Posted in 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

An Exquisite Corpse (Art of Murder Mysteries) by Helen A. Harrison #Review / #Giveaway

An Exquisite Corpse (Art of Murder Mysteries)
Historical Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (July 7, 2020)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1728214009
ISBN-13: 978-1728214009
Kindle ASIN: B085FTFVC7

Murder is a work of art…

 

When the acclaimed Cuban painter Wifredo Lam turns up dead in his Greenwich Village studio, officers Juanita Diaz and Brian Fitzgerald of the NYPD, must investigate the crime. But what they find is much more gruesome than they ever could have imagined.

 

Suspicion soon falls on a tight-knit circle of Surrealist refugees who fled Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and Diaz and Fitzgerald must traverse the city, from Chinatown’s underworld to Spanish Harlem’s gangland, to find the truth. Did one of the artists’ bizarre parlor games turn deadly? Or is there something even more sinister afoot?

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

A group of Surrealist refugees has taken up residence in New York after fleeing Europe during World War II. When one of their group, Cuban painter Wifredo Lam is found dead, NYPD officers Brian Fitzgerald and Juanita Diaz catch the case and uncover some eerie things that take them all around New York in search of the truth.

______

Set in the 1940’s I found the author gave a good sense of time and place but there were so many characters to keep track of I found myself lost at times. As the story went on most of the characters were given more definition but I just couldn’t really identify with any of them. They all had their own agendas and not one felt genuine.

The basis of the story was interesting and multifaceted with several twists and I did enjoy the chase for the truth but was disappointed somewhat by the conclusion. I had never heard of an “exquisite corpse” and did enjoy learning about a different way of drawing.

While I had issues with this book, book two in this series features the same detectives and the death of Jackson Pollock and I may just have to give that book a try.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Helen A. Harrison, a former art reviewer and feature writer for The New York Times and visual arts commentator for National Public Radio, is the director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton, New York, and an authority on 20th century American art. A native of New York City with a bachelor’s degree in studio art from Adelphi University, she also attended the Art Students League, the Brooklyn Museum Art School and Hornsey College of Art in London before receiving a master’s degree in art history from Case Western Reserve University. Among her many publications are exhibition catalogs, essays, book chapters, reviews and articles, and several non-fiction books, including Hamptons Bohemia: Two Centuries of Artists and Writers on the Beach, co-authored with Constance Ayers Denne, and monographs on Larry Rivers and Jackson Pollock. She and her husband, the artist Roy Nicholson, live in Sag Harbor, New York. www.helenharrison.net

 


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
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Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
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If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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Contest Will End June 30, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring A Stroke of Malice (A Lady Darby Mystery) by Anna Lee Huber #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am happy to feature A Stoke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber today
which isn’t technically a cozy but had to squeeze it in here!

A Stroke of Malice (A Lady Darby Mystery)
Historical Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Scotland
Publisher: Berkley (April 7, 2020)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 0451491386
ISBN-13: 978-0451491381
Kindle ASIN: B07V111W1F

Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage are looking forward to celebrating with new friends at an exciting yearly soiree, but they soon learn that murder never takes a holiday in the latest riveting installment in this national bestselling series.

 

January 1832. After enjoying a delightful few weeks with her family, expectant mother Kiera and Sebastian Gage have been invited to the Duchess of Bowmontʼs Twelfth Night party in Traquair, Scotland. Though she normally avoids such fashionable, rambunctious events, Kiera is ready to join in the festive merrymaking. But upon their arrival at the opulent estate, it becomes obvious that all is not merry in their hostess’s home. The family appears to be under a great strain, and someone seems determined to cause mayhem among the guests with a series of forged notes.

 

Matters swiftly turn from irksome to downright deadly when the partygoers stumble upon a decomposing body in the castleʼs crypt. The corpse is thought to be the duchessʼs son-in-law who had purportedly traveled to Paris more than a month earlier. It is evident the man met with foul play, and Kiera and Gage soon realize that a ruthless murderer walks among them—and may well be a member of the duchessʼs own family. And when the investigation takes a treacherous turn, Kiera discovers just how deep the killer is willing to dig to keep their secrets from ever seeing the light of day.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lady Kiera Darby and her husband Sebastian Gage have arrived in Traquair, Scotland to attend Duchess of Bowmontʼs Twelfth Night party. There is an eerie undercurrent running through the castle but Kiera and Gage are ready for the big event which begins with trumpets and ends with murder. When Lord Edward leads guests on a ghost tour in catacombs under Kirkbryde Abbey a new corpse is found. It appears the duchessʼs son-in-law is the victim of foul play and the murderer could be one of the party’s guests. At their host’s request, Gage and Kiera find themselves leading the investigation and uncovering some weighty secrets along the way.


