Thursday, March 28, 2024

BLOG TOUR - CHEATER

Title:  Cheater
Author:  Karen Rose
Series:  San Diego Case Files #2
Publisher:  Berkley Books
Genre:   Mystery & Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:   464
Date of Publication:   March 26, 2024
My Rating:   5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

A shocking murder leaves an affluent retirement community reeling in this riveting, high-stakes second installment of the San Diego Case Files, from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Karen Rose.

Death is not an unfamiliar visitor to Shady Oaks Retirement Village, which provides San Diego with premier elderly support from independent retiree housing to full-time hospice care. But when a resident’s body is found brutally stabbed and his apartment ransacked, it’s clear there’s someone deadly in their community. Detective Katherine “Kit” McKittrick quickly discovers that Shady Oaks is full of skeleton-riddled closets, and most tenants prefer to keep their doors firmly closed to the SDPD.

A longtime volunteer at the retirement facility, Dr. Sam Reeves honors his late grandfather’s memory by playing the piano for the residents regularly. So it shouldn’t be such a surprise when Kit crosses paths with him during her investigation, after she’d avoided the criminal psychologist—and the emotions he evokes—for the last six months.

Sam’s rapport within the retirement village proves vital to the case, and the pair find themselves working together once again—much to Kit’s dismay. But she is determined to apprehend the shadow of death lurking around Shady Oaks...and equally determined to ignore the feelings she’s developing for a certain psychologist.


MY THOUGHTS:

The San Diego Case Files series continues when a victim is found stabbed to death at the elite Shady Oaks Retirement Village. From independent living to hospice care, the residents get the best Shady Oaks can offer. It becomes clear from the very start to Detective Katherine "Kit" McKittrick that the murderer has to be someone in the community.

In a very somber setting, Kit runs into a volunteer at Shady Hokes and that is Dr. Sam Reeves, a man with who Kit has a connection, but it is one she does her best to deny. Although a busy criminal psychologist, Sam devotes as much time as possible to the residents, and has developed some very strong bonds.

While Kit begins her investigation, Sam proves to be more than instrumental when it comes to interviewing the various residents and staff. Death is never welcomed, even when natural causes is the case. But, when murder happens in a place where older residents expect nothing less than the best, it definitely leaves a bad taste. Although Same is helpful in a number of ways, his presence is problematic for Kit because of growing feelings for Sam that she is finding more and more difficult to ignore.

In usual Karen Rose style, she does an excellent job bringing both suspense and romance to her readers. The suspense carries from beginning to end and, personally, I enjoyed the slow burn of romance between Kit and Sam. I am sure that their next case will be just as intriguing as this one was, all while their personal relationship taking a turn. 

Many thanks to Berkley Books and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion...

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
CHEATER by Karen Rose
Berkley Hardcover | On sale March 26, 2024
Excerpt

Chapter One

Shady Oaks Retirement Village
Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California
Monday, November 7, 11:20 a.m.

Kit McKittrick allowed herself a moment to feel pity as she stood over the body of the elderly man lying dead on his apartment floor in the Shady Oaks Retirement Village. Then she squared her shoulders and proceeded to do her job.

The mood in the dead man's living room was subdued. The ME was examining the body while CSU took photos and Latent dusted for prints, but there was little of the normal scene-of-the-crime chatter to which Kit had become accustomed in the four and a half years she'd been in Homicide.

Everyone spoke in hushed whispers, like they were in church. Because it kind of felt like they were. Haunting melancholy music from a single piano was coming from the speaker mounted on the victim's living room wall. The music wasn't loud, but it was overwhelming nonetheless. Kit wanted to turn it off, because the music was so sad that it made her chest hurt and her eyes burn.

But neither the speaker nor its volume controls had been dusted for prints, so she couldn't touch it yet. Until then, she could only square her shoulders, ignore the music, and focus on getting justice for Mr. Franklin Delano Flynn.

The cause of death of the eighty-five-year-old white male was most likely the butcher knife still embedded in his chest. But she'd learned long ago not to assume. Still, a butcher knife to the chest was never good. It was a long wound, the gash in the man's white button-up shirt extending from his sternum to his navel. Whoever had killed him had to have had a lot of strength to create such a wound.

