Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Watcher by Sara Davison Blog Tour and Giveaway

 

About the Book

Book:  The Watcher

Author: Sara Davison

Genre: Speculative Romantic Suspense

Release date: March 2021

Someone or something is watching Kathryn Ellison.

Kathryn thought she had buried memories of That Night for good—until Nick Lawson returns, reigniting her long-suppressed feelings for him. Seeing Nick has always reminded her too much of the horrible night that changed her life. As much as she wants to be with him, she wants even more to forget. When Nick unexpectedly shows up at her family ranch, Kathryn knows it is finally time to let go of the traumatic past that has held her captive for so long.

David Henley is a captive too—of the dark secret involving Kathryn, a secret he’s kept even from his wife. Now the truth is about to be revealed. And when it is, he could be stripped of everything in his life that matters to him.

A storm is brewing in the spiritual realm, and its effects reverberate through the natural world, summoning otherworldly Beings to the ranch. While Kathryn confronts the memories of That Night and struggles to let them go, she is not as alone in her home as she thinks.

As spiritual and temporal forces collide, Kathryn—and everyone she loves—is about to be caught in the crossfire.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

First off, readers should know that this novel has a flash back scene that could be a trigger situation for readers who have experienced sexual assault. That out of the way, I found this to be a very interesting novel. The point of view is unique as it is that of an angel, I think. I am a little unsure that the being is an angel because it is described as being immortal and omnipresent. (4944/6319) Generally, those are attributes ascribed only to God. Yet God is elsewhere referenced as “He” by this being (4988/6319) so I am going to conclude the narrator is an angel. I was further confused as the being was said to not be able to move physical things, like letters on a kitchen counter, yet worried about getting hit on the backside by a door and had rain splash on its head. (5415/6319, 5705/6319)

While the description of the narrator was inconsistent, I found the personification of emotions and other characteristics as spiritual beings very interesting. For example, “Pain is an interesting Being.” (4378/6319) And, “Justice is an intimidating Being.” (4472/6319) Capitalization aside as it is usually reserved for deity, it is interesting to think about spiritual beings influencing people to feel pain or to exercise justice. I liked Determination being described as a being perpetually covered in grit. (2553/6319) That's clever writing.

There are several spiritual issues explored in this novel. One is a faith issue of doing what God has called you to do and yet experiencing something terrible. Another issue is honesty. We are confronted with a redeemed man not telling his wife nor the church where he is called to pastor about his previous, sinful life. He pays the price of eventually having to bare all anyway.

I found this novel to be a very interesting one, exploring tragedy, redemption and grace from a unique point of view. If readers can overlook some issues, such as I've described above and a pet peeve of mine, starting a chapter with a dream, this is an entertaining and thought provoking novel.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Sara Davison is the author of three romantic suspense series—The Seven Trilogy, The Night Guardians, and The Rose Tattoo Trilogy, as well as the standalone, The Watcher. She has been a finalist for more than a dozen national writing awards, including Best New Canadian Christian author, a Carol, two Selahs, a Holt Medallion, and three Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a Word and Cascade Award winner. She currently resides in Ontario, Canada with her husband Michael and their three children. The words on the mug she uses every morning pretty much sum up her life—I just want to sleep, drink coffee, and make stuff up. Get to know Sara better at www.saradavison.org and @sarajdavison.

More from Sara

The Watcher has taken me on an incredible journey over the last decade. After obtaining my degree in English literature, I longed to write a book. However, I found the idea of sitting down and actually writing one extremely daunting. So, I took every creative writing course, read every book on the subject, and attended every writing conference and seminar I could fine—basically doing everything except writing. Then one Easter Sunday morning, in church, the idea for an entire book—beginning, middle, ending, characters—came to me. Over the next five years, I wrote, rewrote, edited, polished, and got feedback on the book, until I felt it was nearly ready to submit to a publishing contest.

I say nearly because, while the feedback I had received was largely positive, it was still clear that something was missing. A month before the deadline to submit to the publishing contest, it occurred to me what that something was—the timeline. The novel read a bit like a sweeping epic novel that took place over twenty years. While that might work in some genres, it doesn’t play well in romantic suspense.

