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Great Escapes Blog Tour: Demise in Denim by Duffy Brown – Review and Giveaway

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FTC DISCLAIMER: I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

DemiseDemise in Denim
(A Consignment Shop Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425274705
E-Book ASIN: B00LMGK5EM
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It’s springtime in Savannah, Georgia, in the newest Consignment Shop Mystery from the national bestselling author of Pearls and Poison. The azaleas and magnolias are in bloom—and Walker Boone is on the run. . .

When Reagan Summerside turned the first floor of her old Victorian home into a consignment shop, she never imagined she’d be harboring a fugitive in her attic. But after a dead man is found in a bathtub and local lawyer Walker Boone is accused of doing the dirty deed, she suddenly has a new houseguest.

Having the lawyer who took her to the cleaners in her divorce settlement—and who has been getting under her skin ever since—in close proximity is enough to drive Reagan to distraction. For the sake of her sanity—and Walker’s freedom—they need to put their heads together to find out who is trying to get the lawyer out of the picture . . .

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About This Author

While others girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy Brown longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. Today she conjures up who-done-it stories for Berkley Prime Crime and has two series, the national bestselling Consignment Shop mysteries set in Savannah and the Cycle Path Mysteries on Mackinac Island.

Author Links:

www.DuffyBrown.com

FB: www.facebook.com/authorduffybrown

https://twitter.com/DuffyBrownCozy

https://www.pinterest.com/duffybrown/

https://www.facebook.com/authorduffybrown

Purchase Links:
Amazon     B&N     Book Depository     Kobo   Google Play
My thoughts:  I have to admit that I was a bit confused when I first started reading the book. I felt like I had walked into the middle of a story. And I had sort of – but it was totally my fault.  I had meant to read Dead Man Walker, the prequel to Demise in Denim, but somehow never did. While reading Dead Man Walker first would be helpful, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary. Demise in Denim is so engaging that I found myself so caught up in the story that I forgot all about being confused.

I love this series. It’s lighthearted, fun and keeps you guessing to the end. I love Reagan. She reminds me of Lucy Ricardo with a multitude of Ethels. Reagn is just one of those characters you can’t help but love.  There’s certainly never a dull moment when she is involved.

I enjoyed seeing her romance with Walker blossom even under cloud of murder. I can’t wait to read more.

If you enjoy humorous cozy mysteries then this is a must read.

Thanks to the author, I have two lunch totes to give away. Just comment on this post letting me know your favorite type of mystery by midnight April 15th. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win. The winners will be drawn randomly on April 16th.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Review: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

 

echo  Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Goodreads Summary Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
 
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. 

My thoughts: This was a hard read for me. I’m not really sure if I can explain without giving away too much information. This is also a hard review for me to write because I love Pam Munoz Ryan and it doesn’t feel right to not give her a 5 star review.

The book is very well written. It would be excellent for a unit on historical fiction and racism in particular. But I felt that it sets the reader up for disappointment. In fact at times I was so disappointed in the story line that I almost gave up on the book. And I feel that my students would have the same problem. I really felt invested in the main characters and when it seemed as though all was going to go wrong for each of them it was almost too depressing to bear. As an adult, I know that not all stories are happy. Real life often doesn’t have a happy ending. And to be fair, the time period that Ryan is writing about is a time when there were a lot of unhappy endings.  It just didn’t seem fair  for each of them to seemingly have hope taken away.

Hopefully, I’m not giving too much away when I say that the stories do turn around. If the reader sticks with the book all the way to the end the story isn’t as bleak as you might think at first.

As I look back over this review, I realize that my thoughts are rather jumbled. Jumbled is what I felt when I finished the book. I’ve not yet decided if I will purchase this book for my school library. Amazon recommends it for grades 5-9, but I’m not sure it would be a good fit for my 5th graders.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

The Glassblower’s Wife by Joanna Campbell Slan: Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

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FTC Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It is my pleasure to welcome Joanna Campbell Slan to blog today. I’ve been a fan of her writing for quite some time and am honored to be a part of the blog tour for The Glassblower’s Wife.

