Grace & Serenity - Annalisa Crawford

4.5 STARS!

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—runaway.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and dog. Crawford writes dark contemporary, character-driven stories, with a hint of the paranormal. Over the years, she has won several competitions, and had many short stories published in small press journals and online. Highlights include being placed 3rd in the Costa Short Story Award 2015 and being long listed for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and Bath Short Story Award in 2018.

Purchase Links -

The kind of book you dive right into and don't stop reading until the very end.

This is a "girl down on her luck turned hero" kind of book! Only down on her luck doesn't even start to describe her life. 

Excellent character development. I was living every moment with Grace, and my heart was breaking right along with her. I was sad when she was sad, I was hurting when she was hurting, I was brave when she was brave and I was cheering her on.

An extremely roller coaster type book that will have you on the very tip of your chair.
Well done and beautifully written.

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


Scared To Death - Rachel Amphlett - Audio review


"If you want to see your daughter alive again, listen carefully."
When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.
But Detective Kay Hunter isn't convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.
When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay's worst fears are realized.
With her career in jeopardy - desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay's hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.
For the killer, the game has only just begun....
Scared to Death is the first book in a new crime thriller series featuring Kay Hunter - a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future....
If you like the Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons, Peter Robinson's DCI Banks series and the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza, discover Rachel Amphlett's new detective novels today.

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a film extra and freelanced in radio as a presenter and producer for the BBC.
She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and is a bestselling author of crime fiction and spy thrillers, many of which have been translated worldwide.
Her novels are available in eBook, print, large print and audiobook formats from libraries and worldwide retailers.
A keen traveller, Rachel has both EU and Australian citizenship.
WOW! This was the first book I have rad by this author. I'm sold!  This book was excellent, everything a mystery/thriller should be. I have to admit I wasn't sure I would love it in the beginning. But the story picked up very quickly and I was totally hooked!
Loved the characters, especially Detective Kay Hunter. What a great leading lady/heroine. She was not an easy person to get to know. Her's was a very complex character. But, I felt she was real and once I got to know and understand her - I loved her. I would read more of the series just to read more about her.
The story line was also just as complex. Definitely kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. And, the ending... well I don't want to ruin it for you. But its worth reading the book!
Audio - I thought Alison Campbell did a fantastic job! An audio can go either way for me. I have given low ratings to books just because of the reader. Not so with this one! I thought Alison really "made" the story. 
Can't wait to read the next one!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this audiobook from Jess the Audiobookworm -  Thank You!

Order the audio - HERE
Or the Kindle version - HERE



Here are 2 children's books that could be used as learning tools, for fun, or maybe even homeschooling!

They each are 8 X 10 and have 48 full color pages.

First is - 
Ocean Animals: A Search an find Book for Kids
By Bethanie and Josh Hestermann

Explore a world of ocean animals in this fact-filled search and find
Get everything you could want out of search and find books for kids. Not only is Ocean Animals bursting with search and finds―each with 10 different animals to discover―it’s also filled with fun facts about all kinds of incredible ocean creatures.
From a simple tidepool to the darkest depths of the seas, you won’t have to search far to find (and find out about) some of the ocean’s wildest and most interesting animals. Challenge your knowledge of marine life while learning about different habitats and what you can do to help keep the ocean healthy in one of the best search and find books for kids.
Go beyond other search and find books for kids with:
·       Tons of fun facts―Did you know you’ll never see a picture of a penguin and a polar bear together? Learn why!
·       Adorable artwork―Each page contains 10 wonderfully illustrated animals to discover―some of the most you’ll find in search and find books for kids.
·       Check your work―Can’t find a specific animal? There’s a full answer key in the back of the book.

Of all the search and find books for kids about animals, Ocean Animals really dives deep.

Next up is - 
Zoo Animals: A Search and find Book for Kids
By Bethanie and Josh Hestermann

Explore a world of zoo animals in this fact-filled search and find
Get everything you could want out of search and find books for kids. Not only is Zoo Animals bursting with search and finds―each with 10 different things to discover―it’s also filled with fun facts about all kinds of incredible creatures.
From the deserts of the world to the reptile house, you won’t have to search far to find (and find out about) some of the world’s wildest and most interesting animals. Challenge your knowledge of wildlife while learning about different habitats and what you can do to help keep the world healthy in one of the best word search books for kids.
Go beyond other search and find books for kids with:
  • Tons of fun facts―Did you know that some mammals lay eggs?―find out which ones.
  • Adorable artwork―Each page contains 10 wonderfully illustrated things to discover―some of the most you’ll find in search and find books for kids.
  • Check your work―Can’t find a specific animal? There’s a full answer key in the back of the book.
Of all the search and find books for kids about animals, Zoo Animals really roars!

