Monday, February 17, 2020

Review + GIVEAWAY: Under the Radar by Annette Dashofy




Under the Radar
By Annette Dashofy
A Zoe Chambers Mystery #9
Henery Press, 2020


Summary

Paramedic and deputy coroner Zoe Chambers responds to a shooting and discovers her longtime friend, Horace Pavelka, has gunned down a man who’d bullied him mercilessly for decades. Ruled self-defense, no charges are filed. When another of his tormentors turns up dead in Horace’s kitchen, Police Chief Pete Adams questions the man’s innocence in both cases…especially after Horace and his girlfriend go into hiding.

While fighting to clear her friend, Zoe is handed the opportunity to finally learn what really happened to her long-lost sibling. What starts out as a quick road trip on a quest for answers leads her to an unfamiliar city in the middle of a November blizzard, where she finds way more trouble than she bargained for.

Pete’s own search for his missing fiancĂ©e and a missing murderer ultimately traps him in a web of deception. Face-to-face with one of the most cunning and deadly killers of his law enforcement career, Pete realizes too late that this confrontation may well be his last.

Amazon – B&N – Kobo


My thoughts

Annette Dashofy’s Zoe Chambers series is one of my favorites. In this newest release, Under the Radar, the writing is exquisite, characters well drawn, and the mystery spellbinding. Character development is one of the highlights of this series, as we get to know the regulars well and care about them. They are realistically drawn and relatable, people you could expect to meet in your own community.

While the story has elements of cozy mystery genre – small-town setting, murder takes place off screen, amateur involved in the investigation – Under the Radar has more of a traditional mystery or police procedural feel. The action is fast paced with good, solid investigation techniques employed by Zoe, Pete, and his staff. This book is hard to put down, and while I was eager to reach the conclusion, I wanted to savor every word.

Multiple storylines add richness to the story. Pete and Zoe’s wedding is in the planning stages with possible complications from Zoe’s mother. A highly contested race for county coroner could threaten Zoe’s job. Horace, a friend of Zoe’s who has experienced a lifetime of bullying, is a murder suspect. And then there’s word of the existence of Zoe’s half-brother, resulting in a road-trip search and further suspense. I can honestly say that there is nothing predictable about Under the Radar.

I greatly enjoyed Under the Radar and am eager for much more from these characters. Highly recommended.

Note: Readers will find some mild profanity, but the story is otherwise clean.

I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

_________________________




      Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. 
      A former EMT and lifelong resident of the area about which she writes, Annette lives with her husband and one very spoiled cat on what was once her grandfather’s dairy farm. 
      UNDER THE RADAR (February 2020) is the ninth in her series.




GIVEAWAY



Thursday, February 13, 2020

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Hannah's Courage by Molly Jebber



About the Book

Book:  Hannah’s Courage
Author: Molly Jebber
Genre:  Amish Historical Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2020

A loaf of fragrant cinnamon bread for breakfast . . . a sweet and creamy custard pie for dessert. In 1912 Ohio, the Amish Charm Bakery has something to delight locals and visiting Englischer alike. And within this warm, welcoming community, there’s always room for love to grow . . .


Hannah Lapp’s life, like a long-cherished recipe, is satisfying just the way it is. She enjoys whipping up desserts at the bakery, tutoring local children, and socializing with dear friends. One of those friends, Timothy Barkman, has made his interest in Hannah clear, but she’s been in no hurry to change her circumstances.

No sooner does she feel ready to grow closer to hard-working, handsome Timothy than Hannah finds she may have waited too long. Charlene Shetler intends to become Timothy’s fraa. It’s little wonder he’s attracted to such a pretty, forthright young woman, but is the newcomer all that she seems? Only when Hannah is willing to confront some difficult truths can she move bravely toward a life of abiding faith and love . . .

Click here to get your copy!


About the Author



      Molly Jebber’s Amish Historical Romance books have been featured on Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Ten Recommended Reads, in USA Today’s HEA, Romantic Times and many other media sites. She tours and speaks for Stonecroft Ministries – Women’s Christian Connection, and about Amish history/traditions, writing, marketing, publishing, and her books. 
      She loves God, her family, and friends. She enjoys swimming, golf, reading, and says yes to butterscotch pie and parasailing, but no to coconut and skydiving! 
      Visit http://www.mollyjebber.com for a complete list of her books and speaking events.


