Hang On To Your Bookshelf: a Guest Post from ElaineRobertson North, author of I’ve Been Waiting for You

I've Been Waiting for You

 

About the book, I’ve Been Waiting for You Ive Been EN_IBWFY_Front Cover Artwork FINAL

  • Publisher: Independently published (January 22, 2024)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 319 pages
  • Scroll down for a guest post from the author

Esther grew up with a violent criminal father and suffered the loss of her mother at just fourteen.

When her brother, Matt, turns up after another long unexplained absence he falls for Esther’s friend, Abi. Two months into their relationship, Abi is dead and Matt is missing.

Now Esther must do everything she can to find Matt but doing so means opening herself up to a past she has worked hard to escape.

Esther knows she has no choice and must act quickly.

Matt’s life could depend on it.

Buy, read and discuss this book:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Goodreads


About the author, Elaine Robertson North Ive Been Elaine Robertson North

Elaine spent twenty-five years working in marketing and communications in the media and entertainment industries. This included seven years marketing national newspapers, running the publicity campaign for three Red Nose Days and a number of years working in entertainment PR. She held senior communications roles at Capital Radio and UKTV, and latterly, she was the MD of a small marketing agency. It was all fast and furious and a fantastically rich source of material.

Having harboured a desire to write for many years, Elaine finally made this her focus once she’d hung up her corporate hat, publishing her first book, I Can’t Tell You Why in 2019. Her second book, Bring Me To Life, followed in 2022.

Today Elaine lives in North London with her husband and their two sons. When she’s not writing, she can be found looking harassed on the school run, on the side lines of her sons’ football matches, or singing her heart out with her local branch of Popchoir.

Connect with Elaine:

Facebook | Instagram | X (Twitter)


Guest Post – Hang On To Your Bookshelf!

lesly-juarez-EW2cPMEp0mI-unsplashI’m so excited to bring you this guest post from Elaine Robertson North. All authors begin as readers, after all, and what to DO with all those books is a never-ending dilemma. After you read her thoughts on this very important subject, I’m certain that you’ll want to add her book, I’ve Been Waiting for You, to your bookshelf. I know I did!

I can’t imagine living in a home without a bookshelf, or more likely, shelves. Apart from an obvious love of books, my bookshelves tell a story of their own from my changing tastes in fiction to the poetry I love, and from my travel aspirations to the people who’s lives I’ve wanted to know more about. Without exception, all of them say something about me and my interests. I still have a small collection of my favourite children’s books too so those slices of wood that adorn my living room walls go way beyond a functional or decorative addition to the room; they hold a collection of memories, hopes and dreams, and so much more. In fact I can’t think of another collection of items in the home, other than perhaps photographs, where each one represents a physical link to a past moment in time.

I think the same goes for everyone who keeps and displays their books. The first time I visit someone’s house, I love a discreet browse of the bookshelves, knowing they will offer some immediate insight into that person’s personality and passions. There’s always at least one book that immediately becomes a talking point; a book you’ve read and loved, one you want to read but haven’t yet, something rare and beautiful that you’re almost afraid to even touch, and so it goes on.

These days, most of my reading is done on a Kindle so it’s a while since I’ve added a new book to a shelf which is starting to cause me concern. Is this the beginning of the end for my bookshelves? Will there come a point where they lose their poignancy and relevance? But it’s not just the way we read books that’s changing. Ebooks may be super popular, and audio books too, but paperbacks are still big business and are by no means out of style. In fact, I’m pretty sure sales of paperbacks still far outweigh those of ebooks. But one difference today is that we’re quite rightly encouraged to recycle whenever we can so lots of people I’ve spoken to no longer keep books they’ve read but instead pass them on to friends, or donate them to charity shops which is a great way to give a book a second lease of life and raise money for great causes at the same time. All very positive but once again, it does sadly mean less books for the shelf!

Recycling aside, there are of course other benefits to having a house filled with books. Lots of people find comfort in the presence of their old books. I read someone describing them like old friends which I particularly liked. And an extensive study found the mere presence of books in the home increases children’s academic success and also their vocabulary development which has to be reason enough to find room for a home library!

So if I promise to reread the books I keep every now and again so that they continue to serve a genuine purpose, I hope it’s still okay to hold on to them. I’m in no doubt that my living room would be completely soulless without them.


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Book Review: Murder by Christmas by Lesley Cookman

Murder By Christmas

 

About the book, Murder by Christmas Murder-by-Christmas

  • Series: A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery (Book #25)
  • Publisher: ‎ Headline Accent (December 7, 2023)
  • Publication date: ‎ December 7, 2023
  • Language: ‎ English

Murder by Christmas

The twisting twenty-fifth instalment of Lesley Cookman’s much-loved Libby Sarjeant series

Libby Sarjeant is deep into rehearsals for the annual pantomime when a body is found in a doorway two weeks before Christmas – and Libby and her friend Fran are called into action once again, when their investigation leads them to a local brewery and the sale of many of its pubs.

