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#FlashbackFriday – Boats and Bad Guys (An Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy) by Diana Xarissa #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Boats and Bad Guys (An Isle of Man Ghostly Cozy)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Isle of Man
Independently Published (February 15, 2017)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 230 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1540750159
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1540750150
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01N53XBM9

Fenella Woods is excited to be taking the ferry across the Irish Sea to England so that she can begin her research. When she finds a dead body in her cabin, she has to change her plans.

The police seem convinced that the killer is one of the other passengers who had a cabin reserved for the journey. Fenella meets a group of suspects that includes a wealthy couple, an older man and his much younger wife, and a retired and incredibly nosy woman.

Finding herself caught up in the middle of another murder investigation isn’t pleasant for Fenella. This time Fenella is determined not to take any advice from her dead aunt who continues to occupy the luxury apartment that used to be her home. Her kitten, Katie, isn’t much help either, as she seems determined to cause as much mischief as she possibly can.

While Fenella wants to help Inspector Robinson find the killer before he or she strikes again, things certainly aren’t going the way she’d expected when she started her new life on the Isle of Man.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and have been looking forward to reading this book since I finished it.

This time Fenella Woods is ready to start her research and will be traveling by ferry across the Irish Sea to do so. She has reserved a cabin for the voyage in case she gets seasick and needs to lie down.

She checks in and hurries to her cabin already feeling a little ill but someone is already in the room. She finds a very dead man in her bunk. She backs out of the room and calls her new friend Daniel Robinson, a CID Inspector. The ferry is soon inundated with police and the ferry captain is livid. He feels he should have been told first and then he would decide if and when to alert the authorities. Now all his passengers need to make other arrangements and spend time being questioned.

The police believe the killer is a passenger and Fenella is forced to wait in a room with the other passengers that had booked cabins. They are an eclectic bunch. She is upset about being involved in another murder case. When she gets home her dead aunt wants to start investigating right away no matter much Fenella wants to leave it to Inspector Robinson.

When she moved into the apartment she inherited from her aunt she never expected to be caught up in one let alone two murder investigations. Then again, she never expected to be living with her dead aunt’s ghost either.


I love the Isle of Man setting for this series. Someplace I will never be able to physically visit but the author’s words take me there effortlessly.

Fenella has made some good friends in her neighbors, Peter and Shelly, and also in Inspector Robinson. There is definitely romantic tension between Fenella and the good inspector but she has her ex calling her all the time from the states begging for them to get back together. Then there is Mona, Fenella’s aunt in ghostly form. She is pushy and funny. She pops in at some inopportune moments and is never short on advice for her niece. All these characters sans the ex are delightful.

We are introduced to several ferry passengers. Charlotte Master who is quite a busybody, Justin Newmarket, a 24-year-old who was on his way to Liverpool to spend the weekend with his mates, Brenda Proper and her husband, Nick, both retired, they were on the way to visit their children, a stern Harry Hampton and his much younger wife Sherry also going to visit family, and Sarah Grasso who was set to go on holiday with her husband. We also meet Captain Matthew Howard who is very upset about his authority being overlooked. All are well crafted and easy to keep straight, especially because the captain keeps bringing them together trying to get the answers he wants which are totally different from what the police are looking for. All of them are the inspector’s suspect list.

The mystery is very well-plotted with several meetings and interviews in the quest for the truth. I was kept guessing right up to the end. Captain Howard was really pushing my buttons even though I knew he wasn’t the killer I wanted someone to throw him overboard.

This is an Alphabet Series so I have a long way to go and I am looking forward to reading them all. Boats and Bad Guys takes place about 6 weeks after Arrivals and Arrests and it was a nice follow-up. I hope to be turning the pages of Cars and Cold Cases soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Diana has lived in several US states, the north of England, and the Isle of Man. While she is currently in the US, she still misses the stunning scenery, wonderful people, and fascinating history that make the Isle of Man so unique.

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Find more books by Diana Xarissa here.

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#FlashbackFriday featuring The Sleep Tight Motel (Dark Corners Collection) by Lisa Unger #Review / #PrimeFree

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


The Sleep Tight Motel (Dark Corners Collection)
Suspense/Thriller/Horror
2nd Book in the Dark Corners Collection
Amazon Original Stories (September 27, 2018)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 50 pages
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07GB1TLYL

A woman on the run finds refuge in a motel at the edge of the woods, with plenty of vacancies. Check-in for the night with New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

Eve has a fake ID, a .38, and a violent lover receding in the rearview mirror. He’ll never find her at the isolated motel, and its kindly manager is happy to ease her fears. But if Eve is the only guest, whom does she keep hearing on the other side of the wall? Eve won’t get a good night’s rest until she finds out.

Lisa Unger’s The Sleep Tight Motel is part of Dark Corners, a collection of seven heart-stopping short stories by bestselling authors who give you so many new reasons to be afraid. Each story can be read in a single sitting. Or, if you have the nerve, you can listen all by yourself in the dark.

