Saturday, November 28, 2020

Snuffed Out Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Snuffed Out

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian cozy mystery

Release Date: July 24, 2020

Picnics can be murder… scenes.

What was supposed to be a romantic picnic at “their spot” turns criminal when Katrina and Todd stumble—almost literally—over a body.

What’s the college chef doing under a bush up in the mountains? Other than being dead, that is.

Who killed him? Why?

All clues point to people who Katrina is certain didn’t do it. Especially the one who ends up dead himself.

Uh, oh.

Thanks to a slow-burning romantic relationship that can’t seem to get past chapter one, and a determination to save her friend from false arrest, Katrina joins Todd again as they riddle out bizarre clues, weed through unlikely suspects, and learn to communicate on a more personal level.

What do you get when you combine literary humor, sweet romance, and a practical helping of faith? A cozy mystery that’ll keep you guessing. Barbara Cornthwaite’s second Wilkester Mystery has everything you want for a cozy read.

Snag Snuffed Out today.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review 

This is another enjoyable cozy mystery featuring Katrina, amateur sleuth and literature professor. The murder aspect of the novel was good with a twist at the end I didn't see coming, though there were hints. This novel had a bit more about the relationship between Katrina and Todd, the police detective who is sweet on her. Katrina deals with some personal issues relating to falling for a divorced man.

I like how Cornthwaite adds several side issues to the plot. There is a realistic look at the potential difficulties in fostering troubled children. I like how Katrina suggests one can gain insights into the culture of a historical time better through the literature of the day than just through the historical facts given. The literature quotes and poems and exploration of Milton are a plus. And I am especially impressed with how Katrina expresses her Christianity. Cornthwaite did an excellent job there.

I liked this cozy mystery taking place in the Pacific Northwest, near Mount Rainier. I do wish Cornthwaite had included more description of the mighty mountain represented on the cover and the view Katrina and Todd saw from their rock. Other than that, an enjoyable novel. I will certainly be looking for the next in the series.

I've also reviewed the first book in this series and you can read my review of Brought to Book here.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

About the Author

Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

Teaser for Snuffed Out

Todd closed the folder with the Franklin case paperwork in it and laid it on top of the stack of folders waiting to be filed. He almost reached for the Delaney case notes again but resisted the impulse. There was no new information in there, and he’d gone over everything a dozen times in the last few days. He had promised Katrina he wouldn’t give up, but without any new leads to pursue, there wasn’t much he could do.

He shook his head, impatient with himself. He’d been doing so well at putting her out of his mind—hadn’t thought of her all day until this moment. Now he’d probably be struggling for the rest of the day.

John Ortega poked his head into Todd’s office.

“Hey, we just got a call from the librarian at Wilkester College about the theft of a manuscript. The chief said either one of us could go, but I thought you might like to take it.”


“Oh, come on,” said John. “You think I’m blind and deaf?”

“It’s no use. Nothing’s going to happen between Dr. Peters and me.”

John leaned up against the door frame and grinned at him. “’Dr. Peters,’ huh? She was ‘Katrina’ for weeks.”

“Well, that was before. Now that I know a relationship isn’t possible, I need to keep my distance.”

“She turned you down?”

“I didn’t ask, but trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”

“Hmm,” John said. “You don’t usually give up on things so easily. Well, do you mind handling this anyway? I’ve got that other robbery case to deal with, and I’m supposed to be interviewing that guy from Tacoma in a couple hours.” Todd hesitated and John added, “She’s an adjunct professor, right? She’s probably not even on campus now, and she certainly won’t be in the library.”

“Oh, okay.” Todd sighed. He pushed back his chair and stood up.

“’Attaboy. Thanks for taking the call.” John turned to go and then looked back. “It will get easier, you know.”

