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Monday, March 18, 2019

BOOK REVIEW + TWO GIVEAWAYS: Murder Between the Pages by Linda Hope Lee (Cozy Mystery)


MURDER BETWEEN THE PAGES
A Nina Foster Mystery, Book 1

by
 Linda Hope Lee

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press (Crimson Rose)
Date of Publication: December 19, 2018
Number of Pages: 264


Scroll down for the giveaway!





It’s a sad day for librarian Nina Foster when she discovers her good friend, bookstore owner Wildeen Bergman, dead on her office floor. Worse yet, another friend, romance writer Zelma Duke, becomes the police’s prime suspect. Nina knows Wildeen had something on Zelma. Was it enough to warrant murder?

Handsome Stephen Kraslow, owner of the local newspaper, joins forces with Nina to find out the truth. The quest takes them on a dangerous journey of twists and turns before they reach the final outcome.











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

As someone who absolutely loves cozies that feature books, bookstores, librarians, and libraries, I couldn't wait to dive into this one! 

This debut series introduces readers to Nina Foster, a public librarian in the suburbs of Seattle. One of her best friends, Wildeen, is found murdered in her bookstore, and it becomes increasingly likely that her other best friend, Zelma, is responsible. Zelma requests Nina's help in finding the true culprit and thus the amateur sleuthing begins. Receiving the added attention and assistance from Stephen, the local reporter, and Nina is ready to solve crime even if she's not completely ready to surrender to matters of the heart. 

This book is quite short, but I appreciated its ability to pack quite a punch in such a small package. The story never tried to be more than it was; an entertaining cozy mystery to escape into for a sitting or two. Despite the dialogue feeling slightly awkward at times, the story is fast paced and well written. There is quite a cast of highly suspicious characters all with excellent motives, so the red herrings create a well ploted mystery that has to be read to the end in order to find out the quite unexpected yet satisfying conclusion.

Overall, this was a delightful debut that I look forward to continuing, especially with the anticipation that Nina's grandmother, Jessica, will play a larger and more interesting role.  




Linda Hope Lee had written contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and mysteries. Other pursuits include watercolor painting, photography, collecting children’s books and anything to do with wire-haired fox terriers. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest.
WEBSITE  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS

GIVEAWAY INFO!


Many thanks to Great Escape Book Tours and Linda Hope Lee! It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!


TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 11 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 11 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
March 12 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW
March 13 – The Ninja Librarian – REVIEW
March 14 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
March 14 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
March 15 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
March 15 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 16 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW
March 17 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
March 18 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
March 18 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Thursday, March 14, 2019

LSBBT BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: A Tender Hope by Amanda Cabot (Historical Romance)



A TENDER HOPE
The Cimarron Creek Trilogy, Book 3

by
Amanda Cabot

Genre: Historical Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 5, 2019
Number of Pages: 352


Scroll down for the giveaway!







As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it's time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek's midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn't sure her heart Can take it. Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn't concerned only with the baby's welfare. He's been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated--and he'll need Thea's help if he's ever to find the justice he seeks.

Amanda Cabot invites readers back to Cimarron Creek for a tender story of loss, betrayal, and love in the majestic Texas Hill Country.


PRAISE FOR A TENDER HOPE:


"Such beautiful words flow from Amanda Cabot's pen--words that lead characters from tattered situations to fresh beginnings and culminate in tender story endings that make a reader sigh in satisfaction. I've never been disappointed by a Cabot tale." -- Kim Vogel Sawyer, bestselling author of Bringing Maggie Home

CLICK TO ORDER ON:
Baker Book House  ┃  Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble  ┃  Christianbook.com
Books-A-Million  ┃  Kobo  ┃ Get It Local Today





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

After having read the previous book in the series A Borrowed Dream (REVIEW HERE), I was highly anticipating how my time at Cimarron Creek was going to come to an end. Needless to say, I was not disappointed, as A Tender Hope was incredibly heartwarming even when at times it introduced tragically heartwrenching situations. Yet it was through this heartbreak that its inspiring message of hope, faith, and love shone brightly. 


Readers are transported back to Texas in 1881 as Thea arrives in the town to begin working as the midwife in an attempt to heal following the sudden death of her husband and stillbirth of her child. At the same time, Jackson, a Texas Ranger, arrives on the hunt for a group of bandits who are responsible for the death of his younger brother and injury to his partner. When he comes across an abandoned newborn next to a cactus, Jackson must work to figure out this mystery as well. Given their respective duties, Jackson and Thea find themselves thrust together to not only to care for and protect the baby but ultimately how Thea may hold the key to catching the Gang of Four. 

Being privy to the inner thoughts of Thea and Jackson allows such a fascinating exploration into the range of emotions each character feels as they each make these physical and personal journeys. They are so intriguing and well developed that they truly come alive on the page. The steady pacing and smooth transitions showcased their captivating presence, taking readers in and out of their individual introspections and into another dramatic situation or into the path of an additional character. In Cabot's deft hands, none of that becomes overwhelming or confusing. Her beautiful yet casual writing style is completely engaging. She is able to effortlessly weave the plot and subplots together so that everything becomes integral to the story and builds these interwoven relationships into a rich and multilayered story that kept me turning the pages! 

