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Friday, September 29, 2017

BOOK BLAST and TRAILER BLITZ: Emily Stone thriller series by Jennifer Chase

Greetings Friends!

Today's feature is a book trailer blast for the Emily Stone thriller series by Jennifer Chase.


Vigilante detective Emily Stone hunts serial killers and child abductors, covertly and under the law enforcement radar. She uses her fine-tuned skills of criminal profiling and forensic perceptiveness to locate predators that cops cannot or will not find. She is trained, she is tough, she is serious, and she gets results. 

With Stone’s toughest cases yet, the killer immediately crosses her radar and sends her into the dark territory of a serial killer’s mind—to the point of no return. 

Take your pick of any of the award-winning, stand-alone books and tag along with a serial killer hunter.

You can order your copies HERE.


Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning crime fiction author and consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master's degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists.

You can connect with her on:


Thanks for checking out the book trailer!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Books You've Read Because of Blogging/Booktube

Greetings Fellow Book Dragons!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme within the book community that was created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey, but is now hosted by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes.  If you're interested in participating, find out more on the Goodreads group.

This week's topic is Books You've Read Because of Blogging/Booktube.  These are the books you've read because they were featured on a blog or Booktube channel. Thank goodness this is about the books you've read because I have added so many to my TBR based on the recommendations of fellow bloggers/Booktubers!

Here are my selections in no particular order:

Anna and the French Kiss


There is so much hype surrounding this book! You can't turn on a Booktube channel without someone either singing its praises or ridiculing its very existence. Such a love/hate dynamic intrigued me to read it and ultimately it was just meh for me, although I can understand both sides. This definitely was something that I wasn't missing in my life and I did not go on to read the others in the series.

The Kiss of Deception


This is another book that gets a lot of hype and when I heard the synopsis I wanted to read it. A princess who is supposed to marry a prince from a neighboring kingdom to solidify their family's bond; however, she decides to run away to avoid marrying someone she doesn't love. An assassin is sent to kill her, while at the same time, the prince goes off to find her. You know these two are trailing her, but you don't which is which and of course she ultimately falls in love with one of them, but is it the one she was supposed to marry or the one trying to kill her? Doesn't that sound great! I was ultimately underwhelmed. I felt the story was too hemmed in by being a Young Adult book and had it been an adult book there would have been ways to take it to the next level. Overall, a good introduction for younger readers into the fantasy genre without being too overwhelming. Bonus:  It has a great map!

Everything I Never Told You


I went into this one thinking it was a murder mystery and to be fair it is in a way, but this is definitely more of a literary fiction book that has that as a plot element. It's written very well, but not something that I would have normally picked up.

Written in Red


I talk a lot about this series if you've read these type of posts before! I discovered this series from a Booktube channel that is unfortunately no longer available, which is a shame because I loved watching her videos. This is a great urban fantasy series that I highly recommend!

So You've Been Publicly Shamed


I started seeing this one making the rounds on Booktube late last year and it just seemed so relevant given the current social media climate. I even watched the author's TED talk and wanted to read more; however, once you've watched that, it's really not much more enlightening to read the book. 

So those are my picks for books that I read because of Booktube/blogging.  Are there any books that you have read because of those formats?  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, September 22, 2017

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany (Cozy Mystery)

Greetings Friends!

Today I have a review of Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany, the second book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery series.

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


Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Release Date:  September 2017


Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson are busy managing the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street and adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room in anticipation of the store’s upcoming book signing with the illustrious Renalta Van Markoff, author of the controversial Hudson and Holmes mystery series. But during the author Q&A session, dedicated Sherlockian Donald Morris verbally attacks Renalta and her series for disgracing Sherlock’s legacy, only to be publicly humiliated when the author triumphantly lashes back and gains the upper hand. That is until Renalta collapses on the table―dead.

Donald insists he didn’t do it and pleads to his friends to clear his name. Fortunately, Gemma and Jayne have no shortage of suspects between the author’s bullied personal assistant, her frustrated publicist, the hapless publisher, a handsome rare book dealer, an obsessively rabid fan, and a world of other Sherlock enthusiasts with strong objections to Renalta’s depiction of the Great Detective. It’s up to the shrewd sleuthing duo to eliminate the impossible and deduce the truth before the West London police arrest an innocent man.

About the Author:

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than twenty-five books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. Under the name of Eva Gates, she writes the Lighthouse Library cozy series for Penguin Random House. Her latest book is Body on Baker Street, the second in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series from Crooked Lane.
Vicki is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.
You can connect with her on:



I am a huge sucker for cozy mysteries that involve books in any way, so when the opportunity presented itself to read this one, I jumped! I just love these niche settings and the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium did not disappoint!  While I had not read the first book prior to picking this one up, there was never a feeling that I was missing something and this could very well be read as a stand-alone.