“I know.” As long as I don’t see her again.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 28

Debbie's Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Texas Book-aholic, November 29

Nancy E Wood, November 29

The Avid Reader, November 30

Genesis 5020, November 30

For the Love of Literature, November 30

Sodbusterliving, December 1

Artistic Nobody, December 1 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 2

deb's Book Review, December 2

Remembrancy, December 3

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 3

Splashes of Joy, December 3

Inklings and notions, December 4

21st Century Keeper at Home, December 4

For Him and My Family, December 5

Blogging With Carol, December 5

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 6

Emily Yager, December 6

Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting, December 7

Lis Loves Reading, December 7

Labor Not in Vain, December 7

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 8

Mary Hake, December 8

She Lives to Read, December 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, December 10

Godly Book Reviews, December 10

SusanLovesBooks, December 10

Daysong Reflections, December 11

Bizwings Blog, December 11


To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

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

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.)

Friday, November 27, 2020

What Unites Us by Dan Rather and Elliott Kirschner

Frequently, during the last four years, I have been discouraged at the dysfunction of our national government. Rather's book is a gentle breeze of fresh air.

I take encouragement from some of Rather's final words. “I remind myself and others that we have been through big challenges in the past, that it often seems darkest in the present. The pendulum of our great nation seems to have swung toward conceit and unsteadiness once again, but it is in our power to wrest it back.” (259)

Rather shares a combination of memoir and stories reminding us of how our nation has risen to the challenge so many times before through inspiring leadership and selfless patriotism. He reminds us what has made this nation truly great: science, education, the arts, a free press. I was especially impressed with his chapter on dissent and how essential it is when the path of the nation gets derailed. We are a better and stronger nation, Rather says, for having such voices. (43)

This is a good book to read “as the nation has careened into an existential crisis. The order of the past, of how governments were meant to run and how presidents were supposed to behave, has cracked.” (265) But as Rather's father told him, “Steady.” Reach deep down, Rather writes, “deep into the soul of this nation and hold on to the central principles that have made us great.” (268) Wise words for a nation ready to pick itself up and make progress.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Dan Rather is one of the world's best known journalists. He has interviewed every president since Eisenhower and covered almost every important dateline around the world. He joined CBS News in 1962, and in 1981 assumed the position of Anchor and Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News, which he held for 24 years. His reporting helped turn 60 Minutes into an institution and launched 48 Hours as a newsmagazine program. Unpon leaving CBS, Rather created the Emmy Award-winning Dan Rather Reports on HDNet. He is the founder, president, and CEO of News and Guts, an independent production company that specializes in high quality nonfiction content across a range of channels.

Elliot Kirschner is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and film maker. After a career at CBS, he joined his long time collaborator Dan Rather as senior producer for Dan Rather Reports. He now develops film, television and digital project. He lives with his family in San Francisco.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 288 pages.

(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, November 26, 2020

The Well of Ice by Andrea Carter

I liked this mystery set in Ireland and featuring a female amateur sleuth. Solicitor Benedicta “Ben” had moved to the Inishowen Peninsula to escape her past and start a new life. But then she saw the man who had killed her sister ten years prior. He had recently been released from prison. And then things begin to happen in Glendara. A favorite pub burns and the barmaid is found murdered. And then strange things begin to happen to her.

This is not really a police procedural novel. It is more about how Ben talks to people, finding out about them and inquiring as to what they know. Histories and secrets are slowly revealed as Ben tries to figure out what is going on and who is behind the evil deeds.

This is the third novel in a series but it read well on its own. It is a good novel for readers who enjoy one concentrating on character interaction as the way to solve a murder mystery. You'll have to be interested in the lives of a variety of characters to remain engaged in this novel. You will get a very good sense of place in a remote location in Ireland. Carter does well with descriptions, setting the story securely in the remote and winter weather of the peninsula. I can't imagine Ben wanting to swim in the cold coastal waters. That alone made me shiver.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Andrea Carter grew up in Laois and studied law at Trinity College, before moving to the Inishowen peninsula in County Donegal where she ran the most northerly solicitor's practice in the country. In 2006 she returned to Dublin to work as a barrister before turning to write crime novels.

Oceanview Publishing, 352 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.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Things We Didn't Say by Amy Lynn Green

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this engaging and informative novel. What an interesting idea, to have the novel consist entirely of letters and other communications, such as newspaper articles and government documents. I liked the leading character, Johanna, who was crafted exceptionally well. And that her character was revealed through her letters and the letters of others was remarkable. I liked her wit and humor so often fully revealed in letters she wrote but then never sent.

