And Then There’s Margaret by Carolyn Clarke

Writer/Blogger Carolyn Clarke reached out to me about her new novel – deemed a “coming of middle-age dramedy”. It centers on Allie and her family and the changes that occur when her father-in-law dies and her mother-in-law comes to stay. Never on good terms with her mother-in-law, having her under the same roof, while Allie deals with perimenopause, a husband who has an attractive and very friendly co-worker, and two teenagers, is about enough to drive Allie over the edge.

Here’s the scoop:

Published by: Black Rose Writing
Release Date: July 21, 2022
ISBN: 
978-1-68433-993-8
Book/e-book available: Black Rose Writing and most online book retailers
Author Websitewww.henlitcentral.com

See what others are saying on Goodreads and Amazon

And Then There’s Margaret touches on some of the all-too-relatable aspects of middle-age life mixed in with marriage and controlling mother-in-laws. In this women’s fiction comedy drama, Allison Montgomery finds her life turned upside down when her husband’s mother “temporarily” moves in and wreaks havoc on her peace. She discovers that the only way to survive the angst of family is to let go….and let be.

This was a fast and fun read to me, at times laugh-out-loud funny. And I really liked the ending, because honestly, until then, the more I read of the book, the less I liked Allie. She was incredibly self-centered and self-serving. And while I know that Margaret way overstepped some (all) boundaries, Allie seemed more like a 25 year old to me than a 45 year old. I kept hoping that she’d grow up a bit and think of someone other than herself. She was hilarious though.

Overall, this was a light-hearted and easy to relate to story. I could see it as a sitcom! Thank you for my copy!!

Here’s a cute video for an overview:

Thanks so much for reaching out and letting me read and share your novel!

Spotlight on BLACK STAR by Alejandro Mañón

I’m shouting it out today for the young author’s new novel because he was so nice, I couldn’t say no! You can find it on Amazon.

Here’s the scoop:

Every family has their own set of rules, their own ways of communicating and some of them have an obscure secret that they desperately try to hide from others as if it came to light, all hope would be lost. Meet the Quinns. They have the darkest secret of them all, and if they wanted their secret to remain as what it is, they would have to follow a list of simple rules: Number one: You must not trust anyone (Not even your own family). Number two: You must not speak out loud as someone could be listening to you. Number three: You must get rid of all the evidence. Number four: You must keep your friends close but your enemies even closer. Number five: You must not rest until your darkest secret is buried six-feet below the ground.

The Case of the Disappearing Beaune by J. Lawrence Matthews

My friends at Books Forward sent me a galley of this fun Sherlock Holmes tale, which takes place on Christmas Day. It stumped me and was a quick and enjoyable read. Matthews has the knack of writing about Holmes similar to the style of Conan Doyle, which makes his stories all the more enjoyable. At only 47 pages, it can be read in one sitting (if you choose). Get it for Christmas for someone you know who loves Sherlock and Watson! Thanks for my copy!

Here’s the scoop:

“As he did in his debut novel, One Must Tell the Bees, Matthews again delightfully twists our Sherlockian expectations with his engaging Christmas mystery, while staying true to the Canon throughout. This traditional Sherlock Holmes story is sure to become a perennial must-read for the holidays.” —Ray Riethmeier, BSI, editor of Sherlock Holmes: Stranger Than Truth and Sherlock Holmes: Stranger Than Fiction

Beaune [bōn] noun: a red Burgundy wine from the Côte de Beaune region of France.

Christmas morning 1902, London, England. A bottle of fine French wine from the Côte de Beaune region of France, intended as a gift from Mr. Sherlock Holmes to his old friend Dr. Watson, is found to have been drained of its aromatic spirits during the night and filled with sand. But not just any sand….

Thus begins this short, sweet holiday mystery from the author of One Must Tell the Bees: Abraham Lincoln and the Final Education of Sherlock Holmes (East Dean Press, 2021).

