Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour!

 

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Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Guest Post: Characters in Fur Coats

By Lauren Carr

Anyone who has read even one of my murder mysteries learns one thing instantly about me—I love animals. That’s love with a capital “L”. I can’t help it. I was raised on a farm surrounded by dogs, cats, cattle, horses, rabbits. When I moved out on my own, it was a given that I would have a cat or dog. I didn’t care which. If it has fur, feathers, paws or claws, I’m all over it.

So, when I started writing books, I naturally had to include furry characters. Now, if you haven’t read one of my mysteries, then don’t assume that I have animal detectives. No, my fur-covered characters are more realistic. They don’t talk or even do detective work. But, they are still characters who interact with the humans enough to be worthy of being listed in my cast of characters at the front of the book.

Let me illustrate.

Yesterday, we took Storm, our female German shepherd, to the vet for a check up. I was concerned that she has been looking more pudgy than she should. Now Storm (aka Sweetheart) is the sweetest, gentlest darling-est canine you would ever want to meet. But she gets very nervous when she goes for a ride in the car and my husband went along to hold her paw. When the vet came into the office, Storm squeezed in behind Jack’s knees. The vet had to get down on her hands and knees to examine her. As she was putting the stethoscope to Storm’s ribs, she turned to me and said, “You’re right. She is overweight.”

Suddenly, Storm’s eyes bulged and she lunged for the vet–barking and snarling. The vet jumped up to her feet and backed away. Jack held her back saying, “It’s okay, Storm. You look good.”

As the vet was backing out of the office, she apologized and said she should have been more sensitive. “Most women react that way when they’re told they’re overweight.”

Storm prefers to think of herself as “voluptuous.”

Now, any dog expert will immediately declare that Storm was not reacting to the vet’s comment as much as she attacked out of fear when the vet got too close. However, the imaginative writer in me, and my husband and vet as well, saw the pure humor in Storm’s timing to become violently offended at the vet’s comment about her full figure.

As a writer, I am constantly watching and studying people in my search for interesting characters. Often, one or two traits in a real-life individual will serve as a jumping off point to make for a wildly memorable character. I can honestly say that this is abundantly true with my fur-covered characters as well.

The famous Gnarly (Or should I say infamous?) is based on Ziggy, an Australian shepherd, that my son acquired as a puppy at a football game. I had had dogs all my life, but never did I have a dog who was as mischievous and smart as this one—until years later when I adopted a German shepherd puppy who I had named Gnarly after my fictional character. Ziggy was so troublesome that I had him analyzed by an animal behavioral expert who said that the pup was so intelligent that he was easily bored. Therefore, he looked for trouble to amuse himself.

Thus, Mac Faraday’s Gnarly was born!

Cat owners, have you ever met a one-person cat? Irving, the black and white Maine Coon who is identical to a skunk in my Lovers and Crime mystery series, is based on Duchess. Unlike Irving, Duchess’s markings were the reverse of a skunk. She was white with a black stripe down her back.

But, like Irving, Duchess was a one-woman cat. She was intensely jealous of my husband when he stole me away from her. One evening, I had spent a whole evening making a romantic dinner—chateaubriand for two for my new husband. We had candlelight, fire in the fireplace, champagne, the works. In our small first apartment, the dining area was in a great room, with the table set up next to the back of the sofa.

We had just started to eat when Duchess jumped up onto the back of the sofa and made her way down the whole length of it to where Jack was sitting. We couldn’t help but notice her because she slithered toward him with such a sense of purpose.

“Look at that,” Jack said as she moved up to his shoulder.

Looking right at Jack, Duchess moved in closer and then shot a giant hairball straight at his plate. Two points as the hairball landed right on top of the chateaubriand!

Jack and I screamed. Duchess flew off the sofa and disappeared for a very long time. No one missed the fact that she had deposited that hairball in Jack’s plate to send a message meant only for him—the homewrecker who had stolen her human.

It was that incident that inspired Irving, Cameron Gate’s one woman cat, who views her husband Joshua Thornton as competition for her affection. Recently, I decided to give Irving a break by giving him another human to attach himself to in Izzy, the Thornton’s adopted daughter.

I can’t resist using animal character because they are characters.

In Three Days to Forever and the Thorny Rose Mysteries, readers met Spencer is Jessica’s sheltie, a blue merle (her fur is bluish in color and she has blue eyes). Admittedly, Spencer is not very bright, but she is as adorable as can be. Murphy calls her Candi and she answers to that. The inspiration for this was my own family. My husband always renames our pets, who will then answer to anything.

