Book Tour: Just Being Ted

  • Publisher: Buster Books
  • Publication Date: May 13, 2021
  • Author: Lisa Sheehan
  • Genre: Children’s Fiction
  • Page Count: 32

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Welcome to the June 6th stop which is the final stop on this book tour. Please be sure to visit the other tours that are occurring today to get the full flavor of this book. Many thanks to Kelly Lacy of LoveBooksTours for organizing the tour.

Blurb 

Ted the dragon lives all alone in a big house, deep in the woods. He LOVES making things, spending his days baking cakes, painting pictures and creating costumes. There’s just one problem: he doesn’t have anyone to share his amazing creations with. Ted tries so hard to make friends with the other animals, but there’s something about his fiery breath and fearsome-looking claws that keeps putting them off. One day Ted notices a sign for a summer picnic party in the forest. The only trouble is that it’s for BEARS ONLY. Perhaps if he dresses up as a bear for the day they’ll let him in and he’ll make lots of new friends. What could possibly go wrong? Just Being Ted is a sweet, heart-warming story about the importance of being yourself and being accepted for who you are.


Review

Ted is an artistic dragon that loves to create things — from cakes, to painting pictures, and designing costumes. But Ted is lonely because he doesn’t have any friends to share things with. Ted tries his best to make friends, but all the other forest animals are afraid of him. That’s because Ted is different.

Maybe if Ted were like the other forest animals, he would have lots of friends. And so Ted designs a bear costume to wear to a “bears only” party in the hopes that he’ll be accepted and befriended by everyone at the party. But will that be the case? Why can’t everyone accept him for who he is?

Just Being Ted is a wonderful tale that also has a few life lessons for the young ones. Lessons that stress the importance of accepting those that are different and that one should treat others the same as how they would want to be treated.

With adorable illustrations, Just Being Ted is the perfect family-time read for pre-schoolers and kindergarteners.

I received a digital copy of the book from Love Books Tours. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


About the Author

Lisa Sheehan is an illustrator, graphic designer and all-round image maker. Graduating from Kingston University with a degree in graphic design, Lisa went on to become an art director for the Financial Times, before embarking on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art. Since graduating she has illustrated two picture books: The Find It Book by Margaret Wise Brown, which was shortlisted for the AOI awards, and Lionel and the Lion’s Share with Lou Peacock. Just Being Ted is the first title Lisa has both written and illustrated. The idea came from a teddy bears’ picnic at her daughter’s school, at which only teddy bears were allowed. Lisa thought this was very unfair on any other stuffed animals that wanted to attend, too, and the idea for Ted was born.


Get the book here

ARC Review: Norman’s First Day at Dino Day Care

  • Publisher: NorthSouth Books
  • Publication Date: July 6, 2021
  • Author: Sean Julian
  • Genre: Children’s Fiction
  • Page Count: 32

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Description

Have courage, little dinosaur!

It’s Norman’s first day at Dino Day Care. Who wouldn’t be nervous? First, Norman does what he does best: he makes himself invisible. But eventually he manages to find his courage—with a little help from a new friend and just a hint of magic.

Sean Julian playfully reminds us that it’s okay to be shy. Everybody is different—and that’s a good thing. Perfect for kindergartens!


Review

The first day of pre-school can be a scary thing for some youngsters. The book, Norman’s First Day at Dino Day Care may allay those fears.

Norman is a very shy dinosaur. So shy that he has become very good at hiding. Behind rocks, in trees, and anywhere else he pleases. Until one day he meets Jake who shares the same fears. Together, Norman and Jake learn to conquer their fears and find out that meeting new people and learning new things isn’t so scary after all.

I really enjoyed Norman’s First Day at Dino Day Care. The illustrations are so adorable, with colorful and cute dinosaurs.. The storyline is simple but the message that it conveys is so important for children — that meeting new people and learning new things can be fun and that it doesn’t hurt to try. A delightful book that every parent with pre-schoolers should have. Five lovable stars.

I received a digital ARC from NorthSouth Books through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Book Tour: Widow’s Island

Welcome to the June 6th stop of the Widow’s Island book tour. Many thanks to Noelle Holten of Bookouture for organizing this event. Please be sure to check out the buy links below if you are interested in purchasing this book.

