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7.14.2019

Yours Truly, Thomas ~ Review

Yours Truly, Thomas

by Rachel Fordham

Since discovering a bundle of letters as a child Penny Ercanbeck has had a love of letters and dreamed of the day when she would have her own bundle to love and cherish. But working in the Postal Services' Dead Letter Office has her reading other people's mail - mail that can't be delivered as it is addressed. Some letters that describe day-to-day life, some that hold great joy and yet others that are filled with heartbreak. 

When a series of letters from some named Thomas arrive at the office Penny is determined that she'll deliver the letters. But what she discovers finds her on a journey that will give her time to decide which path her life will follow. But when she arrives in Azure Springs, Iowa, she finds something unexpected - a sense of belonging. 

But can she call someplace so far from what she has known home? Her savings, which have brought her this far won't last forever and she's faced with a decision - return to DC and the Dead Letter Office, move into the life her mother dreams of for her, or remain in Azure Springs solely on the desires of her heart.

This book reacquaints the reader with several of the characters who were in The Hope of Azure Springs but this book can be read as a standalone title if you have not yet read this previous work by Rachel Fordham. Penny and Thomas's stories are revealed throughout. And as Penny so lovingly puts it, "And don't you just feel like a letter is a special gift?" I must say I agree with this statement I've always loved getting a personal letter in the mail.

This is a lovely book and the characters are ones that can be empathized with as they work through their pain and regrets. The written word has so much power in how it can affect a life - it can heal, it can hurt, and it can protect. Get ready for a return to Azure Springs a town that isn't perfect but one with a big heart that is willing to accept a stranger into its midst. You just might want to stay for a while too.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
A young woman working at the Dead Letter Office in 1883 opens a series of heartbreaking love letters. She's determined to find their rightful owner and make things right. But a trip to Azure Springs, Iowa, may provide love and healing for more than just the letter writer.

7.08.2019

Act of Valor ~ Review

Act of Valor
True Blue K-9 Unit #2
By Dana Mentink

Vi (Violet) Griffin has known the Jameson family her whole life and she knows just how much the mystery surrounding the death of Jordan Jameson has affected the entire family and especially her best friend Zach. And she's worried about him as he deals with the loss of his big brother.

Vi has always been, as she likes to say, "New York tough" but when she sees something suspicious at work she makes an instant enemy. And she has no choice but to ask for help and she needs it now! Soon Zach and his K-9 partner Eddie are racing to Violet's aid. But Vi has made an enemy who wields power and isn't afraid to come after her and eliminate her and anyone who gets in their way.

Vi is determined to not let this affect her daily life. But soon someone knows where she lives. And her job at the airport well it is obvious someone has found a way around security. Violet doesn't want to go back to her parents' diner full time nor move back into her parents' home. But Zach is just about as stubborn as she is and he's determined to keep her safe after failing Jordan.

But spending so much time together just might be the worse thing for Violet and Zach's friendship - it could alter it forever. Can you ever go back to being just friends once you fall in love?

This is the second book in the True Blue K-9 Unit series and it follows the NYC's K-9 Unit which is reeling following the death of their chief - Jordan Jameson and the disappearance of his K-9 partner Snapper. As with book 1 Justice Mission (Lynette Eason), there is no resolution to this case. If you are looking for a quick clean mystery that can be a stand-alone this is a great way to pass the sweltering hours of summer.

Want to learn more about Justice Mission? Check out my review here.

About the Book:

She saw something she shouldn’t have…

A True Blue K-9 Unit story

When airline employee Violet Griffin encounters several suspicious passengers, she’s thrust into the crosshairs of a drug smuggling operation. NYPD officer Zach Jameson and his drug detection beagle, Eddie, can tell this is no small-time threat. Someone’s gunning for Violet, and after recently losing his brother, Zach refuses to lose her, too…especially now that she’s gone from friend to the woman he’s falling for.

7.03.2019

Murder in the City of Liberty ~ Review

Murder in the City of Liberty
A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery #2
By Rachel McMillan

It's 1940 and the world is in turmoil. War is spreading across Europe and Hamish DeLuca wants to do his part but the medical board in Canada has refused his offer of service. So Hamish finds himself in the Boston the City of Liberty partnered up with Reggie VanBuren in their business of private investigation. Neither had planned such an occupation it just sort of happened when Hamish's cousin got them caught up in a murder at his Flamingo Club.

More than 2 years have passed since Hamish and Reggie escaped their lives and found themselves in Boston. And during that time Hamish has had feelings for Reggie. But Reggie is from a different world one of money, prestige, society, and expectations. Expectations that include a proper marriage into an equal societal status - not one to a Canadian lawyer of Italian heritage who spends his days not making a profit or a name for himself.

