Saturday, November 28, 2020

Winter Witness by Tina DeBellegarde

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Winter Witness

by Tina deBellegarde

on Tour November 1-30, 2020

Synopsis:

Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde

When a beloved nun is murdered in a sleepy Catskill Mountain town, a grieving young widow finds herself at the center of the turmoil. Bianca St. Denis is searching for a job and seeking acceptance in her new home of Batavia-on-Hudson. Agatha Miller, the nun’s closest friend and the ailing local historian everyone loves to hate, shares her painful personal history and long-buried village secrets with Bianca. Armed with this knowledge, Bianca unravels the mysteries surrounding the death while dealing with the suspicions of her eccentric neighbors.

However, Bianca’s meddling complicates the sheriff’s investigation as well as his marriage. Can Sheriff Mike Riley escape his painful past in a town where murder and infighting over a new casino vie for his attention?

Danger stalks Bianca as she gets closer to the truth. Can the sheriff solve the mystery before the killer strikes again? Can the town heal its wounds once the truth has been uncovered?

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Number of Pages: 282
ISBN: 978-1-947915-76-3
Series: Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads | Oblong Books and Music

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

Thursday, December 15

She could have been sleeping, were it not for the gaping gash in the back of her head and the bloody stone next to her limp body.

Sheriff Mike Riley stood alone on the shore of the near-frozen lake. At his feet, Sister Elaine Fisher lay face down, ice crystals forming around her body where it met the shoreline. The murmuring water of the nearby stream imparted a peacefulness at odds with the scene. In the waning winter light, he paused ankle deep in the snow illuminated by the beat of red strobe lights.

Murder seemed so extreme. The villagers would be baffled. Murder didn’t happen in sleepy Batavia-on-Hudson. An occasional stolen bicycle, some were paid off the books, but that was hardly worth mentioning. Lately, there had been a handful of amateur burglaries. Murder was another story altogether.

But there was no denying it. Elaine’s body was there before him, lifeless on a cushion of snow at the edge of the lake.

Sheriff Riley ran his chapped hands through his salt and pepper hair. A knowing person might have noticed that he used this motion to disguise a quick brush at his cheek, to eliminate the one tear that slipped through.

He feared this day, the day his lazy job would bring him face to face once again with the ugly underbelly he knew existed even in a quiet place like Batavia-on-Hudson. Mike Riley wasn’t afraid of death. He was afraid of the transformation a village like this was bound to go through after an act of murder.

He cried for Elaine; though he barely knew her. But also, he cried for the village that died with her that morning. A place where children still wandered freely. A village that didn’t lock doors, and trusted everyone, even the ones they gossiped about. Now, inevitably, the villagers would be guarded around each other, never quite sure anymore if someone could be trusted.

He thought he could already hear the locks snapping shut in cars and homes as word of the murder got out. Mothers yanking children indoors, hand-in-hand lovers escaping the once-romantic shadows of the wooded pathways, and old ladies turning into shut-ins instead of walking their dogs across the windy bluff.

Sheriff Riley steeled himself not just to confront the damaged body of the first murder victim of Batavia in over seventy years, but to confront the worried faces of mothers, the defeated faces of fathers and the vulnerable faces of the elderly.

He squatted in the slush, wincing as his bad knee rebelled, and laid his hands on Elaine’s rough canvas jacket, two-sizes too big—one of her thrift shop purchases, no doubt. As reverently as was possible in the muddy snow, Mike Riley turned over her body to examine the face of a changing village.

Sister Elaine had no one left, she had no known siblings and of course, no spouse or children. Only Agatha Miller, her childhood companion, could have been considered next of kin. How Elaine had tolerated her grumpy old friend was a mystery to everyone.

The sheriff knew that Elaine’s death would rock the community. Even a relative outsider like Mike understood that Elaine had been an anchor in Batavia. Her kindness had given the village heart, and her compassion had given it soul. No one would be prepared for this.

Mike knew from experience that preparation for death eases the grief. You start getting ready emotionally and psychologically. You make arrangements. You imagine your life without someone. But Mike also knew that when the time comes it still slaps you in the face, cold and bracing. And you realize you were only fooling yourself. Then somehow, in short order, work becomes demanding, bills need to be paid and something on the radio steals a chuckle right out of your throat. For a brief second you realize that there are moments of respite from your grief and perhaps someday those moments will expand and you may be able to experience joy once again.

But for now, Elaine’s death will be a shock. No one had prepared for her death, let alone her murder.

***

Excerpt from Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde. Copyright 2020 by Tina deBellegarde. Reproduced with permission from Tina deBellegarde. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Tina deBellegarde

Tina deBellegarde lives in Catskill, New York with her husband Denis and their cat Shelby. Winter Witness is the first book in the Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery Series. Tina also writes short stories and flash fiction. When she isn’t writing, she is helping Denis tend their beehives, harvest shiitake mushrooms, and cultivate their vegetable garden. She travels to Japan regularly to visit her son, Alessandro. Tina did her graduate studies in history. She is a former exporter, paralegal, teacher, and library clerk.