Praise for One Must Tell the Bees: Abraham Lincoln and the Final Education of Sherlock Holmes (East Dean Press, 2021)

“Beautifully Written and Immediately Engaging” —The Sherlock Holmes Society of London Summer Journal, 2022

“Brilliantly Executed.” The Coffee Pot Book Club

Spotlight on: The Phantom Glare of Day by M. Laszlo

Spotlighting a book that comes out this week and that I’m reading right now!

Description

In this trio of novellas, three game young ladies enter into dangerous liaisons that test each one’s limits and force them to confront the most heartrending issues facing society in the early twentieth century.

The Phantom Glare of Day tells of Sophie, a young lady who has lived a sheltered life and consequently has no idea how cruel public school bullying can be. When she meets Jarvis, a young man obsessed with avenging all those students who delight in his daily debasement, she resolves to intervene before tragedy unfolds. Mouvements Perpétuels tells of Cäcilia, a young lady shunned by her birth father. She longs for the approval of an older man, so when her ice-skating instructor attempts to take advantage of her, she cannot resist. Not a month later, she realizes that she is pregnant and must decide whether or not to get an abortion. Passion Bearer tells of Manon, a young lady who falls in love with a beautiful actress after taking a post as a script girl for a film company—and is subsequently confronted with the pettiest kinds of homophobia.

Specific to their time yet unquestionably relevant for women today, The Phantom Glare of Day is a compelling interrogation of who gets to decide what is right and what is wrong.


A Note From the Publisher

M. Laszlo is the pseudonym of a reclusive author living in Bath, Ohio. According to rumor, he based the pen name on the name of the Paul Henreid character in Casablanca, Victor Laszlo.

He has lived and worked in New York City, East Jerusalem, and several other cities around the world. While living in the Middle East, he worked for Harvard University’s Semitic Museum. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio and an M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

His next work is forthcoming from SparkPress in 2024. There are whispers that the work purports to be a genuine attempt at positing an explanation for the riddle of the universe and is based on journals and idea books made while completing his M.F.A at Sarah Lawrence College.

The Final Days of Abbot Montrose by Sven Elvestad

My friends at Kazabo Publishing sent me a copy of this story, which I really enjoyed! It read like a Sherlock Holmes (though taking place in Norway). It was well-plotted and clever and kept me guessing.

Sven Elvestead was a popular Nordic crime writer who died in 1934. Here’s a bit on him:

Sven Elvestad, aka Stein Riverton, was born in Fredrikshald, Norway, in 1884. Author of over 90 books, he is acclaimed as the father of Norwegian crime fiction. Even today, the Riverton Prize is awarded annually to the best Norwegian crime story.

Thank you, Kazabo Publishing, for my copy!

Here’s the scoop:

It is an evening in early May when the quiet of Montrose Abbey is shattered by the sounds of shouting and broken glass. When the police arrive, they find the abbey library ransacked and bloodstained. Broken furniture and a burning carpet bear witness to a violent struggle. And the abbot himself, the scholarly Abbot Montrose, is missing. Only a torn fragment of his cassock remains, caught in the wrought-iron fence surrounding the abbey.
The police, the press, and citizens of this northern city fear the worst. What could have befallen the missing abbot? Has he been murdered? Abducted?
As world-renowned Detective Asbjørn Krag and his partner, Detective Sirius Keller, begin to unravel the tangled knot of clues left behind, they find themselves in the city’s infamous Krydder District, “where the dark doorways are as close together as rat holes in an old warehouse.” The more answers they find, the more questions seem to pop up.
This well-constructed, evocative and witty mystery by Sven Elvestead, also known as Stein Riverton (for whom the Norwegian Riverton Prize was named), will keep you guessing until the very last page.

A Lovely Girl: The Tragedy of Olga Duncan and the Trial of One of California’s Most Notorious Killers by Deborah Holt Larkin

My friends at Wunderkind-PR reached out to me and offered my a copy of this new novel by Deborah Holt Larkin, retelling the story of the murder of Olga Duncan. Though raised in Northern California in the 70’s, I had never heard of this sad story. Olga was a young, married woman, pregnant with her first child, and murdered by her mother-in-law who wanted to keep her son for herself. Hard to believe and at times hard to read, but apparently that is what happened.