  • Publication Day: June 3, 2021
  • Publisher: Bookouture
  • Author: L. A. Larkin
  • Genre: Mystery & Thriller
  • Page Count: 369

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Description: 

Someone knows your secret. And they’re coming to find you…

Stephanie Miller is an average working mom. She isn’t perfect, but when her war hero husband dies and her work as a scientist puts her in news headlines, her past laid bare for all to see, she’s determined to make a new life for herself and teenage daughter, Amy. But she fears it’s only a matter of time before the biggest mistake of her life is revealed.

As Stephanie and Amy take refuge on a remote island in Washington, it feels like they’re learning how to live again. But then they come home to graffiti on their garage door, there’s no escaping the hate online, and Stephanie is sure someone is watching from the shadows outside their house.

When someone close to Stephanie is murdered in cold blood, she knows her worst fears have come true. Someone knows the truth. And she must become the fighter her husband always knew her to be if she is to protect her daughter, and everything left in the world that she loves.

An absolutely nail-biting thriller from bestselling author, L.A. Larkin. Perfect for fans of Rachel Caine, Lisa Regan and Gregg Olsen. An addictive, unputdownable, up-all-night read.


My Review:

Wanting a fresh start, climate scientist Stephanie Miller and her daughter Amy move to a secluded house on Whisper Island. Hoping to forget the painful memories of her late husband’s passing, Stephanie accepts a teaching position at the University of Washington. Being a high profile climate scientist, Stephanie has also been contracted by the government to provide testimony on her climate change studies.

Seemingly off to a good start, Stephanie is startled when she receives a threatening social media post from a stranger. Things then start to escalate and before she knows it, Stephanie’s reputation and credibility are ruined; and her life as well as her daughter’s life are in peril.

Widow’s Island is a complicated tale combining the elements of cyberbullying, climate change, and serial murders into a suspenseful novel. However, I felt that the climate change element was a little out of place, and that the elements of cyberbullying together with the serial murders could stand on its own.

The characters in the novel are developed enough to get a flavor of their personalities, but not fleshed out enough to hate or like anyone in particular.

As for a the storyline, it was easy to follow and I liked how the chapters followed a timeline. There were enough twists built in to keep the reader in suspense until the end.

Overall, Widow’s Island is a decent read. I probably expected a lot more and perhaps the climate change angle didn’t do much to help. Three likable stars.

I received a digital ARC of the book from Bookouture through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


About the Author

L.A. Larkin is a crime-thriller author, published by Bookouture. Her latest novel, Widow’s Island, is now available for pre-order and is described as “an absolutely nail-biting crime thriller with a heart-pounding twist.”
She is also the author of Prey, Devour, Thirst, and The Genesis Flaw and she writes a funny dog detective mysteries under the pseudonym of Louisa Bennet.

Lee Child described Widow’s Island as, “Fast and immersive – a really fine thriller”
C.J. Carver described Widow’s Island as, “Dark and menacing, Larkin’s characters are heart-wrenchingly real”
Peter James, “Intrigue in spades”
Marie Claire, “‘Written with pacy cinematic style, this chiller thriller will reel you in” (Thirst)
Good Housekeeping, “Brilliant!” (Devour)
James Phelan, “‘L.A. Larkin is a world-class thriller writer”
Literature Works, “Exciting, original and utterly captivating” (Devour)
Bookseller + Publisher, “Exciting, compulsive reading” (The Genesis Flaw)


Author Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LALarkinAuthor

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/lalarkinauthor

Website:     https://lalarkin.com/

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/B08Z3WJGWPsocial

Apple: http://ow.ly/7YhP50E0DhN  

Kobo: http://ow.ly/FF9u50E0Tmm

Google: http://ow.ly/YrRi50E0Tns


Book Review: The Red Button

  • Publisher: This is Red
  • Publication Date: October 21, 2020
  • Author: Keith Eldred
  • Genre: Regency Romance
  • Page Count: 250

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Description and My Review

“Nothing is enough. All of your hope is in gain. Not in me, not in our family.” So ends the romance between Ebenezer Scrooge and Belle Endicott.

But it wasn’t like that in the beginning. Before Scrooge became enamored with “owning a block of shops and straddling all of London;” and before he partnered with Jacob Marley, Ebenezer was a thoughtful and sensitive man. Belle adored him and delighted in his mind and spirit then.

As time wore on, Ebenezer evolved into a man full of ambition. Empathy was lost in him, and the coin and gold became his passionate focus. Sadly, there was no turning back.