"Family was important for children, but love was even more critical to their happiness."

Family dynamics and structure were such a crucial message that is so beautifully examined within this story. Families are created in so many different ways and I have truly appreciated the author's exploration of this throughout the series. Children are completely embraced and welcomed into the loving arms of strangers who have been called upon to seek a higher purpose. Characters live beyond themselves and strive to make a difference in the community around them, and it is through them, that the ideals of acceptance, forgiveness, tenderness, and grace are embodied.

I said it before and I'll say it again:  Don't let the romance genre fool you! Amanda Cabot has crafted an absolutely amazing love story that is filled with elements of suspense, mystery, and history with a gentle sprinkling of Christian messages to guide us along the way.


Totally unrelated to my review and just a happy little accident is the fact that Jackson's horse is named Blaze, and  I couldn't help smiling to myself throughout my reading because my three-year-old son is named Jackson and he is obsessed with a children's program on Nickelodeon about a monster truck named Blaze. There was no way for me not to see my Jackson riding around in his Blaze! Also, we used to reside in Leander, a city north of Austin, and that was the name of Jackson's partner. 





Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming.

 Website ║ Facebook  Blog BookBub ║ Twitter Goodreads

-------------------------------------

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS
1ST: Copy of A Tender Hope + Spa Basket
(An assortment of Cru de Provence lavender vanilla scented spa products fills this lovely basket including lotions, soap, bath salts, waffle slippers and much more.)
2ND: Copy of A Tender Hope  + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3RD: Copy of A Tender Hope  + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
APRIL 5-15, 2018
(US ONLY)


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Best of luck!

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

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
3/5/19
Character Interview
3/5/19
Bonus Post
3/6/19
Review
3/7/19
Author Interview
3/8/19
Scrapbook Page
3/9/19
Review
3/10/19
Excerpt
3/11/19
Review
3/12/19
Series Spotlight
3/13/19
Review
3/14/19
Review

   blog tour services provided by
  

Sunday, March 10, 2019

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins (Cozy Mystery)


MURDER ONCE REMOVED
An Ancestry Detective Mystery 
by
S.C. Perkins

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Date of Publication: March 19, 2019
Number of Pages: 336 


Scroll down for the giveaway!





S.C. Perkins’ Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present. Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death. Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible.









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

This is such a fantastic and fascinating start to a refreshing new series in the cozy world! I haven't come across many cozies focusing on genealogy, but given the historical research and preservation aspects, which feature heavily in the librarian world as well, I couldn't help but jump at the chance to read this one. Plus, it takes place in Austin, Texas - a stone's throw from where I reside. Having also spent a lot of time working in the downtown area, it was so much fun envisioning the different places Lucy mentioned throughout the story. As if Austin isn't already a colorful and exciting place to be, the author's vivid and descriptive voice brings the town even more to life and welcomes readers to a setting that is definitely one of a kind! 

With the popularity of companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com, it's easy to see how important discovering our past has become! Lucy traces family lineage to fill in all the information for her clients, producing scrapbooks, websites, and artistic renderings of family trees. This background creates a compelling way to introduce an amateur sleuth, as much of her work is similar to a detective or investigator. She combs through records looking for clues and interviews family members/suspects for more information to validate or disprove the puzzle she is attempting to piece together. Lucy may go above and beyond at times, but she's spirited, independent, and impulsive, the perfect combination of traits to butt heads with law enforcement.  The charming tone and informative descriptions craft a captivating story that makes the process of genealogy better to understand, while also showcasing just how important it is to our sense of identity. 

Intertwining mysteries in both the past and present keep the twists coming, the tension high, and the pages turning. The spectacular cast of secondary characters is definitely worthy of reading more of! From the fiercely loyal female friendships and a father figure taco restaurant owner named Big Flaco to the laugh out loud love triangle between neighboring felines, the stories could write themselves. Everything's bigger in Texas and these personalities are often too big for the page!

While this isn't a culinary cozy by any means, you'll definitely want some snacks at hand to keep your mouth from watering and your stomach from grumbling. Tacos, kolaches, whoopie pies, the list goes on! Recipes should have been included for easy reference, especially the Bat Guano, which I will proudly serve at my next Halloween party!

This was such a remarkable debut to what sounds like a promising series! A solid and thoroughly entertaining read that is highly recommended!





S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.

WEBSITE  |  TWITTER  |  INSTAGRAM  |  FACEBOOK  |  PINTEREST  |  GOODREADS


GIVEAWAY INFO!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Best of luck! 

Many thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and S.C. Perkins! It was an absolute pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
March 5 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY 
March 5 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 7 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST
March 7 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 8 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 8 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
March 9 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
March 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
March 10 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW
March 11 – Carole’s Book Corner – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
March 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 12 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
March 12 – This is my truth now – REVIEW
March 13 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 14 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW, RECIPE POST
March 14 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
March 15 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW 
March 15 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 16 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
March 18 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 18 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

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