How Long Should This Thing Be?

By Joanna Campbell Slan

When I first started writing cozies, my contracts specified that my books be around 85,000 words. Over the years, that changed. In fact, more recent contracts whittled that number down to 70,000 words. Why? Well, it’s cheaper for the publisher to print, stock, and send a smaller book. It also takes less time to edit.

That said, my newest book – The Glassblower’s Wife – is unusually short at 12,000-some odd words. The technical name is a novelette, which is longer than a short story and shorter than a novel.

How did I settle on that length?

I wrote the best story I could and let the story dictate its length. Then I sent the story out to my Beta Babes, my trusty band of first draft readers. When I asked them if I should lengthen The Glassblower’s Wife, their response was a unanimous, “No!”

To a person, they told me that it would dilute the drama. They loved the quicker pace, the shorter style. I totally understand. I write short chapters for the same reason. So often, I find myself reading while brushing my teeth or while waiting for the bell to ding on the microwave, and shorter pieces of fiction allow me to take a mental vacation while doing something totally mundane.

Furthermore, at such a short length, I really had to make every word count. So I went over and over the story, trying to paint the most compelling characters I could.

So far, readers have told me my strategy works. Out of a possible 5 stars, The Glassblower’s Wife rates a 4.8-star average.

What’s totally odd is that this short piece took more research than anything I’ve ever written. I spent months reading about the process of glassblowing, the hierarchy of men who were early glassblowers, and of course, I needed to know everything I could discover about life in the late 1600s. We read about King Louis XIV and his extravagance, but learning about the common folks was quite different.

A couple of times, I thought, “Why am I doing this?”

The answer kept coming back to me: “Because it’s a story that begs to be written.”

I hope you enjoy The Glassblower’s Wife.

Thank you Joanna! I certainly enjoyed The Glassblower’s Wife. I was very impressed with the whole story being wrapped up in such a short format. I tend to be a bit wordy so I have a great respect for authors who can tell a great story in a concise manner. I love historical fiction almost as much as I do cozy mysteries.  But what really hooked me in this story was Ruth. She’s truly a strong character and I can’t help but wonder about the rest of her story. I also found the story about glass makers very interesting and have added the topic to my list of things to research. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy historical fiction so much – it inspires me to learn more. That’s rather a good thing for a school librarian.

If you like historical fiction and strong female characters, I strongly recommend you read this enchanting story. Thanks to the author I have one e-copy of the book to give away. Please comment on this post with your thoughts about historical fiction.  Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you should win.  A random drawing will be held after midnight on April 11th.  Joanna is also offering a $50 Amazon Gift Card.  You can enter that giveaway here.

GlassblowersWife_Final_LightenedTHE GLASSBLOWER’S WIFE
by JOANNA CAMPBELL SLAN
Historical Mystery – short story

Synopsis:
When Jewish glassmakers and their families flee the powerful Doge of Venice, the cost of their freedom is three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors—the creation of the magnificent Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. But the Doge sends assassins to pick off the artists, one by one. Can Ruth Telfin, the mute widow of the head glassmaker, save her people?

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About This Author

Joanna Campbell Slan is the award-winning author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mysteries (an Agatha Award Finalist) and two other mystery series. Her stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series has been read and loved by millions. Her books reviving the classic heroine Jane Eyre have won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award. In her past life, Joanna was a television talk show host, an adjunct professor of public relations, a sought-after motivational speaker, and a corporate speechwriter. She is married to David Slan, CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery-DC. The Slans make their home on Jupiter Island, Florida.

Author Links:

Website  http://www.joannaslan.com

Blog http://www.joannaslan.blogspot.com

Facebook http://www.Facebook.com/joannacampbellslan

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/joannaslan

Goodreads  http://www.goodreads.com/joannacampbellslan

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/joannaslan

Purchase Link:
Amazon

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Books ‘N’ Bloggers Swap

2015BnBbutton I have signed up for another Books ‘N’ Bloggers Swap sponsored by the wonderful ladies at Chaotic Goddess Swaps.

