Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Winner's Post

It's time for another winner's post!

I feel like I need to reiterate a few things about signing up for giveaways.

Please make sure you fill out the form ONE time. If you fill out the form several times or hit submit several times all other entries other than the original will be disallowed. Everybody gets one shot! 

Also, please make sure that you are leaving your comments on the original post and NOT on the form.

Thanks so much to everyone for participating. Winners will be notified this evening and publishers in the morning. 

And now for the good stuff:

A High End Finish by Kate Carlisle

Winner: Annette N.






Edge of Betrayal by Shannon K. Butcher

Winner: Anita Yancey






While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell 

Winner: Karen B.





Plagued by Quilt by Molly MacRae

Winner: Heidi Peterson






I Saw Her Standing There by Marie Force

Winner: Pat Lieberman





Breaking Out by Lydia Michaels

Winner: bn100






Romancing the Billionaire by Jessica Clare

Winner: Helen Livermore





Not Until You by Roni Loren

Winner: Danielle Meek






On Borrowed Time by Jenn MacKinlay

Winner: Jeanette Green






Sunflower Lane by Jill Gregory

Winner: Lisa Garrett






What a Woman Gets by Judi Fennell

Winner: Julia Holden  (holdenj)






When We Met by A.L. Jackson, Molly MacAdams, Tiffany King and Christina Lee

Winner: Linda Kish




The Tiger Queens by Stephanie Thornton

Winner: Texas Book Lover





Snow White Red Handed by Maia Chance

Winner: Dotty Kelley

Review: Snow Angel Cove

Snow Angel Cove (Haven Point - Book 1) by RaeAnne Thayne

Publication Date: 10/28/2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin HQN
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
ISBN-100373779070
ISBN-13978-0373779079

(Received for an honest review from Harlequin HQN)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

RaeAnne Thayne on the WEB: websitetwitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, Snow Angel Cove, courtesy of the author's website.

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne welcomes you to Haven Point, a small town full of big surprises that are both merry and bright 

Nothing short of a miracle can restore Eliza Hayward's Christmas cheer. The job she pinned her dreams on has gone up in smoke—literally—and now she's stuck in an unfamiliar, if breathtaking, small town. Precariously close to being destitute, Eliza needs a hero, but she's not expecting one who almost runs her down with his car! 

Rescuing Eliza is pure instinct for tech genius Aidan Caine. At first, putting the renovation of his lakeside guest lodge in Eliza's hands assuages his guilt—until he sees how quickly he could fall for her. Having focused solely on his business for years, he never knew what his life was missing before Eliza, but now he's willing to risk his heart on a yuletide romance that could lead to forever.


Thoughts:

Eliza Haywood's dreams of a fresh start for Christmas go tragically astray in this holiday romance from RaeAnne Thayne. Snow Angel Cove is the first book in Thayne's Haven Point contemporary romance series and is an off shoot of her highly successful Hope's Crossing series. Fans of Thayne's writing will love the Christmas setting in the Idaho mountains and the possibility of falling in love with a billionaire. Thayne does an amazing job with characterization and giving readers a heartfelt and beautiful story. This is the perfect book to read beside the fire, with the Christmas lights twinkling and the hot chocolate nearby. A great Christmas romance!

What I liked:

When I was deciding on which Christmas books I wanted to review this year, the cover of Snow Angel Cove just seemed to beckon to me. It was very picturesque and I wanted to know more about it. The blurb on the back made me wonder if Christmas wishes do come true, what with the hero being a billionaire and all, but there was a lot more to this story than I expected. This was my first book by Thayne and I'm glad I picked this one. It was the perfect Christmas read and had me hooked in no time. 

Though this is an off shoot of the Hope's Crossing series, it is not necessary to read that series before this one. I had no trouble at all getting into the story and the visits from characters in the Hope's Crossing series only made me want to read about them as well. Thayne does such an amazing job with the characters in Snow Angel Cove. There were times when I just wanted to reach out and hug them. This was a very straight forward romance. The author didn't put up too many obstacles in the paths of Eliza and Aidan. She concentrated more on making them characters that readers would fall in love with and the town of Haven Point was simply magical.

