Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich (Book Review)




Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Format: Hardcover & Paperback - 368 pages
               Audio Book - 8 Hours 8 Minutes
               Kindle - 2625 KB
               Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 978-0241361870
ASIN: B07B8FS9PJ
BNID: 978-0316420228
Genre: Young Adult / Social & Family Issues / Anxiety / Depression / Suicide Prevention



Buy The Book:



Book Description:

From the show's creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen. 

Dear Evan Hansen, 

Today's going to be an amazing day and here's why...

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore--even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be? 

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.



Book Teasers:













Book Trailer:







Links:



My Book Review:

It all began with a letter to oneself that leads to a tangled web of lies ... but out of it comes a social discussion and movement with a powerful message that "you are not alone, and that you matter!"

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel is a more in-depth coming-of-age adaptation of the hit Broadway musical that examines the important social issues of mental health (anxiety, isolation, the struggle to belong, invisibility, self-importance, self-acceptance, depression) and suicide.

Told in the alternating first person perspectives from high school seniors Evan Hansen (mental health issues) and Connor Murphy (suicide), the reader follows Connor's perspective of witnessing the aftermath of his death, and Evan's perspective as he tries to deal with his downward spiral after his letter to himself morphs into a tangled web of lies about being Connor's best friend, all done in the name of trying to fit in and help Connor's family deal with their grief.

I saw the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen at the beginning of January, and it was such a profound story that had me feeling the full gamut of emotions as Evan and Connor's story unfolded. I applaud the author for adapting this amazing musical into an unforgettable book that everyone should read. While I loved the musical, it did leave me with some questions, and I am so glad that Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel went more in-depth into Evan and Connor's story, it cleared up a lot of the questions, and really made more sense.

Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel is an emotional and inspirational story about serious social issues that affects everyone. Mental health and suicide are important issues that needs to have a perpetual conversation in our society. The story and musical's powerful message says it all: "you are never alone, you matter, and there will always be a tomorrow."

*Note: At the end of the novel, there is an important listing of mental health and suicide prevention resources available.


RATING: 5 STARS 






About The Author



Dubbed a "Renaissance Man" by the New York Post, Val Emmich is a writer, a singer-songwriter, and an actor. His first novel, The Reminders, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers selection and his follow-up, Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel, based on the hit Broadway show, was a New York Times bestseller. He's had recurring roles on Vinyl and Ugly Betty, as well as a memorable guest role as Tina Fey's coffee-boy fling, Jamie, on 30 Rock. Emmich lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Dark Paradise by author Gene Desrochers!







Book Review



Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers
Book 1: Boise Montague Series
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Format: Hard Cover / Paperback - 337 pages
               Kindle - 1936 KB
               Nook - 561 KB
ISBN: 978-1947392168
ASIN: B07DQ3K5ZN
BNID: 2940155560098
Genre: Murder / Mystery / Caribbean Noir / Thriller



Buy The Book:



Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.



Book Description:

Boise Montague’s life in Los Angeles has fallen apart. After his wife dies, he returns to the tiny island where he grew up. Unfortunately, coming home doesn’t bring him the peace he’s looking for. Things have changed drastically since his last visit. The island has moved on and so have the people he once knew. When Boise tries to find the one friend he thinks he can count on to be there for him, he’s confronted with another death. A murder. A murder that the police did not think important enough to investigate thoroughly. Boise wants answers. He enlists a local reporter named Dana, who has theories of her own, to help him dig deeper. With not much left to lose, a bone to pick with the justice system, and a relentless partner, Boise sets out to do what the police would not: solve the murder of Roger Black. The island of St. Thomas is a gleaming tropical paradise. Welcome to the Caribbean, where murder is as common as sunshine.



Book Excerpt:


Behind me, the door I’d entered through opened. A very tan redhead showing signs of aging from many days spent in the sun entered carrying a laptop bag and shouldering a camera. A red Carnegie Mellon University baseball cap that looked like it had been run over by a garbage truck covered part of her tough, but beautiful face. She looked me over like I was a mongrel who’d wandered in begging for table scraps.