Boston is in turmoil as voices raise in fear, anger, and hate. Change is just waiting to turn the corner and some people are determined to stop it and if possible drive it from the shores of the country. As racial prejudices rise Hamish and Reggie take on a case that finds itself in the very heart of this unrest and this case is one that just might cost them their future.

Murder in the City of Liberty is the second book in the Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery series but it can be read on its own with no problems in following the story. The story doesn't pick up immediately after Murder at the Flamingo so there is a bit of time between books. The case they are working on is one that finds Errol Parker attempting to break the color barrier that is quite firmly in place in baseball. It is sad to see just how divided people have been throughout history - focusing more on differences than similarities. But overall this is an enjoyable read and those who like post-Depression era fiction will want to find a comfortable corner before delving into this historical mystery.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case
—and this one could demand a price they’re not willing to pay.

Determined to make a life for herself, Reggie Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.
Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes.
When Hamish has his careful constructed life disrupted by a figure from his past, he is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes and Noble



Connect with Rachel online

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Instagram tour:

Monday, June 3rd: @sarahs_reads
Tuesday, June 4th: @thesaggingbookshelf
Wednesday, June 5th: @jessicamap
Thursday, June 6th: @rendezvous_with_reading
Friday, June 7th: @booktimistic
Friday, June 7th: @jennblogsbooks
Saturday, June 8th: @createexploreread
Sunday, June 9th: @simplykelina

Review tour:

Monday, June 10th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Tuesday, June 11th: Reading Reality
Wednesday, June 12th: What is That Book About – spotlight
Thursday, June 13th: Running Through the Storms
Sunday, June 16th: Amy’s Book-et List
Tuesday, June 18th: @beauty_andthebook
Wednesday, June 19th: @pnwbookworm and Pacific Northwest Bookworm
Thursday, June 20th: Lori’s Reading Corner – spotlight
Friday, June 21st: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, June 24th: @amberafterglowreads
Wednesday, June 26th: The Sketchy Reader
Thursday, June 27th: Write Read Life
Friday, June 28th: I Read ‘Till Dawn
Monday, July 1st: Bookworm for Kids
Tuesday, July 2nd: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Wednesday, July 3rd: Blooming with Books
Friday, July 5th: Buried Under Books
Monday, July 8th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, July 11th: The Lit Bitch
Friday, July 12th: Broken Teepee

7.02.2019

Over the Line ~ Review

Over the Line
By Kelly Irvin

Gabriella Benoit is determined to never let Eli Cavazos break her heart again - there's just one problem her heart doesn't agree with her decision. Eli broke her trust and she just can't find it in herself to forgive him. But when a total stranger calls out to her and with his last breath gasps out the name of her brother as he dies of a gunshot wound she knows she needs Eli's help.

With Jake not responding to her attempts to contact him she has to get to Laredo to find him before it is too late. Eli isn't about to let Gabby head off on her own especially with their victim having ties to Laredo. Insisting on accompanying her he connects with local law enforcement for clues to his case which has links to gun smugglers.

But Laredo just unearths more questions than answers. Jake is the main suspect in a local murder case. Convinced that her brother is being framed Gabby isn't about to trust the local PD to give Jake a fair chance or to do all they can to find him before it is too late. The information they do uncover reveals secrets that Jake has been keeping but was it part of his cover? Or was he truly hiding something from his sisters?

Over the Line is an ever-building story that keeps the reader wondering who can be trusted.  If you like suspense that comes seemingly from the headlines you will love this new offering from Kelly Irvin. And a word of warning be careful who you trust your life could depend on it...


About the Book:
You have something we want. We have something you want.”
Gabriella has never forgiven her former fiancĂ©, homicide detective Eli Cavazos, for breaking her heart. Then a man she’s never met shows up at her restaurant, a bullet in his chest and her brother’s name on his lips. Gabby soon realizes this man is connected to a powerful ring of criminals who know far too much about her.
Against her better judgment, Gabby turns to Eli for help in finding her brother. When she receives a cryptic text from her brother’s cell phone, she realizes she is in deep and may be dragging Eli down with her. With her brother nowhere to be found and pain from her past threatening to overwhelm her, Gabby wonders how she will make it through this unexpected quest unscathed—or alive.
Taking us into the heat of Laredo, Texas, the secrets of a gun-smuggling ring and the tensions on both sides of the border, Over the Line will keep you guessing until the last page.

7.01.2019

By Hook or By Rook ~ Review with Guest Post and Giveaway

By Hook or By Rook
London League #4
By Rebecca Connolly

Someone has managed to uncover the identity of the members of the London League and it has put their families in danger. When the Gent needs to send the favorite cousin of his wife to the home of her brother he enlists the aid of Rook.

