Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Pop-Up Blog-Hop & Giveaway: The Puppy Adventures of Poter & Midge: Out and About by Jennie Chen and Giselle Nevada


THE PUPPY ADVENTURES
OF PORTER & MIDGE:
OUT AND ABOUT
by
Jennie Chen and Giselle Nevada


Children’s Book / Pet Books / Pet Care
Publisher: Raise the Woof Press
Page Count: 38 pages
Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Scroll down for a giveaway!


Introducing The Puppy Adventures of Porter and Midge: Out and About – a quick introduction to early socialization and training for puppies that will make them outstanding canine citizens and wonderful family pets. 

Kids will love following along with the two puppies’ story set in Austin, Texas, as they learn about how to take care of their own puppy. This is the first book in a series of story books, journals, and activity books. 


PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
“Gift this book to any new puppy owner you know!”-Lynn M. Hayner, Author at dogster

“Chen and Nevada write in an easy and enjoyable style…If you are a dog lover, this storybook is for you. Help your children become the best dog companion they can be.” -Philip Van Heusen, Reader’s Favorite

Purchase on Amazon





Jennie Chen is a homesick Austinite who founded Keep Austin Dog Friendly. Over the last 20 years, Jennie has owned Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs and Lowchen. She has earned numerous titles in conformation, competitive obedience, rally, herding, animal assisted therapy, and more. She is passionate about the relationship people build with their beloved canines, and she has been an advocate for people living with disabilities who need a service dog to live independently. She is active in various dog clubs and can be seen on AKC.TV from time to time.



Giselle Nevada has owned several mastiffs, acquired both from reputable breeders and via rescue. Fostering rescued mastiffs and helping them work through their issues led to a keen interest in socialization as a means of preventing future issues. She loves working with her dogs and has dabbled in carting, conformation, agility, rally, trick dog, nose work, and many other canine sports. Her puppy Porter is a testament to early socialization - he has achieved many performance dog titles and has done commercial work. He also has a role in a movie called Match Me If You Can directed by Marian Yeager.




GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
Three winners receive a PAWtographed/autographed copy of
The Puppy Adventures of Porter & Midge: Out and About
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 6/9/23)


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Monday, May 29, 2023

Book Tour: Escape Velocity by Victoria Romanski


A Dystopian Time Travel Sci-Fi Thriller


Sci-Fi

Date Published: April 25, 2023

Publisher: Elite Online Publishing


photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

 

When esteemed scientist James Blackwell finds himself behind bars at StormRidge Correctional Facility, his singular goal is escaping, not back into society through the prison gates, but into another world through a wormhole.

With help from other inmates on the inside, and powerful political allies on the outside, James locates the wormhole beneath the prison campus. When four other inmates discover the horrible injustices inside the American prison system, they join James in the escape.

Once on the other side, James and his friends find themselves one hundred years in the future. Amid a dystopian world with dangers lurking around every corner, this new world reveals the treacherous impact of environmental destruction and political greed.

After briefly experiencing freedom and discovering the world is not what it used to be, James and his friends are captured and imprisoned once again. Four of them escape, leaving one behind, along with James’ most prized possession: the notebook containing his scientific research.

Traveling back to the past they know requires finding the coordinates of the wormhole. But with James’ notebook out of hand, the future of his friends, and society itself, hang in the balance.

 


Review

5 stars!

Time travel and “Zombies!”

Escape Velocity is a new science fiction/dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel by debut author Victoria Romanski. It has so much story and excitement happening that I didn’t want to put it down. The book features an ensemble cast of characters, so while Dr. James Blackwell is the main character, readers are treated to viewpoints from several more interesting and compelling personalities. I may even have liked some of these secondary characters more than Dr. Blackwell.

The story begins in a prison setting, already a tense situation, but heads directly to a destroyed American city 100 years in the future. The author’s descriptions of the locations are vivid, so I could ‘see’ and ‘hear’ and ‘smell’ the destruction the characters encountered. I found the dystopian society and post-apocalyptic world-building robust, with fresh takes on the popular trope that made this vision of the future unique. The exposition is nicely worked into the fast-paced action, so no ‘information dump’ slows this down. The author peels the story away like the layers of an onion with little reveals that surprised me from start to finish. I kept reading this one way past a sensible bedtime.

With engaging characters, non-stop action, and easy-to-read writing that gives a fresh perspective on this genre, I recommend ESCAPE VELOCITY to readers who enjoy stories of time travel, dystopian societies, and post-apocalyptic worlds.


About the Author

Victoria Romanski’s passion for writing science fiction evolved from early interests in time travel and social justice, resulting in a novel vision of what the future could hold for us all.

A diligent spectator of political discourse and current societal issues, she crafts stories with themes that explore familiar topics, but with a dystopian twist. Victoria considers these subjects valuable to engage with while expressing her craft in fresh and inventive ways.

A storyteller at heart, Victoria enjoys learning about other cultures through global travel. She uses her role as an observer of human behavior to explore avenues to make the world a better place.

 

Contact Link

Instagram

 

Purchase Link

Amazon


RABT Book Tours & PR

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Virtual Book Tour: Earl Grey and Shallow Graves (A Waterwheel Cafe Mystery, #1) by Victoria Tait

 

Earl Grey and Shallow Graves
A British Cozy Murder Mystery with a Female Sleuth
A Waterwheel Cafe Mystery
by
Victoria Tait


Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – England
Publisher: Kanga Press
Publication Date: May 19, 2023
Page count: 240 pages
Digital ASIN: B0BXQL5YS5


SYNOPSIS:

A 30-year-old skeleton. A missing girl. Can a community police officer read the tea leaves, or will a deadly secret remain buried forever?

