Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston ~ My Thoughts #SecretsOfTheChocolateHouse


Secrets of the Chocolate House

Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston
Historical Fantasy Fiction, 308 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by St. Martin's Press

New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s The Little Shop of Found Things was called “a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.

After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.

But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.

While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.

This time she'll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed? 


My thoughts about Secrets of the Chocolate House ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"From her viewing point at the top of the hill, the landscape of Wiltshire fell away into the hazy distance of the cooling autumn afternoon."

I have to admit that this series is not my usual reading material but the covers of books one and two drew me in. Plus there's the premise of inanimate objects 'singing' to the main character. What's not to love about that? 

I ended up loving book one—Xanthe and her mother are such endearing characters—and had to follow up with book two for sure. And then there's the time travel aspect to the books. I'm a sucker for time travel. 

Xanthe runs into some evil goings on, and some nasty people, during her travels to the past and learns so much more about her abilities. She is definitely bringing more to the table as she learns about herself and I love how her character is developing. I can't wait to read more of her adventures. 

Book three is out there waiting for me with book four coming out in November! Yay!

I received Secrets of the Chocolate House from NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

About the author


Paula Brackston lives in the historic city of Hereford on the Welsh border. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and has been a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Before becoming a writer, Paula tried her hand at various career paths, with mixed success. These included working as a groom on a racing yard, a travel agent, a secretary, an English teacher, a script reader, and a goat herd. Everyone involved (particularly the goats) is very relieved that she has now found a job she is actually able to do properly.

In 2007 Paula was shortlisted in the Creme de la Crime search for new writers. In 2010 her book 'Nutters' (writing as PJ Davy) was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award. The following year she was selected by the BBC under their New Welsh Writers scheme. 'The Witch's Daughter' became a New York Times bestseller. Her books are translated into five languages and sold around the world. ~ Amazon

Connect with Paula


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Monday, August 30, 2021

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel ~ My Thoughts #TheForestOfVanishingStars

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel
World War II Historical Fiction, 384 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by Gallery Books

The New York Times bestselling author of the The Book of Lost Names returns with an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis—until a secret from her past threatens everything.

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Inspired by incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with the journey-from-the-wilderness elements that made Where the Crawdads Sing a worldwide phenomenon, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel. 


My thoughts about The Forest of Vanishing Stars  ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"1922: The old woman watched from the shadows outside Behaimstrasse 72, waiting for the lights inside to blink out."

I actually read this book when it first came out and am just now sharing my thoughts about it. As soon as I reread the synopsis, I was immediately dropped back into this amazing, unforgettable story. 

It seems like I have been reading a lot of books set in the time of World War 2 lately. The characters and the storyline in The Forest of Vanishing Stars gives that time a different spin from other books I've read, featuring the point of view of a woman who has learned to survive alone in the wilderness. As she gets close to civilization again and discovers what's happening in the world around her, she is able to educate and save some of the refugees she encounters.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a unique, very enjoyable look at a horrible time in history, a story that will give you hope that there is still good in the world. I highly recommend it for all historical fiction readers. 

I received an ARC of The Forest of Vanishing Stars via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

About the author


Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling and #1 international bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names, The Winemaker's Wife, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into numerous languages and sold all over the world.

A former reporter for People magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s. After stints covering health and lifestyle for American Baby, Men’s Health, and Woman’s Day, she became a reporter for People and spent more than a decade working for the publication, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews with the likes of Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, OutKast, Justin Timberlake, and Patrick Dempsey. Her favorite stories at People, however, were the “Heroes Among Us” features—tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. One of those features—the story of Holocaust-survivor-turned-philanthropist Henri Landwirth (whom both Walter Cronkite and John Glenn told Kristin was the most amazing person they’d ever known)—partially inspired Kristin’s 2012 novel, The Sweetness of Forgetting, which was a bestseller all over the world.

In addition to a long magazine writing career (which also included articles published in Travel + Leisure, Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and more), Kristin was also a frequent contributor to the national television morning show The Daily Buzz—where her assignments included flying to London three times to interview the cast of the Harry Potter films. She has appeared on Good Morning America and numerous local television morning shows--and even stumbled into a role as an extra in the 2003 American Idol movie while awaiting an interview with Kelly Clarkson.

Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts and spent her childhood there, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her husband and young son. She travels frequently to France for book research (and—let’s be honest—for the pastries and wine) and writes a book a year for Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. ~ Goodreads

Connect with Kristin


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? August 30, 2021 #IMWAYR

   

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are! 

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Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. 
Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

The Living and the Lost
by Ellen Feldman
Pub date 9/7

Secrets in Death
(In Death #45)
by J.D. Robb
Narrated by Susan Ericksen 

What I recently finished

The Slow March of Light
by Heather B. Moore
Pub date 9/7

Rock Paper Scissors
by Alice Feeney
Pub date 9/7

The Two Lila Bennetts
by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Narrated by Karissa Vacker

What I am going to read next

Ask Again, Yes
by Mary Beth Keane

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?

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Saturday, August 28, 2021

This OR That #Giveaway Week 26 ~ Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties by Camille Pagán OR Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks #WomanLastSeenInHerThirties #TwoByTwo

 

I have sooooo many books! 

The This or That Giveaway! feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. It's a way for me to cull my collection and give someone else the chance to enjoy these treasures.

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!

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Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties is story that I loved, about a woman trying to find herself. You can read my thoughts HERE

Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties
by Camille Pagán
ARC ~ February 2018

From bestselling author Camille Pagán comes a hilarious and hopeful story about a woman on the verge of a nervous breakthrough.

At fifty-three, Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her.

On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself.

Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become?

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Two By Two
by Nicholas Sparks
Hardcover ~ Pub date October 2016

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with an emotionally powerful story of unconditional love, its challenges, its risks and most of all, its rewards.

At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. 

But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear...and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding—one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined. 

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Monday, August 23, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? August 23, 2021 #IMWAYR

   

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are! 

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Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. 
Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

Rock Paper Scissors
by Alice Feeney
Pub date 9/7

The Two Lila Bennetts
by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Narrated by Karissa Vacker

What I recently finished

Lady in the Lake
by Laura Lippman

Falling for Prince Charming: A Feel-Good Romantic Comedy
(That Wilson Charm Book 1)
by Sophie-Leigh Robbins
Pub date 9/7

What I am going to read next

The Slow March of Light
by Heather B. Moore
Pub date 9/7

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?

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Saturday, August 21, 2021

This OR That #Giveaway Week 25 ~ Broken Pieces by Kathleen Long OR Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman #BrokenPieces #InheritingEdith

 

I have sooooo many books! 

The This or That Giveaway! feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. It's a way for me to cull my collection and give someone else the chance to enjoy these treasures.

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!

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Both books today are ones that I read and reviewed when they came out in 2016. I loved them both, that's why I've held on to them so long, but I need to clear out my books so I'm passing them on for one of you to enjoy. 

Broken Pieces
by Kathleen Long
Paperback ~ Pub date July 2016

Destiny Jones is doing just fine on her own, thanks. From her thriving one-woman carpentry business to the loving support of her small-town community, Destiny has constructed a life as sturdy and polished as her best cabinets. Twenty years ago, Destiny’s world collapsed when her mother died and her father, Albert, abandoned his daughter to pursue acting in New York. His devastating exit taught Destiny a lesson in self-reliance that has kept her safe—and alone—ever since.

Now Albert Jones is back, begging for a second chance. Destiny suspects he’s simply staging another performance, starring himself as the prodigal father. Should she act on her misgivings? Or listen to her inner child, who still yearns for a family? When Albert divulges a shocking secret, Destiny’s life will again be turned upside down.

Kathleen Long’s warm, wise novel reveals the armor that has protected us in the past is often the very thing we must shed to fully live and love. 


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Inheriting Edith
by Zoe Fishman
Paperback ~ Pub date October 2016

A poignant breakout novel, for fans of J. Courtney Sullivan and Elin Hilderbrand, about a single mother who inherits a beautiful beach house with a caveat—she must take care of the ornery elderly woman who lives in it.

For years, Maggie Sheets has been an invisible hand in the glittering homes of wealthy New York City clients, scrubbing, dusting, mopping, and doing all she can to keep her head above water as a single mother. Everything changes when a former employer dies leaving Maggie a staggering inheritance. A house in Sag Harbor. The catch? It comes with an inhabitant: The deceased’s eighty-two-year old mother Edith.

