Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Book Blast and Giveaway: Prodigal Son by Lisa Beth Darling

In the final installment of the Sister Christian Series, the Court has demanded a hearing regarding Hannah’s capacity. Hannah and Nick are falling deeper and deeper in love. Looking forward to a bright future together they begin planning their life together. A shadowy stranger from the past has set his sights on Hannah and her 3.5 million dollar trust fund. Is he really Rick MacNeill, the son Hannah thought died in the terrible fire at Saint Anne’s? Is he someone sinister? The last of the family secrets come to light in roller coaster ride of suspense, love, betrayal, and faith.


Grabbing a second piece of pizza and again settling into the comfortable chair Mason answered, “I’m not bi-polar I’m just a temperamental geni—” the pizza fell from Mason’s hand to the paper plate.

Nick felt movement and thought Aphrodite was going after the food again but when he moved his hand to shoo her away Mason grabbed his wrist to stop him. His eyes shifted upward to meet Mason’s gaze and saw him raise a finger to his lips before he pointed to the bed. Nick looked down to see it wasn’t Aphrodite moving on the bed it was Hannah’s fingers and they were going for the pizza sitting on the flat of his stomach. Nick’s mouth opened and Mason’s grip tightened to silence him. Both of them sat frozen watching Hannah’s slow hand make its way toward the cooling slice of cheese and pepperoni. In their current positions only Mason could see Hannah’s face, her eyes looked a little clearer but her expression was still blank until her fingertips touched upon a slightly burnt slice of pepperoni.

Hannah snatched the pepperoni from the top of the pizza along with a gooey strand of melted mozzarella and popped it into her mouth like a thief in the night making off with someone’s family jewels. A splash of tomato sauce burst off it as she chomped down nearly biting her fingertip. It stuck on the corner of her mouth with a strand of cheese clinging to it.

Even though he was slightly awestruck, Mason had enough experience with family members to anticipate Jackson’s next move even before he thought of making it. He wrestled the man’s arm to the mattress to keep him from jumping up and shouting out something that would startle her. “Not a sound,” Mason whispered. “Don’t move.”

Purchase Links:

Kindle/Amazon (paperbacks available on Amazon)




Lisa Beth Darling is 49 years-old, lives in her hometown of New London, CT with her husband of 30 years, Roy and is mother to their two daughters. She is the author of more than fifteen novels along with several short stories and non-fiction books. When she’s not writing she likes to garden and is an avid movie buff.

Author web links:



Twitter: @lb_darling



Lisa is giving away 3 e-copies of Prodigal Son (winner's choice of .mobi or .epub formats). 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Musing Mondays - Aug 29

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme now hosted at Jenn's blog Books And A Beat 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: Which book do you wish you’d written, yourself?

It is Monday again. I have an early morning meeting, so I figured I would get this typed up early.

Which book do I wish I'd written myself? There are a few.

Anne of Green Gables introduces readers to the red-headed orphan named Anne Shirley. Think of all the fun I could have had traveling around Prince Edward Island to make sure the setting was portrayed correctly. This remains one of my favorite series. 

On the bookshelf in my office is this exact 1970s version of Little House in the Big Woods. I wish I had Wilder's keen eye for detail. Whenever I am seeking inspiration, I turn to one of my Little House books.

It took me a while to discover the Left Behind series, but once I did I was hooked. It was so tough to wait for the next book to come out. When it did, I would devour it within days. I'm still a fan of Jerry B. Jenkins. 

What are some books you wish you could have written? 

Book Spotlight: The Veritas Deception by Lynne Constantine

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Proverbs 14:21

Days after U.S. Senator Malcolm Phillips changes his vote on a bill he sponsored, he is murdered and his death disguised as an accident. He contacted one man before he died: investigative journalist, Jack Logan. He left Jack a single clue to help him uncover the truth and keep Phillip’s widow, Taylor, safe. But safe from whom?

Jack and Taylor’s desperate hunt leads them to a vast network of corrupt authority controlling everything from social media and television programming to law enforcement and US legislation. The key to unraveling a complex web of lies is a set of ancient relics, dating back to the time of Christ. But what do these relics have to do with a senator’s death?

Allies turn to foes when Jack and Taylor discover that those closest to them are part of the conspiracy, and that they too have been manipulated. How long has a puppet master been pulling their strings—and will Jack and Taylor trust the right people long enough to win what becomes a colossal battle for souls?