With the help of a team of local publicans, can Libby and Fran unravel the case before it’s too late?

Buy read and discuss this book:

Purchase Link | Goodreads


About the Author, Lesley Cookman Murder Tish's profile pic

Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many Woolworth’s exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys. Since she’s been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she’s written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories, in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. Lesley is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

Lesley has also written pantomimes performed all over Britain, and published a book on how to do it!

Connect with Lesley:

Blog | Facebook | Instagram | X (Twitter)


My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

I love a good mystery, and I especially love one set at Christmas time. The lights and trees always make such a great backdrop for committing crime. Murder by Christmas, the twenty-fifth book in Lesley Cookman’s Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery series, is a good mystery with a holiday background. What’s not to love?

As someone new to this series, I immediately fell in love with Libby and Fran, the two women who must juggle Christmas festivities with the little thing of solving a murder. Having the crimefighters have to flit off and become pantomime fairies really made the pacing interesting in this novel, but it also added some touches of humor. I liked their relationship, and I liked the way they teased and snarked at each other, and with their friend Ian the policeman, the way good friends can, and do, even in the midst of serious work. I also liked the story involving local pub owners. Pubs are one of those quintessentially British institutions that really enhance the scene in a novel like this, and I was ready to pull up a chair and have a pint.

There are a ton of background characters, cameo characters, townspeople, and pub-goers in this novel, all grounding it with a real sense of place. It felt like some of this cast were familiar to the main characters, and likely recur throughout the series, but even without knowing their extended stories, I had no trouble following who was who.

If your idea of a perfect Christmas read involves horses doing tricks, performing in an annual production, and solving a murder, this book is perfect for your next fireside read. It has snappy dialogue, great pacing, and a plot that kept me guessing until the end.

I listened to the audio book as well as reading the text, and thoroughly enjoyed the narration by Patience Tomlinson. She really made this already-multidimensional story come alive.

Goes well with: mince pie and a piping hot cup of coffee laced with whisky.

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Review: The Edge of Too Late, by Jan Sikes with Giveaway

BNR The Edge of Too Late

 

About the book, The Edge of Too Late harbor pointe blue cover JS

  • Series: Harbor Pointe (Book 5)
  • Genre: Ghost Suspense / Contemporary Short Stories / Action & Adventure Romance
  • Publisher: RiJan Publishing
  • Date of Publication: November 28, 2023
  • Number of Pages: 126
  • Scroll down for giveaway! 

Brandon Miller has his dream job, financial security, and he’s madly in love. Only one thing is missing—a commitment.

Angela Cooper’s ex-husband left her with deep scars, souring her on the concept of marriage. She’s not interested in a do-over. Not with Brandon or anyone. Her heart is locked securely away behind a thick wall.

With a ring in his pocket and hope in his heart, Brandon arranges a romantic getaway to the historic Harbor Pointe Inn, where he plans to pop the question.

Before they reach the inn, Angela’s got her camera in hand and ghosts on her mind. But they arrive to find a much more tangible horror.

Accident or foul play?

Someone is up to no good, and Angela is the next target. When suspects can be worldly or otherworldly, danger and secrets lurk everywhere.

Poised at the perilous edge of too late, Angela and Brandon face the fight of their lives.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Purchase Link | Goodreads


Watch the Trailer for The Edge of Too Late


About the author, Jan Sikes Author Photo Sikes

Jan Sikes writes compelling and creative stories from the heart.

She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. She brought the entertaining true story to life through fictitious characters in an intricately woven tale encompassing four books, accompanying music CDs, and a book of poetry and art.

And now, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published numerous award-winning short stories and novels.

Jan is an active blogger, an avid fan of Texas music, and a grandmother of five. She resides in North Texas.

Connect with Jan:

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | X (TWITTER) | NEWSLETTER | BOOKBUB | AMAZON | GOODREADS

 

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My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

As someone whose first memory is the sound of fog horns, I’m a sucker for any kind of coastal ghost story. There’s just something about cliffs, crags, and crashing waves that’s just meant for the supernatural. Picking up the Jan Sikes’s  entry in the shared universe Harbor Pointe series, a The Edge of Too Late, was a no-brainer for me, though now I have to find the time to read books one through four.

This novel works perfectly well as a standalone story, and it’s got a lot going on in only 126 pages: ghosts, accidental (or is it) death, and romance. The relationship between Brandon and Angela was the center of the story, of course, but it isn’t a fluffy one. Angela has been burned by previous relationships, and fears being able to fully commit to Brandon, and her worries work really well to heighten the overall sense of unease that author Sikes has crafted so well. From the opening scene, Angela is experiencing shivers and goosebumps, and both characters are trepidatious when the police who zip past them on their way to their inn, and more so when the realize the police are handling an accidental death (or is it) that occurred just before their arrival.