An Edgar Award nominee.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I don’t usually read books that venture into the horror genre but I enjoyed a short story I read by Lisa Unger last year that I thought I would give this one a whirl hoping it didn’t give me nightmares. Well, it did, but they have passed now.

This is a classic tale of a woman on the run checking into an isolated hotel in the dead of night and then she hears strange noises and some bumps in the night. Of course, the manager does his best to ease her fears but then . . .  Come on, I can’t tell you the whole spooky story.

At only 50 pages the author provides an incredible amount of detail. I was quickly pulled right into the story and easily visualized every scene. (Probably why I had the nightmare.)

This is the only book in the Dark Corners Collection I have read but I may get gutsy enough to try another.

If you like pint-sized creepy stories be sure to check this one out.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

If you have Amazon Prime you can read or listen to this story and the whole Dark Corner Collection for FREE! If you don’t have Amazon Prime you can buy this book and others in the collection for $1.99 each. 

The Dark Corners Collection

About the Author

Lisa Unger is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions on the 7:45 and the Edgar Award–nominated short story The Sleep Tight Motel. Her books have been published in twenty-six languages and her essays have appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and on NPR.
Find more of Lisa Unger’s books here.

*This book was from my private collection. Received using Amazon’s Prime Free Program.

 

 

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Family Money by Chad Zunker #Review @chadzunker


Family Money
Suspense/Thriller
Setting – Texas/Mexico
Thomas & Mercer (March 1, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 239 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1542026164
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1542026161
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08SLW9ZL1

A dead man’s secrets put a family in peril in a twisting novel of suspense by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of the David Adams series.

Alex Mahan is married to his high school sweetheart, Taylor. They have two daughters and a beautiful home, and Alex’s startup business is about to explode thanks to massive private funding from his compassionate and supportive father-in-law, Joe. With millions more to come, all is perfect—until Joe is abducted and murdered during a family trip in Mexico.

Alex’s world is about to be turned upside down. He can’t bear to tell his grieving wife why. The man they’ve both idolized has been keeping secrets. The pledged millions are nowhere to be found. The source of the original investment is a mystery, even to Joe’s financial adviser. No one, it seems, has any idea who the man they knew, loved, and trusted really was.

As Alex digs deeper into Joe’s shadowy life, the most shocking surprises are yet to come. Deadly ones, too, because every lie that Alex uncovers in Joe’s dark past puts his family in more danger.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Alex Mahan and his wife and two daughters along with his in-laws are on a charity trip to Mexico when his father Joe is abducted and killed. Beyond heartbroken Alex has to find out why? The man was a true father to him after his own father passed away and it was because of him that he was able to open his own very successful business. The more Alex digs the more confused he gets about his father-in-law’s life and the more dangerous for him and his family.


Chad Zunker is a new author for me and I really liked this story. He created very likable characters. It was easy to get invested in their lives. Joe was a dynamic character with a huge heart. He welcomed Alex into their family long before he married Taylor. Because of Joe’s large investment in Alex’s company after just 3 years, it is extremely successful and still growing. It also enables Alex to step away and go on a humanitarian mission to Mexico with his family. Joe almost backed out but Alex convinced him to come. The entire family is close-knit, doing almost everything together. I do wish Alex’s wife Taylor was a little more fleshed out but you could never doubt her love for her father.

Told from Alex’s point of view and through a series of flashbacks the story unfolds. With Alex as the executor of Joe’s will, he finds some inconsistencies, specifically where Joe got the money to invest in his business. The more he digs the crazier and more dangerous things become. Truthfully in some parts here and through the rest of the story, you have to suspend reality a bit but that is why I read books like this. A basically normal guy caught up in a kidnapping linked to drug cartels and hidden bank accounts, it sure did keep my attention. I really enjoyed the action scenes and the way the pace picked up about 2/3 of the way through the book. My one drawback is that one major part of the plot was very predictable but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment too much.

Family Money was a quick entertaining story that held my interest from beginning to end. I am open to reading more by this author.

 

About the Author

CHAD ZUNKER is the author of the David Adams legal thriller, An Equal Justice, as well as The Tracker, Shadow Shepherd, and Hunt the Lion in his Sam Callahan series. Chad has worked for some of the country’s most powerful law firms and serves at Community First! Village, a 51-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. He lives in Austin with his wife, Katie, and their three daughters, and is hard at work on his next novel. For more information visit www.chadzunker.com.

Follow Chad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and GoodReads.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto #Review

Four Aunties and a Wedding
Humorous American Literature
Asian American Literature & Fiction
2nd in Series
Setting – Oxford, England
Berkley (March 29, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593440765
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593440766
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0989C66SZ

Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.

Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family—actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene—over their dead bodies—and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Oh, my stars! The Aunties are back and have been let loose in England. Meddy and Nathan are getting married and to be sure they all can enjoy the wedding to the fullest they are hiring another family of wedding vendors. Except that other family is really connected if you get my drift . . . The Family . . . as in MAFIA!! And they are using Meddy’s wedding to pull off a hit! Meddy doesn’t find out that bit of information though until they have arrived in Oxford and she overhears her new friend, Staphanie on the phone planning the hit. As soon as the Aunties find out they are on high alert and ready to do anything to stop the dreaded plan and I mean anything.


Again, you need to suspend reality and escape totally into this book. It is so worth it. I laughed so hard in places I had tears rolling down my face.

Meddy is the perfect daughter. Brought up to respect her elders above all else even if her elders are certifiably crazy. The Aunties antics are above and beyond and positively delightful. They all mean well but between using British idioms and accents to their outlandish wedding attire that includes komodo dragons to contemplating bodily harm and murder to cover their tracks Meddy gets pushed to the edge and those are just my top three memories of craziness and there are so many more.

Ms. Sutanto has created such fantastic characters and not just Meddy and the Aunties. The supporting cast of Nathan and his family and Staphanie and her “mafia” family including three Uncles are superb as well. Nathan and his family are more toned down and buttoned up but Staphanie’s family is almost as nuts as Meddy’s.

The setting for the wedding sounds like such a beautiful place but also the perfect place for all the hi-jinks that occur, including another Weekend At Bernie’s scenario. I did enjoy the author’s descriptions as the characters traveled around the church grounds and back and forth to their hotel. I had no problem at all envisioning every place including the rooms where some really wacky things played out.

I did feel bad for Meddy and Nathan. Nathan was completely out of the loop but knew there was something going on. Meddy only got to enjoy a few minutes of her big day because she was rushing around trying to save someone’s life and trying to control uncontrollable situations set up by the Aunties. It was nice that the author did bring in some family cultural traditions even if they didn’t go as planned.

Wow, this was such a marvelous read! I have been talking about it for days to anyone who would listen. Funny, entertaining, mayhem times 10. I loved it!! Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding crossed with Crazy Rich Asians! And I want more. I hope there is a book three. Like Dial A For Aunties, this is a Must Read! You should read both in order for double the fun. I am giving this book my Paradise Rating. It will be on my Best Reads List for 2022. Run don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and get a copy today.

*Note: The book does include explicit language.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Photo Credit Michael Hart

About the Author

Jesse Q. Sutanto is the author of adult, YA, and children’s middle-grade books. She has a master’s degree in creative writing from Oxford University, though she hasn’t found a way of saying that without sounding obnoxious. The film rights to her women’s fiction, Dial A for Aunties, was bought by Netflix in a competitive bidding war. Her adult books include Dial A for Aunties and its sequel, Four Aunties and a Wedding. Her YA books include The Obsession, The New Girl, and her upcoming rom-com, Well, That Was Unexpected. Her MG books include Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit and an untitled sequel.

Jesse has forty-two first cousins and thirty aunties and uncles, many of whom live just down the road. When she’s not writing, she’s gaming with her husband (mostly FPS), or making a mess in the kitchen with her two daughters.

Website     Facebook      Twitter    Instagram   

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Put Out to Pasture: An Organic Cozy Mystery (Farm to Table Mysteries) by Amanda Flower #Review / #Giveaway @aflowerwriter @PPPress


Put Out to Pasture: An Organic Cozy Mystery
(Farm to Table Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Michigan
Poisoned Pen Press (February 22, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 312 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1492699942
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1492699941
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B094X83RXY

There’s fowl play afoot on the farm

Shiloh Bellamy has saved her family’s farm from financial ruin—but now what? She’s barely scraping by on the farm’s new organic business model and the fall festival she organized to drum up business comes to a screeching halt when the body of a prominent townswoman is discovered underneath a scarecrow in a nearby field. Worst of all, the evidence points to Shiloh’s childhood best friend, Kristy, as the prime suspect.

Between cooking up delicious treats made with her farm’s produce, convincing her cantankerous father to let her do things her own way, and dealing with a newcomer in town who could be serious competition for her customers, Shiloh doesn’t have time to wade into a murder investigation. But with a killer on the loose and suspicious activity circling closer and closer to Shiloh and the people she loves, she realizes there’s nothing to do but roll up her sleeves and get down to the dirty work of finding the killer and clearing Kristy’s name once and for all.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Shiloh Bellamy has many ideas to save her family’s farm and while her dad may not be totally on board with them she plows ahead with them. She is hosting a weekend event with food and activities for all ages. Fall Daze is so well attended on the first day she has to call in reinforcements to bring more food.

As the day is drawing to a close a scream rings out and Shiloh runs to find the body of Minnie Devani near the parking area beneath a scarecrow. Minnie was a force to be reckoned with and may have had some shady dealings that Shiloh’s best friend Kristy called her on in private. Minnie later showed up to cause a ruckus at Shiloh’s event confronting Kristi in front of a bunch of witnesses. That loud little conversation and a key piece of evidence make Kristy the police’s number 1 suspect.

