Saturday, February 24, 2024

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Murder in Masquerade (Lady of Letters Mystery, #2) by Mary Winters


Murder in Masquerade
A Lady of Letters Mystery
Mary Winters

Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting - London, 1860
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 20, 2024
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0593548787 / ISBN-13: 978-0593548783
Kindle ASIN: B0C5V8FY7P




Extra, extra, read all about it! Countess turned advice columnist Amelia Amesbury finds herself playing the role of sleuth when a night at the theatre turns deadly.

Victorian Countess Amelia Amesbury’s secret hobby, writing an advice column for a London penny paper, has gotten her into hot water before. After all, Amelia will do whatever it takes to help a reader in need. But now, handsome marquis Simon Bainbridge desperately requires her assistance. His beloved younger sister, Marielle, has written Amelia's Lady Agony column seeking advice on her plans to elope with a man her family does not approve of. Determined to save his sister from a scoundrel and the family from scandal, Simon asks Amelia to dissuade Marielle from the ill-advised gambit.

But when the scoundrel makes an untimely exit after a performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto, Amelia realizes there’s much more at stake than saving a young woman’s reputation from ruin. It’s going to take more than her letter-writing skills to help the dashing marquis, mend the familial bond, and find the murderer. Luckily, solving problems is her specialty!




Mary Winters is the author of the Lady of Letters historical mystery series. She also writes cozy mysteries under the name Mary Angela. A longtime reader and fan of historical fiction, Mary set her latest work in Victorian England after being inspired by a trip to London. Since then, she’s been busily planning her next mystery—and another trip! Find out more about Mary and her writing, reading, and teaching at


February 20 – Sarah Can't Stop Reading Books - REVIEW
February 21 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT
February 21 – Jane Reads - REVIEW
February 22 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
February 22 – fundinmental- SPOTLIGHT
February 23 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW
February 23 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 24 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
February 24 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – SPOTLIGHT
February 25 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
February 26 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 26 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
February 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
February 28 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
February 28 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
February 29 - Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 1 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
March 2 – The Mystery of Writing – REVIEW
March 2 – Review Thick And Thin – REVIEW
March 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT
March 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
March 4 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
March 4 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT


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Friday, February 23, 2024

Book Blitz & Giveaway: The Knotted Ring by Myra Hargrave McIlvain


Historical Fiction / Family Saga / Historical Romance
Publisher: Next Chapter
Page Count: 412 pages
Publication Date: December 7, 2023

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Susannah Mobley, expecting a baby by her lover, a slave owned by her family, submits to an arranged marriage to Hezekiah James who is headed to Texas to claim a Spanish land grant. Caught in a series of lies about the origin of a beautiful ring woven from her red hair and the circumstances of her pregnancy, Susannah embarks on the harsh trip to Texas, grieving for her lost love and determined to control her destiny.

On the wagon train journey, Hezekiah is tested by his beliefs and strengths with his slaves and Native Americans, as well as a strange Mad Stone. His determination to build a plantation as fine as Susannah’s home place and to make the best decisions for Susannah fails. Susannah will have to decide if she can live with the consequences of her lies and open herself to this man who shows every form of contrition or if she will allow longing for what she cannot have to destroy her life.

The Knotted Ring is currently a semi-finalist status
in the Laramie Awards for Western and Americana Fiction.

"An often engrossing and well-handled story of the 19th century."
--Kirkus Reviews


Myra Hargrave McIlvain, a sixth-generation Texan, is a storyteller who has written Texas historical markers (yes, real people write those things lining Texas highways), articles for newspapers and magazines such as Texas Highways, and six nonfiction books about famous and infamous Texas characters and places.

McIlvain found her real love when she wrote her first historical fiction. All her tales take place in Texas during major periods of its history. However, The Knotted Ring was inspired by an old family story, and in her search to understand what may have happened, she imagined their lives set in a time that she knew well––the establishment of the first Anglo colony.