Angela’s photography and Brandon’s sense of romance and adventure really work well to balance each other. When the former is looking through her camera lens, she’s certain and secure. And Brandon encourages her. It’s a lovely relationship, but the choice to have Brandon refer to Angela as ‘Angi Baby’ felt a little creepy to me (and even more so in the audiobook version which I listened to after finishing the text. (Kudos to the narrator, Jessine Van Lopik, whose performance was both compelling and, at times, chilling).

The Harbor Pointe setting was essentially in the character in this story, the way fictional villages often are. I spent my teen years in northern California, and Harbor Pointe reminded me a lot of Moss Beach and Half Moon Bay in San Mateo County (which has a haunted restaurant). It had that breezy California vibe without ever feeling like a caricature, and I could taste the salt in the air as I read.

This novel, as mentioned above, is only 126 pages long, so it’s easy to read it in one sitting, and honestly, the story is so gripping, I can’t envision any other way to experience it. Jan Sikes has given us a story jam-packed with characters, settings, and ideas that beg to be revisited. Check me in to the Harbor Pointe Inn any time, I’m eager to visit again.

Goes well with: Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl and a glass of Fort Point Animal IPA.


Giveaway

FIVE WINNERS:

1st: $20 Amazon gift card

2nd & 3rd: audiobooks of The Edge of Too Late

4th & 5th: eBooks of Flowers and Stone

(US Only; ends midnight, CST 12/15/23)

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on this Tour

Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for this book for direct links to each blog, updated daily, or visit each blog directly.

12/05/23 Jennifer Silverwood Review
12/05/23 Hall Ways Blog Excerpt
12/06/23 Boys’ Mom Reads Review
12/06/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
12/07/23 JennCaffeinated Review
12/08/23 Librariel Book Adventures Review
12/08/23 Chapter Break Book Blog Character Interview
12/09/23 StoreyBook Reviews Review
12/10/23 The Clueless Gent Review
12/11/23 Bibliotica Review
12/12/23 Rox Burkey Blog Review
12/12/23 Forgotten Winds Author Interview
12/13/23 It’s Not All Gravy Review
12/14/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review

 

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Review: Arsenic at Ascot, by Kelly Oliver

Arsenic at Ascot

 

About the book, Arsenic at Ascot Arsenic at Ascot copy

  • Series: Fiona Figg and Kittty Lane (Book 4)
  • Publisher: ‎ Boldwood Books (November 28, 2023)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Paperback: 280 pages

Arsenic at Ascot (A Fiona Figg & Kitty Lane Mystery Book 4)

Saddle up for this first class historical mystery, perfect for fans of Helena Dixon and Verity Bright.

London, 1918

Fiona Figg finds herself back in Old Blighty saddled with shuffling papers for the war office. Then a mysterious card arrives, inviting her to a fancy house party at Mentmore Castle. This year’s Ascot-themed do will play host to a stable of animal defense advocates, and Fiona is tasked with infiltrating the activists and uncovering possible anti-war activity.

Disguised as the Lady Tabitha Kenworthy, Fiona is more than ready for the “mane” event, but the odds are against her when both her arch nemesis, dark-horse Fredrick Fredricks, and would-be fiancé Lieutenant Archie Somersby arrive unexpectedly and “stirrup” her plans. And when a horse doctor thuds to the floor in the next guest room, Fiona finds herself investigating a mysterious poisoning with some very hairy clues.

Can Fiona overcome the hurdles and solve both cases, or will she be pipped to the post and put out to pasture by the killer?

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Apple Books | Goodreads


About the author, Kelly Oliver Author Photo

Kelly Oliver is the award-winning, bestselling author of three mysteries series: The Jessica James Mysteries, The Pet Detective Mysteries, and the historical cozies The Fiona Figg Mysteries, set in WW1. She is also the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is bringing new titles in the Fiona Figg series to Boldwood, the first of which, Chaos in Carnegie Hall, will be published in November 2022.

Connect with Kelly:

Newsletter Sign-up | Bookbub | Facebook | X (Twitter)


My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

It’s a farce! It’s a period piece! It’s a mystery! It’s a romance! Actually, it’s all of the above, and you can find it in Kelly Oliver’s fourth installment in her Fiona Figg & Kitty Lane Mysteries, Arsenic at Ascot. This novel finds Fiona undercover as several different people from Lady Tabitha Kenworthy to a rear admiral, and she’s solving crime, thwarting international spies, and flirting with men – and danger – in a delightful romp through the English animal rights scene of 1918.