In addition to being entertaining, the novel dealt with some serious issues. How we pray for the unsaved in view of a sovereign God is one issue included. Another was how Christians are to treat their enemies. There is much about prejudice in the novel as a small Minnesota community deals with a new POW camp nearby. Johanna, musing on her insights from translating and censoring POW letters reflects, “Maybe, I thought, if I were pen pals with everyone in the world, I would understand people better.” (Loc 2392/5593)

I highly recommend this novel. It is an engaging story of fictional characters facing serious issues during WW II – ones we still face today. Green is a very creatively talented writer and this is an amazing debut effort. Please, another novel soon!

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Amy Lynn Green is a publicist by day and a freelance writer on nights and weekends. She was the 2014 winner of the Family Fiction short story contest, and her articles have been featured in Crosswalk, Focus on the Family magazines, and other faith-based publications over the last ten years. This is her first novel. You can find out more at Photo Credit: © Roger Smith Photography

Bethany House, 416 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.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Murder at the Village Fete by Catherine Coles

I enjoyed this cozy mystery novella. Tommy and Evelyn are a charming couple and I like the relationship they have. Even though they are living into their new titles of Lord and Lady, he still goes out to help the estate manager and she still loves to bake. Their characters are refreshing in the otherwise stilted social atmosphere of the English countryside in the 1920s.

The mystery was done pretty well. The murder relates to previous accusations of crimes. Now there are new accusations and a threat of blackmail. I did not read the previous book in this series so I do not know if the previous novel contains details of the earlier incidents but this novel has enough back story that it reads well on its own.

This is a fun novella for readers who enjoy a cozy mystery set in an entertaining location and era and includes a couple of delightful amateur sleuths.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Catherine Coles has been a legal secretary, a night carer, in a bar while completing a law degree, a family law practitioner, a childminder, a foster carer, a home carer, a receptionist, facilitating car deliveries for online customers, and a PA/HR Manager. Now she writes full time and lives in the north east of England. You can find out more at

Independently Published, 169 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Book Sirens. 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.)

Harness the Power of the Invincible Mind by Alex Neumann

Neumann shares wisdom from his life journey. When he was a young man, he wanted to change the world. Now, as “a bedridden sick older man,” he realizes if he had focused on changing himself, it would have had far reaching effects. (118/318)

He shares stories. Lots and lots of stories. For readers of personal improvement books, these stories will be well known. He explores the meaning of success. He investigates perceptions and thoughts and beliefs. I like his emphasis on the importance of the everyday decisions we make. They may seem small but they have an impact on the world.

The book contains lots of encouragement. For example: “Kick the obstacles; if they won't move, climb on them, if this is not possible, go around them, if that is not possible, rise above them.” (200/318) How you accomplish any of those tasks is left to you to figure out.

This is a good book for readers new to ones about personal improvement. It is good encouragement to be a lasting inspirations to others even if it is light on the practical means to do so.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Alex Neumann is an author, engineer, corporate mentor, and technology investor. He is a member of The Independent Book Publishers Association. He holds a BA in English Literature and an MSc in Computer Science. He lives with his wife, dog and cat. You can find out more at

Pearson Press, 193 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.)

Monday, November 23, 2020

What You Said to Me by Olivia Newport

I enjoyed this latest novel in the Tree of Life series featuring genealogy investigations. The story takes place in what was previously a mining town in Colorado. The narrative has two time periods, today and the early 1890s. The historical story is of closing silver mines and thousands of men losing their jobs. The experiences of one family then has ramifications for people today.

Newport's writing style is a pleasant one, almost old fashioned in that it is gentle. I like it as it makes for an easy and comfortable reading experience. I liked the banter between Jillian, the genealogy researcher, and her dad, one skilled in mediation. I liked learning about the Colorado silver mines and the devastation the ensued when the U.S. ceased to buy so much silver, moving toward more gold coinage.