Both of these books are jammed packed with pictures and information of all kinds of animals. While your kids are trying to find all the animals they can also read about them and learn at the same time.
Did you know that giraffes only sleep for a few minutes at a time, less than half an hour each day!
Or that a Dumbo Octopus swims by flapping fins that look like big floppy ears!
Any child, young or older, that loves animals would love these books. 

Here are some pictures of the inside pages -

Order your copies of these books - 
Zoo Animals - HERE
Ocean Animals - HERE

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of these books from Callisto Publisher's Club -  Thank You!!



I have received a bunch of books from this wonderful publishing company. And honestly I have loved every single one of them. I am just so far behind in reviews. So today I am going to do some catching up.

Here are review for 3 children's books that could be used as learning tools, maybe even homeschooling!
They are all fantastic!

The first two books are beginner reading books -

Learn to Read: Sight Words Storybook: 

25 Simple Stories & Activities for Beginner Readers


Watch kids learn 50 of the most common sight words right before your very eyes
Sight words are words without phonetic rules that appear frequently in text―such as “like” and “can.” Getting a head start on recognizing these words can greatly speed up the process of becoming an independent, successful reader. Learn to Read: Sight Words Storybook contains 25 cute stories and fun activities that feature 50 of the most common sight words.
Learn to Read: Sight Words Storybook contains:
  • See, say, repeat―At the end of each story you’ll find two fun activities where your child can practice identifying the words they’ve just read, reinforcing the learning.
  • Seeing is believing―Bright colors and engaging stories are perfect for navigating this new experience as kids learn to read.
  • The right speed―Sight words are introduced in a slow, progressive manner, with each story increasing slightly in difficulty as they learn to read.
Kids will learn to read faster and easier―and have more fun―with this sight words storybook.

A great book to use with your kids and a fun way for them to learn. Twenty-five different stories. All with colorful pictures and easy to learn sight words. At the end of each little story there is a writing page and a game/coloring page. LOVE! 

Learn to Read: Phonics Storybook: 

25 Simple Stories & Activities for Beginner Readers

25 Illustrated stories that feed a kid’s need to read―with phonics
Phonics is a technique that relates specific sounds with letters, or groups of letters, in the alphabet. It’s an important skill to master as a new reader. Learn to Read: A Phonics Storybook contains 25 cute stories and fun activities that feature the common phonetic patterns your child will need to know to become a confident reader.
Learn to Read: A Phonics Storybook contains:
  • See, say, repeat―At the end of each story you’ll find two fun activities where your child can practice identifying the words they’ve just read.
  • The right speed―Phonics skills are introduced in a slow, progressive manner―according to how they are taught in schools―and with each story increasing in difficulty.
  • Seeing is believing―Bright colors and engaging stories are perfect for anyone who wants to learn to read.
Kids will learn to read faster, easier, and smarter with this wonderful phonics storybook.

25 really cute short stories to help your child learn to read. Kids learn by doing. I am sure that most children will learn to read these stories in no time! Cute pictures and a writing practice page and game/coloring page to go with each story.

I highly recommend both these books, especially if you are homeschooling right now.
To order from amazon click on the book title.


The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids: 500 Wild Facts!

Are you a budding zookeeper or veterinarian, or are you just WILD about animals? Everything that animal books for kids ages 9-12 should be, The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids is packed with colorful photos and 500 ferocious facts about creatures from all over the world.
Unlike other animal books for kids ages 9-12, all the super cool facts inside are organized by type of animal, so you can quickly find the critters you want to study.
Animal books for kids ages 9-12 should be fun and educational. In this one, you’ll learn super cool facts like:
  • Snow leopards keep themselves warm by wrapping their tails around their bodies like scarves.
  • Fireflies use their lights to talk to each other.
  • Immortal jellyfish can live forever. They grow to adulthood and then shrink back to babies, over and over again.
Look no further for fun and colorful animal books for kids ages 9-12―this one has you covered.

Well this book is just wonderful. Very beautiful with tons of bright pictures of animals on every page. Lots of information about the animals , just super fun to look at and read! A nice size book too. Its a square 8 X 8 book with 200 pages! 
I think this one could be used either for fun or as a teaching tool and for homeschooling!

To order from Amazon click on book title.

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of these books from Callisto Publisher's Club -  Thank You!!