The Red Button is a prequel to A Christmas Carol and it tells the tale of Ebenezer’s first love and how Ebenezer’s aspirations and toxic partnership with Jacob Marley led to the demise of his engagement with Belle, and the eventual transformation of Ebenezer into a soulless miser.

An excellent complement to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the reader gets to learn the background and history of Scrooge, his love life, and his pernicious relationship with Jacob Marley.

Although considered a regency romance novel, it is more than that because it also blends elements from the industrial age when manufacturing started to become mechanized.

Overall, a magical read that is sure to please fans of A Christmas Carol. Five charming stars.


Book Review: Rico Stays

  • Publisher: Terminal Velocity
  • Publication Date: September 11, 2020
  • Author: Ed Duncan
  • Genre: Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Page Count: 183

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Description and My Review

Richard (Rico) Sanders, a hitman for hire, is yet again embroiled in a nasty feud. This time, it’s with Larry Cosgrove, the nephew of a big time crime boss.

It all started with an accident. A young boy playing baseball in the streets runs into Larry, a two-bit thug with a raging temper. The run in causes Larry to drop his packaged liquor purchases, thus fueling Larry’s uncontrollable anger.

Rico’s girlfriend attempts to intervene, but the fracas has already escalated into a showdown. And Rico has no choice but to take down Larry’s minions. Which leaves three men dead, Rico fighting for his own life, and Larry on the run.

Rico Stays is the last installment of the Pigeon Blood Red trilogy. It is a short novel, but packed with a lot of action. Some readers have stated that each novel could be read as a stand alone. However, I feel that to truly get the flavor of the series, it is best to read all of them in order.

The primary characters in the novel remain unchanged and there are enough new characters to make the plot interesting.

There aren’t too many twists in this novel, but there are enough to keep the reader engaged.

Overall, an excellent end to the trilogy. Full of action and it manages to recoup that “Soprano-like” feel that went missing in the second installment. Five engaging stars.

I received a physical copy of the book from author, Ed Duncan through Book Publicity Services. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Book Review: Marty 2 Missing Hero

  • Publisher: S. A. Publishing
  • Publication Date: April 26, 2021
  • Author: E. W. Choate, Jr.
  • Genre: Children’s Fiction
  • Page Count: 139

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Description and My Review

Marty 2 takes off where the first Marty book left off. In the first installment, Marty and her friend Ruzo managed to aide in the defeat of the Blue Witch and rescue the royal family from General Turk and the Lutebeast army. In celebration of their rescue, the King hosts a gathering for everyone. All seemed good until Marty notices Ruzo arguing with a robed stranger. Then suddenly Ruzo is gone and is nowhere to be found.

The hunt for Ruzo begins in earnest in the second book and detective Sherman is tasked with investigating the clues left behind by the mysterious stranger. As evidence is gathered, detective Sherman becomes convinced that it was the queen of Blue Witches that kidnapped Ruzo.

Learning of Ruzo’s capture, the King gathers his group of knights and leads the troop on a quest to rescue Ruzo and defeat the queen of the Blue Witches along with the rest of her coven.

Marty 2 is a fun read with little tidbits of science, humor and sage advice built in. Topics of buoyancy, gravity, and displacement are introduced which made for an interesting read. Wise advice are also included such as “Questions are never stupid when you don’t know the answer.”

There are a lot of things to like about Marty 2. But there was one drawback which is prevalent in most serial books — the cliffhanger ending. While some readers enjoy that type of plot, it’s not one of my favorites. Granted, Marty 1 contained a cliffhanger, but I didn’t mind it at the time thinking that Marty 2 would be the end of it. But now that Marty 2 contains another cliffhanger, it was a bit of a disappointment.

Overall, Marty 2 turned out to be a marvelous read (except for the cliffhanger.) It is a perfect book for middle grade readers, ages 8 – 12. Four stars.

I received a digital book from BooksGoSocial through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Book Review: The Last Straw

  • Publisher: Independently Published
  • Publication Date: December 2, 2017
  • Author: Ed Duncan
  • Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
  • Page Count: 227

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Description and Review

It all started with a car-jacking gone horribly wrong. Jeffrey Phillips, an impressionable teen caved in to peer pressure when he is tasked to conduct a car jacking — standard stuff as a loyalty test. However, not being prepared for the worst, Jeffrey is caught up in a scuffle with the driver and the driver is killed by a gunshot from Jeffrey.

Sandra Yanders was there when everything happened. She witnessed the entire ordeal and has a solid testimony.

