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11/17/21

Dream Stalker by Nancy Gardner (Audio review) with a GIVEAWAY!

 


4 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -
Lily Scott had vowed never to dream-walk-again....
Lily is a contemporary Salem witch who descends from a long line of witches born with the power to walk into other people's dreams to fight crime. But her disastrous first dream-walk almost killed her, and she vowed never to repeat the painful experience.

Now her daughter is falsely accused of murder, and the only way to clear her would be for Lily to enter the dreaming mind of the real killer, risking confrontation with the deadly Dream Stalker.
Can Lily summon the courage?

Purchase Links: 

Amazon | Reedsy | Goodreads | ​Audible | ​Apple Play



ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
Nancy Gardner writes cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. The first novel in her new series, Dream Stalker, tells the story of Lily Scott, a contemporary Salem witch who walks into people’s dreams to fight crime. One reviewer called it a gripping tale of witchcraft, family loyalties, and the cost of seeking justice. Her most recent short story, "Death's Door," was selected to be included in the 2021 anthology, Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical. She lives near Boston with her writer husband, David.



MY THOUGHTS - 
A very fun, interesting, gripping story! I do have to admit it was a little slow in the very beginning but quickly started to grab my attention. I love "witchy" books and anything about the Salem Witch Trials. I am not into Wicca, witchcraft, or black magic personally! But, I just find it interesting to read about.
And this book satisfied my interest.

Great characters. Of course I loved Lily and I thought her character was very well done. There were alot of minor, equally great characters as well and I love how they supported her and all came together to help.

I loved the whole idea of "dream stalking", going into other people's dreams. I have had a few dreams I would love someone to go into and let me know what they think ! LOL I am not sure I would want to go into someone else's dream though.

Yes, this is about "magic" and witchcraft, but it is also about family and friends. It is edgy, suspenseful, interesting, and fun... but also heartwarming at times.

I have never been to Salem but have always wanted to go, it is on my "bucket list". After listening to this book... now I really want to go!

Bonus!!! - I am told that there are a couple more Lily books in the works, yay! I love reading books in a series. I get way too attached to the characters to say goodbye. But, I think I will be reading them instead of listening to the audio.

AUDIO -
I will keep this short. While I did not hate the narrator, I didn't really care for her reading of this story. I guess I just didn't really like her voice. I actually think I would have loved this story more if I had read the book. So I think I am going to grab a copy and read it before reading the next in the series.

 I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours -  Thank You!


Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Salem, Massachusetts—October 1, 2013

I stumbled through the early morning fog blanketing Salem’s Gallows Hill, hurrying to the oak tree that my maternal grandmother, Sadie MacAskill, loved. When I was a child, she’d taught me that witches like ourselves derive energy from working with green, growing plants and trees. I could still feel our arms stretched around the oak’s trunk, listening for the pulsing power within it.

“Feel Mother Earth’s wisdom rising,” she’d said.

I’d never needed wisdom more. The plan I’d cooked up with an old friend had gone terribly wrong. Kitty was supposed to bring my estranged daughter, Sarah, to dinner. Sarah’s favorite dinner, creamy chicken pesto and pasta, was baking in the oven when I got the call.

“Kitty hasn’t come home, and I’m not ready to see you without her. I may never be ready,” Sarah said, her voice cold and unforgiving. She hung up before I could reply.

When I called her back, she refused to answer. If my husband, Sam, had still been alive, he’d have known what to do. But he’d died two years ago.

It was long after midnight when I threw the cold casserole down the disposal and crawled into bed. When sleep proved impossible, I paced the empty rooms of our Chestnut Street home until dawn, then grabbed the nearly empty bottle of homemade dandelion brandy as an offering to Nana’s spirit and rode my Vespa to the park atop Gallows Hill.

Exhausted and headachy, I forgot to watch my step and tripped over a rock. I managed not to fall, but the bottle flew out of my hand. I watched it shatter, watched the last golden dregs seep into the grass. I felt like I was watching my relationship with my daughter ebb with it.

As I dropped shards of glass into the nearby trash can, the wind seemed to whisper that I didn’t deserve to find the wisdom I needed. I’d failed Nana, and I’d failed my daughter.

“Enough self-pity.” I pulled my leather jacket tighter and scurried past the crumbling pavilion and rusting flagpole to the ancient oak. Once again, I pressed my cheek to the rough bark, closed my eyes, and waited. The bark pulsed. A crow landed in the branches above me, cawing and shaking loose a shower of dead leaves. I opened my eyes, and for a moment, Nana’s face wavered before me. Then she was gone, leaving me with my questions unanswered.