Edith has Alzheimer’s—or so the doctors tell her—but she remembers exactly how her daughter Liza could light up a room, or bring dark clouds in her wake. And now Liza’s gone, by her own hand, and Edith has been left—like a chaise or strand of pearls—to a poorly dressed young woman with a toddler in tow.

Maggie and Edith are both certain this arrangement will be an utter disaster. But as summer days wane, a tenuous bond forms, and Edith, who feels the urgency of her diagnosis, shares a secret that she’s held close for five decades, launching Maggie on a mission that might just lead them each to what they are looking for.


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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Book Blitz! Now I Found You by Mila Oliver ~ Excerpt and #Giveaway! #NowIFoundYou

Now I Found You

 

Now I Found You by Mila Oliver
Publication date: July 20th 2021
Genres: Adult, Suspense, Thriller

Seven years ago, Kate Hartfield’s little sister disappeared.

An ordinary summer day of fun at the lake turned into a nightmare when young Emily Hartfield suddenly could not be found. When badly battered body parts were discovered three days later, the investigation concluded that they were Emily’s and the case was closed as an accidental drowning.

Now Kate has returned to her hometown in the Catskills for the first time since her sister’s death, for a work retreat. While at her boss’s lake house, she briefly spies a familiar face.

It’s Emily.

She’s all grown up, but Kate knows her sister’s face better than anyone. The sighting reignites the doubts Kate has always had, and forces her to revisit all the mysterious circumstances that surrounded that day. As she desperately tries to track down the girl she saw at the lake house, Kate discovers shocking secrets from the past, confronts her own guilt from that day, and becomes obsessed with uncovering the answer to one question.

What really happened to Emily?

Goodreads | Amazon

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EXCERPT:

Back at her apartment, Kate peeled off her clothes and threw them in a corner before crawling into her twin sized bed. She stared up at the ceiling, her eyes painting it with lush green trees and soft wood trails. It had been six years since she left, but she could still smell the clean mountain air. She could still feel the leaves slapping against her arms as she and her cross-country team ran through the woods. She could still hear the soft fireflies zipping through the quiet of the night, and taste the fresh raindrops that would fall softly onto her face. And she could still see her little sister, in her bright yellow swimsuit, smiling at her from the shallow end of the lake, her face partially blocked by the blinding glow of the setting sun.

Kate remembered the first time her memory of Emily had started to fade a little. It was a little over two years after Emily died. Up until then, every detail of Emily always lingered at the periphery of her brain. She didn’t even need to conjure it up, it was just always there. Every freckle on her face, the sparkle of her bright blue eyes, the softness of her lush blond hair. The smell of the vanilla sugar body splash she wore every day.

But then suddenly, on an otherwise ordinary day, Kate woke up and, for a few seconds, Emily’s face was fuzzy. Her memory did not have its usual depth and clarity. Kate had trouble feeling Emily’s silky hair through her fingers.

The memories returned in full force a few moments later, but the shock of it had engulfed her like a tidal wave, pulling her down into a deep depression. It was the first time Kate realized that her memories of Emily would not always be as strong and clear as they originally were. That over time memories would take a new form. They would become more like looking back at old photographs or home movies, rather than the very real feeling of Emily standing right there in front of her.

Kate reached for the small container on her nightstand and shook out two pills. Every so often, she found that alcohol was not enough to blur her memories and lull her peacefully to sleep. The pills snagged against the back of her throat as she swallowed them dry and waited listlessly for darkness to fall.

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Saturday, August 14, 2021

This OR That #Giveaway Week 24 ~ Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia OR Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares #MexicanGothic #SisterhoodEverlasting

 

I have sooooo many books! 

The This or That Giveaway! feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. It's a way for me to cull my collection and give someone else the chance to enjoy these treasures.

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!

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This first book is one I didn't know much about but had been seeing everyone rave about it everywhere. I got my hands on a copy and dove in. It's not my usual type of read and I found it a little strange but it was very good. 

Mexican Gothic
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Hardcover ~ Pub date June 2020

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemí’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind. 