However, crime boss Howard Forester is not having any of Sandra’s testimony revealed and is determined to eliminate her at all costs. Heaven only knows why. Howard reaches out to Rico Sanders, a trusted hit man, to take on the job. Rico refuses leaving Howard to hire John D’Angelo. D’Angelo could give a “rat’s ass” about the teen as long as the money was good. And if Rico didn’t take the job, D’Angelo was certainly not going to pass on the opportunity to show up Rico.

The Last Straw is the second installment of the Pigeon Blood Red trilogy; and I highly recommend that one reads the series in order. Primarily because the main characters are introduced and developed in the first novel. The second novel builds upon the first as there are a number of references to Rico’s past and how that past affects him in the present.

I didn’t quite enjoy The Last Straw as much as I did Pigeon Blood Red. Perhaps it is because the novelty of that “Soprano-like” feel wasn’t as strong. Or perhaps the narrative didn’t seem that feasible. Some of the decisions made by the actors felt a little far-fetched in my opinion, but The Last Straw was still an enjoyable read. I am still looking forward to reading the last installment of this trilogy. Four admirable stars.

I received a physical copy of the book from Ed Duncan (author) through Book Publicity Services. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Book Review: The Summer Cottage

  • Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
  • Publication Date: May 25, 2021
  • Genre: Romance
  • Author: Annie Rains
  • Page Count: 423

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Description and My Review

Trisha Langly and her son Petey moved to Somerset Lake to get a fresh start. Trisha wanted to detach herself from her former town. A town that left her with only bad memories. At least at Somerset Lake, no one knew of her past and no one would bully her son, Petey.

There at Somerset Lake, Trisha is the property manager and a recent hire by Vi Fletcher, the owner of the Somerset Rental Cottages. In exchange for lodging and a small wage, Trisha has the responsibility for managing the rentals, maintenance, and cleanup of the property and cottages. A great deal until Vi’s grandson, Jake Fletcher makes an appearance. Jake, a lawyer by profession, is there to convince Vi to sell and move to Florida where her family can take care of her. After all, Vi’s properties are in disrepair and deep in the red.

Wary of her predicament, Trisha is guarded in her conduct and conversations with Jake. Because basically, Jake is there to take away any chance for Trisha to start anew. Somewhere in her heart, however, Trisha senses that Jake isn’t as ruthless as he seems. A stir in her chest leaves Trisha with wanting to see more of Jake and to make sense of what she’s feeling.

The Summer Cottage is the first novel in the Somerset Lake series. It has all the charm that a reader would want in a cozy romance — the lakeside setting, a nearby forest, cute beachfront cottages, and a town full of an array of characters.

Both the primary and secondary characters are developed well enough that the reader will literally be able to visualize each character and understand their motives and personalities. You’ll fall in love with some and loathe some others.

The plot is well executed and easily followed. There are enough twists, however, to keep the reader engaged through the entire novel.

Overall, The Summer Cottage is a delightful romance with inviting characters and an endearing storyline worthy of the top shelf in your TBR cart. Five sweet stars.

I received an early copy of the book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing.) The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


ARC Review: Ace of Spades

  • Publisher: Feiwel Friends
  • Publication Date: June 1, 2021
  • Genre: Teens & Young Adult
  • Author: Farida Àbíké-Íyímídé
  • Page Count: 432

Description and Review

Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo are entering their senior year of high school at Niveus Private Academy. It is a huge milestone for them, especially since they were selected to be senior prefects. Senior prefects are the elite of the Academy. A senior prefect is a prestigious position as it opens doors to college scholarships and acceptance into Ivy League universities. The senior prefect position is Devon’s and Chiamaka’s crowning achievement, especially since they are the only two black students at the Academy.

But being a prefect is not all sunshine and roses. A cyberbully that goes by the handle of Aces begins to harass Devon and Chiamaka by distributing compromising photos and texts to the other students at the Academy. Humiliated and stressed almost to their breaking point, Devon and Chiamaka take it upon themselves to uncover and expose the real identity of Aces in hopes that their reputations are restored.

Ace of Spades is a suspenseful Young Adult novel. There are, however, some aspects that may not appeal to some readers. These aspects include LGBTQ, attempted suicide, abuse, and racism themes. Just a reader beware that the novel contains some controversial issues.

The main characters of Devon and Chiamaka are well developed Each of them have a unique personality, with clear motives. The reader gets to be immersed in each character’s thoughts, and emotions. Their individual points of view certainly made for a smooth narrative.

