November 24, 2017

Black Arts, Tarts & Gypsy Carts by Erin Johnson - Review and Giveaway

 
I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Self Published (October 29, 2017) 
Paperback: 300 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1976537110 
E-Book - ASIN: B076GW21DK

Book description
With the Summer Sea Carnival visiting the enchanted island of Bijou Mer, Imogen jumps at the chance to help run the royal bakery booth. It’ll get her out of the palace and allow her to continue avoiding her feelings for a certain engaged prince. Imogen’s plans to lay low are shattered when the world-famous necromancer, Madame Zerna, is found dead, sawed in half on the dark magician’s table and Imogen’s friend Rhonda is caught red-handed. With incriminating evidence piling up against Rhonda, Zerna’s rival, Imogen promises to help clear her name by finding the real murderer. But between running the booth, encouraging Maple as she struggles to lead as head baker, and taking spell lessons from the friendly strong man, Imogen’s got her hands full. And it’s no easier getting information from the evasive dark magician or Madame Zerna’s secretive assistant. Even Rhonda’s hiding something. With the Night of the Dead fast approaching, and Rhonda headed for a maximum security witch prison, Imogen races to unearth the real killer in time to save her friend. But in a mysterious carnival where nothing’s as it seems, will Imogen have the magical powers to keep from being on the chopping block herself?

Meet the Author - Erin Johnson 
A native of Tempe, Arizona, Erin spends her time crafting mysterious, magical, romance-filled stories that’ll hopefully make you laugh. In between, she’s traveling, napping with her dogs, eating with her friends and family, and teaching Pilates (to allow her to eat more). Website: www.erinjohnsonwrites.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/EJohnsonWrites. Twitter: @EJohnsonWrites 

Purchase Link - Amazon 

My thoughts
This is the first book that I have read by this author and in this series. I did not feel lost and was able to read it as a stand alone book. I thought the book was enjoyable and the cast of characters were unique and fun to get to know. The royal bakers were a favorite part of the story for me. Then the author added a bit of romance to this mystery which was a little bonus. She likes to keep you guessing as you read. Just when you think you have everything figured out she gives you a little twist. I enjoyed her writing style as well. The story just flowed off the pages. Imogene was a fun character to get to know. She was determined to prove her friend was not the killer even if it meant solving the crime herself. A great cast of characters a fun setting and a good mystery. All the makings of a good book. 

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November 23, 2017

Beyond Love by D.D. Marx - Review and Giveaway

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book Details:
Book Title: Beyond Love (Book #2)
Author: D.D. Marx
Category: Adult Fiction; 184 pages
Genre: Chick-Lit
Publisher: Beyond Dreams Publishing
Release date: November 2017
Tour dates: Oct 16 to Dec 22, 2017
Content Rating: PG 13 (Light sex scenes/not explicit; language (couple f bombs)

Book Description: 
After trusting in her beloved friend Dan’s guidance from the beyond, Olivia is finally on the path to realizing her destiny. Staring at a blank canvas after ditching her raucous corporate life and meeting the love of her life, Finn McDaniels, a hot, widowed celebrity chef, she is ready to begin anew.

Arriving back in Chicago, she receives more frightening news further delaying her future journey with Finn. Unable to control the outcome, she begins questioning her trust and faith in Dan once again. She distracts herself the only way she knows how, by diving head first into a new project. What seemed like a time-killer may actually be the thing that saves her and catapults her into a world she never dreamed of.

When Olivia and Finn finally reunite, a looming secret is uncovered threatening to ruin the relationship she has waited for her entire life. Olivia is forced to decide whether to tell Finn or let it live in the past forever. Is their relationship strong enough to weather the storm or will it cause them to part ways for good?

To read more reviews, please visit D.D. Marx's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy Beyond Love:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads


Meet the Author - D.D. Marx
D.D. Marx is a contemporary romantic fiction writer and blogger, as well as a lover of all things social. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton, as well as the Second City program in Chicago, where she currently resides. A proud aunt and self-described hopeless romantic, Marx has always had a knack for humorous and engaging storytelling. Her pen name is a dedication to her beloved friend Dan, who continues to guide and inspire her in her daily life.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest




My thoughts
This is a fun series that leaves you wanting more as you finish each book. Olivia is always getting herself into some sort of predicament that you just have to shake your head at her. She is like the friend that is always a mess but you just seem to love anyway. Olivia is still listening to her deceased friend Dan for advise which sometimes is not always the best. I really liked that we got to have more of Finn in this book. We also got to watch their relationship grow even more which I enjoyed. There are a few secrets that I can't giveaway that may or may not effect the relationship. You must read to find out. I am looking forward to the third book in this series. 


