Friday, December 2, 2022

Lily Makes a Way by Susan Count

Lily Makes a Way book cover
Lily Makes a Way (Dream Pony Riders #2)
By Susan Count
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date:

Blurb:
When Lily’s adored pony is injured, it could be the end of their life together.

A young girl’s ability to keep her pony is threatened by financial stress on her family.

The strain intensifies when the pony is injured requiring expensive treatment. Even if Lily could afford it, China might never walk again.

Is mild-mannered Lily strong enough to make the difficult choices? What if that means letting go of her adored pony?


Links:
- Goodreads
- Bookbub
- Amazon

Susan Count author picture
About the Author:
Susan Count writes for the joy and entertainment of young readers. She is a best-selling, award-winning author of the Dream Horse Adventures Series, Dream Pony Riders Series, and Texas Boys Adventures.

She prefers to create stories in a quiet zone. Out her window, her mind wanders through the forest and keeps her in a grateful, contented state of being. She writes at a fabulous antique desk that has secret compartments filled with memories, mysteries, and story ideas. As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers, Susan takes studying the craft of writing seriously.

Susan confesses to being overly fond of brownies and horseback riding on forest trails. She is a lifelong equestrian and is owned by a Rocky Mountain Horse.

You are invited to saddle up and ride along. www.susancount.com

Author links:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Pinterest
- Instagram
- Goodreads
- Amazon

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My Take: This is the second book in a middle grade series about girls and their Ponies called Dream Pony Riders. This book has heart and the story is relatable for tween girls who are animal lovers and interested in horses. I can't wait to give these to my granddaughters. They are all animal lovers and I think they would love to read about ponies. There was a nice glossary and diagrams at the end of the book. There was even a recipe to make some treats for horses. I received a review copy of this book from Lola's Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills

Concrete Evidence

by DiAnn Mills

October 31 - November 25, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills

On the family’s Brazos River Ranch in Texas, Avery Elliott helps run her grandfather’s commercial construction business. Raised by Senator Elliott, Avery has never doubted her grandfather is the man of integrity and faith she’s always believed him to be . . . until the day she finds him standing with a gun over the body of a dead man. To make matters worse, Avery’s just discovered a billing discrepancy for materials supposedly purchased for construction of the Lago de Cobre Dam.

Desperate for answers, Avery contacts FBI Special Agent Marc Wilkins for help. As Marc works to identify the dead man Avery saw, threats toward Avery create a fresh sense of urgency to pinpoint why someone wants to silence her. With a hurricane approaching the Texas coast and the structural integrity of the Lago de Cobre Dam called into question, time is running out to get to the bottom of a sinister plot that could be endangering the lives of not only Avery and her loved ones but the entire community.

Praise for Concrete Evidence:

"VERDICT Mills ... delivers another action-packed novel that offers intrigue and an adventurous ride. Recommend to fans of Dani Pettrey, Lynette Eason, and Carrie Stuart Parks."

Shondra Brown for Library Journal

"The confident plotting keeps the mysteries coming, and red herrings will have readers guessing the culprit through to the satisfying conclusion. Fans of Colleen Coble and Susan Sleeman will savor this thrilling standalone."

Concrete Evidence Trailer:

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 416
ISBN: 9781496451897 (ISBN10: 1496451899)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Tyndale

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Texas Hill Country

AVERY ELLIOTT SPURRED HER HORSE across one of the thirty-five thousand rolling acres of the Brazos River Ranch in the blazing heat. The sultry August wind blew through her hair, bathing her damp face and shoving aside her pensive mood. Granddad had told her once that if he could lasso the wind, he’d ride that bronc to eternity. She’d framed the saying and placed it in the reception area of their office.

Granddad had left at dawn to ride fence and enjoy some solitude and think time. His work habits overruled his stomach, which meant he wouldn’t stop to eat until he’d inspected a recently repaired stretch. Then the Internet had gone down ending her morning’s work. A good excuse for her to get away from the office and spend special time with him.

She lightly grasped the reins of the most wonderful quarter horse on the planet and the perfect cure-all for the morning’s frustration. Closing her eyes, Avery allowed Darcy’s rhythmic gallop to soothe her.

Avery slowed the mare to a walk and twisted her phone from her jeans pocket. Pressing on Granddad’s name in Favorites, she breathed in the sweltering heat and envisioned him fumbling for his phone.

“Mornin’, sweet girl.”

“Can I treat you to a five-star restaurant for lunch?” He chuckled. “You’ll have to fly in the prime rib.”

“I’ve packed us a picnic, and I’m on my way to meet you. Just say where.”

“Drivin’ or ridin’?”

“You’ve hurt Darcy’s feelings.”

“Give her my apologies. I’m west of the river about a mile from the family cemetery. Should be a nice breeze there this morning. We could talk and have lunch with your grandma.”

“Good. I’d planned to stop at her grave while I was out.” The oaks bordering the family plots would offer relief from the hundred-degree temps. With the abundance of summer rain, the area brimmed with green and vibrant wildflowers. “I’ll make sure she has flowers on her grave.”

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. Guess I’m a sentimental old man who never got over his first love.”

Someday Avery wanted the same kind of love. She remembered the woman with warm brown eyes and a loving touch who fell prey to a stroke nearly fifteen years ago and never recovered. “You’re not a sentimental old man but one who misses his wife and best friend.”

“I see her in you.” He sighed. “You have a spirit of strength deep in your heart. Others think you’re quiet—until you’re riled. Then you’d give the devil a run for his money.”

“I hope I can always live up to that strength.”

“You already have. One day you’ll make the right man proud.” “Haven’t found him yet.”

“Time’s just not right. So when will you get here?”

Avery studied the familiar landmarks—thoroughbred horses grazing to the south and cattle taking advantage of the Brazos River. Why anyone would choose to live away from nature’s beauty made little sense to her. “About thirty minutes.”

“You didn’t bring tofu and carrot sticks? Mia’s new diet is killing me. The doctor doesn’t need to worry about my cholesterol or weight because she’s starving me.”

Avery laughed. “No. I packed ham and cheese, jalapeño-bacon potato salad, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and apple pie. You can eat light this evening.”

“I have a political dinner at six o’clock and a deacon meeting at seven thirty. Hey, how did you get the forbidden food past Mia?”

“She was upstairs while I hurried in the kitchen.” Their housekeeper and cook had entered the back side of her sixties and refused to slow down, but Granddad and Avery kept trying. Both knew better than to tell Mia to cut back on her pace unless they were looking to be chased down the road with buckshot in their rears. Granddad had no room to talk. He faced the big seven-oh in October, and he’d made no plans to ease back.

She slipped the phone back into her jeans pocket and hurried Darcy on. Avery wanted to arrive at the picnic site well before Granddad and have lunch set out for him.

Her thoughts crept back to the accounting issue from this morning. A work problem had made another moment at the ranch office torture, and getting away from the computer served as the perfect antidote. In examining Elliott Commercial Construction’s records before the auditors arrived next week, she’d found a discrepancy. A paid bill for materials was much lower than it should have been. Why hadn’t she seen this weeks ago at the completion of the Lago de Cobre Dam? The original bid for the project included the cost to supply additional rock and expand the footprint, footers, and other foundational elements to compensate for the soft ground. Those materials were ordered, canceled, and still the specs showed the work had been completed per the contract.

She’d contacted the material’s supply company, and the accounting manager confirmed they’d invoiced what they supplied. Yet Avery’s files didn’t reflect a different supplier for the required foundation, as though Granddad had substituted inferior materials or hadn’t followed the specs. He’d never sacrifice safety. Even the idea scraped raw against her conscience.

A call had gone to Craig, the foreman, but only voice mail greeted her. The accounting mess would drive her nuts until she resolved it, but she’d have to wait. Granddad would laugh at her fears about the dam’s potentially faulty construction and explain the discrepancy. Accurate details ruled her thoughts, and perfectionism had a way of eating at her logic. A lot of good her Ivy League education accomplished when the numbers didn’t add up.

Granddad said Avery shared his insight and discernment. The ability took practice, prayer, and purpose—his favorite three p’s as though he’d outlined a sermon. But Granddad was wrong. She must have made a mistake, and the error warred within her.

