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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

LSBBT BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Sitting on a Fortune by Becki Willis (Mystery)



SITTING ON A FORTUNE
The Sisters, Texas Book 9 
by
BECKI WILLIS

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Romance / Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clear Creek Publishing
Date of Publication: February 11, 2020
Number of Pages: 228


SCROLL DOWN FOR GIVEAWAY!







Hidden fortune. Hidden danger. 

Madison Reynolds deCordova is about to uncover a dangerous secret…literally.

During In a Pinch Professional Services’s latest gig at an upholstery shop, Madison finds a chair that’s perfect for her husband’s birthday gift. At least it will be, once she removes the worn velvet. Hiding the chair at Granny Bert’s, Madison tackles her first solo upholstery project but soon discovers more than she bargained for! A hidden treasure beneath the cushion puts her in the middle of a new mystery and new danger.

The treasure isn’t her only problem. While helping a young boy find his lost dog, Madison lands on the wrong side of surly businessman Lamont Andrews. Meanwhile, best friend Genny is worried about one of her cafĂ© patrons. Mr. Pruett’s wild stories are getting wilder each day, and now he’s missing. Plus, there’s the matter of a troublesome new habit Maddy seems to have acquired: breaking and entering. It’s a harsh term for simply trying to rescue a dog and save an old man.

Somehow, she knows it all fits together. But what does a lost dog, a cluttered old barn, Mr. Pruett’s disappearance, and a hidden treasure have to do with her chair? Now someone is stalking her and her grandmother, and Madison knows that danger is on its way.

As always, The Sisters are full of fun, excitement, family antics, and more danger than the law allows!












After having had a chance last year to delve into this series with the previous book, WILDFLOWER WEDDING, I was so excited to have an opportunity to once again catch up with Maddy and the residents of these dueling towns known as The Sisters.

Picking up not long after the events of book eight, readers will once again find themselves caught up in the fun and thrilling danger of Maddy's antics and adventures as she desperately tries to help those she loves. Her heart is always in the right place even if her mind is running faster than her feet can carry her! A few new and quirkier sets of neighbors find themselves cast in this story, sharing the stage with the familiar charm of Granny Bert, Genny, and Maddy's hunk of a husband and police chief, Brash deCordova. I continue to be such a fan of how the author's effortless writing style develops each character with a lifelike personality that welcomes you into the story as an old friend. Whether you choose to start with this book or from the very beginning, you will always feel right at home in this delightful little community.

Unlike the last installment, I enjoyed that the pacing slowed down, allowing the mystery to unfold in its own time. Much like moments spent with a loved one on the back porch with a nice glass of sweet tea. The tension is very well done, but it seemed that because Maddy is helping a young boy find his lost pup, and then, an older man facing dementia, there was such dignity and respect expressed in the treatment of their cases. Maddy's energy seemed less frenetic and much more calculating, as though perhaps her amateur sleuthing skills are now primed for a professional performance in private investigation services. 

As I mentioned in my review of the previous book, I love moving through the story in Maddy's company because she is so tenacious, spunky, and likeable; however, it was an absolute treat to spend some time with Genny and get to know her a little better, especially in regards to her relationship with Cutter. The author nails the double edge sword of small town life, opening up wonderful conversations in regards to privacy, public persona, and how to navigate in-between.

"[L]ocals weren't so much nosy as they were bored. Even when their own lives lacked excitement, they could live vicariously through their friends and neighbors. And when their friends' and neighbors' lives were just as boring...well, they could always embellish." 

While distinctly upbeat and lighthearted in nature, this cozy focuses on all facets of family dynamics to craft a multilayered and well plotted mystery that definitely stands out against its counterparts. A few well placed red herrings and lots of dramatic twists and turns made the ending distinct and hard to see coming. This is a series that should not be missed, and I can't wait to read what happens next!






Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of '13, that dream became a reality. Since that time, she has published numerous books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction, Best Women’s Detective Fiction and Best Audio Book, won the 2018 RONE Award for Paranormal Fiction, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world. An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel, but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, Writer’s League of Texas, Sisters in Crime, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

Connect with Becki below. She loves to hear from readers and encourages feedback!


Website  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Email  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  YouTube  |  LinkedIn  |  BookBub  |  Amazon Author Page



GRAND PRIZE: Kendra Scott necklace + eBook of Sitting on a Fortune
2nd Prize: Audio Codes for the first four The Sisters, Texas books
3rd Prize: Autographed paperback copy of Sitting on a Fortune
February 20-March 1, 2020
(U.S. Only) 


a Rafflecopter giveaway  Best of luck!