Catch Up With Tina deBellegarde:
tinadebellegarde.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tina deBellegarde. There will be 6 winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card; two (2) winners will each win one (1) physical copy of Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde (U.S. addresses only); and two (2) winners will each win one (1) eBook copy of Winter Witness by Tina deBellegarde The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through December 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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My Take: This book takes place in the Cat Skill Mountains and is about an elderly nun being murdered but what it really is about is the small town and the people of said small town and the secrets that are hid in that small town. I really enjoyed this debut novel and I will be looking out for other books by this author. I received a review copy of this book from Partners in Crime tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Christmas Eve Promise by elyse Douglas

The Christmas Eve Promise - A Time Travel Romance: (Book 4) The Christmas Eve Series
The Christmas Eve Promise by Elyse Douglas

My Take:  This is the 4th book in the Christmas Eve Series by Elyse Douglas.   This series has romance, adventure, Time Travel.  Patrick and Eve are two people who are very much in love and consider each other their soulmates.  Just before Christmas in 2020 a tragedy happens and Patrick makes the decision to go back in time using a lantern that is invented by Tesla.  The lantern doesn't take him back to the time he wanted but back to 1925.  He meets some interesting people in his trip back in time including a carbon copy of Eve.  

I eagerly look forward to reading the next in this series if there is one. 

I received a review copy of this book from Virtual Author Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review.  


Monday, November 23, 2020

Dark River by Avery Jenkins

Dark River by Avery JenkinsDark River by Avery Jenkins Publisher: Black Rose Writing, (October 15, 2020) Category: Mystery Thriller, Amateur Sleuth Tour dates: Oct-Nov, 2020 ISBN: 978-168433-6111 Available in Print and ebook, 268 pages Dark River

Description Dark River by Avery Jenkins

When your only path to survival is to die.. An old man loses all that he loves for a secret he doesn’t know he knows and a past he can’t remember while he searches for a girl’s killer.

Advance Praise for Avery Jenkins

“A Taoist Jack Reacher”-Beta Reader

About Avery JenkinsDark River by Avery Jenkins

Dr. Avery Jenkins is a former award-winning journalist and essayist who took a 25-year break from the writing world to become a chiropractor and acupuncturist. He holds a 2nd degree black belt in the martial art of aikido and is in his final year of training to become a Daoist priest. Dr. Jenkins lives in northwest Connecticut with his wife and two dogs of uncertain temperament. Dark River is his first novel. Website: www.averyjenkinsauthor.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/averyjenkinsdc Twitter: https://twitter.com/asa_cire Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/averyauthor

Buy Dark River by Avery Jenkins

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This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. only. This giveaway ends November 26, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Dark River by Avery Jenkins

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 19 Kickoff & Interview Shannon The Pulp and Mystery Shelf Oct 20 Guest Review & Excerpt Sage N. Bound 4 Escape Oct 21 Guest Review Mark S. Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 22 Guest Review Gracie Goodreads Oct 23 Review Laura Lee CelticLadys Reviews Oct 26 Guest Review Betty Toots Book Reviews Oct 27 Review & Interview Linda Lu Goodreads Oct 28 Review Am Goodreads Oct 29 Review Jody Amazon Oct 30 Review Dee Donadees.com Nov 2 Review BookGirl Goodreads Nov 4 Review Sol A. ReadingBifrost Nov 5 Guest Review Lisa's Writopia Nov 6 Review Diane Book Meets Girl Nov 9 Review Suzie M. eBook Addicts Nov 10 Guest Review Meagan MLM Opinion's Reviews Nov 11 Review Brianna abookandalattee Nov 12 Review Lisa's Writopia Nov 13 Guest Post Nora S. StoreyBook Reviews Nov 16 Guest Review & Excerpt Gud Reader Goodreads Nov 17 Review Aparna Amazon Nov 18 Review Jas International Book Promotion Nov 19 Review Bee Book Pleasures Nov 20 Review Mindy Room Without Books is Empty Nov 23 Review Denise D. Goodreads Nov 24 Review Becky Amazon Nov 25 Dark River by Avery Jenkins My Take: Asa the main character in this book sells antiques and is not a detective or officer of the law of any kind. He has a vision of a young woman who died about 20 years ago. He feels that he needs to solve this 20 year old cold case. He also is trying to decipher a manuscript that a friend brought that no one has been able to decipher yet. These two cases intersect in a strange way. There is a surprise at the end of the book that you don't see coming. I received a review copy of this book from Virtual Author Book Tours and was dnot required to write a positive review.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Other Fires by Lenore H. Gay

Other Fires: Novel by Lenore H. GayOther Fires: Novel by Lenore H. Gay Publisher:  She Writes Press (October 20, 2020) Category: Women's Psychological Fiction, Medical Fiction Tour Dates Oct 20-Nov 25, 2020 ISBN: 978-1631527739 Available in Print and ebook,256 pages Other Fires

Description Other Fires: Novel by Lenore H. Gay

Joss and Phil’s already rocky marriage is fragmented when Phil is injured in a devastating fire and diagnosed with Capgras delusion―a misidentification syndrome in which a person becomes convinced that a loved one has been replaced by an identical imposter. Faced with a husband who no longer recognizes her, Joss struggles to find motivation to save their marriage, even as family secrets start to emerge that challenge everything she thought she knew. With two young daughters, a looming book deadline, and an attractive but complicated distraction named Adam complicating her situation even further, Joss has to decide what she wants for her family―and what family even means.

