Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review: Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding (Tara Holloway #12) by Diane Kelly

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4641 KB
  • Print Length: 348 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250094909
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (Oct. 31 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06Y5S12TF

Book Description

For IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, this case is personal...
Wedding bells are ringing as Tara and her soon-to-be-husband Nick prepare for their big day. But along with all the RSVP cards are a series of death threats from an unknown source. The culprit must be someone from an earlier investigation--a white-collar criminal with a red-hot grudge--but Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow down the search. And time, like her biological clock, is ticking.

Now, while dodging attempts on her life, Tara also finds herself embroiled in a rental scam in which a heartless crook is ripping people off left and right. Will she be able to track down the con artist and make it down the aisle in one piece? Or will "til death do us part" come before Tara can even say "I do"?

About the Author

 Award-winning author Diane Kelly writes romance and romantic mysteries featuring feisty heroines, quirky sidekicks, and sexy leading men, with humor that leaves readers laughing out loud.

My Review

Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding is the 12th book in the Tara Holloway mystery series by Diane Kelly. I don't know why I have not found this series before. This is the first book in the series that I have read.

Death, Taxes, and a Shotgun Wedding follows the adventures of IRS Special Agent Tara Holoway. As Tara is preparing for her upcoming wedding, she is almost run down while mailing her invitations. Is someone from her past dealing in the IRS gunning for her? And will she be able to finish investigating a rental scam before someone tries to kill her? And what about her wedding?

Death, Taxes and a Shotgun Wedding is a fun cozy mystery that all cozy fans will enjoy!

Review: Gin and Panic (Discreet Retrieval Agency #3) by Maia Chance

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2020 KB
  • Print Length: 281 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250109051
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Oct. 24 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06Y17JTLC

Book Description

“Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets—and has a high old time doing it! So will you.”—Ann B. Ross, New York Times bestselling author of the Miss Julia series

Former socialite Lola Woodby is now struggling to make ends meet as a not-so-discreet private eye in Prohibtion-era New York City, along with her stern Swedish sidekick, Berta. When they’re offered a piece-of-cake job—retrieving a rhinoceros trophy from the Connecticut mansion of big game hunter Rudy Montgomery—it seems like a no-brainer. After all, their client, Lord Sudley, promises them a handsome paycheck, and the gin and tonics will be plentiful and free. But no sooner do they arrive at Montgomery Hall than Rudy is shot dead.

When the police arrive to examine the scene, they conclude that Rudy had actually committed suicide. But Lord Sudley can’t believe his friend would have done that, and there’s a houseful of suspicious characters standing by. So Lord Sudley ups the ante for Lola and Berta, and suddenly, their easy retrieval job has turned into a murder investigation. Armed with handbags stuffed with emergency chocolate, gin flasks, and a Colt .25, Lola and Berta are swiftly embroiled in a madcap puzzle of stolen diamonds, family secrets, a clutch of gangsters, and plenty of suspects who know their way around a safari rifle.

Gin and Panic is the next jaunty, compelling Discreet Retrieval Agency mystery from beloved crime writer Maia Chance.

About the Author

 MAIA CHANCE was a finalist for the 2004 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. She is writing her dissertation on nineteenth-century American literature. She is also the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal mystery series (Cinderella Six Feet Under, Snow White Red-Handed, and Beauty, Beast and Belladonna).

My Review

Gin and Panic is the third Discreet Retrieval Agency by author Maia Chance. This is the first book in the series that I have read. It can easily be read as a stand alone.

Gin and Panic is set in the 1920 Prohibition Era in New York and Connecticut. Lola and Berta, the Discreet Retrieval Agency's two owners, are hired to retrieve a rhinoceros from the country mansion of a big game hunter. They were retrieving it for Lord Sudley, an Englishman and fellow big game hunter. Lola and Berta are set to spend the weekend at the mansion but their host is murdered and then they discovered raw diamonds in the rhino head. A madcap adventure ensues from this point.

What a fun fun fun book! I loved the mystery aspect as well as the adventures that Berta and Lola became involved in. The book is well written and the author has ensured that we are back in the 1920s. I cannot wait to read more in this series!

I highly recommend Gin and Panic.

Review: Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose by Melissa Spoelstra

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 465.0 KB
  • Print Length: 210 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1501848704
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (Oct. 3 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

Book Description

In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do. But it's important to pause and remember that our priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ's birth and not forget to invite Jesus to his own party.

Christmas is far more than a celebration of an event from long ago or a modern holiday centered around shopping. Mindfully take time to listen to how God continues to speak through the Christmas story as the Gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus provide encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and his wisdom for us today.

In Total Christmas Makeover, author and Bible teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach for you and your family to turn your attention toward God's grace day-by-day as you prepare for Christmas. This 31-day devotional presents key scriptures, ideas to implement with each reading, and questions for reflection to guide you in rediscovering rituals, relationship, and rest to connect you more deeply with Christ this holiday season.

About the Author

 Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God's Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness, Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World, and the forthcoming Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.

My Review

Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose by Melissa Spoelstra is lovely new book for the Advent season. It is a beautiful little book and I am looking forward to spending the Advent season fully immersed in it.

Melissa Spoelstra has divided Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose into three sections:  Ritual, Relationships and Rest. She explains in the Introduction that rituals are special activities to remember God, relationships are the time spent with others and rest is time to reflect on God.

Each of the 31 days has a bible reading, a devotion, a prayer, questions to reflect on what we've read and suggestions for a practical approach.

Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose by Melissa Spoelstra is definitely a wonderful book to spend the Advent season with. Highly recommend.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Review: A Season to Lie (Detective Gemma Monroe #2) by Emily Littlejohn

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 14 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English

Book Description

Following her acclaimed debut Inherit the Bones, this is Emily Littlejohn’s next mesmerizing mystery featuring Colorado police officer Gemma Monroe.

In Emily Littlejohn's follow-up to her acclaimed debut, Inherit the Bones, police officer Gemma Monroe has just returned to work from maternity leave. And what a first day back: a blizzard is blowing into her idyllic Colorado ski town, and while Gemma hopes for a quiet, warm evening in, she knows it will mean plenty of calls out for snow-related accidents. But when an anonymous caller reports seeing a lurker at the local high school, Gemma gets far more than she bargained for. Behind the school building, half covered in a drift of snow, lies the gruesomely murdered body of a world-famous author—whose presence in town was meant to be a secret.

About the Author

I was born and raised in Southern California but have called Colorado home for over a decade now. The beautiful mountains and open space continue to inspire me on a daily basis. 

I wrote Inherit the Bones over the course of two years. I've always had a fascination with all things mystery, horror, and the macabre. Bones was inspired by a vision I had of a clown, found dead, in full costume. I wondered who was the man behind the make-up?

And just like that, a story was born. 

I hope you enjoy spending time in Cedar Valley with Detective Gemma Monroe, her partner Finn Nowlin and the rest of the people that bring the town to life. The second book in the series, A Season to Lie, will be available in November 2017, with a third and fourth book to come. 
When I'm not writing, I'm enjoying life with my growing family, working at the local public library, and serving as the Program Director for the Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America. 

I'd love to hear from you, so drop me a message on the Follow Me page or send me an e-mail at

My Review

A Season to Lie is the second Detective Gemma Monroe mystery by Emily Littlejohn. It is the first book by Littlejohn that I have read. A Season to Lie was a nice surprise. It is well written and has a good story. The characters all enhance the story.

A Season to Lie follows small ski resort town Colorado police officer Gemma Monroe as she returns to work after maternity leave. It is tough on her heading back after an absence but even tougher when a murder occurs at a local private school. When it turns out that it was a famous author who died, the pressure is on to find the murderer before he hits again. Then a teacher at the school goes missing...

Great characters. I loved that Gemma was dealing with a grandparent with dementia. So many of us deal with that these days. Very realistic. 

I highly recommend A Season to Lie. It can easily be read as a stand alone. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Review: Hope at Christmas by Nancy Naigle

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3673.0 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250108675
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Oct. 10 2017)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06XRJ36XV

Book Description

 A recently divorced woman and her daughter look for a fresh start by moving to a small town that embraces them in ways that only fate and the magic of Christmas can explain.

Sydney Ragsdale is divorced, but her husband is still calling the shots. In an attempt to shake free from his hold, she and her daughter, Ray Anne, head for tiny Hopewell, NC to the only asset her ex has no control over – a decaying farmhouse that once belonged to her grandparents. She finds solace at The Book Bea, the bookstore she’d loved as a child during her summer stays.

Kevin MacAlea, Mac to his friends, is the local high school history teacher and baseball coach. Father of a twelve-year-old son, he’s Hopewell, North Carolina’s most sought after bachelor. His young bride abandoned him and his son just before Christmas and has never come back. It has left his son bitter about Christmas which is hard for Mac who loves the magic of the season. He’s been the Santa here in Hopewell since the year Seth was born. 

But when a catastrophe forces The Book Bea to close before the end of the year, everyone in the small town is feeling the loss. While Sydney is already off-balance by the bad news, her ex-husband breaks a promise to their daughter that sends Ray Anne running away. As Sydney tries to figure out what her next steps are she discovers all of the answers are right here in Hopewell.

About the Author

 USA TODAY Bestselling author, Nancy Naigle, writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.

With a career spent on the cutting edge of technology in the banking industry, she never let go of her dream to write. Now she works full-time writing stories that are a calming blend of community, family, and the simple things in life. She writes the kind of stories she hopes will provide an escape from the hectic day-to-day in the make believe worlds she creates.

Look for Nancy's titles in the Adams Grove series.
Sweet Tea and Secrets
Out of Focus
Wedding Cake and Big Mistakes
Pecan Pie and Deadly Lies
Mint Juleps and Justice
Barbecue and Bad News

Porch Swings and Promises

Nancy also has co-written books with:

Phyllis C. Johnson ~ inkBLOT

Kelsey Browning ~ The Granny Series
Book 1- In For A Penny
Book 2 - Fit To Be Tied
Book 3 - In High Cotton
Book 4 - Under The Gun

Coming August 30th, don't miss the second book set in Boot Creek, EVERY YESTERDAY. (The followup book to Life After Perfect.)

Also, this October, look for Christmas Joy. A heartwarming Christmas novel.

Aside from writing she enjoys hunting for treasures in junk and antique shoppes, and getting crafty no matter what the medium from painting and digitizing embroidery designs, to weaving pine needle baskets.

A Virginia native, and spending most of her life in the Tidewater area, she now calls North Carolina home.

My Review

Hope at Christmas by Nancy Naigle is a stand alone charming Christmas story. I have read most of Nancy's books and they always warm your heart.

After her divorce, Sydney and her daughter moved from Atlanta to small town North Carolina. Sydney had inherited a farmhouse there. She and her daughter RayAnne settle there and Sydney finds a short term job for Christmas at a bookstore, The Book Bea. The Book Bea had delighted Sydney in her youth and she was just as entranced as a adult.

Sydney meets a local teacher, Mac, who is also divorced with a young son, Seth. It is a romance so you know a few road blocks will get in the way. Will true love win out for Christmas?

Hope at Christmas is filled with hope and the joy of the Christmas season. Lovely read. If you like Christmas stories then this one is for you!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thomas Nelson's 'KJV Know The Word Study Bible' Kindle Fire Giveaway

Diving deeper into God's Word can be easy and rewarding if you break it down book by book, verse by verse, or topic by topic with the new KJV Know The Word Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God's Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

This fall, become a regular student of the Bible and enter to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of the KJV Know The Word Study Bible
  • A Kindle Fire 7
  • A Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on October 31. The winner will be announced November 1 on the Litfuse blog.

Book Description

The KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers three easy ways to begin studying Scripture and helps individuals transition from being a casual reader of the Bible to becoming a regular student of the Bible. You can choose to study the Bible book-by-book, verse-by-verse, or topic-by-topic; each path offers powerful insights that will help you develop a daily routine of Bible study. The book-by-book series of notes leads you through the main points of each book of the Bible. The verse-by-verse notes help you to dig deeper into God’s Word. The topic-by-topic articles, which cover 21 theological topics, guide you through a series of insightful notes and give you a thorough biblical understanding of each topic. With the beautiful and timeless text of the KJV translation, the KJV Know the Word Study Bible offers you choices of how to study Scripture and grow in your relationship with Christ.

My Review

The Thomas Nelson's 'KJV Know The Word Study Bible' is a comprehensive new bible that provides insight for those who prefer the King James Version of the Bible.

The KJV Know the Word Study Bible has subtitles on the first page: Gain a Greater Understanding of the  Bible, Book by Book, Verse by Verse and Topic by Topic.  There are notes on each book of the Bible, notes on the verses and also 21 theological topics to give the reader a greater understanding of the Bible.

The KJV Know the Word Study Bible is a sturdy hardcover that I found easy to read...the font was a decent size so it was readable. 

Features Include:
• King James Version Bible text
• Three easy approaches to study the Bible: 1. Book by Book; 2. Verse by Verse; 3. Topic by Topic
• Insightful introductions for each book of Scripture
• Words of Jesus in red
• Beautiful two-color interior page design
• Comprehensive list of theological notes
• Concordance
• Full-color maps

Great study bible for those who like the language of the King James version. Sometimes you just want to study the Word as it was in your childhood. The KJV can be very comforting that way.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: Purple Palette for Murder: A Meg Harris Mystery by R.J. Harlick

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 530 KB
  • Print Length: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn (Oct. 14 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

Book Description

With her husband under arrest for murder and Meg desperate to prove his innocence, she flies to Yellowknife, where a tangled web of family secrets and greed awaits her.
Meg Harris is forced to leave the sanctuary of Three Deer Point and fly to Yellowknife, where her stepdaughter lies near death and her husband is in jail for killing a man. Expecting to find Eric shouting his innocence, she instead finds him cowed and willing to do hard time. But Meg doesn't believe he s guilty.

Convinced that there s more to the murder victim and the attack on her stepdaughter than the police think, Meg finds herself on a sordid trail of family secrets and greed, hoping she can prove her husband s innocence. Fragments of an ancient embroidery lead her to a remote Dene hunting camp, where all is not what it seems."

About the Author

 Called "queen of Canadian wilderness fiction", R.J. Harlick writes the acclaimed Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of Canada with an underlying native theme. There are currently seven books in the series with the eighth, Purple Palette for Murder, due out in October 2017.

The fourth book, Arctic Blue Death, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Best Novel award. Silver Totem of Shame was named one of the top ten summer crime fiction reads by the Globe & Mail and was a recommended beach read by the Seattle Public Library. Cold White Fear was a CBC recommended mystery read.

With Death's Golden Whisper, the first book in the Meg Harris mystery series, RJ introduces protagonist Meg Harris who has fled the urban frenzy of Toronto and her failed marriage to Three Deer Point, a remote wilderness property in West Quebec, that she inherited from her Great Aunt Agatha. She lives in a century old Victorian timber cottage perched on a granite point overlooking the black waters of Echo Lake. Her only neighbour is the reserve of the Fishhook Algonquins, or Migiskan Anishinabeg. She drinks a little too much and is afraid of the dark, yet her only companion in this remote cottage is her wimpy standard poodle, Sergei.

She has fled to this northern paradise to heal her bruised soul. But her sought after peace is invariably interrupted by injustice and murder. Unable to ignore it, Meg becomes enmeshed in a quagmire of murderous intrigue.

After travelling to Baffin Island in Arctic Blue Death, Meg decided that she would love to explore a different Canadian wilderness and visit with its native peoples in every other book. Silver Totem of Shame takes place in Vancouver and Haida Gwaii, the mystical islands of the Haida. Purple Palette for Murder has Meg flying to the Northwest Territories when her husband is charged with murder.

Though the story of each book can stand on its own, there is a backstory about Meg and other characters that evolves from book to book. So avid readers of mystery series might want to start with the first book, Death's Golden Whisper.

Harlick is a member and past president of Crime Writers of Canada and Capital Crime Writers. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime, The Writers Union of Canada and Quebec Writers Federation.

She is a regular panelists at such conferences as Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, and Malice Domestic. She also does many store signings and library readings. To check out her schedule visit her blog.

RJ blogs every second Tuesday on Criminal Minds -

Visit with RJ on Facebook -
and on her website -

My Review

Purple Palette for Murder is the latest Meg Harris mystery by author R.J. Harlick. The Meg Harris series is set in Canada and written by a Canadian author. R.J. Harlick thoroughly researches the areas where she sets the stories and I find that I learn a lot while I am reading an enjoyable tale.

Meg is still recovering from her experiences in the last book, A Cold White Fear, which was a terrifying read. I would still be recovering from them too. But when she finds out her husband has been arrested for the murder of his daughter's accused rapist and attacker, she is on the first plane to Yellowknife in Canada's North West Territories.

Purple Palette for Murder is a great mystery but it is also a great geography lesson. More importantly, the book realistically approaches the problems that linger for Canada's First Nation people. Most of the problems lead back to the residential school system where native children where taken from their parents and placed in schools far from home. At these schools, the children were told to forget their native heritage and become "white" basically. There was terrible abuse at these schools. The results of the abuse have trickled down through the generations and we are left with a lot of damaged people. I applaud author Harlick for her realistic portrayal of a broken but resilient people.

Purple Palette for Murder also touches on the resource development of the North West Territories. Diamonds were discovered there and there has been a boom accompanying this. A number of First Nations people are torn between leaving the habitat intact or exploiting the resources such as diamonds. 

I highly recommend Purple Palette for Murder.