Sergeant Keya Varma is delighted with her new part-time role as the Cotswolds’ Rural Engagement Officer. She’s also fulfilling her dream of opening a small neighborhood café. But she gets herself into a stew with renovation works when builders unearth a young girl’s remains.

While Keya and her police colleagues gain ground reviewing the unsolved disappearance of a local girl, her brief taste of success turns to dust when a friend is found dead at her tea shop. Confusion over identities threatens to bury the investigation, and our junior police officer is worried that justice won’t be served.

Can Keya dig into the mystery and uncover the real culprit?

Earl Grey and Shallow Graves is the first book in The Waterwheel Café series. If you’ve enjoyed the Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, then you’ll love meeting some of your favorite characters and making new friends in Victoria Tait’s intriguing British cozy mystery.


Buy Earl Grey and Shallow Graves and unearth a killer today!

| Amazon |



REVIEW:

5 stars!

Great characters return in this riveting debut to Victoria Tait's spin-off series, the Waterwheel Café Mysteries.

Earl Grey and Shallow Graves is the debut novel in veteran author Victoria Tait's latest work, the Waterwheel Café Mysteries, a spin-off of her popular Dotty Sayers mystery series featuring Police Sergeant Keya Varma. The plot is complex, with good investigations and familiar characters that feel like old friends, and there are twists and turns that kept me reading until all was revealed. I was completely delighted with this story, and Keya is now one of my favorite cozy mystery characters. 

I'm so glad Keya keeps getting more assured and confident in her bookish appearances. She still questions herself, but her instincts are good. She's still a bit of a klutz and makes a spectacular splash at a crime scene early in the book. I don't know if that makes her feel like such a kindred spirit, but I felt like I was catching up with a real-life friend as I read. There have been some changes in the department, and I enjoyed Keya's travels around her district in addition to the mystery, which is the book's focus. She and Ryan do well together, and I liked seeing Keya's relationships with series characters from the Dotty Sayers series that appear here as well.

The plot was intriguing, along with Keya trying to get her new café opened. What starts as a sad and baffling cold case revs up when a current murder is discovered, which really puts pressure on Keya's bunch to find the killer. With more than one victim to vindicate, there are quite a few contacts to make.

With its familiar and engaging characters and wonderfully vivid sense of place, I recommend EARL GREY AND SHALLOW GRAVES to cozy mystery readers who enjoy a better-than-amateur sleuth, intriguing plots, and a Cotswolds' setting.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK, and never expected to travel the world. I’ve drawn on my experiences following my military husband to write cozy murder mystery books with vivid and evocative settings. My determined female sleuths are joined by colourful but realistic teams of helpers, and you’ll experience surprises, humour, and sometimes, a tug on your heartstrings.

I hope you enjoyed Keya’s first book. Why not join her and her friends as they solve more mysteries in my Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, also based in the Cotswolds. Visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09TMJFL7L

Do you like tea, cakes and books? Then why not join our TeaCozy Club for regular news and updates, and receive your free book gift at VictoriaTait.com

Who doesn’t like tea, cake, and a slice of murder? 



TOUR PARTICIPANTS:

May 19 – Angel's Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT
May 19 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 19 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
May 19 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT
May 20 – Reading Is My SuperPower – AUTHOR GUEST POST
May 20 – Indie Author Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 21 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
May 21 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
May 22 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 22 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW*
May 23 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 23 – Christy's Cozy Corners – REVIEW
May 23 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – CelticLady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 24 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
May 25 – Novels Alive – REVIEW
May 25 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
May 26 – Jane Reads – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 27 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
May 27 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
May 28 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW
May 28 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT



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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Security Force of Two (Mountain Town Mysteries, #1) by Tena Stetler

Security Force of Two (Mountain Town Mysteries Book 1)Security Force of Two by Tena Stetler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Action-packed paranormal mystery with several intriguing plotlines to follow.

After an assignment goes against her principles, CIA operative Candle Bearclaw resigns and returns to her small hometown of Aspen Ridge, Colorado, to open a cyber security firm. Her father, the former Chief of Police of the town, and her mother are ecstatic to have her back home, having seen far too little of her during her fifteen years with the agency. With their daughter home, they are finally ready to enjoy their retirement.

Former military intelligence officer Miacoh Zane has returned to Aspen Ridge to settle the estate of his beloved grandmother, Rosy. His grandparents had raised him after it had become too much for his father, who had been critically injured during a hunting trip in Canada, and his mother had abruptly taken off. Miacoh had immediately recognized the all-grown-up Candle as the pre-teen girl who had had the biggest crush on him when he was in high school. But the memories in Aspen Ridge were painful ones, and Miacoh had no intention of hanging around town to encourage an adult relationship with her.

Soon after their reintroduction, though, the new police chief of Aspen Ridge is murdered, and Candle’s former CIA boss dies under suspicious circumstances. Candle starts asking questions that someone doesn’t want to be answered. When perhaps that same someone disables her security system and tries to hack into her computer, she realizes she won’t be able to leave her old life behind as easily as she had planned, and Miacoh’s instincts to protect those he loves kick into high gear. Together, they are determined to figure out who is behind the murders and why these people were targeted.

Security Force of Two is the debut novel in author Tena Stetler’s new paranormal mystery series, Mountain Town Mysteries. This kick-off sets the stage for more to come with supernatural elements such as shapeshifters and second sight. It introduces a variety of characters and backstories on which to build some amazing follow-up tales. I look forward to seeing what the author does with all the possibilities she’s created.

The main characters, Candle and Miacoh, are the most sympatico partners I’ve seen in a long time. Yes, there is a little push and pull in the beginning over the idea of one “belonging” to the other and an incident of green-eyed jealousy, but they work things out quickly. There are a lot of secondary characters gracing the pages, but Candle’s parents are my favorites.

The plot gets the two lovers together while they look into murders, espionage, and domestic terrorism. Along with Candle’s Chow puppy, Terrabyte, the two seek out those behind the crimes and are steps ahead of the FBI and Homeland Security, calling in favors from friends from their shadowy, classified pasts. The story has a lot going on, and the feeling that someone in the background is manipulating things is always present.

I did have one tiny quibble with the story early on, and not pertinent to the ongoing action. Dogs are not allowed on the grounds of The Alamo unless they meet the ADA definition of a service dog and have completed training as such. Terrabyte, as a puppy, would not have been old enough to have been trained, and based on Candle’s established personality and strong ethical background, I doubt she would try to circumvent the rules.

With its intriguing characters and paranormal backstory, I recommend SECURITY FORCE OF TWO to readers of paranormal mysteries or paranormal romantic suspense, especially those who like puppies that are “very good girls” and fans of the author’s previous work.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tours.




View all my reviews

Friday, May 26, 2023

Review Tour: Overdue (A McLaren Mystery, #17) by Jo A. Hiestand


Overdue
by
Jo A. Hiestand


British mystery

Publication Date: January 22, 2023

Page count: 380 pages


SCROLL DOWN FOR GIVEAWAY!

SYNOPSIS:

A spate of three murders in as many months has Derbyshire’s local police and populace in near panic. And there will most likely be a fourth killing in two weeks unless something happens to stop the cycle. Former police detective Michael McLaren is that “something” that his best mate, Jamie Kydd, is counting on to end the alarming deaths. He enlists McLaren’s help to look into the events, hoping his friend can solve what, so far, has confounded the Constabulary.

Each of the three crime scenes is the same, yet different: the same types of things but not the same specific things left with each body. As McLaren becomes enmeshed in the hunt for the killer, his friend Melanie arrives for a planned visit. Can his days become more complicated than simultaneously playing host and unmasking a killer? They can when he’s aware that each tick of the clock brings them closer to the next planned murder. And perhaps an unplanned one...thrown in for fun.



READ AN EXCERPT:

McLaren tapped the tip of the pen on the pertinent item as he read his list. “One victim lived in Staffordshire, one in Derbyshire, and one in Nottinghamshire. And yet their bodies were all found in Derbyshire?”
 
“And, oddly, a distance away from where they lived, be it Derbyshire or Staffordshire or Nottinghamshire. As you know, Pleasley is nearly straight southwest of Hilton, where Dylan’s was found.”
 
“What is that?”
 
“Nearly forty-one miles. Clive Sheridan lived in Callow but was found in Hanging Bridge. That’s an hour’s journey. Twenty-six and a half miles.”
 
“A long drive, yes.”
 
“And Emma, who lived in Longnor, Staffordshire, was found nearly as far north as you can get in Derbyshire. In the wood near the Derwent Water Reservoir.”
 
“Unbelievable. That’s what...? An hour drive from her place?”
 
“Close. The lads clocked it at fifty minutes. Just under twenty-four miles.” Jamie folded the paper but placed it on the table. “All three people are like that, Mike. Their bodies were discovered miles from where they lived.”
 
“How, then, did they get to the crime scenes? And why did they go?”


REVIEW:
5 stars!

Another clever and intriguing mystery in the McLaren Mystery series!

Overdue is the 17th case in author Jo A. Hiestand’s outstanding McLaren Mystery series and continues the unofficial investigations of the former detective inspector Michael McLaren. In this new adventure, McLaren is back on his home turf of Derbyshire, assisting his friend, Jamie Kydd, with a baffling series of killings by what the constabulary has dubbed “The Signed Murders.” 

As I only picked up on this series with the previous novel, The Low Road, and it was set in Scotland while McLaren and his woman friend, Melanie, were staying with his father, I was glad that this book returned to Derbyshire where he lives and had his successful career as an investigator. As readers accompany Mike while he backtracks the police investigation, reworking their leads and contacts, we also get a glimpse of the Peak District of England. McLaren has come to terms with his actions that had him leaving the force and appears satisfied with his new life in which he repairs dry stone walls for a living and occasionally plays music with his pals. Amid the current case, Melanie is headed up for a visit and a look-see at houses in Mike’s village as their relationship progresses. (Yay!) And readers also get a closer look into McLaren’s relationship with his sister, Gwen. 

Because there are three murders tied to the same killer, McLaren has numerous contacts to follow up on, people that knew the victims, and three different crime scenes to visit. Some time has passed since the murders occurred, though these are still very active cases, and the families of the victims are anxious and angry that the police haven’t solved their loved ones’ murders yet. Adding to the pressure is the fear that the serial killer is about to strike again should they follow their established pattern. I was intrigued by the killer’s MO of affixing an odd memento to each victim’s corpse and leaving a slip of paper with a partial name on it at the crime scenes. McLaren’s investigation uncovers various clues and motives, and with plenty of twists and turns, I was kept guessing about the truth until the final reveal. I will be reading more of this series for sure. 

With its top-rate mystery and savvy, likable “unofficial” detective, I recommend OVERDUE to mystery readers who enjoy series or standalone books and cases solved by trained investigators rather than amateurs.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jo A. Hiestand grew up on regular doses of music, books, and Girl Scout camping. She gravitated toward writing in her post-high school years and finally did something sensible about it, graduating from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors. She writes a British mystery series (the McLaren Mysteries)—of which three books have garnered the prestigious N.N. Light’s Book Heaven ‘Best Mystery Novel’ three years straight. She also writes a Missouri-based cozy mystery series (The Cookies & Kilts Mysteries, of which "A Trifling Murder" is the second book) that is grounded in places associated with her camping haunts. The camping is a thing of the past, for the most part, but the music stayed with her in the form of playing guitar and harpsichord, and singing in a folk group. Jo carves jack o’ lanterns badly and sings loudly. She loves barbecue sauce and ice cream (separately, not together), kilts (especially if men wear them), clouds and stormy skies, and the music of G.F. Handel. You can usually find her pulling mystery plots out of scenery—whether from photographs or the real thing.


GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

Jo A. Hiestand will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Curses and Chaos (The Lost Witch, #1) by Annie Anderson

Curses and Chaos
Annie Anderson
(Arcane Souls World: The Lost Witch, #1)
Publication date: May 23rd 2023
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

If the ABI finds me, I’m dead.

Agent or not, when your dad is the head of the most notorious arcane crime family in the country, no one believes you when you say you didn’t open that gate to Hell on purpose.

Now, I’m practically glued under enough null wards to hide a god and stuck with a stupidly sexy shifter of a jailer who hates my guts.

When my former employer comes sniffing around, not only does my captor keep me alive, but we find out that our pasts are far more connected than either of us realize.

And the lies we’ve been told could kill us both.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” a rumble came from the dark recess of the doorway at my right, a familiar voice that should in no way be here. The athame in my hand was at Theo Acosta’s gut before I ever really gave my hand the command to move.

Theo Acosta was the biggest pain in my ass, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get rid of him. As second in command of the Acosta pack, Theo had been in my business since the day we’d met. I’d managed to avoid him while in the middle of my little murder spree, but if he was here, the jig was up.

“I’m looking for a job,” I quipped, tilting my head to the side like I was a little soft in the head. I mean, we were in a strip club, after all. “The ABI can’t pay all the bills, you know.” That was a bald-faced lie, but given my glamour and outfit, it sure as shit looked like the truth. How he could see through said glamour was a little concerning, but I couldn’t think about that right then.

He gripped my wrist as he plucked the blade from my fingers like he was taking it away from a toddler, moving into the harsh illumination of the club’s neon mood lighting. He’d gotten a haircut since the time I’d seen him last. His usual shoulder-length locks were cropped close to his head in the back and left a little longer in the front highlighting his strong jaw and fabulous cheekbones.

It suited him, the bastard.

I’d never met someone so pretty and so shitty all at the same time.

“Bullshit, Jacobs. You’re up to something.” The green of his wolf lit in his eyes, showing me just how pissed off he was. “You’re always up to something.”

In two and a half years, Theo hadn’t trusted me one bit—not that I’d given him a reason not to. He had some beef with all witches—Wren excluded—so him warming up to me just wasn’t going to happen. The rest of the Acostas loved me. Mari and I painted our nails together. Dayana and I shared dessert recipes. And his mama? She adored me.

But Theo? No such luck.

“Of course, I’m up to something, you dope. I’m trying to get enough power to break the Fae in your dungeon, or did you forget about him while you were being so judgy? So why don’t you go home, mind your business, and I’ll get the answer to all our problems, mm-kay Pumpkin?”

Those green eyes narrowed to slits as his jaw solidified. “Eleven witches are missing, Jacobs. No one has found the bodies, but I know they’re dead. You planning a takeover? Expanding the coven for dear, old daddy?”

I ripped my wrist out of his hold as well as the blade. “No, you moron. I’m getting enough power to make that Fae do what we need him to do before Nico decides to get himself killed. How many packs would love to take over Savannah, hmm? Five? Ten? And how well will your pack fare without a true Alpha when they come? How long do you think Nico will hold on without Wren?”

“Bull—”

The tip of my athame was at his throat in a blink. “No coven will help me—help us,” I hissed. “And no, I didn’t ask my daddy for help because the last thing we need is Josiah Jacobs in Savannah.”

Author Bio:

Annie Anderson is a military wife and United States Air Force veteran. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she is a southern girl at heart, but has lived all over the US and abroad. As soon as the military stops moving her family around, she'll settle on a state, but for now she enjoys being a nomad with her husband, two daughters, an old man of a dog, and a young pup that makes life... interesting.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest


GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Book Blast & Giveaway: The Disappearance of Emily (Destiny Falls & Magic, #2) by Elizabeth Pantley

The Disappearance of Emily

by Elizabeth Pantley

May 23, 2023 Book Blast

Synopsis:

The Disappearance of Emily by Elizabeth Pantley

A magic mirror. An enchanted world. A mysterious missing mother. A suspicious package. An unexplained death. A community of strange, quirky people. A sassy cat and a hilarious, perpetually annoyed witch. Come visit Destiny Falls and escape to a great time.

…Hayden’s life was normal until she fell through a mirror and was thrust into an alternate, magical place. Destiny Falls is not on any map and is home to a family she never knew she had. The town is enchanted and charming, and the amazing mansion she lives in changes to meet the needs of the people who live there, including her! Every day she discovers a new enchantment.

But something is amiss. Hayden gets an ominous warning from a strange woman, who promises to tell her the town secrets and give her a package – if she’ll meet her at the mysterious ferry that lacks a published destination. The ferry visit is cancelled, but the package is delivered. Once it arrives, someone turns up dead. Then the suspicious episodes start, too many to call them coincidences. She and her family are targeted and in danger.

Who or what is causing the chaos? All signs point to the mysterious disappearance of her mother - way back when Hayden was just two days old. Can she identify and eliminate the threat before another person in her life is stolen away? Can she learn more about the secrets kept for her lifetime? With the help of her sassy sidekick cat, and a host of new family and friends, Hayden finds herself surrounded with support as she solves the mystery of the death and learns secrets about herself.

Praise for The Disappearance of Emily:

'Intriguing and totally unput-downable, it draws you in from the word go, and you will not want to leave until it chucks you at "The End."'
~ Carol, Goodreads

"Will blow you away!"
~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Better Beginnings, Inc.
Publication Date: March 2021
Number of Pages: 208
ASIN: B08MDZDQY7
Series: Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic Series, Book 2
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

1

The mountain trail was tricky. I was moving slowly through the deep snow. I knew the lake had to be nearby. It was important to find it, but I could barely see ten feet in front of me due to the storm. The trail was steep and slippery, and I was making my way using trekking poles to assess where I should step next. My hands and feet were cold. I heard Latifa calling out to me. Where was she? What was she saying?

“Good morning, Sunshine!” Her lilting voice woke me from my dream. “Happy one-month-a-versary!”

It’s amazing how accustomed I’d grown to my cat’s telepathic voice in my head. I squinted at my fluffy Himalayan sidekick. She was sitting beside me on the bed. I stretched out my arms and gave an extra-loud yawn in her direction, hoping she’d get the hint that she had woken me up.

“Message received. Woke you up. So sorry. Got it.” She squinted at me and whispered, “Not sorry.”

I yawned at her again.

“Bet you forgot today is one month from the earth-shattering day we arrived in Destiny Falls.” Her big, baby blues were focused on me, and her whiskers were twitching. “I have appointed myself Keeper of Your Calendar. You can be so forgetful about celebratory dates.” She shook her furry head as if it were impossible to believe.

I gave another exaggerated stretch and reached over to the bedside table. With a flourish, I presented her with a small, gift-wrapped package.

“Squeeee! You remembered!” She head-butted my face and spun a little circle on the bed, then turned to tear open the package. There was more squealing as she discovered her new, feathered cat toy.

I patted my sidekick’s head and tossed my legs over the side of the bed. A glance at my phone confirmed that Latifa-the-alarm-clock was right on time. I needed to get changed and meet Axel downstairs for a morning jog into town. He was often too busy with work to join me in the morning, so it was a wonderful treat to have some extra time with my newfound brother.

My brother. How I loved the sound of that. After a lifetime as an only child in a tiny three-person family, finding out that I had siblings and a large hidden family was monumental. Add to that a mysterious, magical new world, and I was floating on cloud nine.

The only dark spot was missing my family and my best friend, Luna. I was still trying to figure out how to tell them about Destiny Falls. I’d have to sort this out soon, since my cover story of a working trip to Denmark was nearing its expiration. A month overseas was feasible, but as the timeline continued, I’d need to address my disappearance.

My Nana and Granana would be happy that I was happy. They’d been my biggest cheerleaders my entire life. They always said my happiness mattered most to them. Both my parents disappeared the week I was born, so my grandmother and great-grandmother jumped into raising me. They were dedicated to the job, with an enthusiasm that was a complete contrast to their tiny, delicate appearances. Luna and I referred to them as the Mighty Minis, which was an apt description.

Figuring out how to explain that I wasn’t really in Denmark, but in a magical, hidden town in an unknown location was a whole new ball of wax. Especially since the town was finicky about who it revealed itself to. Any e-mails or texts I attempted to send explaining my location, disappeared into the ether in a wisp of bounces— undeliverable, message not sent, connection lost. Even phone calls suddenly lost the signal. Maybe Axel, my brother—deep sigh of joy—could help me solve this problem.

 

I turned on the movie channel for Latifa, my furry little movie buff, tucked my ponytail through the back of my baseball cap, and headed out. I strolled slowly down the hallway, so I could absorb the beauty of this amazing home.

Hmm. That was odd. Where was the window seat? It was usually somewhere in my hallway, but it was oddly absent. There was a glorious swatch of sunlight, which is where it normally would be lounging. I snickered. Imagine that. A window seat that can lounge in the sun. Magic touched the Caldwell Crest home in the most interesting ways.

Caldwell Crest is a masterpiece of design. It could be described as a cozy, mansion-sized mountain cabin. I felt embraced by the sweeping staircase made of polished wood. I loved the plank wood floors and ceilings and the gorgeous but understated chandeliers. I adored the stone fireplaces that soared all the way up to the tall ceilings. The earthy colors of the décor were soothing. Even after a month, I was still adjusting to the fact that it was now where I lived.

The home was enchanting. I could almost believe the rumors that it was originally built as a castle back in the 1800s and magically remodeled many times. It’s difficult to understand Caldwell Crest and the mysterious place that was Destiny Falls, especially since the definition seemed to always be changing.

It had been a wild ride of a month since I’d been thrown through a portal and landed here.

Destiny Falls is different from any place I’ve ever known before. I had to let go of my preconceived notions of what defines a town. I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that the town isn’t on any map and isn’t accessible by normal means.

You must be called here by either the home or the town. Then you whoosh through time and space, to the accompaniment of a flash of brilliant light, as you tumble through a mirror. It’s a one-way trip. Once you’re here, you are, well . . . “trapped” is a harsh word for such a lovely place. However, it’s accurate. I cannot choose to leave. Destiny Falls controls the comings and goings.

I feel a bit like Alice falling through the mirror into wonderland. Albeit a much nicer wonderland than Alice had to deal with.

I’ve figured out that’s it’s easier if I just go with the flow and don’t try to understand all the nuances of this place.

***

Excerpt from The Disappearance of Emily by Elizabeth Pantley. Copyright 2023 by Elizabeth Pantley. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Pantley. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Pantley

Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents, published in over twenty languages.

She simultaneously writes the well-loved Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic book series and the new Magical Mystery Book Club series.

Elizabeth lives in the Pacific Northwest, the gorgeous inspiration for the setting in many of her books.

Catch Up With Elizabeth Pantley:
www.nocrysolution.com/books
Goodreads
BookBub - @DestinyFalls
Instagram - @destinyfallsmystery
Facebook - @DestinyFallsMysteryandMagic

 

 

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Sunday, May 21, 2023

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Gillespie Field Groove (Rolly Waters Mystery, #5) by Corey Fayman

Gillespie Field Groove by Corey Fayman Banner

Gillespie Field Groove

by Corey Fayman

May 8 - June 2, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Gillespie Field Groove by Corey Fayman

An obscure rock'n'roll roadie dies under mysterious circumstances. A prized Jimi Hendrix guitar has gone missing. Can Rolly Waters save his new client from the ruthless collectors looking for it?

When nurse and fledgling pilot Lucinda Rhodes hires guitar-playing private detective Rolly Waters to track down a Stratocaster guitar owned by her deceased father, Rolly is thrilled to take on her case, especially when he learns the guitar’s original owner may have been Jimi Hendrix. But Gerry Rhodes’s reckless personal history leads to more questions than Rolly and Lucinda have bargained for, as an aging rock’n’roll impresario, his trophy wife, a Russian gangster and the FBI get involved. When a forty-year-old shooting accident reveals a surprising connection to a pop star’s hit record, Rolly sees darker forces at work. And his and Lucinda’s lives hang in the balance.

Praise for Gillespie Field Groove:

"Gillespie Field Groove hits all the right notes. Music fans and general mystery readers alike will enjoy this story’s irresistible beat."
~ blueinkreview.com

"Exciting, compelling, suspenseful, and reflective of the realities of the music industry and San Diego culture, Gillespie Field Groove is a thrilling mystery novel in which a man seeks to right the wrongs committed by greedy executives."
~ forewordreviews.com

"GILLESPIE FIELD GROOVE is a gripping mystery and a captivating ride through rock and roll history and San Diego’s music scene. It’s so authentic you can practically hear the fuzz and crunch of Jimi’s Stratocaster coming off the page."
~ Matthew Quirk, New York Times bestselling author of RED WARNING and THE NIGHT AGENT (now a Netflix series)

"Rolly Waters is back with a ripped-from-the headlines thriller custom made for music-lovers. Hired to hunt down a missing Fender Strat that may have belonged to Jimi Hendrix, Waters uncovers a series of intertwined mysteries with more twists than a crate full of guitar cables. Gillespie Field Groove is an uptempo page turner that shines a spotlight on the music industry’s darkest corners."
~ S.W. Lauden, author of BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION and THAT’LL BE THE DAY:A POWER POP HEIST

"Carefully crafted characters. Twists and revelations. Music and murder. A PI who plays guitar or a guitar player who dallies in detecting? Even Rolly Waters isn’t sure. Whichever it is, Corey Lynn Fayman’s latest gives you a real insight into what it means to be both. Like Don Quixote wielding a guitar instead of a sword. Awesome."
~ Pamela Cowan, author of COLD KILL

"GILLESPIE FIELD GROOVE is like an easter egg hunt filled with suspense and intrigue that also gives readers a straightforward look into the life of a working musician. I love this series."
~ Marc Intravaia, guitarist, RICHIE FURAY BAND; BACK TO THE GARDEN

Book Details:

Genre: Private Detective Mystery, Cozy Mystery
Published by: Konstellation Press
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 276
ISBN: 0998748285 (ISBN-13: 978-0998748283)
Series: A Rolly Waters Mystery, 5th
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

The Nurse

Just after two in the afternoon, Rolly Waters sat at a round concrete table in the courtyard of Alvarado Hospital, nursing a cappuccino to which he'd added five drops of artificial sweetener. He was trying to cut sugar out of his diet. The woman across the table from him smiled. Her name was Lucinda Rhodes. She was a nurse at the hospital. Two years ago, Lucinda had seen Rolly at his worst, in the emergency room of a hospital in Brawley where the doctors had treated him for a black widow spider bite. Nurse Lucinda had kept tabs on him through the night, checking his blood pressure, giving him pills, and had fitted him with crutches before he checked out. Rolly didn't remember much else about that night, except that it had been hot in the desert, and everything smelled like fertilizer. He didn't remember giving his business card to the nurse. But Nurse Lucinda had one of his cards in her hand today. She placed it on the table like a bridge player dropping a trump card.

"I don't know why I kept this," she said. "I guess I thought it might come in handy someday. I'd never met a private investigator before. You were funny, not like I thought a detective would be. You flirted with me."

"I did?" Rolly said, hoping he sounded more amnesic than incredulous. "I hope I wasn't out of line."

"I've dealt with a lot worse," said Lucinda. "Besides, I thought you were kind of cute."

"What do you think now?" Rolly said, unable to resist. Lucinda smiled and redirected the conversation.

"You're a musician, right?" she said. "You play the guitar?"

Rolly nodded. He didn't usually drive out to meet potential clients as soon as they called, but his detective work had dried up. The hospital was only a fifteen-minute drive from his house, east on Highway 8 near San Diego State University. He'd gotten to know any number of the local hospitals over the years, interviewing accident victims for their lawyers. Sometimes he'd been in the accident.

"Tell me what you're looking for again," he said. "You said something about your father?"

Lucinda nodded, glanced over at the coffee stand, then back at Rolly. She appeared to be in her late thirties or early forties, a little wide around the middle, with an honest, gentle face. She seemed more down to earth than most of the women Rolly had dated. He wasn't dating Lucinda, though. She was a potential client. He'd gotten too close to a client once, gotten involved with her while working on her case. That was how he'd ended up in the emergency room in Brawley.

"My dad died," Lucinda said. "Last week."

"I'm sorry."

Lucinda stared into her coffee cup, contemplating the black liquid inside.

"He's why I moved here," she said. "From Brawley. It was three months ago. I knew he needed some help. I didn't see my dad much when I was growing up. I lived with my mother after they got divorced. She died ten years ago. Cancer. I don't have any siblings, so my dad was all the family I had left."

"What did your father do for a living?"

"He was in the music business, like you. One of those guys that travels around with bands."

"A roadie?"

Lucinda nodded.

"That's how they met, my mom and my dad. She used to tell me the story all the time. It was at a Jimi Hendrix concert. Here in San Diego. Dad was in charge of those speakers they put in front so the singers can hear themselves?"

"The monitors," said Rolly.

"Yeah. My mom was sixteen. She'd won some contest on at a radio station. That's how she got backstage for the concert. She was supposed to meet Jimi Hendrix, but the radio people messed something up, I can't remember exactly what it was, but he wouldn't talk to any of them. Jimi Hendrix, I mean. She met him later, thanks to my dad."

"She met your dad backstage?"

"It was outside, after the show. There was a riot. The police were there. Dad helped Mom get away. That's how she ended up on the band's tour bus. And the rest, as my mom liked to say, was history."

"How old was your dad?" asked Rolly.

"Twenty, I think. Maybe twenty-one. Not that big a difference but . . ." Lucinda shrugged. "Times were different then, I guess."

"Yeah," Rolly concurred. He was not about to throw stones at glass houses. There'd been girls at the clubs where his bands played, girls with fake IDs who were younger than he'd been. He hoped none of the ones he'd taken home had been legally underage, but thinking about it now in his forties made him a little queasy. As Lucinda had noted, times had changed. Some.

"Mom was gone for five days," Lucinda continued. "Her parents didn't know where she was. It made all the papers. This guy at the radio station got fired. Two years later, out of the blue, my dad comes back to town and looks up my mom. She was of age then and they got married. I came along later. I think they were trying to save their marriage by having a baby."

"They wouldn't be the first," Rolly said. Lucinda's story about her parents was interesting and her way of telling it made him like her even more, but he needed to get down to business, keep it professional. "How can I be of help?"

Lucinda reached in the front left pocket of her scrubs and pulled out a photograph. She placed it on the table.

"It's this photograph," she said. "My dad left it for me. I don't know why. I don't even know who the guy is."

Rolly picked up the photograph. It was a black man, no older than thirty. He was dressed in a seafoam-green suit, something a Motown act might have worn in the early seventies. The comparison wasn't far off. The man was a musician, with a white Stratocaster guitar strapped over his shoulder, as if he'd just stepped off, or was preparing to step onto, the stage.

"He's not Jimi Hendrix." Rolly said. "I can tell you that much."

Lucinda frowned.

"I may be from Brawley, Mr. Waters, but I'm not a total hick. I know he's not Jimi Hendrix. The thing is . . . it looks like my dad's guitar. The one Jimi Hendrix gave him."

Rolly leaned back in his chair and reassessed the guitar in the photograph. It looked like thousands of others, but if Jimi Hendrix had touched that Stratocaster even once, it was more valuable than the rest.

"You understand why I thought you could help me?" Lucinda said.

Rolly nodded. He stared at the photo again.

"You think this guy in the photo still has the guitar?"

Lucinda shrugged.

"I don't know. I remember seeing one like it in my dad's apartment when I was a kid. I remember him saying he didn't have much to give me, except that guitar, the one Jimi Hendrix gave him. He said it would be my inheritance."

"Could be a pretty nice inheritance," Rolly said.

"That's what I thought," said Lucinda. She leaned back in her seat and tapped both hands on the table. "I looked up some things on the internet. One of Jimi Hendrix's guitars sold for almost two million dollars."

"Well," said Rolly. "That was the guitar from Woodstock, the one Hendrix used to play 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' I don't think this one would be worth that much . . ."

"It'd be worth something, though, wouldn't it? If it came from Jimi Hendrix."

"Yeah." Rolly nodded. Any guitar Hendrix had touched would be worth a considerable amount to collectors, if it had provenance. That wasn't Rolly's area of expertise, but he knew people who could help him out with the valuation. He'd need to have the actual guitar in his hands, though. This one was only a photograph. And Jimi Hendrix wasn't in the photo.

"Do you have any other documentation or photos?" he asked.

Lucinda shook her head.

"When was the last time you saw the guitar in your dad's possession?"

"Maybe ten years ago." Lucinda shrugged. "I haven't really been through his stuff yet. The church said they could let me into his apartment tomorrow."

"He lived at a church?"

Lucinda sighed. She surveyed the courtyard, then sipped her coffee a couple of times.

"My dad worked at this Russian Orthodox church," she said. "Over in Allied Gardens. He did some maintenance, ran the PA system, stuff like that. They let him live in this little apartment at the edge of the property, rent free, in exchange for his work. My dad was seventy- three, but he couldn't retire. He didn't have any Social Security. Not much, anyway. He was starting to lose it, mentally."

Rolly nodded again, trying not to think about where he'd be at seventy-three. According to the latest mailing from the IRS, he'd only be pulling in three hundred and twenty-five dollars a month from Social Security when he turned sixty-five. He'd never be able to retire.

"The first thing you should look for is a sales receipt," he said.

"Hmm?" Lucinda said, sounding distracted, as if she'd been thinking about something entirely different.

"When you go through his apartment," Rolly said. "Look for a sales slip. In case he sold the guitar to someone."

"He might have, I guess," Lucinda said. "Dad was always having money troubles. He wasn't the kind of guy who kept accurate paperwork. He always said if you couldn't do business on a handshake with someone then you shouldn't do business with them at all. I think it cost him over the years. Well, that and the drugs. He had substance abuse problems."

"Occupational hazard," Rolly said. "If he worked in the music business. I had to get sober myself."

"How long has it been for you?"

"Twenty years now, I guess, something like that."

"Sober people usually know to the day," said Lucinda. She didn't sound like she was challenging him, just stating a fact. Rolly shrugged.

"My father still drinks too much," he said. "That helps me avoid it."

Lucinda leaned forward again and rubbed her hands together, as if she were washing them.

"Maybe you could come with me tomorrow?" she said. "To my dad's place."

"I'd have to charge you for it," Rolly said.

"How much?"

"Fifty dollars an hour. Three hundred a day. Plus expenses," said Rolly. He liked Lucinda. Her case was already more interesting than most, but he still needed to get paid.

"I can do that," said Lucinda. "Maybe around ten o'clock tomorrow morning? Just a couple of hours. The church is just down the street from this nightclub you might know. Bump's?"

"Yeah, I know Bump's," Rolly said. "I used to play there sometimes."

"Great," said Lucinda. "I appreciate this. I didn't want to go there alone. I don't have any family or friends here in town I can ask."

Rolly placed the photograph on the table, pulled out his phone and took several pictures of it, checked them, decided they'd do, then passed the original photo back to Lucinda.

"I'll show your photo to some people I know," he said. "Maybe someone's seen this guitar before. They might know who the guy in the photo is, too."

"Are you going to charge me for that?"

"No," Rolly said. He shrugged. "It's on me. I was going to see a guy today anyway."

"Thanks," Lucinda said. "I'll see you tomorrow, at the church. Bring a contract if you need me to sign one."

They exchanged contact information and stood up. Lucinda turned to walk away.

"Wait," said Rolly. Lucinda paused. "Where did you find this photograph?"

"What's that?" she said.

"You said you hadn't been able to get into your father's apartment. Where did this photo come from?"

Lucinda took a deep breath, not quite a sigh.

"We'll have to talk about that, I guess. My dad called me the night that he died. I was working. When I stopped by after work, he was dead. He had an envelope with my name on it in his lap. The photo was in the envelope."

"Was there anything else?"

"No. Just the photo. I put it in my car and called nine-one-one. The paramedics came first, and then the police. They sealed off the apartment. I wasn't allowed to go back in."

"Did you show them the photograph?"

"No. I didn't think it was important."

"What do you mean?" Rolly asked.

Lucinda stared into her coffee cup again. She looked up at Rolly again. Her voice broke.

"The police think someone murdered him."

***

Excerpt from Gillespie Field Groove by Corey Fayman. Copyright 2023 by Corey Fayman. Reproduced with permission from Corey Fayman. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Corey Fayman

Corey Lynn Fayman has worked as a musician, sound technician, and interactive designer. He holds a B.A. in English, with a specialization in creative writing and poetry from UCLA, and an M.A. in Educational Technology from San Diego State University. Fayman spent five years as a sound technician and designer at the nationally lauded Old Globe Theatre, where he received several nominations and a Drama-Logue Award for his theatrical sound design. He’s worked as an interactive designer for organizations both corporate and sundry and has taught technology and design courses at various colleges and universities. He lives in San Diego, California, and is the author of four Rolly Waters mystery series, including Blacks Beach Shuffle, Border Field Blues, and Desert City Diva (2015 Indiefab Book of the Year bronze award). The fourth in the series, Ballast Point Breakdown, was honored with the best-in-show Geisel Award at the 2021 San Diego Book Awards.

Catch Up With Corey Fayman:
www.CoreyLynnFayman.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @clfayman
Twitter - @CLFayman
Facebook - @CoreyLynnFayman

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaway entries!

 

 

JOIN IN ON THE GIVEAWAY:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for Corey Lynn Fayman. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Tours