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Sailor Dance Publishing
Publication Date: August 2016
Number of Pages: 382
ISBN: 0997694211 (ISBN13: 9780997694215)


Chapter One
Jack Logan had ditched his Catholic upbringing but kept the guilt. He hadn’t planned on blowing his entire afternoon listening to the woman he was interviewing talk about her dead daughter, but he didn’t have the heart to tell the grieving mother that he already had enough for the story. So instead, he bought her lunch and dinner, listening as she painted a picture of the girl she had loved and had failed to save. Now he was behind schedule and would have to work all night. Man, he hated the pieces involving kids. The parents got to him every time, and his attempts at comforting them were as effective as a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.
His phone was ringing as he approached the door to his apartment, and he jammed the key in the lock. Pushing the door open, he rushed over and snatched it, upsetting the bottle of Bass Ale and spilling the dregs on the table.
“Great.” He clicked the green button. “Yes?”
“Could you sound any more annoyed?” It was his editor.
“Sorry, Max. What’s up?” He sunk into the worn leather sofa and ran a hand through his hair.
“Tried your cell. Went right to voice mail.”
“I was interviewing one of the mothers.”
The sound of papers rustling came over the phone. “You already did your piece on the decision. What’s the angle on the follow-up?”
“The fall out, the casualties left in the wake of the decision to let the show go on.”
A sharp intake of breath. “You’re not saying they should have censored it?”
“No, no. Of course not. But their voices deserve to be heard.” This had been a particularly difficult assignment for him. He wasn’t much of a television watcher, but when the class action suit involving the production company behind Teenage Wasted reached the Supreme Court, he’d tuned in. At first it looked just like another of the ubiquitous reality shows jamming the airwaves—an eclectic group of teenagers allowing the cameras behind the scenes into their world. Within the first five minutes of the show, Jack had sat open-mouthed while a young man retrieved paraphernalia from under his bed, pulled up a porn site on his computer, and began doing what your average adolescent boy did behind closed doors. Cheap shock value but not much in the way of entertainment. It wasn’t until he put the noose around his neck that Jack’s shock turned to horror. So that was what erotic asphyxiation looked like up close and personal.
The blogosphere went nuts the following day, and YouTube videos of other kids demonstrating their own secret hobbies began to appear. When kids started turning up dead, that’s when it hit the fan. A class action suit was filed against Omega Inc., the entertainment giant responsible for the new show. The Supreme Court decision had been handed down a few weeks ago, and the parents were still in shock that they’d lost. The show went on—more popular than ever. Omega won under freedom of speech protection, which Jack couldn’t argue with, but still, what they were doing was disgusting—perverting the first amendment for their own profit. He was happy to do his part to help tarnish their reputation.
“All right, email it when you’re finished. You still coming tonight?” Max asked.
Jack grimaced. Sally Goldman’s retirement party. He had forgotten.
“Wish I could, but I’m too jammed up with this.” Sally was a great gal. He was sorry he’d have to miss it. He’d send her some flowers tomorrow.
He’d better get to it. He opened up his laptop and began to organize his notes. He was starving; he’d barely touched his dinner earlier. He picked up the phone to order a pizza when the doorbell rang. He made no move to answer it. Maybe if he ignored it, they’d go away. It rang a second, third, and fourth time. He slammed the phone down, jumped up and strode to the door, ready to tell whoever it was to beat it. The words died on his lips when he opened the door. Probably best not to piss off a United States senator.
From the first time he’d met Senator Malcolm Phillips, something about him struck Jack as off. He couldn’t put his finger on it exactly: the guy’s manners were impeccable, his background impressive. Phillips was perfect. A little too perfect. Everything about him was so well rehearsed that Jack could almost believe there was an invisible teleprompter feeding him his lines. What surprised Jack most was how Phillips’s wife, Taylor, failed to see he was all wrong for her. Of course, he kept this to himself. His opinion didn’t mean anything to Taylor anymore.
He opened the door, and Phillips walked in.
Going no farther than the hallway, he began. “I won’t waste time with pleasantries. I need your help.” His voice shook, and his face was ashen.
“What is it?”
“I scuttled the vote. It was supposed to be a good thing. But he added a gateway. He has to be stopped.”
“Whoa, what’s going on?”
He handed Jack an envelope as he spoke in an uncharacteristically nervous rush. “Take this. You’ll need it to convince Taylor. I didn’t believe it. He told me he would do it. I didn’t believe him but…they’ll kill me.”
This was insane. He hadn’t seen Phillips in years—and now here he was, rambling like a crazy person.
“What are you talking about? Slow down and tell me what’s going on,” Jack said.
“No time. You’re the only one I trust. You’ve got to find Jeremy. Get Taylor to him. They won’t hurt her now, but later…I was so stupid…”
Phillips was pacing now, and sweat had broken out on his forehead.
“Who’s Jeremy? You’re not making any sense,” Jack said.
“Go to Taylor and show it to her.” He pointed to the envelope. “It’s a sealed letter, so she’ll know it’s real. Get Taylor and take her to the cabin.”
How did he know about the cabin?
“I’m the last person Taylor wants to see. She’s not going to go anywhere with me.”
Phillips grabbed his arm.
“They own me. And Brody Hamilton too. You’ll see when they kill me. Then you’ll know.”
“When who kills you?”
Phillips backed away.
“Promise me, you’ll get her to Jeremy.” He handed Jack a remote control. “This will get you into the garage. I’ve taped our address to the bottom.” He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. “Remember, Jack, no matter what it looks like, I’m not suicidal nor prone to accidents.”
He was gone before a flabbergasted Jack could respond.
Jack shut the door, began to walk away, then turned back and engaged the extra deadbolt. His eyes narrowed as he looked around, half expecting a phantom to appear.
What was Phillips talking about? Did someone really want him dead—someone powerful enough to own two senators? His head began to pound, and he leaned forward to massage his temples. What had Phillips done? Maybe he was nuts, early onset dementia. Jack could only hope. And now he expected Jack to play the hero to Taylor? He wouldn’t blame her if she slammed the door in his face.
He would do some digging. Try and make sense of what had just landed in his lap. He threw the envelope on the table, opened his laptop, and set a Google alert for Senator Malcolm Phillips.