When a U.S. Marshall shows up on the scene  Shi knows she is going to start digging up her own clues and suspects before her bestie ends up behind bars. She also has to figure out if her new next-door neighbor is a friend or a foe and follow up a riddle left for her by her grandmother. She has a lot of seeds to sow and not much time.


I was so happy to return to Cherry Glen and the wonderful characters that reside there. Stacy has sold her half of the farm so Shiloh has a new neighbor. He has plenty of ideas and appears to have the money to see them through which scares Shiloh quite a bit as her dreams for her part of the farm may not come to fruition. He also had some dealings with Minnie Devani. Speaking of Minnie, she is quite a character with a surprising history. We also meet U.S. Marshall Lynn Chuff who brings her own unique twist to the story and really pushes Police Chief Randy’s buttons. Amanda Flower always creates such interesting characters and allows them to flourish in her stories.

This time I must say the story took a really interesting turn when the victim’s history was revealed. It let the story go in several different directions pinning more people as potential suspects in her death. I was totally blindsided though when the killer was revealed. I definitely was so caught up in the story that I must have missed a vital clue or two or three. I love when that happens though, it means I truly escaped into the protagonist’s world and traveled all around with her. Ms. Flower’s descriptive writing style gets credit for that. Her words really bring every setting to life whether it Shiloh’s cabin, a cornfield, the farmer’s market, and every place in between, and makes each character so real.

I really enjoyed this story. The characters, the mystery, the setting, everything about Put Out To Pasture made it A Perfect Escape. The only thing that could make it better was if it came with actual deep-fried Twinkies for us to enjoy while reading it.

Shiloh still has a lot of work ahead of her and a riddle to solve. I can’t wait to return to Cherry Glen for another fun whodunit.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over twenty-five cozy mystery novels, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth-grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. In addition to being an author, Amanda is a former librarian with fifteen years of experience in Northeast Ohio.

Author Links:

Website  Pen Name Website     Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads    Pinterest

 

Also by Amanda Flower


Coming August 23, 2022


Coming December 6, 2022



Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series (writing as Isabella Alan)
Thanks to the publisher 1 have 1 copy to giveaway!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge What An Animal Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Devil’s Chew Toy: A Hayden & Friends Mystery by Rob Osler #Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks @RobOsler


Devil’s Chew Toy: A Novel
A Hayden & Friends Mystery
Contemporary Mystery/Humorous/LBBTQ+
1st in Series
Setting – Washigton State
Crooked Lane Books (February 8, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643859439
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643859439
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B094GP6P7M

Perfect for fans of Carl Hiaasen and Armistead Maupin, this light, LGBT mystery follows an unlucky in love—and life—teacher who unwittingly ends up the prime suspect in a disappearance.

Seattle teacher and part-time blogger Hayden McCall wakes sporting one hell of a shiner, with the police knocking at his door. It seems that his new crush, dancer Camilo Rodriguez, has gone missing and they suspect foul play. What happened the night before? And where is Camilo?

Determined to find answers, pint-sized, good-hearted Hayden seeks out two of Camilo’s friends—Hollister and Burley—both lesbians and both fiercely devoted to their friend. From them, Hayden learns that Camilo is a “Dreamer” whose parents had been deported years earlier, and whose sister, Daniela, is presumed to have returned to Venezuela with them. Convinced that the cops won’t take a brown boy’s disappearance seriously, the girls join Hayden’s hunt for Camilo.

The first clues turn up at Barkingham Palace, a pet store where Camilo had taken a part-time job. The store’s owner, Della Rupert, claims ignorance, but Hayden knows something is up. And then there’s Camilo’s ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who’s suddenly grown inexplicably wealthy. When Hayden and Hollister follow Ryan to a secure airport warehouse, they make a shocking connection between him and Della—and uncover the twisted scheme that’s made both of them rich.

The trail of clues leads them to the grounds of a magnificent estate on an island in Puget Sound, where they’ll finally learn the truth about Camilo’s disappearance—and the fate of his family.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A night out for Seattle teacher and part-time blogger Hayden McCall nets him a black eye and a date with a hot dancer. The next morning Camilo, the dancer, is gone when Hayden wakes up. Soon the police are knocking on the door saying Camilo’s truck was found running and empty. Camilo is missing and foul play is suspected. So, unsure what to do and worried about Camilo, Hayden takes temporary custody of Camilo’s bull terrier, Commander, and tries to find out what happened to his new “friend”. He connects with Hollister and Burley, two of Camilo’s friends, who are shocked to find out he is missing. They dive into Camilo’s life but it seems even his best friends are not sure what he has been getting himself involved in. They know his ex-boyfriend Ryan knows more than he is saying but never imagined where their little investigation would lead or how much danger they getting themselves in. Can they find Camilo and live to tell the tale? Only time will tell.