Advance Praise Other Fires: Novel by Lenore H. Gay

“Once again, Lenore Gay has woven a story that captivates the reader from page one. Other Fires is a brilliant study of tragedy on multiples levels. Beginning with a dysfunctional family struggling in the aftermath of a terrible fire, she expertly peels back the layers of human behavior and motivation that unravels the lives of the guilty and innocent. Peppered with surprising twists and turns, the story will stay with you long after you close the cover.”―PAM WEBBER, author of The Wiregrass and Moon Water “Heartwarming and dramatic, the two major intertwining stories in Other Fires reach across decades from troubled childhood to mid-life adults and reaffirm what remains human and vulnerable in all of us. The portraits of the main characters arc from hopelessness to vulnerability and a sense of recovery. Gay holds the reader’s attention from the first page.”―DIANA Y. PAUL, author of Things Unsaid “How do people figure out their minds? This novel explores what constitutes reality, and from whose perspective. Drawing on her varied experiences in life and background in rehabilitation and mental health counseling, Lenore Gay weaves together the perspectives of compelling characters who interact in ways that keep the pages of this novel turning.”―CHRIS REID, PhD, Rehabilitation Psychology

About Lenore H. Gay

[caption id="attachment_8550" align="alignright" width="225"]Other Fires: Novel by Lenore H. Gay (c) Sasha Gay-Overstreet[/caption] Lenore Gay is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor with a master’s in sociology and rehabilitation counseling. She was an adjunct faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Rehabilitation Counseling Department for thirty years. She has worked in several agencies and psychiatric hospitals, and for ten years worked at her private counseling practice before becoming Coordinator of VCU’s Rehabilitation Counseling Department internship program. Her debut novel, Shelter of Leaves, was a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year award and a finalist for an INDEFAB award. For three years, Lenore has served on the Steering Committee of the RVALitCrawl, which has been featured in RVAMag, Richmond Family Magazine, and Richmond Magazine. She is an active member of James River Writers. She lives in Richmond, Virginia. Website:  https://lenoregay.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lenoregay.author Twitter: https://twitter.com/lenore_gay

Pre-order Other Fires: Novel by Lenore H. Gay

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Giveaway Other Fires: Novel by Lenore H. Gay

This giveaway is for 1 copy each for 3 winners and is open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends November 26, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Other Fires: Novel by Lenore H. Gay Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 20 Kickoff & Excerpt Lu Ann Rockin' Book Reviews Oct 21 Review & Excerpt Dee Donadees Corner Oct 22 Review Denise Goodreads Oct 23 Review Betty Toots Book Reviews Oct 26 Review                                                              I Dan Goodreads Oct 29 Review Donna Amazon Oct 30 Review Diane Book Meets Girl Nov 2 Review Angel Amazon Nov 5 Review Brianna abookandalattee Nov 6 Review Linda  eBook Addicts Nov 9 Guest Review & Excerpt Penny Amazon Nov 10 Review Amy Locks, Hooks and Books Nov 11 Review Kathy Ordinary Girls Book Reviews Nov 12 Review & Excerpt Bookgirl StoreyBook Reviews Nov 13 Guest Review & Excerpt Becky Amazon Nov 18 Review Mindy Room Without Books is Empty Nov 20 Review Lisa's Writopia Nov 23 Review My Take: This is the story of a marriage that was falling apart before a house fire where the husband was injured a developed Capgras syndrome which is when they think a loved one is actually an imposter. There are so many sub stories like their daughter Terpe who is smart enough not to understand why her dad recognizes her but not her mother. Joss the wife has some resentment toward her husband becuse before all of this he was cheating and not taking his responsibility toward his daughters. Also there is what caused the fire or who. Very good book and on a topic I hadn't read about before. I received a review copy of this book from Virtual Author Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Feast by David Vorhees

Feast by David VorheesFeast: Other Horrifying Tales by David Vorhees Publisher:  Amazon (August 31, 2019) Category: Horror, Mystery/Thriller, Supernatural Tour dates: Oct-Nov, 2020 ISBN: 978-1670514585 Available in Print and ebook, 209 pages Feast

Description Feast by David Vorhees

A collection of short stories that take place on different holidays over the course of the year. The collection opens with “A New Year, a New Day, a New Life.” Grant Curtis is arrested on New Year’s Day and charged with the murder of his wife Carla. In “Easter: The Resurrection,” a resurrected Kyle Gardner seeks vengeance on Pastor Brian. “The Vengeance of Cassidy Clay” is a narrative poem that takes place on Halloween. The poem tells the story of a slave-hunter who haunts the woods long after his death and many more spine chilling tales.