Lynne is a twitter addicted fiction writer always working on her next book. She is the coauthor of CIRCLE DANCE, a family saga spanning three generations, that received an endorsement from Olympia Dukakis. She is also a social media consultant and speaker, working with authors to build their brand platforms. Lynne teaches at various workshops and has spoken at the Thrillerfest conference in New York. She is a monthly contributor to SUSPENSE MAGAZINE, and a contributing editor to THE BIG THRILL magazine.


Giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Lynne Constantine. There will be 4 US winners. There will be FOUR (4) different prizes for this tour. Each winner will receive only one prize. The prizes are as noted on the rafflecopter. This is subject to change without notification. The giveaway begins on August 1st and runs through August 30th, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click here to view the 'The Veritas Deception by Lynne Constantine' Tour Participants

Saturday, August 27, 2016

An Amish Market Novella Collection on Sale This Weekend

Graphic from Vannetta Chapman's Facebook page

Love Birds by Amy Clipston

While Ellie Lapp and her mother are still mourning the loss of her brother, Seth, Ellie starts working at one of the gift shops in town. Seth’s friend Lloyd is talented at carving wooden birds, but his father disapproves and expects him to take over the family farm someday. Ellie sees the beauty in Lloyd’s creations and insists Lloyd sell the birds in the gift shop where she works. As Ellie and Lloyd spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, but she accidentally betrays his trust. Will she lose any hope of a future with him?

A Bid for Love by Kathleen Fuller

Every week, Hannah Lynne brings her home-churned butter to the local market. And every week Ezra stops by to purchase some. Hannah Lynne knows not to read too much into it—Ezra is a confirmed bachelor and barely even glances her way, despite any hope to the contrary. But when Ezra bids an exorbitant amount to win the quilt she had her heart set on, Hannah Lynne can’t stop her heart from taking over her mind. Could Ezra finally be in the market for love?

Sweeter Than Honey by Kelly Irvin

Shattering a jar of pickled beets wasn’t the impression Isabella hoped to make on her first trip to the local Combination Store of Bee County, Texas. But as embarrassed as she was by the accident, she didn’t think it warranted the frosty reaction from the handsome manager of the store, Will Glick. As she soon learns, though, Will’s heart has been broken one too many times. And now, for some reason, Isabella finds herself determined to be the one to repair that broken heart and renew his faith in love.