Avery rode the path to the family cemetery. Elliotts had owned this property and been buried there before Texas became a state. Irish, English, and Scottish heritage—hard workers and fighters for faith, family, and freedom. Which had a lot to do with Granddad’s name, Dad’s, and hers—Avery Quinn Elliott, respectively Senior, Junior, and whatever that made her. Fortunately, Granddad went by Quinn or Senator, Dad went by Buddy, and she was simply Avery. Proud family and heritage, although Dad and Mom slipped in applying all three traits of being an Elliott.

Not going there today. After spending time with Granddad and finding out the source of her accounting problem, she—

A shot rang out from the direction of the cemetery.

She dug her heels into Darcy’s side and bolted ahead. Had Granddad met up with a wild pig, a rattler, or even a two-legged varmint? The latter caused her to slow the mare and circle a grove of trees. If she needed her Sig, the firearm rested in a saddlebag beside the packed lunch. Granddad wasn’t in sight. Only his stallion.

She dismounted and grabbed her gun. Tying Darcy to a slender oak, Avery moved closer to the iron gate of the cemetery entrance and prayed he hadn’t been hurt. How had he been a mile west of here when she called him?

Hesitant to call out for him and draw the shooter’s attention to her, she hid behind an oak. A riderless motorcycle—a shiny, blue Yamaha Tracer 9 GT—had parked in the shadow of more trees outside the far edge of the iron fence, a few yards from a worn path leading to the main road.

On the opposite side of the cemetery, Granddad bent over a man, whose blood stained his chest and pooled on the ground. He felt for a pulse and lifted his head to the cloudless sky. In Granddad’s gloved right hand rested a gun. He shoved the weapon into his front belt and lifted his phone to his ear.

“He’s dead. This has to end.” Granddad scanned the area, no doubt searching for someone. “I want Avery kept out of this, but I’m expecting her in the next twenty minutes.” He kicked the dirt with the toe of his boot. “He parked on the road and walked back. She isn’t to know about any of it. I’ll handle the situation on my end. . . . Yes, I’ll be careful and not let the authorities know what happened. Look, I need to move his body out of sight. He was a friend, one of the best. I despise where this has gone.” Granddad waved his hand. “I told you Avery won’t be a problem.”

***

Excerpt from Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills. Copyright 2022 by DiAnn Mills. Reproduced with permission from DiAnn Mills. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards, the Golden Scroll, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, an active member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on:
diannmills.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @DiAnnMills
Instagram - @diannmillsauthor
Twitter - @DiAnnMills
Facebook - @DiAnnMills
YouTube - @DiAnnMills

 

 

Tour Participants:

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

 

 

Join In:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for DiAnn Mills. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.
My Take: This is a Christian mystery thriller that had me guessing from the first word till the last. This book deals with a Granddaughter and Grandfather who run a ranch and construction company together. Avery's grand dad disappears soon after Avery witnesses him standing over a body who turns up dead. With the story slowly unfolding and the Avery finding herself falling for a FBI agent who's father may or may not have something to do with the mystery before he died of an apparent heart attack. I enjoyed this book although I found it a bit slow going but it was worth the wait. I received a review copy of this book from Partners in Crime tours and was not required to write a psotive review.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Between Before and After by Jessica StillingBetween Before and After by Jessica Stilling Publisher: DX Varos Publishing (November 8, 2022) Category: General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Family Secrets Tour Dates November 1-23 ISBN: 978-1955065665 Available in Print and ebook, 479 (or less) pages Between Before and After

Description Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Indie movie director Sebastian Foster has found his niche making movies based on the award-winning novels written by his estranged mother. However, his latest film, based loosely on the tragic death of his sister as a child, opens up old wounds best left under bandages. Told in two concurrent timelines, now and when Sebastian was a teen, some twenty years ago in the mid-1990s, this story of learning unknown truths unwinds in the streets of Paris, where Sebastian lived as a teen and where he has returned to make his picture.

Praise For Jessica Stilling

Bronx Council of the Arts Chapter One Award for The Beekeeper’s Daughter "Stilling’s take on this familiar tale is provocative and poignant, rich with emotion and powerfully described, laced with profound contemplation about dying too soon and growing up too quickly."- Publisher's Weekly review of Betwixt and Between "At turns happy and unbearably sad, Betwixt and Between is a beautifully realized re-imagining of a classic story that will enchant readers as the original did."- Booklist starred review of Betwixt and Between "A suspenseful read. Jessica Stilling sets the story among a backdrop of stunning scenes of Greece described as being almost visceral with a unique compilation of romance, mystery, and self-inspection. A compelling story that comes to life off the page."-San Francisco Book Review of the Weary God of Ancient Travelers

About Jessica StillingBetween Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Jessica Stilling has written three works of literary fiction, Betwixt and Between, The Beekeeper's Daughter, and The Weary God of Ancient Travelers. She also wrote poetry and short fiction for various literary journals. Her articles have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Bust Magazine and she writes extensively for The Writer Magazine. She has taught Creative Writing in both high school and university. She also publishes young adult fantasy under the pen name JM Stephen. Jessica loves Virginia Woolf, very long walks, and currently lives in southern Vermont where she writes for the very local newspaper, The Deerfield Valley News. Website: https://www.jessicastilling.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaStilling Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.sticklor

Preorder Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Amazon Barnes&Noble DX Varos Publishing

Giveaway Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

This giveaway is for 3 print or ebook copies. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on November 24, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 1 Kickoff & Interview Bookgirl Amazon & Goodreads Nov 2 Review Lu Ann Rockin Book Reviews Nov 4 Review & Excerpt Sal Bound 4 Escape Nov 8 Guest Review Gracie Goodreads Nov 9 Review Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Nov 10 Review Nora StoreyBook Reviews Nov 14 Guest Review & Excerpt Denise Amazon & Goodreads Nov 16 Review Mark Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 17 Guest Review Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews Nov 21 Guest Review & Excerpt Mindy Room Without Books is Empty Nov 22 Review Bee Book Pleasures Nov 23 Review & Interview Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling My Take: This book is told in two timelines. Sebastian is a bit estranged from his mother but as a film director has choosen to base his films on her books. His latest project is based on her book on a fire that killed her daughter, Sebastian's sister. Sebastian buys the old apartment where his family lived and has filled it with replicas of the furniture. Along the way Sebastian meets back up with friends and acquaintances that we learn most are not very nice people and they haven't changed much over the years. This story keeps you guessing as Sebastian tries to find out the truth. There is a surprise ending that will have you glad you read till the end. I received a review copy of this book from Virtual Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

It's News to Me by R.G. Belsky

It’s News to Me by RG Belsky Banner

It's News to Me

by R.G. Belsky

October 3-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

It's News to Me by RG Belsky

Dashed dreams: she wanted to run for president one day, now she's dead at 20

When Riley Hunt—a beautiful, smart, popular student at Easton College in Manhattan—is brutally murdered, it becomes a big story for TV newswoman Clare Carlson.

After days of intense media coverage, a suspect is caught: a troubled Afghanistan war veteran with a history of violent and unstable behavior. The suspect's mother, however, comes to Clare with new evidence that might prove her son's innocence.

As Clare digs deeper into the puzzling case, she learns new information: Riley had complained about being stalked in the days before her murder, she was romantically involved with two different men—the son of a top police official and the son of a prominent underworld boss—and she had posted her picture on an escort service's website offering paid dates with wealthy men.

Soon, Clare becomes convinced that Riley Hunt's death is more than just a simple murder case—and that more lives, including her own, are now in danger until she uncovers the true story.

Praise for It's News to Me:

"[It's News to Me is] witty, clever and engaging. Clare Carlson’s irreverent comments and dogged reporter’s instincts make for a propulsive ride as she races from the chaos of a newsroom’s inner sanctum to the dangers of a murder victim’s deepest secrets. Once you start, you won’t put it down."

Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times best-selling author

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: October 4th 2022
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 1608094561 (ISBN13: 9781608094561)
Series: Clare Carlson #5 (each is a stand alone work)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

I met Brendan Kaiser, the owner of my TV station Channel 10 and about a zillion other properties, for lunch on a sunny spring day at a restaurant called Tri-Bar in lower Manhattan.