Praise for Feast by David Vorhees

“Vorhees does a nice job of keeping a "theme" throughout (even as the stories change from tale to tale. This felt like one cohesive set of stories instead of a bunch of random ones thrown into a book. The character building and storytelling were good and I thought that Vorhees was able to write short stories that felt realistic and new while also feeling "familiar". What I mean by this is that they still feel like original stories but they don't feel like brand new ideas. Just like some of the best horror films play on the same topics and plots - these stories benefit from good horror tropes. If you're a horror fan and a fan of horror short stories there's bound to be something in this collection that'll suit you. I enjoyed it from beginning to end and I'm glad that I had a chance to check it out.”-Brian’s Book Blog “Most of the tales are deeply disturbing and be warned: you won’t be able to unsee them. This is a nod to the effectiveness of the author’s storytelling ability and gift for description.”-Kristine, Hall Ways Blog “I thought each story was unique; I like the author’s writing style. I would recommend this to readers of dark fiction, if you like a little gore with your horror, and a realism that makes it stick with you after you are done. I could see giving this as a gift.”- Sarah, Quackzombie “Mind-bending and wildly entertaining! I was hooked after the first story, and it just got better after that. The themed horror stories for each separate holiday was a new concept for me, making each story that much more riveting. The characters and scenes are well thought out and eerily relatable, which allows you to become immersed in the story. This collection of stories is a definite must read!”-Lyn Savage, Amazon

About David VorheesFeast by David Vorhees

David Vorhees joined the U.S. Navy after graduating Lima Central Catholic. Following his military service, he attended the University of Northwestern Ohio for Automotive business. He worked various factory jobs and attended the University of Phoenix online for a degree in arts with a focus in journalism. He recently worked for the Wapakoneta Daily News as a reporter/photographer/paginator. He is the father of five and grandfather of five. He has always been interested in the occult and the scarier side of life. He loves history and the supernatural and truly believes there is nothing better than a good story. Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorHorror Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thehoundofbakersville/

Buy Feast by David Vorhees

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Giveaway Feast by David Vorhees

This giveaway is for1 print copy each for 2 winners and is open worldwide. This giveaway ends November 26, 2020,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Feast by David Vorhees

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Oct 26 Kickoff & Excerpt Laura Lee Bound 2 Escape Oct 27 Guest Review Donna Amazon Oct 28 Review GudReader Goodreads Oct 29 Review Betty Toots Book Reviews Oct 30 Review & Interview Kim Amazon Nov 2 Review Am Goodreads Nov 4 Review Bee Book Pleasures Nov 6 Review Sol Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 10 Guest Review Lisa's Writopia Nov 11 Review Bookgirl Goodreads Nov 12 Review Amy Locks, Hooks and Books Nov 13 Review & Excerpt Gracie Goodreads Nov 16 Review Jas International Book Promotion Nov 17 Review Lisa's Writopia Nov 18 GP Mindy Room Without Books is Empty Nov 19 Review Linda Lu Goodreads Nov 20 Review Kari From the TBR Pile Nov 23 Review & Excerpt Jody Amazon Nov 24 Review Feast by David Vorhees My Take: This is a collection of short stories each centered around a holiday. I enjoyed the stories and the stories were just right each one a bite sized bite. The horror isn't overly graphic or gory but just enough to make you feel uncomfortable. I received a review copy of this book from Virtual Author Book Tours and was not required to write a posiitve review.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Bird in Hand by Nikki Stern

Bird In Hand by Nikki Stern Banner

 

 

Bird in Hand

by Nikki Stern

on Tour November 1-14, 2020

Synopsis:

Bird in Hand by Nikki Stern

When the body of popular local guide Arley Fitchett washes up onto Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Lieutenant Sam Tate, just two months at her new job, is charged with investigating his death. She learns the dead man was searching for a carving he believed had been hidden in the area by pirates in 1718. He’s not the only one. Several others shared Fitchett’s obsession with the bird with the sapphire eye. But which one of them is the murderer—or the next victim? And how long does Sam have to catch a killer before her own past catches up with her?

"The book... allows Tate to more fully come into herown as a formidable character on whose shoulders future procedurals could confidentially be placed." ~ Kirkus Reviews

"Bird in Hand will have prior Sam fans and newcomers thoroughly engrossed, all the way to the unexpected end." ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"Even better than the first...leaving this reader eager for a third." ~Teri Case, author of the award-winning TIGER DRIVE

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Ruthenia Press
Publication Date: September 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 289
ISBN: 0999548743 (ISBN-13: 978-0999548745)
Series: Sam Tate Mystery, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

“Lieutenant,” he called out. “Sorry to bring you out on such a soggy night.” He suppressed an involuntary shiver.