McIlvain views history as the story of a people; the people she knows best have made Texas home.                                                                                                                                     

1st Prize: Autographed hardcover & tote bag; 2nd Prize: Autographed paperback + candle; 3rd Prize: Autographed paperback
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 02/29/24)

Excerpt Tour & Giveaway: If the Duke Dares (Rogue Rules, #1) by Darcy Burke


Rogue Rules, #1
Darcy Burke

Regency Historical Romance
Publisher: Zealous Quill Press
Publication Date: January 30, 2024
Page count: 321 pages



Incorrigible flirt Acton Loxley, Duke of Wellesbourne is in need of a duchess. En route to greet a potential bride, he encounters a most intriguing and captivating widow who completely distracts him from his task. However, she disappears before he can deepen their acquaintance. Acton begrudgingly goes to meet his bride, unaware she and the widow are one and the same.
When Persephone Barclay’s younger sister is compromised, Persephone must wed before the scandal spreads. Her parents scramble to present her to the Duke of Wellesbourne; except he’s precisely the kind of rogue she has now vowed to avoid. Taking flight to avoid a match, Persephone runs straight into her would-be betrothed and pretends to be someone else. But dash it all, the duke proves to be irresistibly charming! If she remains in his company, she’ll end up in the wicked scoundrel’s clutches. 

Even worse, her second attempt at escape lands her in increasingly poor circumstances. With nowhere to turn and her safety at risk, she may have to accept help from the one man who threatens her resolve—and her reputation.



Swearing under his breath, he decided he should go. He took one last look at the back door. Then it opened. 

Acton was riveted to the ground. He couldn’t have moved if the garden were on fire. 

Persey closed the door slowly before turning and making her way into the garden. She looked about, and it took all Acton’s control not to race out into the open and snatch her into his arms.

Instead, he made a sound like an owl, hooting several times. The noise drew her attention, and as her gaze settled in his direction, she walked straight toward him.

Acton’s heart thundered as she neared the tree behind which he was stationed. When she was close enough, he whispered, “I’m here, behind the tree.”

She found him a moment later. “Are you supposed to be an owl?”

“It was all I could think of to get your attention. And it worked.”

“It did indeed, though I don’t think an owl hoots with such intensity.”

He smiled, glad that he could at last flirt with her without incurring her wrath. “They might if they were trying to attract a beautiful, captivating female owl.”

“Is that how you see me?” she asked, and he knew the question was genuine. Little lines marred her forehead. “Or is this just something you say when you meet a woman alone in the dark?”

His smile faded. “I thought about that as I was standing here—I mean, my being here. I nearly left, but then I saw you come outside, and I was unable to move.”

“Do you mean that too?” she whispered.

“With every fiber of my being. I know you’ve no reason to believe me. And you’ve every reason to think I’ve done this a dozen times, all with the goal of seduction.”

“Only a dozen?”


Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of over sixty captivating, compelling historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Her novels have been translated into five languages and are also available as audio books.  

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming, teacher husband, artist daughter, and writer (yes!) son. They’re a crazy cat family with two Bengal cats, a small, fame-seeking cat named after a fruit, a rescue Maine Coon with attitude to spare, an adorable former stray who wandered onto their deck and into their hearts, and two bonded boys who used to belong to (separate) neighbors but chose them instead. You can find Darcy in her comfy writing chair, folding laundry (which she loves), or enjoying game night with the family. 


Darcy Burke will award a $25 Amazon/BN GC + swag to a randomly drawn winner 
(Swag to US/Canada only)

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Book Blast & Giveaway: Out of Body by Kimberly Baer

Out of Body
Kimberly Baer

Young Adult / Fantasy / Paranormal / Coming of Age
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Publication Date: February 19, 2024
Page count: 292 pages

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.  Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Those weird dreams Abby Kendrick has been having? Turns out they aren’t dreams after all. They’re out-of-body experiences, like the ones her cousin Logan is having. At first Abby has fun with her new ability, using it to spy on her neighborhood crush and spook a mean girl. But when Logan gets in trouble on the astral plane, the game changes, and Abby must bend the rules of out-of-body travel as she journeys to a distant realm. Her mission is a perilous one, and success is not guaranteed. Can she save Logan and find her way home again? Or will the cousins be lost forever on the astral plane?