 

These are always a lot of fun. You get to meet some really neat people, discover new blogs and of course discover new reads!

There’s still time to sign up. Here are all the details.

Your Swap Objective:

Get to know your fellow book-loving partner and send them a fantastic bookish package.
Your package must include:
  • A book from your partner’s wishlist.
  • A book you have read and loved.
  • A book you haven’t read, but think looks interesting. (Can also be on their wishlist.)
  • *Optional* Other book-related goodies.  

If this sounds like something you would enjoy (who wouldn’t?), hop on over to Chaotic Goddess Swaps and sign up. You have until April 6th.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Great Escapes Tour: The Icing on the Corpse by Liz Mugavero

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FTC Disclosure: I received a free advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Icing on the Corpse.inddThe Icing on the Corpse (A Pawsitively Organic Mystery)
3rd in Series
Series: A Pawsitively Organic Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (March 31, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-0758284822
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Synopsis

Kristan “Stan” Connor is thrilled to be invited to the Groundhog Day festivities in quirky Frog Ledge, Connecticut. Her organic, home-baked pet treats are a big hit at the annual celebration, though an important guest is curiously absent . . .

When Helga Oliver, the town’s elderly historian, is found crumpled in the basement of the Historical Museum, the close-knit town is devastated. But after some tenacious digging, Stan discovers Helga was pushed down the stairs–and that this picture-perfect New England town may hide some dark secrets . . .

Stan’s dogged determination reveals Helga’s ties to an unsolved death in 1948 . . . but how does that connect to Adrian Fox, who’s just arrived in town to shoot an episode of Celebrity Ghost Hunters? Stan is going to have to be very careful in chasing down the killer–if she wants to live to see another winter . . .

Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

Inside3About This Author

Liz Mugavero is a corporate communications consultant and animal lover from the Boston area, whose canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. Her short stories have been published in the UK and Australia, and her essays have appeared in national publications Skirt! and Sassee Magazine for Women.

Author Links

http://www.lizmugavero.com; https://twitter.com/lizmugavero;
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6475412.Liz_Mugavero;
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Liz-Mugavero/329291780446231;

Purchase Links
Amazon  Indie Bound B&N Book Depository

 

 

MY THOUGHTS:  I had not read any of Liz’s books before signing up to participate in this tour. When I started reading my review copy, I knew that I wanted to read the whole series – that this would be one of those series that I would add to my standing always read list. I quickly snagged the first two books from Amazon. You can easily read this third installment in the series without having read the first two, but I’m certain that after you read it, you’ll want to read the others, too.

I loved everything about this book. Stan is one of my new favorite mystery characters. Sometimes she’s a bit too curious but that makes for good mysteries. I especially love that she loves animals so much and that she has such a hard time saying no when someone needs her help.

The Icing on the Corpse has a little something for everyone: organic pet recipes, an old mystery, a hint of a ghost story and humor. Liz has written a great mystery that will keep you hooked until the last page.  I highly recommend this book (and the others in the series) for anyone who enjoys a great mystery with animals.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Book Blast – Numbers Game by Rebecca Rode

Numbers-GameNumbers Game by Rebecca Rode

Treena is nervous for Rating Day. A single number will brand her forever—a valuable citizen, or a pathetic waste of space. Her top-Rated boyfriend is confident their scores will coincide so they can attend the academy together. But when the big day arrives, her true number shocks everyone.

To get her life—and boyfriend—back, she must go undercover and expose a military spy. Doesn’t sound too hard, except that someone wants her dead. And then there’s Vance, the mysterious soldier with a haunted past and beautiful brown eyes. Together, they discover a dark numbers conspiracy, one that shatters the nation’s future. Treena must join up with Vance if she is to survive the dangerous game of numbers—and the terrible war that rages within her heart.

 

                                       AMAZON

 

 

Excerpt
“Your Rating is wrong,” Vance said. “Their precious Rating system says absolutely nothing about you and what you’re capable of.”