“You need something?” She dropped her stuff down on the cushioned chair next to the counter.

“Uh, yes, I wondered if I could get some clippings or microfilm or copies or whatever it is newspapers give for issues two to eight years old. Are they digitized yet?” I stammered.

“Seriously, what do you want?” She pulled her Ray-Bans off and the gray-blue of her eyes stunned me for a moment. Using her sunglasses, she tapped my shoulder. “Hello?”

The faint odor of cigarette smoke assaulted me when she got close.
“Clippings, you know, news from the past,” I said.
As she slipped the glasses into a case from her purse she said, “Yes, but you implied that something here was digitized.” She pursed her thin lips. “This newspaper went online three years ago, so, the last three years are available online in the archives section if you buy a subscription. You a subscriber?”
“I don’t have a subscription,” I said defensively.
“Figures. This is why my job is constantly in danger. Everyone expects news for free.” Her fine hair moved in a blur as she shook her head derisively while she rummaged for something in her bag.
“Hey, I’m happy to buy a subscription. I support journalism,” I said. It sounded lame.
We both flinched as a thunderous banging rang through the room as something or someone hit the other side of a door to my left.
She threw her hands up, exclaiming, “Not again!”
“What? What’s that?” I said.
“Calling the cops,” she sang out. “They said they’re gonna start charging us if this happened again,” she whispered.
Another, more urgent banging erupted through the room. The reporter had her cell out.
“Wait,” I said. “Is it really that dangerous?”
“No, just annoying.” She pressed a button on her phone. “You believe this? Now I’m on hold. I could probably walk over to the police station faster. He’ll probably take a dump on the floor by the time we get back.”
***
Excerpt from Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers. Copyright © 2018 by Gene Desrochers. Reproduced with permission from Gene Desrochers. All rights reserved.

“Clippings, you know, news from the past,” I said.

As she slipped the glasses into a case from her purse she said, “Yes, but you implied that something here was digitized.” She pursed her thin lips. “This newspaper went online three years ago, so, the last three years are available online in the archives section if you buy a subscription. You a subscriber?”

“I don’t have a subscription,” I said defensively.

“Figures. This is why my job is constantly in danger. Everyone expects news for free.” Her fine hair moved in a blur as she shook her head derisively while she rummaged for something in her bag.

“Hey, I’m happy to buy a subscription. I support journalism,” I said. It sounded lame.

We both flinched as a thunderous banging rang through the room as something or someone hit the other side of a door to my left.

She threw her hands up, exclaiming, “Not again!”

“What? What’s that?” I said.

“Calling the cops,” she sang out. “They said they’re gonna start charging us if this happened again,” she whispered.

Another, more urgent banging erupted through the room. The reporter had her cell out.

“Wait,” I said. “Is it really that dangerous?”

“No, just annoying.” She pressed a button on her phone. “You believe this? Now I’m on hold. I could probably walk over to the police station faster. He’ll probably take a dump on the floor by the time we get back.”

***
Excerpt from Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers. Copyright © 2018 by Gene Desrochers. Reproduced with permission from Gene Desrochers. All rights reserved.





My Book Review:


In Dark Paradise, the debut novel and first book of the Boise Montague Series, author Gene Desrochers weaves an intriguing murder mystery tale that follows private investigator Boise Montague's investigation into the murder of his childhood friend Roger Black.

