Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Virtual Book Tour: The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith


The Urban Boys:
Discovery of the Five Senses
K.N. Smith

Young Adult Action-Adventure / Young Adult Thriller / 
Urban Fantasy / Mystery/ Thriller

1st in The Urban Boys Series
Reading age: 13 - 18 years
Publisher: Two Petals Publishing
Publication Date: 9/15/21, 2nd edition
ISBN-10: 0989474755
ISBN-13: 978-0989474757
Kindle ASIN: B015ZS01MI


About Discovery of the Five Senses


A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. 

With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, can the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

Click to purchase!

My Review
4 stars!

Discovery of the Five Senses, the first book in The Urban Boys series by author K.N. Smith, has an intriguing plot that teased me with its carefully measured bits of backstory and minimalistic opening exposition. The author doesn't hand-feed the book's secrets; those are only slowly revealed as the story unfolds. I was in the story with the five main characters for the entire journey, feeling their confusion over what was happening and how to overcome it. This immersive quality reminded me of reading Jeff VanderMeer's book, Annihilation, from his Southern Reach series. 

Many times the author's use of language is downright magical. It was not an easy read at first. I had to sync with the rhythm of the words, and when I did, I was suddenly wrapped up in the prose, looking forward with anticipation to the next stunning phrase or line. 

The five boys are an interesting mix of personalities and circumstances, and young readers will surely relate. I loved the premise of each boy receiving an enhanced sense and that there were others before them who had also been 'gifted' in the same manner. In a fresh and fascinating twist to this "gaining a superpower" trope, the new strengths are very hard on the guys, even causing them physical pain at times. 

The author gets the action going immediately, and the opening is gripping. It was so compelling I wanted to read straight through to the conclusion. I will definitely put this series on my 'watch list' for future installments. I recommend DISCOVERY OF THE FIVE SENSES to young adult readers who enjoy urban fantasy, action/adventure, and paranormal or supernatural elements in their stories.

About K.N. Smith

K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, and a Readers’ Favorite “Gold Medal” honoree for “Young Adult - Mystery”, is an author and passionate advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. Her lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist and grind through action-adventure and urban fantasy in edge-of-your-seat narratives. K.N. has over twenty-five years’ experience in communications and creative design as an award-winning consultant. Reading is still her foremost hobby. K.N. inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. Visit K.N. Smith at


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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Virtual Book Tour: Death by Puffin by Jennifer S. Alderson


Death by Puffin:
A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik 
Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery #9
Jennifer S. Alderson

Cozy Mystery
9th in Series
Setting - Iceland
Publisher: Traveling Life Press
Publication Date: November 24, 2022
Page count: 180 pages
Digital ASIN: B09WX2D57V


About Death By Puffin


Iceland—land of fire, ice … and murder?

After a nasty fight with her boyfriend, tour guide Lana Hansen takes a week off work to get her head straight. Fate brings her to Iceland and the Hotel Puffin where she hopes the magnificent natural surroundings will help heal her heart and point the way forward.

Instead of the rest and relaxation she wishes to find, Lana ends up neighbors with a group of rowdy Americans in town for a bachelorette party and wedding. Their joyous frivolity is a painful reminder of her own relationship problems, and Lana does her best to steer clear of the group.

Yet when someone in the wedding party dies under mysterious circumstances, she gets pulled into the investigation. Can Lana help unmask the killer before they strike again—or will this trip be her last?

The Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries are heartwarming stories about making friends, traveling, and celebrating new experiences. Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that often turn deadly.
Books in the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series:
Book 1 - Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest
Book 2 – Death by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris
Book 3 – Death by Windmill: A Mother’s Day Murder in Amsterdam
Book 4 – Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh
Book 5 – Death by Fountain: A Christmas Murder in Rome
Book 6 – Death by Leprechaun: A Saint Patrick’s Day Murder in Dublin
Book 7 – Death by Flamenco: An Easter Murder in Seville
Book 8 – Death by Gondola: A Springtime Murder in Venice
Book 9 – Death by Puffin: A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik
Books 10-12 – More adventures are coming soon!!


Click to Purchase!

My Review
5 stars!

Death by Puffin is the ninth book in author Jennifer S. Alderman’s Travel Can Be Murder cozy mystery series. It is fast-paced and lively, with an intriguing cast of characters and a tragic murder with numerous possible suspects. 