The story is very fast-paced making it the perfect choice for a weekend read or a quick escape from reality. This entertaining cast of characters are well-developed and just quirky enough to keep you guessing until the very end as to who the culprit really is. With so many fans of Sherlock Holmes around, it was fun to read all the interesting tidbits and random facts about the character and the author, Sir Conan Arthur Doyle.  As someone who also has an antagonistic relationship with their own cat, I enjoyed the humorous relationship between Gemma and Moriarty the bookstore cat.

If you've read enough cozy mysteries then you are well aware that the amateur sleuth is always butting heads with a questionable if not highly incompetent law enforcement team.  While many may see Gemma as obnoxious and even arrogant in regards to her investigation skills, I really enjoyed Gemma's character and liked to think that her attitude was a reflection of that knowledge that the detectives charged with finding out the truth were ultimately going to mess up anyway. She may not be able to solve cases in an official capacity, but she does own a Sherlock Holmes bookstore and that accounts for something!  

Sarcasm aside, this was a delightful and well written cozy mystery that I look forward to continuing on with.  In fact, it was through putting this post together that I became aware that the author also writes the Lighthouse Library series, which is currently on my shelf! This was definitely a cut above the many cozy mysteries I have read before and highly recommended if you're a fan of bookish cozies.

Giveaway Info!

Enter for your chance to win a print copy of Body on Baker Street!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to Great Escapes Book Tours, Vicki Delany, and Crooked Lane Books!  It was a pleasure providing a review.

You can check out other blogs on the tour HERE.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr (Contemporary Romance)

Greetings Friends!

Today I have a review of the contemporary romance The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr.

I was graciously contacted by the Little Bird Publicity Team and a copy of this book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.  All thoughts, opinions, and feels are my own.



Genre:  Contemporary
Release Date: September 2017


Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins--they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. This is the unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again. But that was then. For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything. Now, after an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth. 

About the Author:

Robyn Carr is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River novels.  

She was a young mother of two in the mid-1970s when she started writing fiction.  As an Air Force wife, educated as a nurse, her husband’s frequent assignment changes made it difficult for her to work in her profession. Little did the aspiring novelist know then, as she wrote with babies on her lap, that she would become one of the world’s most popular authors of romance and women’s fiction.

Robyn and her now-retired husband enjoy traveling, often taking research trips together. Their children are grown—her son is an Army surgeon; her daughter, a police detective/hostage negotiator. Robyn says that, in addition to reading her novels and making snide remarks about how she’s used family scenarios to her advantage, they have made her a happy grandmother.

You can find her on:

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website  |  Instagram   


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

After reading Any Day Now, which I had really enjoyed as my first encounter with Robyn Carr's work, I began reading this book with high expectations. Ultimately, however, the idea of this story was definitely better than its execution.  

I'm quite sure that devoted readers of Robyn Carr will thoroughly enjoy this book and I can understand why that is; however, this one really missed the mark with me. The story is overwhelmingly told in dialogue between characters, which ultimately repeats itself over and over again as they meet and interact with one another. And there are so many characters, meaning this happens quite a lot and it begins to come across as more of a way to dump information at the reader rather than believable casual conversation. Additionally, with this large cast of characters, I couldn't really become invested in the story as a whole, and honestly felt that the main premise, Meg's decision to reunite the family as her dying wish, became lost. Most of the individual characters were very well developed with engaging story lines, but again, because they are all in a sense competing with each other for page time, I wasn't invested in any of them. Following so many plot lines, time lines, and points of view that would then repeat itself because another new character came into play began to become tedious.  Putting that aside, it was interesting to read each character's perspective on how past events shaped them and created such a dysfunctional family dynamic. I just wasn't a fan of the path I had to take as a reader to get through all the layers.

Spanning generations, I enjoyed how this book examined the devastation secrets and miscommunication can wreck on a family, but through hope, forgiveness, and second chances these fragile relationships and bonds can be rebuilt.  Although much too late for Meg, she shows us how fleeting time is and how we owe it to ourselves and those important to us to make the most out of it. Personal preferences aside, I still liked this heartfelt story and will continue to read more of Robyn Carr's books. 

Thanks again to Little Bird Publicity.  It was a pleasure providing a review.

Monday, September 18, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Something Like Happy by Eva Woods (Contemporary)

Greetings Friends!

Today I have a review of Something Like Happy by Eva Woods.

I was graciously contacted by the Little Bird Publicity Team and a copy of this book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.  All thoughts, opinions, and feels are my own.


Genre:  Contemporary
Release Date: September 2017


Annie Hebden is stuck. Stuck in her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, Annie is still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through the perfect existence she'd once taken for granted—and hiding away is safer than remembering what used to be. Until she meets the eccentric Polly Leonard.