The victim had been dead long enough for his blood to dry, both the blood that had soaked the front of his shirt and the blood that had pooled on the floor around his torso.

His eyes, filmy in death, stared sightlessly up at the ceiling. His arms lay at his sides, his hands slightly curved. Not quite flat, but not quite fists, either. It wasn't a natural pose for the victim of a homicide who'd fallen after being stabbed. She wondered if his killer had repositioned his arms.

Mr. Flynn had been a hardy man, broad-shouldered, tall, and still muscular. Not in bad shape for eighty-five, she thought. He wore dark trousers, the pockets turned out, as if he'd been searched.

His shoes were black oxfords, buffed to such a shine that she could nearly see her own reflection. She wondered if he'd come home, surprising his attacker, or if he'd welcomed his killer into his home.

His living room had been ransacked, books knocked off shelves, knickknacks strewn on the floor. The sofa cushions had been slashed open, foam stuffing on the floor as well. The man's bedroom was in a similar state. The drawers in the kitchen had been opened and emptied, their contents dumped on the counters. Flour and sugar containers had been dumped on the kitchen's tiled floor. Someone had been looking for something and had left a terrible mess.

Kit wondered if they'd found what they'd been looking for. She wondered if Mr. Flynn had fought back.

Kit crouched on the victim's right side, leaning in so that she could better examine his hands. The knuckles of his right hand were scraped and bruised, but his fingernails were what caught her attention. They were mostly gone, clipped way past the quick, down into the nail bed.

That he'd fought back was a decent assumption, then. His killer hadn't wanted any evidence to be found under the man's nails.

Excerpted from Cheater by Karen Rose Copyright © 2024 by Karen Rose. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Internationally bestselling author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published more than fifteen novels and two novellas. Her twenty-sixth novel, QUARTER TO MIDNIGHT, will be released in 2022.


Karen's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London's Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa(#1) and Australia! To date, her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.


A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than thirty years. 



Wednesday, March 27, 2024

BLOG TOUR - The Playgroup

 



DESCRIPTION:


Breath catches in my throat and terror grips me as my daughter’s favourite jumper slides into focus. Time slows. Helpless, I watch my precious little girl run into the road. Screeching tyres slice through the quiet afternoon. Days from now, my friends will say the worst day of my life was all my fault…

A bright and welcoming haven, the playgroup sits at the heart of the town, tucked away inside a red-brick building. The Nest should have been the safest place for my rosy-cheeked, pink-obsessed daughter, 
Florence. Run by mothers like me, I trusted my newfound friends – AliceBeth and Georgie – to take care of my child. But now my choice has left Florence fighting for her life.

My heart pounds thinking about what I will tell my husband, 
James. He stayed with me through the darkest times, and I thought some space would bring us closer. But as I watch our little girl sleeping in a hospital bed, I know our relationship may never recover from this.

How can I tell James what really happened if I don’t know myself? I can’t shake the feeling the other mothers are lying to me; they know I’d never let Florence leave the nursery by herself. We’ve all got dangerous secrets we want to protect, but if they expose mine, will anyone, including my husband, believe me when I say I didn’t harm my daughter?

A completely gripping psychological suspense about the dark price of protecting your family, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Adele Parks and Sally Hepworth.

BUY LINK:
You can sign up for all the best Bookouture deals you'll love at: http://ow.ly/Fkiz30lnzdo

MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   The Playgroup
Author:  Leah Mercer
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  283
Date of Publication:  March 21, 2024
My Rating:  4 Stars

Alice is a lawyer who has also begun a nursery, which is called The Nest Nursery. Among the people that work for her are Georgie, Lenore, and Beth. 

Lenore had an interesting story, one that I have seen with two of my daughters, and that is her recovery from post-partem depression. Lenore is working at the nursery and her young daughter Florence attends as well. One day the toddler is hit by a car and responsibility for the terrible accident could be on any of the four women, Alice, Georgie, Beth and even Lenore.

It soon becomes clear that everyone has something to hide. Pasts that they do not want to come to the light of day. Because of these secrets, any of the women could be responsible for the accident that gravely injured little Florence. 

Something that really caught my attention while reading this book, is that not only did it deal with a woman who has recently experienced post-partum depression, it used the term gaslighting. I found that to be of great significance since everyone had something to hide, and gaslighting was clearly used when it came to laying blame.