I had always been intrigued by the idea of a non-human narrator, and it occurred to me that could work with this book. That led me to the idea of using The Watcher, an unseen being in the spiritual realm, as my narrator. When I added in that being and numerous other beings, I was able to shorten the timeline of the book from twenty years to six days.

Of course, this required a major overhaul of the book. I closeted myself in my office for a month, only completing the story the day before the deadline for the contest. That meant I didn’t have an opportunity to show it to anyone or get feedback, so I had no idea whether the idea worked or if the story even made sense anymore.

The Watcher ended up winning the contest and was published in 2011. A decade and eight other published novels later, I got back the rights to my debut novel, polished it up, added several more chapters, and re-released it through Mountain Brook Ink in 2021.

As my first novel, my only (so-far) standalone, and the sole novel I have released that is speculative romantic suspense as opposed to contemporary romantic suspense, The Watcher holds a special place in my heart. As with all my books, my hope and prayer is that it will touch readers’ hearts and draw them closer to the God who has promised to never leave them or forsake them.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 17

Blogging With Carol, September 17

By the Book, September 17

Inklings and notions, September 18

Texas Book-aholic, September 19

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

For Him and My Family, September 21

deb's Book Review, September 22

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 23

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 25

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, September 26

Library Lady's Kid Lit, September 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 28

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, September 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sara is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/119f3/the-watcher-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Dust to Dust by Audrey Keown

This is an interesting combination of murder mystery and a sort of adult coming of age novel. The setting of the historic hotel, location of the murder, was well done. It immediately set the stage for secrets from the past. And the secrets were fundamental to solving the murder mystery and to revealing a family heritage.

The plot structure moves along at a methodical pace as Ivy, a clerk at the hotel and also a descendant of the original owners of the building, uncovers possibilities as to the identity of the murderer. In that sense, this is not a fast paced nor page turning novel. There is some suspense but only near the end of the mystery section. A bit more of the book reveals family secrets as Ivy comes to understand more of her heritage. I felt the solution to the murder came out of left field, so to speak. It was an unexpected surprise as I either missed clues or there were none.

This is a mystery for readers who like the story of the amateur sleuth to be as important as, if not more so, the actual solving of the mystery. I do like Ivy as a sleuth and will be looking for the next in the series.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Audrey Keown set her mystery series in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a place she calls home. For ten years she wrote professionally for periodicals, sharpening her story telling skills. Themes of redemption and connection to history appear in her novels. Like her protagonist, Ivy, Keown has battled anxiety and writes about mental illness in her fiction, hoping to help lift the stigma. You can find out more at https://www.audreykeown.com/.

Crooked Lane Books, 288 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Illusion of Love by Sarah Hamaker Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  Illusion of Love

Author: Sarah Hamaker

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: October 2020

A suspicious online romance reconnects an agoraphobe and an old friend.

Nursing a hurt leg, psychiatrist Jared Quinby arrives in Culpeper, Virginia, on a case for the FBI. The investigation leads him to the doorstep of his childhood best friend, Mary Divers. Meeting Mary again is the one bright spot in his life.

Suffering from agoraphobia, Mary has at last found love with online beau David Kline and dares to dream of a future with him. Then David reveals he will be leaving the United States to become a missionary in Peru. Determined to stop living in fear, she accepts David’s marriage proposal, even though she’s never met him face-to-face.

As Jared’s case intersects with Mary’s online relationship, the more he uncovers, the more he fears for her safety. Jared tries to convince Mary not all is right with David, but she refuses to believe him. When tragedy strikes, Mary pushes Jared even farther away.

Will Jared convince Mary of the truth—and of his love for her—before it’s too late?

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

This novel is a good exploration of the deceptive nature of an online romantic pursuit. As a senior citizen, I was appalled that Mary fell for an online dating scam. But I know it happens and this novel is a good warning for those who naively approach dating sites.

There were plot points I found very interesting. One was the idea of missionaries. Mary's parents abandoned her to become missionaries. (Or did they?) David tries to swindle Mary by claiming he is becoming a missionary and needs immediate finances. I am not sure what the message is, but using God's work to deceive others was disturbing.