Bright, bubbly, intrusive Polly is everything Annie doesn't want in a friend. But Polly is determined to finally wake Annie up to life. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it's that your time is too short to waste a single day—which is why she wants Annie to join her on a mission…

One hundred days. One hundred new ways to be happy. Annie's convinced it's impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey that will force her to open herself to new experiences—and perhaps even new love with the unlikeliest of men—Annie will slowly begin to realize that maybe, just maybe, there's still joy to be found in the world. But then it becomes clear that Polly's about to need her new friend more than ever…and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking.

About the Author:

Eva Woods lives in London, where she writes and teaches creative writing. She likes wine, pop music, and holidays, and thinks online dating is like the worst board game ever invented.

You can connect with her on:


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

I was not aware of the #100HappyDays social media phenomenon prior to reading this book, so I went into it cautiously optimistic. By the end, I could definitely see why the idea of doing 100 happy things over the course of 100 days would be so popular. I know that I can find myself stuck in a rut and feeling that the world is out to get me while believing that everyone else is having the time of their lives; however, this just isn't true. We are all feeling at odds for a multitude of individual reasons, but life is all about the ups and downs and this book asks us to gracefully embrace all aspects of that life in its entirety. More importantly, whatever your circumstances, the ability to find joy always exists. While that can seem overly simplistic, sappy, or even condescending depending on your situation, the story never came across in that way. This is an introspective and emotional roller coaster that is worth every tear and laugh.     

I absolutely adored the friendship that developed between Annie and Polly. Each of these women is strong in their own way and highly relatable, but they needed each other to find the strength to face the devastating struggles they are separately enduring. Polly's infectious personality brings spirit back to Annie who is slowly sleepwalking her way through life, while Annie challenges Polly with honesty. They push each other to be the best they can be and their shared experiences brings new understanding to their struggles.  

Overall, this was a heartwarming story that delivered a gut-wrenching punch of inspiration. Life is definitely what you make of it, but the power of true friendship and hope can certainly make even the most insurmountable situation much more bearable. I hope you pick this one up because I know I will find myself revisiting this book as a reminder that every small step toward positivity can bring us closer to discovering our own version of being "something like happy."

Many thanks again to Little Bird Publicity and Eva Woods!  It was a pleasure providing a review!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

BOOK REVIEW + GUEST POST + GIVEAWAY: Lies She Told by Cate Holahan (Thriller)

Greetings Friends!

Today I have a review of Lies She Told by Cate Holahan, a fantastic psychological thriller and a selection for September's Book of the Month Club!  She graciously provided a guest post to discuss how she creates her characters.




Genre:  Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Release Date:  September 2017


"Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction."

Liza Jones has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing down in both her professional and her personal life, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine.

Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone providing for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, Beth sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the river.

Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the Hudson and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.


Cate Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of The Widower's Wife and Dark Turns, all published by Crooked Lane Books. The Widower's Wife was named to Kirkus' best books of 2016. 

An award-winning journalist and former television producer, she has written for BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, and The Record newspaper. Her short fiction won first place in the 19th annual Calliope competition, a magazine published by the writer's group of American Mensa. 

She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, ages 7 and 5, and dog Westley.

You can connect with her on:



Where Do Characters Come From?


Cate Holahan

My husband is not David Jacobson. Probably, he would have preferred that I’d included such a disclaimer in the first pages of my new book, Lies She Told, instead of my current dedication to him. He assumes readers will believe that he’s the mercurial and dishonest spouse of my protagonist, Liza. Write what you know, after all, is the adage. So, why wouldn’t readers surmise that I wrote a story about who I know?

The truth is, I don’t lift my plots or characters from my real life. My suburban mom/writer/wife existence—much of which centers around my kids and my laptop—isn’t thriller fodder. But I do abstract from what I know and, even more, from what I learn.

How I do this is not completely within my control.  Images and articles stick in my subconscious for reasons not always understood by me, drawing my attention to certain ideas. These thoughts crash together in my brain, elements colliding  and bonding to form new, weightier ideas. Ultimately, as the dust swirls, I begin to see a story.

For me, this nascent novel often takes the form of a theme that I would like to explore compounded with a what if question. In Lies She Told the theme is artistic inspiration—where do ideas come from. The question is: what if a writer saw strange parallels in her work-in-progress novel and a mystery in her real life?

Once I have this beginning, I begin to formulate my main character. Who would be the writer in my story? Not me, certainly. I’m not sufficiently objective with regard to my own failings to put myself on the page. And, as mentioned before, my day-to-day life isn’t that interesting.  

But I can and do put parts of me into my protagonists. In Lies She Told, I gave Liza some of my creative process and work ethic. In my prior book, The Widower’s Wife, I gave the main character, Ana, some of my momma-bear protectiveness. However, to make Liza and any of my characters worthy of a novel, I have to invent far more compelling back stories than my own capable of pushing the characters to behave in riveting ways.