Read an Excerpt:

I strode back to the coffee table and pressed the off button on the remote. Instantly the TV went blind and silent, like a lopped-off head. But I didn’t make it to my bedroom. Before I could take another step, I saw it again, that flitting movement near the recliner. This time there was an accompanying noise—the unmistakable rustling of clothing.

I turned in dread, and at long last there was something to see. I felt the briefest flicker of triumph—Ha! Caught you!—before the horror of the situation thumped me in the chest.

My dad’s jacket had come to life. It was floating in the air beside the recliner, puffy and solid as if inhabited by a body. The sleeves were waving: Hey, look at me!

I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move. My vision darkened as if I was going to pass out, but if I did, that would be the end of me, because that thing would come over and strangle me. It was a disembodied jacket. It couldn’t be up to any good.

The jacket’s sleeves reached down. They bent at the elbows. Up went the jacket’s zipper with a z-z-zip sound.

Somehow I managed to draw in a big, rasping breath, and I screamed. I screamed loudly enough to wake the Halloween dead.

Then I ran for the front door.

About the Author:
Kimberly Baer is an author and professional editor who was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a town marginally famous for having endured three major floods. She even lived there during one of them. She enjoys power-walking on days when it’s not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. On indoor days, you're likely to find her hard at work on her next novel or binge-watching old episodes of Survivor, her favorite guilty pleasure.

Kim has had her nose in a book practically since birth. Her first story, written at age six, was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl’s Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. These days she writes in a variety of genres, including adult romantic suspense, young adult, and middle-grade. Her books are published by The Wild Rose Press and have won several awards.

OUT OF BODY Book Trailer

View on YouTube


The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner.

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Tales of the Yankee Clipper (Yankees Icons Trilogy, #3) by Jonathan Weeks

Jonathan Weeks

Non-Fiction / Sports Biography
Publisher: Lyons Press
Publication Date: February 6, 2024
Page count: 234 pages



There has probably never been a professional baseball player more of a puzzle than Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio had a talent for keeping his emotions suppressed and his innermost thoughts to himself. Few could say that they really knew him. And even the ones who did found him to be unpredictable. He was a walking contradiction. He was quiet, but not necessarily shy. He could be both gracious and abrupt, approachable or aloof depending on the situation. Although he came across as humble, he had a tremendous sense of entitlement. He was complex, secretive, inscrutable. There were many layers to the man who came to be affectionately known as the “Yankee Clipper.” DiMaggio always felt that his actions on the field should do the talking for him. And for the most part, they did. To many, DiMaggio personified elegance, style, and grace. An impeccable dresser, he was married to two glamorous actresses. On the field, he glided almost effortlessly, never having to dive for a ball and rarely (if ever) making a mistake on the basepaths. He became the living embodiment of the American dream and a symbol of the country’s so-called “greatest generation.” But as time marched on, DiMaggio grew increasingly distrustful of the people around him. It was understandable—inevitable even. The third book in Jonathan Week’s Yankees Trilogy contains an abundance of anecdotes, statistics, and other little known facts about the Yankee Clipper.