The characters Anna Lee Huber has created are stellar and their development over the course of the series has been excellent. Even heavy with child Lady Kiera Darby is a force when it comes to getting to the truth. Her husband Sebastian Gage is a caring and loving man who knows what a strong, intelligent woman his wife is. Together they appear to be unstoppable and uncommon for the 1800s. Ms. Huber surrounds these main characters with a diverse cast of supporting characters across all classes of the aristocracy. Gage and Kiera are usually assisted by their servants Bree and Anderley and this time Kiera’s brother is on hand to help as well.

The author sets a scene in almost a magical way. From the deep, dank catacombs, to the Sunlaws suites and ballrooms, and the Scottish countryside. The dresses, kilts, and costumes. All the people and places truly come alive with her vivid descriptions. The cover of the book gives the overall chilly feel of the time but Huber’s descriptive detail is like no other. You can almost smell the air, feel the breezes, and hear the clicks of the heels on the floors. She truly does take you into the story in a meaningful way.

As I have come to expect from this author, the mystery is very complex and full of stress-filled moments. Everyone seems to be hiding something or holding something back. The lore of ghostly friar that keeps servants on edge adds a nice little twist. The mystery takes Anderley hither and yon and Gage and Kiera into the nearby town and all around the large estate in search of answers. Well-written and plotted, I was totally clueless until the very final clues started to fall into place.

This story was one to be savored. I read it over the course of three evenings hurrying through each day so that I could get back to it.

A Stroke of Malice is a fantastic addition to this series. I do highly recommend them all. I am very excited about next year’s book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find out more about Anna Lee Huber visit her website here.


Also by this Author

The publisher is unable to give a copy away due to
the Coronavirus so I am giving away my review copy!

The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Contest Will End April 29, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
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Winner Will Be Notified By Email
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Click Here For Entry Form

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 2020 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben – Early Review

Release Date – March 17, 2020


The Boy from the Woods
Suspense Thriller
Setting – New Jersey
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 17, 2020)
Hardcover: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 1538748142
ISBN-13: 978-1538748145
Kindle ASIN: B07TYBQJBM

A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Run Away.

 

Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. Now an adult, he still doesn’t know where he comes from, and another child has gone missing.

 

No one seems to take Naomi Pine’s disappearance seriously, not even her father-with one exception. Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney, knows through her grandson that Naomi was relentlessly bullied at school. Hester asks Wilde-with whom she shares a tragic connection-to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.

 

Wilde can’t ignore an outcast in trouble, but in order to find Naomi he must venture back into the community where he has never fit in, a place where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I find out the release date for a new Harlan Coben book I rush to my reading calendar and make sure I keep a date open to review it. Then I anxiously wait for the book to pop up for review. Coben is my favorite author when it comes to suspense and he never disappoints.

The story starts out with Naomi Pine being bullied and soon after the teenager disappears. No one seems to care that the girl is missing except a classmate who feels guilty for not stepping up to defend her and even played along with some of the pranks played on her. He is worried so he reaches out to his grandmother, Hester Crimstein, a television criminal attorney. Hester then reaches out to Wilde, a man who was found in the woods near her home 30 years ago and was befriended by her son. Wilde feels he has things in common with Naomi and immediately begins his search. A search that could cost him. A search that could hurt others. A search that will reveal secrets that could destroy lives.


This story is absolutely fabulous!

If you have read other Coben thrillers the name Hester Crimstein may be familiar. She is a woman who is tough as nails but we now see she has a soft spot for her grandson. Until now she has been a supporting character that pops up here and there. Through this story, we finally get to know more about this sassy broad who comes to town to see what her grandson Matthew really knows about a girl he says is missing.