I am too old fashioned to believe that romance could happen over the Internet, sight unseen. This interesting novel, with a na├»ve heroine and a gallant hero, is a good one for young people to read. It well portrays the dangers possible with online interaction verses the reality of actual in person relationships.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

About the Author

Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child, with nonfiction and romantic suspense books published. Her stories have also appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. She’s a member of ACFW and ACFW Virginia Chapter, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, and three cats.

More from Sarah

Have you ever heard a story from a friend (or a friend of a friend) and thought it sounded more like fiction than reality? That’s what happened to me years ago when I heard first-hand a story about a woman who had been deceived by someone close to her.

Even while I grieved with my friend about the lies that had been told at her expense, I also admit to thinking, “That would make a fantastic storyline.” A couple of years later, I asked the friend for permission to use the basic outline of that story for what became Illusion of Love. To keep this friend’s identity a secret—and to avoid giving away the ending of my book—that’s all I can reveal to you.

However, what I can talk about is how interesting people’s reaction to the based-on-a-true story aspect has been along this book’s journey to publication. Most expressed their conviction that something similar could never happen to them. Part of that disbelief comes from our faith in our own ability to ferret out the truth from those around us.

Unfortunately, time and again, it’s been proven that we can be terrible when it comes to judging the true character of others! This is why people get away with pretending to be royalty or people lose money to someone’s Ponzi scheme or why those in authority can often get away with heinous crimes for years (#MeToo, Catholic priest sexual scandals are too horrific examples). Along the way, you’ll find people who wanted to think they wouldn’t be deceived…and were or who overlooked signs that in hindsight pointed right at the lie or perpetrator.

Why has this kept happening over and over again throughout history? I think it boils down to the simple fact that we want to believe we have excellent judgment when it comes to the character and intentions of others, whether we meet those people face to face or online. We also have a tendency, especially if we’re female, to ignore our gut when it tells us to be careful or wary of someone or a particular situation.

Especially when there’s real danger involved—in cases of potential abuse or criminal activity—it’s important to be prepared as much as we can be. One of the best books on this topic is Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. It’s a book I’ve recommended my teenage daughters and sons read before heading to college. What Gavin does is break down why our initial impressions can be wrong and why paying attention to our gut—that unconscious part of ourselves—can be crucial to staying safe, even if it means we sometimes offend or make people mad or upset. If only Mary, my heroine in Illusion of Love, had read The Gift of Fear, things might have turned out differently for her.

Why do you think we believe in our own judgment when it comes to people?

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 15

CarpeDiem, September 15

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, September 16

Inklings and notions, September 17

Texas Book-aholic, September 18

lakesidelivingsite, September 18

For Him and My Family, September 19

deb's Book Review, September 20

Mary Hake, September 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 21

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 22

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, September 23

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 24

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 25

Pause for Tales , September 25

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 26

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 27 (Author Interview)

Spoken from the Heart, September 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 28


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & eBook copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/119e8/illusion-of-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Genius of Jesus by Erwin Raphael McManus

We often turn to geniuses for solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems. Turning to Jesus, McManus found his life changed. He shares insights on living life he has gained from knowing Jesus. Unlike other geniuses, in knowing Jesus a transformation takes place. There is a transformation of genius – not necessarily in understanding physics but in becoming aware of the wonder around us, to becoming a conduit for good, to being fully alive.

McManus explores the lessons he has learned from intimacy with God. He shares insights into engaging with people and dealing with controversy, conflict and opposition. The lesson from Jesus that most impacted me was on empathy. Jesus reveals that “empathy is the highest form of intelligence,” McManus writes. (533/1869) And this empathy is not just so we can care deeply and care well for others. It is also so we would know that God truly understands us.

I appreciate this study on the character and actions of Jesus and how they are to be an example and encouragement for our lives. Those who look to Jesus for clues to increase productivity may be surprised by this book. McManus highlights Jesus showing us power is servanthood, for example, not control. He writes about how Jesus helps us see the beauty in the world, not how we can manipulate it. This is a good book for readers who want to know how knowing Jesus is how we know to truly live.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Erwin Raphael McManus is an iconoclast, entrepreneur, storyteller, fashion designer, filmmaker, and cultural thought leader. He is the founder of Mosaic, a church movement based in the heart of Hollywood with a community that spans the globe. He is the author of previous books on spirituality and creativity, selling more than a million copies worldwide. McManus studied philosophy at Elon University, has a BA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a doctorate in humane letters from Southeastern University. He and his wife live in Los Angeles.

