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Sunday, February 17, 2019

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Trigger by David Swinson (Suspense)

A Frank Marr Novel #3
David Swinson

Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 352 pages


Frank Marr was a good cop, until his burgeoning addictions to alcohol and cocaine forced him into retirement from the D.C. Metro police. Now, he’s barely eking out a living as a private investigator for a defense attorney–also Frank’s ex-girlfriend. Ostracized by his family after a botched case that led to the death of his baby cousin, Jeffrey, Frank was on a collision course with rock bottom. Now clean and clinging hard to sobriety, Frank passes the time–and tests himself–by robbing the houses of local dealers, taking their cash and flushing their drugs down the toilet. When an old friend from his police days needs Frank’s help to prove he didn’t shoot an unarmed civilian, Frank is drawn back into the world of dirty cops and suspicious drug busts, running in the same circles that enabled his addiction those years ago. Never one to play by the rules, Frank recruits a young man he nearly executed years before. Together–a good man trying not to go bad and a bad man trying to do good–detective and criminal charge headfirst into the D.C. drug wars. Neither may make it out.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

This was an edgy and intense police thriller that follows Frank Marr, newly retired from the Washington D.C. police department, who now works as an investigator for a defense attorney's office. His former partner, Al, is involved in the shooting of a black teenager and Frank begins investigating the surrounding circumstances. The story is told from Frank's perspective in his voice as he works through the process of determining whether Al killed a seemingly unarmed teen, making this incredibly gripping and gritty. Frank doesn't shy away from graphic content, which creates such a realistic story with authentic content, especially given the author's own police background. Short chapters driven by quick, focused, and earnest dialogue kept the pacing swift, the tension high, and the pages turning, while also expressing the almost exact frenetic energy Frank seemed to embody as he tried to figure out what happened with his friend. 

We aren't privy to the information that the police are gathering to determine what charges Al may or may not face other than what Frank can gather, which ultimately made me feel as though I was missing the complete procedural element of the investigation. But personal preference aside, Frank is an incredibly driven and dedicated investigator whose skills by far make up for the lack of details from any coinciding investigation occurring off page. 

Although this was the third book in the series, I never felt that I was missing anything; however, considering the inner demons Frank battles at all moments of the day just to do his job, I do look forward to finding out more about his backstory from the prior books. His past drug use and resulting attempts to remain clean set him up as an unreliable narrator to blur the truth, yet surprisingly, he's the one that garners the most trust and respect. Additionally, a burgeoning and quite unexpected connection with a previous character provides him with the opportunity to become a mentor/father figure that I am highly intrigued to read more of. 

Overall, this well written plot was fascinating to read and really set some high expectations for the series as I read from the beginning and wait for future releases.       

David Swinson is a retired police detective, having served 16 years with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. He is the author of two previous novels featuring Frank Marr: The Second Girl and Crime Song. Swinson currently lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, daughter, bull mastiff, and bearded dragon.


a Rafflecopter giveaway   Best of luck!

Many thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and David Swinson! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

February 11 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 11 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 12 – Mysteries with Character – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 14 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
February 16 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 17 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
February 18 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 19 – A Blue Million Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 20 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 20 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

Saturday, February 16, 2019

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Past Due for Murder by Victoria Gilbert (Cozy Mystery)

A Blue Ridge Library Mystery #3
Victoria Gilbert

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Number of Pages: 304 pages


Has a curse fallen on the small town of Taylorsford, Virginia? After a young woman goes missing during a spring bonfire, library director Amy Webber must wade through the web of lies only to find a truth that she may not want to untangle.

Spring has sprung in quaint Taylorsford, Virginia, and the mayor has revived the town’s long-defunct May Day celebration to boost tourism. As part of the festivities, library director Amy Webber is helping to organize a research project and presentation by a local folklore expert. All seems well at first—but spring takes on a sudden chill when a university student inexplicably vanishes during a bonfire. The local police cast a wide net to find the missing woman, but in a shocking turn of events, Amy’s swoon-worthy neighbor Richard Muir becomes a person of interest in the case. Not only is Richard the woman’s dance instructor, he also doesn’t have an alibi for the night the student vanished—or at least not one he’ll divulge, even to Amy. When the missing student is finally discovered lost in the mountains, with no memory of recent events—and a dead body lying nearby—an already disturbing mystery takes on a sinister new hue. Blessed with her innate curiosity and a librarian’s gift for research, Amy may be the only one who can learn the truth.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.

This is a series that I have had the opportunity to read from the beginning and I have really come to enjoy my time in Taylorsford, which is far from a quiet little town! Murder, mayhem, and mischief abound; however, the town's folklore was on full display in this installment and really made things even more interesting! 

While I was initially drawn to the series because it featured a librarian and the library she works at, the focus is actually on the town and its various myths, legends, or tall tales. Amy's innate curiosity and interest in historical preservation not only creates the perfect means for finding answers, but to also putting her right in the middle of it all. Secrets continue to run deep in this small town and I absolutely love how Amy is the vehicle for getting to the truth. Her confidence shines brilliantly through her work both on and off duty; however, her ability to trust in love remains shaky at best if not slightly annoying at worst. 

