Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bargain Seasonal Novel for Kindle: Mistletoe, Marriage & Mayhem: A Bluestocking Belles Collection

In this collection of novellas, the Bluestocking Belles bring you seven runaway Regency brides resisting and romancing their holiday heroes under the mistletoe. Whether scampering away or dashing toward their destinies, avoiding a rogue or chasing after a scoundrel, these ladies and their gentlemen leave miles of mayhem behind them on the slippery road to a happy-ever-after.

***All proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.***

All She Wants for Christmas, by Amy Rose Bennett
A frosty bluestocking and a hot-blooded rake. A stolen kiss and a Yuletide wedding. Sparks fly, but will hearts melt this Christmas?

The Ultimate Escape, by Susana Ellis
Abandoned on his wedding day, Oliver must choose between losing his bride forever or crossing over two hundred years to find her and win her back.

Under the Mistletoe, by Sherry Ewing
Margaret Templeton will settle for Captain Morledge’s hand in marriage, until she sees the man she once loved. Who will win her heart at the Christmas party of her would-be betrothed?

‘Tis Her Season, by Mariana Gabrielle
Charlotte Amberly returns a Christmas gift from her intended—the ring—then hares off to London to take husband-hunting into her own hands. Will she let herself be caught?

Gingerbread Bride, by Jude Knight
Traveling with her father's fleet has not prepared Mary Pritchard for London. When she strikes out on her own, she finds adventure, trouble, and her girlhood hero, riding once more to her rescue.

A Dangerous Nativity, by Caroline Warfield
With Christmas coming, can the Earl of Chadbourn repair his widowed sister’s damaged estate, and far more damaged family? Dare he hope for love in the bargain?

Joy to the World, by Nicole Zoltack
Eliza Berkeley discovers she is marrying the wrong man—on her wedding day. When the real duke turns up instead, will her chance at marital bliss be spoiled?

File Size: 1767 KB
Print Length: 400 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: The Bluestocking Belles (November 1, 2015)
Publication Date: November 1, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B014OI7M54

Purchase here for only 99 cents!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Coming Soon!: Strange Markings by Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

The Pacific breezes blow many things in from the ocean, this time its power, greed, and murder. At the dawn of the television age in 1955, Skylar Drake is called to identify the remains of a fellow movie stuntman found buried in a shallow grave. While there he is shown mysterious wounds and strange tattoos on two additional bodies.

A wealthy Bel Air matron sends her enticing niece to enlist Drake’s help in locating a missing nephew. The search takes him back to pre-statehood Hawaii where he stopped off on his way to the hell of the Korean War. Unexplained deaths, politics and superstitious locals turn the tropical paradise into a nightmare where nothing is what it seems and no one can be trusted.

Read an excerpt!

