Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: Frame Change by: T’Gracie and Joe Reese


Title: Frame Change
Author: T'Gracie and Joe Reese
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press
Series: The Nina Bannister Mysteries Book #5
Pages: 233
Format: ebook
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour

Description:

 Nina Bannister loves to paint, and she thinks her hobby is painless enough. But she is wrong. Her love of doing seascapes leads to a friendship with a young ex docent from The Chicago Art Museum–and to their entry into the murky and dangerous world of international art smuggling.

Can she save her young friend, who has been kidnapped to the mountains of southern Austria? Can she determine the identity and motives of the mysterious Red Claw? Can she see the real painting that is hidden beneath the false one?

 Her success in these matters–indeed her very survival–depend on her ability to perform a last ditch Frame Change!

My Thoughts:

In this book which is the fifth in the series Nina Bannister is trying her hand at painting.  In this book we also meet Carol Walker who is a docent at the Chicago Art Museum but that doesn't last long as Carol made a few little mistakes and her boss uses this to fire the young girl.

Nina and Margot hire her to come to their town and show off her work.  The two also find out what happened in Chicago.  They offer her a job to work with them to keep her working and not drifting with no money.  Not long afterwards Carol realizes she is going to have to Michael up on his job of Art Smuggling but not all goes according to plan and soon Nina has to rescue her young friend after she is kidnapped.

This book is a great cozy mystery filled with all sorts of mystery and adventure.  This book is great for anyone who loves cozy mysteries filled with intrigue and suspense.  Can't wait to see what Nina does in her next book!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Trailer: Valerie's Retreat by: Joseph Rinaldo


Purchase Links: 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Blast: How A Star Falls

How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes
How a Star Falls
  How does a star fall? 
Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly. Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he'll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it's far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won't stop trying to run his life. Then Brielle falls into his world. She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she's crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can't just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home. And his whole world falls apart. A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.   

 Praise for How a Star Falls 

"Perfect for when you want a whimsical, heartwarming read, How a Star Falls is more than an inspirational romance...it's a wink and a smile." - Joanne Bischof, award winning author of This Quiet Sky 

 "Amber Stokes has perfectly expressed the challenges of twenty-something life in her sweet contemporary new adult novella, How a Star Falls. Brielle and Derrick's journey reminds us all of the search to find ourselves in the midst of young adulthood. Their story is charming and wistful with emotions we can all relate to experiencing at some point in our lives. It is a tale about letting go in order to find yourself once again while never losing the importance of who you are...and who you can be." - Cerella Sechrist, author of Gentle Persuasion and The Paris Connection 

"Though not typically a reader of contemporary fiction, I found How a Star Falls to be a wonderfully told story of both sweet romance and coming to terms with the fact that even though life doesn't always turn out exactly as we dreamed it would, even our undesirable circumstances can lead to a bright future." - Jaye L. Knight, author of Ilyon Chronicles.

Purchase Your Copy

Amber Stokes  Excerpt:

He led the way to the lighthouse, but instead of stopping at a bench, he headed down the stairs to the beach. When he finally reached the shore, he scuffed through the sand until he found a promising spot that didn’t look like it would get wet anytime soon. At the moment, they had the little piece of beach to themselves.   “This is really nice,” Brielle said as she clutched the paper bag to her stomach and gazed out at the boats bobbing in the choppy water. “A little cold, but nice.”   He glanced up from where he was smoothing out the towel. “Too cold?”   She offered him a cheeky grin. “Everything’s too cold for a star.”   That drew out a laugh from him as he sat on the towel and patted the other side. “I thought outer space was supposed to be freezing. Space suits and all that, right?”   She plopped down next to him and set the bag between them, turning her head at the screech of a seagull above them. As he brought out the food, she responded, “You’re thinking like a human. It’s not cold for the stars. They’re always shining, always warm. That frozen darkness could never touch them.”   Her words stilled his hand as he clutched an apple. Hadn’t he once told his dad the same thing, that stars would be warm to the touch?  

Author Amber Stokes:

  Amber Stokes works as a content writer (marketing services) for a Christian publisher. On the side, she self-publishes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor's degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, this new chapter of her career takes place in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she's always considered home. 


book blast button
         

Book Blast Giveaway:

 $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/16/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

Review: Fatal Brushstrokes by: Sybil Johnson


Title: Fatal Brushstrokes
Author: Sybil Johnson
Publisher: Henery Press
Series: An Aurora Anderson Mystery # 1
Pages: 276
Format: e-book ARC
Source: Great Escapes Book Tour

Description:

A dead body in her garden and a homicide detective on her doorstep…
Computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson doesn’t envision finding either when she steps outside to investigate the frenzied yipping coming from her own backyard. After all, she lives in Vista Beach, a quiet California beach community where violent crime is rare and murder even rarer.