Jeremy Pratt is less than thrilled to be escorting Miss Helen Dalton from London to York. It's not that he has any problems with Helen Dalton other than the fact that he enjoys the time he spends in her company too much. But with the increased presence of highwaymen on the road to York that seem to have ties to French traitors Gent wants Helen protected and he's convinced that Jeremy is the only man for the job.

Helen is just a tad put out with Margaret's husband - she's made the trip from London to York before and never needed the protection of a man before. She just wants to leave London behind and forget the flirtation she had been enjoying with Mr. Pratt. His easy and charming personality had charmed her but the bantering they had shared had touched her in a way she had never expected and she's determined to leave it behind before her heart is broken.

But nothing ever goes as planned and both Jeremy and Helen end up getting to know one another better. But Jeremy confuses Helen - he has secrets that he refuses to share and the different personas he presents. Just who is this man sent to protect her?

By Hook or by Rook is the fourth book in the London League series and this time the reader is more fully introduced to Rook one of the newest members of the League who was brought in after the death of Trace. In addition to his normal League assignments Rook also is working on a secret assignment for the Shopkeepers looking into the death of Trace and what exactly he was working on at the time they lost him.

Helen Dalton is the cousin of Margaret both of whom the reader first met in The Lady and the Gent (book 1 in the series). She is an interesting character - she has a wit and intelligence that many don't seem to notice. She thinks she has escaped the notice of Society and is well on her way to being a spinster - which she finds surprising. And the one man who has caught her attention is a fop whom she hasn't seen for several weeks now.

This book can be read on its own if you haven't yet read the previous books in the series but it is better if read in the series order. This is an enjoyable and easy read that at just 170 pages is perfect for a weekend escape. If you are a fan of Regency period pieces or just like a historical romance fiction give By Hook or by Rook and the London League a chance to be a new favorite read.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations - all thoughts expressed are my own honest opinions.


About the Book:
​The most dangerous journeys…
Jeremy Pratt is a spy for the Crown, and one of the best. He has been in more dangerous situations than he can admit, and has always come out unscathed. But escorting his colleague’s cousin home to her family, even in disguise, just might be beyond his skills, and the temptation beyond his ability to withstand.
…May be ones of the heart…

Helen Dalton is convinced there is more to this man escorting her than meets the eye, and something familiar about him, as well. There is only one man in the world who looks at her so intensely, banters with her so easily, and makes her blush so furiously. And when he manages a daring and heroic rescue, she wonders if she ever knew him at all.
Series: The London League
Genre:  Adult, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Phase Publishing
Publication date: July 1, 2019

About the Author

rebecca-connolly-headshotRebecca Connolly writes romances, both period and contemporary, because she absolutely loves a good love story. She has been creating stories since childhood, and there are home videos to prove it! She started writing them down in elementary school and has never looked back. She currently lives in the Midwest, spends every spare moment away from her day job absorbed in her writing, and is a hot cocoa addict.
Connect online with Rebecca at:

GOODREADS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | 

Guest Post:

Researching Regency Spying

If there’s one thing I have learned to hate since my school days, it’s research. I didn’t like it when I was in school and I’m not a huge fan of it now.

So why did I decide to write in a time period that requires lots of research?

Glutton for punishment, I guess.

So when I decided to turn a mysterious character of mine into a spy, and start off a series with him, and create more spies to go with him, I found a whole new set of obstacles. Not only did I have to get the time period details right, as my usual books required, but now I had to figure out how spies worked back then, and how I could make them work for my story.

First up was a trip to every used bookstore around me. I looked in the time period I needed and crossed my fingers. I came home with 7 books, I think, not specifically about spies in the Regency era, but about spies during the revolutionary war, political intrigue at the time, and things like that. I could make those work for me. I got a British history book that actually gave me the best historical Easter egg ever for the series, and I’m still super proud of that.

Then I hit up one of my writing chapters that specifically deals with this time period. They are always a wealth of information, and boy did they deliver! I was wading through all kinds of information from them for ages.
After that, the research that I did was story specific, depending on whatever plot twists I had. Gypsies, codebreaking, ciphers, building layouts, docks, relations with France… I take a lot of care with the situations I put my spies in and do the best I can to make it accurate and believable.

Hopefully, I succeed.

And you know what? Sometimes I enjoy doing this research. Every time I find something perfect, it feels like a victory.

Maybe that’s worth it after all.



Giveaway
BHOBR tour giveaway
(1) winner will receive a By Hook or by Rook Prize Pack  (US mailing addresses only). 
Prize pack includes the following:

Winner’s choice of print or ebook copy of 
By Hook or by Rook
Chocolate
London League Bookmarks
Book Themed Luggage Tags

Enter the giveaway HERE.
​Giveaway ends July 17 at 11:59pm MT.

Giveaway is subject to policies HERE.

Blog Stops


Follow along at SLB Tours for a full list of stops!