The two men looked directly at me. “I’m Drake. Can I help you?”
Dolan stood right behind me.
“I’m Agent Miller, this is Agent Tanner.” They flashed their badges, “We want to talk to you Mr. Drake.” Miller looked past me and frowned at Dolan.
“I’ll just wait out...” Casey moved toward the door.
I put my hand on Casey’s shoulder. ”This is my partner Casey Dolan, anything you have to say to me you can say to him.”
They shrugged and stepped inside. “Let’s go in your office.” I showed them inside, as sweltering as it was.
Miller put his hat on top of the file cabinet. Tanner kept his on.
“We are investigating the disappearance of a Mr. Ted Stone. You're a known associate of his. Is this true?”
“Sure, I know Teddy. We worked on a few films together.” I sat back in my chair while Casey stood by the door, “His sister Florence and I used to do stunts for Prestigious Studios a while back. Teddy started about a year later... you say he’s missing?”
“His sister reported him missing a year ago. Our records show you were one of the last people to see him before he disappeared.”
“You said a year ago?” I thought for a moment, “Yeah, that sounds about right. It was a war movie. There was a battle scene and we had to fall out some windows and off a moving truck like we’d been shot, y’know. This was before...” I stopped myself. They didn’t need to know about my law suit with the studio brass.
“Before what?” Agent Tanner asked.
“Before my last stunt gig with Flo.”
“And the victim?”
“Victim? I thought you said he was missing.”
“Just tell us about your last job.”
“Well, Teddy and I shared a dressing room. It was about midnight when we finished the night scenes. After we changed and dropped our costumes off at wardrobe, we left for breakfast. That was about two in the morning. I took the bus home, and I guess he drove. I never saw him again after that. Flo and I did a shoot at the studio the following month. She told me she was going to Washington to get married. That was that.”
The two agents took notes on everything I said.
Casey spoke up, “Do you mind if I ask what prompted this recent investigation?”
Miller put his pencil in his ear, “We found a man’s remains in the Arizona desert. Our medical people said he was buried for about a year, so we only have bones, clothes, few personal items and his wallet. There was nothing in it except for his SAG membership card.” He paused, “The Union said you worked with him. We found you in the phone book.”
Agent Tanner pulled a cellophane envelope out of his pocket containing the card. There was Teddy, staring back at me. “Yes, that’s Teddy and that is what he looks like.” I showed it to Casey. He took a look and handed it back to Tanner.
“We’re unable to locate his sister, do you know her married name?”
I thought hard, “I don’t believe she told me. No. She never mentioned it. Flo just said she was leaving the business to get married and move to Washington.”
“The remains are at the LA County Coroner’s office. Since we can’t locate next of kin, we’d like you to stop by and ID what you can.”
I looked at Dolan. “What do you think?” He nodded.
We met them at the Coroner’s office and waited for the Medical Examiner to get back from lunch. Casey called the hospital, Bev had gone home. He called his house, no answer. “I’m not worried,” he said. His eyes said otherwise.
I hadn’t been down here in a long time. Yep, the same frigid air, smell of alcohol and bleach have never left my mind. The door swung open and Dr. Harold Logue came in wiping his mouth with a paper towel. I remember he always ate at the most inopportune times, “Hey Drake and Dolan, LAPD’s two best detectives. Nice to see both of you.” Logue was an old timer. We worked a lot of cases with him. He put his arms on our shoulders, “Sure miss working with you two geniuses. I could never figure out how you caught all the bad guys. These youngsters they got in here now are...” He stopped when he saw the young FBI agents standing by the wall. “Oops, sorry. No offense,” and shook their hands.
Agent Miller kept hold of Dr. Logue’s hand and said, ”We're here to see the remains of Ted Stone.”
“Yes sure, come this way,” Logue said.
He had the bones laid out on the table, a complete skeleton. How was I suppose to ID the remains of Teddy from this?
“I don’t know if this will help you,” Agent Tanner said, “but here are the clothes we found, his accessories and wallet.”
The clothes looked like his. I knew him as a rather classy dresser when he wasn’t working.
“We found a hundred dollar bill hidden in the wallet.” Miller remarked
“You can’t trace the bill?”
He shook his head, “We tried, nothing.”
I knew Teddy well enough to know he didn’t carry so much cash around. “He was a Las Vegas hound. We’d get paid. He’d go to Vegas and blow the wad, all of it - then come back broke. He was a real gambler and big with the ladies. I’m not surprised he had that much cash, but he seldom carried it around. He either banked it or lost it.”
“And the clothes?” Agent Miller lifted his pencil from his notepad to point at the clothing spread on a different table. Dolan and I spent time looking at what they found. “Shirt, tie, suit, vest, socks, pants. It was all there.”
“What about these?” Tanner asked.
On the counter was an assortment of gaudy men’s rings, a tie bar, gold cuff links, bracelets and a watch. We knew not to touch them. It looked like his stuff, but something didn’t seem right. I took another look at the clothes and jewels, but couldn’t put my finger on it.
I straightened up, “Seems like his stuff. It’s been a while.”
“How do you think he died?” Dolan asked Logue.
“You knew him Mr. Dolan?” Miller asked.
Casey crossed his arms and shook his head, “No, we never met.”
Dr. Logue picked up the skull. “Looks like he was hit in the head with a dull object. There are also a number of fractured ribs. I think he was beaten before being bludgeoned.
“Sorry Drake,” Agent Tanner said, “but we have to ask, where were you last summer?”
Wait a second, did they think I had something to do with Teddy’s disappearance?
“You’ll have to be more specific,” Dolan said. “Part of the summer both of us were on a special assignment in Santa Rosa in conjunction with the LAPD and Santa Rosa PD.”
Miller looked up from his pad, “This can be verified?”
Most of the people who could verify our presence in Santa Rosa are in witness protection, prison or dead. “Olivia Jahns out of the San Francisco bureau can vouch for our work in Santa Rosa.
“Yes, we know her. Great agent.” Tanner replied, “We’ll check on that.”
Miller and Tanner were already in the hallway when a light bulb went on in my brain, “Wait, I need to check something again.”
I went back inside with the other three in tow and looked at the clothes. “These are not Ted’s clothes. He never would have worn these.”
“How do you know?” Miller looked at his watch.
“Ted Stone never wore such a plain business suit. He wore tweed or pin stripes. never plain Jane stuff like this. And look. That’s a white shirt, Ted was a blue or gray shirt guy.” I moved to the counter and put on a pair of rubber gloves to pick up the cuff links. “Are these real rubies?”
Tanner shook his head, “No.”
“What about the other stones?”
“Nope and the tie tack and bracelets are all cheap gold plate.”
I tossed the cuff links onto the counter, “This isn’t Teddy. He wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this crap. Only the real McCoy for him. He had a reputation in Vegas. He needed them for insurance when he ran out of folding money.”
Tanner and Miller scribbled some more notes as I referred them to the jeweler in Pasadena that Teddy used.
“Could he have hit a rough patch and substituted fakes after pawning the real jewels?”
“No, never. At least not a year ago. Last time I saw him he was loaded with cash.”
“Well,” Tanner asked, “Who the hell is this guy?”