More from Molly

      I related to Hannah in this book where I had to find the courage to make some hard decisions. Maybe you’ve had some hard choices to make and finding the courage to follow through has been difficult for you. 
      Have you had a bad day where nothing goes right? We’ve all had those. Hannah’s has many days like this, and she is torn about what to do from one problem to the next in her life. She makes some snap decisions, and faces life-altering challenges. You’ll laugh and want to stomp your feet at the twists and turns in this story.  She’s good at giving her friends advice, but has trouble following it. I can relate to this in my life at times. Maybe you can too. 
      The Sheriff and Dr. Harrison are still regular customers at the bakery where she whips up mouth-watering desserts. She and her friends cry, laugh, and offer each other advice. I love time with girlfriends, and Hannah’s no different. You’ll relate to her, root for her, want to reach in the book and shake her at times (I’m sure my friends have wanted to do this with me a time or two!), and wonder how what the future holds for her. 
      I hope you’ll follow my blog tour and enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize at the end of the tour. The more you enter, the more chances you have of winning! 
      Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Your Facebook comments help me to get to know you better, and I appreciate it so much! 

Here’s a recipe Hannah’s whipped up for you. And there are more in the back of Hannah’s story. 

Cake
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 large apples, peeled and cut into large pieced
Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9 x 13 pan with butter and coat with 2 tablespoons of flour
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Sift two additional times and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil and both sugars, and mix until well blended.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla and mix again.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the batter and mix thoroughly. By hand, fold in apples and walnuts and mix until evenly combined.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool in the bundt pan for 20 minutes.
  8. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine all of the glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil and allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute.
  9. Remove the cake from the pan, onto a serving plate. Spoon the glaze over the warm cake.
  10. Cool for a little longer before serving.

Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Molly is giving away a Molly Jebber grand prize collection that includes a handmade quilt and Amazon card!!

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



Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 30
Genesis 5020, January 30
Texas Book-aholic, January 31
Batya’s Bits, February 1
Quiet Quilter, February 1
She Lives to Read, February 2
Bigreadersite , February 3
deb’s Book Review, February 4
Pause for Tales, February 5
Older & Smarter?, February 6
Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 7 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
SusanLovesBooks, February 10
SPLASHES of Joy , February 11
Vicky Sluiter, February 12

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Review: The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck



About the Book


Book:  The Fifth Avenue Story Society
Author: Rachel Hauck
Genre:  Contemporary Romance/ Women’s Fiction
Release Date: February 4, 2020

An invitation to join The Fifth Avenue Story Society gives five New York strangers a chance to rewrite their own stories.

Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss is determined to keep her underemployed.

Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.

Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.

Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.

Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother’s multimillion-dollar empire.

When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they’re victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to bear their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.

Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it’s there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.

Get your copy of the book here.



My thoughts


The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck is a moving story that goes on my “best of the best” list. The bookstore setting is atmospheric and charming, the characters rich and endearing, and every word of the prose is to be treasured. It’s a story of friendship, renewal and second chances, with a few heartwarming moments that moved me to tears.

The anonymous story society invitation goes out to five characters from various backgrounds and social status, all anchored to something in their pasts that kept them from moving on and living life to the fullest. The story is like a piece of fabric, with threads of each character’s past, present and future woven together and interconnected.

As with any good book, it’s easy to care about the characters. This story, however, took me to a new level of caring. Hauck not only knows people, but she is able to project their innermost hearts and desires through her characters, desires that are common to all of us. I came to know Lexa, Jett, Chuck, Coral and Ed well through their raw honesty and humanness – their fears, insecurities, needs, and hopes. There’s a little mystery and supernatural element, but the real story is in what happens through these Monday night meetings. The librarian, Gilda, is an interesting character and I’d love to see what’s on the other side of her door that’s marked “private.”

The spiritual thread is gentle and subtle, culminating in a beautiful way toward the end. The image of Christ knocking at the door instantly came to mind and these closing words speak to all …

The invitation is always waiting.
All you have to do is say yes.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author



Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower. Visit her online at RachelHauck.com; Facebook: RachelHauck; Twitter: @RachelHauck; Instagram: @rachelhauck.