My cell vibrated. Who would call me this early? Sarah? Kitty with an explanation? I checked the screen. Neither. Honey Campbell, my landlord and a good friend. She owned the building on Pickering Wharf where we both ran our businesses. Her barbershop took up the first floor. My herbal studio, Healing Thyme, sat above it.

“Hi, Honey. What’s up.”

“Thought you’d want to know your friend, Kitty, came looking for you,” Honey said in her soft Scottish brogue. “And bye-the-bye, she looked like shite. She stumbled off toward Moe’s. You might yet find her there.”

Two months earlier, Kitty had stopped me on the street. I’d taken her for a panhandler and almost turned her away. Then she said, “Lily, don’t you remember me? My parents took us to New York to see West Side Story. We had the best time.”

We’d shared a cup of coffee and Kitty shared her story. She’d been a high school biology teacher until she’d been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The disease had taken everything from her: her teaching career, her home, her reason for living. She’d ended up lost on the streets.

Things had taken a turn for the better for Kitty when she found a permanent bed at St. Bridget’s Homeless Shelter and, because of the doctor who volunteered his services there, Kitty’s memory was making a remarkable improvement.

“Thanks, Honey. I’m on my way.” I dashed back to the Vespa, strapped on my helmet, and started the engine. Usually, the thrum of the engine beneath me and the slapping rhythm of my braid tapping against my back soothed me. Not this morning. I pressed the throttle and hurried to Pickering Wharf, determined to find out what had gone wrong last night.

***

Excerpt from Dream Stalker by Nancy Gardner. Copyright 2021 by Nancy Gardner. Reproduced with permission from Nancy Gardner. All rights reserved.

 

Tour Participants:

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

 


GIVEAWAY:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nancy Gardner. There will be TWO (2) winners for this tour. Each of the Two (2) winners will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card (US, UK, & Canada residents). Plus, BONUS! Winners that reside in the US will also receive a physical copy of Dream Stalker by Nancy Gardner. The giveaway runs November 1 through December 5 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

11/10/21

New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst Presented by: Elizabeth Crowens

 


5 STARS!


ABOUT THE BOOK -

Writer and photographer, Elizabeth Crowens is one of 500 New York City-based artists to receive funding through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) as well as Queens Theatre.

She was recognized for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst, her photo-illustrated anthology, which brought her published book along with ten other authors to Mysterious Bookshop in Lower Manhattan at 58 Warren Street on Monday, October 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. for an in-store event and author signing along with a simultaneous Facebook Live presentation and recording for Jim Freund’s WBAI program Hour of the Wolf.


An Anthology and Celebration of the Big Apple
I'm an unabashed, unapologetic lover of New York City, my hometown, and New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst is right up my dark, deserted alley. New York's at its best when you sneak up on it, glance at its sideways, or let it glance sideways at you. The pros and photos in this collection all show New York's best, even when they purport to be showing its worst; in NYC, that's how we roll. A fine addition to your New York bookshelf, a collection to savor.

~ SJ Rozan, best-selling author of The Art of Violence

Purchase Links: 

 BookBaby | The Mysterious Bookshop | Goodeareads


Read the Intro:

It is daunting to be asked to say something about New York City that hasn’t already been said with more eloquence than I could muster. As with many of the writing gigs I’ve accepted without carefully considering the consequences, I suppose I would have been better off letting someone else tilt at this windmill. With all due respect to Don Quixote, here goes.

My initial inclination was to do something about how New York City, because of its geography, is fated to be a place of stark contradictions: of churning and yearning, of inclusion and exclusion, of acceptance and denial. Unlike other cities, New York cannot expand outwards, only upwards. While that sounds great and may make for glorious postcards of a majestic, everchanging skyline to send to the folks back home, it leaves out New York City’s most valuable commodity—its people.

I could have written about the unknown or unseen New York, the scores of little islands—some populated, some not—in Jamaica Bay, in the harbor, in the East River, in the Hudson. Places like Ruffle Bar. Ruffle Bar? Google it. Places once home to psychiatric and typhoid quarantine hospitals. Buildings abandoned or demolished. Islands whose only residents are the dead buried there and forgotten. Interesting, certainly, but again it would have left out the thing that makes New York City what it is.

As a crime fiction author who sets much of his work in New York—largely in Brooklyn and Manhattan—I have done countless panels and interviews about the city. My friend and award-winning colleague, Peter Spiegelman, says that setting is the soil in which you grow your characters. He is so right. Ask any author worth his, her, or their salt, and they will tell you that a book that can be set anywhere isn’t much of a book at all. A book must be of its place. So too must a person.