Love in Store by Vannetta Chapman

Stella Schrock works at the Old Mill in Nappanee, Indiana, with new employee David Stoltzfus, a recent widower. When strange happenings begin occurring around town, it appears as if someone wants to close the mill. Stella and David have to work together to solve the mystery of what is happening at the Old Amish Mill, and in the process they might just find that God has more in store for their future than they would ever have dreamed possible.

Purchase at:

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Because of Bethlehe: Love Is Born, Hope Is Here by Max Lucado

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week:

Max Lucado is one of my favorite Christian authors. His book, The Christmas Child, was made into a movie starring William Moses, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Megan Follows. I'm eager to read this new one when it comes out in September.

Max Lucado loves Christmas. Let the sleigh bells ring. Let the carolers sing. The more Santas the merrier. The more trees the better.

He loves it because somewhere someone will ask the Christmas questions: What’s the big deal about the baby in the manger? Who was he? What does his birth have to do with me?

And the answers he’s found give us all hope. God knows what it’s like to be a human. When we talk to him about deadlines or long lines or tough times, he understands. He’s been there. He’s been here. Because of Bethlehem, we have a friend in heaven.

And Christmas begins what Easter celebrates. The child in the cradle became the King on the cross. Because of Bethlehem, we have a Savior in heaven.

These are the heart shaping promises of Christmas. Long after the guests have left and the carolers have gone home and the lights have come down, these promises endure.

Let’s turn on the lamp, curl up in a comfortable spot, and look into the odd, wonderful story of Bethlehem.

Max has found a lifetime of hope. We will too.

Book Review: Is He Cheating? By Lisa Daily

Is your guy stepping out on you? Does he not seem like the person you once knew? If you have your suspicions, it might be time to pick up a copy of Is He Cheating? by Lisa Daily.

Part of Daily's Surviving Infidelity in Marriage series, Is He Cheating? provides tips and advice on how you can discover if your significant other is being unfaithful. The statistics are scary: 85% of women who suspect their partner is cheating are right and 70% of affairs begin at work.

In this useful resource, the author shares the character traits of men more predisposed to cheating, teaches you the signs he's cheating, and shares what tools you can use to help find out and ways to deal with the shame that often comes with being cheated on.

I read this more out of curiosity than concern and, honestly, I would never think to go to some of the lengths suggested in Is He Cheating?...mainly because I am way too cheap to spend any money on gadgets, tests, and private investigators. That said, if you are concerned and want insight into some good ways to learn the truth, Is He Cheating? is a great book.

My favorite part would have to be the letters from other women who are going through the same fears as you are. The author includes her responses, which allows you to see she is a down-to-earth individual seeking to help others. I like her sense of humor too. As a writer, I thought this book could also be used for research purposes if one of your characters is a cheater or one of them is trying to nail a cheater. Sometimes I think outside the box.

At only $4.99 for Kindle right now, you can't really go wrong.

File Size: 423 KB
Print Length: 112 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Siesta Key House; 1 edition (April 24, 2012)
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

The author provided me with a free digital copy of this book 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:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Book Review: Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown

Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown is a fun cozy mystery filled with plenty of twists and turns.

Reagan Summerside has just had to endure a horrible divorce from Hollis Beaumont III. All she has left is the run-down Victorian she's been restoring and a bunch of designer clothes. Needing a job--and money for groceries--she turns the first floor of her home into a consignment shop.

Thanks to her ex-husband's cunning lawyer, Walker Boone, he got everything else, including the Lexus. When Reagan finds Hollis' new blonde bombshell girlfriend dead in the Lexus, she's determined to find the murderer before Boone. Luckily, there are plenty of town gossips visiting her shop that provide helpful information.

I am so kicking myself in the butt for not reading this book sooner. It is superb! I'm such a huge cozy mystery fan, and Duffy Brown has written one that has tons of unique characters, a great plot, and the charm of the South.

The author has set up the potential for a great series. Someone gets killed and the main character gets pulled into the investigation for one reason or another. There seems to be no end to the number of possible suspects. The danger increases as Reagan gets closer and closer. And that ending was a total shocker to me. One other thing that I have to point out is that the secondary characters, especially Aunt Kiki, really shine in this story.