Here’s the overview:

The incredible story of a 1958 murder that ended with the last woman to ever be executed in California—a murder so twisted it seems ripped from a Greek tragedy.

Deborah Larkin was only ten years old when the quiet calm of her California suburb was shattered.  Thirty miles north, on a quiet November night in Santa Barbara, a pregnant nurse named Olga Duncan disappeared from her apartment.  The mystery deepens when it is discovered that Olga’s mother in-law—a deeply manipulative and deceptive woman—had been doing everything in her power to separate Olga and her son, Frank, prior to Olga’s disappearance.

From a forged annulment to multiple attempts to hire people to “get rid” of Olga, to a faked excoriation case, Elizabeth seemed psychopathically attached to her son. Yet she denied having anything to do with Olga’s disappearance with a smile.

But when Olga’s brutally beaten body is found in a shallow grave, apparently buried alive, a young DA makes it his mission to see that Elizabeth Duncan is brought to justice.  Adding a wrinkle to his efforts is the fact that Frank—himself a defense attorney—maintained his mother’s innocent to the end.

How does a young girl process such a crime along with the fear and disbelieve that rocked an entire community?  Decades later, Larkin is determined to revisit the case and bring the story of Olga herself to light.  Long overshadowed by the sensationalism and scandal of Elizabeth and Frank, A Lovely Girl seeks to reveal Olga as a woman in full.  Someone who was more than the twisted family that would ultimately ensnare her.

As we follow the heart-pounding drama of the case through Larkin’s young eyes—her father was the court reporter—A Lovely Girl is by turns page-turning yet poignant, and makes the reader reexamine how we handle fear, how we regard mental illness, and how we understand family as we carve our own path in a dangerous world.

The details of the story are pretty disturbing and the story sticks with you long afterwards. Larkin tells the tale through a variety of voices. For me, the strongest portrayal is when she writes as her young self and about her family at that time. Larkin’s father was a newspaper reporter who covered the case closely, and her depictions of their family life with all is eccentricities was at times laugh out loud funny. The picture she paints of middle class California family life in the late 50’s is vividly detailed. I found these “young Deborah” chapters, as well as the chapters following the court trial – which used the actual court scripts – a more vivid portrayal than some in other voices. This story is in depth – it clocks in at over 500 pages.

Overall, if you are a true crime reader, don’t miss this sad but interesting story. You will remember Olga long afterward.

Thank you for my review copy!

Harper-Collins Holiday Romance Blog Tour: A Match Made at Christmas by Patricia Davids

I’m back with another holiday story — this one a romance taking place in Amish country. I haven’t read too many Amish stories, but I know that it is a popular genre. I do appreciate that they are always a clean read and usually with a warm and happy ending. What better time of year to read a happy story than holiday time?!

Here’s the overview of this charming and touching tale:

A MATCH MADE AT CHRISTMAS

Author: Patricia Davids

ISBN: 9781335453471

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Publisher: HQN

Buy Links: NOT affiliated with BBNB

BookShop: https://bookshop.org/books/a-match-made-at-christmas-9781335453471/9781335453471 

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335453471_a-match-made-at-christmas.html 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-match-made-at-christmas-patricia-davids/1140810564?ean=9781335453471 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Match-Christmas-Matchmakers-Harts-Haven/dp/1335453474/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2PGRQPHJ6URA9&keywords=a+match+made+at+christmas+by+patricia+davids&qid=1664483448&qu=eyJxc2MiOiIwLjAwIiwicXNhIjoiMC4wMCIsInFzcCI6IjAuMDAifQ%3D%3D&sprefix=a+match+made+at+%2Caps%2C67&sr=8-1 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Match-Made-Christmas/Patricia-Davids/9781335453471?id=8292090795540 

Author Website: https://patriciadavids.com/index.html 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaDavidsAuthor

Twitter: n/a

Instagram: n/a 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/175873.Patricia_Davids?from_search=true&from_srp=true 

Author Bio:

USA Today best-selling author Patricia Davids was born in Kansas. After forty years as an NICU nurse, Pat switched careers to become an inspirational writer. She now enjoys laid back life on a Kansas farm, spending time with her family and playing with her dog Sugar, who thinks fetch should be a twenty-four hour a day game. When not throwing a ball, Pat is happily dreaming up new stories where love and faith conquer all.