The plot itself was a little slow and somehow Devon’s and Chiamaka’s decisions seemed far fetched. However, their decisions did make for an entertaining and suspenseful read.

Overall, those readers not averse to the controversial issues mentioned above will find Ace of Spades a fabulous read. Four satisfying stars for me.

I received a digital ARC from Feiwel Friends through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Weekly Recipe Wednesday: Dutch Beef Stew (Hachee)

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Recipe Wednesday where I share a dish from a mention in a book that I’ve read and reviewed here on my blog. Today’s recipe is from the book, The Inn at Tansy Falls. Many thanks for The Daring Gourmet for having this recipe available. Please do check their website for other delectable treats.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef, cubed in ½ in. pieces, blotted dry with paper towel, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds yellow onions (about 4 large), finely chopped
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups good quality beef stock
  • 3 large bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 juniper berries (look in health food stores or order online)
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides, working in batches so as not to overcrowd. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Leave the browned bits in the pan (important for flavor).
  2. Add the onions and some more butter if needed and cook until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the flour and stir until combined. Add the beef to the onions, stir to combine, and cover with the beef stock just until covered. Add the seasonings and red wine vinegar, stir to combine.
  3. Increase the heat and bring the stew to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2½ hours. Uncover and simmer for another 30 minutes to further thicken the stew. Add salt, pepper and more red wine vinegar to taste. Discard the juniper berries, cloves, and bay leaves. Leave in or discard the peppercorns.
  4. Serve with mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage.

Happy Publication Day!: Allied

About the Book

The sequel to Hunted is upon us…

Six weeks after Edith and her vampire family were exiled from their clan, Darren waits at the rendezvous, poised for a reunion that might never come. With every passing day, his hope of ever seeing the vampire who showed him what it means to be human again dwindles.

On the run from Hunters and her own clan alike, Edith strives to protect those in her care, all the while fighting to get back to Darren and the family she’d long dreamed of. But even when their paths do cross again, reunion comes at a cost.

When Mr. Heartsong brazenly declares war on all humanity, allegiances will be tested. Will Edith side with the man she’s come to believe may be her destiny or the creator who gave her a second chance at life?


Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling Authors Sarah Biglow and Molly Zenk are the authors of the Captivity series and the Celestial Academy series. Independently, they write across multi genres including: YA, urban fantasy, historical, and cozy mystery. Sarah lives in Boston with her husband and son. Molly lives in Denver with her husband and three daughters. 

Follow them on Facebook: @SarahBiglowAuthor @AuthorMollyZenk


Buy Link:

ARC Review: Matters of Doubt

  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
  • Publication Date: May 18, 2021
  • Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
  • Author: Warren C. Easley
  • Page Count: 336

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Description (Goodreads)

Cal Claxton is determined to reinvent himself as a small town lawyer in the aftermath of his wife’s suicide. Once a hard-charging L.A. prosecutor, he now lives in his Aerie–an old farmhouse overlooking the Oregon wine country. When a scruffy, tattooed kid shows up asking for help in solving his mother’s cold case murder, Cal wants to say no. But the kid, who calls himself Picasso, has ridden a bike from Portland, and something about his determination touches Cal.

It turns out that Picasso is a gifted artist and one of the legion of street kids who are drawn to Portland’s Old Town. Cal accepts Picasso as a client, but things quickly turn ugly when Picasso is charged with the murder of his mother’s former boyfriend, a major business figure. Suddenly Cal finds himself back in the game, pitted against the police, the media, a right-wing shock jock, a Russian cage fighter, and some of Portland’s most powerful citizens–upstanding and lowdown.


My Review

Calvin (Cal) Claxton is a retired LA prosecutor who has relocated to Oregon to get away from his rat race of a career. Now settled in Dundee, Cal sets up shop – a one-man law practice.

Struggling to make a go with his practice, Cal is approached one day by Danny (Picasso) Baxter, a homeless teen who wants Cal to investigate the murder of his mother, Nicole Baxter.

Not wanting to get involved in a “charity” case, Cal initially turns Picasso down only to end up feeling guilty about his refusal to help the teen. As a result, Cal changes his mind and takes on the investigation only to discover that he might have taken on more than he bargained for.

Matters of Doubt was an exciting novel and the story is told in the first person by the lead protagonist — a straight shooter with a soft spot. The other characters in the novel are colorful and interesting. Some characters were amusing, and others suspicious.