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November 22, 2017

Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove by Emily Harvale - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Series: Michaelmas Bay #1
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Crescent Gate Publishing (October 20, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1909917273
ISBN-13: 978-1909917279

Book description
Christmas Secrets in Snowflake Cove

Christmas is a time for family and friends, miracles and magic, falling snow and roaring fires, fun, laughter and festive feasts. In Snowflake Cove, it’s also a time for secrets to be revealed…

Evie Starr is hoping for more than a sprinkling of magic this Christmas. The family-run Snowflake Inn is virtually empty and the Starr’s financial future isn’t looking bright. But Evie’s gran, Jessie has a secret that might help.

Enigmatic, Zachary Thorn is every woman’s dream. He’s also ex-SAS, so his secrets are classified. The Christmas Special of his feel-good, TV show is set in Michaelmas Bay – until a phone call means he’s spending Christmas in nearby Snowflake Cove.

Evie’s best friend, Juniper thinks boyfriend Darren has a secret. Evie knows he does. And Evie’s niece, Raven is hiding feelings for Juniper’s brother – who has a secret crush of his own.

But the biggest secret in Snowflake Cove is the identity of Raven’s dad.

With snow falling thick and fast and secrets being revealed one after another, will everyone be snuggling up by the fire on Christmas Eve, or are some secrets best kept hidden…?

Purchase on Amazon UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076G4DVZH

Meet the author - Emily Harvale
Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing... and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She's an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, "I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings." When she isn't writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies - and will do anything to avoid both.

Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter
https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale
https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

My thoughts
This was a nice book to read at the beginning of the season. I loved the names in the book as they connected well with the title and theme. I don't know if I would have handled the snooty woman as well as Evie did but she knew she had to as she is trying to get the word out about her business. This was a I can't put down type of book as I really wanted to figure out the secrets that were hidden throughout the story line. The author also added in a little humor to the story. She did a good job with her descriptions and developing the many characters. I want to go to Michaelmas Bay and stay in Evie's resort. I look forward to more books in this series. 




November 21, 2017

Killer Holiday by Amy Korman - Spotlight and Giveaway


Book details
Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 24th 2017 by Witness Impulse
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062431366 (ISBN13: 9780062431363)
Series: A Killer WASPs Mystery, #4

Book description
Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr socialites are ready for a fun and festive winter holiday—one that involves sipping martinis by a crackling yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and Gucci under the Christmas tree. But this year, Old Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store. A stranger dressed in a Santa suit has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters her brother Chip’s car window with a golf club and leaves a threatening note demanding fifty grand. Both are convinced it has to be a mistake. But when Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly. Eula Morris is also back in town for the holidays, more bossy and boastful than ever after winning a mega-jackpot in the lottery. She’s returned from a luxury cruise around the world with a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar…) and a Samsonite suitcase filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the team to track it down. Where is Chip? Why is a vengeful Santa targeting the gang? Who stole Eula’s suitcase? And how are these events linked? The WASPs and Kristen’s basset hound Waffles are on the case—before this white Christmas turns even darker…

Meet the author - Amy Korman
Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer’s Guide to Philadelphia. She has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. Killer WASPS is her first novel.
Catch Up With Ms. Korman On: amykorman.com πŸ”—, Goodreads πŸ”—, Twitter πŸ”—, & Facebook πŸ”—!

Giveaway
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Amy Korman and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of KILLER PUNCH by Amy Korman. The giveaway begins on October 23 and runs through December 3, 2017.

November 20, 2017

Charley Poon's Pomes by Robin Hawdon - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Paperback: 70 pages
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (November 7, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1912262436
ISBN-13: 978-1912262434

Book description
Unable to find good funny poems to read aloud to his grandchildren - other than the seventy year old A.A. Milne classics - British playwright Robin Hawdon sat down to write some himself. The result is this collection of thirty hilarious and touching poems, beautifully illustrated by Wendy Hoile, which recount the exploits of young Charley Poon - every parent’s nightmare - and his eccentric menagerie of nursery animals. The poems cover everything from youthful games and exploits, to the problems of growing up, to the ups and downs of school and family life, and the joys of country and seaside holidays. Parents and grandparents will be delighted to have something new and entertaining with which to occupy those tricky lights-out bedtime moments.