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This next book is book #5 in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I have to admit that I haven't read any of the books but did see the movie. I thought it was very good and I enjoyed it, I just never got into the books. I did read Ann's book The Here and Now and really liked it. You can read my thoughts here

Sisterhood Everlasting
(Sisterhood #5)
by Ann Brashares
ARC ~ Pub date August 2011

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one. 

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Friday, August 13, 2021

The Perfect Son by Lauren North ~ My Thoughts #ThePerfectSon


The Perfect Son by Lauren North
Psychological Thriller, 359 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by Berkley Books

A disturbing and shocking debut novel of psychological suspense about a recently widowed mother, her young son, and the lengths she'll go to in order to keep him safe.

When Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital the day after her son Jamie's eighth birthday, she's sure of these things: She's been stabbed, her son is missing, her brother-in-law and her grief counselor are involved. But no one is listening to her.

After her husband, Mark, died suddenly in a terrible accident a few months earlier, the only thing keeping Tess together is Jamie. As they struggle to make sense of their new life without Mark, they find joy in brief moments of normalcy like walking to school and watching television together. Life is hard without Mark, but Tess has Jamie, and that's what matters.

But there in the hospital, confused and surrounded by people who won't listen, Tess’s world falls apart. To save her son, she must piece together what happened between Mark's death and Jamie's birthday, but the truth might just be too much for her to bear. 


My thoughts about The Perfect Son ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"There is a snippet of time, oh so short, when the morphine in my system begins to fade, but the pain is still fuzzy."

Okay, this story grabbed me from the very first page, the ending surprised me, and everything in between sucked me in. I couldn't put this book down! I seriously wanted to go back and read it again when I finished, just to see if I could see that ending coming the second time around. 

The Perfect Son is Lauren's debut novel and she did an amazing job! I'm definitely going to be checking out her other books. This book is an exceptional psychological thriller!

I received an ARC of The Perfect Son from Goodreads and this is my honest opinion.

About the author


Lauren writes psychological suspense novels that delve into the darker side of relationships and families. She has a lifelong passion for writing, reading, and all things books. Lauren’s love of psychological suspense has grown since childhood and her dark imagination of always wondering what’s the worst thing that could happen in every situation.

Lauren studied psychology before moving to London where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. Readers can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and Facebook @LaurenNorthAuthor ~ Goodreads

Connect with Lauren


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Book Blitz! Photo Bombed By Daria White ~ Excerpt and a #Giveaway! #PhotoBombed

Photo Bombed

Photo Bombed by Daria White
(Bianca Wallace Mysteries, #1)
Publication date: May 25th 2021
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Romance

When a corpse crashes the party, Bianca is on the case.

Bianca Wallace is a work from home mom raising her teenage daughter as a single parent. She’s determined to stand on her own two feet in Edenville, Texas after her bitter divorce. When the town’s wedding of the year stars her friend as the bride, Bianca can’t wait to celebrate the nuptials. Neither she nor the guests expect a corpse! When the police suspect the bride, Bianca’s determined to prove her friend’s innocence.

Lamar Sims, the new police detective in Edenville, is investigating the murder case. Bianca’s “interference” is not helping, but she won’t stop when her friend’s freedom is on the line. He makes it clear he wants her to let the police do their job, so she has to find ways around him.

No one in Edenville is safe until the killer is behind bars. Bianca won’t let Detective Sims dismiss her hunches. They may have to work together before another dead body shows up.

Goodreads | Amazon | iBooks

Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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EXCERPT

“Bianca!” Nicole shrieked.

Bianca embraced her friend. “You look amazing!”

Nicole planted her hands on her slim hips. Her sundress flowed to her knees and flattered her waist. Long blonde hair, five seven, and flawless ivory skin. Her blue eyes shined. The woman could have been a model if she wanted to, but found her passion as a beauty blogger. “Thank you. Come on in.”

Looping her arm with hers, Bianca walked with Nicole to the kitchen after setting her gift on the designated table. When they entered the kitchen, Bianca spotted Judy.

“Bianca! Welcome.” Her red hair shined as always.

“Let me help you, Judy. I can’t just stand around and let you do all of this for me.” Nicole stood in front of a plate of ham and grabbed the butcher knife from Priscilla’s, Chad’s mother, kitchen set.

“Nicole.” Judy sighed. “You’re the bride. You should be mingling with your guests.”