Book Summary:

USA Today bestselling author Patricia Davids continues her Amish romance series set in Harts, Haven, Kansas, with this emotional story about a cancer survivor and a grieving widower who are brought together at Christmas by the matchmakers of Harts Haven who have a little help from the hero’s daughters.

With Christmas just around the corner, an Amish cancer survivor moves to Harts Haven for a fresh start as the new schoolteacher. She wants to escape the pity that she felt from the people back home and throw herself into her new job. She’s worried her illness might return at any moment and isn’t looking for love. Neither is a local widower with two daughters. The loss of his wife devastated him, and he never wants to feel that kind of pain again. The matchmakers of Harts Haven set their sights on the pair, by having them work together on a living Nativity for the school Christmas program. With three elderly matchmakers, a school full of rambunctious children, a handsome widower, rowdy sheep and one cantankerous donkey, Harts Haven is about to witness an unforgettable Christmas Eve where two unlikely people discover healing love is the true Christmas gift.

If you enjoy an inspirational romantic story set at Christmas time, don’t miss A Match Made at Christmas by Patricia Davids.

Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

Harper-Collins Holiday Blog Tour for Holidays in Virgin River by Robyn Carr

I’m so excited to take part in my first 2022 Holiday Blog Tour for a great holiday read that will warm your heart: Holidays in Virgin River by Robyn Carr. I loved this story (actually it’s two stories) and the characters, which reminded me a bit of the Mitford series by Jan Karon. Ordinary people living ordinary lives, but you come to know and love them. And I’m always rooting for a happy ending! Plus it has recipes! Yay! And I see that it will be a Netflix series!

This is the perfect holiday gift for a friend or family member who loves a heart-warming story.

Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour! I love Robyn Carr’s writing and will look forward to reading more of her work.

Here’s the scoop:

HOLIDAYS IN VIRGIN RIVER

Author: Robyn Carr

ISBN: 9780778387176

Publication Date: October 4, 2022

Publisher: MIRA

Buy Links: NOT affiliated with BBNB

BookShop: https://bookshop.org/books/holidays-in-virgin-river-romance-stories-for-the-holidays/9780778387176 

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9780778387176_holidays-in-virgin-river.html    

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/holidays-in-virgin-river-robyn-carr/1141697248?ean=9780778387176 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Holidays-Virgin-River-Romance-Stories-ebook/dp/B09SVB8K6Q/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=holidays+in+virgin+river+robyn+carr&qid=1663355498&sprefix=holidays+in+vir%2Caps%2C384&sr=8-1 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Holidays-Virgin-River/Robyn-Carr/9780778387176?id=8292090795540 

Powell’s: https://www.powells.com/book/holidays-in-virgin-river-9780778387176 

Author Website: https://www.robyncarr.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Robyn-Carr-134368309920956/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RCarrWriter 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robyncarrwriter/  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/107767.Robyn_Carr?from_search=true 

Author Bio:

Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including highly praised women’s fiction such as Four Friends and The View From Alameda Island and the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan’s Crossing series. Virgin River is now a Netflix Original series. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit her website at http://www.RobynCarr.com.

Book Summary:

A special gift Christmas hardcover anthology of 2 Virgin River novellas by #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr plus an introduction from the author and select recipes and explanations of the holiday traditions celebrated in Virgin River.

Contains two Virgin River novellas: Under the Christmas Tree and Midnight Confessions along with at least 10 recipes and anecdotes written by Robyn Carr about why the recipes are special to specific characters from VR. We’ll also have an introduction written by Robyn explaining why she wrote Virgin River in the first place and why it resonates so strongly with audiences today. Examples of recipes are: The VR cookie exchange (Gingerbread cookies, Traditional Scottish Shortbread, Lemon Bars, Chocolate Chip Cookies) Hot drinks to enjoy as they decorate the town Christmas tree (mulled wine, homemade hot chocolate) Preacher’s famous meatloaf and garlic mash, to name a few.