I hated to leave the cool, dead quiet of the Coroner’s office but Casey and I were starving. We headed for lunch
The front doors were wide open when we arrived at Clifton’s Cafeteria. It looked like their air conditioner wasn’t working either. It was miserably hot, but we were hungry.
We got our food and sat quietly sweating for some time. “So where is Ted Stone?” Dolan asked. “and who’s the poor unfortunate fella on the table back there?”
“Maybe Teddy owed gambling debts. He could’ve skipped town and left a dead body for the gangsters to find in his place.” I swallowed half my glass of ice tea, “Well, whoever that was, doesn’t concern me or my business.”
Casey glared, “I do hope you’ll be more concerned about me if I ever go missing.” and took a big bite of his corned beef sandwich.


When they met it was murder... like a real Hart to Hart. Authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn and her husband Will Zeilinger just released the second novel in the Skylar Drake Mystery series, Strange Markings, a Noir mystery set in 1950's. They have been writing separately for over a decade and have two more Skylar Drake Mysteries in the works.

Contact information:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Musing Mondays - November 23

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

Thanksgiving is almost here, so I've decided after a year of working tremendously hard to grow my real estate business, it is time for a break. Though I have a couple of things to wrap up, for the most part I plan to stick around the homestead and focus on what I love to do: cook, decorate (I'm not really good at it), and read. 

So, why do I read? Like I can imagine many book lovers saying, reading is my favorite pastime. I rarely watch TV, so when I have time to myself I am either reading or writing. Though I stick mostly to genres I've enjoyed for decades, I'm not opposed to reaching outside of my comfort zone to read other genres. Right now, my office is covered in books I've yet to read--some of which I will save and others of which will be donated afterwards. 

My love of reading is something I am truly thankful for this time of year. 

Do you remember the book that first grabbed you and turned you into a lifelong reader? I wish I could, but the only books from my childhood I recall are The Poky Little Puppy and The Little Engine That Could. My Nancy Drew books were probably the first ones I can identify as creating in me an urge to keep moving book to book through a series.

Here's looking forward to many more years of reading for all of us.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pre-order Now: The Violinist of Venice by Alyssa Palombo

Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d'Amato adores music-except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family's palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

Adriana's father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice's patrician class-and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters-but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana's marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice-and of Adriana's own choices-will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana's life, Alyssa Palombo's The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.

ALYSSA PALOMBO has published short historical fiction pieces in Black Lantern, Novelletum, and The Great Lakes Review. She is a recent a graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively, as well as a trained classical musician. The Violinist of Venice is her first novel. She lives in Tonawanda, New York. Visit the author online at

Pre-order at...

Barnes and Noble

Monday, November 16, 2015

Musing Mondays - November 16 (Taken Away Review)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Will post it when it's up.

Hard to believe we are halfway through November. Time sure is flying.