This dark Caribbean noir mystery tale is set in the tropical island setting of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Boise returns to his Caribbean childhood home from Los Angeles after the death of his wife Evelyn. The police thought that Evelyn's death was an accident, but Boise thought it was murder but he couldn't prove it, and the police had threatened to arrest him for interference in the investigation. Heartbroken and defeated, Boise hoped that by coming home to St. Thomas, he would be able to pick up the pieces of his life, but the island isn't the same as when he grew up there, and he finds out that his childhood best friend Roger Black had turned into a drug dealer and died two years ago on Christmas Eve. Boise decides to look into Roger's death, thinking he was murdered, and solicits the help of Dana Goode, a local reporter for The Daily News. While investigating Roger's death, Boise and Dana find themselves unexpectedly getting involved in a kidnapping investigation of a sixteen year old local girl that entangles them in more danger than they bargained for all in the name of getting justice.

Author Gene Desrochers provides a multi-layered storyline that has enough mystery, suspense, drama, treachery, secrets, and intriguing twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing, while weaving an intricate and complicated web of what the motive of Roger's murder and the local girl's kidnapping could have been, and the spectrum of possible participants who could have been involved in committing them.

Told in the first person perspective, Boise takes the reader along for the ride on his stealthy investigative adventures. This engaging Caribbean noir mystery story has realistic characters; witty island dialogue and humorous interactions; a rich description of the island setting of St. Thomas; and a multi-layered storyline that easily draws the reader into the interconnection between Boise's childhood past and the present, and how the pieces of the murder and kidnapping investigations puzzles comes together and are solved.

Dark Paradise is the kind of island murder mystery that easily keeps the reader captivated, guessing, on their toes, and wanting more!


RATING: 4 STARS 






About The Author




Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas. He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime. He has spent his life steadily migrating west, and now finds himself in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife, cats, and kids. After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018. If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.


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Contest Giveaway

Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Gene Desrochers. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on January 1, 2019 and runs through February 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Virtual Book Tour Event



Tour Participants:

01/01 Showcase @ Bound 2 Escape

01/02 Interview @ BooksChatter

01/04 Interview @ A Blue Million Books

01/07 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews

01/07 Showcase @ Just Books

01/08 Review @ sunny island breezes

01/08 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

01/09 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books

01/09 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy

01/10 Showcase @ Stacking My Book Shelves!

01/14 Guest post @ Crack A Book Cafe

01/15 Review @ Wall-to-wall books

01/16 Guest post @ CMash Reads

01/17 Showcase @ The Bookworm Lodge

01/19 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods

01/19 Showcase @ Mythical Books

01/22 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

01/24 Review @ Nesies Place

01/25 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

01/28 Showcase @ Midwest Ladies Who Lit

01/29 Blog Talk Radio w/Fran Lewis

01/29 Review @ Just Reviews

01/29 Review @ Life at 17

01/30 Guest post @ Read and Review






Friday, January 18, 2019

The Death By Cupcake Series - Boxed Set by D.E. Haggerty (Book Review)


The Death By Cupcake Series - Boxed Set by D.E. Haggerty
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: January 20, 2017
Format: eBook / Kindle - 490 pages / 640 KB
ASIN: B01N4JBZYX
Genre: Cozy Mystery


Buy The Boxed Set:
Book 1: Never Trust A Skinny Cupcake Baker
Book 2: Bring Your Own Baker
Book 3: Self-Serve Murder
Amazon (Free On Kindle Unlimited)



Book Descriptions:






Cupcakes not included.

Get all three books of Death by Cupcake series in one bundle! A cozy mystery series with a heap of laughs, a generous portion of romance, and just a smidgeon of suspense. The bundle includes Never Trust a Skinny Cupcake Baker, Bring Your Own Baker, and Self-Serve Murder.

Come join us at Callie’s Cakes, where murder investigations are on the menu. 

Warning: This is NOT your mom’s cozy mystery. The books in this series may be a ‘clean’ reads, but if gangs, illegal gambling, strip clubs, and pimps make you turn your nose up at your e-reader, you might want to skip it. The final book in the series also deals with the very real issue of rape on college campuses. 

