Partners in Crime Blog Tour for Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin

I’m here today to share with you a new Christian crime novel: Closer than She Knows by Kelly Irvin as part of the Partners in Crime blog tour!

Here’s the scoop!
Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin 
Synopsis:
A serial killer bent on revenge . . . and striking too close to home.
Teagan O’Rourke has always loved murder mysteries. In her job as a court reporter, she has written official records for dozens of real-life murders. She’s slapped evidence stickers on crime scene photos. She’s listened to hours of chilling testimony. But she’s never known the smell of death. And she never thought she might be a victim.Until now.A young police officer is murdered just inches away from her, and then a man calling himself a serial killer starts leaving Teagan notes, signing each with the name of a different murderer from her favorite mystery novels.Panicked, Teagan turns to her friend Max Kennedy. Max longs for more than friendship with Teagan, but he fears she’ll never trust someone with a past like his. He wonders how much of God’s “tough love” he can take before he gives up on love completely. And he wonders if he’ll be able to keep Teagan alive long enough to find out.As Teagan, Max, and Teagan’s police officer father race to track down the elusive killer, they each know they could be the next victim. Desperate to save those she loves, Teagan battles fears that once haunted her in childhood. Nothing seems to stop this obsessed murderer. No matter what she does, he seems to be getting closer.
Book Details:Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: June 9th 2020
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785231862 (ISBN13: 9780785231868)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
This was an interesting and fun read. I will say that it had some “triggers” in it — abduction and murder “off stage” and discussion of substance abuse and suicide — but overall it was what I call a “clean read”. The Christian thread was fairly strong in this story — the characters discussed their faith and prayed often. The main characters boyfriend was a youth minister. And I chuckled at times when just about every character would say things like “How is this affecting your faith?” or “Have you spoken to your pastor?” They were a faith-filled lot in this story! Even though I guessed who the perpetrator was, I still enjoyed the story and I always like an uplifting ending and a mystery that is not gory!!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my e-copy!
Kelly IrvinAuthor Bio:Kelly Irvin is a bestselling author and two-time Carol Award finalist. She is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats.
Visit her Online:
KellyIrvin.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook 
But wait – there’s more!
GIVEAWAY:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harper Collins and Kelly Irvin. There will be 1 winner of one (1) CLOSER THAN SHE KNOWS by Kelly Irvin (Print). The giveaway begins on June 22, 2020 and runs through July 26, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
Click to enter:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZjI0YmY4NGI1MjJkZDM3MDAyMmIxNWZhMzUxNTNkOjY3NA==/?

Harlequin Blog Tour for The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards

I’m thrilled to be part of the Harlequin Summer Reads blog tour for The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards. This was a riveting read of WWII Resistance, centering on two main characters, mother and daughter Lillian and Genevieve. Living in France, both of them were pulled into anti-Nazi activities, risking and often losing much of what they held dear. I couldn’t put it down! Ms. Robards is a new author to me, but I loved her writing and will look for her other novels.

Here’s the overview:

For fans of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a thrilling standalone by New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards about a celebrated singer in WWII occupied France who joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison.

In Occupied France, the Resistance trembles on the brink of destruction. Its operatives, its secrets, its plans, all will be revealed. One of its leaders, wealthy aristocrat Baron Paul de Rocheford, has been killed in a raid and the surviving members of his cell, including his wife the elegant Baronness Lillian de Rocheford, have been arrested and transported to Germany for interrogation and, inevitably, execution.

Captain Max Ryan, British SOE, is given the job of penetrating the impregnable German prison where the Baroness and the remnants of the cell are being held and tortured. If they can’t be rescued he must kill them before they can give up their secrets.

Max is in Paris, currently living under a cover identity as a show business impresario whose star attraction is Genevieve Dumont. Young, beautiful Genevieve is the toast of Europe, an icon of the glittering entertainment world that the Nazis celebrate so that the arts can be seen to be thriving in the occupied territories under their rule.