The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky - GIVEAWAY!

on Tour May 1-31, 2020

The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky

5 Stars!

Martin Barlow was Clare Carlson’s first newspaper editor, a beloved mentor who inspired her career as a journalist. But, since retiring from his newspaper job, he had become a kind of pathetic figure—railing on about conspiracies, cover-ups, and other imaginary stories he was still working on. Clare had been too busy with her own career to pay much attention to him. When Martin Barlow is killed on the street one night during an apparent mugging attempt gone bad, it seems like he was just an old man whose time had come. But Clare—initially out of a sense of guilt for ignoring her old friend and then because of her own journalistic instincts—begins looking into his last story idea. As she digs deeper and deeper into his secret files, she uncovers shocking evidence of a serial killer worse than Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, or any of the other infamous names in history. This really is the biggest story of Martin Barlow’s career—and Clare’s, too—as she uncovers the path leading to the decades-long killer of at least twenty young women. All is not as it seems during Clare’s relentless search for this serial killer. Is she setting herself up to be his next victim?

Purchase Links:

Read an excerpt:


I was sitting in my office at Channel 10 News, drinking black coffee and skimming through the morning papers when I saw the article about Marty Barlow.
It was a brief item about the murder of a man on an East Side New York City street. It identified the victim as Martin Barlow. It also said that Barlow was a retired journalist. It did not say Barlow was the first—and probably the best—newspaper editor I ever had.
The police reported that he'd died from a blow to the head. Apparently, from a solid object, although the object itself was never found. Cops first assumed it had been a mugging, but later backed off that a bit because his wallet wasn't taken. Instead, it just seemed—at least on the face of it—to be one of those crazy, senseless crimes that happen too often in New York City.
The article never mentioned Marty’s age—he refused to ever tell it to anyone—but I figured he must be well up in his sixties by now. He was a frail-looking man. He had disheveled white hair, pasty-looking skin and he couldn't have weighed more than 150 pounds. He always wore the same old wrinkled suit that looked like it had last been cleaned during the Reagan administration.
But more than twenty years ago, when I was starting out at a newspaper in New Jersey, Marty Barlow had helped me become the journalist that I am today. He was my editor, my mentor and my friend.
Barlow was a grizzled old veteran even back then, and I soaked up every bit of knowledge and wisdom I could from him. He taught me how to cover police stories, political scandals, and human-interest features. “Never turn down an animal story,” was one of his mantras. “People love animal stories!” But mostly, he taught me what a noble calling it was to be a newspaper reporter—and about all the integrity and responsibility that went with it. His favorite quotation was from an old Humphrey Bogart movie where Bogey played a managing editor talking about the job of being a newspaper reporter: “It may not be the oldest profession, but it's the best."
I moved on eventually to a bigger newspaper job in New York City where I had a career filled with pretty spectacular moments. I won a Pulitzer prize by the time I was thirty, I scored a lot of other big exclusives and front-page stories for the paper, and became a big media star because of all that. Then the newspaper I worked for went out of business, and I moved into TV. After a few false starts there—mostly finding out that I wasn’t very good as an on-air TV reporter—I wound up on the executive side of the business. First as a segment producer, then an assignment editor and now as news director of the whole Channel 10 operation. Along the way, I found the time to get married—and divorced—three different times, too.
Marty had helped me get through the highs and lows in my life—both professional and personal—over the years. He was always there for me. He always supported me and took my side in everything. Well, almost everything. Everything except the marriage stuff. Marty could never understand why I couldn’t make my marriages work. “Why don’t you find one man, the right man, and settle down with him for the rest of your life?” That’s what Marty said he had done with his wife. “It’s not that easy,” I told him. “Sure, it is,” he said. “You make sure your marriage is as important to you as your job in the newsroom. Then the rest will take care of itself.” It was good advice from Marty, even though I didn’t always follow it.
Marty stayed on as editor of the same New Jersey paper where we’d met, doing the job he loved, until he was pushed into retirement a few years ago. At some point after that his wife died, and he came to live with his daughter in Manhattan. Even after he retired though, Marty became very active in local political and community events. He started a website that skewered local politicians and demanded more accountability/public disclosure in New York City government. Then he became a kind of local gadfly—showing up at town hall and council meetings to demand answers from politicians. That was Marty. Still looking for his next big scoop even after he retired.
We'd kept in touch and he was always asking me to meet him for coffee, but I hardly ever got around to it. Or to checking out any of the various news tips and leads he kept sending me. I never could find time for Marty Barlow anymore.
Until that last day when he showed up in my office.
“Hello, Marty, how are you doing?” I said. “Sorry I never got back to you on your calls and emails before. I've been busy covering a bunch of stuff."
"Yeah, probably a big, breaking Justin Bieber news story, huh?" Barlow said, without even attempting to hide the contempt in his voice.
I sighed. Marty Barlow was an old-fashioned journalist who believed the news media should cover serious topics like politics, schools, and government waste the way newspapers had traditionally done in the past. But now newspapers were dying off as people turned to the internet to give them instant news. And TV newscasts, including Channel 10 where I worked, focused even more these days on glitzy celebrity news, viral videos, and all the rest of the gimmicks known online as “traffic bait” in order to increase our all-important ratings and sales. Marty hated that. I wasn't wild about it either, but I had no choice in the rapidly-changing journalistic landscape.
“This time the big story was Kim Kardashian,” I said.
“You're kidding, right?"
“I'm kidding."
“Actually, it was Khloe.”
“My God, what happened to you, Clarissa? The Clarissa Carlson I remember cared passionately about the stories she covered. She wanted to make a difference in the world with her journalism. I miss that woman."
Fake news is what Marty called it. Yes, I know that term has a whole different meaning in today’s political world. But Marty had been using it long before that. For Marty, fake news encompassed pretty much everything on TV news or in newspapers or on news websites today. He didn’t just mean the celebrity news, either. He was contemptuous of the constant traffic reports, weather updates, lottery news, and all the rest of the things I did for a living. He complained that there was hardly any real journalism now. He was right. But the journalistic world had changed dramatically in recent years, even if Marty refused to change with it.
He sat down in a chair in front of my desk.
“So, Clarissa . . .”
“My name is Clare, not Clarissa.”
This was a ritual we had played out many times over the years. Yes, my full name is Clarissa Carlson, but I always use Clare. Have ever since I was a kid and decided how much I hated being called Clarissa. Everyone knew that. Friends, family, co-workers, even my ex-husbands never called me anything but Clare. Except for Marty. He insisted on calling me Clarissa. I never understood exactly why, but it had gone on for so long between us that it didn’t seem worth bothering to ask anymore.
I figured he wasn’t here for a social visit. That he came because he needed my help. Some big scoop he thought he was going to break, even though his days of breaking big scoops had long past. Marty always got very intense when he was working on a story, and this time he seemed even more intense than usual. I asked him what was going on.
“I’m working on a big story,” he said. “The biggest story of my life. And it’s all because I started taking a good look at one person.”