DiMaggio suffered a major scare during his 56-game hitting streak. On June 29, 1941, the Yankees traveled to Washington for a double-header against the Nationals (often referred to as the Senators). Joe had hit in 40 straight games and was poised to break the modern record set by George Sisler in 1922. His double in the opener tied Sisler’s mark. In the first inning of the evening game, Tommy Henrich was on his way to the plate when he heard DiMaggio shouting across the diamond. Joe couldn’t locate his favorite bat and wondered if Henrich had done something with it.
Joe was very attached to that particular piece of lumber, naming it “Betsy Ann.” He had been using it throughout the streak and worried that he might fall into a slump without it. A frantic search turned up nothing. The bat was gone. Forced to hit without “Betsy Ann,” DiMaggio flied out. Two innings later, he switched bats and lined out to short. In the seventh inning, Henrich gave Joe his own bat to use. Averting disaster, The Yankee Clipper lined a clean single to left field, claiming Sisler’s record for himself. Still, the loss of his favorite bat vexed him.
“Of course the guy had to pick out the best one,” Joe told reporters after the game. “I had three of my bats on the ground in front of the dugout but he got the one I wouldn’t take money for...the bat was just right for me. I liked the feel of it. I hate to lose it.” 
About a week later, “Betsy Ann” was delivered by courier to the Yankee clubhouse in a plain brown package. Behind the scenes, one of Joe’s assistants—a wise-guy named Jimmy “Peanuts” Ceres—had spent five days looking for the bat. As it turned out, the thief had ties to the Newark underworld (which was Jimmy’s domain) and also happened to be a braggart. When the thief’s identity was revealed, Jimmy paid the guy a visit with one of his associates. Specific details of how they persuaded the man to return Joe’s prized bat have never been disclosed.


Today we welcome author Jonathan Weeks with additional comments regarding the subjects of his latest book, Tales of the Yankee Clipper.

Statistics don’t always paint a full picture when it comes to baseball. In comparison to the other center fielders currently in the Hall of Fame, Joe DiMaggio ranks sixth in homers, fifth in RBIs, and fourth in batting average. But those rankings could have been much higher. In addition to the three prime seasons he sacrificed to military duty during World War II, “Joltin’ Joe” missed more than 150 games on account of injuries. In order to properly gauge how talented he really was, one needs only to read what his Hall of Fame contemporaries had to say about him.
WHITEY FORD: “Growing up in Astoria, Queens, I was always a Yankee fan and the main reason was Joe DiMaggio. I idolized him. When I joined the team [in 1951], DiMaggio was hitting about .235, but he ended up hitting .301 for the season, so he must have batted around .370 in the time I was there. He was still so graceful in the field and such a good hitter it made me realize how great he must have been in his prime.”
MONTE IRVIN: “I came up as an outfielder and I wanted to learn how to play center field. So I went to Yankee Stadium and watched Joe. When a ball is hit straight over your head, what is the first move you make? I watched Joe. If I got in a slump at bat, I watched Joe.”
PHIL RIZZUTO: “[When] things aren’t going so good with the club and you can’t buy a win for love or money and you feel low, you look up and see [DiMaggio] standing there. So you feel everything is ok...He just makes the rest of the club feel that they’re Yankees. He’s as much the inspiration for the club as the uniform.”
TED WILLIAMS: “Joe DiMaggio was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country.”
RED RUFFING: “You saw him standing out there and you knew you had a pretty darn good chance to win the baseball game.”
STAN MUSIAL: “There was never a day when I was as good as Joe DiMaggio at his best. Joe was the best—the VERY best I ever saw.”
HANK GREENBERG: “Name a better right-handed hitter, or a better thrower, or a better fielder, or a better base runner. Did you ever see him slide when he hooked the bag with his toe? Absolutely perfect.”
RED SCHOENDIENST: “He was a solid ballplayer in every way. I never saw him make a mistake. There was a smooth way he had of going about everything.”

Thanks to Jonathan for this insight!


Jonathan Weeks has written several sports biographies and two novels, one of which was a posthumous collaboration with his father. He grew up in the Capital District region of New York State and currently works in the mental health field.