Suspicion falls on Rory when the body buried in her flowerbed turns out to be someone she knows—her tole painting teacher, Hester Bouquet. Just two weekends before, Rory attended one of Hester’s weekend painting seminars, an unpleasant experience she vowed never to repeat. As evidence piles up against Rory, she embarks on a quest to identify the killer and clear her name. Can Rory unearth the truth before she encounters her own brush with death?

My Thoughts:

This book follows computer programer Aurora Anderson known in this series as Rory who has stumbled upon a dead body on her property.  She and her friend Liz try to figure out who wanted to kill Hester Bouquet a local tole painting teacher.

Some are quick to blame Rory for the murder.  Rory is quick to try to uncover who killed Hester and to clear her name.  Rory's birth parents played into this story as the police seem more set for Rory to take the blame for the murder.

I enjoyed this story and the characters and can't wait to see what Ms. Johnson comes up with next for Rory and Liz.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Spotlight: Destiny's Anvil by: Steven Wells Hicks

New Orleans novelist Steven Wells Hicks recently published his latest novel Destiny’s Anvil: A Tale of Politics, Payback & Pigs.

Destiny’s Anvil is a classic tale of revenge between a sociopathic politician and the campaign puppet master who unleashes him
on the people of Louisiana. Written from an insider’s experiences in the back rooms of hardball Dixie politics where cold-blooded payback
is coin of the realm, Destiny’s Anvil is at once a sharp-eyed examination of the seamy underside of America’s elections and a freewheeling yarn in the grand Southern tradition.

Destiny’s Anvil was published in June 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Destinys-Anvil-Steven-Wells-Hicks-ebook/dp/B00KRJFVJE/

Synopsis:

Will Guidry’s career as a backwater lawyer is going nowhere until he has a couple of beers with up-and-coming political operative Tucker Callahan, whose family’s petrochemical fortune instills in him a confidence bordering on hubris. As Tucker explains to his rudderless brother, Carter, “Guidry and I made a deal because he needed a miracle and I wanted to play God.”

Guidry rides Tucker’s political horse sense into the office of Louisiana’s Attorney General, while Tucker capitalizes on Guidry’s victory to bolster his own political reputation. But what should become a powerful alliance deteriorates into a bitter feud when Guidry tries to flex his political muscle and Tucker suspects he may have maneuvered a calculating sociopath into the marble halls of power.

Caught in the crossfire is Carter, the story’s narrator. Devastated by betrayal at the hands of his brother and the woman he loved for a lifetime, a brooding Carter remains content to watch the power struggle between Tucker and Guidry from the sidelines. Everything changes when he stumbles on the charismatic attorney general committing a monstrous crime, and finds himself drawn into the vortex of his brother’s private war.

Racing from a bungled execution through ruthless political payback and a no-holds-barred courtroom showdown, before culminating in a bloodbath by the side of a bayou, the stakes continue to rise and Carter finds his small-town naiveté peeling away. Replacing it is a mounting dread of what will happen when the hammer of Fate meets destiny’s anvil.

About the Author: 

Steven Hicks came to Mississippi in 1974 and spent the next quarter century writing for various advertising agencies, including his own. He wrote commercials and print ads about hot dogs and other baloney, used cars, barbecue shacks, sunscreen, banks galore, white bread, undertakers, churches, casinos, turkey calls, finger-lickin’ chicken and symphony orchestras. Some of the work was thoughtful. Some was funny. Most was neither.

During that period of time, he earned the enmity of his competitors and peers by being named Mississippi’s top copywriter nine times, winning six certificates of excellence in the International CLIO Awards, over 150 ADDY Awards, Radio Mercury honors and being included in Who’s Who in American Advertising.

A major portion of his advertising and marketing income came through his work as a political consultant, engineering the media and messaging efforts for more than six dozen campaigns, culminating with the POLLIE Award for best statewide/national commercial from the American Association of Political Consultants in 1989.

While the embarrassing abundance of honors mean next to nothing to Hicks, the education he got through the process meant everything. He learned how to write what people like. He learned to write with economy and clarity, because consumers won’t buy things from long-winded peddlers of perplexity. He learned when words have to be polished and when they’re best left plain.

Through it all, people kept telling Hicks he should write books and he kept saying, “Maybe one day,” until the day came when a near-fatal stroke in 1997 forced him into an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with his own mortality, and he realized he wanted to be remembered for something more consequential than gimmicky commercials.

There was only one hitch. The stroke had taken away his ability to read.