Newport explores a number of relationship issues in the novel. Jillian is looking to historical adoptions, some of which were not through normal legal channels. A troubled teen, Tisha, is helping her, working off community hours. Tisha finds out that some people do not want to know their family origins, even though she wants to find out who her father is. The whole issue makes one think about how important family heritage is and if it influences current behavior.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Olivia Newport
lives in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies.

Shiloh run Press, 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.)

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Eye for Eye Trilogy by J K Franko Blog Tour and Giveaway

Eye for Eye Trilogy

by JK Franko

October 19 - December 31, 2020 Tour


If you like smart, fast-paced thrillers with unexpected twists, then you’ll love J.K. Franko's Eye for Eye Trilogy!

“REALISTIC & CHILLING!” - Mystery Thriller Week




Eye for Eye


Roy and Susie are on a skiing holiday, trying to take a break from the constant reminders of their daughter, tragically killed by a careless driver. Out of the blue they meet Deb and Tom, another couple with a tragic past and a shocking proposal to put things right.

As the bodies accumulate, secrets are revealed and alliances crumble. Ultimate survival depends on following the rules for a perfect murder. And the first rule is… leave no singing bones.

Amazon | Goodreads

 My Review

I found this to be an engaging novel but in a methodical way, not in the normal suspense driven way. The plot is one of psychological drama and character revelation that was fascinating. To think that one could plan and execute the perfect, evidence free murder. And then to wonder if there was just one mistake, one detail that might set the police on an unrelenting investigation.

I like how Franko developed the characters, such an essential aspect of this novel. Hidden relationships are revealed as associated facts become known. Underlying layers of motives and related actions are revealed bit by bit. It is definitely an engaging way to develop a murder mystery. I like the narrator point of view, causing me to wonder who this person was, knowing all the facts and personalities involved. And when the narrator is revealed at the end, we are perfectly set up for a sequel.

I was unhappy with a rather graphic sex scene that was unrelated to the plot and certainly did not add to it. There was also quite a bit of vulgar language that, while appropriate for the character, was not something I appreciated.

This is a good novel for readers who enjoy one of psychological suspense. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.


The Trial of Joe Harlan Junior

A college Halloween party. A night of fun, dress-up, and laughter. But for Kristy Wise, it quickly became a night of horror.

Now, Joe Harlan Junior, entrepreneur and son of a prominent senator, is at risk of losing everything as he stands accused of a crime he insists he did not commit.

Yet the facts are undisputed: Kristy was drugged, and she did have sex with Joe.

But was it consensual?

Read the story. Listen to the testimony. Is everything that happens next justified?

YOU decide.

Amazon | Goodreads

My Review:

 I read this prequel after reading the first novel in this collection. While the trial record was interesting, a scene Deb related about her childhood was much more informative. As Franko tends to do, that little story revealed the roots of action in Eye for Eye. It is worth the read. 

Tooth for Tooth

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

Amazon | Goodreads

My Review 

Franko knows how to weave many threads into a compelling story. Each of the threads represents a different character and each having a different piece of the overall puzzle.

As with the first novel in this series, the theme is revenge, a terrible task master. The personal dispensing of justice takes on a life of its own. Franko has created a situation where people cannot go to the police. There are people manipulating others with lies and deceit. There are secrets that turn deadly.

Franko is a master at misdirecting. He is also good at revealing the layers of deceit and secrets from the past as the plot progresses. He deftly brings in new characters. Previously unknown, they become essential to the plot.

I am hooked on this series. Franko has done a good job of exploring the psyche of one who craves revenge and those who are willing to deliver it.

Life for Life

What would YOU do if someone threatened your family?

Roy Cruise and his pregnant wife Susie barely survived an assassination attempt in their own home. The police now have them under surveillance. Meanwhile, Kristy Wise is a loose cannon—she knows too much and is trying to “set things right.”

What goes around comes around. And in this case, Roy and Susie may have pushed things too far. There are too many dead bodies. Too many foes plotting against them.

Roy and Susie must outwit the police and neutralize their enemies once and for all. If not, their days of retribution may end behind bars... or six feet under.