As intriguing as this book was with all of the drama that was going on with each of the women, the title The Playgroup confused me.  I did a search on my Kindle, and it was what I expected, the reference is "The Nursery" was used over 70 times, and The Nest, over 150 times,  so I do wonder why either of those terms were not the name of the book as the phrase "The Playgroup" never once appeared in the novel.

This book came to a satisfying conclusion as some of the women's outcomes were surprising and the ending was handled well. But before the stunning ending there was an amazing twist. Leah Mercer is one of my favorite authors and I love how she kept the characters' secrets from each other as long as possible. I will definitely be reading her next novel.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leah Mercer was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. Her first ambition was to be a journalist, but after completing a master’s in journalism, she soon realised she preferred anything other than reporting the news. After trying her hand at public relations, teaching and recruitment in various countries around the world, she finally settled in London and returned to writing… fiction, this time. Her first two novels, Who We Were Before and The Man I Thought You Were, were shortlisted at the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards. Leah loves books, running and visiting historic houses with her husband and their son.

Author Social Media Links
Bookouture Email Sign Up: https://www.bookouture.com/leah-mercer

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

BLOG TOUR - Everyone Is Watching


DESCRIPTION:


The Best Friend. The Confidant. The Senator. The Boyfriend. The Executive.

Five contestants have been chosen to compete for ten million dollars on the game show One Lucky Winner. The catch? None of them knows what (or who) to expect, and it will be live streamed all over the world. Completely secluded in an estate in Northern California, with strict instructions not to leave the property and zero contact with the outside world, the competitors start to feel a little too isolated.

When long-kept secrets begin to rise to the surface, the contestants realize this is no longer just a reality show—someone is out for blood. And the game can’t end until the world knows who the contestants really are…

BUY LINKS:

BookShop.org | Harlequin Barnes & Noble

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Powell’s



Title:   Everyone Is Watching
Author:  Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher:  Park Row
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   320
Date of Publication:   March 26, 2024
My Rating:   5 Stars

MY THOUGHTS:

Chance of a lifetime. One Lucky Winner. Five contestants. They all seem to know at least one of the other contestants. Is it really a small world or is something else entirely at play?

Each character has a moniker - The Best Friend. The Confidant. The Senator. The Boyfriend. The Executive. As this story is told, it is relayed from these various points of view, and the roles these contestants had in their everyday lives factor into how things develop in this utterly intriguing story. None of them are taking the game lightly. After all, the game is offering the biggest jackpot in gameshow history - ten million dollars. Who will be the One Lucky Winner

Aside from the vast jackpot offered, the challenges will be live streamed worldwide. The show's creator wants to gain huge notoriety, and thus the exclusive location as well as the extreme challenges just might provide that. 

There is drama in this book. So much drama. There is drama between the show's producer Cat and her Production Assistant Fern. There is drama with regard to each contestant, especially when it comes to the connections they share with the other contestants. These connections come with secrets. Secrets that could destroy lives. Meanwhile, for fourteen days the most extreme of challenges will be taking place, eliminating one contestant at a time.

As someone who enjoys shows like Big Brother, Survivor, The Challenge, and similar shows, I was definitely drawn to this latest book by Heather Gudenkauf. This compelling story had me gripped from the very first page and kept me tapping my Kindle without letup until I got to the very last page.

Many thanks to Park Row and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
One

The Best Friend

Maire Hennessy squinted against the bright October sun as she drove down the quiet Iowa county road. The fields were filled with the stubbled remains of the fall harvest and stripped bare by heavy-billed grackles and beady-eyed blackbirds eating their fill before the cold weather set in. It made her a little sad. Winter would be coming soon, unrelenting and unforgiving.

That morning, she had packed up her girls and Kryngle, their four-year-old Shetland sheepdog, to drop them off at her former mother-in-law’s home. Maire, who hadn’t traveled more than a hundred miles away from Calico since she abruptly dropped out of college over twenty years earlier, was embarking on an adventure that could change the course of their lives forever. Ten-year-old Dani kicked the back of Maire’s seat in time to the throbbing beat coming from her older sister Keely’s ear­buds. Keely, a twelve-year-old carbon copy of Maire, had the hood of her sweatshirt pulled up over her head, her red curls springing out around her sullen face, as she silently pretended to read her book.

