Saturday, May 18, 2019

Book Spotlight and Pre-Order Giveaway - Southern Sass and Killer Cravings (Marygene Brown Mysteries) by Kate Young

Book Synopsis
Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .

For generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother’s passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama’s presence.

But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man’s been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama’s spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!


Author Bio
 

Kate Young writes humorous southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.
 

Author Links 

Website - https://www.kateyoungbooks.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKateYoung/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KAYoungBooks
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6527572.Kate_Young
BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kate-young-b3339e9c-d2e4-482d-a637-5afd7b064d73

 

Purchase Links — Amazon  B&N  Kobo Indie Bound  ibooks  BAM 

 

Giveaway

A PRE-ORDER CONTEST with fabulous prizes! A Coach Bag with matching wristlet and $120 in gift cards plus autographed copies of the book!

https://www.kateyoungbooks.com/pre-order-contest.html

* Grand Prize Winner receives a gorgeous Coach Avenue Tote and Coach wristlet pictured below (value $450) and a $100 gift card to either Amazon or B&N.

​​* 2 Runners up will receive a $10 gift card to either Amazon or B&N and an autographed paperback copy of  Southern Sass and Killer Cravings.

 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Dear Abby - Silly Things People Say

Dear Friends,

I'm so glad to be back!  I've been eager to return and visit with you.  I kept thinking of things I wanted to tell you, but I have to depend on my Momma to help me post here.  Unfortunately, she kept saying she had too much on her plate.  I don't understand that at all -- I don't even see a plate (and believe me, I looked!).   We made a deal that for right now I will post every few weeks but I will post more regularly in Fall.   It will be nice to have a lighter blogging schedule for summer.  More time to nap and enjoy the sunshine!

I'll share a couple of new pictures with you.   I am waving in this picture.  Momma says it looks like I am smiling a bit too.  I actually do smile when I am happy.

Here is another recent picture -- this was taken on Easter.  I had company and lots of excitement, and I spent a lot of time looking hopefully for treats.

That makes me think of something I have been wanting to mention -- people say some silly things!    For instance:

"Don't lick my nostrils."   I don't understand this at all.  I can lick a doggie friend anytime I like.   People have some silly rules.

(This one happens sometimes when it is time to wake up in the morning.)  "Don't stand on my kidneys."  Another one that makes no sense to me.   It's very comfortable to stand on a sleeping person.

"Please don't lick the floor."   But the floor smells so interesting!   I have to explore it. 

"You don't need another treat."   What?!   This is beyond ridiculous.  Of course I do.  I need ALL the treats.

Can you think of any other silly things that people say to dogs?  (Please feel free to ask your own pets if you need ideas.)   I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

I am so glad to be back in touch, and look forward to talking more here.

Love,

Abby xoxoxo 
 

Book Review and Giveaway - Gold Digger by Rebecca Rosenberg

Book Synopsis
One look at Baby Doe and you know she was meant to be a legend! She was just twenty years old when she came to Colorado to work a gold mine with her new husband. Little did she expect that she’d be abandoned and pregnant and left to manage the gold mine alone. But that didn’t stop her!

She moved to Leadville and fell in love with a married prospector, twice her age. Horace Tabor struck the biggest silver vein in history, divorced his wife and married Baby Doe. Though his new wife was known for her beauty, her fashion, and even her philanthropy, she was never welcomed in polite society.

Discover how the Tabors navigated the worlds of wealth, power, politics, and scandal in the wild days of western mining.

 

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 

My Review

Gold Digger tells the story of Lizzie "Baby" Doe, who travels to Colorado with her husband Harvey because he wants to try his hand at gold mining.  Life is far different than either of them expects, and her husband leaves Baby Doe when she is pregnant and struggling to make a living on her own.  She meets the charming Horace Tabor, a wealthy man who is involved in mining and eventually politics as well.  Unfortunately, he is married.   They fall in love and life changes once again for Baby Doe.

 

I wanted to read this book because I was interested in the the western frontier and the California Gold Rush as a young girl.  I had never read about gold prospecting in Colorado, and both the subject matter and time period really interested me.