Amazon | Goodreads

 My Review:

Franko maintains an engaging story in this third novel of the series. I like how he introduces new characters into the plot and how they shed light on actions in previous novels. I like how he explores yet again the concept of planning the perfect murder and the possible ramifications that follow. Even though this theme has been central to the prior novels, Franko adds situations and insights to maintain the engaging nature of his narrative. This novel is certainly a study of lives ruined because of choices made.

And that is another theme of this novel, choices we make in life. Can we continually make choices determining the course of our life, changing the trajectory as life unfolds? Or are there particular choices we make that set us on an unchangeable path, that causes character change that cannot be undone?

Franko includes a shocking twist in this novel I did not see coming at all. And he sets us up yet again to be waiting for a sequel. This series has been so interesting and Franko has been so skilled at creating an engaging narrative, I will be looking for the next novel with anticipation. 

My Review of the Trilogy:

I am impressed with this series. Franko has managed to maintain the development of characters throughout, as new situations occurred. He introduced new characters well, weaving them into the narrative with skill. He explores the theme of choices and how they determine the course of life. He looks at the results of those choices on the characters themselves and others involved. That Franko was able to keep me reading with interest through over a thousand pages is an amazing accomplishment. Other than the unnecessary graphic sex scene in the first novel, I highly recommend this series.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars.

Eye for Eye Trilogy Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal
Published by: Talion Publishing
Publication Date: October 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 1050
Series: Talion Trilogy #1
Find out more or get your copy:

Amazon & Goodreads


Read an excerpt from Eye for Eye:

When I try to piece together how this whole mess began, a part of me thinks it may have started over thirty years ago. At least the seeds were planted that far back, in the early 1980s. What happened then, at that summer camp in Texas, set the stage for everything that was to come.

Odd, how something so remote in time and geography continues to impact me here, today.

Sometimes I try to imagine her, how she felt—that eleven year-old girl—as she ran, stumbling and tripping through the woods that night. I try to put myself in her shoes. When I do, I wonder if she was frightened.

Did she understand the consequences of what she’d gotten herself into? I imagine it felt otherworldly to her, like a dream. But not a good dream. No, one of the bad ones—the ones that make your heart machine-gun as you try to outrun some dark thing that’s chasing you. But the faster you try to run, the slower you go, your legs feeling leaden, clumsy, useless.

Panic sets in. Tears of frustration form. Fear takes hold and won’t let go. You open your mouth to scream but realize, to your horror, that you’re paralyzed. It’s not that you can’t scream; you can’t even breathe. Not a dream—a nightmare.

Then again, all that may simply be my imagination. It could just be me projecting what I might have felt onto Joan. Maybe she wasn’t scared at all.

True, it was dark out. The night smelled of rain, but there was no lightning, only the far-off rumble of thunder hinting at a distant storm. There were no trail lights, no visibility but for the moon peeking out intermittently from behind a patchwork of clouds. But, Joan had been down this trail before. She was running toward the main cabin.

She had been at Camp Willow for almost two full weeks. She had been up and down that trail at least ten times a day, every day. Of course, that was during the day, and always with her buddy, or a camp counselor (the children called them troop leaders). Joan had never been on the trail at night. And never alone.

Maybe I imagine Joan was scared because, as an adult, I believe that she should have been. I would have been terrified.


Excerpt from Eye For Eye by JK Franko. Copyright © 2019 by JK Franko. Reproduced with permission from JK Franko. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, EYE FOR EYE became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On:, Goodreads, Instagram, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews and giveaways!

Click here to view the Eye for Eye Trilogy by JK Franko Participants.


Enter To Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be Six (6) winners for this tour. Two (2) winners will each receive a $10 gift card; Two (2) winners will each receive 1 print edition of Eye for Eye, book 1 of the Talion series, by JK Franko (US and Canada Only); and Two (2) winners will each receive 1 ebook edition of Eye for Eye, book 1 of the Talion series, by JK Franko. The giveaway begins on October 19, 2020 and runs through December 21, 2020. 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.)