New York City isn’t one place. It is a thousand places, ten thousand places. And because it is all those places, its people are different neighborhood to neighborhood, sometimes street to street. Certainly, house to house, apartment to apartment. Do we shape the place or does the place shape us? Instead of doing an overview, a sort of general discussion of this question, I think it better to talk about one place—Coney Island—and how it shaped one person—me.

I grew up in the shadow of Coney Island Hospital, about a mile or so away from the amusement park. I was right on the border of Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island. I could explain how each of these neighborhoods differ, how, for instance, Sheepshead Bay is, for all intents and purposes, a fishing village. But no, not here, not now. At one point in my life or other, I have claimed to be from all these places. Yet it is Coney Island that resonates.

When I was four, my dad—a bitter, blustery, and angry man—was diagnosed with an aggressive bone sarcoma which he battled to a standstill for thirty plus more years. After his initial round of surgery and treatment, he was instructed to not do any activities that might jar or adversely affect his leg. Yet on summer Sundays, he would tell my mom that he was taking me for a car ride. We took car rides, alright, straight into Coney Island.

He would put me on the kiddy rides, take me to Nathan’s Famous, buy me pistachio soft serve. Then, in one of the few acts of true defiance I ever saw from him, he would get on the carousel and grab for the brass rings. On one of these Sundays, he pointed to the Parachute Jump. The “Jump” rose into the air two hundred and sixty feet. All orange steel, it looked like a cross between the Eiffel Tower and the skeleton of a giant umbrella.

“When that ride opened up,” he said, “my best pal Charlie and me got on it. The parachute dropped a few feet and then … nothing. We were stuck up there for forty-five minutes just hanging in the air. It was great.”

Of course, by then, the Parachute Jump, once part of Steeplechase Park, had been closed for years, its parachutes and rigging long gone. That day, those days, have stayed with me ever since. And when, as a teenager, I would go back to Coney Island with my friends, get high and ride the Cyclone, I would always look up at the Parachute Jump. It came to symbolize my dad to me. Mighty, impressive, but abandoned, and powerless. I loved my dad because I could see past his bluster. He let me see past it. All because of those few Sundays in Coney Island.

As if by osmosis, Coney Island began imposing itself in my work. My series character, Moe Prager, worked in the Six-O precinct in Coney Island. Scene after scene in the nine Moe books take place there. Even twenty-plus books later, in my new series, I cannot escape the gravity of Coney Island. It calls to me in a way I cannot explain other than to say it is romance in the way the Romantic poets understood it.

In my Edgar Award–nominated short story “The Terminal,” I wrote this:

“…He liked how Coney Island displayed its decay as a badge of honor. It didn’t try to hide the scars where pieces of its once-glorious self had been cut off. Stillwell Avenue west was like a showroom of abandonment, the empty buildings wearing their disuse like bankrupted nobility in frayed and fancy suits. He had come to the edge of the sea with the other last dinosaurs: the looming and impotent Parachute Jump, the Wonder Wheel, Nathan’s, the Cyclone.”

I could never have written those words in that way had I grown up in Washington Heights or Rego Park. New York City poets and writers are shaped by their families, yes, but shaped as much by where as by who. That is the magic of New York. This book will shine a light on the rest of that magic. By the way, my children and I have slightly different tattoos of the Parachute Jump: My son and I on our forearms; my daughter on her triceps. In those tats my dad and the Coney Island that was will live on.

***

Introduction from New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst by Reed Farrel Coleman. Copyright 2021 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.

 

Author contributors include:

  • Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of over 31 award-winning mystery and thriller novels, including the Jesse Stone series for the estate of Robert B. Parker. Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan.
  • Charles Salzberg, former magazine journalist, crime novelist of the Shamus Award-nominated Henry Swann series, founding member of the New York Writers Workshop.
  • Tom Straw, Emmy and WGA-nominated writer-producer, credits include Nurse JackieNight CourtGrace Under FireWhoopie, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Crime novelist under the pen name of Richard Castle.
  • Randee Dawn, Entertainment journalist for Today.comVariety, and the Los Angeles Times. Co-editor of Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles and The Law & Order: SUV Companion, and speculative fiction writer of the upcoming Tune in Tomorrow.
  • Barbara Krasnoff, Reviews Editor at The Verge, over 45 published short stories, Nebula Award finalist, author of the “mosaic” novel The History of Soul 2065.
  • Steven Van Patten, TV stage manager by day, horror writer by night. Co-host of the Beef, Wine and Shenanigans podcast, winner of several African American Literary Awards.
  • Triss Stein writes mysteries that all take place in Brooklyn.
  • Marco Conelli, former NYPD detective, consultant to Mary Higgins Clark, and Silver Falchion award-winner for young adult mysteries and the police procedural Cry For Help, taking place in The Bronx.
  • R.J. Koreto, historical mystery writer focusing on New York during the Gilded Age.
  • Richie Narvaez, award-winning mystery author of Hipster Death RattleHolly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, and Noiryorican.
  • Elizabeth Crowens, over 25 years in the entertainment industry, member of the International Cinematographers Guild as a Still Photographer (Imdb.com credited: Sheri Lane), award-winning writer of novels in the Hollywood mystery and alternate history genres. Recipient of the Leo B. Burstein Scholarship by the NY Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Editor and photographer for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst based on her Facebook Caption Contests. elizabethcrowens.com@Ecrowens on Twitter, and Elizabeth Crowens on Facebook!

