Waiting On Wednesday (114)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event that
spotlights upcoming releases that I’m really
looking forward to. Waiting On Wednesday
is the creation of Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Last Ones Left Alive
Sarah Davis-Goff
Flatiron Books, August 2019
Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

From the publisher—

Remember your just-in-cases. Beware tall buildings. Always have your knives.

Raised in isolation by her mother and Maeve on a small island off the coast of a post-apocalyptic Ireland, Orpen’s life has revolved around training to fight a threat she’s never seen. More and more she feels the call of the mainland, and the prospect of finding other survivors.

But that is where danger lies, too, in the form of the flesh-eating menace known as the skrake.

Then disaster strikes. Alone, pushing an unconscious Maeve in a wheelbarrow, Orpen decides her last hope is abandoning the safety of the island and journeying across the country to reach the legendary banshees, the rumored all-female fighting force that battles the skrake.

But the skrake are not the only threat…

Why am I waiting so eagerly? For one thing, post-apocalyptic is one of my very favorite subgenres. Also, I love the idea of this being set in Ireland because this sort of book is never set there, at least not to my knowledge, but I can’t think of a better place than a country that is pre-disposed to, shall we say, unexpected things happening. AND it has beasties!!

A Book By Any Other Name

Kathleen Delaney, author of Murder Half-Baked and other books, retired from real estate to pursue writing full time. She’s here today to talk about how book titles can make a difference in what people choose to read.

Purebred Dead, the first in the new Mary McGill series, was released in August 2015 and Curtains for Miss Plym was released in April 2016. Blood Red, White and Blue was released in July 2017 and was a finalist for best canine book of the year in the Dog Writers of America annual writing contest. Kathleen’s newest book in the series, Dressed to Kill, will be released in the UK on August 1, 2019 and in the US on November 1, 2019.

http://www.kathleendelaney.net/

There will soon be a 4th book in the Mary McGill canine mystery series and, after much discussion between the author and the editing staff of Severn House, the title chosen is Dressed to Kill. It is, I think, a good title. It says a lot about the book in only three words. Or, at least, it is supposed to.

Book titles, like book covers, are designed to entice the reader to pick it up, to look at the blurb on the back, to crack open its cover and read a little of the 1st chapter, then, hopefully, carry the book up to the front of the store to the check out counter. Consequently, the title is chosen with care.

You can usually tell a genre book by the title. Cozy mysteries titles are often play on words and have kill, murder or death in the title. A dead giveaway. (I couldn’t resist). A thriller might have something a little darker like “Dark River Rising”. A very good thriller, by the way. Dick Francis was a master of the one-word title, but they always told you something about the book, only not until you were well into it. Romances are easy to spot, their titles almost always reflect the story and, of course, the rocky road to romance. Mainstream fiction is a little harder. Remember The Secret Life of Bees? I would never have guessed what the book was about from that title, or To Kill A Mockingbird, either. But the titles alone might make you take a second look. Then there is The Book Thief. You had to pick up that one, if only to find out who was stealing what books. If you started to read, oh my goodness, you couldn’t put it down. If the goal of a title is to get the reader to pick up the book and explore further, these did the trick.

But what about titles that aren’t so intriguing? If you had never heard of Oliver Twist or Charles Dickens, would you pick it up, or just say, who’s he and push it aside. Or Brat Farrar? I had already read other Josephine Tey’s books and liked her writing when I first picked it up. It’s one of my favorites but I’m not sure, if, in this era of thousands of books to choose from, I would have judging by the title alone. What a treasure I would have missed. Or, Little Women? Is that an intriguing title? The book is but is the title enough to capture a huge audience in this era of intense competition? They aren’t doing anything that sounds interesting, at least not according to the title. I wonder how many people who have read the book and loved it would pick it up today if they knew nothing about it.