I nodded and tried to think of an appropriate response.
“Who?” I asked.
It was the best I could come up with.
“Terri Hartwell.”
“Yes, the Manhattan District Attorney.”
I nodded again. Terri Hartwell was the darling of the New York City media and political world at the moment. She’d been a top-rated radio talk show host in New York for a number of years before she ran for the District Attorney’s job—and surprised political experts by unseating the incumbent. Since then, she’d aggressively gone after crime, corruption and all sorts of entrenched special interests in the city. Which made her a lot of enemies, but also made her popular with the voters. She was even being touted now as a potential candidate for Mayor.
“I started out thinking this was a story about building corruption. Illegal payoffs to politicians and authorities by wealthy New York City landlords. But now it’s bigger than that. Much bigger. There’s murder involved too.”
“More than one murder. Maybe lots of them.”
I nodded again. Pretty soon I was going to have to stop nodding and ask more than one-word questions.
“Who is being murdered? And what does any of this have to do with Terri Hartwell?”
Now I was rolling.
“I can’t tell you any more details. Not yet. I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. But this is a sensational story. More sensational than any story I’ve ever covered. And I have to stop whatever is happening before it’s too late!”
Marty was getting really agitated now, pounding on my desk for emphasis.

A lock of white hair had fallen over his forehead and his eyes were blazing. He frankly looked insane.
“Who’s your source on all this, Marty?” I asked.
“I can’t tell you my source, Clarissa. You know that.”
“Is it a good source?”
“All of my sources are good!” he thundered at me.
He was right about that. All of Marty’s sources were good. Or at least they always had been in the past. But I wasn’t so sure how much I could trust them—or Marty himself—at this point. I didn’t think he was lying. Not intentionally anyway. Marty never lied to anyone, most of all to me. But I did suspect his desperation to get back into journalism in some meaningful way—to prove he wasn’t finished in the news business, no matter how much it had passed him by in recent years—had distorted his judgement and his connections with . . . well, reality.
“Will you help me? Give me a few days to get all the details together, and then I’ll tell you everything. You’re the head of a big news operation now. You have resources I don’t at your disposal. Maybe we could work on this story together. You and me, Clarissa. Just like the old days.”
Mostly because I didn’t know what else to do, I told Marty I’d get back to him about it. I told him we’d get together for coffee—like he’d asked me to do so many times—to go over the details of his story and maybe reminisce a bit about old times too. I told Marty I’d call him the next week and we’d meet up at the Sunrise Coffee Shop on the Upper East Side, which was his favorite place.
Except I never did meet Marty Barlow at the Sunrise Coffee Shop the next week.
Or any time after that.
I never got around to calling him back.
I thought about all that again now as I read the article about Marty Barlow’s death. “Maybe we could work on this story together,” Marty had said. “You and me, Clarissa. Just like the old days.” I didn’t have the heart to tell Marty those days were long over.
My boss was Jack Faron, the executive producer for the Channel 10 News. I went to see him now.
“Problem?” he asked when I walked in the door of his office.
“What makes you think I have a problem?”
“Because you never come to see me this early in the morning unless it’s about a problem.”
“My God, whatever happened to the simple courtesy of saying good morning to the people you work with? What is wrong with us as a society, Jack? Have we lost all civility in this day and age? Why can’t you greet me one time with a cheerful: ‘Good morning, Clare. How are you today?’”
“Good morning, Clare,” Faron said. “How are you today?”
“Actually, I have a problem.”
I showed him the short newspaper article about the death of Marty Barlow and told him about my relationship with Barlow.
“What do you think about us doing something on the news tonight about his murder?” I asked. “I feel like I owe him at least that much.”