Convergent Books, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Sunday, September 12, 2021

At Your Best by Carey Nieuwhof

You've got a great deal to do and feel overwhelmed. You feel you are on your way to burnout. Many productivity books will suggest you evaluate your tasks and cut some out. You know that is just not a possibility.

Nieuwhof's philosophy is different. As a previous lawyer and current business owner, he knows the amount of tasks that must be accomplished. Cutting some out is just not an option. He suggestions fall into the working smarter category. He delves into best utilizing the three resources every person has: time, energy, and priorities.

Nieuwhof advocates doing what we do best at the time when we are at our best. That means finding out the rhythm of our day. We all have the same number of hours but not all hours have the same potential for us. It was surprising to find out that most people have 3-5 productive hours each day. That's why finding one's highest energy time is so important. One can accomplish much more in fewer hours when utilizing the proper time. I'm a morning person and I'm at my best before noon. I'll focus on what's most important then. But that means I have to establish priorities and Nieuwhof helps me do that too.

This is a good book for people who want to make the best use of the hours God has given them. You'll have suggestions for finding your most productive hours and determining the tasks you want to do in that time. You'll find ways to protect that time and your priorities, including preventing people from distracting you with their priorities. You'll have suggestions for getting back on track when life is disrupted. Soon you'll be doing your best when you're at your best.

You can find out more about the book, start reading the first chapter and watch a book trailer here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer, a bestselling leadership author, a podcaster, and the CEO of Carey Nieuwhof Communications. You can find out more about his work at www.CareyNieuwhof.com. He and his wife have two grown sons and live north of Toronto.

WaterBrook, 240 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Saturday, September 11, 2021

A Plague Among Us by Deb Pines Blog Tour and Giveaway

A Plague Among Us

A Chautauqua Murder Mystery

by Deb Pines

September 1-30, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

When Al Martin, the editor of a satiric newspaper in Chautauqua, N.Y., reportedly dies of COVID-19, the local consensus is: good riddance.

A sister suspects foul play. She wonders why Al was cremated in a hurry.

The police stay out of it.

So it takes reporter and relentless snoop Mimi Goldman to try to find which of Al's haters— including an estranged wife, three bitter siblings, a secretive caregiver, old enemies and the many targets of Al's poison-pen sarcasm—might be a ruthless killer.

The novel, No. 8 in a series called “an Agatha Christie for the text-message age,” once again offers page-turning suspense. Wit. And the unforgettable setting of Chautauqua, a quirky, churchy, lakeside, Victorian cottage-filled summer arts community that launched an adult-education movement Teddy Roosevelt called “the most American thing in America.”

Kirkus Reviews calls A Plague Among Us “an intriguing and engaging crime tale” and “enjoyable novel” with “captivating characters.”

My Review:

This is a fun cozy mystery for readers who like elderly female amateur sleuths, geezer gumshoes as a husband calls them. And I really liked that this mystery actually takes place during the COVID pandemic. In fact, the wearing of masks prevents a suspect from being outed as being someone other than who she claims. And the murder itself is first diagnosed as a death from COVID. It takes the relentless Mimi to to show otherwise.

I always like to learn something when I read fiction. This novel contains some really interesting facts about previous plagues, provided as the content of some local lectures, online, of course. About mandating vaccine, for example, I found out Massachusetts mandated the smallpox vaccine. The case of a resister went all the way to the Supreme court, where he lost. (1114/2361) The WHO declared smallpox eradicated in 1980.

This is a good cozy mystery for elderly readers. You'll be entertained by the geezer gumshoes and you will learn some very interesting information about plagues.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: KDP
Publication Date: July 1, 2021
Number of Pages: 280
ISBN: 979-8525017368
Series: Mimi Goldman Chautauqua Mysteries, Book 8 | Each book can be read as a Stand-Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Mimi and Sylvia were on the road again, heading to the Tissue Donor Center in Jamestown to chase Winston Suarez.