Jonathan Weeks will award a randomly drawn winner a $25 Amazon/BN gift card.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Book Blitz: Slashed Potatoes & Grave-y (Honeypie Mysteries, #1) by Joann Keder

Slashed Potatoes and Grave-y
Joann Keder
(Honeypie Mysteries, #1)
Publication date: February 14th 2024
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery

Honeypie Sweetwater’s life is a recipe for disaster—her culinary career in San Francisco is burnt to a crisp, her sterling reputation tossed out like last week’s leftovers, and now her home is slipping through her fingers like fine sand. Just as she’s about to surrender to fate, a ghost from the past delivers a bombshell—her beloved grandmother didn’t die; she was murdered. Clutching the deed to a quaint diner on the rugged coast, Honeypie whisks back to the salty sea air of her youth to unravel a mystery that’s been marinating for years. In a town bubbling with secrets, every friend could be a suspect, and every enemy, a clue. As the plot thickens and an enigmatic blast from the past steps out of the shadows, Honeypie must face a bitter truth: the most dangerous ingredients in this simmering scandal are her own buried secrets.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo



Honeypie Sweetwater stared out the window of her condo. The rain was coming down in sheets, which was fitting for her current financial situation. Unwillingly, she turned her head to face the stern woman sitting across the table from her.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Steam, I—”

“It’s SIStine, like the chapel? And I’m Ms.” She twitched her nose just like the old television show with the witch. Also fitting.

“This is your copy of the documents for the foreclosure on this property.”

“It’s my home. We’re not talking about a lemonade stand. I raised my son here and started a business—”

“And that failed too, didn’t it?”

Honeypie dug what was left of her fingernails into her palms, doing her level best not to lose her cool. “You just look at the numbers. You don’t have any idea what my life has been like, or what it took just to put food on the table for my kid some months.”

After a brief stare-down that Honeypie felt confident she’d won, the banker leaned back, causing the wobbly wooden chair to creak in protest. She flopped an arm over the back of the chair and stuck her tongue in her cheek before delivering the next blow.

“There is also the matter of your inheritance. The land and property in Washington State will also become our holdings after you sign the paperwork.” She shuffled through her papers containing a collection of colorful stickers. “I hear great things about the museum in Misty Cove.”

“The Chewseum? I didn’t realize that was still open. It’s a food museum. Kinda cheesy, get it?”

Ms. Sistine ignored H.P.’s attempt at humor and shoved the documents in front of her.

“Please sign on the lines I’ve highlighted.”

Her inheritance. Her childhood. Everything that made her the woman she was today.

Author Bio:

USA TODAY bestselling author, Joann Keder spent most of her years in the Midwest, growing up and raising a family on the Great Plains of Nebraska. She worked for sixteen years as a piano teacher before returning to school to receive a master's degree in creative writing. A mid-life move to the Pacific Northwest led her to re-examine her priorities. She now creates stories about life and relationships in small towns while her ever-patient husband encourages her on.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram


a Rafflecopter giveaway

NBTM Virtual Tour & Giveaway: My Career Journal by Fatemah Mirza, CareerTuners

Fatemah Mirza

Publisher: CareersTuners
Publication Date: January 12, 2024
Page count: 242 pages



Are you seeking to enhance your career and significantly increase your salary? 'My Career Journal' by CareerTuners is your guide to achieving these goals. This practical workbook, enriched with insights from my 13+ years as a career and salary coach, is tailored for individuals at any career stage - whether you are just starting or looking to make major changes.

In 'My Career Journal', you will: 

- Set clear, achievable career goals with defined weekly, monthly, and quarterly milestones.

- Track and record your accomplishments, laying the groundwork for salary negotiations.

- Build and refine a professional portfolio that showcases your strengths and achievements. 

The strategies in this workbook have been refined through my extensive experience and continual input from over 3,000 recruiter partners. This is how I have empowered marketing leaders to approach their promotion plans with renewed vigor. 

'My Career Journal' is especially for those: 

- Who are deeply creative and have great ideas they are eager to put into motion.

- Committed to changing their job search strategies.

- Who aspire to align their career success with making a meaningful difference in their field, using their work as a platform for positive change. 

The workbook encourages you to take action and think creatively to overcome professional challenges. It is designed not just for planning but for doing. By working through 'My Career Journal,' you will rediscover the passion that drives your career success and be equipped to double your salary through strategic planning and execution. Dive into this journal to take control of your career journey and propel yourself towards greater achievements.