We also meet Wilde, a boy found living in the woods about 30 years ago when he was between 6-8 years old. He spoke English but didn’t know his name or anything about where he came from. He soon became known as Wilde. No family ever claimed him so he was placed in foster care and he excelled in school. Upon graduation, he joined the military excelling there as well.  That led to a post-military career in security and investigation.  But the man is clearly a loner and is happiest living in the woods that will always be his home.

The thing Mr. Coben really does well is create characters with many layers. Some like Hester’s are revealed over time. Other’s like Wilde, Naomi, and Matthew are peeled back over the course of the story but I always feel like he holds just a bit back in case he wants to revisit them again in the future. All the characters are interesting and held my attention and I wanted to know more.

He has wrapped these characters into a story that starts as a missing person case and quickly becomes so much more. Wilde truly was all in when it came to finding Naomi and went to great lengths to get answers. He runs into roadblocks but pushes through, literally at times, to get in people’s faces to find out what the know or what they did. A surprising twist changes the game and ratchets up the suspense and takes us in new directions.

Coben blends social and political themes, really highlighting how far the rich will go to keep their secrets. We are immersed in the dark side seeing people who have created a great public facade but who truly have no morals or ethics. It made my cringe in places.

Mr. Coben also shows us a softer side as characters deal with loss and grief while trying to move forward. Grieving the loss of a loved one is something I am very familiar with and he captured and told this part of the story in a heartwarming and believable way.  It was a nice little subplot alongside all the action and suspense.

As I said, this story is fabulous, it is filled with twists and thrills. I totally escaped into every aspect of the story. Well-plotted and written, with a perfect pace. The ending was a complete surprise, The Boy From The Woods is a complex story that was so compelling.  I loved it! My world completely stopped when I started reading. In fact, Harlan Coben is responsible for my latest book hangover because I stayed up until the early morning hours to finish this book.

The Boy From The Woods deserves more than 5 stars. It earns my Paradise Rating and a place on my Best Reads of 2020.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Harlan Coben and his book on his webpage here.



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 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @SuzanneRedfearn

In an Instant
by Suzanne Redfearn

About In An Instant

In An Instant
Thriller/Women’s Fiction
Setting – California
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 1, 2020)
Paperback: 331 pages
ISBN-10: 1542006589
ISBN-13: 978-1542006583
Digital ASIN: B07NVD1276

A deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.

 

Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

 

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

 

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it and OMG I am glad I did.

A long weekend and the Miller family along with neighbors that are like family, Finn’s best friend Mo, Chloe’s boyfriend Vance and Bingo, the family dog all load into the Miller Mobile to go to Big Bear for skiing, snowboarding, and family fun.

They arrive at their cabin to unload and unpack but soon hit the road again to go to Grizzly Manor for dinner. The snow started falling while they were inside and quickly turns into a full-blown blizzard.

Along the way, they stop to pick up Kyle whose car is now stranded in a snowbank. It is slow going but then a buck in the road has Finn’s dad hitting the brakes and the camper starts to slide and tumble over the side of the mountain.

Finn doesn’t survive, but she can see and hear everything. She is trapped between heaven and hell on earth as she watches her family deal with her death and try to save themselves.

_____

The story is told from Finn’s point of view so readers are able to see and feel everything that unfolds. The depth of each character evolves as we see how they react to the horrendous tragedy. It is a very emotional tale and I was completely riveted to the pages. Powerful, gripping and revealing.

I think this story really hit me in the heart because I have lost a child. Different circumstances but I always feel like he is with me every day even after almost 5 years. I will say I dealt with my grief and still deal with my grief differently that the characters in this story but everyone handles loss in their own way.

When I reached the end of the book I wiped the tears from eyes and read the Author’s Note and learned this book is based on a true memory she had. Thankfully no one died then but my tears started flowing all over again. She told this story in such an amazing way. As a reader, I could feel the cold, my heart ached with the pain, and anger flared more than once.

Ms. Redfearn also included a special needs child in this story. Again, my emotions rolled by the way this child was treated. Heartwarming to fierce anger to heartbreaking. His part of the story has stuck with me almost more than Finn’s.

In An Instant is a story that will make you think and may even leave you breathless at times.