The center wasn’t far from the Loves’ funeral home. But this time Google Maps was directing them to take the highway, not back roads.

They started out the same way, heading west on 394, passing the same early landmarks: the Institution’s empty parking lots, busy golf course and We Wan Chu Cottages.

“So what’s new?” Sylvia asked.

“Too much,” Mimi said. “It’s crazy how I keep learning stuff without seeing how any of it means anything.”

“Because the medical examiner still hasn’t called?”

“Uh-huh.”

Sylvia sighed heavily. “Maybe he’s just as difficult as his dad.”

Tom Love Sr., in Mimi’s opinion, wasn’t difficult. All he had done was stand up for his son before Sylvia picked a fight with him. But Mimi let it go.

“Well, one thing I’ll grant the older one,” Sylvia said.

“What?”

“He’s above average in the looks department.”

Mimi chuckled.

“What?”

“I thought you’re done with all of that nonsense.”

“I am.”

Sylvia moved to the left lane to take the ramp onto Route 17/Interstate-86 East and floored it.

“Whoa, hey,” Mimi said. “Mario Andretti, slow down.”

Okay, okay,” Sylvia said. “Just had to get us on the highway.”

Sylvia slowed down to fit into the slow lane, sticking behind a FedEx truck going a steady 70 miles an hour.

Mimi filled Sylvia in on what she had heard from Shannon about Liam and Patrick. Their denials of knowing anything about the pranks. Their claims the decisions to have no autopsy and a quick cremation were just expedient—so Patrick could get home.

“So what time does Winston Suarez get off work?”

“I’m pretty sure it’s 5.”

Mimi had reached Winston once, described why she was calling. He got quiet, then hung up. After that, she called Winston and never reached him—leaving something like five or six messages.

They stayed on the highway about ten miles before taking the Jamestown airport exit, then winding around a maze of city streets until signs with a big “H” led them to the UPMC Hospital campus.

“Hopefully,” Sylvia said, “we’re more irresistible in person.”

The Tissue Donor Center was one of many outbuildings with medical-sounding names surrounding the redbrick main hospital.

Some were done in their own architectural style. Most, like the Tissue Donor Center, imitated the low-slung, redbrick design of the hospital, down to having a white number (for their address) and a primary-colored letter on their sides.

The letters were explained on campus signs. Building A was the main hospital. Building B, the signs said, was Outpatient Svcs. C was the Sherman Medical Bldg. D was Imaging & Medical Bldg. E was Physical Therapy, Pharmacies. F was the Tissue Donor Cntr.

Sylvia zipped past the early letters of the alphabet, slowing at F, the Tissue Donor Cntr. The main door had its name above it, an intercom to the right. Near the curb, another sign said, “No Standing any time. Ambulance Lane.”

They didn’t see any ambulances, but Sylvia decided to wait for Mimi anyway in a parking lot across the street.

“Break a leg,” Sylvia yelled as Mimi got out.

Mimi laughed.

If she did break a leg, no question, this was the place to do it. Her limb could be X-rayed at the Imaging Bldg.(D) and then set at Outpatient Svcs. (B).

At the door of the Tissue Donor Center, Mimi knocked.

“Who is it?”

The woman’s voice, through the intercom, was familiar.

“My name is Mimi Goldman,” Mimi said. “And—"

“Let me guess? You’re looking for Winston?”

Mimi laughed. “I guess I’m pretty predictable. Is he here?”

“He is. This is Hannah, by the way. We keep speaking on the phone. Why don’t I see if he’ll come out?”

Mimi had high hopes. How hard would it be for Winston to take a few steps to walk outside and see her?

On the other hand, blowing her off might be easier.

When she heard a ping, Mimi examined her phone. Sylvia, after coaching from her grandkids, texted like a teenager.

Wassup?

I asked for WS and someone said they’d get him. Just waiting.

kk

Standing there, Mimi went through her email. Then she switched to her latest word game addiction: Spelling Bee in The New York Times.

Players have to make the most words, four letters or longer, from seven given letters, including one letter that had to be used in every word. The words that day had to be made from BLWCHAE, with all using an E.