Kelly Oliver’s prowess is in her ability to make a period piece feel completely contemporary, while never compromising the setting. Fiona Figg’s costume and personality shifts as she moves between undercover guises are both fantastic and a little bit funny, and the author makes you want to jump into the pages and join the adventure. Her deft hand at pacing and plot only make the read even better, and I confess, she kept me guessing until the end of the story.

I also appreciated that this book, while fourth in a series, is perfectly readable as a standalone (though I’ll go back and read books 1-3 as time allows). While it would have been interesting to know more of the relationships at play, especially the history of Fiona, fellow agent Archie, and nemesis Fredrick Fredricks, not having their backstories in no way detracts from being able to follow the plot, through it’s many twists and turns.

I especially enjoyed seeing a feisty, independent woman leading the story in a period that isn’t given a lot of “air play” in literature, and it was interesting to observe both the similarities and the differences in the cultures of the past in the novel, and our own present.

I listened to the audiobook of this story as well as reading the text, and I can say that while the quick pacing makes it something that, I feel, works better in print, the narration by Willow Nash was spot on, and I’d happily listen to more of her work

Overall, this is a fabulous story with something for everyone: romance, intrigue, humor, danger… and horses. What’s not to love?

Goes well with: late-night whiskey in the library.


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Book Review & Giveaway – Finding Comfort by Kimberly Fish

BNR Finding Comfort

About the book Finding Comfort Cover Finding Comfort

Series: Comfort & Joy (Book 2)

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Contemporary / Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Fish Tales Publishing

Date of Publication: September 1, 2023

Number of Pages: 312 pages

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Even with all her experience, Gloria Bachman, retired banker and candy entrepreneur, didn’t see this coming.

Sweeties, the beloved Comfort chocolate shop, was ready for its cameo in advertising extraordinaire Jazzy Mezcal’s famous travel and food show! Comfort town folks had worked hard all summer to get their shops Hallmark-movie ready. On the eve of the TV crews overtaking the town, Gloria’s Chamber of Commerce welcome party gets drenched in a wicked rainstorm. Locals call it a “blue norther,” and a dreaded agent of change. Flooding seems like the worst of their problems until the celebrity TV host turns up dead.

In shock, Gloria’s friends turn to her to figure out who could be responsible for such a disaster. With the TV crew and guests in town for the 8th Street Market’s annual shopping event, suspects are endless. Reluctant to get involved, Gloria would much rather focus on the delicious romance with Mason Lassiter. And she would if a frenemy from Kerrville didn’t haunt her every step. Now as Gardner Rogers treads on her turf, everything feels suspicious.

With all eyes on Gloria to find the truth behind Jazzy Mezcal’s untimely death, she indulges her curiosity for problem solving while trying to disguise how unsure she is about the future with her boyfriend. Disruption in Mason’s world, mayhem in Comfort, and one epic chocolate disaster rouse Gloria to action and make her decide what’s worth fighting for. All she can say for sure, is that no one is finding any comfort in Comfort.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Click to Purchase | Goodreads


About the Author, Kimberly Fish Author Photo Fish

Kimberly Fish has been a professional writer in marketing and media for over thirty years, with regular contributions to area newspapers and magazines. As an accidental historian, she wrote two novels, The Big Inch and Harmon General, both based on factual events in Longview, Texas that changed world history. Kimberly also offers a set of contemporary women’s fiction novels and novellas, based in the Texas Hill Country, that reveal her fascination with characters discovering their grit and sweet, second chances; all four of the novels have won distinguished awards. Finding Comfort is her latest novel, the second book in the Comfort and Joy Trilogy.

Connect with Kimberly:

Website | Instagram | X (Twitter) | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | YouTube | Pinterest | BookBub


My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

I love visiting Comfort, Texas through Kimberly Fish’s books, and since the previous book in this series, Sweet Comfort, really resonated with me, I was excited to dive into the sequel. As ever, Fish’s storytelling does not disappoint. This novel is the perfect read for a crisp autumn evening, and since it starts in October and moves into the holiday season, it’s also a great way to escape from your relatives at Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas when family togetherness gets a little overwhelming.

Revisiting Gloria Bachman, banker cum candy store owner, was a wonderful reminder that those of us who are past our thirties and forties still have a lot of life, and that romance has no expiration date. Seeing her continue her relationship with Mason Lassiter was fantastic. These two are my endgame, as the kids say, and I’m rooting for them. That said, I love that their romance is a little rocky. It just makes them feel more like real people, with doubts and fears to work through.

But author Fish did not give us only a second-chance romance. Instead, this novel is the quintessence of cozy mysteries: adorable small town with charming shops – check, community of friends and relatives who all have opinions – check, charismatic outsider who may not be a villain but is definitely an antagonist (I’m looking at you Gardner Rogers), distraught father  of the deceased – check. But while this book hits most of the genre’s familiar notes, there’s nothing formulaic about it. Every character in Finding Comfort feels like someone you know, and their lives are intertwined the way people who live in close communities really are.