This quote is one I want to keep and maybe have it etched permanently somewhere:

“Reach for the stars or the moon or another universe altogether, and shine so bright you blind everyone around you, and though I am gone, carry me with you, but only as lightness and never as weight.”

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn is the award-winning author of three novels: Hush Little BabyNo Ordinary Life, and In an Instant. In addition to being an author, she’s also an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. She lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she and her husband own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza and Beer. You can find her at her website, SuzanneRedfearn.com, on Facebook at SuzanneRedfearnAuthor, or on Twitter @SuzanneRedfearn.

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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 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes You Read How Many Books Challenge

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery by Heather Leigh Weidner #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @HeatherWeidner1

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery
by Heather Leigh Weidner

About Glitter, Glam and Contraband


Glitter, Glam, and Contraband: A Delanie Fitzgerald Mystery
Traditional Mystery/Female Sleuth/Humorous Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Sandpiper Productions (November 19, 2019)
Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 099945983X
ISBN-13: 978-0999459836
ASIN: B081PGYR7T

Private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, and her computer hacker partner, Duncan Reynolds, are back for more sleuthing in Glitter, Glam and Contraband. In this fast-paced mystery, the Falcon Investigations team is hired to find out who is stealing from the talent at a local drag show. Delanie gets more than she bargains for and a few makeup tips in the process. Meanwhile, a mysterious sound in the ceiling of her office vexes Delanie. She uses her sleuthing skills to track down the source and uncover a creepy contraband operation.

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband features a strong female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations like helping sleezy strip club owner, Chaz Smith on his quest to become Richmond’s next mayor, tracking down missing reptiles, and uncovering hidden valuables from a 100-year-old crime with a Poe connection.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

In this third Delanie Fitzgerald mystery, Delanie has her hands full with drag queens, a mayoral candidate, a snake or two, and some strange digging at the base of a statue, all as part of her normal everyday life as a private investigator.   Her partner, Duncan Reynolds, uses his mad computer skills to assist her in any way he can.  Office mascot/rug, Margaret, a bulldog, also shows what a great protector she can be.

Delanie Fitzgerald is a strong woman, not afraid to go undercover to solve her case but this time she comes up against something that even has her backing up quickly. She is the one that handles all the legwork for Falcon Investigations but this time danger lurks right in the office, except she is the only one that realizes something is up, literally.

Full of action and humor, Heather Weidner delivers another enjoyable story. The cases Falcon Investigations takes on are very realistic. Missing items, background information on persons of interests, a little digging into some mysterious digging and questioning the death of a nearby shop owner.

The pace is quick as Delaney goes from one case to another with Duncan available by phone to help her out. She does have some crazy clients but they are all realistically depicted. I loved the time she spent with the drag queens and how welcoming most of them were to her. One even gave her a couple of mini makeovers.

Ms. Weidner has created some truly great characters and fleshed them out nicely enabling the reader to easily “see” them for who they are. She also describes the situations in a way to bring the reader right on the scene. Weidner knows where to add the funny moments in all the right places too.

I was entertained trailing along with Delanie on all her mini-adventures and am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

Read my review of Secret Lives and Private Eyes here and  The Tulip Shirt Murders here.

About Heather Weidner

Glitter, Glam, and Contraband is Heather Weidner’s third novel in the Delanie Fitzgerald series. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, and Deadly Southern Charm. Her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan University and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.

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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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2019 TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Fiction Can Be Murder (A Mystery Writer’s Mystery) by Becky Clark #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.


Fiction Can Be Murder (A Mystery Writer’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery/Women Sleuths
1st in Series
Setting – Colorado
Publisher: Midnight Ink (April 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 0738753327
ISBN-13: 978-0738753324
Kindle ASIN: B0714HL2VC

Life Becomes Stranger than Fiction when Charlee’s Latest Novel Inspires a Real Murder

Mystery author Charlemagne “Charlee” Russo thinks the twisty plots and peculiar murders in her books are only the product of her imagination—until her agent is found dead exactly as described in Charlee’s new, unpublished manuscript. Suspicion now swirls around her and her critique group, making her confidence drop as severely and unexpectedly as her royalty payments.