Mr. Osler has created some unique characters for his “Quozy” mystery. Hayden is 5’4″ “rounding up” weighing in at 125 “again rounding up” freckled with “a shock of red-orange hair”. Camilo is about 5 feet tall and “superhot and genuinely nice” according to Hayden. Hollister is a tall, curvy, broad-shouldered African American woman, and sports a 6-inch mohawk. She has a take-charge attitude and knows how to use it. She also drives a Porche. Her girlfriend Mysti is a petite Korean American with perfectly applied make-up and long hair with Auburn highlights. According to Hayden “they went together like a tiara and sweatpants”. Burley fits her name, She is six and a half feet tall and weighs in at 300 pounds. She wears her hair in waist-length gray pigtails. Hayden also has a crazy neighbor that is always up in his business. A real eclectic group that all develop nicely throughout the book. They come across as genuine and true to life.

The quest to find Camilo was a bit absurd but so much fun to read. Hayden and Hollister get themselves into some bizarre situations. Some had me laughing out loud. Others had me fearing for their safety. Sometimes I had both experiences on the same page, even in one paragraph.

The author does weave some hot-topic themes, immigration, deportation, and bullying into the text in interesting ways. The underlying crime was totally unexpected and I am not sure how they were even able to pull off what they were doing but I was fully engaged to see them brought down.

The author has coined the term “Quozy Mystery” as a subgenre of mystery blending LGBTQ+ with cozy mystery and he has done that very well in Devil’s Chew Toy. I was captivated by his characters and the situations they were involved in. I love that Hayden shared his thoughts on his blog MATES ON DATES with good messages and a little humor. The chapter titles were clever too.

Mr. Osler has found the perfect balance between humor and mystery. This book was entertaining, over the top in places, and absolutely delightful from beginning to end. I am crazy about this diverse set of characters. When I started reading this book I thought it was a stand-alone novel. I am so happy to learn it is the 1st book in a series because these are characters I want to visit again and again. If you enjoy a mystery filled with humor Devil’s Chew Toy is the book for you!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Rob Osler writes the Hayden & Friends contemporary mystery series featuring a rainbow of kick-ass characters. With Devil’s Chew Toy, Rob coined the term, “Quozy Mystery,” firmly establishing a new sub-sub-genre of mystery. Rob is proud to have created the literary love child of LGBTQ+ fiction and cozy mystery.

His short story “Analogue,” published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, won the 2022 ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD for best short story by a debut author as part of the Annual Edgar Awards presented by Mystery Writers of America.

Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Rob attended college at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy. Years later, he earned a master’s degree in business from the University of Washington. Rob was a copywriter and brand strategist before turning to fiction writing. After many years of living in Chicago, Seattle (the setting for the Hayden & Friends series), and San Francisco (where he still spends time), Rob resides in southern California with his long-time partner and a tall, gray cat.

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 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries) by Ann Parker #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour –


The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries)
by Ann Parker

About The Secret In The Wall


The Secret in the Wall: A Novel (Silver Rush Mysteries)
Historical Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – California
Poisoned Pen Press (February 15, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1464214948
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1464214943
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B096L9XZ73

Sometimes you can’t keep your gown out of the gutter…

Inez Stannert has reinvented herself—again. Fleeing the comfort and wealth of her East Coast upbringing, she became a saloon owner and cardsharp in the rough silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, always favoring the unconventional path—a difficult road for a woman in the late 1800s.

Then the teenage daughter of a local prostitute is orphaned by her mother’s murder, and Inez steps up to raise the troubled girl as her own. Inez works hard to keep a respectable, loving home for Antonia, carefully crafting their new life in San Francisco. But risk is a seductive friend, difficult to resist. When a skeleton tumbles from the wall of her latest business investment, the police only seem interested in the bag of Civil War-era gold coins that fell out with it. With her trusty derringer tucked in the folds of her gown, Inez uses her street smarts and sheer will to unearth a secret that someone has already killed to keep buried. The more she digs, the muddier and more dangerous things become.

She enlists the help of Walter de Brujin, a local private investigator with whom she shares some history. Though she wants to trust him, she fears that his knowledge of her past, along with her growing attraction to him, may well blow her veneer of respectability to bits—that is, if her dogged pursuit of the truth doesn’t kill her first . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Inez Stannert and her ward Antonia have moved from Colorado to San Francisco in this 8th book in the Silver Rush Mysteries. Inez owns D&S House of Music and Oriental Curiosities and she invests in businesses run by women like Moira Krause’s and her boardinghouse. They have purchased the joined home next to her existing property and Moira hopes to be able to double the number of tenants she can host. Moira insisted on a special ceremony to complete the sale and knock the wall that will connect the two properties but the event didn’t quite go as planned. When the sledgehammer broke through the wall a skeleton and a bag of gold coins cascaded out of the wall. When the authorities put all their attention on the coins Inez decides to investigate the body. Why would someone hide a body within the walls? What secret was that person hiding? Working with a PI from her past they try to get the answers before it is too late.