I shook my head. “So far, everything I’ve done has proven my number absolutely correct.”

“Treena.” His tone softened. “I don’t know why you that happened to you. But I do know one thing.” He stopped on the step below me, and I whirled to face him. We were the same height now, and his expression was fierce. “You are the most loyal, the most determined, and the most fascinating girl I’ve ever met. No number could ever describe you.”

The deadness inside cracked, and the pain came flooding back. I felt like a five-year-old again. Falling, grasping for a handhold, for something to save me. “It doesn’t matter now. Tali’s dead.”

He gave me a long look. Then he sat down, right on the steps, easing me down next to him. I lay my head on his shoulder and let him pull me close. The warmth of his embrace felt completely and utterly right. For a long moment, I allowed myself to forget about the past few days. There was no empress, no punishment mode, and no mission. There was just us. The world was cool and dark, and his touch sent my heart pumping as if it had just awakened from hibernation.

“Dying isn’t the worst thing to happen to someone,” he continued thoughtfully. “Anyone coward can die. The hardest thing is being left behind, trying to make sense of a world without them.”

I tilted my head back and allowed myself to look up into Vance’s eyes. They were dark, pulling, as if absorbing all the light that entered, saving it for some future purpose. His eyebrows were choppy, untrimmed, and his lips chapped. But somehow, it worked. It was simply . . . him. No surgeries, no tallies of volunteer hours and checklists. Vance just took life one day at a time, keeping his family safe, trying to put the pieces of himself back together. I could see it, the pain in his heart. It was something we shared now.

A warm feeling spread through my chest until I thought it would burst. This was who he really was. The tumultuous battle within him seemed to have trickled away, leaving one gallant, vulnerable boy. A boy who was looking at me as if I were something precious—who looked at me, instead of at my Rating. His eyes flitted between mine, his confidence replaced with uncertainty.

“It feels good to finally choose sides, doesn’t it?”

“Whose side are you on, then?”

His chin was just above mine, and he lowered it until our eyes were level. Then his hand tilted my chin upward toward his. His fingers brushed the side of my face, cradling it gently in his firm hand. I felt his breath on my face, felt the battle within him as well as I felt it in myself. But something pulled me toward him.

“Yours,” he said. He closed the distance between us, slowly, then paused.

And our lips met.

                                                 ADD TO GOOD READS

Praise for the Book

“Gripping, from beginning to end . . . a tale as action-packed as Divergent yet as introspective as The Giver. . . . Sure to be an instant classic in the genre.” –R.J. Craddock, author of The Children of Cain series

“Fluent and engaging . . . brimming with fabulous characters and intrigue that will keep you flipping pages. Can’t wait to read the next book in this series!” –Adrienne Monson, author of the Blood Inheritance trilogy

“Had me hooked from the first page to the last . . . Thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend!” -Randy Roberts, BoredShorts TV (Kid History/Kid Snippets)

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REBECCA RODE is an award-winning author and journalist. She is the author of the inspirational book, How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces, and writes for Deseret News, KSL.com, FamilyShare, and Provo Daily Herald. However, her true love is writing for teenagers. She enjoys playing with her four children, traveling, reading, and martial arts, and she has a ridiculous addiction to her husband’s chocolate-banana shakes.

 

Website   Facebook    Twitter   Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for a chance to enter for a chance to win $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Review: Red, A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

 

Red  Red, A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Goodreads Summary
Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue!

 

My thoughts: I loved this book. As an educator I have seen many children struggle with the labels they have been given and/or unreasonable expectations. This heartwarming story highlights the importance of being true to yourself. I don’t usually like picture books with “messages”.  But I love this one. Some might consider the message to be rather heavy handed, but I found it to just be simply straightforward.

I checked this book out from the public library because my students really enjoyed The Day The Crayons Quit. I was hoping this would be another book they would enjoy. So far, each of the classes I’ve shared the book with have thought it was awesome. I have already ordered a copy for the school library and a copy for myself as well.

It’s a must have for any school or classroom library.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 
 
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