Never Trust A Skinny Cupcake Baker

Callie’s life is rather awesome. She owns a successful bakery and teaches German literature at the local university. There’s just one tiny problem. She has no self-confidence when it comes to her body. And then there’s the little matter of her being accused of murdering her pole dancing instructor. There’s no way Callie’s going to risk losing her teaching position and thus she embarks, with her best baker bud Anna, on a journey to discover the real killer. Between stripper auditions and a detective who insists Callie is the woman of his dreams, it’s a roller coaster adventure.

Bring Your Own Baker

Anna just wants to earn enough money on the side to buy into the bakery, Callie’s Cakes, where she works together with her best nerd pal Callie. The last thing she expects to see when she walks into Arthur’s apartment to do some moonlighting is a blood bath. Callie’s ready to jump into the investigation into Arthur’s murder, and she’s bringing another bakery worker, Kristie, into their hijinks whether Kristie wants to or not. But things aren’t as they seem. There are gang affiliations, illegal gambling dens, and ladies of the night to wade through. Will Anna and Callie discover who murdered Arthur or will Callie’s detective boyfriend and Anna’s self-appointed protector put a stop to such aspirations? 

Self-Serve Murder

Kristie may be a sweetheart out to save the world, but sticking her nose into an investigation of rapes across campus makes her the target of a murderer. Before she knows it, Kristie is smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation with her colleagues from the cupcake bakery. If that’s not enough to drive a sane person up the wall, a friend has decided he’s going to keep her safe whether she wants him to or not. And, oh yeah, he’s her man and that’s that. 


Book Excerpts:

Never Trust A Skinny Cupcake Baker

“Why don’t you sit back down, Ms. Muller?” Detective Duchamp’s use of my last name concerns me. I sit back down and stare at him, hoping my elevated heart rate isn’t obvious. “Why did you rush off after class on Tuesday without showering?”
“I never shower at the gym.” I shiver. “I’m not comfortable with showering in front of other people.”
The detective sneers at that. “You better get used to it. No private showers in prison.”
I throw my hands in the air. “I know you’re trying to goad me into making some sort of confession or slip up or something, but I didn’t kill anyone. Why in the world would I kill Dolly? She’s not even a blip on my radar. I’m a successful business owner, I have a PhD, I teach at the University. Why would I risk all that for someone like her?” Unfortunately, my voice has turned condescending. Probably not the best attitude when accused of murder.
That’s when Duchamps pulls a card out of the file. It’s in a clear plastic bag, which I assume is an evidence bag, but it’s still obvious what the card is – a Callie’s Cakes postcard. The yellow and white striped postcards are free with a gift box. “I assume you know what this is.”
“Of course, I know what that is.” There’s no sense denying the truth even though I’m a bit apprehensive as to why they have a card from my bakery.
The detective pushes the card across the table, and I look down. “Sorry about your car, Callie.”
I push the card back and stare at the detective. “Seriously? This is your evidence?” The detectives look smug. I’m going to enjoy bringing them down a peg. “First of all, I can prove that I didn’t key her car.” I count off on my fingers. “And secondly, that’s not my handwriting. Not even close.”
I see a moment of doubt in Duchamps face before he recovers, and his face is once again a mask. He grabs the evidence bag and puts it back in the file. “We’ll see about that.” He stands. “In the meantime, you’ll be rotting away in jail.”
The door opens, and a man I don’t know enters. “Oh no, she won’t.” He turns to me and holds out his hand. “Dr. Muller, if you will.”
I will!


Bring Your Own Baker


Logan grabs my wrist as I’m about to face-plant on my bed. He pulls and twists, turning my body towards him. Before I have a chance to ask him what in the world he’s doing, his lips are on mine. There’s nothing gentle about this kiss. It’s desperate and possessive all in one. I hang on for the ride. Before I realize what’s happening, I’m lying on the bed with Logan over me. He releases my lips but keeps me trapped by his own body on top of mine.
“I’ve been dying to do that all night,” he whispers as he closes his eyes and buries his head in the joint connecting my neck and shoulder.
“I’m keeping this dress,” I proclaim.
Logan chuckles. “Babe, the dress is hot and you were scorching in it, but you always turn me on, even dressed in your cupcake pajamas.”
I roll my eyes and huff. “Whatever.”
“Now.” He sits back on his heels while pulling me up so that my back is leaning against the headboard. “Fill me in on what happened in the hallway.”