The plot is a little complex in that there are several storylines going on simultaneously. Eventually, those stories blended together for a surprising conclusion.

Overall, Matters of Doubt is an excellent startup novel for a series that I am sure I won’t want to miss. Five surprising stars.

I received a digital ARC from Poisoned Pen Press through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Book Review: Letters A to Z

  • Publisher: Encantos Media Studios
  • Publication Date: May 4, 2021
  • Genre: Children’s Non Fiction
  • Author: Susie Jaramillo
  • Page Count: 58

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Description (Goodreads)

Bring every letter to life and increase your child’s vocabulary in both English and Spanish. Complete with beautiful illustrations, this book is a great way to make learning and spelling with your child special and unique in not one, but two languages.


Review

I just love children’s books that have cute illustrations. And when those illustrations are combined with some educational or life lessons, it is the best of all worlds.

Letters A to Z has everything a parent would want in an alphabet picture book. Adorable illustrations (cuteness to the nth power,) grace each page and both capital and lower case letters are shown. What really sets this alphabet book apart from the others, however, is the addition of Spanish words for each alphabet.

Letters A to Z would make a wonderful and special addition to any toddler’s library. What better way to introduce the young ones to a different culture and language. Five noteworthy stars.

I received a digital copy of the book from Encantos Media Studios through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Book Tour: The Inn at Tansy Falls

  • Publisher: Bookouture
  • Publication Date: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Cate Woods
  • Genre: Romance
  • Page Count: 268

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Welcome to the May 15th stop on The Inn at Tansy Falls book tour. A shout out to Sarah Hardy at Bookouture for organizing this wonderful tour.

Description

Dearest Nell, if you’re reading this letter, I’m already gone…

You’re my best friend in the world, and as my last request I’m asking you to lay me to rest hundreds of miles away, in my crazy gorgeous, totally one-of-a-kind hometown of Tansy Falls. I know you’re a born-and-bred city girl, but hear me out. After first losing Adrian, and then me… I know your heart is hurting, Nell. I think you’ll find that you need Tansy Falls as much as I do.

So, I’ve got it all planned out. For two weeks, you’ll be staying at the sweet, local inn and every day you’ll be trying something new. And if you follow my instructions to the letter, you may discover there’s more to my story than you think. A surprise something… or someone at the end of it? Only you can find out!

Some last advice before you set off, Nell. Don’t forget your sturdy boots and make sure to give Boomer, the inn’s resident dog, a belly rub from me. Stay well away from former quarterback Brody Knott (boy, do I have some stories about him!). And finally, let the future bring what it brings. While Tansy Falls may look small, I know better than anyone that new beginnings can be found in all kinds of places. That little Vermont town you’d never heard of? Well, it might suddenly begin to feel just like coming home…

If you love feel-good love stories by ReaAnne Thayne, Debbie Macomber and Robyn Carr, you’ll adore this gorgeous, heart-warming novel about starting over.


Review

A delightful read. The Inn at Tansy Falls is that feel good book about self discovery and finding happiness.

Penelope “Nell” Swift and Megan Shaw were the best of friends. Thick as thieves you might say. Their friendship crossed oceans and withstood the test of time until Megan was taken…by cancer. But Megan was prepared. Megan’s last wishes to Nell were spelled out in a letter. A letter requesting Nell to scatter Meg’s ashes somewhere in her hometown of Tansy Falls. The letter also outlined an itinerary for Nell to follow. An easy task, but will it be that easy for Nell?

The Inn at Tansy Falls is a well thought out novel brimming with down-to-earth characters. From the smart, but introverted and socially clumsy Nell, to the witty and extroverted Meg. The other characters in the story play well into the narrative and they are just what you would expect from a closely knit small town such as Tansy Falls.

The storyline flowed smoothly and seamlessly between past and present. And those seamless transitions are what made the plot easy to follow — that is to just follow the itinerary, get out of your comfort zone to experience everything that life has to offer in a small town.

The Inn at Tansy Falls is a cheerfully sentimental novel that will evoke all the feelings of happiness and joy, as well as sadness. Truly a lovely work of fiction. Five heavenly stars.

I received a digital ARC from Bookouture through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


About the Author

Cate Woods made the most of her university degree in Anglo-Saxon Literature by embarking on a career making tea on programmes including The Big Breakfast, Who Wants to be a Millionaire and French & Saunders. After narrowly missing out on the chance to become a Channel 5 weather girl, she moved into the world of magazine journalism, then ghostwriting and now writes novels under her own name. She has written two best-selling romantic comedies – Just Haven’t Met You Yet and More Than a Feeling – and a festive novel, The Christmas Guest, under the name Daisy Bell. Cate lives in London with her husband and two children.

Connect with Cate Woods:


You can Purchase the Book at these fine retailers:

Amazon

Apple

Kobo

Google

Book Review: Claire’s Apocalypse

  • Publication Date: May 15, 2021
  • Genre: Zombie Horror | Science Fiction
  • Author: K. T. Rose
  • Page Count: 37

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Description

In the laboratories of the nation’s secret Bioweapons Division, Dr. Claire Lyle houses vials that could trigger the apocalypse. After a decade of neglecting her husband and daughter to develop the virus, Claire has finally created the most infectious microbe known to man. Excited to share the news about her creation, she gives an update on the project to her new superior, only for him to demand it be destroyed.

With all hope of negotiating for the project’s survival gone and a broken promise remaining where an effective vaccine should have been, Claire is forced to choose a different path, one which includes a distraught co-worker who is full of damning secrets.

Review

Dr. Claire Lyle is the Civilian Lead Scientist at a bioweapons facility. After 9 years of hard work, Claire and her team have finally developed the ultimate bioweapon — a lethal and malignant viruse

Proud of her creation, Claire unveils her achievement to the military officers that she reports to. Unexpectedly, however, she is ordered to destroy her pride and joy. Indignant with the decision, Claire chooses to defy the order and embark on a path that will change the course of her career and that of her family.

Claire’s Apocalypse is an excellent short story. The pace and prose is just perfect for that needed dose of horror. And, if you enjoy zombie graphic violence from the likes of George Romero and Duncan Ralston, Claire’s Apocalypse will not disappoint. Five terrifying stars.

I received a digital copy of the book from Blackthorn Book Tours. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


About The Author

K.T. Rose is a horror, thriller, and dark fiction writer from Detroit, Michigan. She posts suspense and horror flash fiction on her blog at kyrobooks.com and is the author of a suspenseful short story series titled Trinity of Horror, an erotic thriller novel titled When We Swing, and A Dark Web Horror Series. She also writes supernatural and paranormal horror novels and short stories.


ARC Review: Dead Dead Girls

  • Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
  • Publication Date: June 1, 2021
  • Author: Nekesa Afia
  • Genre: Historical Fiction | Mystery & Thrillers | OwnVoices
  • Page Count: 336

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Description (Goodreads)

Harlem, 1926. Young black girls like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead.

Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Manhattan’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that.

When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her.

Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process.


My Review

Louise Lloyd, age 15 at the time, escaped her kidnapper and saved three other girls from their captor. At the young age of 15, Louise became the famous “Harlem Hero.”

Fast forward 10 years. Louise, now a young woman, is determined to lead a normal life. A life without the stigma of the “Harlem Hero.” In her determination, Louise undertakes a life filled with bootleg alcohol and dancing by night, and working the local cafe by day.

Louise’s past cannot be forgotten as fears begin to mount in the neighborhood. There is a kidnapper at large. A kidnapper that murders its victims. Tensions escalate and Louise is forced to assist in the murder investigations under the guise that white detectives aren’t able to penetrate the Harlem neighborhood for clues.

Dead Dead Girls is not a high octane suspense, nor is it a jet fueled thriller. It is a steamship voyage into the Roaring Twenties and the Harlem Renaissance. It is an interesting and measured read.

The characters are fascinating and the plot is not like your everyday “whodunnit.” Rather, the “who” is revealed, and the evidence needs to be proven. Not the typical format, but it is something different. However, I didn’t particularly like knowing the “who” as it didn’t seem like there was enough evidence to prove the alleged perpetrator guilty. Added to this, is the unlikely scenario that a common/layperson would be recruited to assist in any murder investigation — it was a little too far fetched for me.

In any event, Dead Dead Girls is a decent read and worthy of two stars. It was okay.