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

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

2/20/20
BONUS Post
2/20/20
Review
2/21/20
Review
2/22/20
Review
2/23/20
Review
2/24/20
Review
2/25/20
Review
2/26/20
Review
2/27/20
Full Series Review
2/28/20
Review
2/29/20
Review

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

LSBBT BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: Finding Esme by Suzanne Crowley (Middle Grade)


FINDING ESME
by
SUZANNE CROWLEY

Genre: Middle Grade (3-7) / Magical Realism / Family & Loss
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date of Publication: August 14, 2018
Number of Pages: 288


SCROLL DOWN FOR THE GIVEAWAY!







Twelve-year-old Esme’s life changes when she discovers dinosaur bones on her family’s peach farm in Texas.

After her grandfather died from a heart attack while driving his tractor on Solace Hill, Esme's been inextricably drawn to that spot, although her grandmother warns her to stay away.

But when she follows her little brother, Bo, and her dog, Old Jack, up the hill while chasing fireflies, she makes an incredible discovery—dinosaur bones peeking out from underneath the abandoned tractor. The bones must be a message from her grandfather, a connection from beyond the grave. But when word gets out that the farm is hiding something valuable, reporters, researchers, and neighbors arrive in droves. Esme struggles to understand who has her best interests at heart, especially as the memory of her grandfather begins to slip away.

Full of friendship and adventure, and featuring a palpable Texas setting, Finding Esme is a moving and heartfelt story about family, friendship, and learning to deal with loss.

PRAISE & HONORS FOR FINDING ESME:

“Esme is a brave, appealing heroine with the odds stacked against her… Bad blood and layered family secrets drive this story to its ultimately optimistic and satisfying conclusion.” -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)  
“Esme McCauley is a lonely but spirited 12-year-old who feels nothing ever happens to her the way it’s supposed to...A poignant tale for readers who enjoy character-driven realism.” -- School Library Journal

“Readers muddling through preteen changes or unstable family lives will identify with Esme’s struggles, but the thrill of discovery will appeal to most.” -- Booklist
Texas Library Association 2019 Spirit of Texas (SPOT) reading program selection






This is an incredibly charming story with the feel of a classic that is timeless and meant to be shared across generations. Catching your attention from the opening line, the author's writing is captivating as it draws readers into sharing this once in a lifetime moment with Esme. Though written with children in mind, this is quite a phenomenal coming of age tale layered in an adult style that will resonate with older readers as well.

"Sometimes you find what you don't want to find."

Digging into secrets that perhaps she shouldn't be, Esme uncovers her own secret: a dinosaur bone. Located on Solace Hill, Esme has finally found her own solace on this very spot that also marks the sudden death of her grandfather, the only person Esme feels every truly loved and cared for her. Esme's grandmother, Bee, specializes in finding things, but Esme knows Bee hasn't found Esme's missing father nor a way to save the family's farm. Though she would love nothing more than to keep this discovery all to herself, the weight of the world seems to rest on her tiny shoulders, and she can't help but think that maybe this secret might just be the good something her family needs to make up for all the bad somethings that never stop coming. 

"'You came out like you were already grown-up, Esme McCauley, even though you were half as big as a minute.'"

With an eclectic and uniquely named cast of characters, the people of Paradise are well developed and add so much dimension to this quirky village. Such variety also brings a range of emotions that are felt just as fervently right along with Esme. Her voice is strong and steady, but buried beneath that tough facade, is still a pre-teen girl navigating feelings of doubt, fear, anxiety, and trust alone. We are reminded of our own experiences, yet rather than mire the narrative down in melancholy, the author beautifully sprinkles moments of tenderness and grace to remind us all that hope is never lost.

"Bee always said our sorrows were linked together one after another. But I didn't believe that anymore. I think God mixed our joys and sorrows together in the sweet far in-between, where they hid from us like shy ghosts, just beyond our reach."

Ultimately, this is a remarkable selection to connect multi-generational families and demonstrates the magic of a well-crafted story that centers on family, friendship, loss, and courage.





Suzanne Crowley is the author of two acclaimed novels for young readers, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous and The Stolen One. The author, who is also a miniaturist and dollhouse collector whose work has graced the covers of magazines worldwide, was born in a small town in Texas and lives in Southlake, Texas. When not hugging her dog or imbibing in chocolate, she can often be found taking a nap.




TWO READERS EACH WIN A SIGNED COPY OF FINDING ESME, TWO CANDLES, BOOKMARKS, FUN FACT CARDS, AND A PEN!
February 11-21, 2020
(U.S. Only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway   Best of luck!

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

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
2/11/20
Review
2/11/20
Review
2/12/20
Audio Review
2/12/20
Review
2/13/20
Review
2/14/20
Review
2/14/20
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2/15/20
Review
2/16/20
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2/17/20
Review
2/17/20
Review
2/18/20
Review
2/19/20
Review
2/20/20
Review
2/20/20
Audio Review

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