Meet the author - Robin Hawdon
Dividing his time between Bath, Australia and the South of France, actor, playwright and grandfather Robin Hawdon has enjoyed a successful forty year career in the entertainment industry. During the early years he was a regular face on British TV — appearing in many series and co-starring with Michael Crawford in ITV’s ‘Chalk and Cheese’ and starring in a number of films. He has trod the boards as Hamlet, Henry V and Henry Higgins in Pygmalion and in leading roles in London’s West End. Later his love of writing dominated his career and he is now recognised as one of the UK’s most prolific comedy playwrights —with productions including The Mating Game which has played in over thirty countries and Don’t Dress For Dinner which ran in the West End for six years before playing on Broadway and around the English speaking world. Many of his plays are published by Samuel French and Josef Weinberger. Robin has also directed a number of stage productions, and in the 1980’s founded the Bath Fringe festival, and subsequently became Director of the Theatre Royal Bath, England’s premier touring theatre. He has written several novels including A Rustle in the Grass, published by Hutchinsons in 1984 and republished recently by Thistle. A second novel, The Journey was published in 2002 by Hawthorns and a third, Survival of the Fittest, by SBPR in 2013. His first foray into children’s literature,


My thoughts
This was a fun colorful book to read.  The author did a good job with getting the writing style correct. By this I mean you felt like you were reading poems written by a little boy. They were fun and silly. I also like the font they used because it looked like a little boy's crayon handwriting. The drawings that went along with the poems were cute as well. One of my favorite poems was Joe the Jrafe - yes that is spelled correctly remember a little boy was writing these. Joe was a giraffe with a loud laugh that was so loud he scared people and he laughed at everything. So Charley's mom taught Joe how to laugh more quietly so he would not scare people. His spelling poem was cute as well. In it he wants to know why things sound the same but are spelled different. I loved all the little misspellings in the book it just made it more like you were reading a book your young boy wrote. I can't wait to pass this on to my nephew. I think he will find it funny. 


November 19, 2017

Scandikitchen The Essence of Hygge by Bronte Aurell - Review


Book details
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small; Reprint edition (February 14, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1849758743
ISBN-13: 978-1849758741

Book description
Discover the essence of hygge as revealed by BrontΓ« Aurell, Danish owner of London’s ScandiKitchen in this honest and thoughtful guide, which also features some of her favorite recipes from her books, The Scandi Kitchen and Fika & Hygge, to help you enjoy a "hyggelig" time.

Hygge is in the zeitgeist, but what is it, how do we bring hygge in our lives and why are we so captivated with this Danish word? According to BrontΓ« it is really not complicated and doesn’t involve spending vast amounts of money on candles or blankets… in its purest form it is simply about appreciating life.

Explained in 12 entertaining chapters interspersed with recipes, you will learn first about the origins of the word hygge (old Norse) and then how to embrace it with essays on: Hygge and the Basics, Hygge and Happiness, Hygge and Sharing, Hygge and Baking, Hygge and Darkness, Hygge and Light, Hygge and Time, Hygge and Stress, Hygge and Soul, Hygge and Nature, Hygge and Stuff, and Hygge and Your Home.

Hygge is a completely psychological and emotional state of being. Whether it’s going for a long walk or baking and sharing a cake with friends, when you carve a pocket of time in your day, hygge can often be found. Remembering to appreciate and experience the moment will help you find your very own hygge.

Meet the author - Bronte Aurell
I'm Bronte Aurell and I co-own and run ScandiKitchen Cafe in London, England.

Our cafe was set up in 2007 - because we (my partner Jonas and I) missed food from our homes in Scandinavia. We wanted to create a place where ex-pats could find the foods they missed from home and where everybody else felt welcome to pop by and enjoy some nice open sandwiches, cakes and coffee.

We love our little cafe, webshop and warehouse and we're super proud to be publishing our first book, ScandiKitchen, in September 2015. We wanted to write a book with really simple Scandinavian dishes - the way we cook them at home. No fancy stuff - just honest food - good food, with love, from Scandinavia.

In 2016, we published Fika & Hygge - a collection of all our favourite Scandinavian bakes and treats. Perfect for baking your way through a dark, cold winter.