Today, we welcome author/speaker/career coach, Fatemah Mirza, to discuss how her book, MY CAREER JOURNAL, can help with salary negotiation!

Why is it important to negotiate salary? How the journal will help in doing so.

Why it is important to negotiate salary? How the journal will help in doing so.

Salary negotiation has the potential to influence your current earnings, career advancement, long-term financial trajectory, and — most importantly — job satisfaction. 

Unlike promotions, which come with increased responsibilities and higher expectations, a successful salary negotiation can boost your income with no addition to the amount of work or expectations. 

Because of my experience as a hiring manager and a career coach, I understand the intricacies of both worlds and the importance of strategic salary negotiation. 

        You might be met with interpersonal resistance. Don't worry - these situations are designed to test you and your negotiating mettle.

        You'll have to provide examples of how your skillset results in contributions that benefit your employer. Bring any documentation that can help you advocate for yourself.

        And finally — build a concrete plan before stepping into the negotiation. Have a specific amount in mind. Understand what the job should pay for a person with your abilities. 

However, negotiating salary can be uncomfortable for some people, as it may feel like a confrontation or a challenge to your employer’s assessment of your worth. But not negotiating can also cost you. 

When you negotiate salary, you’re not just negotiating the number that will appear on your next paycheck. Taking less than you deserve can hurt your performance and even your mental well-being. 

However, the worst thing you can do is impulsively schedule a salary negotiation appointment with your supervisor without a plan A, B, or C. Throughout the years, I've worked closely with many recruiter partners, gaining valuable experience as a certified interview, salary, and career coach, and recently, I even guided a client to an astonishing $70,000 salary increase. 

Now, I'm excited to share my expertise through my very own career planner — "My Career Journal", designed specifically to encourage you to critically evaluate your current situation, plan for the future, and translate your creative energy into actionable steps. 

And one of my favorite parts of "My Career Journal" is the salary negotiation section. This section empowers you with the skill and strategic mindset to navigate your future salary negotiations successfully. After completing it, you'll be well-prepared to articulate your value and secure desirable terms regarding salary, perks, and overall compensation. 

        The salary information section: List everything you know about your current salary, pay band, benefits, and perks. Research whether your current salary aligns with your true worth in the market.

        The salary goals section: After sufficient research, you can begin to Visualize your salary goals, including your target salary, industry benchmarks, walkaway figure, and desired benefits.

        My exclusive salary negotiation checklist: a list of dos and don'ts for negotiating your salary. Use it to advocate for yourself during the negotiation process. 

Many thanks for this enlightening guest post!


Fatemah Mirza is a Certified Resume Master and a highly sought-after speaker and coach who helps ambitious job seekers find higher-paying, more fulfilling jobs. She’s been helping job seekers since 2010 when she founded CareerTuners, which is a small team of skilled professionals from various industries who specialize in providing professional resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and many more career-related services to help ambitious people land their dream jobs and achieve career goals.She has created free resources that have seen more than 160,000 downloads, helped hundreds of clients increase their pay, and built a network of more than 3000 recruiters.


Fatemah Mirza will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Review Tour & Giveaway: Effie - A Love Story That Transcends Time by Rhonda Lee


A Love Story That Transcends Time
Rhonda Lee

Fiction / Romance
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: September 20, 2023
Paperback page count: 242 pages



Effie is the heartwarming story of how a young couple, killed in a pickup truck accident in the spring of 1959, fulfill their dream of getting married in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee some forty years after their deaths, by helping a young widower and father find true love a second time in life, and a new mother for four-year old Effie.

Witness the incredible power of love, the undeniable force of destiny, and the enduring spirit of those who have passed before us. Get ready to be moved, inspired, and reminded of the beauty that can be found, even in the face of tragedy.