Poor Lana Hansen! She’s had a string of excursions back-to-back, and during each one has gotten involved in a murder investigation, most featuring the death of someone on her tour! From the start of the book, she wonders if she is somehow attracting these people because what are the odds, right? I was quite amused by her concerns and was reminded of the standing joke murder mystery readers hear about Cabot Cove of Murder, She Wrote fame being the most dangerous place in the U.S. 

The bachelorette party members are the absolute worst, and the bride-to-be is not much better. The backstabbing, cattiness, and privilege, along with the constant fawning over the bride-to-be and her fiancĂ©, Gunnar, was delightfully atrocious. The conversations and commentary had me both cringing and laughing at times. 

The tour of some of Iceland’s wonders is a fantastic element of the book. There is enough description to give readers a feel for the setting, and the stormy weather creates a wonderfully moody atmosphere for the murder. 

The method of murder is simple yet effective, and Lana’s actions at the time are portrayed with care and quick thinking. I enjoyed Lana and Willow puzzling their way through the suspects to figure out the truth about what happened and why. 

With exceedingly likable amateur sleuths and equally heinous suspects who you’ll love to hate, I recommend DEATH BY PUFFIN to cozy mystery readers who enjoy stories where the characters travel to exciting and exotic locations.

About Jennifer S. Alderson

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.


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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Virtual Book Tour: Longing is Violet Dusk (Hazel Dean Mystery, #2) by Josalyn McAllister


Longing is Violet Dusk
A Hazel Dean Mystery
Josalyn McAllister

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting - Georgia
Publisher: Eburnean Books
Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Page count: 302 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8987053201

Kindle edition
Page count: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B0BDD6J18R

About Longing is Violet Dusk


After a stressful foray into crime fighting, Hazel Dean is relieved to resume normality, taking care of her family and book shop--until her ability to see emotions in color pulls her into another crisis.

One night at book club, Hazel sees a swirl of jarring purple, blue and black encompass a young mother. Realizing that the woman might be in trouble, Hazel recommends a book that she hopes will provide some comfort and guidance.

To her horror, the young mother goes missing the following week. Hazel feels responsible and becomes obsessed with finding her. But the search isn't the only thing Hazel is juggling. She's also trying to help the missing woman's children, evade a young reporter, and deal with the sudden reappearance of an old high school flame.

With all of Hazel's efforts, can the missing woman be found before it's too late?


My Review

This riveting new addition to the Hazel Dean Mystery series hooked me from the start!

Longing Is Violet Dusk is the second book in author Josalyn McAllister's cozy mystery series featuring bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Hazel Randolph Dean, and I was immediately absorbed by this excellent follow-up to the series starter, Guilt Is Midnight Blue. I enjoyed the smart and tense plot and the sprinkling of book titles and other literary references throughout the story.
The search for the missing Nina is time-sensitive, and you can feel the urgency. For most of the book, there is absolutely no sign of the woman, no clues whatsoever. However, there are big personalities at play in her story, and many have a load of regret weighing them down and guiding their actions. Nina is confused about what her future holds. Lance and his brother, Dansby, regret leaving young loves behind. I regretted having to put the book down to do life stuff.

Hazel, worried over the situation Nina's children are in, is also having to come to terms with her own children moving into young adulthood. Elias, who apparently has played his cards really close to the vest, surprises his mother with the realization he has a girlfriend. Emma is a sweet girl, but she has a bit of an Eddie Haskell vibe going that made me laugh out loud a couple of times.

The setting in the quaint small town of Red Gap, Georgia, is homey, comfortable, and picturesque, especially as it is nestled among the foothills of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, where much of the action takes place. It also has a great bookstore downtown!

Hazel does a great job ferreting out suspects' motives and developing interesting scenarios for what might have happened to Nina. The clues point in a couple of directions but eventually, all lead to the truth. The story keeps up a lively pace as everyone is worried Nina is lost or hurt, and early spring weather brings a storm and dropping temperatures at night to the search area. Uncle John keeps Hazel involved in the case with special tasks he assigns her, so there is plenty of amateur detection.

I recommend LONGING IS VIOLET DUSK to cozy mystery readers who enjoy a solid mystery with a touch of the mystical or paranormal in their stories, decisive, organized female protagonists, and a lovely small-town Georgia setting.