I'm looking forward to revisiting Savannah and Reagan's shop, the Prissy Fox, for another adventure soon. That shouldn't be hard. There are four other books in this series to enjoy.

Series: A Consignment Shop Mystery (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (October 2, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425251608
ISBN-13: 978-0425251607

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

I read this book for the following challenges:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven't Read Yet

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging
 That You STILL Haven't Read Yet

Wow! I had to go down into my other bookcase for this one. 

One of the first books I bought when I started writing. Needless to say, my writing didn't get me that far.

Bought the first six books in this series and haven't touched them.

Love reading anything about the Civil War; simply haven't gotten to it yet.

Enjoyed the Shaaras' books about the Civil War and figured I would give Jeff's series on the American Revolution a try. 

Davis is a superb author. I honestly had this one so long I forgot it was there. Will need to read this one. 

Sounded interesting when it came out, so I bought it. And there it sits on my bookshelf collecting dust.

Christmas and Thomas can you go wrong? Would love to read this one day.

Long before I became friends with Kathi Macias, I had purchased this novel. I discovered it a couple of years ago while cleaning out my bookshelves. Still need to read it.

Another book on writing I probably should have read.

My husband read this series and liked it so much he recommended it to me. For the record, that rarely happens. We simply don't enjoy the same books. I haven't gotten to this one yet. 

What books have been on your bookshelf unread for a long time? 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Musing Mondays - August 22

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme now hosted at Jenn's blog Books And A Beat 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: Name a favorite book you’d take to the beach.

When you read this, I'll be walking through Central Park. We opted for a quick overnight to NYC before school gets underway.

Right now I'm reading, Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown. This is the first in her Consignment Shop Mystery series. I'm loving it.

Reagan's messy divorce has left her with nothing but a run-down Victorian and a bunch of designer clothes. Strapped for cash, Reagan makes use of the two things she has left, turning the first floor of her home into a consignment shop and filling it with the remnants of her rich-wife wardrobe.

Thanks to his cunning lawyer, Walker Boone, her ex got everything else, including the Lexus--not to mention a young blonde cupcake. When Reagan finds the blonde dead in the Lexus, she's determined to beat Boone to finding the murderer. As it turns out, the gossip fiends flooding Reagan's shop can give her a lot more than just their unwanted clothes--they have information more precious than a vintage Louis Vuitton...

Next up is this book:

Looks like it is part of a series. I'm blessed not to have this concern, but I'm sure there are a lot of women out there who do. I wanted to see what the author had to say on the subject.

Hope you have a great week. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coming in September: In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett

Excited to learn about this one. I love Carol Burnett. Will you be placing this one on your wish list?

Comedy legend Carol Burnett tells the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of her iconic weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show.

Who but Carol Burnett herself has the timing, talent, and wit to pull back the curtain on the Emmy-Award winning show that made television history for eleven glorious seasons?

In Such Good Company delves into little-known stories of the guests, sketches and antics that made the show legendary, as well as some favorite tales too good not to relive again. Carol lays it all out for us, from the show’s original conception to its evolution into one of the most beloved primetime programs of its generation.

Written with all the charm and humor fans expect from a masterful entertainer like Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company skillfully highlights the elements that made the show so successful in a competitive period when TV variety shows ruled the air waves. Putting the spotlight on everyone from her talented costars to her amazing guest stars—the most celebrated and popular entertainers of their day—Carol crafts a lively portrait of the talent and creativity that went into every episode.

Here are all the topics readers want to know more about, including:
• how the show almost didn’t air due to the misgivings of certain CBS vice presidents;
• how she discovered and hired Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway;
• anecdotes about guest stars and her close freindships with many of them, including Lucille Ball, Roddy Mcdowell, Jim Nabors, Bernadette Peters, Betty Grable, Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Gloria Swanson, Rita Hayworth, and Betty White;
• the people behind the scenes from Bob Mackie, her costume designer and partner in crime, to the wickedly funny cameraman who became a fixture during the show’s opening Q&A;
• and Carol’s takes on her favorite sketches and the unpredictable moments that took both the cast and viewers by surprise.

This book is Carol’s love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show which won no less than 25 Emmy Awards! Get the best seat in the house as she reminisces about the outrageous tales that made working on the show as much fun as watching it.