Maire tapped her fingers nervously against the steering wheel. “You’re going to be just fine,” she said, turning onto the highway that would take her children to her ex-mother-in-law’s home. Shar was a decent enough person. Except for the fact that she smoked like a chimney and gave birth to a shit of a son, Maire knew she would take good care of the girls while she was away.

“I don’t want to go,” Dani murmured. “I like my own bed. Grandma’s house feels weird.”

Both Dani and Keely dreaded the two weeks that they were going to stay with their grandmother, a bland, unexcitable woman with steel gray hair and stooped shoulders. There would be no movie nights, no special outings, no grand adventures, but they would be well-cared for, safe. And that’s all that Maire wanted.

“I thought you liked Grandma Hennessy,” Maire said. “You’ll make cookies and she’s going to teach you both how to crochet. You’ll have a great time.”

“Why are you going to be gone for so long?” Dani asked, staring at Maire through the rearview mirror, her eyes filled with hurt. A wet cough rumbled through her chest and she buried her mouth in her elbow.

That familiar cloud of worry that materialized every time Dani had a coughing fit settled over Maire.

“It’s only for two weeks and it’s not that I don’t want to see you,” she said. “You know that. I would be with you every single day if I could. It’s kind of a work thing and I can’t pass up the opportunity.”

“You work from home,” Keely said, briefly pulling out an earbud.

Maire didn’t mind lying to Shar but lying to her children was different. She had the chance of a lifetime and in a way, it was work related. Money was involved. Lots of it.

“It’s like a contest,” Maire explained. “And if I win, well, that would be nice. And even if I don’t, a lot of people will learn about my Calico Rose jewelry and might want to sell it.”

“Like Claire’s in the mall?” Dani asked.

“Yes, Claire’s, Target, who knows?” The lies slid so easily off her tongue now. Dani’s kicks to the back of Maire’s seat slowed as she mulled this over.

“I’m sorry,” Maire said. “I know it’s hard.” Her voice broke on the last word. Hard wasn’t anywhere close to how things had been for the last year. Terrifying, humiliating, devastating, soul-crushing were more like it.

Bobby had never been much of a husband or father, but his health insurance had been a lifeline for Dani. When he lost his job at a local grain elevator and then took off with the nine­teen-year-old waitress from the Sunshine CafĂ©, gone was the health insurance and any hope of child support. When the first $3,000 notice for Dani’s nebulizer treatments came in, Maire ran to the bathroom and vomited. It was impossible. Too much.

Between the implosion of her marriage, the impact it had on the kids, her bank account that was dangerously low, the unpaid medical bills, the jewelry she made for her Etsy shop, and the search for a job that provided decent health insurance, Maire was exhausted.

Things couldn’t go on this way. “It will get better,” she promised.

Maire glanced over at Keely and caught her accusatory glare. Out of all of them, the divorce hit Keely the hardest. Despite his drawbacks, Keely was a daddy’s girl, and she was suffering in his absence.

The worry never ended. At the top of the list was Dani’s health. Her cystic fibrosis was stable for the moment, but she was fragile. Her last infection required a two-week hospital stay, a PICC line with multiple antibiotic infusions, therapies, and nebulizer treatments. It was so much that Maire had to put together a binder for Shar filled with in-depth directions for Dani’s care, and she hoped she wasn’t making a huge mistake by leaving. A lung infection that may be mild for most children could be deadly for Dani. And poor Keely. Quiet, shy Keely was getting lost in the shuffle, becoming more removed, iso­lated from them. Another thing to worry about.

A month ago, when she got the email about the show, she al­most deleted it. Maire had been online, scanning articles about the newest cystic fibrosis research, when she heard the ping. Grateful for an excuse to tear her eyes away from the words like Fibrinogen-like 2 proteins and cryogenic electron microscopy, she tapped the email icon on her phone.

CONGRATULATIONS—YOU’VE BEEN NOMINATED, the subject line called out to her. She scanned the rest of the email. Trip of a lifetime, groundbreaking new reality show, $10 million. Scam, Maire thought and went back to reading about clinical trials and RNA therapy. But an hour later, she was still thinking about the $10 million. She opened the email again to read it more closely.