 

MY THOUGHTS -

What a fun, amazing book! Being an original Upstate New Yorker myself and someone who has been to NYC several times over my lifetime, I knew I would love this one. 

It is a beautiful hardcover book with amazing photographs, some color and some B&W. The pages are glossy and a nice quality that just feel good in your fingers.

All the stories are fantastic, really fantastic! Some are funny, some are sad, some are heartwarming, all of them are creative, interesting, and so very different from each other. I love that all these authors are under one cover. 

There are a few stories that really stood out for me. My personal favorite was the very first one called - The Protest Painting by Elizabeth Crowens herself! This one brought tears to my eyes. I am a watercolor and mixed media artist and so I could really relate to this story. The next one I really liked was - The Fishmonger by Barbara Krasnoff. This was an amusing story. A little bit fantasy and a little bit hope. And the last one that I really loved was - Stupid Skeletons by Steven VanPatten. This one started out humorous and gave me a few giggles then turned serious, crazy, but fun.. This story certainly makes you think!

Those were just my favorites, but as I said, I really loved all the stories and poems. I am sure I will be looking at this book over and over... and maybe even reading some out loud.

This would make a GREAT Christmas gift for someone either from NY or who has always had a fascination with NY, but, also for anyone who just loves short stories and great photography!


 I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours -  Thank You!


Follow the rest of the tour here -

11/4/21

THE ICE COVEN - Max Seeck

 


4 Stars


ABOUT THE BOOK -

Investigator Jessica Niemi is in a race against time to find the link between a body with strange markings that has washed up on a frigid shore in Finland and two baffling disappearances in this terrifying new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Witch Hunter.

 

Six months have passed since Jessica’s encounter with the mysterious serial-killing coven of witches and the death of her mentor. Her nightmares about her mother and the witchcraft that undid her have only gotten worse, but she’s doing what she can to stay focused. Her homicide squad, now under new leadership, has been given a murder case and a new series of disappearances to investigate. A young woman’s corpse has washed up on an icy beach, and two famous Instagram influencers have gone missing at the same time.

 

The missing influencers and the murdered woman all have ties to a sinister cult. Jessica finds an eerie painting—of a lighthouse on a remote island—as she investigates, and under the picture is a gruesome poem detailing a murder. The nightmares about her mother suddenly seem all too real, making Jessica wonder if the dead woman might be trying to tell her something about the killings. And as Jessica works frantically to solve her latest case, her horrific past comes roaring back and threatens to destroy her.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Max Seeck devotes his time to writing professionally. An avid reader of Nordic noir for personal pleasure, he listens to film scores as he writes. His accolades include the Finnish Whodunit Society's Debut Thriller of the Year Award 2016. Max Seeck has a background in sales and marketing and loves to promote his works, and is fluent in English and German.



MY THOUGHTS -

This is a creepy, intense, and fun read! I actually happen to love creepy and intense! I have not read the first book - The Witch Hunter, and I kinda wish I had so it's going on my wish list. This author's writing is definitely edgy and gripping. It will keep you tipping on the edge of your seat all throughout the book from one twist to another, are there are quite a few.


The character development was good.  Even though we do get to see her on an emotional level (some back story) that showed her flaws. I just didn't feel emotionally connected to Jessica. She was a great kick a$$ character though! She didn't take crap and could hold her own. I love that in a female main character. I guess I just couldn't see myself being "friends" with her, but... I would want her standing up for me when things got bad.


I loved that this story takes place in Finland. I don't think I have ever read a story that takes place there before. I was getting some great mental pictures from the author's scene painting. Especially when talking about the lighthouse and shore. 


I also loved that the story revolves around a couple of missing social media influencers/"Bloggers". This made it fun and current.


This is not an easy-going, fluffy read - it is dark, creepy, scary at times, and somewhat graphic. So, if you can handle it I would definitely take a gamble on this one! A good read for sure.