Read an Excerpt

Read an excerpt here. 


Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, February 10
Livin’ Lit, February 10
Genesis 5020, February 10
The Power of Words, February 11
Rebecca Tews, February 11
All-of-a-kind Mom, February 11
Older & Smarter?, February 12
Texas Book-aholic, February 12
Inklings and notions, February 12
deb’s Book Review, February 12
Just the Write Escape, February 13
For Him and My Family, February 13
CarpeDiem, February 13
Remembrancy, February 14
Christian Bookaholic, February 14
Connect in Fiction, February 14
April Hayman, Author, February 14
Robin’s Nest, February 15
Britt Reads Fiction, February 15
Blogging With Carol, February 15
Batya’s Bits, February 16
Bigreadersite, February 16
A Reader’s Brain, February 16
Worthy2Read, February 16
Stories By Gina, February 16
Back Porch Reads, February 17
janicesbookreviews, February 17
Inside the Wong Mind, February 17
Mary Hake, February 17
Mia Reads, February 18
Baker Kella, February 18
EmpowerMoms, February 18
Maureen’s Musings, February 19
Coast and Anchor, February 19
Spoken from the Heart, February 19
SPLASHES of Joy, February 19
She Lives to Read, February 20
By The Book, February 20
Wishful Endings, February 20
Moments, February 20
Simple Harvest Reads, February 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Andrea Christenson, February 21
Pause for Tales, February 21
For The Love of Books, February 21
Lis Loves Reading, February 21
Hallie Reads, February 22
Godly Book Reviews, February 23
Daysong Reflections, February 23
SusanLovesBooks, February 23

Monday, February 10, 2020

Review + GIVEAWAY: Always the One by Tara Randel


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Always the One
(Meet Me at the Altar #4)
By Tara Randel
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
February 4th 2020 by Harlequin Heartwarming

From USA TODAY bestselling author Tara Randel

She’s the love of his life… but is he still hers?

FBI agent Derrick Matthews has finally found his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life—but she isn’t exactly happy about it! Years ago, Hannah Rawlings disappeared overnight when her family went on the run, and she blames Derrick. She tells him she’s moved on and he should, too, but Derrick fears Hannah’s still in danger. He vows to protect her—even if that means betraying her trust…again.

Affiliate link included.

Other Books in the Series




My thoughts

Always the One by Tara Randel is a heartwarming story of second chances and new beginnings. The series features the Matthews family, four brothers all involved in some type of law enforcement or investigation, as well as their mother. Randel has done a great job at loosely connecting the stories in this series, while allowing each to stand alone. I’ve loved getting to know the family and seeing them progress with each story.

Always the One is Derrick and Hannah’s story, a perfect blend of appealing characters, romance, and light suspense. A gemstone gives Derrick all the motivation he needs to seek Hannah, now living in Nevada and teaching school after 17 years of silence – and recently engaged to an art gallery owner named Jonathan. The chemistry between Derrick and Hannah feels real and I enjoyed their relational journey as past misunderstandings are gradually revealed. I didn’t dislike Jonathan, but it was obvious he wasn’t a good fit for Hannah, in spite of the love for art that they shared. Jonathan needs to connect with someone who means more to him than the gallery.

Derrick is an appealing hero with a strong desire to protect Hannah. The story’s WITSEC theme (Witness Protection Program) was moving and shed light on what its participants deal with in exchange for protection from those who would do them harm – the suddenness of the break from all they’ve known, the inability to form real friendships, always having to look over one’s shoulder.

It was touching to see two secondary characters also find happiness in their own marital relationships – Hannah’s mom and Derrick’s mother. Questions about the man Derrick’s mom wanted to marry have worked their way through the series and it was great to see them marry in a church – a place for renewal to her way of thinking. Another of my favorite themes was how Derrick interacted and connected with children in Hannah’s class, especially Tommy.

“Sometimes we get a raw deal. It’s how we handle the
tough circumstances that makes all the difference.”

Difficulties of life are something that we can all relate to, and those words of Derrick beautifully express the essence of this story. I enjoyed Always the One very much and look forward to many more stories from the pen of Tara Randel.