Congratulations, you’ve been nominated to take part in the groundbreaking new reality competition show One Lucky Win­ner! Set in the heart of wine country, you, along with the other contestants, will battle for $10 million through a series of chal­lenges that will test you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Competitors will spend fourteen days at the exclusive Diletta Resort and Spa in beautiful Napa Valley. When not competing, spend your time in your lavishly appointed private cottage, swim­ming laps in the 130-foot pool, or head to the spa for our one-of-a-kind vinotherapy-based treatments—massages, wraps, and scrubs made from grapes grown in the La Bella Luce vineyard. As a special treat, each contestant will receive a case of Bella Luce’s world-famous cabernet sauvignon with an exclusively de­signed label just for you!

Maire snorted. It had to be a joke. A rip-off. She closed the email, even sent it to her trash folder, but an hour later, she pulled it up again. Ten million dollars. Maire was one month away from not being able to pay the mortgage on the house, from not being able to make the car payment, from not being able to put money in the kids’ school lunch accounts, from not being able to pay for one dose of Dani’s medication.

She should probably should just sell the house, take the loss, start over, but this was her home, the kids’ home. There was no way she was giving it up without a fight. She didn’t need anywhere near $10 million to save the house, but that is what it was worth to her, and that kind of money would change her life, all their lives.

Who would have nominated her? And how did that actu­ally work? Hey, I know of someone who could use $10 million. The entire thing had to be fake. The email was signed by someone named Fern Espa, whose title read Production Assistant, One Lucky Winner.

Anyone could send an email. Maire trashed the message again.

Then, over the next three days, the car started leaking oil, Kryngle ate a sock and had to have emergency surgery, and Da­ni’s hospital bill came in. Her credit cards were maxed out and she’d given up on any help from her ex. Maire needed money, fast. Burying her humiliation, she called her parents and asked for a loan. It wasn’t nearly enough.

Maire hung up and went to the garage, sitting in her leaky car so that the kids wouldn’t hear her crying.

Maybe this was the email she was waiting for. The sign she needed to finally take control of her life. Maire wasn’t a fool though. She did her due diligence. While sitting in the wait­ing room at the vet’s office, she looked up One Lucky Winner and found a website and an IMDB entry—both short on de­tails—but it clearly was a real show. She searched for the name Fern Espa and found a LinkedIn entry that looked legit. And the Diletta Resort looked amazing.

And now, under the guise of a work trip, here she was, drop­ping her kids off at her mother-in-law’s house for two weeks, hopping on a plane to Napa to take part in some Survivor-type reality show for the off chance she might win $10 million. It was ridiculous, over the top, maybe even irresponsible, but it ignited a spark of hope that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

“You’ll be okay,” Maire said to the kids as she turned onto the cracked concrete of Shar’s street. Shar was waiting for them, standing on her rickety front porch, a cigarette dangling from her knobby fingers. With hail-pocked, dirty white aluminum siding and a crabgrass-choked yard in need of mowing, the home her ex-husband grew up in was grim and depressing. But her mother-in-law was a sweet woman who loved her grand­children. Maire scanned the street. Every house was in the same state of disarray and neglect. A jolt of fear shot through her. If she didn’t turn things around, they would end up living in a place like this, or worse.

Jesus, Maire thought. I’m making a huge mistake. She fought the urge to drive right on by. Instead, she gave the girls her bravest smile. “It’s okay. We’re all going to be okay.”

Ten million dollars would make everything okay.

Excerpted from Everyone Is Watching by Heather Gudenkauf. Copyright © 2024 by Heather Gudenkauf. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Heather Gudenkauf is the critically acclaimed author of several novels, including the New York Times bestseller The Weight of Silence. She lives in Iowa with her husband and children.

Social Links:
Author Website
Instagram: @heathergudenkauf
Twitter: @hgudenkauf
Facebook: @HeatherGudenkaufAuthor
Goodreads

Review - His Unexpected Grandchild

Title:  His Unexpected Grandchild
Author Myra Johnson
Publisher:  Love Inspired
Genre:   Inspirational Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   226
Date of Publication:   March 26, 2024
My Rating:   5 Stars
DESCRIPTION: 

This toddler will steal his heart...