 

This was what I would call a rollicking read.  It is really fun and lively, and would make a great movie.  I have been trying to cast the movie in my head and have regretfully decided that Sam Elliott is a bit too old to play Horace Tabor.  Perhaps Dennis Quaid would be good in that role.  I am still thinking about who could play Baby Doe.

 

Baby Doe's fortunes go from rags to riches and back to rags -- it is a real roller coaster ride.  There is another book coming up as a sequel, Silver Dollar, and I already look forward to reading it as well.

 

The author evokes the 1870's to 1890's with period details.  I had no idea how rough mining conditions were for both miners and for the poor donkeys who worked in the mines.  The frontier days of Colorado are vividly captured, including an appearance by Doc Holliday, who helps Baby Doe when she injures her ankle.

 

I particularly enjoyed the novel after Baby Doe and Horace met.  The details of the grand opera house that Horace built were fascinating.  I especially loved the visit to the opera house by Oscar Wilde!

 

Baby Doe later meets other historic figures in her travels, including Lillian Russell, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and President Arthur.  

 

Baby Doe was a complex character -- involved with a married man but interested in helping others, unafraid of hard work and eager to be a participant and not just a spectator in her own life.

 

I recommend Gold Digger for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone who is interested in the American west.  You have a fun and lively read ahead of you!

Author Bio

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.

Giveaway
During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a copy of Gold Digger, a gold facial mask & soap set, and recipe brochure to five winners. Three winners will receive an ebook of Gold Digger. To enter, please use the Gleam form below. 

Giveaway Rules 
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter. 
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. 
– Only one entry per household. 
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. 
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.  
Gold Digger
 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Book Spotlight - A Deadly Feast: A Key West Food Critic Mystery by Lucy Burdette

Book Synopsis
National bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s intrepid food critic Hayley Snow must sniff out a killer in the ninth Key West Food Critic mystery. 

Key West food critic Hayley Snow scents-es something fishy when a customer falls stone-crab cold dead on a seafood tasting tour. 

Thanksgiving is nearly here, and Key West food critic Hayley Snow has just one more assignment to put to bed for Key Zest magazine before she gets to celebrate with her family and her police officer fiancĂ©, Nathan Bransford. Then, just days later, wedding bells will ring—if death doesn’t toll first. 

The sweet potatoes and stuffing will have to wait when Hayley picks up a distraught phone call from her friend, Analise Smith. On the last stop of a seafood tasting tour run by Analise, one of the customers collapsed—dead. With the police on the verge of shutting down the tour—and ruining Analise’s business—Hayley can hardly refuse her friend’s entreaties to investigate. 

As if wedding jitters and family strife weren’t enough for Hayley to worry about, there’s crusty pastry chef Martha Hubbard, whose key lime pie may have been the murder weapon—but did she poison her own pie or was she framed? As the hours to Turkey Day tick away, the pressure cooker is on for Hayley to serve up the culprit on a silver platter in A Deadly Feast, national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s taste-tempting ninth Key West Food Critic mystery. 

Author Bio 
Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writersand shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at www.lucyburdette.com.

Author Links
Facebook: WWW.facebook.com/lucyburdette
Twitter: www.twitter.com/lucyburdette
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lucyburdette
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4781149.Lucy_Burdette
Purchase Links: – AmazonB&NIndieBound


Friday, May 10, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway - The Strongman and the Mermaid by Kathleen Shoop

Book Synopsis

Myscowa, Poland—1910

Once upon a time in tiny, rural Myscowa, Lukasz Musial competes in feats of strength against his lifelong nemesis to win passage to America. He leaves behind grinding poverty and despair, to seek the clear blue skies, and better life he sees on a postcard. Settled in Donora’s Polish community, Lukasz secures a coveted job in the wire mill, and is matched to marry Donora’s very own Polish princess. Life is set on course. The American Dream is nearly his.

Donora, Pennsylvania—1910

Mary Lancos is no princess. A tall, athletic girl who loves the water, she spends her days keeping house for families in town, digging coal out of a backyard seam and rowing her father across the Monongahela River for work. Mary is dependable, tenacious, and always ready to help when someone needs her. She dreams of a gas-heated home, a bedroom for each of her future children, and good meals on the table each night. To help make that happen Mary attends local dances, waiting for the few men who are taller than her to ask her to dance, hoping one of them is right for her.