6.28.2019

No Ocean Too Wide ~ Review

No Ocean Too Wide
The McAlister Family #1
By Carrie Turansky

Following the death of their father, the McAlister family had a difficult time scrapping enough to meet their needs. Edna took in sewing while her oldest daughter Laura went into service sending home her earnings to help the family. But when Edna falls ill and is sent to the hospital her three youngest children - Katie, Garth, and Grace are taken to the Grangeford Children's Home. The stay was only to be until their mother got well or Laura came for them.

But when Laura went to get her siblings she learned that she was forbidden to visit with them and to get them into her care would come at a steep price. With little recourse, Laura seeks help from any she knows but her efforts are too late when she learns that all three have been sent to Canada be employed or, if one of the fortunate few, to be adopted into a family.

Andrew Fraser and his mentor Henry Dowd have been tasked with investigating child emigration between Britain and Canada. With more than 50,000 British children being sent to Canada there were concerns about the children and their ultimate fate. Could there be a dark, hidden side to this beneficial program?

When Laura and Andrew end up on the same ship to Canada he wants her to speak with Henry for his legal opinion. But having received no help from anyone of power Laura fears making her story known to anyone else. But with both time and the law possibly against her plans to reunite with Katie, Garth, and Grace Laura needs help.

This is the first book relating the McAlister family's story. As those around have portions of their stories revealed one can't help but be moved for these poor young souls whose life was so difficult both before and after their emigration to Canada. It is also amazing how money is almost always at the root of most deeds of kindness. I'm interested to see exactly how the rest of the series plays out as Laura's efforts aren't at an end with the last page of this book. This is an attention engaging read and those who love historical fiction will love this newest offering from Carrie Turansky.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


About the Book:
Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans--but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans' home before Laura is notified about her family's unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God".

6.25.2019

Play to Live ~ Spotlight with Giveaway



Book Details:
Book Title: Play to Live:  Life Skills and Joy Through the Natural Talent to Play by Brian VanDongen
Category:  Self help / Inner Child; creativity, 119 pages
Genre:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+)

Publisher:  BVDPlays
Release date:  April 30, 2019
Tour dates: June 17 to July 5, 2019
Content Rating: G





Book Description:

Play To Live: Life Skills and Joy Through The Natural Talent To Play by author Brian VanDongen takes you back to your childhood to remind you about what being a child is all about. Playing! We all have those fond childhood memories of growing up playing with our friends in social settings. Developing social skills and learning how to handle friendships and relationships.

What we didn't realize at the time was that those skills we learned for the building blocks which lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. What are our children learning right now? How are they playing now and what part are we playing in how our children interact with the world around them.

For many children, their idea of play and playing now consists of talking to friends online and playing with electronic devices, staying safe indoors, and not venturing further than their own small safe world which we have created.

Inside Play To Live you'll discover:

  • Understanding what it means to play.
  • Where play has gone and what has changed?
  • How playing inside the box promotes the simplicity of play.
  • Why risky play is not the same as dangerous play. Are we too overprotective?
  • That climbing up the slide is just as important as sliding down.
  • Getting muddy outside and rediscovering nature is imperative.
  • That play is serious business and so much more.

Inside Play To Live: Life Skills and Joy Through The Natural Talent To Play you'll read about case studies and reports followed by tips, tricks, and information to help you. If you would like to rediscover what it means to play, then grab a copy of Play To Live right now!
Brian VanDongen
Meet the author:
Brian is a life-long "parks and rec kid." Now, he is a parks and recreation professional.

Brian has created, designed, and implemented transformational recreational programming for thousands of residents. ​ Through his work as a park and recreation professional, Brian helps people play and find their natural talent to play.

He believes everyone has that talent, but it is sometimes hard to find, or even suppressed in today's society. ​ Fortunately, play at its most basic level is easy, fun, healthy, and desirable. That playful talent just needs to be unleashed.

Brian has helped thousands of people find their natural talent to play and become happier and healthier people through the power of play.

Connect with the author:   Website   Facebook   Twitter   Instagram

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

June 17 - Rockin' Book Reviews
June 18 - Library of Clean Reads
June 19 - It’s All About the Book
June 20 - #redhead.with.book
June 21 - Book Corner News and Reviews
June 24 - The Irresponsible Reader
June 25 - Blooming with Books
June 26 - Locks, Hooks and Books
June 27 - The Autistic Gamer
June 28 - Olio by Marilyn
July 1     - B for Bookreview
July 2     - StoreyBook Reviews
July 3     - Mystery Suspense Reviews
July 4     - Literary Flits
July 5     - Bookworm for Kids


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
Ends July 13, 2019

Win a signed copy of

Play to Live: Life Skills and Joy Through the Natural Talent to Play
(1 winner / open to USA only)


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