The pacing was quite remarkable this time around as the suspense built gradually to such an unpredictable and satisfying conclusion. As always, the mystery continues to be quite elaborate, while the additional story lines and well developed  and diverse secondary characters add those subtle red herrings and fun twists needed to keep readers guessing until the very end. 

This series continues to build the layers of a fascinating community that I look forward to returning to each time. While definitely a solid selection for fans of bookish cozies, the more mature and thought-provoking mystery elements, plot points, and themes add dimension and appeal that makes this series a cut above the standard cozy and highly recommended!

Raised in a historic small town in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Victoria Gilbert turned her early obsession with books into a dual career as an author and librarian.
Victoria’s first cozy mystery series, the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series, garnered her a three-book deal with Crooked Lane Books, which has since been expanded to five books. The first two books in the series have been optioned by Sony Pictures Television, and the first three were or will be produced in audiobook by Tantor Media.
Victoria also just inked a 2-book deal with Crooked Lane for a new cozy series, the Booklovers B & B series, set in historic Beaufort, NC.
A member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime, Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel.


a Rafflecopter giveaway Best of luck!

Many thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and Victoria Gilbert! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

February 11 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
February 11 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
February 11 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT  
February 12 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 12 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 13 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
February 13 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 14 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
February 14 – Rae’s Books and Recipes – SPOTLIGHT
February 14 – The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
February 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
February 15 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 16 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW
February 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 16 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
February 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 17 – Curling Up by the Fire – REVIEW
February 18 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 19 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 20 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 20 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT
February 21 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
February 21 – The Book Diva’s Reads – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 22 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
February 22 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

GUEST POST + GIVEAWAY: Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan (Cozy Mystery)

An Abby McCree Mystery #1
Alexis Morgan

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Number of Pages: 304 pages


When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body! After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard! Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?


As often happens at the beginning of a new series, DEATH BY COMMITTEE starts shortly after a major occurrence in the main character’s life that has forced her out of her familiar world. In the case of Abby McCree, the amateur sleuth in my new cozy mystery, that change was a contentious divorce that resulted in her losing her husband, her career, and her home.
As the story opens, she has recently moved from her urban home near Seattle to Snowberry Creek, a small town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. She’s no longer living in an upscale condo. Instead, she’s moved into the three-story Victorian home she recently inherited from her Aunt Sybil.
Left to her own devices, Abby might have simply holed up in her new, but most likely temporary, home to lick her wounds and reassess her life’s goals before moving on. Since hiding out in the attic while she sorted through all the stuff her aunt had squirreled away over the decades would make for pretty boring reading, I had to come up with something that would force Abby to hit the floor running in her new home.
Luckily for me, she didn’t just inherit the house. Abby also inherited her aunt’s mastiff-mix Zeke, the handsome tenant who lives in the mother-in-law house in the backyard, and her aunt’s many friends. It was that last group who immediately stepped in to get Abby involved in her new town. They did it by informing her that Abby’s late aunt would’ve expected her to finish out Sybil’s term of office as president of their quilting guild.
While they have no way to prove that claim, it doesn’t really matter. Abby is stuck and she knows it. I personally think it was their clever way of helping Abby build a strong connection between her own past and her future in Snowberry Creek. After all, as a young girl, Abby had spent a lot of happy hours in the town whenever she visited with her aunt. The two of them had even spent a summer piecing a quilt top together.
I suppose there could have been any number of ways to draw Abby out of her shell, but quilting just felt right. After all, women through history have always bonded while wielding a needle and thread. Besides, out of everything Abby inherited from her aunt, she treasures Sybil’s quilts the most. Well, those and Zeke, but you know what I mean. Abby misses her aunt and spending time with Sybil’s friends is a great way to honor her beloved aunt’s memory.
That is something that Abby and I have in common. While I’m not a talented seamstress myself, I love quilts of all kinds. And like Abby, the ones I own are some of my most treasured possessions. I have a Double Baby Wedding Ring quilt that my grandmother made for my mom as a wedding gift, so it’s been in the family for three generations now. I also have a gorgeous quilt that my aunt made that I keep on display on a quilt rack in my bedroom. Three friends have also given me quilts they made for me. I think of those wonderful ladies every time I use them.
So, do you have special ways of connecting with the women in your community? I do so through my neighborhood book club, but also through my local writers’ groups. Please share your own experiences! Who knows, you might even give Abby new ideas on how to set down roots in Snowberry Creek.

USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.


a Rafflecopter giveaway Best of luck!

Many thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and Alexis Morgan! It was a pleasure hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

February 1 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW, GUEST POST
February 1 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
February 2 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
February 2 – The Power of Words – REVIEW *
February 3 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 4 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
February 4 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT  
February 5 – Jody’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 5 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 6 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
February 7 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST
February 8 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
February 8 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT
February 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
February 9 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 10 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW
February 11 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
February 12 – That’s What She’s Reading – GUEST POST
February 13 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
February 14 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

Friday, February 8, 2019

LSBBT REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Outlaw's Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday (Historical Western Romance)

Mail Order Bride, #1

Genre: Historical Western Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Number of Pages: 384 pages


When the West was wild, and man's law favored the few, extraordinary women could be found...in the heart of an outlaw. Outlaw Clay Colby is tired of living one step in front of the law and wants to see his dream of having a wife, a family, to give his life meaning. So far, he’s been rejected twice, and he won’t try again if this one doesn’t work out. But hope fills him that Tally Shannon will see his heart and help him finish this town where once stood an outlaw hideout. On the day when she’s supposed to arrive, a bitter enemy sets fire to the buildings he’d fought to erect and he’s back with nothing to show for his efforts. There's no woman in the world who'd stand by him now. But Talley Shannon is no ordinary woman. After escaping the living hell of the Creedmore Insane Asylum into which she was thrust to die, Tally only wants someone to protect her and the little girl under her care. She doesn't mind that Clay's home is dang near burned to the ground—not when he makes her feel so safe. So cherished. But it's only a matter of time before the ghosts of her past come calling, intent on stealing her happiness, her very life...and her loving cowboy must defend his new bride—and the family they forged—to his very last breath.

iBooks │ Amazon │Barnes and Noble

Last summer, I participated in the book tour of Linda Broday's previous book TO CATCH A TEXAS STAR in which I provided an excerpt from that book for my post that continues to be my #1 most viewed content! Broday's fans absolutely adore her, and when this book popped up for tour, I HAD to find out more about these stories that hold such a deeply special place in the hearts of her readers! This book was a fantastic place to start within two genres that I don't immediately reach for, Westerns and Romance. The author's passion for writing these stories truly translates to the page, making everything vividly come alive within the picturesque beauty of the Texas landscape!

Action-packed from beginning to end, this story was not only gripping, but provided some deeply compelling and heartfelt moments that made it hard to pull away from. Although this was the first book of a new series, the story falls within the sweeping saga of the author's previous works. And while there is no need to have read any of those prior books to understand this story, there was just enough information about previous events and characters that has me intrigued to pick up more as I wait for the next installment! 

"This was his final chance to change."

As an outlaw, Clay is far from perfect, but his heart of gold and willingness to seek redemption make you root for his happy ending despite the many setbacks along the way. Tally's brutally harrowing circumstances could have very well broken her, but she is determined to write her own future. Together, they empower each other and are a force to be reckoned with. Their relationship displays strong character development throughout the course of the story despite such a quick introduction through the underground mail order bride service. While it completely makes sense within the context of the story, I have to agree with a previous reviewer, that I too would have loved seeing how they came to know one another through their letters to ultimately cement a decision to wed. The fact that we aren't privy to such intimate details in no way diminishes the story by any means, but rather spotlighted a personal preference that would have perhaps taken it to another level.

"It's best to remember, girl - even the most saintly people have a past, things they've done wrong, regrets aplenty. And every sinner has a future."

This cast of characters is some of the liveliest bunch of people I have ever read! Each was so distinctly drawn that the reading experience became a source of visual viewing pleasure in my mind. Aside from the obvious handful of rotten apples that you'll despise without question, there are several stand outs that initially leave a bad taste; however, just don't judge too quickly because you may find yourself rooting for them as well! This merry band of misfits is seeking a second chance and building a community from the ground up that they can finally call their forever home. I look forward to returning to this town to bear witness to its development as well given the author's ability to capture the harsh realities of the wild Texas frontier in such an amazingly detailed and riveting way so as to make it a character onto itself.

While incredibly heartbreaking at times, the story offers a rich sense of hope throughout that leads to a touching and satisfying hard won happily ever after. Readers will be truly captivated!


"Broday’s earthy, no-nonsense characters fit the rugged setting perfectly, and it’s a pleasure to watch these two lonely, cynical souls forge a powerful, passionate partnership." – Book Page

“Clay and Tally’s story will captivate the historical western lover in us all. Linda Broday has earned her way into the coveted title of “Queen of Texas Historical Romance.” -- Tonya, Goodreads reviewer

“If love is your interest, do not miss this book. I could not put it down it was so compelling.” Cricket, Goodreads reviewer

“Trying to put this book down at times was like trying to get off of a high-speed roller coaster -- the kind with twists, turns, and even loops; it's just impossible.” Glenda, Goodreads reviewer

I'm a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty historical western romance novels and short stories. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed, and at times if the breeze is just right, I can hear their voices whispering in the wind. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here where cowboys are still caretakers of the land. I’m inspired every day by their immense dedication and love for the wide open spaces. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I’ve also been accused (quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places. I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic unfold on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.



FIRST PRIZE: Signed Copy of The Outlaw’s Mail Order Bride +  $25 Amazon gift card
TWO WINNERS: Signed Copies of the book.
FEBRUARY 5-15, 2019
(USA only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway Best of luck!

Many thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and Linda Broday! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

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Author Interview
Top Ten
Guest Post

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