There’s a knock on the door before I have a chance to open my mouth, probably because it’s taking me a while to form thoughts with Logan’s hard muscles on full display. When did he lose his shirt? Logan immediately jumps off the bed and stalks to the bedroom door. “Stay here,” he orders as he leaves. Yeah right, that won’t be happening. 


Self-Serve Murder


I’m wiping down the counters when I get ambushed by Callie and Anna. Callie grabs my arm and together with Anna she pushes me into the corner furthest from the students. “What in the world of coffee beans are you guys up to now?” I cross my arms over my chest to make it perfectly clear that I’m not okay with whatever cockamamie scheme they’ve cooked up now.
Anna looks at me and smiles in an obvious but unsuccessful attempt to look innocent. “It’s just that we think it’s time we see the Youth Center where you spend all your time.”
Yeah, right. I roll my eyes at her. “You don’t really expect me to believe that you want to see the Youth Center to check out my life’s work.”
Callie bobs her head. “We’ve been meaning to go down there for ages.”
“Yeah,” Anna jumps in. “Logan always made it sound like the first circle in hell.”
I raise an eyebrow at the troublemaking pixie. Of course, she would want to jump into the first circle of hell. “Most people try to avoid Dante’s Inferno.” I don’t know why I bother trying to dissuade her. She obviously has no fear of things ‘normal’ people avoid like gangs and violence and such. She even admits to starting to fall for Logan before she realized he was an undercover cop.
“We just need to make sure we can eliminate anyone from the Youth Center as possible suspects. You know – up close and personally – then we need to find this rapist before he strikes again. It’s time to get to the bottom of this.” Callie makes an impassioned speech. I look down but, to my surprise, no soap box has magically appeared under her feet.
“I thought you guys promised not to go to the Youth Center.” I make one last ditch effort to keep Callie and Anna safely away from this investigation.
“I promised to not go running around. I will definitely not be doing any running.” Anna shakes her head and points at her feet. As if those high-heeled boots would ever stop her from running head-on into turmoil.
Callie shrugs. “I never actually said the words ‘I promise’. There’s definitely some kind of loophole there.”
“Fine!” I throw my hands in the air in defeat. “We’ll head over in my car after the bakery closes this afternoon.”
The dynamic duo immediately jumps up and down before rushing back into the kitchen giggling. And I’m the young one?





My Book Reviews:

Never Trust A Skinny Cupcake Baker

In Never Trust A Skinny Cupcake Baker, the first book in the Death By Cupcake Series, author D.E. Haggerty weaves a delightful cozy mystery that follows the amateur investigative adventures of bakery owner / college professor Callie Muller.

Callie owns a successful bakery and is a professor of German literature at the local university. But there is only one thing missing in her life ... a non-existent love life. After getting dumped by her ex-boyfriend for being overweight in his eyes, Callie's self-esteem and self-confidence is extremely low, even though local hottie police detective Ben has asked her out numerous times. Callie's best friend and bakery co-worker Anna signs them up for a pole dancing class at the local gym, but when Dolly, the obnoxious pole dancing instructor is found murdered, Callie finds herself accused of the murder. Callie is determined to clear her name and prove her innocence in order to save her teaching position. So with the help of Anna, Callie embarks on a murder investigation adventure to find the real killer.

Never Trust A Skinny Cupcake Baker is a thoroughly entertaining cozy mystery that will keep the reader in stitches. Written in the first person narrative, the reader follows the humorous trials and tribulations of Callie's investigative adventures.