An unexpected Christmas Eve visitor brings bad luck, and Lukasz’s world crumbles. Meanwhile, tension grows at the Lancos home when money is short and Mary’s dreams clash with her parents’ old world expectations. Just when Mary and Lukasz are at their lowest, they find themselves under an odd pink moonlit sky and Lukasz rescues Mary from a fall into frigid river water. The attraction between them is sudden and consuming, turning the pair onto an unexpected path. With mounting disapproval from Mary’s parents, and increased pressure on Lukasz, they must decide if love is enough to risk losing everything else that matters.

Available on Amazon


My Review
The Strongman and the Mermaid is a historical novel that begins in 1910.  Lukasz Musial lives in Poland, but wants to immigrate to America.   Mary Lancos lives in Donora, Pennsylvania.  Her family is struggling and she has left school to work as a maid.  This is the story of how these two surprisingly similar people meet and come together.

First, I have to say this book has an absolutely beautiful, evocative cover.  I was interested to read it initially because of the cover art and because it sounded like an unusual historical novel - part family saga, part love story, part fairytale.

This is a big book -- 565 pages.  It moves at a leisurely pace.  However, I could not put it down.  I stayed up reading until 2:00 AM, then 1:00 AM the next night because the author has a gift of creating characters who I cared about.

The novel begins with Lukasz in Poland, and Mary in Pennsylvania.  Lukasz loses his chance at a ticket to America, but then improbably wins a ticket after all.  That changes his life, and the life of Mary as well.  I really became involved in the book more when the characters were both in Pennsylvania;  that is when the book really seemed to begin for me.  They meet casually but are involved in their own lives.  Lukasz is set up with a beautiful Polish girl and Mary is interested n a young man from a wealthy family. 

I loved the fairy tale quality of this storytelling.  Lukasz is a strongman, not big but very powerful.  He is gentle, though, and has an artist's eye for creating beautiful figures of metal and wire.  At night he dreams about a legendary mermaid.  Mary longs to change her life, like Cinderella in the fairy tale.  One magical night a pink moon changes everything for them both.

The writing in this book - most especially the descriptions - is absolutely lovely.  I loved all the details of Catholic holidays and rituals, of food and baking (although I sometimes wished for recipes to try some of the dishes!), and day to day descriptions.  For instance, there is a ritual where young single women in the community make unique flower wreaths that they wear.  Then they toss them in the river and suitors dive in for the wreaths.  There was such an evocative image of the wreaths bobbing in the river.  

And when Lukasz spies the pink moon:

"He looked upward.  A full moon, pink and blazing through the clouds, shocked him.  Its rays reflected off the newly fallen snow as if the heavens had laid down a winter blanket over the dark, barren ground.  Blue light reflected off the snow, a pink haze circled the moon, and he felt as if he'd been dropped off into another world" (p. 423).


The framework of the novel is a very elderly man named Patryk in the present day.  He shares a special book with his daughter and grandson.  It is a book about "mermaids, red birds, baseball gloves, and bats, circus animals and performers, and cemetery headstones. of all things" (p. 9).  Although I found these characters very likable, they took me out of the action of 1910 in a way that distracted me a bit.  I was eager to return to the original story.

The name of Stan Musial is mentioned several times in the book. I will admit that I'm not a sports fan and was not familiar with him until I looked him up.  He was a famous baseball player and it appears this novel was inspired by his family's story.  That makes the story even more interesting!

There will be another book in this series about Stan Musial, and I look forward to revisiting these characters and this world again.   I recommend The Strongman and the Mermaid for fans of historical fiction, love stories, family sagas.  It is a totally unique book and I found it a very rewarding read.  I think you will too.

Author Bio
Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Giveaway
During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a copy of The Strongman and the Mermaid and a $50 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.  

Giveaway Rules 
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter. 
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. 
– Only one entry per household. 
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. 
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.  
Strongman and Mermaid