Then, we have Newman. He is The Man in the Thorny Rose mysteries! Newman is based on our beagle, Beagle Bailey. A number of readers have told me about their canine couch potatoes. Newman has his chair, which no one is allowed to sit in, a television remote which he slaps with his paw to change channels, and he refuses to go for walks.

In a nutshell, Newman is the dog who doesn’t do anything—just like some people I know.

Some may arch an eyebrow at the notion of pets ranking high enough to be an actual character in a book. Those people, I must assume have never actually had a pet. Anyone who has welcomed an animal into their family knows that pets possess full blown personalities and even quirks just like humans.

Where does all these furry characters end? I really don’t know. Recently, I’ve been interviewing a horse in Texas who would like a role in the Mac Faraday Mysteries …

Meet the Narrators:

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Dan Lawson
Over the past several years Dan Lawson has appeared in numerous spots for radio, television and the internet. He has worked with All-State, Sprint PCS, Mountain Dew and many more. His unique ability to mimic existing characters and celebrities has landed him diverse voice match work ranging from Charlie Sheen to Morgan Freeman.In 2008 Dan was cast as the first American voice actor for the Korean video game company, Nexon. Over the next several years Dan was the flagship voice of the company, appearing in such titles as Mabinogi, Maple Story, Vindictus, Dragon Nest, Dungeon Fighter Online and Atlantica. In total he has voiced nearly 100 characters for Nexon.In late 2012 Dan’s voice over career took an unexpected turn into book narration. His first audition landed him the job of narrating The Psychology of Twilight, a psychological look at the wide-spread obsession of the Twilight saga created by Stephanie Meyer.  Eighteen more audiobook narrations have followed and show no signs of slowing down.

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C.J. McAllister

C.J. McAllister is an Audible Approved Producer — “Audible Approved producers are the best audiobook producers in the business.” Only a small number are awarded this honor.

C.J. has produced best-selling audiobooks in multiple genres/styles, TV commercials/promo teasers, animation projects, interviews (TV and radio), corporate presentations.

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James C. Lewis

Another Audible Approved narrator, voice actor  James Lewis has established a solid reputation in fiction as well as non-ficton audiobooks. At latest count, he’s narrated nearly 50.

Although his specialty is noir fiction, James has done several non-fiction books as well on a range of people and subjects: Butch and Sundance, General Custer, Revolutionary War, psychic development, taxes.

James Lewis has been awarded the AudioFile Earphone Award for narration, “The Last Outlaws”. It’s about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

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Mike Alger

A broadcast veteran of over 30 years, Mike Alger is best known as the award-winning Chief Meteorologist for KTVN-TV in Reno, NV. He is also a successful author, having penned the Mystery-Thriller novel “Snow Storm,” and is the narrator of the audiobook of the same name.

TOUR SCHEDULE:

