lacked any signs of aggression, almost as though she knew that this was their only chance. Or as Pete, owner of Canine Warriors and Constance’s longtime childhood friend, would put it, “You just got something about you, Cici. Everybody trusts you. People. Dogs. The damn Devil himself.”
Constance headed back to her van, chasing the sunset. As expected, the mother followed. Once to the vehicle, Constance opened the van and set the crate full of pups next to the blanket she’d spread out earlier. The mama dog leaped in after them.
Constance slid the door closed, settled behind the steering wheel and let out a great sigh. Mission accomplished. She edged down the long, lonely road. The rain pattered on the windshield and the scent of dirty puppies hit her nose. She’d take them home tonight and get them settled in, see how they reacted to a new environment, then text Sunny in the morning. Constance had worked with enough dogs, and people, to know that introducing another new person this evening was bad news. Let Mama get used to Constance first, and get some good food and rest, before she was moved to Pittie Place.
Tonight, at least, this girl and her babies belonged with Constance.
Excerpted from Rescue You by Elysia Whisler Copyright © Elysia Whisler. Published by MIRA Books.
Date of Publication: October 27, 2020
Elsie Miller has witnessed -- and experienced -- Levi Wyse's forgetfulness too many times to count. But even after they broke things off, Elsie never forgot the handsome Amish toymaker or her love for him. So when Levi's sister asks her to help keep him organized for the busy Christmas season, Elsie agrees. But she didn't expect working alongside Levi to reignite those old feelings.
Secretly, Levi's heart will always belong to Elsie. But she deserves a better man, one who isn't so absentminded . . . or responsible for a terrible tragedy. Now, she's at his workshop every day and as Christmas draws near, his reasons for staying away become harder and harder to remember. Will the spirit of Christmas heal past hurts and give Elsie and Levi the greatest gift of all: a future together?
Elsie Miller and Levi Wyse are clearly in love and have been for years. However, they broke up according to a misunderstanding a couple of years ago. Previously, Levi's sister Abigail had been hurt, and needs some assistance. Elsie is the best person for the job, even if this creates a form of torture between her and Levi. He had done a fine job of avoiding her for quite some time, but now that they will be seeing more than a lot of each other, feelings, and even desire, are bound to get in the way.
It is the Christmas season and Levi is gifted at making toys. Can he continue to work, see Elsie everyday and put past hurts and guilt behind him enough to grasp ahold of the love and joy that she still feels for him?
What a touching story of love, guilt, family and faith! I do wish that communication would have been more at play in this story, but at the same time I could understand Levi's reticence. The Amish Christmas Gift is the second book in the Hidden Springs series. Although I hadn't read the first book, this story did not have anything at all missing, making it easy to follow along. I do wish to follow further books in this series because I do enjoy Laura V. Hilton's writing. The next book in the series is The Amish Secret Wish, is set for release April, 2021.
Many thanks to Forever and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter, planned for April 2016.
She has self-published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer and blogs for Putting on the New and Seriously Write.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
When the body of a young woman is found in a local park, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she’s dealing with no ordinary killer. The murder victim has been disfigured; her outfit changed to resemble someone else. Someone Maggie knows all too well…her close friend Dr Kate Moloney.
A determined detective…
Maggie is determined to keep her friend safe, but with Kate already struggling with a threatening stalker, Maggie now fears Kate’s life is in real danger. Who else would want to harm Kate and why else would the killer be turning his victims into exact replicas – his living dolls?
Can Maggie find the depraved killer? Or will Kate become his next living doll?
Author: Noelle Holten
Series: DC Maggie Jamieson #3
No. of Pages: 350 Pages
My Rating: 5 Stars
Instead, as the body is turned over from her back, Maggie is more than relieved but a bit confused when she discovers that the body is not Kate's. Why does she resemble her? When Maggie does reach Kate, she tries not to scare her, but tells her that the stalker is almost definitely a murder. It certainly cannot be coincidence that the staged body resembles Kate.
Living dolls. That is how the police - and the killer - are referring to the victims. And, yes, I say victims in plural because more dead bodies abound, and Maggie does her darnedest to stop the killer and to keep Kate safe. Meanwhile, Maggie must contend for her growing feeling for Kate.
Well! 5 Stars go to this fantastic book by Noelle Holten!! Just read it in one sitting. The tension level is incredibly high as Maggie and her team race against time to find the killer. Meanwhile, Maggie has some issues she is facing, and that does well to help to understand her as a character. Since I read the first two books in the series, and will be reading all future books, I love being able to feel for a character.
Many thanks to Harper Impulse and Killer Reads and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.
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Friday, October 23, 2020
Alexa has always looked up to her older sister Carrie. Carrie lives in Alexa’s family home, and adores her one-year-old niece Florence. Alexa doesn’t know how they would cope without her. So when Carrie is suspended from her job as a senior nurse, accused of the most terrible crime, Alexa reels in disbelief. Alexa knows how caring Carrie is, and as she watches Florence gurgling and cooing whenever Carrie is around, she knows her little girl is in safe hands.
Alexa’s husband doesn’t trust Carrie. He wants her out of the house, unable to ignore what people are saying about her. But when he suggests that Carrie could be a danger to their daughter, Alexa shuts him out. Nobody will ever come between her and her sister.
Then Florence is hurt while in Carrie’s care and Alexa at last starts to wonder. Alexa has always wanted to protect Carrie from the past they have hidden. But does Alexa know what Carrie wants? And will the secret that has kept the sisters together now destroy her little girl?
A completely gripping rollercoaster of a read about the darkness families hide behind closed doors. Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will be hooked on The Girl She Wanted.
For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents but never made it off the slush pile. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.
Before graduating, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’
Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Grace Pierrepoint Rendell, the only child of an ailing billionaire, has been treated for paranoia since childhood. When she secretly quits her meds, she begins to suspect that once her father passes, her husband will murder her for her inheritance. Realizing that no one will believe the ravings of a supposed psychotic, she devises a creative way to save herself – she will write herself out of danger, authoring a novel with the heroine in exactly the same circumstances, thus subtly exposing her husband's scheme to the world. She hires acclaimed author Lynn Andrews to help edit her literary insurance policy, but when Lynn is murdered, Grace is discovered standing over the bloody remains. The clock is ticking: can she write and publish her manuscript before she is strapped into a straitjacket, accused of homicide, or lowered six feet under?
With a cast of secondary characters whose challenges mirror Grace's own, Saving Grace is, at it's core, an allegory for the struggle of the marginalized to be heard and live life on their own terms.
"A psychological thriller with more than enough twists, turns, and misdirection to keep even the most jaded reader turning pages all night long."
–Lori Robbins, author of the Silver Falchion Award-winning novel, Lesson Plan for Murder
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Domestic Suspense
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: October 15th 2020
Number of Pages: 255
My rating: 4 Stars
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for D.M. Barr. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on October 12, 2020 and runs through November 15, 2020. Void where prohibited.
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…
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