Tri-Bar is what’s known in New York as a celebrity restaurant. In other words, whenever you read the gossip columns, there’ll be an item about how “so and so said such and such over dinner last night at Tri-Bar . . .”

Robert DeNiro sometimes ate there. So did Jimmy Fallon and Alec Baldwin and Julia Roberts when she was in town.

I’d been to trendy hotspots like this a few times to see if I could spot someone famous. Mostly all I ever saw were a lot of other people like me hoping to see if they could recognize anyone. The closest I ever came to a celebrity was when I ran into Sally Struthers once in the ladies’ room of a restaurant on the Upper East Side. It had been a long time since Sally was a big star on All in the Family. My last memory of her had been doing those late-night infomercials about world hunger, and she sure didn’t look much like Gloria Bunker anymore. I decided not to ask for her autograph.

There was some kind of a maître d’ standing at the entrance to Tri-Bar. He wore a black tuxedo like outfit, highly shined shoes, and white gloves. I had on a pair of tan Calvin Klein jeans, a chocolate-colored silk blouse, and beige sandals. I thought my outfit was pretty swell, but he looked me over coolly.

“Is there something I can do for you, ma’am?”

“I’m looking for Brendan Kaiser. My name is Clare Carlson.”

“And?”

“I’m the news editor of Channel 10 News.”

He still didn’t seem too impressed.

Maybe he didn't like my color coordination.

“And what might your business be with Mr. Kaiser?”

“Well, I might be here to pick up his dry cleaning, but I’m not. How about I discuss my business with him?”

He scowled and picked up a phone to check with someone inside.

The truth was I wasn’t sure why Brendan Kaiser wanted to meet me here. I’d had a few dealings with him in the past on big stories in my job as the news director for Channel 10—but he’d never invited me to lunch. Maybe he was going to give me a raise. Maybe he was going to tell me I’d been named Employee of the Month. All I knew is that when the big boss asks you to go to lunch with him, you go to lunch.

The maître d’ still looked unhappy when he got off the phone, but he eventually directed me to a table inside. Brendan Kaiser was already there. Kaiser was in his 50s, with thick gray hair. Not a bad-looking guy, but he did have a bit of a paunch. I noticed it when he stood up to greet me. Probably from eating too many lunches at a place like Tri-Bar.

“Thank you for coming on such short notice, Clare,” he said. His office had just arranged the meeting with me a few hours earlier. “I hope I didn’t interfere with any other lunch plans you had for today.”

“Well, until I got your call, my lunch plan had been to go for a Big Mac at McDonald’s. That special sauce they put on it is to die for.”

He smiled.

We made small talk for a few minutes, and then a waiter came over and took our orders. Kaiser was having some kind of duck dish with orange sauce and shoestring potatoes. I went for the tortellini with a salad. According to the menu I’d scanned, this meal was going to cost a lot of money. What the hell—he was paying, not me. Whatever happened next, maybe I’d at least get a good meal out of it.

“So do you want to tell me what this whole lunch deal between me and you is all about?” I said after a bit more conversation.

“You do get to the point, don’t you?”

“I’m a journalist. I used to be a newspaper reporter. I like to get to the lead of the story as quickly as I can.”

He nodded.

“The reason I asked to see you like this was to discuss a situation we need to deal with, Clare.”

“What kind of situation?”

“A situation involving Channel 10 News.”

“I didn’t know we had a situation.”

I took a drink of some iced tea I’d ordered with my meal. I wished now it was something stronger.

“Look, I think that everyone at Channel 10 news is doing a really terrific job,” Kaiser said.

“Glad to hear it.”

“Especially you as news director.”

“Glad to hear that too.”

“And you’re a star, besides being the news director. You’ve broken some big stories for us, gotten a lot of publicity and notice in the media world. The Charles Hollister murder case. The serial killer you helped catch. I appreciate that from you, Clare. I appreciate all of your success and all your hard work. I really do.”

“But?”

“Excuse me?”

“There is a ‘but’ coming here, right?”

“Yes, there is,” Kaiser sighed. “Despite all your hard work, the ratings—and, as a result, the advertising revenue—isn’t quite at the level we need at Kaiser Media to run a profitable news operation. I want to do better. I think we can do better.”

The waiter brought our food. We both ate in silence for a few minutes. I waited to see what Brendan Kaiser would say next. I didn’t really have anything to say. So I stuck my fork into the tortellini and bit into a piece. Pretty tasty. Good cream sauce too. Almost as good as the sauce on a Big Mac.

“I’ve decided to make some changes at Channel 10 News,” Kaiser said finally, nibbling on a shoestring potato.

“What kind of changes?”

“Changes at the top.”

“Wait a minute—are you firing me?”

“No, of course not.”

“Demoting me? Is that the reason for this lunch?”

“You’re still going to be the news editor.”

“But you said you were making changes at the top so . . .”

That’s when it hit me.

“Jack Faron?” I asked.

“Yes.”

Jack Faron was the executive producer at Channel 10 News. My boss.

“I’m replacing Faron. Jack’s done a good job, but he’s more old school than we need right now. I’d like to put someone in the job with more drive, more energy, more new ideas. So I’ve hired a new executive producer. Jack will still be with us at Channel 10 News. But moving forward, he’s going to be in a more . . . uh, advisory role.”

“Does Jack know about this?”

“Not yet. I know you’re close to him, so I wanted to make sure you were the first to hear about this.”

I wasn’t sure what to say. Jack Faron had been my mentor at Channel 10 News. The one who had hired me when the newspaper I worked for went out of business. The one that stood by me when my early on-air appearances as a TV reporter bombed. The one who promoted me to news editor and had backed me on every story and crisis since then.

And now he was not going to be there for me.

At least not in the same way.

I asked Kaiser the obvious question.

“Who’s replacing him as executive producer?”

“Susan Endicott,” he said. “Do you know her?”

“Not really.”

“I think you two will get along really well. That’s why I wanted to have this conversation with you. I want you to accept this. I want you to understand the reason for it. I want you to be happy. I want you to help make Susan Endicott feel welcome here. Are you good with all that, Clare?”

“Hey, you know me—I’m a team player.”

“No, you’re not.”

I sighed. “Yeah, you’re right, I’m not.”

“Let’s try to make this work, huh?”

I wasn’t sure what to say next, but it turned out I didn’t have to. I got a break. My phone rang, and—when I looked down at it—saw it was from Maggie Lang, my top editor at Channel 10 News.

“Where are you?” Maggie said.

“At lunch.”

I hadn’t told anyone who I was having lunch with.

“We’ve got a big story breaking. A murder. Female college student found murdered near Washington Square Park.”

“Who is she?”

“Her name’s Riley Hunt. She came here from Ohio to go to school at Easton College, not far from the park. Family has money, it sounds like. Her father’s a doctor back in Ohio, her mother a lawyer.”

“All hands-on-deck for this one,” I said.

“Already done. We’re gonna lead the newscast with it at 6.”

After I hung up with Maggie, I told Kaiser what was happening. I said I needed to get back to the station right away to direct the news coverage. That wasn’t totally true, Maggie could have handled it on her own. But I wanted to get out of here, and this seemed to be the perfect excuse. I didn’t like what was happening to Jack Faron. I didn’t like the fact I knew about it before him. And I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like Susan Endicott, even though I’d never met her.

And so I did what I do anytime I can’t deal with problems in my life. I threw myself into a big story. And this murder sounded like a big story.

I said goodbye to Kaiser, walked through Tri-Bar and out the front door to catch a cab back to the Channel 10 newsroom.

The maître d’ didn’t bother to say goodbye.

Excerpt from It's News to Me by R.G. Belsky. Copyright 2022 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

R.G. Belsky

R.G. Belsky is an award-winning author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His new mystery, It’s News to Me, will be published on October 4 by Oceanview. It is the fifth in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. Belsky has published 19 novels—all set in the New York city media world where he has had a long career as a top editor at the New York Post, New York Daily News, Star magazine and NBC News. He also writes thrillers under the name Dana Perry. He lives in New York City and is a contributing writer to The Big Thrill magazine.