May 8 – Library of Clean Reads – tour spotlight / interview with C.J. McAllister
May 8 – Corinne Rodrigues – book spotlight  / guest post / giveaway
May 8 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 9 – T’s Stuff – review of Old Loves Die Hard / author interview / giveaway
May 9 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 10 – Elizabeth McKenna Romance Author – book spotlight / giveaway
May 10 – TDC Book Reviews – review of Shades of Murder / author interview
May 11 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle /  interview with Dan Lawson
May 11 – Blätterflüstern – review of Old Loves Die Hard / interview with James Lewis
May 12 – Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama – book spotlight / interview with CJ McAllister / giveaway
May 12 – Books, Dreams, Life – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 12 – The Cubicle Escapee – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 15 – Dab of Darkness Book Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 15 – Books for Books – review of Blast from the Past
May 16 – Books for Books – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
May 16 – And the Buck Starts Here – review of Old Loves Die Hard / author interview
May 17 – Books for Books – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 17 – Lovely Loveday – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 18 – Blätterflüstern – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle
May 18 – Writers and Authors – guest post / giveaway
May 19 – T’s Stuff – review of Shades of Murder / interview with Mike Alger / giveaway
May 19 –  Madison Loveday – book spotlight / giveaway
May 22 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 23 – And the Buck Starts Here – review of The Murders at Astaire Castle / interview with Dan Lawson
May 23 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post by James Lewis
May 24 – Nighttime Reading Center – review of Old Loves Die Hard
May 24 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – review of Dead on Ice
May 25 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – interview with James Lewis
May 26 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Old Loves Die Hard / giveaway
May 26 – T’s Stuff – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
May 26 – Book Lover Promo – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 29 – Blooming with Books – review of Twelve to Murder / guest post / giveaway
May 30 – Literary Flits – review of Old Loves Die Hard / giveaway
May 30 – Blooming with Books – review of Cancelled Vows / giveaway
May 31 – TDC Book Reviews – review of Blast From the Past / interview with Dan Lawson
June 1 –  Working Mommy Journal – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 2 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review of Real Murder
June 5 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post
June 6 – Dab of Darkness Book Reviews – review of Dead on Ice
June 7 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – guest post by Mike Alger
June 8 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 8 – The Cubicle Escapee – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 9 –  Nighttime Reading Center – review of Twelve to Murder
June 9 –  Bound 4 Escape – review of Shades of Murder / giveaway
June 12 – Book review nature photos – review of Kill and Run / author interview
June 12 – Literary Flits – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
June 13 – Books for Books – review of Three Days to Forever
June 14 – Laura’s Interests – review of Cancelled Vows / interview with James Lewis / giveaway
June 15 – My Reading Journeys – review of Shades of Murder / author interview / giveaway
June 16 – Library of Clean Reads – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
June 19 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 19 – By The Book – review of Kill and Run
June 20 – A Holland Reads – review of Dead on Ice / guest post / giveaway
June 21 – Laura’s Interests – review of Killer in the Band / guest post by Mike Alger / giveaway
June 22 – Melina’s Book Blog – review of The Lady Who Cried Murder
June 23 – Melina’s Book Blog – review of Open Season for Murder
June 26 – Book review nature photos – review of A Fine Year for Murder / interview with C.J. McAllister
June 27 – Library of Clean Reads – review of Real Murder / giveaway
June 28 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Dead on Ice
June 29 – Kristin’s Novel Cafe – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
June 30 – Kristin’s Novel Cafe – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
June 30 – Outset – review of A Fine Year for Murder
July 1 – Writers and Authors – review of Dead on Ice
July 3 – A Holland Reads – review of Real Murder / giveaway
July 3 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
July 4 – Outset – review of Twelve to Murder
July 5 – The Journey Back – review of Dead on Ice / interview with Mike Alger / giveaway
July 6 – Jessica Cassidy – review of Old Loves Die Hard / guest post / giveaway
July 7 – JBronder Book Reviews – review of Shades of Murder / guest post
July 10 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Three Days to Forever
July 11 – Rainy Days Reviews – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
July 11 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
July 12 – JBronder Book Reviews – review of Blast from the Past
July 12 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight
July 13 – Rainy Days Reviews – review of Real Murder / giveaway
July 13 – Elsie’s Audiobook Digest – review of Old Loves Dies Hard
July 14 – Jessica Cassidy – review of Shades of Murder

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!  

Prize:  One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card (Open internationally)

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Book review: In This Grave Hour: (Maisie Dobbs Series #13) by Jacqueline Winspear

About In This Grave Hour

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 14, 2017)

“A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.”†ó Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday September 3rd 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs’ flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the last war,” a new kind of refugee – an evacuee from London – appears in Maisie’s life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the ìOperation Pied Piper evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour – and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

Purchase Links for In This Grave Hour

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Jacqueline WinspearAbout Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes†In†This Grave Hour,Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Find out more about Jacqueline at her website, www.jacquelinewinspear.com, and find her on Facebook.

REVIEW:

WW II is looming and Maisie and her fellow Londoners are preparing for life under siege from the Germans.  Sandra and Billy, Maisie’s employees are back again at Maisie’s newly renovated office and she has re-opened her business as a private investigator.  She soon receives a request to solve a murder from an unusual source, a secret service officer from Belgium.  She needs to prevent further murders and pulls in a few favours from Scotland Yard to assist her as she must tread lightly when investigating in diplomatic circles.

At the same time, children are being sent out of London to be billeted in the countryside for safety reasons.  Several children are lodged at Chelstone, Maisie’s home outside of London.  A little dark skinned girl mysteriously appears with a group of boys and no one has been able to identify who she is or where she came from. Maisie is drawn to this little girl whose name is Anna and is determined to find her family.   Maisie’s father, Frankie and his wife Brenda are beginning to worry that Maisie is developing a stronger than normal attachment to Anna and don’t want her to be hurt when her family is found.

I really loved the way the author uses language that was common to the era. Several of the expressions were quite amusing and the characters that we know from the previous novels appear in this one as well. It’s been a pleasure to follow Maisie from a young girl to a mature woman, through one war and now into another.  I suspect there is another story in the works and can’t wait to read about happens next.