This was such a fun book to read! The reader can't help but get drawn into the quirky trials and tribulations and intriguing suspense that Callie and Anna encounter during the investigation. I could relate to Callie, she is a normal woman with everyday issues, and I really enjoyed the humor and wit between Callie and Anna. And when you add in some romance with the hot police detective Ben into the mix, you get a delightful cozy mystery that will leave you wanting more!


RATING: 5 STARS 



Bring Your Own Baker

In Bring Your Own Baker, the second book in the Death By Cupcake Series, author D.E. Haggerty weaves a delightful cozy mystery that follows the amateur investigative adventures of baker Anna Moore.

Anna is a sassy little pixie with spiky pink hair, who works as a baker at her best friend Callie's bakery, Callie's Cakes. She has been working on the side doing finance and invoicing for her friend Arthur, a genius computer programmer / hacker, in order to get enough money together to buy into fifty percent of the bakery. When Anna goes to Arthur's apartment, she finds his door ajar and he is lying on the floor dead with his face covered in blood. Anna is determined to find Arthur's killer, so with the help of Callie, Ben (Callie's detective boyfriend), co-worker Kristie, and a hot undercover cop named Logan, Anna embarks on a murder investigation adventure to find the real killer.

Bring Your Own Baker is a thoroughly entertaining cozy mystery that will keep the reader in stitches. Written in the first person narrative, the reader follows the humorous trials and tribulations of Anna and friends latest amateur investigative adventures.

This was such a fun book to read! The reader can't help but get drawn into the quirky trials and tribulations and intriguing suspense that Anna and friends encounter during the murder investigation. I really enjoyed Anna's sassy humor and wit, she makes following her madcap adventure so much fun, and when you add in some romance with the hot undercover cop Logan into the mix, you get a delightful cozy mystery that will leave you wanting more!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I really loved how the author used very clever and intriguing step-by-step recipe ingredients to solving a mystery quotes at the beginning of each chapter.

Cozy mystery fans, I would highly recommend that you read the entertaining Death By Cupcake Series, you won't regret it!



RATING: 5 STARS 



Self-Serve Murder

In Self-Serve Murder, the third book in the Death By Cupcake Series, author D.E. Haggerty continues to weave a delightful cozy mystery series that follows the amateur investigative adventures of Kristie, Callie's Cakes twenty-three year old barista and social work grad student.

Kristie is a social work grad student who works part time at the local youth center and part time as a barista at her friend Callie's bakery, Callie's Cakes. Kristie wakes up naked and next to a dead guy in bed, and she has no recollection of what happened the night before. Kristie has been conducting a secret investigation the past few months into a string of college rape incidents where all the female victims have the same MO, they were all drugged (roofies) and woke up in their dorm rooms not remembering what happened, but having been sexually violated. As the latest victim (but not violated), Kristie is determined to find the rapist/murderer, so with the help of Callie, Ben (Callie's detective boyfriend), Anna, and Logan (Anna's detective boyfriend), they embark on a murder investigation adventure that is sure to stir up the pot on the college campus.

Self-Serve Murder is a thoroughly entertaining cozy mystery that will keep the reader in stitches. Written in the first person narrative, the reader follows the humorous trials and tribulations of Kristie, Callie, and Anna on their latest amateur investigative adventures.

This was such a fun book to read! The reader can't help but get drawn into the quirky trials and tribulations and intriguing suspense that Kristie and friends encounter during the college rape and murder investigation. I really enjoyed Kristie's sassy humor and wit, you can't help but feel compassion for her determination to bring the rapist to justice, and when you add in the hilarious antics that follows these three cheeky chicks and their detective boyfriends Logan and Ben, you get a delightful cozy mystery that will leave you wanting more!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I really loved how the author used clever coffee facts and quotes at the beginning of each chapter.

Cozy mystery fans, I would highly recommend that you read the entertaining Death By Cupcake Series, you won't regret it!