Catch Up With R.G. Belsky:
www.RGBelsky.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @dickb79983
Instagram - @dickbelsky
Twitter - @DickBel
Facebook - @RGBelsky

 

 

Tour Participants:

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

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for R.G. Belsky. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours

 

My Take: This is the fifth book in th Clare Carlson mystery series. Trust me when I say you will want to go back and read the first four, not because you have to but because you will want to get more of Clare Carlson. this time around Clare has to deal with a get the ratings making story anyway you can new boss. And even though the murder of Riley Hunt is declared solved Clare receives new evidence that may prove the suspect innocent. This book has plenty of twists and turns and even though some of it you see coming there is still alot that you don't. I recieved a review copy of this book from Parners in Crime Tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring by Stephanie Ziebarth

Invest Yourself A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring by Stephanie Ziebarth Banner

Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring

by Stephanie Ziebarth

on Tour October 3-28, 2022
 

Synopsis:

Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring by Stephanie Ziebarth
Spiritual mentorship-what is it, and what does it involve? Does spiritual mentorship matter today? How can spiritual mentorship help those who come after you? In Invest Yourself: A Guidebook for Spiritual Mentoring, Stephanie Ziebarth tackles these questions and explains the dramatic impact of spiritual mentorship in her own life. Starting with the basics, she addresses several key topics, including
  • spiritual multiplication
  • approaches to spiritual mentorship
  • one-on-one meetings
  • effectively helping your mentee
  • and much more
In addition to the solid content, the appendices include sample lessons, guidance for writing lesson plans, suggestions for how to mentor high school students, and recommended books . If you are looking for ways to make a lasting impact in the lives of others, this is just the book for you.
  "Invest Yourself is a rich, how-to book for life-on-life ministry, and it is a resource I’ll both use and recommend."
Matt Cox, Executive Director of Miracle Mountain Ranch Home of the School of Discipleship  
“If you are a new mentor looking for a place to start or a seasoned one in need of refreshing and new resources, you will find yourself encouraged and equipped in these pages.”
Diana Gruver, Author of Companions in the Darkness  

Book Details

Genre: Christian Living Published by: Mercy & Moxie Publication Date: May 2022 Number of Pages: 88 ISBN: 1945169745 (ISBN-13:‎ 978-1945169748) Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ThriftBooks | BookShop.org | Goodreads
 

Author Bio:

Stephanie Ziebarth
With a degree in journalism and religious studies, Stephanie Ziebarth believed writing was her main gift until she experienced the life-changing impact of spiritual mentoring during college. She has been spiritually investing in teens and adults ever since. Whether in her own home, through discipleship and camping ministries, or through the regional mentoring program she coordinates for Joy El Generation, Stephanie finds great satisfaction in leading people closer to Jesus so they will positively impact the world around them. Stephanie and her husband, Aaron, live in south-central Pennsylvania where they enjoy connecting with God and each other in the great outdoors, reading good books, and ministering together. Their three young adult children along with their spouses bring them great joy.

Connect with Stephanie Online:

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My take: This is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in mentoring others. She quotes many resources that you can read if you would like to do more research on the subject. You don't need a special degree or training to be a mentor to another but you do need time and the emotional aptitude for it as sometimes it takes a toll. This book does take inspiration from the Navigators Ministry and is Biblically based so you will have to take that into consideration. Lots of ideas to use in your takeaway and you will grow immensely. I received a review copy of this book from Partners in Crime tours and was not required to leave a positive review.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Abby's Pony Love by Susan Count

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This is my post during the blog tour for Abby’s Pony Love by Susan Count. Abby’s Pony Love is a wholesome and fun Middle Grade book about horses.

This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours and runs from 10 till 23 October. You can see the tour schedule here.

Abby’s Pony Love book cover
Abby’s Pony Love (Dream Pony Riders #1)
By Susan Count
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: 19 September 2022

Blurb:
When a girl falls in pony-love, she wants it to be forever.

Desperate to be near horses, a hopeful girl with no horse experience begs for a job at a stable. Then she falls in love with a beautiful but mischievous pony, only to have it bought by another family. Abby’s heart aches when her barn job becomes helping the new owner learn to ride the best pony ever. Can her faithful heart let go of what never belonged to her?


Links:
- Goodreads
- Bookbub
- Amazon

Susan Count author picture
About the Author:
Susan Count writes for the joy and entertainment of young readers. She is a best-selling, award-winning author of the Dream Horse Adventures Series, Dream Pony Riders Series, and Texas Boys Adventures.

She prefers to create stories in a quiet zone. Out her window, her mind wanders through the forest and keeps her in a grateful, contented state of being. She writes at a fabulous antique desk that has secret compartments filled with memories, mysteries, and story ideas. As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and American Christian Fiction Writers, Susan takes studying the craft of writing seriously.

Susan confesses to being overly fond of brownies and horseback riding on forest trails. She is a lifelong equestrian and is owned by a Rocky Mountain Horse.

You are invited to saddle up and ride along. www.susancount.com

Author links:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Pinterest
- Instagram
- Goodreads
- Amazon

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My Take: When I was a young girl I wanted a pony really bad but had to settle for reading about them and building models of them. This brought those feelings back. I am looking forward to sharing this book with my gradndaughters who are all on the middle grade early teen age that this book is aimed at. If you have a young reader that is horse obsessed then this book is the book for you. I highly recommend this book. I received a review copy of this book from Lola Book tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell

The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell Banner

The Perfect Brother

by Chris Patchell

September 26 - October 21, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell

A scandalous liaison. A killer on the loose. Can a young woman save her sibling from going down for murder?

Vancouver, Canada. Software engineer Indira Saraf refuses to march to her traditionalist parents’ old-world drum. Resentful of her brother’s golden-boy acceptance but still a devoted sister, she encourages him to confess his secret affair before he ends up married to a woman he doesn’t want. So she’s horrified when his student and lover is slain and he’s arrested for the gruesome crime.

Repurposing her own AI technology to prove his innocence, the unorthodox rebel scours the dead college girl's life for clues. But when Indira discovers another missing co-ed and the suspects pile up, she learns the hard way that her digging has drawn deadly attention…

Can she hunt down the culprit before she takes a fatal fall?

The Perfect Brother is a chilling standalone suspense thriller. If you like dogged heroines, complex family relationships, and dangerous twists, then you’ll adore USA Today bestselling author Chris Patchell’s riveting tale.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Indie Pub
Publication Date: September 27th 2022
Number of Pages: 421
ISBN: 978-1-7335452-4-2
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

Katie Lord knew her fiancé Tim couldn’t possibly mean what he’d said when he’d stormed out of her apartment last night. They weren’t over. It was just a stupid argument. But for the hundredth time that morning, she picked up her phone, hoping to see a message. Nothing. Despite the dozens of texts she’d sent him, she hadn’t received a single response. She checked her reception. It wouldn’t be the first time she missed a message because the cellular network was crap.

Four bars.

Dammit.

Katie slammed down the phone, no longer able to deny the ugly truth. He was ignoring her, treating her as if everything was her fault.

Hell yes, she’d been angry. Any girl in her situation with a brain in her head would be. They were engaged, and yet he was getting text messages from a girl at work—a girl he claimed was “just a friend.”

Just a friend, her ass. That damned girl was always sniffing around him. Whenever a group from work went out for beers, she was eager to join, and when the guys had planned an overnight camping trip, guess who wanted to tag along? Then when everyone else had dropped out... Well, it should have been obvious to Tim that the right thing to do would have been to cancel the trip. But no. They’d had to fight about it instead.

“Don’t you trust me?” Tim had snapped, hands on his hips, glaring at Katie as if she was in the wrong.

“This isn’t about you. It’s about her.”

“If you trusted me, we wouldn’t be arguing about this.”

Tim was dead wrong. If he wanted to act naïve and treat Katie like she was a jealous lunatic, then so be it, but Katie wasn’t fooled. She knew how girls operated and this one didn’t give a damn that Tim was engaged. She was trying to drive a wedge between Katie and Tim, and it was working.

Katie wrenched the engagement ring off her finger and stared at the ugly white tan line left behind. She tried to imagine what her life would be like without him, but she couldn’t. Just the thought of it made her ache as if half of her soul had been stripped away. Shoving the ring back into place, Katie shook off her fears.