“Duty calls, Deputy. You did the right thing.” She looked around. “Where’s the person who called it in?”

McCready cleared his throat. “I’m guessing he took off.”

She understood the young deputy’s discomfort. Poaching was a serious offense. On the other hand, the watermen who flouted the law were friends and neighbors to people with whom she worked.

“Never mind. Let’s see what he found. Grab your flashlight.”

Sam pulled a handheld marine searchlight out of the trunk of her cruiser.

“You got anything specific we can use as a starting point?” she asked.

“Dispatch said the caller mentioned sand. The shoreline is mostly rocky around here, but maybe there’s a sliver of open space right up at the point.”

Sam pulled out her phone and pulled up Google Maps. “I see it,” she said. “We’ve got to pass between these trees and the water to get to it.”

“Careful, then,” McCready said. “We’ll probably run into some pretty slippery going what with the mist and all.”

They headed towards a copse of trees adjacent to the manicured lawn. Dawn hadn’t shown itself. Absent any other illumination, they relied on their beams as they picked their way over the uneven surface.

“This is probably about the only piece of land left undeveloped around here,” McCready observed. “You wouldn’t believe how much building has gone on just in the last fifteen years.” He stumbled. “Shit! Sorry, Lieutenant.”

“Nothing I haven’t heard before, Deputy.”

They came upon a slip of sand about a hundred feet long and perhaps fifteen feet wide.

There it was, a body, face up, the left arm extended over the head as if to ward off a blow. The right arm rested on the chest as if in benediction. Both hands were blackened.

She set her searchlight down and crouched by the corpse. The beam coming from McCready’s flashlight wavered.

“You okay, Pat?” she asked.

She heard him swallow. The light steadied. “Yeah, it’s just that, damn, that's Arley Fitchett.”

"You know him?" Sam asked.

"Everybody knows Arley Fitchett."

***

Excerpt from Bird in Hand by Nikki Stern. Copyright 2020 by Nikki Stern. Reproduced with permission from Nikki Stern. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Nikki Stern

Nikki is the author of five books, all of which have earned critical praise. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, and Humanist Magazine as well as in three anthologies. She collaborated on a series of interactive murder mystery musicals that make up the Café Noir series, published by Samuel French.

Catch Up With Nikki Stern:
NikkiStern.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!



 

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nikki Stern. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through November 16, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

My Take: This is the second in the Sam Tate series. Sam lives on the Eastern Shore in Mryland. She has been tasked with solving the case of who tortured and killed Arlie Fitchett a local guide and treasure hunter. There were plenty of times that the story took a turn I wasn't expecting and I enjoyed this second installment. I received a review copy of this book from Partners in Crime tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Saving Grace by D.M. Barr

Saving Grace by D.M. Barr Banner

 

 

Saving Grace

A Psychological Thriller

by D.M. Barr

on Tour October 12 - November 13, 2020

Synopsis:

Saving Grace by D.M. Barr

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

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Domestic Suspense
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: October 15th 2020
Number of Pages: 255
ISBN: 978-1684335565
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BlackRose Writing | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

One felony was all it took to convince Andrea Lin she was better suited to committing crime on paper than in person. As renowned mystery author Lynn Andrews, she understood conflict equaled good drama. Like her readers, she should have expected the hiccups, even relished them. What she hadn’t counted on was the accompanying agita, especially while sitting in her Bergen County kitchen, far from the action at the Bitcoin Teller Machine.

Her one job had been to place a single phone call when the money hit and tell the hacker to lift the encryption on Grace’s computer. Trouble was, her dozen calls remained unanswered until a few minutes ago, throwing their meticulous plan off schedule.

Andrea stroked the blue-gray Nebulung purring on her lap and tried to ignore the churning in her stomach. “Denver, the next time I consider helping a sibling with some crazy scheme, you have my permission to use my leg as a scratching post until I come to my senses. Agreed?”

Denver looked up, his green eyes filled with innocence, and answered with a single meow before leaping onto the table toward her plate of shortbread cookies.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” She sipped her tea, willing the sugar to sweeten the acrid taste in her mouth. The phone interrupted her meditation. No doubt a check-in from her brother, the extorter-in-chief.

“I figured you’d have called by now. Everything on track?” Joe’s strained voice conveyed his own jangled nerves. They’d agreed to be vague when communicating. In these days of Siri and Alexa, anyone could be listening.

“Finally. Took forever to get through to our friend, but she said she’d take care of ‘our project’ as soon as her meetings wrapped up. From here on out though, I’m sticking to fiction. Real-life intrigue is too stressful.”

Andrea missed Joe’s response, instead perplexed by her cats’ sudden change of behavior. Denver had tilted his head and leapt from the table; Vail and Aspen sat frozen, ears perked, staring toward the foyer. Then she heard it too, the sound of papers shuffling in the living room. She leaned forward, muscles taut, hackles raised, ready to pounce. “Joe, hold on a sec. I think someone’s in the house. I’ll call you back later.”