I received a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


About the Author


USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.



Tour Schedule




Tour Giveaway


Prize #1: Signed print copies of The Bridal Bouquet, The Lawman’s Secret Vow, tote bag and a $25 Amazon Gift Card. (Open to US only)

Prize #2: $25 Amazon e-Gift Card (Open Internationally)

Ends February 19, 2020

ENTER HERE
Grab Our Button!


Friday, February 7, 2020

Review + GIVEAWAY: The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


The Fifth Avenue Story Society
By Rachel Hauck
Christian Contemporary Romance
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 400 Pages
February 4th 2020 by Thomas Nelson

An invitation to join The Fifth Avenue Story Society gives five New York strangers a chance to rewrite their own stories.

Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss is determined to keep her underemployed.

Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.

Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.

Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.

Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother’s multimillion-dollar empire.

When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they’re victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to reveal their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.

Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it’s there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.

Praise for the Book

"Hauck inspires and uplifts with this mix of tales." - Publishers Weekly

(Affiliate links included.)


My thoughts

The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck is a moving story that goes on my “best of the best” list. The bookstore setting is atmospheric and charming, the characters rich and endearing, and every word of the prose is to be treasured. It’s a story of friendship, renewal and second chances, with a few heartwarming moments that moved me to tears.

The anonymous story society invitation goes out to five characters from various backgrounds and social status, all anchored to something in their pasts that kept them from moving on and living life to the fullest. The story is like a piece of fabric, with threads of each character’s past, present and future woven together and interconnected.

As with any good book, it’s easy to care about the characters. This story, however, took me to a new level of caring. Hauck not only knows people, but she is able to project their innermost hearts and desires through her characters, desires that are common to all of us. I came to know Lexa, Jett, Chuck, Coral and Ed well through their raw honesty and humanness – their fears, insecurities, needs, and hopes. There’s a little mystery and supernatural element, but the real story is in what happens through these Monday night meetings. The librarian, Gilda, is an interesting character and I’d love to see what’s on the other side of her door that’s marked “private.”

The spiritual thread is gentle and subtle, culminating in a beautiful way toward the end. The image of Christ knocking at the door instantly came to mind and these closing words speak to all…

The invitation is always waiting. All you have to do is say yes.

Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Prism Book Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.



About the Author


Rachel Hauck is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Wedding Dress, which was also named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times and was a RITA finalist. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pet and writes from her ivory tower.



Tour Schedule



Tour Giveaway


One winner will receive a print copy of The Wedding Dress (US only)
Ends February 19, 2020

Grab Our Button!


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Bitter Alpine by Mary Daheim




Mary Daheim is a prolific author with two successful and popular cozy mystery series – the Alpine series and the Bed & Breakfast series. The Alpine series made it through the alphabet with its titles and is continuing with a new group, Bitter Alpine being the second release.


Bitter Alpine
By Mary Daheim
Emma Lord Returns #2
Alibi, 2020


Summary

After a relatively calm and cozy holiday season, neither Emma Lord, editor and publisher of The Alpine Advocate, nor her husband, Sheriff Milo Dodge, are surprised when their new year gets off to a rocky start. A woman’s body has been found in a squalid motel. Her driver’s license shows that Dawn Purvis was in her late thirties and lived in Weaverville, California—and the only connection between that town and Alpine is their gold-mining and logging origins. When they discover that Dawn’s room reservation was open-ended, Emma, Milo, and the ever-inquisitive Advocate receptionist, Alison Lindahl, are more than mildly curious. And never mind that the youthful Alison is a bit distracted by the new county extension agent’s virile good looks. She can still sleuth while she stalks her newest crush.

But that’s not all the news that’s unfit to print. There’s something strange about the older couple who have moved into the cabin down the road that was once owned by a murder victim. The elderly wife seems anti-social. There’s got to be a reason, which Emma, Milo, and Alison intend to find out—even if it puts them in deadly danger.

Amazon  –   B&N   –   Kobo

_________________________



      Mary Daheim is the author of the Alpine mystery series. A Seattle native with a degree in communication from the University of Washington, she realized at an early age that getting a book published might elude her for years, so she began her writing career working on daily newspapers.
      The mother of three daughters, she lives in a century-old house in her hometown.