She was being ridiculous. Dramatic. Didn’t Tim always say so? Once he’d had time to cool off, he’d call her, and they’d make up, the same way they always did.

Until then, she’d lose her mind if she spent another minute obsessing. Grabbing her phone, Katie plugged in her earbuds and headed outside. A run would be just the thing to get Tim off her mind and quiet the drumbeat of panic steadily building inside her.

The morning had started out rainy, but now the sun had pierced a hole in the angry clouds and set the maple leaves ablaze. Stunning shades of crimson and gold adorned the trees that bordered the twisty trail through the woods to the park.

Katie didn’t bother stretching. Surely the steep uphill walk from her apartment to the trail would be enough of a warm-up. Jamming her favorite playlist, she broke into a lumbering jog, losing herself in Meghan Trainor’s rendition of “Me Too.” It was just the right song to shake off her dour mood.

A quarter mile into her run, Katie was already panting. With her chest heaving and heart pounding, she slowed. Damn, this is hard. It had been months since her last run. She didn’t expect to feel winded quite so soon. Katie promised herself she would only walk long enough to catch her breath, then she’d hit it again. If she needed more motivation to get back into shape, her pathetic lack of cardio would be enough.

Besides, just last week Tim made a crack about the five pounds she’d gained since they’d gotten engaged. Five lousy pounds.

He was the one who insisted they swing by the coffee shop every morning before he dropped her off at school instead of going for a run. She would have suggested he go alone, but Katie didn’t like the way the barista at the coffee shop flirted with him. Tim didn’t seem to notice, and when she’d finally worked up the nerve to mention it, he’d accused her of being paranoid.

Easy for him to say. He wouldn’t much like it if some strange guy was hitting on her. And why wouldn’t someone hit on her? Despite the extra weight she was carrying, she still looked cute.

A burst of anger at Tim’s thoughtlessness spurred her into another sprint. She’d get back into shape and then she’d be the one going on hiking trips with her friends instead of wasting hours waiting for a message that might never come. The thought of Tim waiting on her for a change cheered Katie.

By the time she made it to the center of the park, her heart rate crested one hundred fifty beats per minute. Half a mile. Not bad for her first run.

Katie flattened her palm against her chest and waited for her breath to slow, and that’s when she felt it. The first pea-sized pellet of hail streaked down from an angry sky. Charcoal clouds gathered overhead and choked out the sun. The first strike was quickly followed by a second, and then…

Katie uttered an indignant squeal. Desperately scanning the trail, she searched for a place to take shelter and spied a white gazebo. She hurtled across the slippery grass as fast as her neon green Nikes would carry her and pounded up the steps. Katie slid to a sudden halt when she realized that she wasn’t the only runner seeking shelter from the storm.

Tim.

Just the sight of him standing in the gazebo with his back turned sent an electric pulse of relief surging through her. Her hungry gaze devoured his broad shoulders and lean waist. She yanked out her earbuds and rushed toward him when he turned.

Tim’s name died on her lips. Katie’s hopes plummeted as she took in the man’s face. It wasn’t Tim, but there was something familiar about the handsome stranger. She studied his bronze complexion and ebony eyes, trying to place him. She’d seen him before, she was sure of it, but where? As if sensing her confusion, his mouth curved into a grin that made Katie’s heart stop.

“Hell of a storm,” he said.

Katie’s breath sped up, forming dewy clouds in the cooling air. He had a killer smile.

“Sure is.”

“You were running too?” he asked.

With a self-conscious grin, Katie glanced down at her bare legs, which she hadn’t shaved in a few days, and shrugged.

“If you could call it that. I used to run every day, but it’s been a while.”

She was lying. Even back when she did run, she’d be lucky to make it out twice a week, but that sounded pathetic. From the way his rain-streaked hoodie clung to his well-toned torso, he looked in shape. His buff frame showed no hint of the slight paunch that Tim’s belly was starting to form.

“Nice shoes,” he said.

A glimmer of admiration flashed in his dark eyes as his gaze swept over her, from her flushed cheeks, all the way down to her size nine Nikes. She warmed under his lingering appraisal, wondering how long it had been since Tim had looked at her that way.

“The trail over by the reservoir is my favorite,” he said. “What’s yours?”

“I like the one through the woods.”

God, could she sound any more lame? Hailstones struck the gazebo’s tin roof in an atonal symphony that filled the silence between them.

“You’re Katie, right?”

An unexpected thrill raced through her.

“Do I know you?”

He flashed an amused grin. “From school. Business ethics class.”

Something clicked inside Katie’s mind and her mouth dropped open.

“Oh my god, of course. You know how it is when you see someone out of context.”

“Yeah.”

He gave a quick laugh and shifted his gaze beyond her, watching the ice pellets bounce off the tin roof onto the grass. Goosebumps rippled across Katie’s arms and she shivered, wishing she’d brought a jacket. As if reading her mind, he stripped off his sweatshirt and draped it around her shoulders. The soft fabric still held the warmth from his body. Katie hugged it close.

“Thank you.”

“Seeing as how my run’s pretty much shot for the day, want to grab some coffee? I know a place close by…”

Her pulse leapt at the unexpected question. It was dangerous. She was engaged. What would Tim say?

Nestled in the armband strapped around her bicep, Katie’s phone buzzed. In that moment, a sudden realization struck her. She didn’t give a damn what Tim thought. He was the one who had walked out on her. He was the one who saw no harm in flirting with the girl from work. And the barista. And god only knew who else.

It was just coffee. Nothing more.

Besides, a little harmless flirtation never killed anyone, right?

Chapter 1

One hundred seventy-two days until graduation, and then she’d get a real job. One that didn’t start so damned early. Even god wasn’t up yet, Mallory Riggins thought as she eased out of the apartment, locking the door behind her. The wind hissed through the towering pines, sending a damp chill racing through her. Deep shadows fell across the lawn, and not for the first time, she wished the security light mounted to the edge of the house still worked.

It was spooky out here alone. Normally, she parked her car in the garage, one of the few luxuries the small apartment carved out of the sprawling duplex offered, but the landlord’s son had arrived home last night for an unexpected visit and had parked in her spot, which meant that she had to park her rust bucket on the side of the road.

The sound of the closing door triggered the landlord’s dog. From somewhere up above, JoJo erupted into a barking fit. Mallory cringed.

“Hush, JoJo,” she muttered, hoping the dog wouldn’t rouse her roommate. Shelby was already annoyed that after two years, the dog still greeted them as if they were armed intruders.

The barking dog had jarred her awake last night too. Mallory hadn’t bothered to see what was causing all the racket. Between her heavy class load, late-night study sessions, and her new boyfriend, she needed all the sleep she could get. As much as she would have preferred calling in sick and getting some extra rest, the meager funds in her bank account were already dangerously low, and somehow, she still had to make it through the end of the school year.

Then all she had to do was find a job that paid more than minimum wage to cover the rent, the utilities, and still have enough money left over to buy food. In a city as expensive as Vancouver, how hard could that be?

Mallory scrambled up the steep hill toward the roadside, her feet sliding in the wet earth. It had stormed overnight. Pine cones and downed branches lay scattered across the narrow road, shaken free from the fierce wind.

By the time she reached her car, Mallory was shivering, and her day, which already wasn’t winning any awards, got a whole lot worse.

Pebbles of glass crunched beneath her feet. She stared at her car in dismay. The driver’s side window was shattered.

The universe was definitely sending her a message, and if she had an ounce of common sense, she’d crawl back beneath the covers and start over. But that wasn’t an option. With a broken window to fix, she needed the money from her job even more. Sheathing her hand with the sleeve of her coat, she swept the chunks of glass from the seat and climbed inside the car.

Rain had blown in through the broken window. The wet seat soaked through her jeans and Mallory groaned. She cranked the key and the sputtering engine coughed to life. Lights from the neighboring houses flickered on. The sleepy residential neighborhood was just beginning to stir to life as Mallory drove off.

The Daily Grind, with its brick walls, metal stools, and wooden tables, had a homey feel. The earthy scent of freshly roasted beans welcomed her as she pushed through the doors. For the next three hours, this place would be the first stop for every caffeine junkie in a five-mile radius starting out on their morning commute.