I first have to say this is the 8th book in the series and the first I have read but I escaped right into it very easily. The author gives enough backstory for new readers to understand the characters and their relationships without giving away too much that would deter those readers from going back and reading the previous books.

Inez Stannert is a unique individual, especially for a woman in the late 1800s. Savvy and street smart she makes herself at home with men and women alike. She is respected and driven to help others to succeed. She is also is doing her best to raise a strong-willed pre-teen ward who tests her a lot in this story. I really enjoyed the young amateur sleuths of Antonia and Moira’s daughter Charlotte and their scheming ways to spend time together to search the Treasure House. I really felt for Antonia when she made a horrific discovery and did her best to keep a stiff upper lip when you know a 12-year-old should never have to see such a thing even back in the 1800s.  All of Ms. Parker’s characters are dynamically written with multiple layers some of which are kept well hidden or slowly revealed.

The mystery the author wrapped her characters in was so well-plotted laced with well-referenced historical facts of California’s part in the Civil War. It really brings an authentic feel to the book and the secrets many people were holding. Moira’s boardinghouse and the house next door were right in the middle of so much of that history. The discoveries made by Inez and the girls were so enveloping. Ms. Parker really brought the place to life with her descriptive style. I truly felt as if I was taking each step right along with the characters. I could also tell she weighed each word to make sure they presented each scene perfectly.

Ann Parker takes her readers on quite an adventure in The Secret in the Wall. If you like historical mysteries I think you would enjoy this story and encourage you to pick it up. I also think the author would have no trouble creating a young adult series featuring Antonia. She is a character that I would love to keep reading about. That girl could have a wild future.

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About Ann Parker

Ann Parker is a science writer by day and fiction writer by night. Her award-winning Silver Rush Mysteries series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, a Sourcebooks imprint, is set primarily in 1880s Leadville, Colorado, and more recently in San Francisco, California, the “Paris of the West.” The series was named a Booksellers Favorite by the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association, and Ann is listed in the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame. The Secret in the Wall is the eighth and newest entry in the series.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Twist and Shout Murder: A Swinging Sixties Mystery by Teresa Trent #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @ttrent_cozymys


The Twist and Shout Murder: A Swinging Sixties Mystery
by Teresa Trent

About Twist and Shout Murder


The Twist and Shout Murder: A Swinging Sixties Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Texas
Historia (January 4, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 212 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1685120709
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1685120702
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09NQWZTGR

In 1962, Dot Morgan was told the best thing she could do besides being a nurse or teacher was to learn to type. While attending secretarial school, she decides to rub elbows with an elite ladies’ club to help her father with a struggling campaign for city council. Instead of getting the help she sought, Dot is thrown into a world of adultery, deceit, and murder when one of the town’s sons is found dead.

Time to put that 45 on the record player and bring out your best dance moves in The Twist and Shout Murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Set in 1962, just one year after I was born, Dot Morgan is a small-town girl with dreams. For herself, that means secretarial school but for her dad, it means a seat on the city council. He works at the courthouse and has always been a champion for the common man. Though he is no politician, when a seat on the council opens up Dot and her mom feel he is the perfect man for the job. To help his campaign Dot decides to join the Camden Ladies Club. The women in the group are married to the most influential men in town so getting her dad’s name out to them has to help his chances of winning. Dot had no idea what she was getting herself into especially when the brother-in-law of the club’s president decides to throw his hat in the ring for the same council seat.

Then the man is found dead. Police believe it was a terrible accident but Dot believes it was murder. She hesitates to voice her theories fearing she and her dad will become the prime suspects. Knowing she had nothing to do with killing anyone she starts looking into the case herself but there could be some dire consequences for doing so.


Being the first book in the series we are introduced to a lot of interesting characters. Dot is an appealing protagonist. She is smart and is in her last semester of secretarial school. OMG Shorthand Nightmares!! She is very close to her parents but lives with her friend Ellie who has been in a long-term romance that has hit a bit of a snag. Dot’s parents are very low-key, happy and comfortable in their middle-class life.

Then there are the members of the ladies club. Barb is the president of the club and is very overbearing and has no trouble taking credit for other people’s work. Her husband is a mover and shaker about town. When he says jump, people say how high. His brother really has no direction so getting him on the town council has become their goal. He also really has no moral compass but some women think he is better than sliced bread. It could also have a lot to do with why he ended up dead. All the characters were believable and true to life. I really like Dot. She has a huge heart.

A lot of hot topics of the ’60s are touched on throughout the book. Pre-martial sex, abortions, and women working outside the home all find their place within the story along with a good dose of adultery, secrets, and lies all leading up to murder. Ms. Trent twists and tangles it all together in a mystery the grabbed my attention and held on tight. Dot really impressed me as she tackled some crazy and maddening things. The ’60s are a very interesting time in history for women and I think the author does a nice job fictionally shining a light on this time.