About Josalyn McAllister

Josalyn McAllister is a cozy fiction author whose most recent works include Love Over Easy and Guilt is Midnight Blue. Josalyn started writing character descriptions at the tender age of seven, inspired by the works of LM Montgomery. In her teenage years, she moved on to Newsies fan fiction. Inspired by National Novel Writing Month, she wrote her first novel about a child she mentored in college. She has never stopped writing. Josalyn taught middle school history before deciding she would rather spend time with her own children than other peoples. A restless soul, she has moved all over the country and collected an eclectic array of hobbies. Her writing has a relatable quality that will charm and entertain you.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Virtual Book Tour: Sounds Like Love by Laura Ford


Laura Ford

Young Adult Fiction / Coming of Age
Setting - United Kingdom
Publisher: FriesenPress
Publication Date: July 29, 2021
Reading age: 12 - 17 years

Page Count: 150 pages
ISBN-10: 1525592998 / ISBN-13: 978-1525592997

Page Count: 150 pages
ISBN-10: 152559298X / ISBN-13: 978-1525592980


About Sounds Like Love

Wendy is a bright spark who wants to find love and travel the world, but she questions how her dreams can become a reality as her world changes around her.

When Wendy arrives at her beloved grandmother’s house to collect a box of keepsakes, she picks up more than she bargained for - a green-eyed tabby cat with amazing qualities. This is just the start of a high-speed adventure, leading Wendy towards bright new horizons… if only she’ll give the cat a chance…

My Review

Fun, inspirational young adult story with a strong heroine and a very smart cat.

Sounds Like Love is the heart-warming story of a young woman overcoming several challenging life changes that occur all at the same time. She’s gradually losing her hearing, but her grandmother had been helping her weather the storm of her emotions about this turn of events when she suddenly passes away. Her grandmother, having lost her hearing as an adult, was instrumental in her granddaughter preparing for the inevitable. Now Wendy had to deal with an unwanted cat?! I could imagine how piled-on Wendy felt.

As expected, Wendy has her moments of despair, self-doubt, and self-pity, but the story never lingers on unproductive emotions. The main character is naturally optimistic and was inspired by her grandmother to live her best life no matter what. I loved the note she finds from her grandmother at just the perfect moment. 

There is a budding romance that is ignited by an instant attraction. I was delighted with the twists and turns this particular storyline takes where the past meets the future. This was a fun “fated” meeting and future relationship. 

SOUNDS LIKE LOVE is a fun, inspirational, clean underdog story recommended for young adult readers.

About Laura Ford

Laura Ford writes novels, short stories, and poems across a wide range of human and animal experiences. As Laura is an avid cat lover, a number of special felines tend to find their way into Laura's stories as well.

Laura graduated with an honours degree in British law while also writing fiction in parallel. Now based in California with her husband and two beguiling Siamese cats, Laura most enjoys using her imagination and memories to paint vivid stories. An avid traveler and seeker, Laura is always exploring new concepts for more stories to come. 


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Monday, November 21, 2022

Virtual Book Tour: Film Crews and Rendezvous (A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery, #2) by Heather Weidner


A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery
Heather Weidner

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting - Virginia
Publisher: Level Best Books
Publication Date: October 25, 2022
Number of Pages: 240 pages

About Film Crews and Rendezvous

Hollywood has come to Fern Valley, and the one stoplight town may never be the same. Everyone wants to get in on the act.

The crew from the wildly popular, fan favorite, Fatal Impressions, takes over Jules Keene’s glamping resort, and they bring a lot of offscreen drama and baggage that doesn’t include the scads of costumes, props, and crowds that descend on the bucolic resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Added security, hundreds of calls from hopeful extras, and some demanding divas keep Jules’s team hopping.

When the show’s prickly head writer ends up dead under the L. Frank Baum tiny house in what looks like a staged murder scene with a kitschy homage to the Wizard of Oz, Jules has to figure out who would want the writer dead. Then while they are still reeling from the first murder, the popular publicist gets lost after a long night at the local honky-tonk and winds up strangled. Jules needs to solve both crimes before filming is canceled, and her business is ruined.

About Heather Weidner

Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia. Her Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries debut in 2023.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.


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Friday, November 18, 2022

Blog Tour: Never Play Fair (Sydney Evans Mystery Series, #2) by Leah Cupps

Never Play Fair
Leah Cupps

(Sydney Evans Mystery Series, #2)
Publication date: September 1st 2022
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Can Sydney find her FBI boyfriend in time, or will this gamble be here last?

Instagram Influencer Sydney Evans has seen and lived her share of photo-worthy experiences, but now, she’s found herself entangled in a situation she never saw coming.