No sooner had she entered the shop when she locked gazes with her boss. There was no denying the fact that she was late. Rather than belabor the point, Mallory muttered an apology, strapped on her apron, and went to work.

Nothing about the morning had gone smoothly so far, so it should have come as no surprise when Mallory fumbled a hot cup of tea. It struck the edge of the countertop, spun around in a cartwheel, and sent a plume of hot water flying. Mallory jumped back, avoiding the worst of the spill, but a few stray drops scalded her forearm. She breathed in a painful hiss and grabbed a rag.

Meanwhile, the line tripled in size.

Ignoring the painful burn, she pinned on a frozen smile and greeted the next customer. Mr. Quad Grande Breve. He was cute with dark hair and kind eyes.

“The usual?” she asked.

“You always remember,” he said with a grin. “Toss in an extra shot this morning, please. God knows, I could use it.”

Puffy bags shadowed his dark eyes, and Mallory noticed that the poor guy looked as tired as she felt.

“A quad grande breve with an extra shot of love for Tim,” she called to her boss, Jenn, who was working the machines. “That will be four dollars and ten cents.”

Uncapping a black Sharpie, Mallory jotted down the drink order, and winced at the sting of the red welt forming on her arm.

“Are you okay?” Tim asked, gesturing toward the angry burn. “You really should get that under some cold water.”

If it wasn’t so damned busy, she would do just that, but with the lineup curving out the door, she didn’t have time.

“‘Tis but a flesh wound,” Mallory quipped, making light of the pain.

“Kind of early for Monty Python, don’t you think?”

Mallory grinned in surprise at his quick pick-up on the line. “Well, what can I say? So far, it’s been a shitty day. My car was broken into last night.”

“The Toyota?”

Mallory nodded. “They smashed the window.”

“That sucks. What did they steal?”

She shrugged. “Not sure. I might need to sacrifice a chicken, or an eggplant, or whatever the universe deems necessary to get back into karma’s good graces.”

Tim chuckled, handing her a stack of one-dollar coins. Loonies. Mallory made change, which Tim dropped into the tip jar. The coins rang against the glass and she thanked him with a smile. The next customer in line uttered an impatient sigh. Mallory took the hint.

“Have a good one,” she said to Tim.

“Hope your day gets better. If you need someone to fix your glass, or find a live chicken, I know a guy. He does good work.”

“With the window or the chicken?” Mallory smirked.

“Both.”

With a friendly wave, Tim was gone, and Mallory took the next order. Dozens of customers later, when the line finally began to subside, something he’d said stuck inside Mallory’s mind.

“Wait. How does he know I drive a Toyota?”

She’d muttered the question under her breath. Both Tim and his drink were long gone.

“Who? Mr. Quad Grande Breve?” Jenn asked. “Any fool with eyes could see he’s got a thing for you.”

“Nah, he’s got a girlfriend.”

Jenn snorted. “That bitter pill? She wasn’t with him this morning. Besides, you know how men are. My ex was onto his third girlfriend before I found out.”

A single mother with two exes, Jenn never had a nice word to say about anyone.

“Maybe he’s a stalker,” Joe the dishwasher said.

Joe was an acting student. He was always mimicking someone, and this morning, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger, adapting a line from the movie Kindergarten Cop.

“Not you too,” she groaned.

Joe chuckled and slid behind the counter, carrying a tray of freshly washed mugs. Mallory shook her head and took the next order. They were both paranoid. Mr. Quad Grande Breve…Tim…was a nice guy. He always asked how her day was going, and unlike most people she met, he seemed to care about the answer. And he always bought his girlfriend’s drinks. Few guys she met at the shop were that considerate.

By ten o’clock the rush had slowed to a trickle. Mallory tallied her tips and grabbed her purse.

“Leaving?”

“Gotta run. Class awaits.”

“Do it. Do it now,” Joe called after her, still using the ridiculous Schwarzenegger voice.

Mallory rolled her eyes. “Hate to break it to you, Joe, but you’re a foot and a half too short to make a convincing Arnie.”

Even with his chest puffed out and stretched to his full height, Joe was still an inch or two shorter than she was.

“If Tom Cruise can play Jack Reacher, why can’t I be the Terminator?”

“Point taken,” she said with a laugh.

By the time Mallory left the shop, she’d forgotten all about the burn on her arm and Tim, and pretty much everything but school. Sheets of rain blew across the busy street. Mallory pulled her hood up and waited for a break in traffic. Why couldn’t her car have been broken into on a day when it wasn’t so blustery? By now, with the rain blowing through the busted window, the driver’s seat would feel like a wet sponge.

The stream of traffic slowed, and Mallory dashed across the street. She didn’t see the car that streaked around the corner until its headlights hit her square in the eyes. A burst of panic exploded inside her chest as she dodged out of the way. Tripping over a storm drain, she crashed to the ground beside her car, landing on all fours.

And that was when Mallory’s phone broke.

***

Excerpt from The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell. Copyright 2022 by Chris Patchell. Reproduced with permission from Chris Patchell. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Chris Patchell

Chris Patchell is an award-winning USA Today Bestselling Author who started writing to curb the homicidal tendencies she experienced during her daily Seattle commute. She writes gripping suspense thrillers with romantic elements set in the Pacific Northwest and believes good fiction combines a magical mix of complex characters, compelling plots, and well-crafted stories.

Over the years, she has written numerous popular books and series, including bestsellers Deadly Lies, In the Dark, and her most recent collection of small-town crime novellas, the Lacey James Series. Along the way, her writing has won several awards, including a 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Award, an IndieReader Discovery Award, and a Pacific Northwest Literary Award.

When she’s not writing, you can find Chris reading books, hanging out with her family, watching football, and struggling to keep up with her workout regime, all while shushing her incessantly yapping Yorkies. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two kids.

Connect with Chris:
www.ChrisPatchell.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @chrispatchellauthor
Instagram - @chrispatchellauthor
Twitter - @chris_patchell
Facebook - @authorchrispatchell

 

 

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My Take: I found this book to be intriguing and a bit scary in the whole big brother is watching you type of way. The brother in this book through isn't Big Brother but Amar, a tradional Indian guy who appears to be the perfect son until he is arrested for the murder of one of his students. Indira is his sister who is not traditional at all and has been living in her brother perfectness for a long time but jumps to use her job to investigate right away because she knows that he is not quilty. She draws attention to herself and she has to find the real killer before he finds her. This book was not action packed but I found it interesting in the way companies use our online presence to try and shape our thinking. I received a review copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