What I always appreciate about Fish’s work, and is especially evident in this book, are the grace notes she adds to her work. She addresses some of the issues of aging – Will Wanda’s daughter convince her to move away from Comfort and give up some of her independence ? – without delicacy and care, and I found myself as intrigued by such side stories as I was with the main story.

I also love that Gloria has surrounded herself with a circle of women friends who laugh with her, cry with her, celebrate and mourn with her, and indulge her habit of sniffing out crime a little too much. It’s the richness of the world that Comfort, Texas represents that keeps me reading, and reading, the books set there.

One thing of note. While the story was perfectly paced and the characters well-drawn, there were more than the typical number of typos and grammar issues than I’m accustomed to seeing in published copies of any work – and especially in a Kimberly Fish novel. My heart goes out to her because these are things a proofreader or line editor should have fixed. I’ve never met Ms. Fish, but I can bet she’s less than pleased, and my heart goes out to her. I’m such a fast reader, and so good at closure, that my brain autocorrects most things for me, and they don’t detract from the reading experience. Slower readers may not be so lucky.

Despite this, I recommend this book, because everyone needs to find a little Comfort, and with this book, they will.

Goes well with: Ginger snaps, but not the commercial kind, and a cafe cortado.

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TWO WINNERS:

Signed copy of FINDING COMFORT + surprise bonus gift!

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 11/3/23)

Giveaway Finding Comfort

 

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on this Tour

Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for Finding Comfort with direct links to each post, updated daily,  or visit each blog directly.

10/24/23 Reading by Moonlight Review
10/24/23 Hall Ways Blog BONUS Stop
10/25/23 The Book’s Delight Review
10/25/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
10/26/23 Bibliotica Review
10/27/23 Jennie Reads Review
10/27/23 The Page Unbound BONUS Stop
10/28/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review
10/29/23 Rox Burkey Blog Review
10/30/23 StoreyBook Reviews Review
10/31/23 Carpe Diem Chronicles Review
11/01/23 Boys’ Mom Reads BONUS Stop
11/01/23 It’s Not All Gravy Review
11/02/23 Forgotten Winds Review

 

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Pringle Prawn by Michael Scott Clifton – Review and Giveaway

BNR Pringle Prawn

 

About the book, Pringle Prawn Cover Pringle Prawn

  • Genre: Contemporary Urban Fantasy / Fairies / Humor
  • Publisher: Book Liftoff
  • Date of Publication: September 19, 2023
  • Number of Pages: 310 pages
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

Move over Tinker Bell. There’s a new fairy in town!

Ben’s luck is changing. He has his iconic VW bus, a hot, wealthy girlfriend, and he’s managed to buy an old fixer-upper in an upscale neighborhood—just the thing to convince his girlfriend’s influential father that he’s husband material. But his new home has a secret, and when Ben opens a mysterious grandfather clock, he finds himself dropped into a magical land. There he meets Pringle, a six-inch prawn with a supercharged attitude and a pouchful of fairy dust. She saves his life, and when Ben returns to his world, Pringle returns with him.

Pringle’s adjustment to the modern world is a hilarious series of incidents that completely disrupt Ben’s life. When Russian mobsters and a vengeful HOA president attempt to hijack Ben’s life, Pringle zooms to the rescue—a pinch here, a pinch there, nothing a little fairy dust can’t fix.

But it’s when Pringle begins to grow that things really get interesting, because as Pringle’s size increases, so do her feelings for Ben. Ultimately, Pringle must decide whether to return to her world—or follow her heart and stay with Ben.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Click to Purchase Pringle Prawn | Visit the GoodReads page for Pringle Prawn


About the author, Michael Scott Clifton Author Photo Clifton

Multi-award-winning author Michael Scott Clifton lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie. An avid gardener, rapacious reader, and movie junkie, his books contain facets of all the genres he enjoys—action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch, and the Conquest of the Veil series, (The Open Portal, Escape from Wheel, A Witch’s Brew, and Cavern of the Veil Queen) all received 5-Stars from the prestigious Readers Favorite Book Reviews. The Open Portal has been honored with a Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award. In addition, his YA novel Edison Jones and The Anti-Grav Elevator received a Feathered Quill Book Award Bronze Medal. Two of his short stories have earned Gold Medals, with “Edges of Gray” winning the Texas Authors Contest, and “The End Game”, winning the Northeast Texas Writer’s Organization Contest. Professional credits include published articles in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine.

Connect with Michael:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | X (Twitter) | Newsletter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Amazon | GoodReads

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My Thoughts MissMeliss - 2023

As a previous reader and review of Michael Scott Clifton‘s work, I was excited to read his latest. Pringle Prawn is, at once, a delightful romp through a fantasy world (think Terry Brooks mixed with Lev Grossman) and a contemporary thriller in the vein of David Baldacci, combined into one immensely satisfying, unique package.

The fantasy elements are what drew me to this title. I loved the fish-out-of-water Ben exploring the fantasy forest (and running for his life!) and the spunky Pringle the prawn, though in this case a prawn isn’t something you eat, but a being much akin to a fairy. Tinkerbell gone wild, maybe. But the parallel plot of human trafficking grounded the fantastic parts of this novel in a very real, very gritty world and gave real purpose to Ben’s adventures in not-so-wonderful land.

The characters are what really sold me on this book. Ben and Pringle, obviously, but the Russian criminals were deliciously villainous, and Ben’s girlfriend Cara who embodied the perfect self-absorbed rich girl who may not be as shallow as she initially seems.  Clifton has a gift for writing dialogue that feels real, and his work in this novel is no exception. I particularly liked Pringle’s failure to grasp Ben’s colloquial English, and I appreciated the breezy, affected air of Cara’s speech. Maude the HOA president was also wonderfully written – I think I know her.

The pacing of Pringle Prawn is also perfect. From the opening in media res to the very end, I was completely immersed in the story. It never felt draggy, and the necessary exposition was provided organically. It’s a bit over three hundred pages long, but moves along so swiftly that I devoured it in one sitting on a rainy autumn afternoon.

Bottom line: if you, like me, never pass a wardrobe without checking to see if it leads to an enchanted forest, this novel is for you.

Goes well with: a hearty beef stew and a tankard of ale.


Giveaway

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THREE WINNERS

1st Prize: autographed copy of Pringle Prawn + $10 Amazon gift card

2nd & 3rd Prize: Kindle copy

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 10/20/23)

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on This Tour

Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page for links to each participating site, updated daily, or visit each one directly.

 

10/10/23 The Book’s Delight Review
10/10/23 The Clueless Gent Review
10/11/23 Book Fidelity Review
10/11/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
10/12/23 Reading by Moonlight Review
10/12/23 StoreyBook Reviews Review
10/13/23 Bibliotica Review
10/13/23 Hall Ways Blog BONUS Stop
10/14/23 Boys’ Mom Reads Review
10/15/23 The Real World According to Sam Review
10/16/23 It’s Not All Gravy Review
10/17/23 Forgotten Winds Review
10/17/23 Shelf Life Blog BONUS Stop
10/18/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review
10/18/23 Chapter Break Book Blog Review
10/19/23 Carpe Diem Chronicles Review
10/19/23 Rox Burkey Blog Review

 

 

 

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Spotlight: Revisiting The Legend of Rachel Peterson by J.T. Baroni

About the book, The Legend of Rachel Peterson Revised Rachel Front Cover

Outraged when The Post Gazette overlooks him for a promotion, 43-year-old Sports Writer Christian Kane quits the Paper and moves to the country to write fiction. Inspiration flows from a grave he stumbles upon in the woods. He pens The Legend of Rachel Petersen, a fascinating story revolving around the dead twelve-year-old girl laid to rest beneath the weathered tombstone in 1863. His book climbs the Best Seller lists; then Hollywood adapts it into a blockbuster movie. Kane becomes rich and famous; but then! Does an enraged Rachel become more than a figment of the writer’s imagination and rise from her grave, seeking revenge on him for slandering her name?


About the author, J.T. Baroni

Now retired, I am able to devote more time to one of my hobbies – writing. Other hobbies include fishing, classic cars and gardening. Once, I was an avid hunter, but my health restricts me on that hobby. Lifetime resident of Johnstown, Pa.


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Revisiting Rachel…

I reviewed this book almost exactly eleven years ago, and loved the story and the craft behind it. It’s a ghost story that is partly supernatural and partly psychological and delves into how we respond to stress and loss, as well as success we’re not certain we earned.  You can read my original review here: Review: The Legend of Rachel Petersen, by J.T. Baroni

Recently, the author contacted me to share that he’d published a revised edition which includes an additional “… 130,000 words to the background, details, and descriptions, along with a brand-new final chapter which adds one more twist… ” He’s not wrong. The original version was a gripping story with many layers. The revised edition is just as layered, but is also deeper, richer, and more immersive. It’s the perfect read for a chilly October evening, and I highly recommend it.


Buy, read, and discuss The Legend of Rachel Peterson.

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Revised Rachel Front Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Tested by Fire, by C.J. Peterson

BNR Tested by Fire

 

About the book, Tested by Fire Cover Tested by Fire

  • Genre: Christian Fiction / Suspense / Romance
  • Publisher: Texas Sisters Press, LLC
  • Page Count: 278 pages
  • Publication Date: August 21, 2023
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

Meet Robin Flynn: a woman of artistic soul and iron will, who forges metal and paints vibrant canvases as an escape from life’s ceaseless challenges. Raised in the gritty trade of welding, she inherits not just her father’s skill but also his audacity. But her creative passion takes a daring turn when she accidentally ignites an abandoned warehouse. Instead of ruin, her act inexplicably wins her gratitude from the local firefighters. Emboldened, Robin embarks on a clandestine mission to purge her crumbling town, Hemlock, of its dilapidated relics.

Enter Nate Mitchell: a man standing on the cusp of his dreams. As he trains to become a fire marshal, he’s also courting the woman he believes to be the love of his life. Everything seems perfect until destiny throws a spark into his meticulously planned world.
A pulse-pounding question burns at the heart of this riveting tale: What happens when a man committed to extinguishing fires falls deeply in love with a woman setting them? When faith and love clash like fire and water, will they quench each other or evolve into something even more powerful?

Dive into Tested By Fire, a Christian Fiction saga that weaves romance, suspense, and spirituality into a tapestry of human resilience. Inspired by 1 Peter 1:7, this story reminds us that our faith—far more precious than gold—emerges stronger through the crucible of trials, as we await the day when it illuminates the entire world with its glory.

1 Peter 1:7 (NIV)These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

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About the author, C.J. Peterson Author Photo Peterson

C.J. Peterson is a ten-time award-winning, multi-genre published author since 2012. She is also a podcaster, blogger, and publisher who knows how to relate well to folks of all ages. She has multiple books and series including:

Grace Restored SeriesThe Holy Flame Trilogy, and the Divine Legacy Series, which have characters crossing over storylines. In these books, the spiritual realm crosses into the physical. This adventurous journey will have you holding onto the pages for dear life! The Sands of Time Trilogy is an exciting sci-fi series that will have you on the edge of your seat! This series follows a group of teens with abilities as they go through the US to rescue their siblings from the Challenger, their sadistic creator who has the money & power to win at any cost. Chain Reaction follows Trip and Tori as they go through time guiding their ancestors to change crucial decisions. In changing their past to save future generations, will Trip and Tori cease to exist?

Connect with C.J.:

Website | Facebook  | X (Twitter) |  Instagram | Pinterest  |  Goodreads  | YouTube | Amazon | LinkedIn


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TWO WINNERS

First Place – paperback copy of Tested By Fire;

Second Place – eBook copy
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 9/14/2023)

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Facing the Enemy, by DiAnn Mills – Guest Post & Giveaway

BNR Facing the Enemy

 

About the book, Facing the EnemyCover Facing the Enemy

  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Date of Publication: September 5, 2023
  • Genre: Christian Fiction / Suspense / Romance
  • Number of Pages: 352 pages
  • Scroll down for Giveaway!

When the long-awaited reunion between Risa and her brother, Trenton, ends in tragedy, Risa is riddled with guilt, unable to cope with the responsibility she feels over his death. On leave from the FBI, Risa returns to her former career as an English teacher at a local college, only to see her past and present collide when one of her students, Carson Mercury, turns in an assignment that reads like an eyewitness account of her brother’s murder, with details never revealed publicly.

Alarmed by Carson’s inside knowledge of Trenton’s death, Risa reaches out to her former partner at the FBI. Special Agent Gage Patterson has been working a string of baby kidnappings, but he agrees to help look into Carson’s background. Risa and Gage soon discover their cases might be connected as a string of high-value thefts have occurred at properties where security systems were installed by Carson’s stepfather and children have gone missing. There’s a far more sinister plot at play than they ever imagined, and innocent lives are in danger.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

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About the author, DiAnn Mills Author Photo Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.  DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. DiAnn continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

Connect with DiAnn:

Blog | Instagram | Facebook | X (Twitter) | Pinterest | Goodreads | BookBub | YouTube | LinkedIn

 

 

 

 


Facing the Enemy Insert Banner

Read a Guest Post from DiAnn Mills:

“The Power of Adoption”

Guest Post by DiAnn Mills 

Decades ago, a doctor gave me the diagnosis of my inability to bear children. I was emotionally crushed and depressed, and I looked for second and third opinions. After two years of escalating doctor bills, monthly reminders of no pregnancies, and an ocean of tears, adoption grasped my attention. The process began with mounds of paperwork that first lead me into foster care, which was rewarding and provided a critical need for children but also depressing each time a child shared our home, then returned to their parent(s).

A day arrived with an opportunity to adopt a two-and-a-half-year-old little boy. Oh, the excitement of an arranged appointment to meet this little boy at the foster parent’s home. The foster mother met us at the door with half a brown paper bag of the child’s belongings. She didn’t know me, but she told me to take him home. Outraged, I did. And he became adopted son number one. Six weeks later, we were presented with another opportunity to adopt a four-month-old baby boy. He became adopted son number two. Six weeks later, we were presented with the baby’s half-brother, a twenty-three-month-old little boy. He became adopted son number three. While that sounds like a fairy tale come true, and it was, I lived in fear of the biological parents deciding they’d made a mistake and wanted their son back.

XTRA 3D Cover Facing the EnemyGood thing I was young! I had three boys under the age of three who all desperately craved a mommy’s attention. I loved the sound of “Mommy.” I thrived when all three wanted me at the same time. We needed each other, and there was plenty of love to go around. When the youngest son reached two-years-old, I miraculously gave birth to a boy, increasing my sweet sons to four.

The advantages of adoption are rewarding and beneficial to the child and the parents.

Benefits:

  1. The ability to love and nurture a child born of the heart and not of the womb.
  2. The opportunity to provide a permanent home for a child or children who might otherwise be raised in the foster care system.
  3. The joy of having your own child.
  4. The child knows he/she was chosen—special.
  5. The realization of endless love.
  6. The sharing of happiness as the child and parents become a family.

Advice:

  1. Interview others who have adopted children for what to expect in the way of legal proceedings, the adopted child’s potential behavior, and how to show the child unconditional love.
  2. Research the biological parent for any physical or mental challenges, then establish a plan if assistance is needed.
  3. Enlist a psychologist or counselor who can help the child and the parent work through abandonment and behavior issues.
  4. Anticipate questions from family, friends, and the adopted child regarding the adoption. It’s normal and expected.
  5. Prepare for signs of abandonment in the child, anger, lack of confidence, fear, identity crisis, and more. Note biological children can all face the same challenges.

The willingness of those who long for a child of their own or want to add to an existing family brings power to the family unit. Through love and acceptance.

Perhaps you are adopted or know someone who is adopted. Can you share with others your experience?

Extra insert 3

 


Giveaway

FOUR WINNERS:

Each winner gets choice of B&N or Amazon $25 gift card.

(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 9/1/23)

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Visit the Other Great Blogs on This Tour

Click to visit the Lone Star Literary Life Tour Page with direct links to each blog, updated daily, or visit each blog directly:

08/22/23 Hall Ways Blog Notable Quotables
08/22/23 The Book’s Delight Review
08/23/23 Chapter Break Book Blog Guest Post
08/23/23 Librariel Book Adventures Review
08/23/23 LSBBT Blog BONUS Stop
08/24/23 Stories Under Starlight Guest Post
08/24/23 Forgotten Winds Review
08/25/23 The Real World According to Sam Review
08/26/23 The Clueless Gent Review
08/27/23 Bibliotica Guest Post
08/28/23 Reading by Moonlight Review
08/28/23 Shelf Life Blog Guest Post
08/29/23 StoreyBook Reviews Review
08/30/23 Rox Burkey Blog Review
08/31/23 The Plain-Spoken Pen Review
08/31/23 Boys’ Mom Reads Review

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Book Spotlight and Giveaway: The Killer Enigma by Breakfield and Burkey

BNR Killer Enigma

 

About the book, The Killer Enigma

  • Series:  Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles (Book 16)
  • Cozy Mystery / Suspense / Cozy Mystery Series
  • Publisher: ICABOD Press
  • Coming August 19, 2023
  • Scroll down for giveaway!

Enough is Enough – JJ rumbled when the paparazzi invaded dinner.

JJ and Jo realize privacy doesn’t exist for them. They return to Magnolia Bluff to check on their friends and recapture the small-town anonymity.  In Magnolia Bluff, no one suspects their fame.
They discount the status of urban legends in favor of acceptance and a quiet, peaceful life. After all, a supermodel needs time and space to recharge between jobs. A geek wants time to adore his wife.

Does Magnolia Bluff hold the answers to their prayers?

Will their desires get clouded by a hidden secret?

Past, present, and future collide in a perfect storm no one expected. JJ and Jo take action to uncover the truth. Chief Tommy Jager likes them but feels they’re a lightning rod for trouble and disruption.

Who will live or die to prevent the truth from being exposed? The answers may be in the graveyard with fresh flowers on the gravestone.

Their friends are targets   –   Their dreams are broken   –   They must fight

Buy and read this book:

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authors photo killer enigma. the 2About the authors, Breakfield and Burkey

Charles Breakfield is a 25+ year technology expert in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. He also enjoys wine tastings, wine-making, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking. 

Rox Burkey is a 25+ year applied technology professional who excels at optimizing technology and business investments for customers worldwide with a focus on optimized customer experiences. She writes white papers and documents with a marked preference for fiction.

Together they create award-winning stories that resonate with males and females, young and experienced adults, and bring a fresh new view to technology possibilities today.

Connect with Breakfield and Burkey:

Series  Social Media:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | YOUTUBE

Rox Burkey Social Media:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB


Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

TWO WINNERS

FIRST: Signed copy

SECOND: eBook copy
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 8/24/23)

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