Which brings me back to Dressed to Kill. Those three words tell you it’s a mystery, a traditional or cozy one. Hopefully, you will wonder how someone dresses to kill and will pick it up to find out. I’ll give you a hint. It’s Halloween. Not enough? Well, then. Someone dressed as a clown has a gun and doesn’t seem to  mind using it, at least not while he robs the bank. A woman is dead, Dan Dunham, Chief of Police of little Santa Louisa, is on the floor, shot, and the clown isn’t finished.  But Mary and her cocker Millie are on the case, determined to find who shot their beloved Dan. They just might do it, if they don’t end up on the receiving end of a bullet.

Hope you like the title. Book is available for pre-order and you can read the first chapter here.

www.kathleendelaney.net

Book Reviews: Parkland by Dave Cullen and Wild Midnight by Kelsey Abrams

Parkland
Birth of a Movement
Dave Cullen
Harper, February 2019
ISBN 978-0-06-288294-3
Hardcover

This book is not about the tragedy on February 14th, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Instead, it is about all that the student activists accomplished in the following year and how they did it. I felt like I’d followed this story pretty closely, but I was stunned by some of the things I learned. And those things are the reasons I want people to read this book.

I think most folks will be as shocked as I was to find out how ATF background checks are conducted, and why it is that way.

I was floored by all that these students accomplished over one summer and I was delighted to see their efforts to include other young activist groups that were not receiving the same media attention, such as Black Lives Matter, BRAVE & The Peace Warriors.

As expected, being familiar with Mr. Cullen‘s work, Parkland is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Honest, yet hopeful and inspiring.

I simply had to share this with “my” students. I took it in this week, and donated my copy to their classroom library. There was so much interest, I’m going to add a couple more copies soon. Everyone that wishes to read Parkland should have that opportunity.

Reviewed by jv poore, March 2019.

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Wild Midnight: An Emily Story
Second Chance Ranch
Kelsey Abrams
Jolly Fish Press, January 2018
ISBN 978-1-63163-157-3
Trade Paperback

It should not surprise me when a Juvenile Fiction book pulls me in and holds my attention almost as tightly as a well-written, true-crime testament. And yet, when my reading of Wild Midnight: An Emily Story by Kelsey Abrams was rudely interrupted, I was absolutely more annoyed than I should have been.

Admittedly, I picked it up planning to savor it. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Second Chance Ranch series, so reading the last book seems bittersweet. But, I got so caught up in Emily’s quest to acquire a mustang there was no way I was going to stretch it out.

After careful research and a fruitful family meeting, Emily’s parents agreed to apply to participate in the upcoming auction of free-roaming horses, recently rounded-up. Approval was not a surprise, the Ramirez family’s commitment to rescuing animals is well-known in this part of Texas and Mrs. Ramirez is the go-to veterinarian for the area. However, caring for the critters currently residing on their ranch is expensive. Emily had only a small budget and was easily outbid.

Understanding the emptiness after seeing your dream horse slip through your fingers, her oldest sister, Natalie, promises to help Emily find the perfect equine partner. It is not enough. Emily’s heart is so broken that even Chandler the Emu cannot lift her spirits. But, when she’s invited to visit the mustangs at a near-by ranch, it is possible that a beautiful, black beast and a persnickety stable-hand can help her heal.

I loved the feel of adventure and action as humans attempt to encourage wild horses to acclimate. Also adrenaline-pumping: matter-of-fact preparation for an approaching storm, while potential danger pulses through the air. Softened by a sweet, strong young lady, this is a stellar story.

Reviewed by jv poore, September 2018.

Book Blitz: A Divided Mind by M. Billiter

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Title: A Divided Mind
Author: M. Billiter
Publisher: Tangled Tree Publishing
Publication Date: July 27, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Psychological Thriller

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Synopsis

Sometimes that little voice in your head isn’t always yours.

What if the only friend you have isn’t real? When the voices
in his head begin to make sense, high school senior
Branson Kovac turns to the one friend he’s still
got… only to discover he’s not really there.

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iTunes // Amazon

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An Excerpt from A Divided Mind

For everyone’s concern about me hurting myself or someone, cutting into a frozen frog didn’t prompt any crazed thoughts. Now the kid next to me who kept tapping me on the shoulder like he had a nervous tick, he deserved a beatdown just for annoying me.

“Branson, help me out. What is this?” He pointed to a part of the frog.

“For the hundredth time, it’s the liver.”

“Oh, that makes sense.”

No shit.

I was identifying the other parts of Kermit’s anatomy when tick boy tapped me again on the shoulder.

“What?” I glared at him and he backed away. That sudden jolt of anger triggered the shadow people. I shook my head, but it was still there. I saw a shadow of a person pick up the scalpel and attack tick boy with exact precision, cutting him across the throat. The only color I could see was red.

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About the Author

M. Billiter is the alter ego of contemporary, award-winning romance author, Mary Billliter.

After writing more than a dozen love stories, she is exploring the other side. Best known for her emotional honesty, Mary doesn’t write about well-adjusted people, but rather the wounds in life.

M. Billiter writes with clarity and raw emotion to explore difficult subjects and issues close to her heart.

Author links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // BookBub

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GIVEAWAY

Print copy of A Divided Mind 
& $20 Amazon gift card

Enter here.

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Why Geezers?

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@gmail.net
Website: http://mysterylady.net/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

Today, July 26, marks the release of The Last Thing She Said, my third Geezer Squad mystery. Actually, the proper name of this series is The Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. I call the series that because Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, is the protagonist for the series. But, in reality—

It’s all about the Geezers!

Working under the guise of a book club, the Geezer Squad is a group of retired law enforcement officials who investigate those cold cases that keep them up at night.

The Geezer Squad’s number one rule: “Never talk about the Geezer Squad.”

This collection of feisty crime fighters must work in secret because they’re scared of their families, who don’t want them chasing murderers.

Twenty years ago, if you had told me that my favorite protagonists would be a group of spunky senior citizens, I would have laughed.

Really?

In a culture where marketing targets late teens and early twenties, why would an author dare to make her primary characters a group of retirees? Like, who is going to be interested in that book series?

Now, I’m twenty years older, and so are the rest of my peers.

The baby boomers may be older, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot to offer. I’m not just saying that. The Geezer Squad evolved from my research into cold case units that have been popping up across the country.

Numerous police departments, in an effort to solve those cases that have gone cold, have hired retired detectives on contract. They have found that older detectives not only have the advantage of experience, but they are not so reliant on modern day technology to solve crimes. Also, with a unit devoted to solving old cases, they can work without the urgency that comes from fresh cases that are still hot.

One police department actually named their cold case unit “The Geezer Squad.”

Thus, that became the name of Chris Matheson’s book club.

After the sudden death of his wife, Chris returns home with his three young daughters. His widowed mother, Doris helps raise his daughters while he cares for the family farm. In ICE, the first book in the Chris Matheson Cold Case mystery series, Doris, the director of the local library, convinces Chris to join a book club consisting of law enforcement retirees. She has no idea that the Geezer Squad doesn’t read books.

At first, the Geezer Squad refuses to accept Chris because at forty-seven years old, they consider him to be too young. As a matter of fact, once he discovers their secret, they threaten to kill him to keep him quiet. However, since his father was a founding member of the group, they decide to let him in and they nickname him “the Kid.”

I guess being a baby boomer, I am not the only mystery lover who has come to appreciate the advantages of experience over youth. ICE has been a consistent best-seller, as well as Winter Frost.

The third installment in this hit series, The Last Thing She Said finds Chris investigating the kidnapping and murder case of a legendary mystery author who walked out of a hotel. Coincidentally, her husband disappeared from another hotel less than an hour later.

Forty years later, the case has become ice cold—until the sudden death of a family friend, Shannon Blakeley. In this excerpt, Helen Clarke, a lieutenant with the West Virginia State Police, gives Chris a book and a letter that Shannon has left for him—two items that prove to be the flame needed to heat up this cold case.

BOOK EXCERPT:

The Last Thing She Said

Chris finished brushing down Traveler and led him out to the pasture. Doris and Helen waited for the girls to leave the barn to talk to him when he returned.

“What did I do now?” Chris asked while coaxing Sterling to wake up with a treat from a jar in the feed room. “Besides mentioning barrel racing to Sierra?”

“It could have been worse,” Doris said. “He could have mentioned trick riding.”

“She’s got a point.” Chris tossed Sterling a second treat, which he caught in mid-air.

Helen walked across the floor to hold out the evidence bag to him as he stepped out of the feed room. “We found this on Shannon’s desk. It’s addressed to you.”

“Did you ask Shannon to order a book for you?” Doris asked.

Shaking his head, Chris opened the bag and removed the hardback. The Last Thing She Said. “You have your own copy of this book. Autographed and everything. Why would I need to order it?” He opened it to reveal the front page, which was signed.

He read the inscription:

To My Dear Christopher,

A Mystery for You.

From Your Friend & a Fellow Mystery Lover,

Mercedes Livingston

Chris’s brows furrowed. “This is a joke.” He read the writing underneath the signature. It was that day’s date. He held out the book to Helen. “Did you see this?”

As he asked, a white envelope dropped to the floor.

“Yes, we did.” Helen knelt to pick up the envelope and held it out to him. “We also saw this. That’s why we’re here. It’s addressed to you and sealed. You have to open it.”

“Are you thinking Shannon’s death was foul play?” Chris asked.

“Chris, you left so fast with the girls, I didn’t get to tell you,” Doris said. “Shannon was acting weird this morning. She told me twice that she missed Billy and wanted to be with him. I think she committed suicide.”

“We found no signs of foul play,” Helen said. “No obvious evidence of her taking an overdose or poison. Our forensics people have gathered up her teacup and things in her office, the library’s kitchen, and coffee station. We found this book and envelope addressed to—”

“Why would Shannon leave a suicide note addressed to me? Mom was her best friend.” Chris shook the book in his hand. “This book is crazy. Shannon signed it. I recognize her handwriting. And she dated it today. Mercedes Livingston was murdered almost forty years ago. That’s just plain insane.”

He went to Doris. “Mom, you said she was talking weird this morning.”

“Yes, she was. She was talking about when we’d first met, but what she was saying was nothing like when we’d met. She said I was wearing my lilac pantsuit. I remember that pantsuit. I only wore it for special occasions. Well, it was not a special occasion when I’d met her. It was her first day of training at the library. It was August and we were in the middle of a heat wave. I don’t remember what I was wearing, but I know it would not have been that pantsuit. It would have been a sleeveless top, and light slacks or a skirt.”

“She must have been suffering from dementia,” Chris said.

“If she thought she was Mercedes Livingston then why was she saying that she wanted to be with Billy?” Doris asked. “The two don’t go together. She would have been wanting to be with George Livingston, who Shannon had never met.”

“People with dementia don’t always make sense,” Chris said. “If people with dementia made sense, then there would be no problem with them.”

“Chris, read the letter,” Helen said. “We need to know if it’s a suicide note.”

Sitting in front of him, Sterling uttered a bark as if to back up her order.

“Okay.” Chris dropped back against a stool next to the barn door. He slipped a finger under the flap and ripped it open. The envelope contained a handwritten letter that was several pages long. Chris recognized Shannon Blakeley’s elegant cursive script. “This isn’t a suicide note. It’s a novel.”

“Shannon was a born writer,” Doris said. “She had an exceptional sense of observation and a way with words. If I’d told her once, I’d told her a million times that if she’d set her mind to it, she could have been a great novelist.” She let out a mournful sigh. “She’d tell me that all she wanted was to be Dr. William Blakeley’s wife and the mother of his children. I guess after their kids grew up and left home and he died, she lost all purpose for living.”

“If she committed suicide, we need to figure out how.” Helen turned to watch Chris, whose brow furrowed as he rose from the stool and crossed the floor.

“You never heard of dying from a broken heart?” Doris asked.

“Only in the movies.” Helen stepped over to where Chris was slowly shaking his head as he turned to the next page in the letter. “What’d she tell you?”

Chris’s mouth hung open. Slowly, he shook his head. “It’s … it’s an unbelievable mystery.”

“What kind of mystery?” Doris asked.

“Remember the Mercedes Livingston kidnapping?” Chris asked.

“Of course,” Doris said with a scoff. “Shannon and I were talking about that just this morning. That’s why I brought my book home. She told me it wasn’t safe at the library.”

“Everyone knows about the Mercedes Livingston case,” Helen said. “It happened at Hill House like ten minutes from here.”

“Her husband was kidnapped, too,” Chris said.

“What does the Livingston case have to do with Shannon Blakeley’s suicide?” Helen asked.

“I attended that conference,” Doris said. “Suddenly, out of the blue, Mercedes’s agent had called the organizers for what was usually a small mystery writers conference held at Hill House. Mercedes Livingston offered to appear and asked for nothing. Of course, the conference organizers jumped at the offer. Some folks in the know speculated that Robin Spencer, who was also appearing, had talked her into it. Robin Spencer was truly the grande dame of mystery writing and I’d heard rumors that she had taken Mercedes under her wing.”

“I bumped into Robin Spencer at that conference,” Chris said.

“Quite literally,” Doris said with a frown. “Practically knocked her over.”

“She gave us an advanced copy of her next book,” Chris said.

“Can we get back to Shannon’s suicide novel?” Helen tapped the letter in Chris’s hand.

“Mercedes Livingston’s literary agent stated Mercedes had left the hotel to go meet her husband for cocktails,” Doris said. “He was speaking at a business networking conference going on at the Bavarian Inn that same weekend. She didn’t show up later to accept an award after the banquet. Meanwhile, in Shepherdstown, George had told some friends that he was going out for dinner with his wife. When he didn’t return for that evening’s presentation following their banquet, friends and associates went looking. Mercedes’s rental car was gone from Hill House. George’s was still in Shepherdstown. The police were called in.”

“Mercedes’s father got a ransom demand for half a million dollars,” Helen said with a nod of her head. “Horace Billingsley paid the ransom, but they never let either of them go. George Livingston’s skeletal remains were discovered buried in some thick woods in Kearneysville a decade later when the highway crews were building the bypass to Martinsburg. No one knows what became of Mercedes.”

Chris held up the letter. “Until now.”

Praise for the Geezer Squad!

“I’m in love with the Geezer Squad!” 5-Star Review at Buried Under Books

“For the whodunit mystery buff who loves ever-increasing suspense and danger, Lauren Carr’s newest series offers up a big dose of both. Murder and mayhem seem to be Chris’s new companions after returning home following the loss of both his wife and his father.” 5-Star Review at Blooming with Books

“Lauren Carr’s books are never boring, that’s for sure. They entertain, give us a good mystery to dig into, keep the reader guessing, give us a few good laughs and make us eager for the next book. Warning: Lauren Carr’s series are addictive, so be ready to read more than just one book!” – Laura Fabiani, Library of Clean Reads

Book Description:

“I’m working on the greatest mystery ever,” was the last thing noted mystery novelist Mercedes Livingston said to seven-year-old Chris Matheson before walking out of Hill House Hotel never to be seen again.

For decades, the writer’s fate remains a puzzling mystery until an autographed book puts Chris Matheson on the trail of a cunning killer. With the help of the Geezer Squad, a team of retired investigators, Chris puts a flame to this cold case to uncover what had really happened that night Mercedes Livingston walked out of Hill House Hotel. Watch out! The clues are getting hot!

Book Review: Surviving Doodahville by Ashley Fontainne and Lillian Hansen

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Title: Surviving Doodahville
Authors: Ashley Fontainne and Lillian Hansen
Narrator: Rebecca Roberts
Publication Date: May 24, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Southern Fiction, Romance

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

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Surviving Doodahville
Ashley Fontainne and Lillian Hansen
Narrated by Rebecca Roberts
RMSW Press, May 2019
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the authors—

The summer of 1983 – the era of big debt, big hair, and big dreams. Seventeen-year-old Kassandra Lawson is excited about starting her senior year of high school. She has a crush on a local hunk, and her best friend, valley girl extraordinaire Liz Hendricks, insists on helping her snag the hot guy – for sure!

July starts out uneventful for Kee and her parents. Her father, Kevin, is a partner at a CPA firm, and her mother, Gail, works as a secretary at the police department. The small family lives an idyllic life in sunny Hacienda Heights, California.

1983 also brings upheaval and strife for the Lawson clan. A death in the family forces Kevin and Gail to make the painful decision to pack up and move to Kevin’s hometown of Daltville, Arkansas.

Each faces daunting challenges adapting to their new life. Gail and Kee aren’t quite sure they can handle the culture shock. They encounter social and racial issues they never faced on the West Coast, strange food, weird dialects, odd customs, and wicked secrets that have the potential to destroy their family.

More than just a coming-of-age story, Surviving Doodahville explores family bonds, racial barriers, and just how much a person is willing to sacrifice for others. The tale is full of humor, action and a touch of mystery, making it a fun romp into the past.

Well, dagnabbit. I made it all the way to the last chapter with nary a sniffle and then I turned into a near-sobbing wretch 😉

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Rising high school senior Kee and her parents are living the California dream so when circumstances lead Gail and Kevin to decide to move to Daltville, Arkansas, she’s devastated and pretty sure life is over. Then again, fate has a way of making one take a second look and Kee soon thinks her parents’ betrayal doesn’t hold a candle to another pair of betrayals.

***

Off they go to what can only be called a stereotypical Southern backwoods town complete with racism, secrets, years-long feuds, overblown morality…and a tremendous amount of charm and possibilities. Kee soon finds that high school in this redneck town isn’t entirely terrible and her small family can help bring about some major changes.

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Romance and friendships blossom in Surviving Doodahville but, at times, I couldn’t help feeling a kind of superiority that these Californians exhibited towards their new neighbors. It was a bit like Kee, Gail and Kevin were the shining examples for goodness and light and that Daltville could only be lifted from its darkness by these more enlightened transplants. Still, a number of the townspeople were good solid citizens and very likeable indeed so I didn’t think the “preaching” was overdone. Truthfully, back in the early 80’s, a lot of what is wrong in Daltville was also wrong elsewhere and still exists today. Now, as in those days, good people matter and can make a difference.
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Side note: The cover is very appealing but I’m puzzled by the sign that reads “DooDah Ville”. Which is correct, DooDah Ville or Doodahville?
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Rebecca Roberts is new to me as a narrator and I was impressed by her performance. Ms. Roberts has a very pleasing tone and does accents/dialect really well. Most of all, she’s believable as a teenaged girl and she added a great deal to my enjoyment of this book.
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Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.

About the Authors

Award-winning and International bestselling author, Ashley Fontainne, is an avid reader, becoming a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters lurking within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley’s love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go to when seeking personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated against them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance, focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. Once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answers that question—far and wide.

The short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five touches upon the dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

The paranormal thriller entitled The Lie won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense. A movie based on this book, entitled Foreseen, is currently a feature film available on video-on-demand from Amazon.

Ashley delved into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, which released in January of 2015. The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell released in September of 2014. Ashley teamed up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her Mom!) and penned a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, released in 2015 and was voted one of the Top 50 Self-Published Books You Should Be Reading in 2015 at http://www.readfree.ly.

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

Lillian Hansen is the proud mother of Ashley Fontainne and a grateful daughter of parents who raised her to love and respect the principles upon which America was founded. Lillian is the granddaughter of a brave young woman who immigrated to the United States from Denmark at the age of 18 without speaking any English, who built a career, a family, and became a proud U.S. Citizen.

Lillian values the diverse, life-enriching experiences squirreled away in her memory banks and is fond of all four-legged critters, especially cats. Lillian lives in Arkansas and Surviving Doodahville is her third novel.

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About the Narrator

After a career in finance, Rebecca Roberts became inspired to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an actress. Her ingenuity and ardent desire brought her to voice-acting which has rapidly grown into her thriving audiobook narration and production company, Atlantis Audio Productions. She has narrated and produced over seventy audiobooks for indie authors and major publishing houses. Rebecca delivers her stories with a mature and intelligent style characterized by a believable tone, and versatility in creating memorable and individual characters with her various accents and vocal qualities. In short, she narrates with her whole heart. Rebecca is a native Floridian, proud mother to three sparkling children, and wife to the man of her dreams.

WebsiteTwitterInstagram

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Follow the tour here.

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Giveaway

Surviving Doodahville Ebook
Runs July 21st to 28th⎮Open internationally

Enter here.

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Book Review: Five Days, Five Dead by Carol Wright Crigger—and a Giveaway!

Five Days, Five Dead
A China Bohannon Novel #5
Carol Wright Crigger
Five Star Publishing, December 2018
ISBN 978-1-4328-4729-6
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Sepp Amsel, a fabulously successful gambling hall and saloonkeeper entrepreneur, is about to become the bridegroom in the most public wedding ever to take place in wild and woolly Spokane, Washington. He wants to engage China’s detective services when his fiancee’s sister is kidnapped and a substantial ransom demanded. There’s just one problem. The client thinks it’s possible he’s being bamboozled because things don’t quite add up. Only days remain for China to figure out why the sister was snatched and not the bride. But the clock is ticking. Worse, it isn’t long until murder becomes part of the equation. First a bellhop, then a tailor. Who will be next? China had better find out soon, before she, too, becomes a target for murder.

China Bohannon is a young woman blessed with determination, intelligence and the ability and desire to look out for herself quite well but, unfortunately for China, she lives in a time when those characteristics are not generally seen as positive virtues. She’d very much like to be a “real” detective in her uncle’s agency but Uncle Monk and his partner, Gratton Doyle (who is much too attractive), just can’t be convinced that this is work suitable for a woman so she snatches her chances when she can.

When Sepp Amsel walks into the Doyle & Howe Detective Agency, China is fortuitously the only one there and she’s intrigued by what he tells her, starting with the fact that he came to engage her in particular. Amsel is in the gambling and saloon business and there are only a few days to save the young woman who has been abducted for ransom. Time might be especially short as the kidnappers have taken the wrong woman.

An already suspicious situation becomes more so when the Austrian mail order bride, sister of the kidnap victim, is less than helpful and, of course, there’s a whole lot more to this case. When Uncle Monk and Gratton find out about it, they naturally try to take over but they get led astray and China soon finds herself in a world of trouble, largely because of her inexperience. With the help of a few friends and with her beloved Bedlington terrier, Nimble, by her side China manages to keep one step ahead of mortal danger while following leads through the seamy side of Spokane during a harsh winter spell. Bodies are accumulating, though, and she has a lot of clues to sift through. Eventually, the guys return and their assistance is not entirely unwelcome.

Will the plaque in the office window ever read “Doyle, Howe & Bohannon”? Only time will tell if the two men will eventually acknowledge her talents enough to take the big step but, in the meantime, China is honing her skills one case at a time. I hope she’ll attain her dream one day but I’m enjoying watching her learn how to be a proper detective and can’t wait for her next adventure. This one is going on my list of best books read in 2019.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.

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