Austen Prose Blog Tour for IN THE SHADOW OF A QUEEN by Heather B. Moore

I absolutely LOVED this story, based in fact, about Queen Victoria’s daughter Louise. Louise is a bit ahead of her time, and her story is so interesting and compelling. You will cheer for her and relish her victories towards independence, while commiserating with the many obstacles that thwart her from living the life she wants.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Based on the True Story of the Free-Spirited Daughter of Queen Victoria.

Princess Louise’s life is upended after her father’s untimely death. Captive to the queen’s overwhelming mourning, Louise is forbidden to leave her mother’s tight circle of control and is eventually relegated to the position of personal secretary to her mother―the same position each of her sisters held until they were married.

Already an accomplished painter, Louise risks the queen’s wrath by exploring the art of sculpting, an activity viewed as unbefitting a woman. When Louise involves herself in the day’s political matters, including championing the career of a female doctor and communicating with suffragettes, the queen lays down the law to stop her and devotes her full energy to finding an acceptable match for her defiant daughter.

Louise is considered the most beautiful and talented daughter of Queen Victoria but finding a match for the princess is no easy feat. Protocols are broken, and Louise exerts her own will as she tries to find an open-minded husband who will support her free spirit.

In the Shadow of a Queen is the story of a battle of wills between two women: a daughter determined to forge her own life beyond the shadow of her mother, and a queen resolved to keep the Crown’s reputation unsullied no matter the cost.

ADVANCE PRAISE

  • “Peek into the House of Hanover and view the strength of two women: Queen Victoria and her daughter Princess Louise. This story weaves compassion and conflict into breathtaking and gripping historical detail.”— Julie Wright, author of A Captain for Caroline Gray
  • “Moore crafts an intriguing portrait of the independently minded Princess Louise and her tensions with the English royal family. Moore sets the stage with meticulous research, and she expertly combines fact with fiction, with psychological insights on Victoria’s mercurial moods and the impact of her controlling nature. It adds up to a worthy portrait of a woman divided by duty and self-determination.”— Publishers Weekly
  • 5 STARS – “I always enjoy Heather Moore’s historical novels. This one did not disappoint! She is impeccable with her research and always does an excellent job of bringing people from the past to life.”— Julia Daines, bestselling author of Haven Cross, and Whitney Award Finalist

PURCHASE LINKS – NOT affiliated with BBNB

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS

AUTHOR BIO

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy publications, including The Paper Daughters of Chinatown. She has lived on both the East and West Coasts of the United States, as well as Hawaii, and attended school abroad at the Cairo American Collage in Egypt and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about history and is passionate about historical research.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

If you love historical fiction of the Royals, you will love this unforgettable and beautifully written novel! How have I never heard of Princess Louise before? How have I not read many of Heather Moore’s historical novels??

Thank you for having me as part of the tour and for my copy!

Blog Tour for The Dead Won’t Tell by S. K. Waters

I’m thrilled to be part of the Smith Publicity Blog Tour for The Dead Won’t Tell by S. K. Waters. This was a suspenseful mystery, where a modern day journalist takes on a cold case from the past, with big consequences.

Here’s the scoop:

When Abbie Adams, a historian-turned-journalist, is hired to investigate a cold-case murder from 1969, she jumps at the chance. But soon after she begins researching the case, she realizes that Frank Wexler, the faculty advisor who tanked her thesis and a member of a powerful family in town, is connected to the crime and is definitely not talking.

As Abbie tracks down the remaining living witnesses, she slowly pieces together the events of that fateful night, and yet is not a single step closer to solving the case. Were the police back then told to stand down? To cover up the crime?

When her witnesses suddenly wind up dead, it becomes clear that Abbie has stumbled upon a sensitive truth that threatens to tear the fabric of the southern town apart. The killer could still be out there, and now he could be hunting her.

About the Author:

This is S.K. Waters debut novel!

S. K. Waters grew up in New Jersey and still misses it. In previous lives, she was a technical writer, a database administrator, and a championship quilter. She writes mystery, fantasy, and a little in-between.

This was a great read and I think fans of cold case fiction would really enjoy it.

Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!