For the next thirteen months, Hicks stubbornly stared at newspaper letters until he could form words, read sentences, then paragraphs, and finally had the ability to once again read novels, albeit at a far slower pace and with cognitive problems enhanced by lingering reading difficulties stemming from alexia, an aphasia problem caused by brain lesions.

It made the headstrong Hicks more determined than ever to take a shot at those novels people had been encouraging him to write for years.

Ten years and eleven revisions later came his debut novel, The Gleaner, a trans-racial romance set in a sleepy Mississippi whistle-stop. In a competition of 5,000 entries, The Gleaner was named a quarter-finalist in Amazon.com’s prestigious “Breakthrough Novel” competition. Upon its heels came two comic novels in 2009, The Fall of Adam, a satire of Deep South advertising, and Horizontal Adjustment, a farce about sexual escapades among competitors for a news anchor position in a tank town television station along the Florida Panhandle.

Deciding to take a breather from novels, Hicks started publishing New Orleans restaurant guidebooks on an annual basis in 2011, all of which have become mainstays on Amazon.com’s list of the 100 top-selling books about world dining.

In May of 2014, Hicks published his fourth novel, Destiny’s Anvil, which marked a stark departure from the breezy style of his earlier works.

“The final product is the polar opposite of the novel’s original intent. It is dark, violent bordering on savage, as it strips away the veneers of not only politicians, but the entire American political system. At the same time, it moves with the furious pace of a thriller overflowing with cliffhangers,” says Hicks.

Steven Wells Hicks lives in New Orleans. To learn more, go to http://stevenwellshicks.com/, or connect with Steven on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hickswrites 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review - I Am Malala by: Malala Yousafzai

Title: I Am Malala
Author: Malala Yousafzai
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 276
Format: Paperback
Source: Turkish edition, personal purchase

Description:


I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.


When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. 

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.


My thoughts:

To not know who Malala is, you must be living under a rock or somewhere very much abandoned with no contact to anyone or anything to the outside world. She is a girl from Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban on her way to school when she was 15. Her fault? Wanting to go to school, learn and working to make sure all girls have this right. 

When it comes to Malala, I can go on and on and on because I really admire her in so many ways starting with her courage, but I think this video will give you a much better idea of what kind of person she is:


Review: Iced Chiffon by: Duffy Brown

Title: Iced Chiffon
Author: Duffy Brown
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: Consignment Shop Mystery #1
Pages: 304
Format: Nook e-book
Source: Purchase

Description:

There's always something to gossip about in Savannah, Georgia, and Reagan Summerside always seems to be in the middle of it. She's busy enough running her consignment shop, the Prissy Fox, with her vivacious auntie, KiKi, but now the gossip--and the sales--are about to pick up, after a gruesome discovery...

Reagan's messy divorce has left her with nothing but a run-down Victorian and a bunch of designer clothes. Strapped for cash, Reagan makes use of the two things she has left, turning the first floor of her home into a consignment shop and filling it with the remnants of her rich-wife wardrobe.

Thanks to his cunning lawyer, Walker Boone, her ex got everything else, including the Lexus--not to mention a young blonde cupcake. When Reagan finds the blonde dead in the Lexus, she's determined to beat Boone to finding the murderer. As it turns out, the gossip fiends flooding Reagan's shop can give her a lot more than just their unwanted clothes--they have information more precious than a vintage Louis Vuitton...


My Thoughts: 

This book follows Reagan Summerside newly divorced who is selling off her fancy clothes from when she was married so that she can keep her home.  Her house is definitely a fixer upper.  Not long into this Reagan 'borrows' her ex-husband's Lexus to deliver a fountain to a buyer when she finds her ex's new fiancé in the car trunk.  

Of course this lands Reagan's ex-husband in jail for having motive to kill his fiancé when the couple were scene the night before arguing.  Who had the most to gain by Janelle's death?  Was it Hollis Reagan's ex?  Or was it Reverend Franklin who won't talk about Janelle?  Or was it the woman who had been scorned previously when Janelle stole her husband away?  So many suspects for Reagan to sift through to find out who had it out for Janelle the man stealer!

Someone is hot Reagan's tale and has tried to kill her dog Bruce Willis more commonly known as BW. Also they broke into Reagan's house meanwhile people in town are placing bets on who will find the killer and alot of people are betting that Reagan will find the killer.

In this book we watching Kiki and Reagan take all sorts of wrong turns question residents who've been blackmailed to death by Janelle all the while all of them seem to have a motive albeit not a good motive for the murder. So who had the crappiest motive that could be poked like a balloon with a needle? 

This book was great especially the go between with Reagan and Boone the lawyer representing Reagan's ex when he is arrested.  It's an interesting go between going on.  I also enjoyed reading everything Kiki and Reagan did to try to find out the murderer.  The ending was very surprising.  I loved it!


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