The Question is Murder by Mark Willen

This is my post during the blog tour for The Question is Murder by Mark Willen. The Question is Murder is a standalone crime mystery book about a journalist who writes an ethics column and finds himself enmeshed in a murder investigation that challenges his intellect and his ethics. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours and the tour runs from 3 till 16 October. You can see the tour schedule here: http://www.lolasblogtours.net/blog-tour-the-question-is- murder-by-mark-willen The Question is Murder By Mark Willen Genre: Crime/ Mystery Age category: Adult Release Date: May 2021 Blurb: Washington D.C. newspaper columnist Sam Turner, known to his readers as Mr. Ethics, faces his toughest moral dilemma yet: Can murder ever be justified? That's the question posed to him by a mysterious young woman who says she is being stalked and harassed by an ex-lover too powerful to be stopped any other way. Sam knows that journalists should never get personally involved in a story, but he finds he is being drawn deeper and deeper into this one whether he wants it or not. So when Senator Wade Morgan turns up murdered, Sam fears the worst. Worried about his own involvement, the man who normally has all the answers is now the one making questionable decisions. As his investigation into the Senator's death begins to spin out of control, Sam finds he can't let go-even as the case grows more complicated and the threats against his life become more immediate. With the fate of a young woman at stake and his own life in jeopardy, Sam can't back down until the killer-whoever that may be-is brought to justice. But this is D.C., and justice can be in short supply. Links: - Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57685793-the-question-is-murder - Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-question-is-murder-by-mark-willen - Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Question-Murder-Mark-Willen-ebook/dp/B091RNCRQ7 - B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-question-is-murder-mark-willen/ 1139321254?ean=2940165585265 - Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ebook/the-question-is-murder​ About the Author: Mark Willen was born, raised, and educated in New England, where he developed a special appreciation for the values, humor, and strength of its people, as well as the sense of community that characterizes so many of its small towns. After college, he moved to the Washington, DC area, where he quickly learned how the other half lives. As a journalist, he has been a reporter, columnist, blogger, producer, and editor at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. Mark retired from journalism in 2010 to devote himself to writing fiction. As a former graduate-level teacher of journalism ethics, he also tries to help people figure out the right thing to do in difficult situations through his blog, TalkingEthics.com Mark has a Masters of Arts in writing from Johns Hopkins University (2010) and a Bachelor of Arts in government from Dartmouth College (1969). The Question Is Murder is Mark’s debut mystery, but there is always an element of suspense in his novels. His earlier Jonas Hawke series, three books set in a small but troublesome town in Vermont, were also published by Pen-L. His short stories have appeared in The Rusty Nail, Corner Club Press, and The Boiler Review. Mark lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Janet. He can be reached by emailing mark(at)markwillen.com . Author links: - Website: https://markwillen.com/ - Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarkWillenAuthor - Twitter: https://twitter.com/markwillen - Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/markwillen7/ - Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8312661.Mark_Willen Giveaway There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Question is Murder. One winner wins a $25 Amazon gift card. For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway My Take: This book asks an interesting question. Is murder ever justified? The main charcter is aske that question through his column in the newspaper. Mr. ethics as dhe is known must try and solve the murder of a US Senator that he suspects is the topic of this question. I found this book very intersting and a truly hard question. Politics are always a hard topic and politicians are very powerful people. If you like your mystery with a dose of ethical questions then this is the book fro you . I recieved a review copy of this book from Lola Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Counterfeit Wife: A Revolutionary War Mystery by Mally Becker

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The Counterfeit Wife

by Mally Becker

September 19 - October 14, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Counterfeit Wife by Mally Becker

Philadelphia, June 1780. George Washington’s two least likely spies return, masquerading as husband and wife as they search for traitors in Philadelphia.

Months have passed since young widow Becca Parcell and former printer Daniel Alloway foiled a plot that threatened the new nation. But independence is still a distant dream, and General Washington can’t afford more unrest, not with food prices rising daily and the value of money falling just as fast.

At the General’s request, Becca and Daniel travel to Philadelphia to track down traitors who are flooding the city with counterfeit money. Searching for clues, Becca befriends the wealthiest women in town, the members of the Ladies Association of Philadelphia, while Daniel seeks information from the city’s printers.

But their straightforward mission quickly grows personal and deadly as a half-remembered woman from Becca’s childhood is arrested for murdering one of the suspected counterfeiters.

With time running out – and their faux marriage breaking apart – Becca and Daniel find themselves searching for a hate-driven villain who’s ready to kill again.

Praise for The Counterfeit Wife:

"The Counterfeit Wife by Mally Becker has it all — adventure, romance and deceit … [w]ith smooth-as-ice prose and pitch-perfect dialogue."

Tina deBellegarde, Agatha- and Derringer-nominated author of the Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery Series

"The Counterfeit Wife is a not-to-be-missed adventure that gives new meaning to rebel and loyalist, spy and spouse."

Lori Robbins, award-winning author of the On Pointe and Masterclass Mystery series

"As the young country struggles for independence, so does Becca, and she will have you turning pages well into the night … I highly recommended The Counterfeit Wife and I’m already anxious for the third of the series."

Eileen Harrison Sanchez, award-winning author of Freedom Lessons—A Novel

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 2022
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 9781685121587
Series: A Revolutionary War Mystery
Book Links: Amazon

Read an excerpt:

Heat rose from Rebecca Parcell’s chest, climbed her neck, and stamped a flush on her cheeks. She knew what would happen next. It was time for the toasts.

“Steady now,” Daniel Alloway whispered. They stood alone in a corner of the crowded ballroom. His good hand brushed hers for reassurance. His other hand hung at his side, deadened by the injury he’d incurred escaping from a British prison ship a year ago.

Becca scanned the room to assure herself that no one watched them. Even his light touch was frowned upon by polite society, but it brought her warmth and comfort.

Their host rapped an ornate silver fork against his crystal goblet again and waited for the magpie chatter of gossip to quiet. He stood by the large fireplace, his feet planted wide as if he were standing on the deck of one of his ships. Mr. Thaddeus Barnes was the wealthiest merchant in Philadelphia, which meant, she knew, that he was one of the richest men in all of North America.

Becca had rarely seen luxury like this, not even last winter in New York City. The ceiling dripped curved garlands of flowers carved of plaster. Blue and white vases from China rested on the carved marble mantel. Cherry wood tables hailed from France, and the glass chandelier from Venice.

“I’d be much more comfortable with a bow in my hand,” Becca murmured. “Or a knife. A knife would do.”

“You’d rather hunt in Morristown than here?” Daniel smiled, his green eyes filled with amusement. The gaunt, haunted look he wore when she met him last winter was gone. But his features still seemed to be carved from stone, all hard angles and shadows. Except when he smiled at her like this.

Despite being tall, Becca had to tilt her chin up to see eye-to-eye with Daniel. “Hunting here will do.” she said, sounding more prim than she intended, and Daniel laughed. “Even this type of hunting.”

They were in Philadelphia, searching for the counterfeiters flooding the colony with fake money. They were the obvious, though unconventional, pair for the job, General Washington had said when he assigned them. Daniel because he was a former printer with the skills to evaluate ink and paper and Becca for her talent with numbers, accounts, and codes, which had already served the general well.

The clink-clink of metal on glass rang through the air again, and Mr. Barnes’s guests finally quieted. “A toast,” he called, beginning the first of the three he would raise to Becca and Daniel. It was the same at each of the parties held in their honor these past few weeks. Always three. Becca dreaded the third. “To independence.”

Becca lifted her goblet and sipped to a chorus of “huzzahs.” One, she counted to herself, because counting was soothing but not soothing enough for what was to come.

When the cheers faded, Mr. Barnes raised his glass again. The wine-filled cup glimmered red beneath the crystal candelabras. “To General Washington.”

“Huzzah!” The ballroom cheered again. Two, Becca counted.

She should be grateful to Mr. Barnes, not gritting her teeth over his toasts. He had opened his home to them at the Washingtons’s request, and he was introducing them to the finest families in Philadelphia, who were happy to welcome two friends of General and Lady Washington.

At least that much was true. Since last February, she and Daniel had become regular visitors to the Washingtons’ residence in Morristown after uncovering a plot that threatened the new nation.

Another round of cheers. Some guests made the mistake of lowering their glasses.

“And…” Mr. Barnes crowed.

A man with ginger-colored hair lounging by the doorway sighed loudly, catching her eye.

Becca couldn’t have agreed more.

The stranger gave her a slow, lazy smile. His expression was almost intimate, as if he were trying to draw her in. She turned away quickly.

“Finally…” Mr. Barnes added.

Becca took a deep breath, inhaling the warm scent of beeswax candles.

“…let us wish the newlyweds a joyous and productive marriage.” Mr. Barnes, a long-time widower, winked at Daniel. “May your hearts ever be at each other’s service.”

The cream of Philadelphia society turned in unison to Becca and Daniel.

She dropped her gaze to avoid the stares.

“A delicate flower, you are,” Daniel whispered without moving his lips.

She banged his ribs with her elbow and heard a satisfying oomph.

Anyone watching her redden and look away at the mention of their marriage might indeed take it that she was a shy, delicate flower. This was false.

She was not shy.

She was not delicate.

And, more to the point, she and Daniel were not married.

Mr. Barnes nodded to a double-chinned musician in the corner dressed in maroon breeches and a matching silk coat. At the signal, he tucked his violin into his neck, lifted a bow, and attacked his instrument. Two men laughed at something a third said. A few women formed a group and chatted, and the high-ceilinged room filled again with noise.

Barnes knew the reason they were in Philadelphia. General Washington had trusted him with that information. But their host believed that Becca and Daniel were wed. This way, Mr. Barnes could rightfully claim to be as outraged as everyone else if their deceit came to light.