Spring, 1959 

Jack scrambles to flip onto his belly to catch a white shoebox—tied neatly with the same pink ribbon—tossed out the window. “You could warn me, ya know!” Getting back on his feet, he wipes wet grass off his butt, tucks the box under his arm, then lifts the surprisingly still-fastened suitcase to stand on its end.
Quickly and carefully, Laura descends the ladder, delightful in black pedal pushers, a matching popover top, pink sweater, and flats. Today was not going to be like any other day, and she made sure she dressed for the occasion, purposely choosing an outfit that she felt complemented the celebratory mood she was in. Her Brownie camera—a high school graduation gift from her mom—hangs from a strap around her neck and, with the envelope in hand, she steps off the bottom rung, turns, and bounces excitedly into Jack’s arms, the shoebox falling to the ground. Taken by surprise when the camera flashes, they freeze.
“Whoops,” she giggles, bursting into nervous laughter.
“Shhh. We better get outta here,” Jack says anxiously, pulling away from Laura, hoping it’s not too late. Handing the shoebox back to her, he grabs the ladder to lay it alongside the house behind a hedge, knowing it will be safe and out of the way. Grabbing up the suitcase and taking her hand, he rushes with Laura to make their escape to the pickup.
Pulling the passenger door open, Jack helps Laura step up and slide onto the bench seat, then presses the door closed as gently as possible. He sets the suitcase in the bed of the truck next to his much smaller suitcase, then steals a look back at the house. Confident the coast is clear, he darts around the pickup and climbs in. Laura places the shoebox, camera, and envelope on top of the folded road map of Tennessee on the seat between them.


5 stars!

A double romance with an enemies-to-lovers story and a young love cut short before its time. 

Effie: A Love Story That Transcends Time by Rhonda Lee is a remarkable double love story featuring an enemies-to-lovers storyline teamed up with a young couple whose life together was cut short before its time. The main characters are engaging, and the plot is driven by strong emotions, making for a compelling and absorbing story. 

JD Taylor and his young daughter, Effie, go to Oceanside, New Jersey, to settle his late wife’s estate and retrieve the antique Ford pickup she’d always dreamed of restoring parked in the barn. However, the truck was mistakenly sold, and the buyer, local mechanic Meg Campbell, insists on keeping it. She and JD’s wife, Jen, had been best friends throughout childhood, and the truck’s restoration had been THEIR dream. 

The truck in question has a tragic past. A young couple, Jack and Laura, had been killed in the vehicle on their way out of town to get married, and their spirits are still hanging around, their Earthly business yet unfinished. Resigned to what occurred over the 40 years since their death, there is a lot of fun commentary from these two, which only young Effie can hear, interspersed with the action in the story, and I often had to stop reading because I was laughing. Poor little Effie starts getting the side-eye from the adults around her when she answers the ghosts, and, being so young, she often repeats, unfiltered, what Jack tells her to say with hilarious results. I was instantly reminded of the great old movie and later television show, Topper, with ghosts George and Marion Kirby. 

While Jack and Laura’s story occurs in 1959, the bulk of events are set in 1999, after the death of Jen Taylor. Events unfold from multiple points of view, including the ghosts’. The story is thick with emotion – grief, guilt, love, and longing. JD and Meg affix their emotions to the old truck, which becomes a tragic symbol of their losses for much of the book. However, common ground and mutual admiration create a spark between these two grieving individuals. I was rooting from the start that they would be able to see the possibilities right before their eyes. 

I recommend EFFIE: A LOVE STORY THAT TRANSCEND TIME to readers of romance who enjoy a paranormal element in their reading.


Rhonda Lee resides in South-Western Ontario, Canada, and is a former talent agent for the film and television industry.

Ever since being introduced to the town of Gatlinburg—nestled deep in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee—by her parents when she was a young girl, Rhonda has continued to make the trek to the Smokies at least twice a year.

It was in the spring of 1987 that she first brought her husband to Gatlinburg, and it was during that same weekend, while attending their first F-100 Supernationals pickup truck show, that he introduced her to the mid-50s Fords, affectionately referred to as Effies, and thus, this story was born.


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