***

“Wait, what? Andrea??” Silence. The connection was dead.

After twenty minutes of weaving in and out of rush-hour traffic to travel one mile, Joe “Hack” Hackford pulled up outside his sister’s Ridgewood home. Adrenaline pumping on overdrive, he jumped from his car and sprinted toward the house. Door wide open—not an encouraging sign. He steeled his nerves and hastened inside. The living room looked like a hurricane’s aftermath, with furniture overturned and papers littering the carpets and floor.

“Andrea? Are you here?” He rushed into the kitchen, which lacked any signs of their celebratory dinner—no spaghetti boiling on the stove, no cake rising in the oven. Only the door to the backyard ajar and a shriek emanating from the next room, piercing the eerie silence. Hair stiffening at the back of his neck, he raced into the dining room where a redheaded woman stood frozen, staring across the room.

“Who the hell are you?” he growled.

The stranger remained wide-eyed and unresponsive. He followed her gaze to the floor, where he witnessed the unthinkable. His beloved sister lay in the corner, surrounded by a pool of blood, a kitchen knife stuck in her chest. Her eyes remained fixed on the ceiling. A trio of feline guards circled her lifeless body.

Hack’s knees turned to jelly, and he grabbed onto a chair for support, forcing back the remains of the snack he’d consumed only minutes earlier. Once the initial shock waned, he reverted his attention back to the intruder. At second glance, she did look somewhat familiar, though the woman he’d met a few weeks back—the missing heiress whose computer they’d just hacked—was brunette. Had she uncovered their con? With a bolt of fury, he reached forward and pulled the wig from her head. A thousand questions zigzagged in his brain, but only one forced its way past his lips:

“Oh my God. Grace. Oh my God. What the hell have you done?”

***

Excerpt from Saving Grace by D.M. Barr. Copyright 2020 by D.M. Barr. Reproduced with permission from D.M. Barr. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

D.M. Barr

By day, a mild-mannered salesperson, wife, mother, rescuer of senior shelter dogs, competitive trivia player and author groupie, happily living just north of New York City. By night, an author of sex, suspense and satire.

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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My Take: I really enjoyed this book. Grace was a very sympathtic character and I felt myself feeling sorry for her and believing along with her that her husband was out to get her. Imagine being on psychotic drugs for 40 years of her 45 years. Hold on because there is twiist at the end. I received a review copy of this book from Partners in Crime and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Selling Christmas by Angelina Goode

 

SELLING CHRISTMAS
Angelina Goode
Beach Blanket Publishing
Christmas Romance 

Helping people find their dream house has always come natural to Caroline. She’s able to set the stage perfectly so her clients can imagine spending the holidays in their new home, even though she doesn’t decorate her own. When her boss assigns her to oversee the company’s first Christmas Tour of Homes, Caroline thinks she may be in over her head.

Luke has always made sure his daughter, Ella, had all that she needed for Christmas, including a home bursting at the seams with tinsel and holly. Even if it meant working extra shifts patrolling the town. So when a house of their own is at the top of Ella’s Christmas list, he can’t help but set out to find one.

As Christmas fate brings Caroline and Luke together, they just might be exactly what the other needs to make it through the holidays. Until Luke unknowingly stumbles across Caroline’s past. A past that keeps Caroline from looking to a future with Luke.

Can Caroline and Luke find their way to happily ever after? Or is the only thing keeping them from finding it, each other?

 



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Chapter 1

Caroline

The gravel crunched under the tires as Caroline’s car made its way up the long drive. As she reached the crest of the tree-topped hill, the driveway made a sharp turn to the right, then opened up to a small grassy field with an old but clean wooden house sitting squarely in the center of it. She pulled her car up to the side of the house and turned off the ignition. As she opened the door and swept her scarf around her neck, the cold air reddened her cheeks. She shivered.

The small porch that led to the front door was bare but for a pile of firewood. Caroline shook her head. Curb appeal was always important when trying to sell a home, even if the curb was a mile from the front door. First impressions count, and this curb was lacking appeal. She turned the key in the lock, and as she pushed the door open, she was hit with a gush of warm air filled with the scents of gingerbread and pine cones. She smiled. This was more like it. She made her way through the house, smoothing the bedspreads and tidying pillows on chairs.

As she straightened the table setting, there was a quiet knock at the front door. She ran her hands down her sides and put her friendliest smile on, then headed for the door.

“Come in, Dave and Sandra,” she said as she swung open the door. Her clients entered. “Let me take your coats.” She hung them on the hooks just inside the foyer, hoping it would help them envision living there.

“Caroline.” Sandra’s hands flew to her mouth. “It’s adorable.”

“Wait until you see the kitchen,” she added, then held her hand out to the side, encouraging them to explore. Caroline followed them through the kitchen, emphasizing the retro appliances, and out the back door to a large patio overlooking an expansive yard with a peaceful brook running along the side.