The murder mystery isn’t an easy solve either. There are some clear suspects and my one critique is there could have been many more. The victim was a real jerk to a lot of people. That being said my focus was drawn to one person so I was totally caught off guard by the final twist. I do love it when that happens.

The Twist and Shout Murder has set this series off on a groovy start. Dot is just starting her real-world journey through the Swinging Sixties and I am excited to see where Ms. Trent takes her and the rest of the core characters next. I am looking forward to visiting Camden Texas again soon.

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About Teresa Trent

Teresa Trent writes historical mysteries, cozy mysteries, romance, and short stories. She lives in South Texas with her husband and son with Down syndrome and splits her time between writing and caretaking.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – On Borrowed Crime: A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery by Kate Young #Review / #Giveaway @KAYoungBooks @crookedlanebks

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


On Borrowed Crime: A Jane Doe Book Club Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Georgia
Crooked Lane Books (October 6, 2020)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1643854623
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643854625
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B083RZ3ZRR

The Jane Doe book club enjoys guessing whodunit, but when murder happens in their midst, they discover solving crimes isn’t fun and games…

Lyla Moody loves her sleepy little town of Sweet Mountain, Georgia. She likes her job as receptionist for her uncle’s private investigative firm, her fellow true crime obsessed Jane Doe members are the friends she’s always wanted, and her parents just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. But recently, with her best friend Melanie on vacation, and her ex-boyfriend and horrible cousin becoming an item and moving in next door to her, her idyllic life is on the fritz. The cherry on top of it all is finding Carol, a member of the club, dead and shoved into a suitcase, left at Lyla’s front door.

Unusual circumstances notwithstanding, with Carol’s heart condition, the coroner rules Carol’s death undetermined. But when they discover the suitcase belongs to Melanie, who had returned from her vacation the following morning, Sweet Mountain police begin to suspect Lyla’s best friend. Determined that police are following the wrong trail, to clear her friend’s name, and to not allow Carol become one of the club’s studied cold cases, Lyla begins to seek out the real killer. That is, until she becomes the one sought after. Now, finding the truth could turn her into the killer’s next plot twist, unless she wins the game of cat and mouse.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Much to her mother’s dismay Lyla Moody is very interested in solving crimes, especially cold cases, as do her friends. Together they have formed Jane Doe Book Club. She also loves working for her P.I. uncle as a receptionist but hopes her role will grow into her being more of a partner in his investigations. Her position there does give her an in when pursuing cold cases too.

Sadly the case the book club is now investigating is the death of one of their own. Lyla came home one day to find a suitcase on her porch. Thinking it was her BFF Melanie’s suitcase that must have been lost when she was coming home from vacation, she pulls it in the house and doesn’t give it another thought. That is until Melanie arrives and there is a terrible smell in the air. When they open the suitcase they make a gruesome discovery. Their friend Carol has been killed and unceremoniously folded up and stuffed in the suitcase. Of course, the police put Melanie at the top of their suspect list. With no faith in the police, Lyla enlists the help of the rest of the Jane Doe book club to clear Melanie’s name and find the person that murdered their friend. Soon the tables are turned and hunters become the hunted. Is the killer planning to kill off the book club members one by one? Not if Lyla can stop them!


Ms. Young has created some wonderful characters in this new series. Lyla is a very dynamic protagonist that I want to know better. Her interest in true crime and mysteries has driven her fine southern mother to distraction. Her mother’s total concentration is getting Lyla married to a fine man and providing her with grandchildren. Her father, a well-respected psychiatrist is more laid back. It is her grandmother though that became my favorite character. She is kind and funny and supports Lyla 100% in everything she does, including trying to catch a killer. Her Private Investigator uncle tries to keep Lyla safe and out of his cases but when one of those cases takes him out of town there is no holding Lyla back. We also meet Lyla’s cousin who is a real piece of work. She has been dating and has now moved in with Lyla’s ex. To really throw things in Lyla’s face they have moved in right next door. The book club ladies are an entertaining group and we have just scratched the surface getting to know them. Oh, and the police chief and Lyla have a past. That keeps things interesting.

The mystery was complex and very well-plotted. I liked the way it connected to another case that Carol was delving into. With all the twists and turns the author ramps up the suspense while still keeping the story within the cozy mystery realm. She finds a nice balance between drama and humor and just starts to approach the idea of romance near the end of this story. The ending was exciting. There is still a subplot mystery to be revealed yet as a bit of a cliffhanger drawing us to the next book in the series.

The sweet southern small town of Sweet Mountain, Georgia was an ideal setting. The descriptions painted a vivid picture of the locale but it was the dialogues and attitudes that really gave the story the true southern feel. Lyla’s mother made sure everyone knew what was expected of a young woman of the south even though Lyla bucked and kicked that notion day in and day out.

On Borrowed Crime was an excellent debut for this series. The mystery was first-rate and the characters were very intriguing. There is a lot of room for development as the series continues. I am looking forward to what I hope becomes a long-running series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

Kate Young writes 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.