Mimi started with the obvious ones: BLEACH, BLECH, BEACH, EACH, LEACH, LECH. She was moving on to trickier words when the center’s door swung open.

Out stepped a tall, handsome, dark-featured young man in a white surgical mask and blue scrubs with the name SUAREZ above his shirt pocket.

“I don’t know who you are,” he said. “I don’t know why you keep asking me about this case, but . . . I’m pleading with you to drop it and just go.”

Mimi had expected an asshole, too lazy or too self-important to talk. Not a frightened young man.

“Can you say why?” she asked. “I have no idea why this case is at all sensitive.”

Winston shook his head.

“How about off the record? You have my word that I’d never tell anyone you ever spoke to me.”

“Sorry,” he said. “I can’t risk losing my job.”

***

Excerpt from A Plague Among Us by Deb Pines. Copyright 2021 by Deb Pines. Reproduced with permission from Deb Pines. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Deb Pines, an award-winning headline writer for the New York Post, is the author of seven Mimi Goldman novels and one novelette all set in the Chautauqua Institution in southwestern New York where they are top sellers.
A former reporter, Deb is also a lover of puns, show tunes and indoor cycling. She lives in New York City with her husband Dave.

Catch Up With Deb Pines:
DebPines.com
Goodreads
BookBub - @debpines
Instagram - @pinesdebbie
Twitter - @pinesdeb
Facebook - @deborah.pines.9

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Click here to view A Plague Among Us by Deb Pines Tour Hosts.

 

ENTER TO WIN:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Deb Pines. There will be 2 winners who will each receive one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (U.S. ONLY). The giveaway runs September 1 through October 3, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Friday, September 10, 2021

To Write a Wrong by Jen Turano

About the Book:

Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she's determined to solve.

Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the services of the eccentric Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.

As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne's way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.

My Review:

I don't know how Turano keeps coming up with funny novels but she does. I laughed out loud. Daphne is such a well crafted character. She is so sincere in wanting to figure out the crime but she bungles events so many times. I've heard of crashing a dinner party but Daphne takes it to a new level. And who knew a bustle was a good defense against an arrow or could function as a flotation device? I mean, who else could create horrible poetry upon demand like Daphne does?

Within the midst of the humor are some interesting and serious issues. There is over protection from a grandmother because of a previous disaster. The plight of women at the time is well covered. Daphne is a mystery novelist but must write under a male pseudonym because, of course, women would certainly not do anything like that. And most distressing to me, a husband could have his wife committed to an asylum without reason.

I recommend this novel to readers who are ready for a good dose of humor and a sprinkling of romance along with some very interesting commentary on the times.

This is the second novel in the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency. You can read my review of the first in the series, To Steal a Heart.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Named one of the funniest voices is inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist and top picks from Romantic Times. She's been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado. You can find out more at https://jenturano.com/. Photo: Rey Laureano, Jr.

Bethany House, 368 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments aare an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Cryptographer's Dilemma by Johnnie Alexander

About the Book:

A code developer uncovers a Japanese spy ring

FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent latter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is read to enlist and head overseas when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?


My Review:

I enjoyed this novel, a good example of an amateur person put on the tail of a traitor. Eloise is a good heroine. She's a capable woman, helping decode, then being taken in by the FBI. I liked reading about her FBI training. Eloise was a trooper.

I always enjoy learning something new when I read fiction and there was much in this novel about decoding. I had no idea the time and effort put into the process. And I was surprised at the many types of codes, especially the one that would look like a regular letter but contained code words and phrases.

I like this series because the fiction is based on fact. There really was a Doll Woman who received money from the Japanese for information about American ships damaged at Pearl Harbor. I appreciate the Author's Note identifying the fact and fiction in the novel.

This is a good novel for readers who enjoy historical fiction. You'll find a good novel about how the FBI worked in the 1940s, a bit about decoding, and a good budding romance. There is a little Christian faith in the novel but it is slight.

You can find out more about Alexander's historical research for this novel here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

Johnnie Alexander is an award winning author as well as a noted essayist and poet. She writes in multiple genres – historical, contemporary, romance, cozy mysteries, and more. You can find out more at http://johnnie-alexander.com/

Barbour Books, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)