When they re-entered the house and passed through the living room, Sandra cuddled her growing belly in her hands and stopped, staring at the quaint space. “The piano would fit perfectly right there.” She pointed to the wall on the right.

“A Christmas tree would be really lovely over there.” Caroline pointed to a corner between the fireplace and a wall with a large, picturesque window.

Dave stepped in closer to Sandra and put an arm around her. “I can see us singing carols on Christmas Eve.”

She leaned in and whispered something back to Dave.

“I’m going to give you a few minutes to finish looking around and talk privately.” Caroline headed to the kitchen. She took a gingerbread cookie from the table and was about to take a bite when she realized it was in the shape of an elf. She giggled, then bit off his head.

She passed the time staring out the window, appreciating the lush evergreen trees and watching the robins flit from one tree to another.

“Caroline.” Dave stepped into the kitchen. “We’d like to put a bid on the house. It’s exactly what we’re looking for.”

She smiled. “Of course. I have the paperwork in my bag.”

As Dave and Sandra signed the house bid, Caroline glanced at her watch. It would only take her fifteen minutes to wind her way back down the drive, up the highway, and into town where she would meet Lauren for dinner. She waved goodbye as they drove off, then she locked up the house, heading on her way.

***

The hostess that greeted Caroline was dressed as an elf, pointy shoes and ears and all. She led Caroline to Lauren, who sat in a dim alcove illuminated by lights muted with Santa hats. A mug in the shape of a Santa boot sat on the table in front of her. Caroline tossed her coat on the booth and rolled her eyes at Lauren. “You chose this place on purpose, didn’t you?” She gestured at the decor around them.

“For someone that loves to celebrate the spirit of Christmas, you sure don’t like all the decorating that comes with it.” Lauren took a sip from her mug.

Caroline giggled. “You know I love Christmas. But all this is too much. It’s not what Christmas is about. It’s supposed to be about giving and kindness. This is all commercial.”

“You could at least get a tree. That’s not commercial.”

“You know me. I don’t decorate. I will provide a tree for someone else to help them feel the Christmas spirit, but—”

“No decorating. I know.” Lauren rolled her eyes. “How did the house showing go?”

“Spectacular. It was right on the outskirts of town like they wanted. They put an offer on it, and I expect it to be accepted. Which is great because it will help fund my Christmas spirit. How was work for you today?”

She shrugged. “You know. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people without a place to go day after day. But I’m doing my best to change that. The police department has been very helpful this year. They’ve even assigned us a delegate to make sure we are helping all the people we can. Plus, the shelter’s Christmas Eve dinner is going to be extra special this year.”

“That’s great. And that’s the Christmas spirit I’m talking about.”

“Speaking of that, I have just the thing you’re thinking of. They are a great family that has fallen on some hard times and need a little help.” Lauren pushed her curly hair behind her ears and dug in her purse. She pulled out a piece of white paper folded in half. “You know, it’s really great that you do this.”

Caroline took the paper from Lauren and tucked it into her purse, then plucked a menu from the end of the table. “I just want everyone to experience Christmas the way I did as a child. No one should miss out on that.”

Lauren nodded. “What should we order? Should we start with an appetizer?”

***

As Caroline drove home, passing through the neighborhoods with their lights strung and flickering in the night, she felt a tug at her heart. She slowed as she approached a home with wooden reindeer on the lawn and lit snowflakes hanging from the trees. Her dad used to love to hang snowflakes around their home. He always said he felt like it encouraged the snow on Christmas Eve.

A car behind her honked and she was brought back to the present. She waved an apology in the mirror and moved on, heading home for the night.

***

Mary was hovering by the door when Caroline arrived at the office. Her hair was immaculately coifed, and she held a steaming mug of coffee that read I Sell Houses—What’s Your Superpower?

“I heard the offer on the house yesterday was accepted. Good job.”

Caroline’s eyebrows raised. She should’ve checked her email before heading into the office this morning. “Thanks. I’m about to straighten out all the details now.”

“Great. I also have some exciting news at the meeting this morning. Don’t be late.”

Caroline nodded and stopped at the coffee machine before going to her office. “Good morning, Sarah,” she said to the office assistant, who was standing beside a large box with a long strand of tinsel wrapped in her arms.

“Hi, Caroline. Would you like me to decorate your office for you? You’re the only one that hasn’t done it yet.”

“I think I’m okay.”

Sarah’s eyes fell. “Oh, okay.”

Caroline paused. “Well, I guess you could maybe decorate the outside of my door. Would that work?”

Her eyes lit up. “Yes. I’d love to. I have just the thing.” She pulled the rest of the tinsel out and found a large, bright-red bell.

Caroline took a sip of her coffee then disappeared into her office to call Sandra and Dave and tell them the good news. Sandra squealed when she heard, and Dave sounded as though he was getting choked up. “Do you think we can be in by Christmas?” he asked.

“Maybe. It’s only about four weeks away, but I’ll see what I can work out with the sellers.”