RATING: 5 STARS 




About The Author



I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom's Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic before returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where, in between tennis matches and failing to save the world, I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.Picture Not Perfect is my fourteenth novel.


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Friday, January 11, 2019

Lights On The Sea by Miquel Reina (Book Review)



Lights On The Sea by Miquel Reina
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Format: Paperback - 272 pages
               Kindle - 7742 KB
ISBN: 978-1503903203
ASIN: B07CWS1F7S
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure



Buy The Book:
Amazon  (Free on Kindle Unlimited)



Book Description:


In this riveting debut, prize-winning artist and filmmaker Miquel Reina maps out ambitious and fantastical new territory in a novel about a couple holding on for dear life as their world takes an extraordinary fall…

On the highest point of an island, in a house clinging to the edge of a cliff, live Mary Rose and Harold Grapes, a retired couple still mourning the death of their son thirty-five years before. Weighed down by decades of grief and memories, the Grapes' have never moved past the tragedy. Then, on the eve of eviction from the most beautiful and dangerously unstable perch in the area, they’re uprooted by a violent storm. The disbelieving Grapes' and their home take a free-fall slide into the white capped sea and float away.

As the past that once moored them recedes and disappears, Mary Rose and Harold are delivered from decades of sorrow by the ebb and flow of the waves. Ahead of them, a light shimmers on the horizon, guiding them toward a revelatory and cathartic new engagement with life, and all its wonder.

Wildly imaginative, deeply poignant, and entirely unexpected, Lights on the Sea sweeps readers away on a journey of fate, acceptance, redemption, and survival against the most rewarding of odds.



Praise For Lights On The Sea:

"Miquel Reina's Lights on the Sea is an absolutely lovely, beautiful novel with a dreamy, fable-like quality that will appeal to readers. Fans of Life of Pi will love this novel." – Kristin Hannah, NYT bestseller author of "The Nightingale"

"An enjoyable, finely written fantasy tale." – Kirkus Reviews

“This beautiful, unusual tale explores the healing power of love and the magic that exists in our everyday lives, even when we don’t know how to find it.”
– Jill Santopolo, NYT bestseller author of "The Light We Lost"



Book Excerpt:

Click on the link to preview the book excerpt: 




Book Trailer:







Book Review:

In his debut novel, Lights On The Sea, author Miquel Reina weaves a wonderful fantasy / adventure tale that takes the reader on an emotional journey.

For thirty-five years, Mary Rose and Harold Grapes have been living an isolated life in a house built high on Death Cliff overlooking the ocean above the seaside town of San Remo de Mar on Brent Island. This self-imposed isolation came about from the grief and loss of their eight year old son Dylan, who had drowned in the ocean during a terrible rainstorm. But now the retired couple are being forced to leave their house due to the erosion of the volcanic rock foundation that leaves the house precariously sitting on the edge of the cliff. The night before the Grapes were to leave the house, a terrible rainstorm occurs just like it did thirty-five years ago, and a thunderous lightning bolt strikes the house, causing the house foundation to break free and free-fall into the ocean. This bolt of lightning would set off an unexpected chain of events that would cast the elderly couple on a personal journey as their house floats to unknown destinations on the sea. What will become of the terrified retired couple lost at sea? 

I generally do not read fantasy / adventure books as they are not one of my favorite genres to read. But I was pleasantly surprised to find myself drawn into the Grapes' story, and their harrowing journey as their house floated on the open sea. The reader will experience an emotional gamut of feelings as they follow the horrific challenges and trials and tribulations that the Grapes dealt with as their house floated through a variety of weather conditions, you can't help but wonder how they were able to survive. The author does an amazing job of describing their journey in a way that makes you sit on the edge of the seat and keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next. While I found myself really engrossed in their incredible journey, I couldn't help but come to realize that the author wrote a tale that is so much more than your normal fantasy / adventure story. It is a complex story with many layers that has a powerful message that will make the reader pause for a moment and ponder the lessons that the Grapes learned from their personal journey, and how it may relate to their own lives. The author interweaves the Grapes' past memories with the present, and as the details of their life story are revealed, the reader will come to understand the most important life lesson the Grapes had to learn: that life is a journey that should be lived to the fullest, and no matter how easy or hard times may get, never give up, always strive to make your dreams come true, because in the end the only reason we are given life is to live it! 