After her FBI agent boyfriend, Alex, disappears while working a case involving a notorious Latin gangster, Vincent Estavez, the Department of Defense is forced to change tactics. Determined to bring down Estavez and the illegal online casino crime ring he’s been running by any means necessary, the FBI orchestrates an operation to infiltrate the gangster’s stronghold.

But Sydney only has one motivation for her own investigation: find Alex before he becomes collateral damage.

Desperate to locate her boyfriend in time, she flies to Costa Rica and is forced to seek help from an unlikely ally: her criminal ex-husband, Jack. He may be the last person she wants to see, but she’ll do whatever it takes to find Alex alive.

But Sydney isn’t the only one with a motivation against Vincent Estavez.

Never Play Fair is a fast-paced standalone thriller. If you like real-world issues, lavish socialite parties, and electrifying twists and turns, then you’ll love Leah Cupps’ provocative cozy mystery.

NEVER PLAY FAIR is the second book in the Sydney Evans Mystery Series and can be read as a standalone.

Goodreads / Amazon

My Review

4 stars!

A truly explosive follow-up to WHAT LIES IN PARADISE! 

Never Play Fair, the second book in the Sydney Evans series is the explosive follow-up to the exciting series debut, What Lies in Paradise. Though this entry can be read as a standalone, reading the previous book first is recommended. Sydney is emotionally-spent after caring for her grandmother during her final months of life, but truth be told, her PTSD from a wedding fiasco in Jamaica had already worn her down. She and Alex have a romance that has quickly gotten serious; however, Sydney is second-guessing her feelings and ability to commit to a relationship again after what she'd gone through with Jack. 

Jack is back, and so is his brother, Ethan. The story unfolds not only from Sydney's point of view but that of the two brothers as well, and readers are privy to the guys' more honest thoughts and feelings. I loved this triple view of the events occurring in the story. 

The action got going quickly, and the story flew by without slowing down. The prologue is an absolute attention-grabber! There are also some very tantalizing glimpses of Costa Rica's west coast that give the action a sultry, noir feel at times. 

With a fascinating triumvirate of characters providing the narrative and a plot that takes off like a speed boat, I recommend NEVER PLAY FAIR to mystery readers who enjoyed the first book in the series and those who like fast action, good guys that aren't so good, and stories featuring online gambling.

Author Bio:

Leah Cupps is an entrepreneur and author. She writes Middle Grade Mystery Adventure Books as well as Thriller, Mystery, Suspense for Adults.

Leah’s novels are fast-paced mysteries that will keep you up at night as you can’t wait to see what happens in the next chapter.

Leah lives in Indiana with her husband, three young children and three dogs. When she isn’t losing sleep writing her next novel or scaling her next business, she enjoys reading, golfing working out and spending time with her family.

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Thursday, November 17, 2022

Book Blog Tour: CONNECTED by Seema Desai


A Kid's Guide to Navigating Their Emotions
Illustrated by James Ballance

Children's Book / Self-Help / Mindfulness / Parenting
Publisher: The Jai Jais
Page Count: 56 pages
Publication Date: February 3, 2022

Scroll down for a giveaway!

Connected is all about teaching kids and their families how to navigate their emotions. It is a practical guide to understanding powerful concepts that alleviate the stress and challenge in tough situations.   The book also includes tools and tips to help children become advocates for their mental and emotional well-being in productive ways, as well as thought-provoking questions to encourage young readers to think about how these tools would be uniquely relatable to them. Written to inspire children to become empathetic leaders and creative solution-seekers, Connected is a book that helps them not only understand themselves better, but also those around them.


Dr. Seema Desai is a proud wife and mom of two young children. She is also Certified Professional Coach, speaker, and author of the newly-released children's book, Connected: Discovering Your Inner Guides. She currently serves as Co-President of the Austin chapter of Pratham USA, a non-profit organization aimed at creating learning equality for underserved children in India and globally. Though no longer seeing patients, Seema is also a general dentist who dedicated her years in medicine to serving the geriatric population in Austin and surrounding areas.

Along with yoga and traveling, connected parenting is a passion for Seema. She believes that helping a parent and child connect to their inner wisdom is a powerful way to create the next generation of peace-leaders and solution-seekers. She is firmly committed to being a part of a kindness revolution, where we raise children in a way that heals and inspires resilience and greatness.

Things that bring Seema joy are good cups of coffee, jazz music, tropical beaches, meditating, family time…and large slices of chocolate cake.


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