This has been a tough blogging year for me. I truly haven't read as much as I would have liked and I'm really missing it. My hope is that 2016 is a bit slower. I'm pulling back a bit on my volunteering so that I don't feel like I am rushing around so much.

Last week I:
  • Shared new book arrivals here.
  • Reviewed a book here.
  • Made a couple of updates to my Laura Ingalls Wilder/Little House blog here.
  • Posted a book spotlight here.
And now, here's one of the overdue reviews that needed to be written.

A riveting, emotional story can be found in Taken Away by Patricia Yager Delagrange.

When Jessee Bradford, a respected veterinarian, comes home to find his wife and infant daughter missing, he's not sure what to think. Did someone kidnap Serena and Sofia? Did they just disappear?

After months of fruitless searching, Jessee relocates to his grandparents' home in Iowa to take over his grandfather's veterinary practice. Here he meets Laura, an equestrian. Laura has a sad story all her own, but she opens up to Jessee and they fall in love.

Their romance is suddenly up in the air when Jessee sees a painting at a gallery opening by an artist known only as She that reminds him of Serena's work. He knows he must find out is Serena and Sofia are still alive if he and Laura are every going to be truly happy.

If there were ever a book that is filled with emotions, this one is it. We meet Jessee and Serena in college, but things swiftly move to their courtship and marriage. The reader is drawn into what they think will be a wonderful romance, but suddenly, Serena and Sofia are gone and Jessee is left to pick up what is left of his life. He rebuilds his life--though hoping one day he will learn what happened to his wife and daughter--all to have his life totally turned upside down again by falling in love and then thinking he might have found Serena.

What the author did so well here is make Jessee, Laura, and the other characters so realistic. I have to say that some characters did not attract sympathy at all, which is fine. While not necessarily a unique plot, the author made this idea her own by the elements she put into it. The sub-stories that ran alongside Jessee's added a great deal of depth to the book.

As a mom, one part of the ending didn't satisfy me (I can't share more without giving away too much), but the lover of romance in me definitely thought the ending was superb. I will be sure to check out more of Delagrange's novels.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 31, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1508660433
ISBN-13: 978-1508660439

I received a free digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

I reviewed this book for the following challenge:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Musing Mondays - November 9

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you review books? If so, who do you review for? If not, was it by choice? Why?

Readers of this blog will know the answer to this week's question: I definitely review books. While I have to admit that was never my intention when I started blogging, I quickly learned that reviewing books is fun and has helped me discover authors I might never have heard about otherwise.

In the early days of Pump Up Your Book, I began hosting their authors. That's how I got into reviewing books. Then I realized how much I enjoyed it. Eight years later, I am still here. I guess when I make it to ten years I will have to throw a huge blogiversary party.

Do you review books at your blog? How long have you been blogging? What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a blogger?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Book Review: Redemption by Becky Johnson

Charlotte Marshall's life changed when she uncovered a serial killer and barely escaped with her life. With Lawrence Pheares dead, she's ready to sit down and draft a new book and get back to her successful career. But when her beloved car is bombed, she realizes she has become the target of an elusive killer with dark secrets who is hell-bent on revenge. Everything she holds dear is at risk and time is running out.

Redemption is the third book in Becky Johnson's Charlotte Marshall Mystery series. While I didn't read the previous books, I never felt lost in this action-packed, intriguing novel where the villain has made it her sole mission to destroy Charlotte one step at a time.

A strong plot, well-defined characters, and a hint of romance swirl through the pages of this dangerous cat-and-mouse mystery.

The only thing I can say I didn't care for is the mixed points-of-view. Told mostly in first person, there are short scenes told in third person where Charlotte is not present to provide the reader a glimpse into the villain's life and motivations. While in some novels this works well, here I just didn't feel it was necessary. Yes, perhaps it made the villain a bit more sympathetic or hated--depending upon the scene--but overall I felt some of this information could have been uncovered through the course of the investigation and would have given Jack--the FBI agent involved in the case--the full importance in the story that he deserved.

I'm planning to pick up the first two books in the Charlotte Marshall Mystery series soon. That way I can get Charlotte's story from the beginning and eagerly anticipate the next installment. Becky Johnson is definitely an author who is being added to my "To Be Read" list.

Publisher:CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:07/05/2015

Purchase at: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

I read this book for the following challenge: