Book Review: The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours

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Title: The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #4
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: Mike Alger
Publication Date: January 30, 2020

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #4
Lauren Carr
Narrated by Mike Alger
Acorn Book Services, January 2020
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:

 “13”

Unlike most of Lauren Carr’s books, The Nutcracker Conspiracy features one body after another after another and it’s no wonder that Dean Conway believes a conspiracy is tying so many of these deaths together. It all started with an attempt on the President’s life that actually claimed two other lives and it’s only natural to think that such an assassination attempt must have involved one federal agency or another, maybe more than one. Murphy Thornton didn’t pay much attention to Dean’s theory, that is, until Dean himself was blown up by a bomb.

Since Dean’s wife, Amy, is a close friend of Jessica’s, the latter is drawn into Murphy’s investigation when Amy is pegged as a prime suspect in the bombing. With a little help from Jessica’s brother, Tristan, and Nigel, the Thorntons’ very efficient AI butler, not to mention even more family members and friends, Murphy and Jessica start down a very complex trail of clues, theories, motives and potential perpetrators that lead them to a multitude of puzzle pieces. Putting the puzzle together kept me listening into the night hours while the couple worked as hard as they ever have to catch the killer…or maybe more than one.

As it happens, Jessica’s dad’s dog, Gnarly, is visiting—he needed to get out of town for a while till the furor dies down—and he’s settled right in with the other two dogs, Newman and Spencer. Newman is perfectly happy with the visitor as long as Gnarly doesn’t mess with his TV remote and Spencer seems to have a bit of a crush on the German Shepherd but Gnarly is more interested in continuing his life of minor crimes and misdemeanours, a habit that doesn’t fit well with his position as elected mayor of the town of Spencer. You can imagine, I’m sure, the chuckles and outright guffaws that ensue when these pups are on the page.

Mike Alger continues his stellar performance as narrator of so many of Ms. Carr’s books and he really has become one of my favorite readers; Mr. Alger has a way with words and vocal personalizations, not to mention a clear sense of mood and pacing. Between his narration and Ms. Carr’s deviously tangled plot and vivid characters, a listener/reader won’t be the least bit disappointed in this latest Thorny Rose adventure.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2020.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, the Thorny Rose, and now the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—almost thirty titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

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

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram ~ Books on Audible

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Follow the tour

June 8 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review / giveaway
June 9 –Mystery Suspense Reviews – audiobook review / giveaway
June 9 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / guest post
June 10 –Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 10 –T’s Stuff – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 11 –Sefina Hawke’s Books – audiobook review
June 11 Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review / giveaway
June 11 – Rosepoint Publishing – audiobook review
June 12 –Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / guest post / author interview / giveaway
June 12 Nighttime Reading Center – book spotlight / giveaway
June 12 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 15 –Buried Under Books – audiobook review – giveaway
June 16 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review /giveaway
June 17 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 17 – Blooming with Books – audiobook review / giveaway
June 19 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – Hall Ways Blog – audiobook review / giveaway
June 23 – Books for Books – audiobook review
June 24 – JBronder Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
June 25 – Thoughts in Progress – audiobook review / giveaway

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

Giveaway

Win a $50 Amazon gift card courtesy
of
Lauren Carr, author of 

The Nutcracker Conspiracy.

Enter here.

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

Book Review: Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours

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Title: Murder by Perfection
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #3
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: Mike Alger
Publication Date: May 31, 2018

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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Murder by Perfection
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #3
Lauren Carr
Narrated by Mike Alger
Acorn Book Services, May 2018
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Beware: Perfection has a dark side!

Frustrated with their busy schedules, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday attempt to find togetherness by scheduling a weekly date night. The last thing Jessica Faraday expected for her date night was to take a couple’s gourmet cooking course at the Stepford Kitchen Studio, owned by Chef Natalie Stepford―the model of perfection in looks, home, and business.

When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s life to discover that the pursuit of perfection can be deadly.

Murphy and Jessica lead hectic lives but he’s more than willing when an old Navy friend asks to meet him, hinting that he wants to talk about something shady. Just as Murphy is arriving, he hears a gunshot and finds Commander Ross Caldwell dead in his car. NCIS is quick to respond and Murphy, even though he’s a witness, is soon deep into the investigation but no one can foresee what they will begin to unearth, beginning with the disappearance of the HHS representative Ross was planning to see.

Various bits of information lead them in several directions including to what may be criminal activities in a private clinic but it’s the kidnapping of Murphy that brings the extended Faraday-Thornton family into the mix and Jessica’s brother, Tristan, along with JJ, Murphy’s twin brother, become particularly important to the entire investigation. Jessica carries out her part, somewhat haphazardly, in the ransom negotiations but it’s the brothers who play critical roles. Before all is said and done, a tangle of leads unravel more than one sinister plot with plenty of paths for the investigators—and readers—to follow.

As can be expected by anyone familiar with Lauren Carr’s work, the suspense and tension are lightened by side moments with pets like Newman, a Basset hound mix who brings new meaning to the sobriquet “couch potato” and who has learned how to operate the remote to watch his favorite tv shows. Adding to the fun is Nigel, an AI created by the techno-geek Tristan; Nigel runs the Faraday-Thornton mansion and is a whiz with research. Nigel has become my latest fantasy, not to mention the mansion and all the nifty toys the very wealthy couple enjoy. There’s also a hilarious scene involving JJ and some phone calls that had me chortling out loud 🤣

Having come to love Mike Alger’s narration in other books by Ms. Carr, I was very glad to hear him again and, while I wasn’t so thrilled with a couple of enhancements, for lack of a better word, they didn’t detract in any way from my enjoyment of the audio version of this book.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2020.

About the Author

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

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

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

​Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

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Follow the tour:

May 4 – Hall Ways Blog – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – She Just Loves Books – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 4 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Kill and Run
May 5 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of A Fine Year for Murder
May 6 – Buried Under Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 6 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Murder by Perfection
May 7 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 8 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 11 – Locks, Hooks and Books – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 11 – Merlot Et mots –series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Laura’s Interests – series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 13 – Bookish Quest – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Blooming with Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Lamon Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 14 – Buried Under Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 15 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – series spotlight
May 19 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 19 – Rosepoint Publishing – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 20 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
May 20 – Bookish Quest – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 20 – Blooming with Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 21 – Books for Books – review of Murder by Perfection
May 21 – La libreria di Beppe – series spotlight / giveaway
May 22 – fundinmental – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 25 – Buried Under Books – review of Murder By Perfection / giveaway
May 25 – T’s Stuff – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 26 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
May 27 – Bookish Quest – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May  27 – Blooming with Books – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 27 – Books for Books – series spotlight
May 28 – Bookish Quest – series spotlight / author interview/ giveaway
May 29 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – series spotlight / guest post
Jun 1 – Thoughts in Progress – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 2 – Svetlana’s reads and views – series spotlight
Jun 2 – Kristin’s Novel Café – series spotlight
Jun 3 – Buried Under Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 3 – Blooming with Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 – Rosepoint Publishing – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 –Splashes of Joy – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jun 5 – The avid reader – series spotlight / giveaway

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

Giveaway

Win a $50 Amazon gift card courtesy
of
Lauren Carr, author of 

The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Enter here.

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

Book Review: A Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours

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Title: A Fine Year for Murder
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #2
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: C.J. McAllister
Publication Date: February 6, 2017

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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A Fine Year for Murder
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #2
Lauren Carr
Narrated by C.J. McAllister
Acorn Book Services, February 2017
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

Nightmares or even normal dreams can tell a lot about a person, especially if they seem to be repetitive as in Jessica’s case. The fact that she strikes out at Murphy meant more to him than her at first but I was glad that he didn’t just dismiss what was happening. When they learn from investigative journalist Dallas Walker what might be the root of Jessica’s night terrors, finding out if she really did witness the murders becomes paramount and off they go with the unusual Dallas to do some after-the-fact sleuthing.

Jessica and Murphy visit her ultra-wealthy father, Mac Faraday, and it was a real pleasure to me to spend time with Mac and other family members and friends along with assorted pets that steal the show every time they step on the page. I hesitate to choose favorites because each one is wonderful but I do lean towards tv-obsessed couch potato Newman, Murphy’s Basset hound mix, and Mac’s German shepherd, Gnarly, at least this time. Added to the lighter side of things is the introduction of Nigel, Jessica’s and Murphy’s virtual butler, who is developing an attitude.

The extended Faraday-Thornton family has connections to the Riva family that owns the winery where the killing occurred and that’s why the young Jessica was there to see the teenaged Ava be so brutally murdered. The fact that she repressed the memories all these years isn’t at all surprising; the question is can she remember enough to help Sheriff Tim Taylor clear his friend’s name since it’s now clear to him, from a new discovery, that Curt Browning didn’t kill his sister, father and grandmother. To make things more difficult, there is a plethora of possible perpetrators and motives to muck it up, not to mention more unsolved crimes.

Jessica is no frail damsel in distress and she’s unafraid, if leery, to learn the truth about that frightening night. With a set of great characters by her side –or not– she will confront her demons and get to the facts. The reader who is not so familiar yet with these people will learn a lot about them in A Fine Year for Murder. Adding to that pleasure and a fascinating story, C.J. McAllister does a fine job with the narration and helps the listener distinguish between the players with little difficulty. I do want to mention that, although this is a pretty “clean” read, there are some very bad people and violent scenes that make this what I would call a traditional mystery, not a cozy unless you want to label it as cozy noir.

Next up, Murder by Perfection, and I can barely wait to get started 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2020.

About the Author

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

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

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

​Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

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

Follow the tour:

May 4 – Hall Ways Blog – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – She Just Loves Books – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 4 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Kill and Run
May 5 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of A Fine Year for Murder
May 6 – Buried Under Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 6 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Murder by Perfection
May 7 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 8 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 11 – Locks, Hooks and Books – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 11 – Merlot Et mots –series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Laura’s Interests – series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 13 – Bookish Quest – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Blooming with Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Lamon Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 14 – Buried Under Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 15 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – series spotlight
May 19 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 19 – Rosepoint Publishing – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 20 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
May 20 – Bookish Quest – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 20 – Blooming with Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 21 – Books for Books – review of Murder by Perfection
May 21 – La libreria di Beppe – series spotlight / giveaway
May 22 – fundinmental – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 25 – Buried Under Books – review of Murder By Perfection / giveaway
May 25 – T’s Stuff – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 26 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
May 27 – Bookish Quest – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May  27 – Blooming with Books – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 27 – Books for Books – series spotlight
May 28 – Bookish Quest – series spotlight / author interview/ giveaway
May 29 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – series spotlight / guest post
Jun 1 – Thoughts in Progress – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 2 – Svetlana’s reads and views – series spotlight
Jun 2 – Kristin’s Novel Café – series spotlight
Jun 3 – Buried Under Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 3 – Blooming with Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 – Rosepoint Publishing – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 –Splashes of Joy – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jun 5 – The avid reader – series spotlight / giveaway

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

Giveaway

Win a $50 Amazon gift card courtesy
of
Lauren Carr, author of 

The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Enter here.

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

Book Review: Kill and Run by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours

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Title: Kill and Run
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #1
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: C.J. McAllister
Publication Date: October 14, 2016

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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Kill and Run
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #1
Lauren Carr
Narrated by C.J. McAllister
Acorn Book Services, October 2016
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to shift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

Nothing is simple when five women are murdered at a gathering in one victim’s home, even when you factor in the odd coincidence that both the Navy and the Army are inextricably involved. Or is it a coincidence? Murphy knows that the Officers Wives clubs in both organizations have enormous power to control the lives of not only wives but also their husbands. Were all five women connected to the military? Jessica is drawn into the investigation because she learns firsthand what it means to be inspected by the queen bees of the local Officers Wives. Was one of these women the real target or did the killer have more than one motive?

Intermittently, we see connections to other Lauren Carr series; as an example, Jessica is the daughter of multimillionnaire Mac Faraday (Mac Faraday Mysteries) and Murphy’s stepmother, Cameron Gates (Lovers in Crime series), who is a homicide detective working with her prosecutor husband, has come to visit in hopes of finding out more about her first husband’s hit and run death years ago. As Murphy, Jessica and Cameron all follow various leads, they’re faced with mounting evidence that the years old hit and run has current day relevance with the mass murders but getting to a real resolution takes them down some twisty paths.

As is to be expected in any Lauren Carr novel, a number of animals are present and all are temporarily housed together at Murphy’s and Jessica’s house. Monique, a very large tarantula, along with Maine Coon Irving, and dogs Spencer and Newman, offer a lighter side to things and become very attached to Izzy, teenaged daughter of one of the murdered women. Irving is a longtime favorite of mine but I have to say that Newman gives new meaning to “couch potato” and won my heart the first time somebody blocked his view of the TV 🙂

This was my first listening experience with C.J. McAllister and, while I can’t say he’s one of my favorites, he does a really good job with the various characters’ voices and, for the most part, performs with the right levels of tension and mood. I’m looking forward to hearing more from him.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2020.

About the Author

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

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

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

​Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

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

Follow the tour:

May 4 – Hall Ways Blog – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – She Just Loves Books – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 4 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Kill and Run
May 5 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of A Fine Year for Murder
May 6 – Buried Under Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 6 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Murder by Perfection
May 7 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 8 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 11 – Locks, Hooks and Books – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 11 – Merlot Et mots –series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Laura’s Interests – series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 13 – Bookish Quest – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Blooming with Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Lamon Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 14 – Buried Under Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 15 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – series spotlight
May 19 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 19 – Rosepoint Publishing – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 20 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
May 20 – Bookish Quest – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 20 – Blooming with Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 21 – Books for Books – review of Murder by Perfection
May 21 – La libreria di Beppe – series spotlight / giveaway
May 22 – fundinmental – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 25 – Buried Under Books – review of Murder By Perfection / giveaway
May 25 – T’s Stuff – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 26 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
May 27 – Bookish Quest – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May  27 – Blooming with Books – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 27 – Books for Books – series spotlight
May 28 – Bookish Quest – series spotlight / author interview/ giveaway
May 29 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – series spotlight / guest post
Jun 1 – Thoughts in Progress – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 2 – Svetlana’s reads and views – series spotlight
Jun 2 – Kristin’s Novel Café – series spotlight
Jun 3 – Buried Under Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 3 – Blooming with Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 – Rosepoint Publishing – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 –Splashes of Joy – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jun 5 – The avid reader – series spotlight / giveaway

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

Giveaway

Win a $50 Amazon gift card courtesy
of
Lauren Carr, author of 

The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Enter here.

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

Book Review: Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch

Unraveled
Perfected #3
Kate Jarvik Birch
Entangled Teen, April 2018
ISBN 978-1-63375-913-8
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Ella isn’t anyone’s pet anymore, but she’s certainly not free.

After exposing the dark secrets about NuPet’s breeding program, forcing them to repeal the law that allowed genetically modified girls to be kept as pets, she thought girls like her would finally be free. She never dreamed that it would backfire. NuPet may have convinced the public of their intentions to assimilate pets back into society, but Ella knows it’s a lie.

They aren’t planning mass rehabilitation…they’re planning a mass extermination.

Now, with the help of a small group of rebels, Ella and Penn, the boy she’d give up her life for, set out to bring down NuPet for good. But when her group gets implicated in a string of bombings, no one is safe. If she can’t untangle the web of blackmail and lies that extends far beyond NuPet’s reach, she won’t just lose her chance at freedom, she’ll lose everyone she loves.

The author of the Perfected trilogy, Kate Jarvik Birch, created a world and story in which girls are raised to be pets, a glorified form of slavery, and I was enthralled by the first two books, especially with the innovative ideas Ms. Birch had. This third and final entry is just as creative and I was fascinated with the twist on our own animal rights activists’ dramatic, sometimes deadly, attacks on the facilities where animals are held. In those circumstances, the animals are often freed in order to save them from experimentation and imprisonment; in Unraveled, it’s the “animals”, the genetically modified girls, who are determined to stop the travesty.

In the US in current times, there is a lot of discussion about the members of congress and whether they are competent, decent, judicious people with good intentions but they don’t hold a candle to the one in this story, the man who owned Ella and father to Penn, the young man Ella loves. Many young adult stories overdo it with the romance, in my opinion, but this love story that has developed over three books is natural and organic, the way it should be.

Ella and Penn, especially Ella, have been fighting for the rights of the pet girls but now face a new betrayal, one that forces them to lead a small group in rebellion. Ella has grown, mentally and emotionally, by leaps and bounds since her time as a pet and has become something of a heroine, always with justice as her goal. Tension rides high on nearly every page in this tale and I think this was a fitting end to a terrific series.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2018.

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Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon
Indiebound // Entangled Publishing

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An Excerpt from Unraveled

No one glanced up at us as we left. We were inconsequential, just two kids leaving a pizza place. And that’s exactly what we felt like—kids. Powerless. Weak. Alone.

The bell on the door jingled lightly once more, and we stepped back out into the night. Once again, the sound of jazz music drifted out of the bar next door. I paused, listening to the soulful cry of the saxophone. For a moment, I closed my eyes, focusing on the full, round tone.

And then, just as the last note of the song died away, the bomb went off.

One single note rang in my ears.

High pitched.

Whining.

The saxophone… It had just been playing, wasn’t it? I could remember the low, sweet crooning, but that wasn’t what this sound was.

I shook my head and tried to bring a hand up to my eyes, but something held it clamped down at my side. I tried to wiggle free, but there was something pressing my back, too, making it hard to breathe.

I coughed. My mouth was dry, thick with dust and the taste of metal.

“Penn,” I croaked. “Penn?”

I blinked, trying to turn my head.

In front of me the ground spread out like a battle field.

Red and blue lights blinked behind a cloud of dust. Dark forms moved left and right, up and down. Long limbs waved to one another.

My cheek pressed against something rough.

“Penn!”

“Here’s one,” someone said. They sounded far away, a voice inside a bubble floating somewhere high above my head.

The weight on my back lifted, and a hand slipped beneath me, lifting me from the ground. I choked in a deep gulp of air and balanced on my wobbly legs. Even with the world tipped vertically once more, I couldn’t make sense of it.

“Ella!”

I turned.

The dark outline of Penn stumbled toward me.

Behind him, the building crumbled in on itself. Brick and cement.Wire and steel.Here and there a tipped table, a smashed chair. Broken glass littered the ground, glittering with the orange light of flames that glowed inside the hole where a door had just been. A door. A door. The door that had just jingled shut behind me.

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About the Author

Kate Jarvik Birch is a visual artist, author, playwright, daydreamer, and professional procrastinator. As a child, she wanted to grow up to be either a unicorn or mermaid. Luckily, being a writer turned out to be just as magical. Her essays and short stories have been published in literary journals, including: Indiana Review and Saint Ann’s Review. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and three kids.

Find Kate at:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

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Giveaway
Signed copy of Unraveled

Enter here.

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Book Review: Two Dogs and a Parrot by Joan Chittister

Two Dogs and a ParrotTwo Dogs and A Parrot
What Our Animal Friends Can Teach Us About Life
Joan Chittister
BlueBridge, October 2015
ISBN 978-1-629190-06-8
Hardcover

As a child, Joan Chittister longed for a dog. Living in an urban walk-up apartment wasn’t an ideal location, so Billy, a blue parakeet, arrived and became the center of her life. Her relationship with Billy began to shape her understanding of the importance of animals in our every day lives.

In the introduction, she states, “…the narrative of human relationships with animals has a very mixed and sad history.” She uses a mix of anecdotes and examination of the spiritual bonds to limn and celebrate the relationships that build between people and the animals in their care.

Danny, an Irish Setter, arrived at the convent as a birthday gift, and taught Chittister to embrace differences and adapt to change. Living on his own terms, Danny challenged her to reshape her life and examine the boundaries she’d installed.

The Golden Retriever, Duffy, was rescued. A purebred raised as a show dog, he’d gotten too big and outgrown “the standard of the breed.” He was on the euthanize list when Chittister adopted him. As a pedigreed purebred, he’d been raised to obey and had most of his puppy-ness trained out of him. He didn’t bark, didn’t jump, didn’t run, but he did give unbridled love. He overcame his conditioning to take on tasks he wasn‘t comfortable with in order to be with those he loved.

Dogs age and so do people. When Duffy died, the convent decided that big dogs were too difficult to take on, so Chittister went back to her first love—birds.  Bennie, a small conure, came to live but disappeared one day and then Lady, a caique (colorful parrots native to South America) came into their lives. She brought with her the ability to adapt to new situations without destruction. As Chittester says, “Change expands the horizons of the human heart.”

In a gentle way, this books takes on the lessons of respect, love and acceptance by looking at the bonds between human and animals.

Chittister is an inspirational author and leader in contemporary spirituality, a past president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses and currently serves as co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women.

Reviewed by Michele Drier, February 2016.
Author of Delta for Death and SNAP: All That Jazz.

Book Review: Tarnished by Kate Jarvik Birch

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