Memory pulled Becca back to a dinner with the Washingtons in Morristown. “Perhaps this is unwise.” The general voiced a rare doubt after they agreed to come to Philadelphia. “You are unmarried and unchaperoned. It is scandalous. Society will close ranks against you. You’ll learn nothing.”

Lady Washington had taken a small sip of sherry. Her blue eyes lit with humor. “Then they must appear to be married while maintaining all the proprieties.”

The general made a choking sound that Becca and Daniel decided later was laughter. And so they’d agreed to play the part of a newly married couple, with Daniel looking for a new business opportunity in Philadelphia. It was a brazen plan but might just succeed.

Becca startled. The ginger-haired gentleman suddenly stood before her.

He extended a silk-clad leg and bowed, then rose, displaying the same secret smile that made her uncomfortable minutes ago. His nose was straight, his eyelashes pale against close-set blue eyes. Perhaps his chin was a bit heavy, his mouth a bit small. His features were not memorable, but something about him commanded attention.

It wasn’t just his shock of red hair combed back neatly and tied low along the back of his neck, nor the well-made clothes of ivory silk and gold embroidery. Everyone in the room bore similar signs of wealth. It was the confidence with which he moved, the sense that his regard flattered anyone upon whom it was bestowed.

“You’ve kept her from me, Alloway. I thought I knew all the beautiful women in Philadelphia.” His eyes locked on Becca’s.

She stiffened. It took discipline not to raise her hand and double check that the lace covering the top of her breasts was in place. He made her feel naked.

Daniel stiffened, too. “Mrs. Alloway, may I introduce Mr. Edmund Taylor, another merchant here in Philadelphia.”

Taylor’s light eyebrows shot up in mock distress. “Just another merchant? One of the most successful in the colonies, despite the war.” His gaze dropped to Daniel’s injured hand.

“And is your wife here, too?” Daniel bit down on the words, “your wife.”

Irritation crossed Taylor’s face so quickly Becca thought she imagined it. “My dear,” he called loudly.

A woman standing near the fireplace tensed, then moved toward them with the elegance of a swan. Her hair was honey blond, her skin unblemished, and her eyes a liquid blue. She stopped before them, wearing a tentative smile.

“I’m honored to present my wife, Charlotte Taylor.” He completed the introductions.

“It is a pleasure. I hope you enjoy our city.” Her voice was breathy and slow. There was a stillness about her, as if she had her own secrets to guard.

“I am enjoying it.” From downstairs, Becca heard the butler’s placating voice, then a woman’s shrill, demanding response.

Moments later, Mr. Barnes’s butler, Eli, slipped into the room.

Heads turned to the butler with a mixture of curiosity and mild surprise.

He whispered to Mr. Barnes, who nodded.

Then Eli strode toward them. He cupped his hand over his mouth and leaned toward Mr. Taylor.

“Begging your pardon, sir. There’s a woman at the front door. She says she’s yours, and that she must see you now.”

Becca couldn’t help but overhear. She says she’s yours. The woman at the door must be enslaved. Neither her dead husband nor father had owned slaves. But even she knew that enslaved people did not enter by the front door.

Color leeched from Taylor’s face.

“I will see her.” Mrs. Taylor swept from the room without waiting for her husband’s response.

“How do you find Philadelphia, Mrs. Alloway? Your husband says that this is your first visit,” another guest, who had turned to them at the servant’s approach, asked to mask the embarrassment of the moment.

When Becca didn’t answer, Daniel elbowed her gently. “Yes, Mrs. Alloway. How do you find Philadelphia?”

She really must do a better job responding to her married name. “People have been kind here. I hardly expected it.”

Mr. Barnes joined them, interrupting, “How goes your business, Taylor?”

“We don’t want to bore the ladies.” Taylor glanced at Becca.

“Please, don’t stop on my account. I comprehend so little, but hearing you speak of business never bores me.” Becca would have fluttered her eyelashes if she were the sort of woman who could manage it without appearing to have caught a speck of dirt in her eye.

She pasted a pleasant far-away expression on her face. Men spoke of business and politics as if she couldn’t understand a word, as if she didn’t listen and pass anything of interest back to General Washington. She took a small sip of the straw-colored dry sherry.

“Are you paying your investors in silver or paper these days?” Barnes asked.

Becca admired his playacting. Daniel and their host had rehearsed their lines. They asked the same questions at each party.

Taylor glared. “Sterling, of course. What are you accusing me of?”

Becca slowly lowered her glass. Taylor was the first to interpret the query as an accusation. An accusation of what? Having less silver than a man of his stature should? Or of passing along fake dollar notes?

Barnes nodded to Taylor. “No offense intended. I started seeing badly printed dollar notes again this spring. Merely asking whether you’re being cautious about paper dollars these days, given the situation.”

Taylor nodded curtly.

By now, five men had formed a tight ring as if warming themselves round a campfire. Becca stood just outside their circle.

Another of the merchants stepped up. “I thought I was the only one who noticed the forgeries.”

Daniel feigned surprise. “Has that been a problem here?”

“The British—damn them. They’re printing false money and spreading it as fast as they can,” one of the men said.

“There are worse problems, surely,” Daniel said.

“Ah, a young man who believes war is only about battles,” another guest drawled with feigned pity.

The others chuckled.

“If not winning battles, then what?” Daniel smiled, but the skin around his eyes tightened. He’s offended by the condescending tone, Becca thought.

“The counterfeits will set this country ablaze.” Barnes sputtered. “There have been food riots already. The poor are starving, and they can’t afford bread. How soon until people seek another king, another tyrant who swears that only he can save them?”

“When no one can tell whether money is real, the price of bread goes up, and everyone—everyone—turns against the government,” another man added. He looked to the group for support.

Becca studied them, shaken. She had thought of this trip as a lark, a way to spend more time with Daniel while unraveling a simple puzzle for General Washington.

Daniel bowed to Mr. Barnes. “It does sound terrible. My apologies.” He turned to Taylor. “And what do you think of all this, sir?”

Taylor shrugged. “Mr. Barnes is right. The economy is undone. I’d look to the traitors’ wives first. I wouldn’t put counterfeiting past them.”

“Who are the traitors’ wives?” Becca asked, catching Taylor’s attempt at redirection.

The men turned to her in surprise.

Oh bullocks. “Traitors? I don’t see any traitors at this party. Mr. Barnes wouldn’t allow it.” There. That sounded more like the simple, oblivious young woman they expected her to be.

Taylor and the others chuckled indulgently. “Nothing for you to worry about, Mrs. Alloway. Our apologies.”

“Do you know something specifically about these women, or are you trading in rumors?” Daniel’s voice was soft, but the challenge was clear. Neither he nor Becca cared for baseless rumors, not after gossip had almost ruined her life last winter.

“My husband’s passions sometimes lead him astray.” Charlotte Taylor had returned. “There are times that he causes harm when it is least intended.”

The husband and wife stared at each other from across the small circle of guests. He looked away first.

***

Excerpt from The Counterfeit Wife by Mally Becker. Copyright 2022 by Mally Becker. Reproduced with permission from Mally Becker. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Mally Becker

Mally Becker combines her love of history and crime fiction in mysteries that feature strong, independent heroines. She is the Agatha Award-nominated author of The Turncoat’s Widow, which Kirkus Reviews called, "A compelling tale... with charming main characters.” Her first novel was also named a Silver Falchion finalist and a CIBA “Mystery & Mayhem” finalist.

A member of the board of MWA-NY, Mally was an attorney until becoming a full-time writer and an instructor at The Writers Circle Workshops. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society. Mally and her husband live in New Jersey, where they raised their wonderful son and spend as much time as they can hiking and kayaking.

Catch Up With Mally Becker:
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My Take: This is the Second Book in the Revolutionary War Mystery series by Mally Becker. I did a review of this first book. I enjoyed this book as much if not more than the first book. In this book Becca andd Daniel are trying to find the source of the counterfeiting going on that they suspect the British of being behind to undermining the new country's economy. Throw in a murder and you have a lot of suspense and mystery to keep the pages turning. I would highly recommend this book. I recieved a review copy of this book from Partners in Crime Book Tours and was not required to write a positive review.