In Such Good Company can be pre-ordered here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Musing Mondays - August 15

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme now hosted at Jenn's blog Books And A Beat 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:  What sequel do you have yet to read?

Monday has arrived again. Technically, as I am typing this it is still only Sunday, but by the time you read this it will be Monday.

This past week was the one where I decided I had enough; enough mess, enough chaos--pretty much enough of a lot of things. I miss blogging. I miss reading every night before bed. I miss having my books organized and my TBR pile all mapped out on spreadsheets.

As part of deciding enough was enough, I am moving my office to the first floor of our home by converting our very unused formal living room into an office space. The printer/fax/scanner is on the first floor at the other end of the house in the hubby's office. It is so inconvenient when I need to do anything. I'm also thinking that if my office is on the first floor I'll keep it cleaner. And finally, I want to be able to have real estate clients come to my home if needed, so I want a place that is easily accessible.

I've made a lot of progress in going through books; cataloging them and boxing them up. I've donated some books and other belongings from my office. I've also recycled a bunch of old magazines and other fun stuff.

All this effort has made me feel a lot better. The hallway is a mess, but as things are delivered to where they need to go, that will change too.

The best part? The clean up fever has infected the girls too and they have been going through their rooms doing the same thing. I love it!

I'm open to any tips you are willing to share on major clean ups.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

First Chapter Review: Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

I won an ARC of Kelley Armstrong's Spell Bound a few years ago. I'm packing up books to move my office downstairs, so I came across this one in my pile and thought I would browse through it.

BLURB:  Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she's powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch-hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell-casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Armstrong gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jamie, Hope, and other beloved characters, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

COVER: I love everything about this cover. The color scheme is great. The model is dressed appropriately for the character and the genre. Neat details and perfect font.

FIRST CHAPTER: Savannah finds herself unable to cast spells. In frustration, she leaves a sleeping Adam in their motel room and heads outside where she is surprised by an unwelcome distraction and totally vulnerable.

KEEP READING: Let me say for the record that this is not a typical genre I am drawn to these days. Maybe fifteen years ago, but not so much what I read now. This I really liked, though. You can tell by the cover she kicks butt. You hear it in her voice as the narrator of this first chapter too. Just like Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a superb heroine many moons ago, Savannah will be so now. I'm eager to read the rest of her story.

Series: Otherworld
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Dutton; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0452297990
ISBN-13: 978-0452297999

I received a copy of this book from the author. This first chapter review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Book Review: Portrait of a Conspiracy by Donna Russo Morin

Portrait of a Conspiracy is the first book in a new series by Donna Russo Morin. History, mystery, and art blend together in this story of a group of female artists who seek to find the missing member of their group and draw out conspirators who have created chaos in Florence.

After the brutal murder of Giuliano de' Medici, his brother Lorenzo seeks revenge on everyone involved. Despite the unrest in the city, five female painters secretly ply their craft. When a sixth member of their group goes missing and is rumored to have stolen a much sought after painting as she vanished, her friends venture out into the dangerous streets to find her. With the help of a young Leonardo Da Vinci, the women's art flourishes and they gain access to some of the most secretive places in Florence.

This novel is not for the faint of heart. Portrait of a Conspiracy starts out with the brutal murder of Giuliano. It is intense and it is bloody. The mix of historical and fictional characters against this backdrop is a character-driven reader's dream. You truly get to know these women, watch them flourish with Da Vinci's guidance, and go to place they never could have imagined they would go.

Morin has researched every detail of this fascinating novel and it shows. My only niggle is that I was over halfway through the book before I could begin putting the pieces together. I'm thinking this was on purpose to symbolize the chaos of the times, but it drove me a bit insane that the people and the happenings wouldn't just gel for me. There are a ton of characters to get to know, so that might have added to it.

That said, I will definitely be on the lookout for Book Two when it comes out.

If you're looking for a thrilling historical mystery, Portrait of a Conspiracy will fit the bill.

File Size: 2710 KB
Print Length: 298 pages
Publisher: Diversion Books (May 10, 2016)
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

I received a digital copy of this book from the author through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinions, which I was not compensated for in any way.

I read this book for the following challenge:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind: Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This is a rewind week where we can go back and cover a topic we missed before. As a children's author, it should be no surprise that many of my quotes are from books for young people.

Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes