Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Review: Crushed by Deborah Coonts

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 761 KB
  • Print Length: 281 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Deborah Coonts (March 8 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01AIMM17E

Book Description

In Napa Valley, he who has the best grapes wins.
And in the pursuit of perfection, dreams and hearts can be crushed.

Sophia Stone is a widow on the brink of an empty nest, stuck in an unsatisfying job managing the vineyard for a mediocre Napa vintner. Faced with an uncertain future she wonders how do you choose between making a living and making a life? Between protecting your heart and sharing it? Five years ago, after her husband was killed in an accident, Sophia put her heart and dreams on ice to care for those around her. Now her home, her dreams, and her family's legacy grapes are threatened by the greed of the new money moving into the Valley. Sophia has a choice--give up and let them take what is hers, or risk everything fighting a battle everyone says she can't win.

Nico Treviani has one goal in life: make brilliant wine. A woman would be an unwanted distraction. So, while recognized as one of Napa's premier vintners, Nico finds himself alone... until his brother's death drops not one, but two women into his life--his thirteen-year-old twin nieces. In an instant, Nico gains a family and loses his best friend and partner in the winemaking business. Struggling to care for his nieces, Nico accepts a job as head winemaker for Avery Specter, one of the new-money crowd. And he learns the hard way that new money doesn't stick to the old rules.

When Sophia Stone gets caught in the middle of Nico's struggle to remain true to himself or sacrifice his convictions to make stellar wine, both Sophia and Nico are faced with a choice they never imagined. A choice that might extinguish the hope of a future neither expected.

About the Author

 My mother tells me I was born a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted. These things I do know: I was raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. I am the author of Wanna Get Lucky? (A NY Times Notable Crime Novel and double RITA™ Finalist), its five sequels, Lucky Break being the latest, and four between-the-books novellas. Currently I’m stretching my writer muscles working on a women’s fiction/contemporary romance series set in Napa, a dark thriller, a romantic suspense series featuring a female helicopter pilot, as well as the next Lucky adventure—all very different projects. So, if you see me with a glass of Champagne in hand, you’ll understand. I can usually be found at the bar, but also at www.deborahcoonts.com.

My Review

 I have read and enjoyed the Lucky series by author Deborah Coonts. Crushed is a completely different type of novel. It is a contemporary romance set in the beautiful Napa Valley.

Crushed was a great read. Coonts is a wonderful writer. The words just flow on the pages of Crushed and it is pleasure to read. The main characters Sophia and Nico are both interesting people that you want the best for.

The setting is a beautiful area that Coonts captures well. I am very familiar with Napa and Sonoma counties. We love to ride through the enchanting hills filled with vineyards as we head to Jenner on the coast. The Russian River valley is simply gorgeous. Thanks for taking me back there through your words.

Deb Coonts knows a lot about wine. I found the information about wine in the book very interesting. I am not a wine connoisseur but my husband is obsessed with California old vine zins so I spend a lot of time researching wines when looking for his presents.

Crushed is a great contemporary romance. Romance readers will definitely enjoy this tale. It is available on March 8th.

Launch Day Blitz and Giveaway!: Kiss Me in Christmas (Christmas, Colorado #6) by Debbie Mason

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1045 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forever (Feb. 23 2016)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00Z7J7BBA


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Buy the book!

Book Description

Actress Chloe O'Connor has become America's sweetheart, but back in little Christmas, Colorado, she's still remembered as a shy, awkward schoolgirl. And there's no one she dreads (and secretly wants) to see more than her high school crush, Easton McBride. Just one look from the former star quarterback and it's like she's instantly transformed from daytime drama queen to tongue-tied teenager. She's kissed Hollywood actors and famous cover models, so she can certainly play it cool while turning up the heat, right?

After an injury ended his military career, Easton McBride built a good life in the rugged countryside of his hometown. And the last thing he needs is his quiet solitude shattered by a high-maintenance temptress who isn't anything like the sweet Chloe he misses. While he enjoys the flirtation with this new bold and beautiful woman, he can't help but wonder whether a kiss could have the power to bring back the small-town girl he's grown to love.

About the Author

Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their four wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

Social Media Links:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Review: Breaking Busy How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy By Alli Worthington

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 998 KB
  • Print Length: 207 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (Jan. 26 2016)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00UF72DDK

Book Description

Have you ever felt like a fraud or failure as you struggle to find balance in life? Do you find yourself juggling everything in mediocrity and feeling like you’re succeeding at very little? In her no-nonsense way, Alli Worthington tackles the big questions about finding happiness and one’s God-given purpose.

Breaking Busy marries popular secular research from the fields of social and positive psychology with solid biblical principles, instilling listeners with the confidence that they, too, can move from crazy busy to confident calm. With refreshing candor, uproarious true stories, and a Christian worldview, Alli delivers truths that dismantle common happiness myths. Then she empowers listeners to get unstuck, to let go of the good to make way for the great, to know themselves and their Creator, and ultimately to find peace and purpose in this world of crazy.

Learn how to stop chasing what leaves you empty and start doing what you were created to do. Identify the common lies you believe and how to strip their power from your life. Recognize how what you say no to determines what you can say yes to. With relatable anecdotes, Alli models for listeners real-life guidance on boundaries, relationships, and self-care, humbly examining her own mistakes and walking them through how she learned from her missteps and found peace in a world of busyness.

If you long to find real connection in an age of over-connectedness, with both your loved ones and your Creator, Alli Worthington deftly balances intelligent humility and heartwarming humor to help you rediscover your path.

About the Author


My Review

Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy by author Alli Worthington is such a timely book for the women of today. I first heard about Breaking Busy through the Propel Women Book Club. Readers can read along through the Propel Women Facebook page. I am enjoying all of the bible study material they are providing including resources and summaries to enrich the reading and studying of Breaking Busy.

My goodness, what women does not fall into the trap of being too busy. Many of today's women work or home school their children as well as having them involved in many activities. Even empty-nesters like myself can fall into this trap. It is all about how to say No. How to know which activities you are actually called by God to be involved in. Breaking Busy is a great book to help the reader achieve the goal of not overextending themselves. How to stop the busyness!

How many times have you said I am so tired...I am so busy! We all have. We need to stop. We need peace and fulfillment in our lives. Not busyness. Being busy does not mean you are using your time wisely. Sometimes you get roped into things, like coaching one of your children's teams, because nobody else volunteers. Do you know what..if you say NO...someone will say Yes. Someone who was too shy to say something...someone who really is called to fill that spot. You need to break the Busy Habit. Using biblical examples, Alli Worthington helps the reader understand that being busy is not where God wants us to be.

Sometimes we are so busy that we end up neglecting God. Breaking Busy is a great resource for helping us identify how we are so busy with church, family and work activities that we neglect what is important in life. I like the Action Steps at the end of each chapter. Worthington asks us to ponder questions about our life. For example at the end of Chapter Two, she asks:

  1. Ask yourself: What are the things in my life that really matter?
  2. How can you deepen your connection to Christ? What one thing can you do each day to build your connection?
  3. Pick one thing that will connect you more deeply to an important person in your life - then do it.
There is an abundance of great material in Breaking Busy. Alli Worthington is a new to me author that I am very impressed with. The Introduction to the book is written by one of my favorites, Christine Caine.

Be sure to pick up a copy of Breaking Busy. Great inspirational book.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: No Cats Allowed Cat in the Stacks Mystery #7 by Miranda James

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1039 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (Feb. 23 2016)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00X593CO4

Book Description

 In the latest mystery in the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series, librarian Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat Diesel must clear a friend when the evidence is stacked against her…

Springtime in Mississippi is abloom with beauty, but the library’s employees are too busy worrying to stop and smell the flowers. The new library director, Elwyn Dillard, is a brash, unfriendly Yankee who’s on a mission to cut costs—and his first targets are the archive and the rare book collection.

As annoying as a long-overdue book, Dillard quickly raises the hackles of everyone on staff, including Charlie’s fiery friend Melba—whom Dillard wants to replace with someone younger. But his biggest offense is declaring all four-legged creatures banned from the stacks.

With enemies aplenty, the suspect list is long when Dillard’s body is discovered in the library. But things take a turn for the worse when a threatening e-mail throws suspicion on Melba.

Charlie is convinced that his friend is no murderer, especially when he catches sight of a menacing stranger lurking around the library. Now he and Diesel will have to read between the lines, before Melba is shelved under “G” for guilty…

About the Author

 Miranda James is the pseudonym of Dean James, a seventh-generation Mississippian recently returned home after over thirty years in Texas. A mystery fan since the age of ten, he wrote his first novel at the ripe old age of twelve. The only copy of The Mystery of the Willow Key vanished years ago, but since it was highly derivative of the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series, that’s probably a good thing.

Dean James aka Miranda James Currently a librarian in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Dean has published articles on topics in library science, the history of science/medicine, and mystery fiction. His first book, which he co-wrote with fellow librarian Jean Swanson, was By a Woman’s Hand (Berkley; 1994). Jean and Dean won an Agatha Award for Best Mystery Non-Fiction and were nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the Edgar for Best Critical-Biographical work for this popular reference book. A second edition followed two years later, and Dean and Jean collaborated on two further projects, Killer Books (Berkley; 1998) and The Dick Francis Companion (Berkley; 2003). In all he has co-authored or co-edited six works of mystery reference and one short story anthology.

His first novel, Cruel as the Grave (Silver Dagger Mysteries) was published in 2000. Since then he has published eighteen more novels, writing under his own name and the pseudonyms Jimmie Ruth Evans and Honor Hartman. In August 2010 he launched a new series writing as Miranda James. The first book under this name, Murder Past Due (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99) spent four weeks on the extended New York Times bestseller list for mass market paperbacks. The next book in the series, Classified as Murder (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99), published in May 2011, also hit the NYT list. The third book, File M for Murder (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99) is out now. The fourth book, Out of Circulation (Berkley Prime Crime; $7.99) debuted at no. 11 on the bestseller list. Book five, The Silence of the Library, debuted at no. 8 on the bestseller list. Book six, Arsenic and Old Books, is just out. 

Dean lives with two young cats, thousands of books, and thinks frequently about killing people – but only in the pages of fiction.

My Review

No Cats Allowed is the seventh book in the Cat in the Stacks mystery series by author Miranda James. I enjoy cozy mysteries and this is the first book I have read in the Cat in the Stacks series. It is also the first book of Miranda (Dean) James that I have read.

What attracted me to No Cats Allowed was that it was a cozy mystery, a cat was one of the main characters and the main setting is a library. I think I would have loved being a librarian and I enjoyed the insight into the library system provided in this book.

No Cats Allowed is a mystery and I enjoyed the mystery aspect of it. I had a pretty good idea of who the killer was by the middle of the book but there were some red herrings that kept me questioning my choice. I loved Diesel the Cat..he reminded me of our recently deceased kitty whose needs were always paramount in our home.

Charlie Harris, our main character, is an intelligent career librarian. I enjoyed all the supporting characters who helped to bring No Cats Allowed to life. I really enjoyed the library setting and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

If you are looking for a well written cozy mystery, I highly recommend No Cats Allowed.

You can discover more about the series here:  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Review: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 1 2016)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B014DXC07U

Book Description

 From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it...

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

About the Author

 Lisa Lutz is the New York Times bestselling author of The Spellman Files, Curse of the Spellmans, Revenge of the Spellmans, The Spellmans Strike Again, Trail of the Spellmans, Spellman Six: The Next Generation (previously published as The Last Word), Heads you Lose (with David Hayward), and the children's book, How to Negotiate Everything (illustrated by Jaime Temairik). Her latest book, How to Start a Fire, will be published in May 2015. Lutz has won the Alex award and has been nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel.

Although she attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, the University of Leeds in England, and San Francisco State University, she still does not have a bachelor's degree. Lisa spent most of the 1990s hopping through a string of low-paying odd jobs while writing and rewriting the screenplay Plan B, a mob comedy. After the film was made in 2000, she vowed she would never write another screenplay. Lisa lives in the Hudson Valley, NY.

My Review

I am a huge fan of the Spellman series by author Lisa Lutz. The Passenger is another fun book by author Lutz that I really enjoyed reading. What a ride!

Author Lisa Lutz takes the reader on quite the adventure in The Passenger. It is a fast paced read that I had trouble putting down. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next in the crazy life of the main character of many names...lets call her Tanya, the first name we know her as. The Passenger is based upon a fascinating premise that Tanya can pick up new identities even in our digital age. I learned a lot about living off the grid.

I won't give anything away but The Passenger had one of the most satisfying endings that I have read in a while. Everything comes together in such a way that everything that happened made so much sense. Great writing and a great story. Impressive tale.

I loved this book! Highly recommend The Passenger by Lisa Lutz.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Great Escapes Book Tour and Giveaway: A Bead in the Hand by Janice Peacock

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 895 KB
  • Print Length: 204 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Booktrope Editions (Dec 5 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01721C3XQ

High Strung, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, will be 99 cents from Feb 7th through 11th and $1.99 from Feb 12th through 15th.  Be Still My Beading Heart, A Glass Bead Mini-Mystery short story is free on Amazon and iTunes. A Bead in the Hand is available for the discounted price of $2.99 through February 15th.

Tour Participants

February 5 – Laura’s Interests – Review
February 5 – The Self-Rescue Princess – Interview
February 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – Spotlight
February 6 – Community Bookstop – Review
February 7 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
February 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Guest Post
February 8 – Brooke Blogs – Guest Post
February 9 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
February 9 – Back Porchervations – Review
February 9 – MysteriesEtc – Review
February 10 – Book Babble – Review
February 10 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review
February 11 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – Spotlight
February 11 – Queen of All She Reads – Review
February 12 – Annette’s blog – Guest Post
February 12 – Island Confidential – Interview

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Book Description

 A bead bazaar turns bizarre when jewelry designer and glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell discovers a dead body beneath her sales table. Suspected of murder, Jax and her friend Tessa scramble to find the killer among the fanatic shoppers and eccentric vendors. They have their hands full dealing with a scumbag show promoter, hipsters in love, and a security guard who wants to do more than protect Jax from harm. Adding to the chaos, Jax’s quirky neighbor Val arrives unexpectedly with trouble in tow. Can Jax untangle the clues before she’s arrested for murder?

A Bead in the Hand is the second book in the Glass Bead Mystery series.

About the Author

Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, the first book in a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.

When Janice Peacock isn’t writing about glass artists who are amateur detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry, and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of several museums. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three cats, and seven chickens. She has a studio full of beads…lots and lots of beads.

Author Links

Website: http://www.janicepeacock.com/ 
Blog: http://blog.janicepeacock.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JanicePeacockAuthor 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/janpeac (@janpeac)
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/janpeac
Instagram: https://instagram.com/janpeac
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8389583.Janice_Peacock

Purchase Links

High Strung, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, will be 99 cents from Feb 7th through 11th and $1.99 from Feb 12th through 15th.

Be Still My Beading Heart, A Glass Bead Mini-Mystery short story is free on Amazon and iTunes. A Bead in the Hand is available for the discounted price of $2.99 through February 15th.

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Bead-Hand-Glass-Mystery/dp/151370561X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1451926147&sr=8-2

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-bead-in-the-hand-janice-peacock/1123025263?ean=9781513705613

My Review

A Bead in the Hand is the second book in the Glass Bead mystery series. I enjoyed the first book in the series, High Strung, and I enjoyed A Bead in the Hand as well.

Jax, our main character, is once again embroiled in a murder mystery. There are many familiar characters from the first book. I think I enjoyed this one a little better than the first. I am very glad to have a series centered around glass beads.  It will help people understand how much work and artistry goes into the making of glass beads. I enjoyed the bead bazaar setting. I love a good bead bazaar!

Great story filled with interesting characters and most of all beads. I recommend this page turner of a cozy mystery. A Bead in the Hand is a great read.

Be sure to grab these deals:

High Strung, the first book in the Glass Bead Mystery Series, will be 99 cents from Feb 7th through 11th and $1.99 from Feb 12th through 15th.  Be Still My Beading Heart, A Glass Bead Mini-Mystery short story is free on Amazon and iTunes. A Bead in the Hand is available for the discounted price of $2.99 through February 15th.