 I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Berkley, Penguin Random House

 -  Thank You!!



Get your copy from Amazon - HERE




10/27/21

THE LIGHTHOUSE WITCHES by C.J. Cooke

 


5 Stars!


ABOUT THE BOOK -
When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, she thinks it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When Sapphire and Clover go missing, she's frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge.

 

Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters. When she receives a call that Clover has been found, she's initially ecstatic. However, she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn't realize just how much the truth will change her.

 

Drawing on history, Cooke drew inspiration for THE LIGHTOUSE WITCHES from the little-known history of Scotland’s witch trials. Cooke said in an interview with Crime by the Book that “there was a witch trial 20 minutes from my home and there’s barely any commemoration for the women who were murdered. Four thousand people–mostly women–tortured and murdered, their names and memories tainted forever…It fascinates and disturbs me, because four hundred years later we still use the term ‘witch’ to slander women.”


Order from Amazon - HERE

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -
C J Cooke (Carolyn Jess-Cooke) lives in Glasgow with her husband and four children. C J Cooke's works have been published in 23 languages and have won many awards. She holds a PhD in Literature from the Queen's University of Belfast and is currently Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, where she researches creative writing interventions for mental health. Two of her books are currently optioned for film. 

Visit the author's site -  www.cjcookeauthor.com

MY THGOUGHTS -
This book blew me away. It started out good then just kept getting better and better. Lighthouses, witches, missing people, time lapses, this story offers so much that make a fun and very interesting read. This book could have been confusing if it hadn't been done so well, but the author does an excellent job with all the details and weaving them together.

The chapters switch time periods and who the main character is but it is clearly labeled and I love that. It makes it so easy to follow. I have to admit I am sometimes easily confused by multiple POV and time periods in a book but I was not confused once in this one! 

There is so much happening, never a dull moment, edge-of-your-seat writing in every chapter. It played out flawlessly right up to the end - which I loved. A very nice ending. Not a big bang ending, but everything wrapped up nicely and explained perfectly.

I wasn't overly attached to any one character, except maybe Luna (one of the sisters) in the present time. But I did "like" all of the characters and thought they were done very well and believable.

I can't believe I haven't heard of this author before. I am going right now and putting her other books on my wish list.

A must read if you are a fan of paranormal stories, lighthouses, time travel, or the witch trials. 


I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Penguin Random House -  Thank You!

10/21/21

The Ghosts of Thorwald Place by Helen Power (with a GIVEAWAY!)

 


5+ Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -

Trust No One. Especially your neighbors.

Rachel Drake is on the run from the man who killed her husband. She never leaves her safe haven in an anonymous doorman building, until one night a phone call sends her running. On her way to the garage, she is murdered in the elevator. But her story doesn't end there.

She finds herself in the afterlife, tethered to her death spot, her reach tied to the adjacent apartments. As she rides the elevator up and down, the lives of the residents intertwine. Every one of them has a dark secret. An aging trophy wife whose husband strays. A surgeon guarding a locked room. A TV medium who may be a fraud. An ordinary man with a mysterious hobby.

Compelled to spend eternity observing her neighbors, she realizes that any one of them could be her killer.

And then, her best friend shows up to investigate her murder.

Get it here from Amazon - HERE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Helen Power is obsessed with ghosts. She spends her free time watching paranormal investigation TV shows, hanging out in cemeteries, and telling anyone who’ll listen about her paranormal experiences. She is a librarian living in Saskatoon, Canada, and has several short story publications, including ones in Suspense Magazine and Dark Helix Press’s Canada 150 anthology, “Futuristic Canada”. The Ghosts of Thorwald Place is her first novel.



 

MY THOUGHTS -

Ding ding ding we have a winner! I think this may go down as my favorite book of the year! Absolutely amazing story! I was riveted from beginning to end. First, I love ghost stories. Second, I love ghost stories that are done well… And this was done oh so well!

I started reading this with my hand covering my mouth in an “oh my gosh” manor. And it just kept getting better and better. Amazing character development. Rachel aka "Kae", I was so attached to her. By the end of the story I really felt like I knew her and was friends with her, if one can be friends with a ghost. Why not, right? 

The subtitle of this book should be - People are not what they seem! How many times have you wished you could be a fly on a wall and eaves drop in someone's house? Well Rachel gets to do exactly that... and it is not good. This story goes in so many different directions with all the residents inside stories. You really get to know almost everyone in the apartment building. Some you wish you didn't know! I never once felt lost, or that it was too much. Everything felt perfect and very well described.

The ending, oh my gosh! The ending -  amazing! I read the whole last chapter again with my hand covering my mouth and I had chill bumps and tears in my eyes! Never before have I ever felt such a close connection and love for a ghost in a story.