What no one knows about Genevieve is that she is Lillian and Paul de Rocheford’s younger daughter. Her feelings toward her family are bitter since they were estranged twelve years ago. But when she finds out from Max just what his new assignment entails, old, long-buried feelings are rekindled and she knows that no matter what she can’t allow her mother to be killed, not by the Nazis and not by Max. She secretly establishes contact with those in the Resistance who can help her. Through them she is able to contact her sister Emmy, and the sisters put aside their estrangement to work together to rescue their mother.

It all hinges on a command performance that Genevieve is to give for a Gestapo General in the Bavarian town where her mother and the others are imprisoned. While Genevieve sings and the show goes on, a daring rescue is underway that involves terrible danger, heartbreaking choices, and the realization that some ties, like the love between a mother and her daughters and between sisters, are forever.

BIO: 

Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty novels and one novella. She is the winner of six Silver Pen awards and numerous other awards.

SOCIAL:

Author Website: http://karenrobards.com/

TWITTER: @TheKarenRobards

FB: @AuthorKarenRobards

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

Buy links provided by Harlequin and not affiliated with BBNB:

BUY LINKS:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

B.A.Paris’ THE DILEMMA

I’m happy to finally be able to share a great summer read by one of my fave authors: B.A. Paris’ The Dilemma. I received this book months ago from St. Martin’s Press via Net Galley. (thank you!!).

In this novel, two people are keeping secrets in order to keep others blindly happy, but their worlds are about to come tumbling down. Don’t want to say more and give anything away!

This story was a bit different from B.A. Paris’ last ones. I loved the suspense of her earlier works and the intensity. This is more a story with psychological suspense, but it’s heart-breaking, and it touches on the base elements of family life and relationships. I really liked it and read it in one evening because I couldn’t put it down.

(via Amazon)

Knowing the truth will destroy her. Keeping it secret will destroy him.

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday, and her husband Adam is throwing her the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding they never had. Everyone she loves will be there, except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But Livia is secretly glad Marnie won’t be there.

Livia has recently uncovered a secret about their daughter which, if revealed, will shake the foundation of their family to its core. She needs to tell Adam, but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam, meanwhile, has his own surprise for Livia: he’s arranged for Marnie to secretly fly back for the party. But before Marnie arrives, Adam hears some terrible news. Now he too is faced with a dilemma: Does he share what he’s learned with his wife? Is hiding the truth the same as telling a lie? And how far are Adam and Livia willing to go to protect the ones they love―and give each other a last few hours of happiness?

This book published today – June 30, 2020. It’s a great summer read!

Blog Tour for: Tea by the Sea by Donna Hemans

I am so happy to share with you a novel that I was offered as part of the blog tour for Donna Hemans wonderful new book: Tea by the Sea. This is a touching, memorable, and at times heart-breaking story about a young woman and the choices we make, as well as the choices that are sometimes made for us.

Here’s the overview from Over the River publicity:

A seventeen-year-old taken from her mother at birth, an Episcopal priest with a daughter whose face he cannot bear to see, a mother weary of searching for her lost child: Tea by the Sea is their story—that of a family uniting and unraveling. To find the daughter taken from her, Plum Valentine must find the child’s father who walked out of a hospital with
the day-old baby girl without explanation. Seventeen years later, weary of her unfruitful search, Plum sees an article in a community newspaper with a photo of the man for whom she has spent half her life searching. He has become an Episcopal priest. Her plan: confront him and walk away with the daughter he took from her. From Brooklyn to the island of Jamaica, Tea by the Sea traces Plum’s circuitous route to finding her daughter and
how Plum’s and the priest’s love came apart.

As I read this novel, my heart was breaking for poor Plum, a young girl who made some wrong choices but was made to pay for them in a most terrible way. She never gave up searching and hoping to be reunited with her daughter. At the same time, you could have a great bookclub discussion over Lenworth. His choices and decisions and the fact that he was pretty much purely motivated by selfish desires made him not very likable in my eyes. Even the fact that he took the baby for Plum’s “best interests” seems like one those things that people tell themselves they are doing to help others, but are only helping themselves.