These back stories require research. I read other novels, consume various profiles of famous (and infamous) people, peruse psychology books. I think of traits that I admire in people I love and dislike in those I try to avoid, and I muse about what histories might give rise to such characteristics.

After all this research, I have a good sense of who my story involves. Then, I change my what if question. For Lies She Told, the new one became: what if writer Liza Cole saw strange parallels in her work-in progress novel that relate to the disappearance of her husband’s business partner?

This new puzzle brought me to plotting. I thought of Liza in various scenes that, put together, enabled her to arrive at an answer. In Excel, I mapped out the dramatic situations Liza would find herself in and how her actions would lead to the next scene. I also tracked Liza’s character arc, trying to figure out how she would change during the course of the story from what she learns and how that growth would alter her actions—and, therefore, my initial plot.

With all my plotting done, I wrote my first draft (much of which I ended up tossing). For me, the draft is part of the process. It solidifies my protagonist’s personality as well as those of my supporting characters, and it often forces me to go back and re-plot so that the story evolves naturally from the people that I’ve created.

By the time I turn in a book, the characters and story are truly made up. Though, to me, they feel real. And I believe they will feel that way to readers.

But they won’t be based on my husband.


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

This book within a book follows Liza, a romantic suspense author who is quickly approaching the deadline for a rough draft of her latest novel and Beth, the female protagonist of the story Liza is trying to craft. Each chapter alternates between Liza's current personal life and chapters of the novel.  Fact and fiction are truly blurred as many of the elements from Liza's novel become mirrored in her own life, making her an even more unreliable narrator than her own character! Each of these women's stories was engaging and suspenseful, so reading these two perspectives was like reading two thrillers in one! Liza's narrative and her crime novel are separate, standalone stories, but they complement one other perfectly as each unfolds. 

The psychological suspense added so many layers to the mysteries going on in each story, while the subtle blending of real and not real elements is still making me question the "truth" that was actually presented. I had never read any of Holahan's previous books, but they are now added to my TBR and I can't wait to get started on them! And how about a shout out for the cover design, which instantly drew me into wanting to read the book when I saw it and actually works really well in capturing the essence of the story now that I've read it, which doesn't happen a lot.

This book is fast-paced, thought provoking, and highly recommended!


Enter for your chance to win a print copy of the book! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Many thanks to NetGalley, Great Escapes Book Tours, Crooked Lane Books, and especially Cate Holahan!  It was a pleasure providing a review.

Friday, September 1, 2017

WEEKLY VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB FOR KIDS: September and October 2017 Book Selections

September and October Books for Preschoolers with Activities

Greetings Friends!

It's been a little while since my last post due to spending some time with my family to prepare and welcome our newest little one, Jillian!

Things have been a bit chaotic and stressful as we all learn new routines and I try to figure out how to manage how outnumbered I am right now!

But what better way to start blogging again than by announcing the book selections for this year's Weekly Virtual Book Club for Kids!  Last year, the boys and I participated in this book club, which I documented in a post each week on the blog until finding out I was pregnant and couldn't function anymore!  Well, it's that time of year again and sleep deprivation is fooling me into believing that  I have lots of motivation to participate with the boys again this year!

This book club is specially designed for preschool (2-5) kids and will feature a new book with a coordinating theme each week during the 2017-2018 school year.  Hosted by Toddler ApprovedThe Educators' Spin On It, and Rainy Day Mum, there will also be additional co-hosts that will provide links to many activity ideas.  Join the Facebook group to see the activities that will announced for that week every Monday as well as share what you're doing, get more ideas, or just simply connect with others.

The primary goal is to read the featured book and do at least one activity during the week, but you decide what works for you and your children.  I try to do one activity a day, but even that can sometimes be too much when dealing with a headstrong preschooler, a mobile toddler, and now a newborn!

Maddox started half day PreK this year, so while he's out, I'm working on a homeschool Tot program with Jackson, my almost 2 year old.  My plan is to use this book club with them during the afternoons when Maddox gets home from school.  I will have a separate post up to discuss the Tot School program for those that may be interested.

So let's get to the books!  You can also print out the list for easier reference HERE.

September 11 - Apples with Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins

September 18 - Leaves with Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

September 25 - Squirrels and Acorns with Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt

October 2 - Farms with Click, Clack, Moo:  Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin

October 9 - Monsters with Go Away Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley

October 16 - Pumpkins with Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino

October 23 - Witches and Potions with Room on the Broom by Julie Donaldson

October 30 - Bats with Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

I really hope that you can join us to share these great book selections with your children and try an activity or two!  And definitely please share pictures or your own blog posts if you do participate!