This book will blow you away! Helen Power is an amazing writer. I couldn't believe this was her first novel. She definitely has a great career ahead of her. I personally am sold and can't wait for her next book!


 I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours -  Thank You!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

10/14/21

Death Rang The Bell by Carol Pouliot (with a GIVEAWAY!)

 


5 STARS!


ABOUT THE BOOK -

21st-century journalist Olivia Watson thinks traveling back in time to 1934 to attend a Halloween party with her friend Detective Steven Blackwell will be a lot of fun. And it is...until she witnesses the head of the Shipley Five-and-Dime empire murdered, and fears the killer saw her face.

The smart move is to return to the safety of the present, but Olivia possesses a secret and is about to defy the unwritten rules of time-travel. She convinces Steven to let her stay in his time and help unravel the motives behind the murder, even if it means risking her own life to save another.

When Steven delves into the investigation, he discovers how a bitter relationship, a chance encounter, and a fateful decision converged to set the stage for murder. In a maze full of unreliable clues and misdirection, dark secrets refuse to stay buried and forgotten ghosts won’t fade away. Steven is reminded that old sins cast long shadows.

Can Steven catch the killer before time runs out for Olivia?


Read an excerpt:

NOVEMBER 1916 − SYRACUSE, NEW YORK

Chapter 1

Hot coffee spilled over the rim and burned her hand. Lillian wanted to cry. At nine in the morning, she’d been on her feet since six and had seven long hours to go. She didn’t know how much longer she’d be able to keep it up. She was constantly exhausted and the struggle to breathe was worsening; some days it was nearly unbearable. She knew the disease was going to overpower her, and that moment was coming soon.

Lillian slid around some tables and set a heaping plate of eggs and bacon, potatoes, and toast in front of Arnie McCormack, then topped off his cup from the pot in her other hand. McCormack lowered his newspaper and leered, pinching her behind as she stepped away. Rude bastard. She’d like to pour the scalding coffee over his head and dump his breakfast right in his lap.

The only thing that kept her going every day was the thought of her beautiful little boy. Well, not so little anymore. He was growing up fast, nine years old in January. She managed a smile and wiped away a tear before it became a flood. Best not to think too much about things. Especially money. Lillian knew if she didn’t get the money somehow, she’d never see her son grow into a man.

And what about her letter? It had been four weeks since she’d mailed it. Surely he should have written back by now. She hadn’t been unreasonable, hadn’t asked for much, only enough to pay for treatment at the Little Red Cottage in Saranac Lake.

Dr. Trudeau’s Little Red Cottage. It sounded like heaven. Lillian had heard wonderful things about people being cured there. Imagine, cured! The thought made her dizzy.

Lillian returned to the lunch counter, using the backs of chairs for support. When she arrived at the griddle, she was breathing hard.

Tomorrow, she thought, if I don’t get an answer tomorrow, I’ll send another letter.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1934

Chapter 2

The Three Witches of Macbeth were doing a swell job. Annie, Molly, and Lilly led the parade of pirates, sailors, and fairy princesses through Knightsbridge, picking up ghosts, goblins, and a mummy along the way. Crowds of families followed the costumed children down Victoria Avenue to the entrance of The Elks Club, where, from the top of the staircase, The Three Witches hissed, “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and caldron bubble.”

Molly cried out, “Beware, all ye who enter here.” Then she thumped a tall gnarled staff on the stone step, and Annie and Lilly grasped the thick iron rings with both hands and heaved. As the massive oak doors creaked open, the masquerading children flew up the stairs and into the community room, awash with the scents of apples and cinnamon.

Carved pumpkins flickered in the semi-darkened room, revealing white cobweb-filled corners and big black spiders and bats hanging so low that adults had to duck. Seeing colorful bags piled on black-draped tables, one little boy jumped up and down, clapping his hands in glee. A girl grabbed her friend’s hand, and they did a little dance, and three teenagers slapped each other on the back. A Halloween treat awaited each of them. Eager to explore, the kids fanned out.

“Ooh! I feel like I’m ten again,” said Olivia, shaking the black-and-orange tin noise maker. “Why didn’t we wear costumes?”

Steven gave her a look. “What if I had to rush out for an emergency?” he asked.

“You could’ve dressed like a cop.” She smirked.

“Hi, Steven.” Decked out in an eye patch and pirate gear, Jimmy Bourgogne appeared from behind Olivia, swept off his hat, and gave a courtly bow, bending low to the floor. “Miss Watson.”

“Jimmy, you look fantastic,” exclaimed Olivia. “I didn’t recognize you with that mustache and goatee.”