Faron made a face. “Not our kind of story, Clare. There’s no celebrity or sensational angle, no pizzazz, no ratings of any kind there for us. I’m sorry your friend got killed. I understand he meant a lot to you. But that doesn’t meet the criteria for getting a story about him on our newscast. You already knew that before you even came in here, didn’t you?”
I did. I was feeling guilty because I’d let Marty down at the end. And I didn’t need another thing to feel guilty about right now. Marty was like family to me. And I had no other family. Well, I did, but that was the other thing I was feeling so guilty about. I’ve screwed up a lot of things in my life.
“Kind of ironic, isn’t it?” I said. “A guy like Marty devotes his life to the news business. And now, when he dies, he doesn’t even rate a meaningful goodbye in what the news business has become today. It makes me sad. And yes, guilty, too, that I couldn’t do more for him, after everything he did for me.”
“He was an old man,” Faron said. “He died. There’s no story there.”
Excerpt from The Last Scoop by R.G. Belsky. Copyright 2020 by R.G. Belsky. Reproduced with permission from R.G. Belsky. All rights reserved.

R.G. Belsky
R. G. Belsky is an author of crime fiction and a journalist in New York City. His newest mystery, Below The Fold, was published in May 2019 by Oceanview. It is the second in a series featuring Clare Carlson, the news director for a New York City TV station. The first Clare Carlson book, YESTERDAY'S NEWS, came out in 2018. It won the David Award at Deadly Ink for Best Mystery of 2018. Belsky previously wrote the Gil Malloy series – THE KENNEDY CONNECTION, SHOOTING FOR THE STARS AND BLONDE ICE – about a newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News. Belsky himself is a former managing editor at the Daily News and writes about the media from an extensive background in newspapers, magazines and TV/digital news. He has also been a top editor at the New York Post, Star magazine and NBC News. Belsky won the Claymore Award at Killer Nashville in 2016. He has finished several times as a Finalist for both the Silver Falchion and David Awards. YESTERDAY'S NEWS, was also named Outstanding Crime/News Based Novel by Just Reviews in 2018 and was a Finalist for Best Mystery of 2018 in the Foreword INDIES Awards. His previous suspense/thriller novels include LOVERBOY and PLAYING DEAD. Belsky lives in New York City.

Catch Up With R.G. Belsky On:

RGBelsky.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

Fantastic book!
That's it, 'nough said, review done! LOL I have only read a few books by this author and every one of them was a 5 star!

There is something about this author's writing style. First, he sucks you in, then he makes you feel right at home, then he confuses the heck out of you with all the twisty suspense, then he ties it all up in a perfect, but shocking ending. This story is so easy to get into. I was hooked on the first page.

I loved the characters. Excellent character development. Sometimes you don't really care for the main character and that's ok, but in this series I do! I really like her. I love her persistence, not willing to let it go, not wanting to give up. that's why Clare always gets to the bottom of the story. I really feel that if Clare were a real person living next door, she and I would be friends. This is something I do a lot LOL.

This is a series you will definitely want to read, but... this book can also be read as a stand alone (Personally I think this is the best one of the series, but they were all good!) It's been a while since I read the last one so I didn't remember much and I thought it was very easy to understand and get "into". But, like I said, that's thanks to the author's wonderful writing style!

When ever I see one of his books up for review I jump on it! Can't wait to see what he has coming up next.

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

Tour Participants:

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

Enter the Giveaway!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.G. Belsky. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through June 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.
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