Donna Hemans is a new author to me, but I’m so happy that I have enjoyed her work and will look for more by her!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamaican-born Donna Hemans is the author of the novel River Woman, winner of the 2003-4 Towson University Prize for Literature. TEA BY THE SEA, for which she won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award for Adult Literature, is her second novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Caribbean Writer, Crab Orchard Review, Witness, and the anthology Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad, among others. She received her undergraduate degree from Fordham University and an MFA from American University. She lives in Maryland.

But wait! There’s more!

There’s a giveaway with this blog tour! If you live in the US and/or Caribbean, you can enter to win a FREE COPY OF THE NOVEL and a BAG OF TEA THAT HAS BEEN CREATED ESPECIALLY FOR THIS BOOK LAUNCH. To enter, please write a comment on this blog post or post a comment under this post on Facebook. I will number the comments (starting with the blog post and then adding the Facebook posts) and then randomly choose a number via Random.org as the winner. Deadline to enter is 7/7!!

I want to win! I drink tea every day!! I’m hoping that one of my friends wins this so I can share it with them!

I hope that you enjoy this novel as much as I did. Thank you for having me as part of the tour and for my e-copy.

There Is Work to Be Done!

Photo by ATC Comm Photo on Pexels.com

Friends — The mood in our country during the last weeks has varied from anxiety to outrage to anger to solidarity, from hate to support, depending on who and where you are. One month ago today George Floyd died. I find that interest peaks right after horrific events like these, but then many people move on with their lives, so I specifically waited to create this post.

This post is dedicated to all those readers who feel unsure of how they can make a difference. I have friends who are afraid to ask: “What can I do?” They are afraid to ask: “Why do people say Black Lives Matter?” They are confused about the term “white privilege” because they didn’t grow up wealthy. They are taken aback when they are told that being “colorblind” is not a good thing – or even a thing at all. They are people who do not consider themselves racist but worry, “What if I am?” If I had to guess, they are people who probably identify as white and probably grew up in a setting where most people were just like them.

People – believe me when I say: we have work to do.

We have work to do to understand white privilege – what it is and how it has affected us and others. We have work to do to understand institutional racism and also implicit bias. We have work to do to understand how we can create a difference and work towards equity and inclusion. Know that it’s okay to say “I don’t know” or even “I used to think differently”. As a white cisgender middle class woman I can tell you that my experience has been that the more I learn, the more that I find out I don’t know!

For this post I wanted to share books that I read that made a difference for me in educating myself and growing my awareness of white privilege, racism, hidden biases, and how these relate to my job as a teacher (and as a white teacher of children of color). THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST! I’m sure there are many other wonderful books out there and please feel free to share them in the comments.

This list is dedicated to those who don’t know, but want to try to do better.

Peggy McIntosh’s article on the “invisible knapsack” of white privilege was eye-opening for me when I first read it in the 1990’s. Here is an excerpt based on it: https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf

Debby Irving’s Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race was a book that I really related to. When your world is white, you sometimes don’t even think of yourself as having a race. I read this two years ago but I’m listening to it again on audio with my teenage daughter.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin Banaji is a fascinating read, focusing on “good people” who can have biases hidden deep within themselves, and Banaji’s research on this. I love this title and focus on the fact that these are people who would say “I’m not a racist”. We tend to think of “racists” as loud-mouthed, cruel, and ignorant. Banaji shows that even the best of us can carry biases within.

So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo is our faculty read this year. The focus is on open and honest conversations and race and racism. I’m reading it now.

Whistling Vivaldi: How Sterotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele is all about understanding stereotypes, especially in America. I read this last summer for our faculty read and will never forget where this title comes from. The author found that some people reacted to him with fear as they passed him on the street, especially at night, for no other reason than he was a Black male. So he started whistling Vivaldi.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Di Angelo and Michael Eric Dyson. I read this several years ago. Again, eye opening and easy to read and informative.