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Coming October 11, 2022

Also by Kate Young

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Cozy Wednesday featuring Honey Roasted (A Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @CleoCoyle @BerkleyMystery


Honey Roasted (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 
I am so excited to share my thoughts with you today about Honey Roasted!

About Honey Roasted 


Honey Roasted (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
19th in Series
Berkley (January 25, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593197569
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593197561
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08MPWDK78

Clare Cosi is busy as a bee planning her honeymoon when murder buzzes into the Village Blend in this all-new mystery in the beloved New York Times bestselling Coffeehouse series by Cleo Coyle.

While struggling to find a romantic (and affordable) destination for her upcoming honeymoon, coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi whips up a honey of a drink made from honey-processed coffee. Clare plans to serve her outstanding new Honey-Cinnamon Latte at her spring wedding to her longtime honey, NYPD detective Mike Quinn. The culinary world is also abuzz about the amazing honey that Clare was lucky enough to source for her shop’s new latte. Produced by Madame’s old friend “Queen” Bea Hastings, the rare, prize-winning nectar from Bea’s rooftop hives commands a premium price, and top chefs compete for a chance to use it in their signature seasonal dishes.

One night, a swarm of escaped bees blanket the Village Blend’s chimney, and Clare discovers Bea’s unconscious body after she seemingly fell from her high-rise rooftop-hive setup. The police want to rule it as a tragic accident or possible attempted suicide, but Clare does not believe either theory. Like Madame, she knows this Queen would never abandon her hive. To sort out this mystery, Clare investigates a world of cutthroat chefs, culinary start-ups, and competitive urban beekeepers. But can she uncover the truth without getting stung?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Village Blend is buzzing literally when several hives of bees take up residence in the busy coffeehouse. After calling the NYPD’S Beekeeping Unit to relocate the swarm Clare realizes she knows who the bees belong to and rushes to see the local “Queen Bee”. Bea Hastings is an old friend of Madame and has an amazing rooftop hive set up. The woman definitely wouldn’t allow her bees to escape so Clare knows something is wrong. Upon arrival, she finds Bea has apparently fallen from the roof to her balcony. The police decide it was a failed suicide attempt after finding some iffy evidence. Clare doesn’t believe that for an instant. Bea was so proud of her unique prize-winning nectar and had big plans to grow the production and earn top dollar for it. To believe she would try to kill herself is absolutely ludicrous. Now she just needs to prove it and put a nice sting on the person who tried to kill the Queen Bee of Manhatten.


Again Cleo Coyle fills her pages with excitement on many different levels. First, Clare and Mike are struggling with their relationship when they should be blissfully happy about their upcoming nuptials. Part of the problem is the second subplot. Mike is on a harrowing case that has bodies piling up as he tries to catch the elusive killer. Then there is the mystery Clare is trying to solve. Who has it in for the local beekeeper? Add to all that she has beans to roast and a coffeehouse to manage.  Madame is off on a trip but her ex Matt is around to help at Village Blend and makes a heck of a sleuthing partner too. He goes above and beyond in one heroic event too. All of Ms. Coyle’s characters just leap off the pages and readers quickly become joyfully entangled in everything that’s happening.

The honey/bee theme was so interesting, Who knew New York has a beekeeping unit as part of the police force? In fact, this story was based on an actual event. That really grabbed my attention but I would have been freaking out like one of the Blend’s employees, not calm and measured like Clare and Matt. I enjoyed the twist the employee took later in the story, very brave. Bea’s rooftop setup was really extraordinary too.

Using this event as inspiration this author team plotted out and wrote a fantastic mystery with great twists and drama that truly made this book impossible to put down. There were also a few scenes that gave me a good giggle. With the long wait between this book and the last one I had planned to take my time and really savor this coffeehouse mystery but the authors made that virtually impossible. We trekked all over the city, to some really undesirable places and to Bea’s fabulous penthouse apartment, and of course to Village Blend and the pages were just flying. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I was all in after reading the Author’s Note until the final page. When the book hit the floor for the third time due to me dozing off, I had to stop to sleep. I couldn’t wait to finish it the next day and cut my work hours short to do so.

I anxiously await each new installment of this series. I am invested in the lives of these wonderful characters and can’t wait to see what the authors have in store for them next. Honey Roasted is the 19th book in the series but readers new to Cleo Coyle should not hesitate to pick it up today. I can predict you will want to read more when you finish it. Fans of the series will be delighted in this latest installment. To borrow an old expression Honey Roasted is the “bee knees”, and a real honey of a story. It will hold a space on my best reads list for this year. I LOVED IT!

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About Cleo Coyle

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries—now celebrating eighteen years in print. They are also authors of the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, previously written under the pseudonym Alice Kimberly. Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also both bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together.

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The Rest of the Series

Also by Cleo Coyle



Coming October 2022

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
February 1 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
February 1 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT
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February 3 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW
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February 4 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”