Just in time to open it…

The last thing Lane Bromley wants is to leave his remote mountain cabin. But when his struggling daughter shows up with a grandson he didn’t know he had, Lane’s search for the boy’s father leads him to the other surprise grandparent: veterinarian Julia Frasier. They can’t seem to agree on anything, but maybe they can find common ground long enough to create a loving environment for their grandchild…and each other.

From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.


MY THOUGHTS:

Lane Bromley was doing just fine living off the grid in his mountain cabin. His distressed daughter Shannon shows up and she is in a bad way, and leaves her toddler son with him. Lane is instantly attached to baby Tate. He hadn't seen his daughter in quite awhile and is caught by surprise. But he wants her to get the mental health treatment that she needs, and Lane knows that he has to do the best that he can do for Tate. This begins with finding Tate's other family, and that leads him to Julia Frazier, Tate's grandmother. Julie is the town's veterinarian and had no idea that the son she lost, Steven, is the father of the infant.

Lane and Julia find themselves at odds almost from the moment that they meet. For one thing, Lane is very worried about Shannon, and Julia is still saddened by the loss of her son, and is shocked to learn that he had married and had a child. But, putting those worries aside, Julia is not too enamored by the reclusive lifestyle that Lane leads and she wants to be the one who cares for Tate.

Tate and his care comes first to both Lane and Julia, even if they are at odds. However, there is the undeniable fact that sparks are there for the both of them. As this is an inspirational romance, the story was very sweet, with reminders of putting the important matters into the hand of a higher power, something that both Lane and Julia had in common. As delightful as this story was with Lane and Julia as protagonists, baby Tate was utterly adorable. But there was also the loyal and loving rescue dog Rowena. His Unexpected Grandchild was a warm and wonderful story and is definitely deserving of five stars.

Many thanks to Love Inspired 
and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

As a writer and a Christian, I love the fact that Jesus told stories, too—reminds me that I’m in very good company! Almost from the time I could wield a pencil, I dreamed of becoming a writer.  The first story I ever wrote was probably in first or second grade, and I think it was about an enchanted prince. Making up stories has been second nature to me for as long as I can remember. A select group of trusted friends back at dear old Mission High waited eagerly for the next installment of my “Great American Spy Novel” (think Man from Uncle) and my “All-American Teen Novel” (remember Gidget and Tammy?). I even had a private notebook of angst-ridden poetry a la Rod McKuen.

The dream of writing persisted into adulthood, although it often remained on the back burner while I attended to home and family and several “real” (read paying) jobs along the way. Then in 1983, while recovering from sinus surgery, I came upon one of those magazine ads for the Institute of Children’s Literature. I knew it was time to get serious, and the next thing I knew, I’d enrolled in the “Writing for Children and Teenagers” course. Within a year or so I sold my first story, which appeared in the Christian publication Alive! for Young Teens. For many years I enjoyed success writing stories and articles for middle-graders and young adults. I even taught for ICL for 9 years.

Then my girls grew up, and there went my live-in inspiration. Time to switch gears. I began my first women’s fiction manuscript, joined local and national writers groups, and started attending writers conferences.

So here I am today, still on this crazy roller-coaster ride. Still writing. Still hopeful. Writing, I’m learning, is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. My current projects are primarily women’s fiction and romance . . . novels of hope, love, and encouragement. Novels about real people living out their faith and finding love in the midst of everyday, and sometimes not so everyday, situations.

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Review - Baby Protection Mission

Title:   Baby Protection Mission
Author:  Laura Scott
Series:   Mounty Country K-9 Unit, 1
Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   208
Date of Publication:   March 26, 2024
My Rating:   5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

When a baby is targeted,

can a K-9 team keep him safe?

When his sister is kidnapped, rancher Cade McNeal will do anything to prevent his baby nephew from being next. Now Officer Ashley Hanson and her K-9 partner are on the case, and it’s up to them to track down the assailant and keep Cade and his nephew from harm. But as the suspect list grows and the attacks escalate, will they bring a kidnapper to justice…before he strikes again?

From Love Inspired Courage. Danger. Faith.