Sarah knocked on the door just as Caroline was hanging up.

“The meeting is about to start,” she said.

“Thanks.” She grabbed her notebook and followed Sarah into the meeting room.

“Welcome everyone. We have a lot to discuss, so let’s get started right away.” Mary paced back and forth across the small room as she spoke. “This year, we have decided to partner with a local furniture store to do a fundraiser for Sweet River Children’s Hospital.”

Caroline turned her attention to the room. This was exactly the Christmas spirit that motivated her. Everyone looked to one another, nodding encouragement and smiling with delight. Mary stood, pleased, her hands folded in front of her, her shoulders back. Her short, straight bob swayed softly as she turned from one side of the room to the other to take in all the excitement.

“We are going to host a Christmas Tour of Homes featuring four of our properties that are currently for sale. Anderson’s Furniture Store will provide the decor and we will do the decorating. I have put together a team of agents that have shown interest in decorating and have selected one person to be in charge of the team and decorating the locations.”

Sarah raised her hand. “Is this the kind of tour where people buy tickets to visit the properties to see how we have decorated them for Christmas?”

“Yes,” Mary said, nodding. “We get a weekend of heavy foot traffic into the homes we are selling while raising money for the children’s hospital. It’s a win-win deal.”

Caroline gave a sigh of relief that she wouldn’t have to help. It may be for a good cause, but she was clearly not the one for the job. She turned her focus to her notebook and started making a list of things she had to do for her clients.

“Caroline.” Mary’s voice was clear and direct.

Caroline sat up straighter in her seat.

“Caroline will be leading the decorating team. Sarah is handing each team member a packet detailing the homes that will be on the tour and the proposed rooms to decorate.”

Caroline’s jaw dropped. She lifted her index finger to protest, but Mary continued.

“Of course, if you find you’d like to decorate additional rooms, that is at your discretion, Caroline. This is your project. You are in total control.”

Caroline shook her head, still unable to find the words. She looked to Sarah, who had sat back down. “I’m honored to be on your team,” Sarah whispered.

The rest of the meeting was a blur. Caroline tried her best to stay focused, but visions of tinsel and nutcrackers and tree ornaments the size of her head kept popping up in her mind. She tried to shake them free, but it seemed to only serve as encouragement. Her coworkers were encouraged, too. Before the meeting was over, she had already received eight emails from fellow agents and their ideas for the Home Tour.

As everyone exited the room, Caroline hung back, hopeful that she would get a moment alone with Mary. Surely, she would understand. She simply was not the one for the job.

When the last straggler had filled his plate with Santa-shaped sugar cookies from the snack table and made his way out, Caroline threw her shoulders back and approached her boss.

“Mary. I have some concerns about the Christmas Tour of Homes.”

“Of course. I knew you would. But timing is not an issue. Three weeks is plenty of time to get the homes decorated.”

“That’s not it. I just…” She had to pick her words carefully. She didn’t want her boss to think that she was refusing an important job.

No, she would do it happily, if she thought she was capable. “I’m not sure I’m the right person for this role.”

“Nonsense. I spoke with Sandra and Dave this morning, and as soon as they told me they bought the house because you helped them picture what Christmas would look like there, I knew you were the one to lead the team.” Mary gathered her paperwork and slid it into her briefcase. “You’d better get started. As I said, three weeks is plenty of time, but it will pass very quickly.”

She gritted her teeth together, wishing she had never mentioned the Christmas tree last night. They had been so concerned about where to put a tree in the previous homes she had shown them, it seemed like the logical thing to do at the time.

Now she was in charge of decorating four homes? Her back stiffened at the thought of it. She swallowed hard, then nodded as she watched Mary leave the room.

Looked like she’d be decorating this Christmas after all.

 



 





Angelina Goode pic

Angelina Goode began writing as a teenager. Though her first works were poems about love-struck teenagers, she grew her craft while earning her degree in Journalism and Creative Writing. A former grade school teacher that loved teaching children to write, she enjoys finding creative ways to present everyday events. Now she primarily writes light-hearted contemporary women’s fiction. Angelina loves to travel and weave places she’s visited into her novels. She lives in Los Angeles where she enjoys people-watching and year-round sun.

Website: www.angelinagoode.com

Twitter: @angelina_goode

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http://www.pumpupyourbook.com
My Take: This book is the perfect book to read at this time of year as it helps you get into the Christmas Spirit and is the perfect sweet story that is what the season is about. Caroline is a real estate agent who tries to get people into the right homes. She has been assigned to lead the committe that is in charge of decorating 4 homes for their Christmas Tour of Homes even though she doesn't decorate her own home. Luke is sure that Ella, his daughter, has what she wants on her Christmas List and this year she wants a House of their own. Caroline and Luke meet in a truly Christmas Miracle type of way and they will see if they can make sure each other gets what they need for Christmas. I received a review copy from Pump Up Your Book tours and was not required to give a positive review.