So, if you read me, I’m guessing you’re a reader, but maybe you like TED talks, too. I know I do! Here’s a whole list of TED talks that they have compiled to inform about racism: https://www.ted.com/playlists/250/talks_to_help_you_understand_r

If you teach, you may like:

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Beverly Daniels Tatum. It’s a classic and I believe it has a new foreward to it.

The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys by Ali Michael, Eddie Moore, et al. I received this book after attending a diversity conference. I’ve spent 30 years teaching in independent schools and can say that, in my opinion and experience (which is shared by many), Black boys are our most at-risk students.

If you are on Facebook, I follow former colleague Jenna Chandler Ward’s Teaching While White. I believe it is also a podcast.

This summer my kids, who are both in high school, have summer reading of Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. My own students are reading (as they always do) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I look foward to reading her newer books as well.

So — these are a sampling of books for those of us who know that we don’t know everything about racism and white privilege. It’s a start. But it’s also a start that has no ending in sight. We owe it to our Black and Brown friends, to all our friends, to educate ourselves and to strive to make a better tomorrow.

If you have resources to share, please do so in the comments. Please also know that every comment has to be vetted and approved by me before it will show publicly.

Happy Reading!

Wedding at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

I was lucky to be part of the early reading team for this title and I just loved it! I love this series and I relate so much to the main character, Jenny, who has found a new career and love post-40. In this installment, Jenny and Luke are planning their wedding but Luke is tied up with work, Jenny doesn’t really want to have a big shin-dig and has lots to do with running the resort, and who is mucking up the neighbor’s abandoned property? Jenny and Luke keep their spirits high while dealing with the intricacies of life, romance, work, and impending nuptials. And they have two lovable dogs and a miniature horse named Levi. Every time I read one of these books I just want to have a miniature horse – adorable!


Clean reading and heart-warming!

Thank you SO much for letting me in early on this one, Ms. Schild, and for my e-ARC! Happy Pub Day – June 25!

Harlequin Blog Tour for: More than Neighbors by Shannon Stacey

I’m happy to take part in the Harlequin tour of this fun summer read about a woman finding her new life after the death of her husband and her relationship with her neighbor.

If you like a little romance and a happy ending, along with some memorable and fun characters and pets, this would be a good choice for you! (note: this book does contain sexual content but it wasn’t graphic).

To be perfectly honest, I would not have chosen this book based on the cover. It reminds me of something I would have read in high school, but I did really like this story and the characters!

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

Here’s the overview from Harlequin:

The only thing they have in common is a property line! Cam Maguire is in Blackberry Bay to unravel a family secret. Meredith Price has moved next door with her daughter. He’s unattached. She’s a widowed single mom. He’s owned by a cat. She’s definitely team canine. All these neighbors have in common is a property line. One they cross…over and over. And Cam thought he knew what he wanted—until his family’s secret changes
everything.


About Shannon Stacey: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily
ever after and off-roading with her friends and family. You can contact Shannon through her website ,www.shannonstacey.com, as well as sign up for her newsletter.


Purchase links provided by Harlequin: (not affiliated with BBNB)
 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/More-than-Neighbors-Blackberry-Book-
ebook/dp/B08337V9GG/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=more+than+neighbors%2C+stacey&qid=1
587390776&s=books&sr=1-1
 B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/more-than-neighbors-shannon-
stacey/1135744197?ean=9781335894694
 Google:
https://books.google.ca/books/about/More_Than_Neighbors.html?id=7DQGzQEACAAJ&redir_esc=y
 IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335894694
 Harlequin.com: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781488069901_more-than-
neighbors.html

Author social links:
 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49875473-more-than-
neighbors?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=BPmoRsG1Za&rank=1

 Author website: https://shannonstacey.com/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/shannonstacey

 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shannonstacey.authorpage

 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shannonstacey/

Harlequin Summer Reads Tour for Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle

I’m thrilled to take part in the Harlequin Summer Reads tour with Stranger in the Lake by Kimberly Belle. This was a suspenseful read and just perfect for the summer!