Mountain Country K-9 Unit

Book 1: Baby Protection Mission by Laura Scott
Book 2: Her Duty Bound Defender by Sharee Stover
Book 3: Chasing Justice by Valerie Hansen
Book 4: Crime Scene Secrets by Maggie K. Black
Book 5: Montana Abduction Rescue by Jodie Bailey


MY THOUGHTS:

Cade McNeal is giving his sister Melissa a bit of a break. He has his nephew Danny with him when he is suddenly grabbed by a man whose intent is to grab Danny. A shout, Stop! Police! foils his attempt and before he can do anything about it, the man grabs Melissa and shoves her into a van. The woman who shouted was dressed in plain clothes and was accompanied by a dog. As it turns out, Rookie K-9 officer Ashley Hanson stopped the man from grabbing Danny, which was actually his intent. She is accompanied by her K-9 partner, Ozzy. Ashley is new in town and has just been added to a multiagency task force with hopes of tracking and catching a serial killer.

As a rookie officer, Ashley is excited that she will be a part of the task force, but with the sudden kidnapping of Melissa, Ashley is immediately reassigned. Her new boss insists it is because she was a witness to the kidnapping, and also due to the fact that her partner Ozzy is excellent when it comes to tracking.

The serial murder case is a big deal, and Ashley excitement from becoming a part of the task force was clearly short-lived and now she feels stuck. Guarding over Cade and Danny, and searching for Melissa, well this is not what Ashley had in mind. Quite naturally, Ashley wants to quickly reunite Danny with his mother, but that task force was important to her.

This warm and engaging story has Cade and Ashley as excellent characters, characters who sense an immediate connection, despite what is going on. Ozzy steals many scenes throughout, and if you like dogs, you will love Ozzy. The romance was sweet and the intrigue and action went a long way in making this first book in the Mountain Country K-9 series a compelling read, and I do hope I get to read the other four books in the series.

Many thanks to Love Inspired Suspense and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Scott is honored to write for the Love Inspired Suspense line, where a reader can find a heartwarming journey of faith amid the thrilling danger. She lives with her husband of twenty-five years and has two children, a daughte
r and a son, who are both in college. She works as a critical-care nurse during the day at a large level-one trauma center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spends her spare time writing romance. Visit Laura at www.laurascottbooks.com

Sunday, March 24, 2024

WEEKLY WRAPUP #6

 


The Sunday Post is a blog news meme that is posted here by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It is a chance to share news~A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received.  Share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. Join in weekly, bi-weekly or for a monthly wrap up.  See rules here:  Sunday Post Meme. I am also linking up with Deb @ The Sunday Salon.



*HOW WAS MY WEEK*


This week started of so-so for me. Sick mostly since Sunday, with a fibromyalgia flare, I decided not to let it truly get me down. So I was able to read one book on Sunday and two on Monday and having to be in bed, I thought I might as well write up a few book reviews and then I got four approvals on NetGalley so I really want to get all of those books read as well as what I already had in my TBR.

*LAST WEEK ON MY BLOG*


The Love Remedy by Elizabeth Everett
Then She's Gone by Willow Rose 
Sea Glass Summer by Rachel Hanna
Beneath Dark Waters by Karen Rose
Good Half Gone by Tarryn Fisher
A Midnight Puzzle by Gigi Pandian
A Grave Robbery by Deanna Raybourn

*WHAT’S ON MY CURRENTLY READING SHELF?*

ALL OF THESE BOOK COVERS ARE DIRECTLY LINKED TO GOODREADS:


Going to leave this space blank for this week because I have no idea how I will do during and after back surgery. If I can make a my next week's post, I will of course include any books that I get read during the week.

*NEW ARRIVALS/APPROVALS*

ALL OF THESE BOOK COVERS ARE DIRECTLY LINKED TO GOODREADS:







The books below were all widgets





 

*LAST WEEK’S READS*




*MARCH 2024 READS*



*FINAL THOUGHTS*


Well, it was a topsy-turvy week, but I feel accomplished. Although I still have some book reviews to write, I think I got a lot done over the course of the week. We have a special religious meeting today, so I have been doing extra Bible reading daily. Also, I began my first 2000 piece puzzle and it is going well. Spine surgery is tomorrow, and I am really trying not to be too anxious about it. Depending on how I do, I have plenty of reading to keep me quite busy. Happy reading everyone!