I received a digital ARC from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Weekly Recipe Wednesday: Stone Crabs With Mustard Sauce

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Recipe Wednesday. Today’s recipe is from a mention in the book, The Newcomer which I’ve read and reviewed here on my blog. Many thanks to Garlic & Zest for having this recipe available. Please be sure to check out their site for other delectable dishes.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds stone crab claws
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • hot sauce to taste

Instructions

FOR THE MUSTARD SAUCE:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, worstershire sauce and lemon juice. Add hot sauce to taste and whisk to combine. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

FOR STONE CRABS:

  • Most fish mongers will crack stone crabs for you if you ask them. It’s fine to do that if you’re going to be eating the crabs the same day. If you’re going to wait for a day or two, it’s best to crack them yourself to maintain their freshness.

Book Review: Her Three Lives

  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication Date: April 20, 2021
  • Author: Cate Holahan
  • Genre: Psychological Suspense
  • Page Count: 339

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Description (Goodreads)

Gaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.

Her public life
Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.
Her private life A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.
Her secret life As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret.  The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.


My Review

Jade Thompson is a prominent social media influencer. Her fiancé is Greg Hamlin, who like Jade, is very successful in his career as an architect. Together, Jade and Greg are the envy of their peers. Especially since Greg managed to court a woman 20 years his junior; and Jade managed to catch the eye of a multimillionaire.

As Jade and Greg get ready for an elaborate social event, two men barge into their home and brutally attack Greg and Jade, leaving Greg with a traumatic brain injury. Investigators assigned to the crime scene speculate that there could be a number of suspects, especially since Jade had a wide net of followers on her social media platform. But as evidence is collected and interrogations conducted, closely held secrets emerge leading Greg and Jade to question and suspect each other’s roles in the vicious attack. Was the attack a random home invasion, or was it planned?

Her Three Lives is a slow-moving novel. Even though the characters are straightforward and the plot linear, the novel just took a long time to get interesting. There are, however, enough “breadcrumbs” to keep the reader engaged until the finish.

Not the best psychological suspense, but good enough for three appreciative stars.

I received a physical copy of the book from Grand Central Publishing. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.


Weekly Recipe Wednesday: Beef Stew – Northern Italian Style

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Recipe Wednesday where I share a recipe from a dish mentioned in a book that I’ve read and reviewed here on my blog. Today’s recipe comes from a mention in the book, Legacy. Many thanks to AllRecipes.com for having this recipe available. Please do pay them a visit for more delicious dishes.

Photo from: Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil  
  • 2 pounds lean top round, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 2 large sweet onions, diced 
  • 2 cups large chunks of celery 
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large rounds 
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic 
  • 2 cups dry red wine 
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped  
  • 1 ½ pounds red potatoes (such as Red Bliss), cut into 1-inch chunks 
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil 
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram 
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage 
  • 1 quart beef stock 
  • 2 cups tomato sauce


Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef in batches in hot oil until browned completely, about 5 minutes per batch. Remove browned beef cubes to a plate lined with paper towels, keeping skillet over heat and retaining the beef drippings.
  2. Cook and stir onion, celery, and carrots in the retained beef drippings until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir mushrooms and garlic into the onion mixture.
  3. Pour red wine into the pan; bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking the mixture until the wine evaporates, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir tomatoes into the mixture.
  4. Return beef to skillet with potatoes, basil, thyme, marjoram, and sage. Pour beef stock and tomato sauce over the mixture. Bring the liquid to a simmer.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the beef is very tender and the sauce is thick, 4 to 6 hours.

Happy Publication Day!: Save Her

  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books
  • Publication Date: May 5, 2021
  • Author: Abigail Osborne
  • Genre: Mysteries & Thrillers

Blurb 

Bonded by their traumatic childhoods, Flora and Sophie are inseparable friends who married brothers.  

What they could not have anticipated was their mother-in-law, Cecelia. Disappointed that her children have married beneath them, Cecelia takes every opportunity to belittle and taunt her daughter’s-in-law.

When Cecelia learns that Flora and her son are moving away, her wrath escalates, and Flora’s world begins to fall apart. 

Meanwhile, Sophie’s life is also crumbling around her. Her marriage is not what it seems, and she is desperate to escape the clutches of the poisonous family she has married into. 

Is Flora being tormented or is she losing her mind?

Will Sophie and Flora be forced to leave their husbands in order to survive? 

With a mother-in-law like Cecelia, anything is possible…


About the Author

Abigail is originally from the Lake District but moved to the West Midlands for University where she completed an English Literature & History degree. She lives in Worcestershire with her husband and is a board game fanatic, owning over 70 games. She has a huge collection of books, plays the violin, and used to play the piano until her husband sold it because it was too heavy to keep moving. Save Her is Abigail’s second novel.