Book review: Journey to Munich: (Maisie Dobbs Series #12) by Jacqueline Winspear

  • Publisher:  Harper Collins
  • Publication date:  March 29, 2016
  • Genre:  mystery / crime / detective / suspense
  • Pages:  309

Description:

Working with the British Secret Service on an undercover mission, Maisie Dobbs is sent to Hitler’s Germany in this thrilling tale of danger and intrigue—the twelfth novel in Jacqueline Winspear’s New York Times bestselling “series that seems to get better with each entry” (Wall Street Journal).

It’s early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square—a place of many memories—she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man’s wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie—who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter—to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.

The British government is not alone in its interest in Maisie’s travel plans. Her nemesis—the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death—has learned of her journey, and is also desperate for her help.

Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers—and finds herself questioning whether it’s time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas. . . .

Buy the book:   Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Harper Collins

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes In This Grave Hour, Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Connect with the author:  Website   Facebook 

REVIEW:

This a very different storyline from the other Maisie Dobb novels. Maisie has returned to England after a brief sojourn in Gibraltar and Spain. She is grieving the loss of her husband and unborn child and is at odds with herself, especially as she no longer runs her investigation agency. Her longtime and closest friend Priscilla takes Maisie under wing as Maisie tries to come to terms with her life.

An unusual request from the British government presents itself as Maisie is requested to go to Germany on a special assignment. Her skills as an investigator and psychologist will prove to be her greatest assets. Her cut-and-dry assignment spirals out of control and she must rely on her “secret service” training to protect herself. She unexpectedly finds that she becomes a pawn in an international game of cat-and-mouse between Hitler’s henchman and Great Britain.

This segment of the Maisie Dobbs novels was one of the most intense so far.

 

 

 

Book review: Michelangelo’s Ghost: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery by Gigi Pandian

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Michelangelo’s Ghost: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery by Gigi Pandian
Category:  Adult fiction,   288 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher:  Henery Press
Release date:  October 2016
Format available for review: ebook
Tour dates:  October 10 to 21, 2016
Content Rating:  PG

Book Description:

A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story. And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters… Can treasure-hunting historian Jaya Jones unmask a killer ghost?

Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date.

When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails?

Praise for Gigi Pandian’s Jaya Jones Mysteries:

“Charming characters, a hint of romantic conflict, and just the right amount of danger will garner more fans for this cozy series.” – Publishers Weekly on Quicksand

“Pandian’s sprightly prose celebrates the pleasures of Italian painting, food, and landscape. The light touch, swift pace, and verve maintained throughout the novel disguise the deeper thought and scholarship underpinning the story, which like the stage props of a conjurer, make the magic happen.”– Linda Lappin, Author of Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

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Meet the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. She spent her childhood being dragged around the world, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s debut novel, Artifact, was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012” debut by Suspense Magazine. Her fiction has been awarded the Lefty Award and short-listed for Macavity and Agatha Awards. Sign up for her email newsletter at www.gigipandian.com/newsletter.

Connect with the author:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

REVIEW:
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This is the second novel I’ve read by Gigi Pandian (and her 4th mystery in the Jaya Jones series) and I wasn’t disappointed.  Jaya Jones or “JJ” receives an intriguing call from an old professor / mentor with whom she has been out of contact for many years.  The professor has found evidence of cross-culture artwork between Mogul India and the Italian Renaissance.  When a link to Michaelangelo is intimated, Jaya can’t resist the lure to investigate for herself.  What she doesn’t anticipate is that there is someone else on the same trail.  Someone who is willing to kill for the prize she’s after.
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Jaya Jones is a historian turned part-time detective.  Her character is believable,  her insecurities and flaws make her more personable and the inclusion of some interesting and well-developed secondary characters (and a romance) in the series round out her quirky personality.
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I enjoy a good mystery and if there is a smart female lead, then I’m hooked. This is good fiction with plenty of unexpected plot twists and great Italian food descriptions.  I can’t wait for the next book in the Jaya Jones series.
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Book review: The House of Kane by Barbara Casey

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Book Details:

Book Title:  The House of Kane by Barbara Casey
Category:  Adult Fiction,  198 pages
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Publisher:  ArcheBooks Publishing
Release date:  February 2014
Format available for review:  Print, ebook (gifted Kindle and PDF)
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates: Aug 15 to 26, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is some light profanity.)

Book Description:

Aislinn Marchánt, a writer and editorial consultant, is hired by the major New York publishing company, Kane Publishing House, to help determine why several submissions sent to them have mysteriously disappeared only to be published later by another publisher. Are the editors at Kane simply not being diligent enough with the in-coming material, or is there something more sinister going on? Working from her West Palm Beach home, Aislinn quickly becomes involved with the House of Kane as well as with Caldwell Kane, the man who hired her.

As Aislinn works toward uncovering the various layers of truth of her former husband, her elderly neighbor, and Kane Publishing House, she continues to research her own novel, the story of a love between two people that becomes fractured because of the misunderstandings created by two different cultures. Her research takes her to abotanica where a Santerian priest reveals the truth in her own life and a destiny that is joined to that of Caldwell Kane.

Praise for The House of Kane:

Simultaneously wise and poignant, exotic and suspenseful, House of Kane is a fascinating story of loyalty, treachery and the power of destiny. With an insider’s view into the world of high stakes publishing, Barbara Casey weaves a masterful story that haunts the reader long after the final page.
Nancy Steinbeck, Author of The Other Side of Eden: Life with John Steinbeck

Barbara Casey’s House of Kane is a touchingly tender love story, set in an intrigue-riddled
publishing industry. Her characters are interesting and varied. Her story is refreshing and engagingly told. Aspiring writers will want to read House of Kane to tap her wisdom about getting into print.
John DeDakis, Former CNN Senior Copy Editor, Author of Fast Track

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  

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Meet the Author:

Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books where she is involved in acquisitions and day-to-day operations and oversees book production.

Ms. Casey’s two middle-grade/young adult novels, Leilani Zan and Grandma Jock and Christabelle (James C. Winston Publishing Co., Trade Division) were both nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award. Shyla’s Initiative (Crossquarter Publishing Group), a contemporary adult novel (occult romance/mystery), received a 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and also an award of special literary recognition by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. The Coach’s Wife (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a novel for adults (contemporary/mystery), was semi-finalist for the 2005 Dana Award for Outstanding Novel and listed on the Publisher’s Best Seller List. The House of Kane (ArcheBooks Publishing), released in 2007, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination. Another contemporary novel for adults, Just Like Family, was released at Christmas 2009 when it received “Special Recognition from the 7-Eleven Corporation.” The Cadence of Gypsies, a novel written for new adults, was released in 2011 and was reviewed by the Smithsonian Institute for its List of Most Notable Books. Her novel for adults, The Gospel According to Prissy, received a 2013 Independent Publishers Book Award for Best Book in Regional Fiction. In 2016, Ms. Casey’s biography/true crime Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly was released as well as The Wish Rider, the sequel to her young adult book The Cadence of Gypsies.

Her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.

Ms. Casey’s award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey’s essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation).

Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and writers’ conferences around the country including the SCBWI Regional Conference, the Harriett Austin Writers Conference in Athens, SIBA (Southeastern Independent Book Sellers Association), Florida Writers Association, and the University of Auburn, Montgomery. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs.

Connect with the author:  Website 

REVIEW:
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The House of Kane is an fascinating glance into the world of publishing. Aislinn, a successful and sought after writer and editor, receives a mysterious phone call from a well respected publisher.  Her curiosity piqued, she agrees to go to New York.  Her life will never be the same.
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The novel is well-written with excellent character development including those of the secondary characters.  Their seemingly ordinary lives begin to interweave with that of Aislinn’s and several unexpected plot twists and surprises keep you wondering how these connections will play out.
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I don’t want to give away any clues to the story but suffice it to say that this was a delightful mystery / romance / thriller that had me reading non-stop until the last page!
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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
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Book spotlight: Candidate for Murder by Lauren Carr

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Candidate for Murder: A Mac Faraday Mystery by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult fiction, 424 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  June 2016
Tour dates:  June 20 to July 29, 2016
Content Rating:  PG-13 (This is murder mystery. There are no sex scenes, but some, very little, foul language. No f-bombs.)

Book Description:

It’s election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clothes lines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!

What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.

Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure. With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!

Buy the book:   Amazon

Watch the trailer:

293556ef-3415-4241-b0a8-c6db90ba0338Meet the author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

TOUR SCHEDULE:

June 20 – Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / giveaway
June 20 – My Journey Back – book spotlight / guest post
June 20 – Books for Books – book spotlight / guest post
June 21 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 21 – fuonlyknew – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – Book Crazy Scrapbook Mama – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 22 – Book Reviews Nature Photos – book spotlight / author interview
June 23 – Writers and Authors – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 23 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 24 – Thoughts in Progress – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 24 – bookmyopia – book spotlight / guest post
June 27 – The Travelogue of a Book Addict – book spotlight / giveaway
June 27 – Nighttime Reading Center – book spotlight
June 28 – Stranded in Chaos – book spotlight / giveaway
June 29 – Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’ – book spotlight
June 29 – The Autistic Gamer – book spotlight
June 30 – Katie’s Clean Book Collection – book spotlight / giveaway
June 30 – Tea and A Book – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 1 –     Brooke Blogs – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 1 –     Cheryl’s Book Nook – book spotlight / giveaway
July 4 –     Ali – The Dragon Slayer – book spotlight / giveaway
July 4 –     Book and Ink – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 5 –     New Horizon Reviews – book spotlight / author interview
July 6 –     Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – book spotlight / guest post
July 6 –     Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
July 7 –     T’s Stuff – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 8 –     Words And Peace – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 11 –   StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
July 12 –   Carole’s Book Corner – book spotlight / giveaway
July 13 –   Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 14 –   Christa Reads and Writes – book spotlight
July 15 –   Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight
July 18 –   #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
July 18 –   Puddletown Reviews – book spotlight
July 19 –   100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / giveaway
July 19 –   A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 20 –   Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / guest post
July 21 –   Heidi’s Wanderings – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 22 –   3 Partners in Shopping – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 25 –   Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
July 26 –   A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog – book spotlight / giveaway
July 27 –   Reading Authors – book spotlight / giveaway
July 28 –   Deal Sharing Aunt – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 29 –   Jessica Cassidy – book spotlight / author interview

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Book review: In the Cadence of Gypsies by Barbara Casey

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Book Details:

Book Title:  The Cadence of Gypsies by Barbara Casey
Category:  YA fiction,  272 pages
Genre: Literary/Mystery
Publisher:  Gauthier Publications/Hungry Goat Press
Release date:  March 2011 (Hardcopy); April 2015 (e-Book)
Format available for review: print and PDF
Will send print books: Internationally
Tour dates:  April 25 to May 6, 2016
Content Rating:  PG-13 (A few expletives, mild sexual innuendo)

Book Description:

On her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Nobles

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Meet the Author:  

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014 Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author:  Website

REVIEW:
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Cadence: the rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words / the flow or rhythm of events.
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Who loves a secret?  There are plenty of secrets in the Cadence of Gypsies. Some we learn of right away and some come as complete surprises.  This book reminds me of a book that was given to me by my mother 40 years ago – the plot was different but it had the same wonderful story-like quality that will captivate both young and old alike.
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Carolina is an American girl who was adopted when she was four years old. She receives a box containing an ancient manuscript from her birth parents which mesmerizes her and she is intent on deciphering its contents.  Despite all her diligent research, she’s hit a dead end.
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She needs to return to the land of her birth to investigate other documents that will enable her to learn not only the contents of the manuscript but also the truth regarding her family and adoption.  Her companions, three feisty but highly gifted young women agree to accompany her and their camaraderie and friendship are the glue she needs to discover the manuscript’s secret.
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A good “read-aloud” book that will have you turning the pages until you discover all its secrets.
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ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
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Book review: A Lady in the Smoke by Karen Odden

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Description

Book review: Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

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  • Series: Maisie Dobbs (Book 6)
  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312429258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312429256

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Christmas Eve, 1931. On the way to see a client, Maisie Dobbs witnesses a man commit suicide on a busy London street. The following day, the Prime Minister’s office receives a letter threatening a massive loss of life if certain demands are not met—and the writer mentions Maisie by name. Tapped by Scotland Yard’s elite Special Branch to be a special adviser on the case, Maisie is soon involved in a race against time to find a man who proves he has the knowledge and will to inflict destruction on thousands of innocent people.

In Among the Mad, Jacqueline Winspear combines a heart-stopping story with a rich evocation of a fascinating period to create her most compelling and satisfying novel yet.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble 

Meet the author:

winspear-275 (1)Jacqueline Winspear was born and raised in the county of Kent, England. Following higher education at the University of London’s Institute of Education, Jacqueline worked in academic publishing, in higher education and in marketing communications in the UK.

She emigrated to the United States in 1990, and while working in business and as a personal / professional coach, Jacqueline embarked upon a life-long dream to be a writer.

A regular contributor to journals covering international education, Jacqueline has published articles in women’s magazines and has also recorded her essays for KQED radio in San Francisco. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a regular visitor to the United Kingdom and Europe.

Jacqueline’s grandfather was severely wounded and shell-shocked at The Battle of the Somme in 1916, and it was as she understood the extent of his suffering that, even in childhood, Jacqueline became deeply interested in the “war to end all wars” and its aftereffects. As an adult her interest deepened to the extent that, though she did not set out to write a “war” novel, it came as no surprise that this part of history formed the backdrop of Maisie Dobbs and other books in the series. The unique and engaging character of Maisie Dobbs is very much a woman of her generation. She has come of age at a time when women took on the toil of men and claimed independence that was difficult to relinquish. It was a time when many women remained unmarried, simply because a generation of men had gone to war and not come home.

“The war and its aftermath provide fertile ground for a mystery. Such great social upheaval allows for the strange and unusual to emerge and a time of intense emotions can, to the writer of fiction, provide ample fodder for a compelling story, especially one concerning criminal acts and issues of guilt and innocence. After all, a generation is said to have lost its innocence in The Great War. The mystery genre provides a wonderful vehicle for exploring such a time,” explains Ms. Winspear.

Jacqueline’s first novel, Maisie Dobbs, was a National Bestseller and received an array of accolades, including New York Times Notable Book 2003, a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Mystery 2003, and a BookSense Top Ten selection. In addition, the novel was nominated for 7 awards, including the Edgar for Best Novel—only the second time a first novel was nominated in this category. She subsequently won the prestigious Agatha Award for Best First novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Novel; and the Alex Award, which is presented annually by the American Library Association in conjunction with the Margaret Alexander Edwards Trust. Maisie Dobbs was published by Soho Press in hardcover and by Penguin in paperback, an edition that spent almost four months on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Bestseller list in 2004.

Connect with the author:   Website   Facebook   Blog

REVIEW:

Book six of the Maisie Dobbs series opens with a “bang”!  Literally.  Maisie is injured as she witnesses a man’s suicide on a busy London street.  Perplexed by the suicide, Maisie “presence” is requested by Scotland Yard’s Elite Special Branch to ferret out the writer of a threatening letter to a high government official who is suspected of instigating the suicide-bombing, and is determined to pursue the investigation using her skills and wits without the interference of the male detectives assigned to the same case.  Her assistant Billie Beale proves once again to be a valuable asset to the case, despite the fact that his family life is going through a distressing emotional upheaval.

Having followed Maisie Dobb’s story from the previous six books in the series I was curious to see how the explosion from the suicide would affect her.  As a nurse who suffered from PTSD (war neurosis as it was termed after the war) Maisie has had to learn to identify the source of the mental anguish she suffers from and come to terms with the loss of the love of her life.  Maisie is a strong, intelligent and compassionate woman who works constantly to keep the past at bay.  She’s human and we can feel her struggle.

This book can be read as a “stand-alone” novel however, Maisie Dobbs’ character has been developed quite nicely through the previous six books and it would be a shame not to have read them first.

An entertaining and informative segment in this series that a reader of historical fiction would enjoy. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series “The Mapping of Love and Death”.

Tour Stops

Tuesday, March 1st: My Book RetreatMaisie Dobbs

Wednesday, March 2nd: Jancee ReadsMaisie Dobbs

Wednesday, March 2nd: Reading RealityBirds of a Feather

Thursday, March 3rd: View from the BirdhouseBirds of a Feather

Thursday, March 3rd: BookNAroundPardonable Lies

Thursday, March 3rd: Puddletown ReviewsPardonable Lies

Thursday, March 3rd: From the TBR Pile – Messenger of Truth

Monday, March 7th: Books & TeaAn Incomplete Revenge

Monday, March 7th: Olduvai ReadsAn Incomplete Revenge

Tuesday, March 8th: #redhead.with.bookAmong the Mad

Wednesday, March 9th: Lavish BookshelfThe Mapping of Love and Death

Thursday, March 10th: Joyfully RetiredA Lesson in Secrets

Monday, March 14th: Queen of All She ReadsElegy for Eddie

Monday, March 14th: Lis Carey’s LibraryLeaving Everything Most Loved

Tuesday, March 15th: Nighttime Reading CenterLeaving Everything Most Loved

Tuesday, March 15th: Lit and LifeLeaving Everything Most Loved

Wednesday, March 16th: Emerald City Book ReviewA Dangerous Place

Wednesday, March 16th: History from a Woman’s PerspectiveLeaving Everything Most Loved

Monday, March 21st: A Bookish AffairLeaving Everything Most Loved

Monday, March 21st: Book NerdA Dangerous Place

Wednesday, March 23rd: Carina GonzalezA Dangerous Place

Thursday, March 24th: My Reader’s BlockLeaving Everything Most Loved

Thursday, March 24th: Lis Carey’s LibraryA Dangerous Place

Tuesday, March 29th: Curling Up by the FireJourney to Munich

Tuesday, March 29th: nomadreaderJourney to Munich

Wednesday, March 30th: A Chick Who ReadsJourney to Munich

Thursday, March 31st: A Bookish Way of LifeJourney to Munich

Friday, April 1st: A Bookish AffairA Dangerous Place

Friday, April 1st: My Book RetreatJourney to Munich

Monday, April 4th: Raven Haired GirlJourney to Munich

Tuesday, April 5th: Broken TeepeeJourney to Munich

Wednesday, April 6th: Reading RealityJourney to Munich

Thursday, April 7th: Dwell in PossibilityJourney to Munich

Monday, April 11th: Luxury ReadingJourney to Munich

Tuesday, April 12th: M. Denise CostelloJourney to Munich

Wednesday, April 13th: A Bookish AffairJourney to Munich

Thursday, April 14th: A Bookworm’s WorldJourney to Munich

Monday, April 18th: Joyfully RetiredJourney to Munich

Tuesday, April 19th: Lavish BookshelfJourney to Munich

Wednesday, April 20th: bookchickdiJourney to Munich

Wednesday, April 20th: Emerald City Book ReviewJourney to Munich

Thursday, April 21st: Nighttime Reading CenterJourney to Munich

Monday, April 25th: Time 2 Read – Journey to Munich

TLC

BOOK REVIEW: Two from Isaac’s House by Normandie Fischer

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Two From Isaac’s House by Normandie Fischer
Category:  Adult non-fiction, 416 pages
Genre:  Thriller / Mystery / Romance suspense
Publisher:  Sleepy Creek Press
Release date:  November 23, 2015
Available:  print, ebook, (mobi for Kindle)
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

From author Normandie Fischer comes a new romantic suspense that takes the reader from the hills of Italy to the Jordanian desert and from there to an Israel on the brink of war with Hamas.

Rina Lynne has never traveled far from Morehead City, North Carolina. So when she inherits her father’s secret stash, she’s ready to kick up her heels and go adventuring before she settles down to marry her long-time fiancé. First stop, Italy.

Enter Tony (aka Anton), an engineering geek conned into helping his Israeli cousins as a sort-of spy. From the moment he meets Rina, he’s distracted, which is not a good idea when there’s already been murder and theft. And from the moment Rina meets Tony, she’s fascinated, which is also not a good idea. He’s an Arab-American, and she’s half-Jewish. And engaged. And then there are all those bodies dropping around them, each linked to the gathering storm in the Middle East.

Buy the book:   Amazon   

Meet the author:

9d3e7e_d658dcb31e2148cf9a22f7f2a1f64976Normandie had the best of several worlds: a Southern heritage, access to schooling in the DC area (which meant lots of cultural adventures), and several years of sculpture studies in Italy. It might have been better for her if she’d used all these opportunities more wisely, but it’s possible that the imperfect and the unwise also add fodder for the artist and the writer.

Her life changed radically when she married the love of her life at an age when some would have said she was over the hill and way past her prime. (Clichés often speak the truth, don’t they?) A lifelong sailor, she was delighted to find that Michael also longed to cruise lovely waters, which is what they did from Northern CA to Mexico, spending too-few years in the incomparable Sea of Cortez. Sea Venture, their 50′ ketch, is back home in North Carolina now because Normandie’s mama needed care. Still, it’s gorgeous there, too, and she can write from home as easily as she could on the boat.

Her two grown children, son-in-law, and two step-sons are handsome (or gorgeous, as the case may be), talented, and a delight. And now there’s a new granddaughter in the mix–woohoo! She just wishes they lived a lot closer to home.

Look for Sea Venture’s clipper bow and beautiful lines as she slips into a harbor near you.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook
REVIEW:
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“Amazing how much one could hear, as if the silence weren’t silent at all”.
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Rina, an 5′ 10″ young American woman, has lived in shadows her entire life. Her miserly father controlled her life and forced her to live a life in penury and her manipulative fiance Jason will soon take over.  Her life is without passion. When her father dies leaving her unexpectedly financially independent, she is off to Italy to discover the world before she settles down to marry Jason.

However, Perugia has more in store for Rina than just language classes and exquisite food. She meets two men on a train.  She is unexpectedly attracted to a tall, polite, handsome Arab-American named Tony. The other man travelling next to her is hiding a gun under his jacket and looks middle-eastern. While on the train a murder is committed.   Danger seems to be closing in on Rina and as she tries to discover exactly who Tony is, is he American or Arabic? and why is the gunman from the train constantly in her peripheral vision? Although she fears for her life and wants to get on the next plane back to the US, her instinct tells her to stay and solve the enigma about Tony.

This story will keep your heart thumping as the storyline is alternately told by both Rina and Tony.  This is the first book I’ve read by Normandie Fischer and I found it to be a fast-paced, believable and intelligent read.

TLC