Eliza Haywood is looking to start over in Haven Point but her hopes and dreams for the future end abruptly when the hotel she is going to manage burns to the ground. To make matters worse there is no where for Eliza and her daughter to go and Christmas is right around the corner. And unfortunately, so is Aidan Caine's car. When Aidan mistakenly hits Eliza with his car, he is determined to make it up to her and Maddie. Thayne gives readers three amazing characters here and a story that will make the heart of the reader grow three sizes! Just a lovely story!

The fact that Aidan was a billionaire did factor into the story but it wasn't what made the story special. The way this tech wizard kept Christmas was fun and endearing. I loved Aidan as the hero here, he was tender and caring and he realized that every day should be spent like it could be your last. Eliza was one strong lady and she'd been through a lot it was time her to get a win, and this was a big one. Little Maddie was a dear and readers will fall in love with her from the first mention of her. She was the true angel of Snow Angel Cove that Christmas. Thayne's characterizations were not especially deep and philosophical, but they were perfect for the season!

Bottom Line:

If you haven't read anything by RaeAnne Thayne, you really should. She puts me in the mind of author's like Debbie Macomber and Sherryl Woods. Snow Angel Cove was romantic and sweet and pulled all of the heart strings that reader's want pulled this time of year. Christmas is a special time and this book showed the spirit of it in so many ways. A simply magical Christmas read!

Snow Angel Cove is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!





About the Author:


New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including four RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. RaeAnne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

Review and Giveaway: Keeper of the Castle

Keeper of the Castle (Haunted Home Renovation - Book 5) by Juliet Blackwell

Publication Date: 12/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 336
ISBN-10: 0451465806
ISBN-13: 978-0451465801

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

Juliet Blackwell on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Haunted Home Renovation Mysteries

1. If Walls Could Talk
2. Dead Bolt
3. Murder on the House
4. Home for the Haunting
5. Keeper of the Castle

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, Keeper of the Castle, courtesy of the author's website.

Synopsis:

In the latest Haunted Home Renovation mystery from New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell, San Francisco contractorand reluctant ghostbusterMel Turner gets hired for a job that's to die for.

Lately, Mel has been worried about finding enough historic renovation work to pay the bills. But while Turner Construction is in need of a project, Mel’s boyfriend, Graham, has his hands full managing the reconstruction of an ancient building shipped over from Scotland.
 
With the job plagued by rumors that the stones are cursed, Graham brings in Mel to look for paranormal activity. And while the ghost of a charming Scottish clansman does seem to be hanging around the site, the real shock comes when they stumble upon a body.
 
When the original construction crew starts running scared, Mel brings in her team to finish the job. Now all she has to do is nail down the killer, and put the spirits to rest, before anyone else winds up heading for the highlands…


Thoughts:

There are not one, but two ghosts in Juliet Blackwell's latest Haunted Home Renovation book, Keeper of the Castle. This one has a Highland theme, as well as, a few ghostly twists and plenty of construction and renovation tips. Reader's who are looking for something a little on the spooky side will love Mel's adventure with the reconstruction of a Scottish monastery and her continuing work with laying ghosts to rest. Blackwell once again shows great care with her character development and interesting plot ideas. A must read paranormal cozy!

What I liked:

Juliet Blackwell always seems to come up with something usual for each of her books in this series. She has the ability to think outside the box with each story and come up with something original and different. That's a great quality for any writer, but I think it's especially important to those who write mysteries. You have to have that something that sets your book apart from the rest of the pack. This time it's a Highland twist that gives Keeper of the Castle it's unique foundation. 

Graham asks Mel to take a look at a project he is working on. He is a green consultant for a wealthy client who is reconstructing a Scottish monastery, stone by stone, in a new American location. Unfortunately, there are a few issues. The building inspector is trying just about everything he can think of to shut down the project and there are a couple of ghosts haunting the chapel.

This sounds like it's right up Mel's alley, especially after said building inspector ends up dead and Mel is asked to complete the project. Blackwell doesn't take long to draw the reader into the background and history of the monastery and what seems to be bothering the Highland ghosts. I loved the Scottish theme and thought Blackwell did a great job executing it. The mystery involving the inspector's death was interesting, but sort of took a back seat to the ghostly drama going on.

Bottom Line:


Mel starts to unravel what is going on with both the murder and the ghosts and still has time for her family, friends and Graham. There was a nice balance to the book, but it did lean a little toward the ghostly goings on. I felt like it needed a little more mystery and a little less history, but still enjoyed it a lot. Readers who want a little something unique will appreciate Blackwell's attention to detail with the Scottish aspects of the book and Mel once again shows of her great knowledge of construction. A good overall read.

Keeper of the Castle is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



About the Author:


Juliet Blackwell is the pseudonym for the New York Times bestselling mystery author who also writes the Witchcraft Mystery series and, together with her sister, wrote the Art Lover’s Mystery series as Hailey Lind. The first in that series, Feint of Art, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. As owner of her own faux-finish and design studio, the author has spent many days and nights on construction sites renovating beautiful historic homes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently resides in a happily haunted house in Oakland, California.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Keeper of the Castle by Juliet Blackwell.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, December 31st.

1. Please leave a comment. Ever done any home renovation projects? What kind? How did they turn out?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review and Giveaway: The Masseuse

The Masseuse (Body Work Trilogy - Book 1) by Sierra Kincade

Publication Date: 12/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Heat
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
ISBN-10: 0425277992
ISBN-13: 978-0425277997

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Heat)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

Sierra Kincade on the WEB: websitetwitter, facebook, goodreads

WARNING: The book my be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

Excerpt from, The Masseuse, courtesy of the main book listing on Amazon.

Synopsis:

First in the sexy and suspenseful Body Work Trilogy

Anna Rossi lives by one simple rule: don’t get attached, don’t get hurt. But Alec Flynn doesn’t play by the rules…

Anna never takes on a massage client without screening him first, but the paycheck offered by billionaire Maxim Stein is too good to turn down. Stein is the richest man she’s ever laid her hands on, and despite the risks, she trusts that she can take care of herself. After all, she’s handled difficult clients in the past. What she isn’t prepared for is getting caught in a compromising situation by Maxim’s tall, dark, and gorgeous bodyguard—or the desperate desires he awakens in her…

Alec is dangerous. The mysterious, hard-bodied man is completely irresistible and won’t be refused, no matter what walls Anna puts up to protect herself. But as Anna falls fast for his careful ministrations and mind-blowing skills, she begins to realize that giving herself over to a man with so many secrets isn’t just putting her heart at risk—it’s endangering her life…


Thoughts:

The Masseuse is the first book in a new erotic trilogy from debut author, Sierra Kincade. The Body Work trilogy gets off to a resounding start as Kincade introduces readers to a heroine that has been left shattered by her past and a hero that is more mysterious than a good thriller. Anna and Alec steam up the pages as they learn about each other's pasts, lies and secrets. Will she hang around to see what happens? Will he finally reveal himself to her? These are just some the questions that will be running through the mind of the reader, as this hot and sexy series, takes off!

What I liked:

When it comes to reading erotic literature, I always keep a few things in mind. When a reader picks up an erotic novel, what are they looking for? Most people would automatically say, sex and that's true, but there's a bit more to it. They don't want just any kind of sex, but sex that makes them believe it can happen that way in real life. It's all about the fantasy, but it has to be real enough to teeter on that edge of reality and I think that's where Sierra Kincade really excelled with this book. The Masseuse might seem a bit trite and typical from the title, but it is anything but, when you get into it.

Anna is a masseuse. She is by no means rich and she makes extra money by doing home appointments. That has some challenges in and of itself and showed the reader right off the bat that she had some spunk and her gutsy attitude carries throughout the novel. I liked her hard working attitude and her no nonsense approach to life, but she had her issues. She was basically broken and scarred from her past. She never stayed in one place long enough to form any attachments and the reader can almost feel her loneliness seeping off the pages. 

When Anna meets Alec and he helps her out of an unexpected mess, there is an instant connection that some readers might not believe. I don't know if I believe in love at first sight, but lust at first sight is definitely viable. Been there, felt that. It's the rest of the relationship that becomes the challenge. Alec is a mystery man. Sure, he's sexy and good looking and everything you want in a fling, but you need a little more information, than handy-man as a job title if you're looking to score for the long run. He was one of the characters that made you feel all kinds of emotions. First you want drag to your bedroom and then you want to wring his neck for not giving Anna more. The secrets and lies were thick with this hero, but in the end Kincade makes it all make sense and it was worth the wait.

I'm not a fan of cliffhanger's and this one leaves the reader with some burning questions. I'm confident that Kincade will carry these two characters into the next book, so things can resolve a little more fully, but I was happy with what I learned about Anna and Alec and the growth they showed throughout the book. She stops running and he fesses up! That's progress...

Bottom Line:

I was not real sure what I was getting with this book. Erotica, yes and it was steamy. The kind of book that makes your palms sweat and your heart race. But was it going to give me that satisfaction of thinking, this can really happen? I'll have to say, Kincade sold it, she made me believe in it and that's stellar coming from a debut author. There wasn't exactly a cliffhanger at the end, but plenty to keep me interested in picking up the next book. This one has some substance, try it, you'll like it!

The Masseuse is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




About the Author:


Sierra Kincade is the pen name for the author of The Body Works Trilogy. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and son. When she's not writing naughty books, she loves eating chocolate cupcakes, binge-watching cable series, and singing loudly in the car. She wholeheartedly believes that love stories are real, and you should never choose a partner who doesn't make you laugh.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Masseuse by Sierra Kincade.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, December 30th.

1. Please leave a comment. Ever been to a masseuse? What kind of massage did you get? Did you like it?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Review and Giveaway: The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer

The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer (Paws and Claws - Book 2) by Krista Davis

Publication Date: 12/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0425262561
ISBN-13: 978-0425262566

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: AmazonIndiebound, itunes

Krista Davis on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Paws and Claws

1. Murder She Barked
2. The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

The spirited sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Murder, She Barked

Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States, is gearing up for a howling good Halloween—until a spooky murder shakes the town to its core . . .

Holly Miller doesn’t believe in spirits, but the Sugar Maple Inn is filled with guests who do. The TV series in development, Apparition Apprehenders, has descended on Wagtail’s annual Halloween festivities to investigate supernatural local legends, and Holly has her hands full showing the ghost hunters a scary-fun time.

But the frights turn real when Holly’s Jack Russell, Trixie, and kitten, Twinkletoes, find a young woman drowned in the Wagtail Springs Hotel’s bathhouse—the spot of the town’s most infamous haunting. The crime scene is eerily similar to the creepy legend, convincing Holly that the death wasn’t just accidental. Now she’ll have to race to catch a flesh-and-blood killer—before someone else in town gives up the ghost . . .


Thoughts:

It's Halloween in Wagtail and it's time for some ghostly shenanigans! Krista Davis returns with the second book in her Paws and Claws mystery series, featuring Holly and the Sugar Maple Inn. Readers who love a good mystery and are particularly fond of their furry friends with love this series. It is just as pet friendly as the town of Wagtail and readers will love Davis's spin on ghost hunters, as well as, murder!

What I liked:

Krista Davis has always been one of my go-to cozy writers. I loved the Domestic Diva series and I was not really sure she could top that, but the Paws and Claws series, certainly has it's perks. In book one readers were introduced to the town of Wagtail, Virginia. A town that has essentially done a makeover and turned itself into a tourist town for pet lovers. It's an interesting concept. If you are anything like me, your dog or cat is probably considered a member of the family and a place like Wagtail would be a dream come true for any pet lover. We also met Holly and the gang from the Sugar Maple Inn. It's a great place to stay and pets are definitely allowed.

In the second book, The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer it's Halloween and the Sugar Maple Inn has some ghostly visitors. Well, ghost hunter visitor's at least. There has been an influx of television shows and books that have taken up the theme of ghost hunting, all trying to capitalize on the popularity of the paranormal, but Davis puts her own twist on it. She allows the Inn to become the hub for a television program called the Apparition Apprehenders. She doesn't take on the theme for the whole series, but dabbles in it in this installment and I found it a very enjoyable.

Davis is good at writing both her re-occurring characters and those who just stop by for a book or two. Readers get to know more about Holly and her adorable pets, Trixie and Twinkletoes, but they also get to meet characters like Mrs. Mewer and her owner. All of them are so well drawn and believable. If you are going to have an Inn that caters to furry clientele, it's wise to have a few of your own to help solve in murders and such that might occur. The animals are written with just as much care as the humans in this series and that's one of the things that makes it stand out.

When a friend of one of the Apparition Apprehenders ends up dead, Holly needs to help save the reputation of her Inn and her new friend Eva from getting pinned with the crime. There were tons of suspects since it takes an army to film a tv show and it was not clear who was involved. I liked the way Holly gathered her resources and asked for help. It was fun to see how she put it altogether and who the culprit really was. They mystery aspects of the story were spot on. 

Bottom Line:

There were several subplots in this one as well. Holly's ex boyfriend is in town trying to win her back. Her friend Clementine is being followed and Oma is up to her usual tricks. I love the combination of mystery and every day life that Davis is so good at writing. I look forward to each one of her books and I love the pet related theme of this series. If you are mystery lover or a pet enthusiast you are sure to find something you like here.

The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



About the Author:


Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Paws and Claws Mysteries, including Murder, She Barked and The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer, and the Domestic Diva Mysteries, including The Diva Wraps It UpThe Diva Frosts a Cupcake, and The Diva Digs Up the Dirt. The first book in the Paws and Claws series was a New York Times bestseller, and multiple books from the Domestic Diva series have been nominated for Agatha Awards and have hit the New York Times extended list. Krista lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with a brood of cats and dogs, including a snoopy Jack Russell terrier and a nosy calico cat. Her friends and family complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices that they keep coming back for more.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer by Krista Davis.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, December 30th.

1. Please leave a comment. What is the most unusual cat or dog name you've ever heard?

2. Please fill out the FORM.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: 'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season (Virgin River - Books 8 & 12) by Robyn Carr

Publication Date: 10/28/2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Mira
Genre: Contemporary Romance
File Size: 444 KB
ASIN: B00OP85WQU

(Received for an honest review from  Harlequin Mira)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, itunes, Kobo

Robyn Carr on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Virgin River

  1. Virgin River
  2. Shelter Mountain
  3. Whispering Rock
  4. A Virgin River Christmas
  5. Second Chance Pass
  6. Temptation Ridge
  7. Paradise Valley
  8. Under the Christmas Tree (in That Holiday     Feeling and 'Tis the Season)
  9. Forbidden Falls
10. Angel's Peak
11. Moonlight Road
12. Midnight Confessions (in Midnight Kiss and 'Tis the Season)
13. Promise Canyon
14. Wild Man Creek
15. Harvest Moon
16. Bring Me Home For Christmas
17. Hidden Summit
18. Redwood Bend
19. Sunrise Point
20. My Kind of Christmas

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.




Excerpt from, 'Tis the Season, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

Revisit Virgin River with two beloved holiday stories from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr. Included is the bonus novella Backward Glance—available digitally for the first time. 

'Tis the season for family, friendship and the thrill of a holiday romance… 
Under the Christmas Tree 

With snow falling over the redwood forests, secluded Virgin River is the ideal place to spend the holidays. Each year, the close-knit community gathers in the town square to decorate and light a massive tree. Carols are sung, hot chocolate is shared—and a surprise left under the Christmas tree is about to bring two special people together! 
Midnight Confessions 

Holiday kisses don't end with Christmas—there's still the New Year's Eve party at Jack's Bar to attend. Locals and newcomers alike find themselves eager for that special countdown…and that midnight kiss. 

So join us in Virgin River this year, where Robyn Carr's trademark humor, warmth and sincerity will have you celebrating the festive season in your favorite mountain town.

Thoughts:

Fans of Robyn Carr's Virgin River series, will enjoy the reprint of two Virgin River stories and a third unrelated tale in 'Tis the Season. Under the Christmas Tree and Midnight Confessions are spaced one year apart, in Virgin River, while Backward Glances is an unrelated story from earlier in Carr's career. Carr gives readers three great small town romances just in time for Christmas! If you are looking for a Christmas read that is heart warming, festive and filled with sincerity and love, this just might be the book for you.

What I liked:

Virgin River has long been one of my favorite small town romance series'. Robyn Carr has created a town that just resonates with readers. The characters are down to earth and live normal lives. They could be your next door neighbors or friends down the road. She has a knack for bringing every day life into focus and that's something I find enjoyable to read about. Sometimes I don't want the story of the millionaire or the princess. Sometimes I want the country doctor, or the bar owner or even the local hairstylist and this series really fills that spot. 

In 'Tis the Season readers are treated to a reprint of two Virgin River, Christmas stories, just in time for the holiday season. Now, if you've been a fan of the series for a long time you may have read both stories, but it is always nice to have them together in one place. Both are quick reads during a very hectic time of year. When you just a couple of hours to squeeze in some Christmas romance that's often just what you need.

Under the Christmas Tree is essentially the 8th book in the Virgin River series. Though it is a little shorter than the average book. It's a great story for the holidays involving Christmas puppies named after Santa's reindeer and a couple of childhood acquaintances that renew their interest in each other while caring for them. I loved hunky veterinarian Nate Jensen. It's an attractive quality to have a man who loves animals. Carr knows how to pick them for sure. It was nice to meet Annie who lives a few towns over from Virgin River, and is a hairstylist. These two knew each other as children, but they are all grown up now and the sparks do fly.

Midnight Confessions is the story of Nate's niece who is visiting for the holidays one year later. Nate and Annie want to attend the festivities at Jack's bar in Vrigin River, but Sunny is trying to heal after a bad breakup. When she goes along just to get out, she meets Drew, a college student who is holed up for the winter and studying his heart out. The romance was sweet and romantic and seeing Drew try to draw Sunny out and help to deal with her past was heartwarming. Robyn Carr knows how to pull those heart strings for sure.

Backward Glances is a previous story written by Robyn Carr back in the early part of her career. It is the story of a young woman raising twins and her matchmaking mother and friends. Leigh is struggling through a divorce when her mother asks her to visit. What she doesn't know is that John a man from her past is going to be there. I loved Jesse and machinations to make Leigh happy again. There was a lot of humor in this one, as well as love. It is an early effort by the author and does not have the cohesiveness and smoothness of Carr's later books, but it is still a great story for any time of the year.

Bottom Line:

Whether it is a reprint or a new story I love Robyn Carr's writing style and her characters. It was nice to go back to Jack's bar and see all of the characters I know and love from the Virgin River series in both those stories. I love the big Christmas tree and it's patriotic theme and the amazing way the town comes together for the holidays. The third story was heartwarming and full of tenderness as two people got a second chance at happiness. What else could you ask for in a great Christmas read?

'Tis the Season is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!





About the Author:


Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at www.RobynCarr.com.

Review and Giveaway: Geared for the Grave

Geared for the Grave (Cycle Path Mystery - Book 1) by Duffy Brown

Publication Date: 12/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Criem
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 304
ISBN-10: 0425268942
ISBN-13: 978-0425268940

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

Duffy Brown on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Excerpt from, Geared for the Grave, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!

Mackinac Island is a peaceful summer resort town where everyone coasts through the streets on bicycles. But after someone sends a prominent local on her final ride, it’s up to one resourceful visitor to get things running again…

 
Hoping to shift her chances of a promotion in her favor, Evie Bloomfield heads to Mackinac Island to assist her boss’s father. Rudy Randolph has broken his leg and operating his bike shop, Rudy’s Rides, is too much to handle by himself. But Evie’s good turn only leads to more trouble…
 
After Evie’s arrival, wealthy resident Bunny Harrington dies in what looks like a freak bike accident. Upon closer inspection, Bunny’s brakes were tampered with, and now the prime suspect in her murder is also Bunny’s number one enemy: Rudy. So if Evie hopes to stay on her boss’s good side, she’ll need to steer Rudy clear of jail. Now she must quickly solve this mystery so she can put the brakes on the real killer’s plan…


Thoughts:

Readers who love Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop series will be jumping for joy with the first book in a new series from the author. Geared for the Grave is the first book in Brown's Cycle Path mystery series, set on Mackinac Island in Michigan. With a great island setting, lots of humor and a murder, what more could you ask for in a great new cozy mystery? Colorful characters and tons of humor make this a cozy must read!

What I liked:

Mackinac Island is a real place. It is an island on Lake Huron in Michigan and to many it is a magical place. It is basically an eight mile wide tourist resort with lots of quaint shops and local eateries, fudge shops and bicycle rental places. Just like in Duffy Brown's new book, Geared for the Grave. I love it when an author uses a real setting to base their work on. It makes the reader feel like they have the opportunity to go beyond the book and visit the setting. It sounds absolutely magical both in the book and online. 

This is such a great island setting. I loved the laid back feeling I got from reading this book. I don't know what it is about an island community but everything seems idyllic and easy going, unless a murder occurs. The island residents get a little crazy when it comes to anything messing up the final push of the summer tourist season and when a local loud mouth ends up dead, that's a problem. Brown did such a great job of making Mackinac Island come to life in this book. From it's non-motorized transportation to it's unique way the locals looked at the "fudgies" (non-locals). Just an all around great setting.

Brown populates her version of Mackinac with some pretty quirky characters that readers are sure to fall in love with. Evie is a great heroine for a lot of reasons. She is looking to get a promotion from her boss in Chicago when she finds out the bosses father, Rudy, on Mackinac Island is need of help sprucing up the place after a broken leg. What she doesn't expect, is a murder. Brown writes Evie like a fish out of water in the beginning and it was fun to watch the island it's people grow on her as she tries to prove Rudy's innocence. She is somewhat like a bull in a china shop and there is lots of humor to go around.

Brown never disappoints when it comes to humor. All of her books will keep readers rolling in laughter but this one in particular is quite amusing mostly because of the fun characters. I loved Irish Donna and her thick brogue. She didn't really fit the setting, but Mackinac apparently has an eclectic bunch of residents, at least in Brown's part of it. I liked the romantic air between Evie and the temporary sheriff as well. Sutter was sexy and fun to read about, if he was a little slow investigating. But my favorite character had to be Rudy. At first he seemed like a curmudgeony old guy but then he started to grow on me. Brown did an amazing job with the characters in this one from Evie to Irma. 

The mystery itself was quite nice. It was different. Bunny was apparently not too friendly with most residents of the island and was trying to get Rudy's shop shut down. Which made Rudy suspect number one. But there were plenty more for such a small island and I thought Brown did a great job of bringing in new suspects and clicking them off as Evie proved they were not involved. I didn't figure it too early and the conclusion was satisfying. 

Bottom Line:

I really enjoyed this one. I think Brown is really on to something with this series. The characters were eccentric and fun and just what you'd expect from a resort island community. The setting was amazing and this one was not too easy to predict. I loved it!

Geared for the Grave is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!




About the Author:


Duffy Brown is the national bestselling author of the Consignment Shop Mysteries, including Pearls in PoisonKiller in Crinolines, and Iced Chiffon. She loves anything with a mystery. While other girls dreamed of dating Brad Pitt, Duffy longed to take Sherlock Holmes to the prom. She has two cats, Spooky and Dr. Watson, and works at a consignment shop when she’s not busy conjuring up whodunit stories.


Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Geared for the Grave by Duffy Brown.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, December 29th.

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