“There will be plenty of time for that.” Nicole nudged her shoulder and sliced the meat onto a serving tray.

Bianca made herself comfortable on a bar stool. “Having fun so far? You seem more relaxed now.” That was a good sign.

Nicole beamed. “I am. I can’t believe the wedding is next weekend.” She exhaled. “I’m so nervous.”

“Not about marrying Chad, I hope,” Judy said as she tossed the salad.

“Can I help?” Bianca stood.

Judy pointed for her to sit down. “No, I won’t have the both of you helping. Nicole’s the bride so she can get away with it.”

Bianca returned to her seat and folded her hands in her lap. She figured Judy was in her zone so she wouldn’t offer again to help her in the kitchen. “Everything looks amazing.”

Judy touched a hand to Nicole’s shoulder. “I can’t tell you what it means to me that you asked us to cater your wedding. Thank you.”

Nicole smiled. “Are you kidding? I wouldn’t have anyone else cooking for me.”

Bianca’s heart warmed at the friendly exchange. With Nicole marrying into the high society Davis family, she could have chosen top-notch caterers to serve her reception meal. Yet, she’d chosen Edenville’s best. There was no one better than Judy, who could cook and bake along with her husband, Richard.

“I do have a question for you my friend.” Nicole directed her attention to Bianca.

“What?” Bianca asked.

“I think you could get along with at least one of Chad’s—”

Bianca held up a hand to stop her. “Before you start setting me up with all of the groomsmen, I’ll pass.”

“Oh, Bianca. Really?” Nicole huffed.

“I’ll let you know if I change my mind.” Bianca winked at her.

Nicole paused in her slicing of the ham when her phone rang in her dress pocket. She stared at the screen but didn’t answer.

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About the author


Daria has lived in Texas for most of her life. She never liked reading as a kid. In fact, she almost hated it. However, as she grew up that all changed. Though she received her degree in healthcare management, Daria kept her writing as a hobby. She meant it to be private and her own way of expressing herself. It never crossed her mind to publish until she was in college. She took a chance and published. It worked!

Connect with Daria

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Release Day! Death Becomes You by Deanna Lynn Sletten ~ My Thoughts #DeathBecomesYou

  Happy Release Day!!


Congrats Deanna
on the release today of
Death Becomes You!

Death Becomes You by Deanna Lynn Sletten
Women's Crime Fiction, 194 pages
Published August 10, 2021 by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Rachel Emery hadn’t planned on investigating a murder mystery again after her first and only experience solving a long-ago murder. But when her friend, romance writer Ariel Weathers, called her, frantic about her dead ex-husband stalking her, Rachel is too intrigued to refuse to investigate it.

As Rachel digs up information about Randall’s death, new twists and turns keep springing up, taking her in several directions. And when the original case investigator, Jack Meyers, joins in, they seem destined for choppy waters. Then a shocking new murder takes the two sleuths down yet another path that becomes more deadly by the minute.

What happened the day Randall went out for a cruise on his yacht? Did he die as they’d thought, or was he setting up a devious plan of murder? 


My thoughts about Death Becomes You ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"Rachel Emery sat at her desk, working on a romance novel cover for one of her authors."

I loved book #1 in this series, The Truth About Rachel, and was super excited that there was going to be more Rachel! Death Becomes You is even better, IMHO. Rachel is more confident in her character's role and has this sleuthing thing down. 

This is a definite page-turner with lots of twists and turns as Rachel tries to figure out how and why Randall died. And why not throw in another murder, just for a bit more excitement? The introduction of Jack, the FBI guy who first worked the case, was a nice addition to the story and I can't wait to see them work together again. Maybe? Who knows?

This is a great series and I highly recommend it! The next installment is scheduled to be out next summer. Yay! Grab both books now so you're ready. 

I received an ARC of Death Becomes You from the author and this is my honest opinion.

Book #1
Read my thoughts here.
Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

About the author

Deanna Lynn Sletten

Deanna Lynn Sletten is the author of Maggie's Turn, Finding Libbie, One Wrong Turn, Miss Etta, and several other titles. She writes heartwarming women's fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime. Deanna believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, and happily ever after, and her novels reflect that.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing on the lake in the summer.

Deanna loves hearing from her readers. 
Connect with her here—

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