“Congratulations, Jimmy. You fellas did a swell job,” Steven said.

“Thanks, but the credit really goes to Leon here.”

A slender young man with light brown hair joined them. He sported a plaid shirt with a tin sheriff’s badge pinned over his heart, red kerchief around his neck, and holster holding a toy gun attached to a leather belt.

“Hi, Leon.” Steven extended his hand. “This is my friend Olivia Watson. Olivia, Leon Quigg is my mailman.”

“Nice to meet you, Miss Watson.” Leon said, nodding as he doffed his cowboy hat.

“I’m glad to meet you, too. This is a wonderful party.”

Jean Bigelow sidled up to Olivia, yelling amidst the racket. “You made it!”

“Jean! Isn’t this swell?” Olivia chuckled to herself. Liz and Sophie would crack up hearing her talk like a real 1934 person.

After several months, acting like she belonged here had become second nature, but Olivia Watson didn’t belong here. She lived in 2014 and only visited 1934 from time to time.

This week Olivia was spending several days in Steven’s time. No passport, no suitcase, no plane ticket required. All it took was a simple step across the threshold of her bedroom door into Steven’s Depression-era house−simple but the key to her recently discovered ability to time travel.

“What are you reading tonight?” Olivia asked the librarian.

“Edgar Allan Poe. ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’”

“That’s the one where the guy gets walled up, isn’t it?”

Jean nodded. “I’ve been practicing creepy voices for days.”

“Well, you look the part. I love your cape, very 19th-century.” Olivia touched a fold of Jean’s costume. “Ooh, velvet. I wish I’d worn that.”

The organizers had packed the evening full of entertainment. Steven and Olivia watched a magician pull pennies out of children’s ears and a rabbit out of his top hat, and wondered how he made the mayor’s watch disappear. The kids bobbed for apples, the water sloshing out of the metal washtub soaking the floor. The younger children played Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey and Drop-the-Handkerchief, while the older ones played charades and told ghost stories.

At seven thirty, the kids crowded along the row of tables where members of the Elks handed out treats. Noses in their black-and-orange bags exploring the treasures within, they moved to the far end to select their favorite soda, handing the tall glass bottles of Hires Root Beer, Orange Crush, and Coca-Cola to Jimmy Bou and Leon Quigg, who were armed with metal bottle openers.

The evening culminated with story telling. The village librarian led the young children into a side room, spooky picture books in hand. The older ones gathered behind the curtain on the shadow-filled stage where Jean Bigelow waited in flickering candlelight. When they’d settled in a circle on the floor, Olivia among them, the librarian cleared her throat and began.

“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge....”

***

Excerpt from Death Rang the Bell by Carol Pouliot. Copyright 2021 by Carol Pouliot. Reproduced with permission from Carol Pouliot. All rights reserved.

 

Purchase Links: Amazon | BN.com | Goodreads



ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Carol Pouliot holds a BA in French and Spanish and an MA in French. She has taught French, Spanish, German, and English. She owned and operated a translating agency for 20 years. Her work has been published in Victoria magazine.

Carol is the author of The Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mysteries, which includes Doorway to Murder (book 1), Threshold of Deceit (book 2), and Death Rang the Bell (book 3).

Carol is passionate about the world and other cultures. She has visited 5 continents thus far and always has her passport and suitcase at the ready.


MY THOUGHTS -

Oh I loved this book! Even though I am not a huge "mystery" fan, I do read a lot of them. But I always love them for reasons other than the mystery. In this one it was the characters. I loved Olivia and Steven, and all the others as well! Another thing that connected me to this book was that it took place in Upstate NY, Syracuse! This is almost my neck of the woods. I grew up in Ithaca NY about an hour from Syracuse and I knew all the places the author was talking about. This made it so much fun.

I am however a big fan of time travel books! And this one was done so well. When Olivia went back to Steven's time, 1934, I kept picturing an old black and white movie. It really took me back there. It felt very real and authentic to me.

This story actually flipped back and forth between three time periods. There was the present time "now", there was present time 1934  (I call it present time because it was happening now - only in that time period), and there was the past, early 1900's. I loved each time period equally. And the author did an excellent job helping us keep it straight. I never once got confused.

Without giving it away - there is also the start of a sweet romance. This kind of writing gives me chillbumps. I would rather read about a gentle touch, holding hands, and a stolen sweet kiss. Give me that instead of sex in a book any day!

Now just because I am not a huge fan of Mysteries doesn't mean this wasn't a good one! It was a very nice mystery, expertly woven together. I loved all the gathering of the details and the way we got to know everyone involved. It was a nice gentle slope upwards... until the solving of the murder at the end.