This is a beautifully well-written and poignant story from beginning to a very unexpected and surprising ending. I would definitely recommend everyone read Lights On The Sea, you won't regret it!


RATING: 4 STARS 






About The Author




Barcelona-born Miquel Reina defines himself as a dreamer and a fighter; from a young age, he was drawn to the creative life, studying design and cinema before building his reputation as a filmmaker and graphic artist. His work in advertising won him several awards, including the prestigious Bronze Sun at Spain’s Festival de San Sebasti├ín in 2011, and in 2014, his music video “Dead in the Water” was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Reina has lived in Vancouver, Canada, since 2016, working for a video production studio and dedicating his free time to his most gratifying passion: writing. Lights On The Sea is his first novel.


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Monday, January 7, 2019

Finders, Not Keepers by D.E. Haggerty (Book Review)



Finders, Not Keepers by D.E. Haggerty 
Book 1: The Not So Reluctant Detectives Series 
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: August 16, 2018
Format: Paperback - 174 pages 
               Kindle - 490 KB
ISBN: 978-1725001336
ASIN: B07DSWRXMM
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Romantic Suspense 


Pre-Order The Book:


Buy The Series: The Not So Reluctant Detectives Series
Book 1: Finders, Not Keepers
Book 2: Picture Not Perfect



Book Description:

What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you? 

While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries. 

Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.



Book Excerpt:

Click on the link to read the book excerpt:   http://a.co/6KUZc90




My Book Review:

In Finders, Not Keepers, the first book in The Not So Reluctant Detectives Series, author D.E. Haggerty weaves a delightful new cozy mystery series that follows the amateur investigative adventures of best friends and co-workers Terri Patterson and Melanie Hanson.

While cleaning out her attic, high school librarian Terri Patterson finds a large pear-shaped diamond pendant necklace on the floor in the corner of the attic. Terri thinks that the necklace must belong to the house's previous owner. Terri asks her hot private investigator neighbor Ryder Clark to help her locate the previous owner so that she can return the necklace. When the search for the previous owner, twenty-five year old accountant Jessica Collins, results in an unsolved murder from three years ago, Terri reluctantly helps Jessica's heirs, elderly aunt and uncle Suzanne and Phil Collins, investigate their niece's murder, and donate the necklace to a worthy foundation. Terri is determined to find the right foundation, but is also reluctantly drawn into solving Jessica's murder with the help of her overly-enthusiastic best friend Melanie, and her overly-protective neighbor Ryder. But the investigation doesn't go easy, especially when someone is determined to stop her inquiries at all costs.

Finders, Not Keepers is a thoroughly entertaining cozy mystery that will easily draw the reader into the intriguing trials and tribulations that Terri encounters as she follows the clues that will help solve Jessica's murder. While Terri is reluctant to investigate the murder, Melanie's sassy wit and determination to help Terri find the murderer adds humor to the crazy antics that ensues. And if the murder investigation isn't enough, the reader will enjoy the neighborly friendship that Terri and Ryder share, especially when it develops into an unexpected chance at romance.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I really loved how the author used clever librarian quotes at the beginning of each chapter.

Cozy mystery fans, I would highly recommend that you read this entertaining new The Not So Reluctant Detective Series, you won't regret it!



RATING: 4 STARS 






About The Author




I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom's Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic before returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where, in between tennis matches and failing to save the world, I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.Picture Not Perfect is my fourteenth novel.


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