Here’s the overview:


When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young
woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.
At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.
As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

***********************************

Me again! If you follow me, you know I love a good, suspenseful read and I’m always particularly excited if I don’t “figure it all out” in the first half of the book! I did not figure this one out early and I enjoyed Ms. Belle’s writing, pacing, and plot-line.

Highly recommended for a fast, suspenseful read that is great for poolside!

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

About the Author:
Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of six novels, including the forthcoming Stranger in the Lake (June 2020). Her third novel, The Marriage Lie, was a semifinalist in the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Mystery & Thriller, and a #1 e-book
bestseller in the UK and Italy. She’s sold rights to her books in a dozen languages as well as film and television options. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

From the Tour (please note that purchasing links are NOT affiliated with BBNB but have been sent from Harlequin):

Social Links:
Author website: https://www.kimberlybellebooks.com/
Facebook: @KimberlyBelleBooks
Twitter: @KimberlySBelle
Instagram: @kimberlysbelle
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kimberlybelle

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WNX6ZZS
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stranger-in-the-lake-kimberly-
belle/1133065677
Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/stranger-in-the-lake-original/9780778309819?aid=0
IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309819
Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Stranger-Lake/Kimberly-
Belle/9780778309819
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/stranger-in-the-lake
AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/stranger-in-the-lake/id1477319023

Harlequin Summer Reads Blog Tour for Red Sky over Hawaii by Sarah Ackerman

I’m thrilled to take part in Harlequin’s Summer Reads Blog Tour today, dishing about Red Sky over Hawaii by Sarah Ackerman! This was a compelling story – WWII historical fiction/romance – that takes place in Hawai’i. If you know me, you know I love the Hawai’ian Islands and there were so many places that featured in the story where I had been, it made my connection to the novel even stronger.

Here’s the description:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

For fans of Chanel Cleeton and Beatriz Williams, RED SKY OVER HAWAII is historical women’s fiction set in the islands during WWII. It’s the story of a woman who has to put her safety and her heart on the line when she becomes the unexpected guardian of a misfit group and decides to hide with them in a secret home in the forest on Kilauea Volcano.

The attack on Pearl Harbor changes everything for Lana Hitchcock. Arriving home on the Big Island too late to reconcile with her estranged father, all she can do is untangle the clues of his legacy, which lead to a secret property in the forest on Kilauea Volcano. America has been drawn into WWII, and amid rumors of impending invasion, the army places the islands under martial law. When they start taking away neighbors as possible sympathizers, Lana finds herself suddenly guardian to two girls, as well as accomplice to an old family friend who is Japanese, along with his son. In a heartbeat, she makes the decision to go into hiding with them all.

The hideaway house is not what Lana expected, revealing its secrets slowly, and things become even more complicated by the interest of Major Grant Bailey, a soldier from the nearby internment camp. Lana is drawn to him, too, but needs to protect her little group. With a little help from the magic on the volcano, Lana finds she can open her bruised heart to the children–and maybe to Grant.

A lush and evocative novel about doing what is right against the odds, following your heart, and what makes a family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sara Ackerman is the USA Today bestselling author of The Lieutenant’s Nurse and Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. When she’s not writing or teaching, you’ll find her in the mountains or in the ocean. She currently lives on the Big Island with her boyfriend and a houseful of bossy animals. Find out more about Sara and her books at http://www.ackermanbooks.com and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.

While I could have had a bit more suspense and less romance, overall this was a great read. I’d love to read more of Ms. Ackerman’s novels. They are well-plotted and paced.

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my ARC, and for letting me have a little “visit to the Islands”!

For My Ears: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Before I stopped commuting due to COVID, I had the pleasure of listening to this fun YA murder mystery, written with multiple voices.

Here’s the overview of it via Amazon:

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

I enjoyed Pip’s pluckiness in solving this mystery and I also liked all the twists and turns in the plot. It kept my interest while navigating my rather dull commute and I often listened while working at my desk or over lunch.

You don’t have to be a teen to enjoy this one! I got mine with my Audible credit through Amazon.