I knew I was going to want to read the first two books... but now I REALLY want to read the first two books! Haha, The author does a wonderful job of catching us up so we don't feel like we missed anything but I am selfish and I want to read it all first hand for myself! I want to read about the first time Olivia met Steven, the first time she went back in time with him. I want to explore all that with them. So, both these books are on my wish list.

 I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Partners in Crime Tours -  Thank You!

Don't Miss Out on This Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carol Pouliot. There will be Four (4) winners for this tour. Two (2) winners will each receive a $15 Amazon.com gift card; Two (2) winners will each receive 1 print edition of Death Rang The Bell by Carol Pouliot (US Only). The giveaway begins on October 1 and ends November 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Tour Participants:

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

 

The Dance of the Snow Tractors

 


4 Stars!

ABOUT THE BOOK -

When we hear snowy day we imagine sledding, snow angels, and hot chocolate. Siena, who lives in Ottawa, also thinks of dance!

Why? Because, when the snow comes down the plows show up and perform what she calls the Dance of the Snow Tractors.

Join Siena on her porch with a mug of something warm and enjoy the show. You'll never see snow plows quite the same way again. 

Purchase Links

https://www.motherbutterfly.com/authors/

https://www.amazon.com/Dance-Snow-Tractors-Sienas-Stories-ebook/dp/B09DP43F11


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR -

Shannon Wilvers is a Canadian illustrator who loves drawing things on her computer.

While she mostly draws and colors digitally, she also likes to experiment and play with different mediums such as watercolor.

In her spare time, she enjoys learning new things and watching cartoons. She is currently based in New Brunswick where she lives with her dog, Lucy.


MY THOUGHTS -

This is a simple but cute book. Being originally from Upstate NY myself and my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren still live in NY - we can all relate to harsh winters, loads of snow, snowblowing, and plowing! My not quite two year old grandson is obsessed with tractors! When I saw this book I thought of him. He is going to love this when he sees it! And it is simple enough to read to a two year old. My granddaughter is four and I even think she would enjoy this story because it is something she can relate to, SNOW!! 

Here are some pictures of my copy so you get an idea of size and colors etc.


In my opinion this is a good size for a children's book. Not too big and not too small. The tractors are very prominent in the story and pictures, so nice for a boy, and it is about a girl who lives in Ottawa, Canada - so perfect for a girl! The illustrations are cute and colorful and the story is sweet and fun. 

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Rachel's Random Resources -  Thank You!!


I also checked out the "Mother Butterfly" website and it's very nice! Author info, ways to order their books, and even a couple of free e-books! 





10/11/21

The Girl In The Tunnel - Deirdre Palmer

 


3.5 Stars


ABOUT THE BOOK -

London. A January night. Commuters surge into the Underground. Ellen Randall recognises a man standing close to the platform edge: Matt Leyton, her sister Rosanna’s married lover. The man who’s playing a game as old as time. A red-hot flash of uncontrollable anger propels Ellen to his side. The train approaches. Seconds later, Matt has gone.

Carl Teviot is convinced Ellen isn’t a killer, even though he’s only just met her – or rather, found her, huddled in a sleeping bag in an abandoned Tube station: a ghost station. He can’t leave her there, alone, and in danger.

But rescuing her from the tunnel is only the beginning…

Order from Amazon -  - https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Tunnel-Deirdre-Palmer-ebook/dp/B09BZW8GXS/


ABOUTR THE AUTHOR - 

Deirdre lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England. She writes women’s and psychological fiction under her own name, and as Zara Thorne. Becoming an author was a childhood dream, although she didn’t have much of a clue as to what it meant. But fast forward several years – okay, many years – and the dream showed signs of becoming reality. She entered the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition, twice, and came fourth, twice. So there was the incentive to complete her first novel, Remarkable Things, which was published by Crooked Cat and shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award. The Girl in the Tunnel is Deirdre’s 14th book.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deirdre.palmer.735

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DLPalmer_Writer

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3cxx8bE


MY THOUGHTS -

I liked this book, I really did. For me it was a very character driven story, and I liked all the characters. I read the first half in one day and the last half the next day. But.. what kept me reading was the suspense. I had to keep reading to find out what happened. I had to know what all these big secrets were. I felt like something was being held back until the very end. I just knew it was going to be something big.

But I was let down. Sadly I had more questions than answers at the end. I was left feeling unsatisfied.

I still say that I liked the story - but for what it was. It was a strange, unique, story with very quirky characters. I did not like it as a mystery or suspense, because to me it felt unfinished.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Rachel's Random Resources -  Thank You!!