Do pop by and say 'hej' if you are ever in London.

www.scandikitchen.co.uk

My thoughts
This was a very quick read for me. I picked it up at the library at 4:00 and by 9:00 I was done reading it. I enjoyed the way the author talked about Hygge and her experiences with it. She also compares Danish, Norwegian, and the Swedish and the way they all practice Hygge. There were many great recipes included in this book - a few in which I plan on making for myself. At the beginning of each recipe she tells a story behind the recipe. I like this added personal touch. There are also quotes at the beginning of the chapters which I enjoyed. One of my favorites is a Julia Child quote - A party without a cake is just a meeting. This is a book that you should add to your collection. 

Finnigan the Circus Cat by Mary T. Wagner

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Series: Finnigan the Circus Cat #1
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Waterhorse Press LLC; First edition (June 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692679626
ISBN-13: 978-0692679623

Book description
Finnigan is a foundling kitten who finds a happy home in a small town circus museum, befriended by a pair of "circus mice." Through their adventures, they learn that the family you make can be just as important as the one you came from.

Inspired by a real life “rescue kitten” adopted by the author’s son and his wife and ALSO named Finnigan, this new chapter book series begins as Max and Leroy, two “circus mice” cousins who live at the old, shuttered Farnsworth Circus Museum find their comfortable world up-ended when a new generation of Farnsworths move in.

And when eight-year-old Lucy Farnsworth brings home a tiny foundling kitten and hides him in the barn because her dad is allergic to cats, Max and Leroy need to think fast if they’re going to be able to stay.

With the help of Boomer—the oddly silent family dog—Max and Leroy take the new kitten under their wing and show him the ins and outs of living at the museum, and flying “under the radar.” Along the way, they all come to realize that the family that you make can be just as important as the one you came from. And when Leroy finds himself in deadly peril as the villainous neighborhood cats Hector and Godfrey some a’hunting, it is Finnigan the Circus Cat who saves the day!

Meet the author - Mary T. Wagner
Award-winning Wisconsin author and photographer Mary T. Wagner has been described as "the Midwest's answer to Carrie Bradshaw" and favorably compared to humorist Erma Bombeck...but "in sexier shoes." A native of Chicago, Wagner is a former newspaper and magazine journalist who changed careers at forty by going to law school and becoming a criminal prosecutor. A mother of four, she now lives in in "coastal Wisconsin," where she draws much inspiration for writing from frequent trips to the shore of Lake Michigan, watching the waves ebb and flow and make shifting mosaics of sunlight on the sandy lake floor.

Despite the career shift to law, Wagner never COULD step away from the keyboard entirely, and since returning to writing has published several essay collections which have earned national praise, including RUNNING WITH STILETTOS and WHEN THE SHOE FITS. She counts both wearing spike heels and learning to use a cordless drill and chainsaw among her "late blooming" discoveries, and would be hard pressed to surrender either her favorite stilettos or her power tools.

The spark for her FINNIGAN THE CIRCUS CAT series, aimed at young readers age 7-10, came about because of the intersection of two highly entertaining family matters—one of Wagner’s daughters is a contemporary circus aerialist, and a few years ago her younger son and his wife brought home a tiny “rescue kitten” they named Finnigan. As the wee Finnigan grew, his stripes, moustache, and attitude reminded her of a circus performer full of dash and bravado, and so the match was lit.

The series is narrated by one of Finnigan’s “circus mice” pals, Maxmillian, whom Wagner freely admits to as her wiseacre alter ego. “Seriously,” Wagner said, “that mouse is really the ten-year-old version of me before I had to grow up and sound responsible. When I sit down to write about Finnigan and his friends, I just open the door in my head that he usually hides in, and the story comes out. Whatever Maximillian says is going to happen, I am simply along for the ride!”

My thoughts
Let's start off by saying I loved the cover of this book and the title. Then I read the description and had to have it. What could make a better story then a rescue kitten that is being taught the ropes by two mice. When you read this book you are in for a real treat. Then there is the added touch of the sketches in the book. They are a cute addition. Max and Leroy brought humor to the story as well as a compassion to show that just because you come from different places you can still belong together. They did a good job of making Finnigan a part of their family. I also liked the idea that the story centered around a rescue kitten as we are all about rescuing animals in our house. This is a fun book to read along with you child. I look forward to more adventures of this rag tag team of animals.