The police care more about Charlee’s feeble alibi and financial problems than they do her panicky claims of innocence. To clear her name and revive her career, she must figure out which of her friends is a murderer. Easier said than done, even for an author who’s skilled at creating tidy endings for her mysteries. And as her sleuthing grows dangerous, Charlee’s imagination starts working overtime. Is she being targeted, too?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fiction easily becomes murder when literary agent, Melinda Walter is killed in exactly the same way as the victim in author, Charlemagne “Charlee” Russo’s latest manuscript. Charlee had problems with the woman but never plotted to kill her. So who else had access to the manuscript? Could someone in her critique group have done the deed and used her book to frame her? Stranger than fiction she puts on her sleuthing cap to bring this murder mystery to an end. Hopefully, she’ll survive to tell the tale.

I would call this a cozy-ish mystery. Charlee Russo is a cleverly written imperfect amateur sleuth, very clutzy with a wild imagination, a good thing when you write mysteries for a living, not so much when you are on the trail of a killer. She is protective of her friends but still needs to question and verify everyone’s alibi as much for her peace of mind as to solving the case. Let’s just say her investigating techniques need a little refinement as I was a little frightened by the positions she found herself in at times.

The pacing was mixed. The story starts out briskly but slowed a bit in the middle but then the ending felt a bit rushed. With plenty of twists and a few red herrings, I was completely confused until everything was laid out for me. It was a fun tagging along with Charlee. I always enjoy a challenging mystery. The dialogue is very realistic and I liked the humor interspersed throughout. “I’d tell you to go to hell, but I never want to see you again.”

This series is off to a fine start and I am looking forward to the next book in this series. I do love the Mystery Writer’s theme. The author has left plenty of room for the secondary characters and Charlee to grow. She also left an open question in this story that I hope will be wrapped up in the next.

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About the Author

A highly functioning chocoholic, Becky Clark (Denver, CO) is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them, too. She published her first novel in 2001 and is a sought-after speaker. Find out more about Becky on her website – https://beckyclarkbooks.com/



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
Book will be sent directly from Amazon.
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

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If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End January 10, 2020, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Secrets and Lies: A Claire Callahan Mystery by P.H. Turner – #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour

Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies: A Claire Callahan Mystery
by P.H. Turner

About Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies
Secrets and Lies: A Claire Callahan Mystery
Private Investigator Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Colorado
Summit Peak Publishing (September 23, 2019)
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN-10: 1695142470
ISBN-13: 978-1695142473
Digital ASIN: B07Y8QPRZ6

Shot to death in his home, Morgan Tutwiler leaves behind a multimillion-dollar business and a daughter who hasn’t spoken to him in years. And she isn’t alone in wanting him dead. Plenty of people wanted the most hated man in Denver dead in P. H. Turner’s latest novel in the Claire Callahan series.

Reminiscent of the finest gumshoe storytelling, Secrets and Lies, would not be complete without Turner’s signature quirky characters and inventive plot.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Private Investigator Claire Callahan works for the Denver law firm of Marsh and Whitley.  Her current case is the death of Morgan Tutwiler, one of the firm’s largest clients. He was killed in his home and the list of suspects is long, the man had more than his share of enemies. He has been estranged from his daughter, Amanda for years and she is high on that suspect list. Claire has been assigned to stick with Amanda to help her through the death, clear her as a suspect and to basically keep her happy now that she will inherit her father’s estate. The law firm needs to hold on to the big account.

Secrets and Lies is an excellent title for this story because it is full of secrets and lies. Amanda has a new boyfriend she failed to mention. Tutwiler also ripped a family apart with the father taking his own life leaving behind a bitter son and his wife. As a ruthless man, Morgan Tutwiler was out for himself no matter the cost. Claire really has her hands full tracking down all the possible killers.

Readers know who the killer is from the start. The mystery is why and if they connect to any of the major players. Claire is working the case with Detective Rafe Brewster. They both have the same goal – to see that justice is done.  They work well together and realized early that even with an emotional pull between them a romantic relationship is a bad idea. They are workmates and friends and don’t want to mess that up. I enjoyed that this was clear from the start of the story.

The author sets a great pace and throws in plenty of twists to keep everyone guessing. Claire is truly like a dog with a bone. She knows there is something under the surface just beyond her reach that she is missing and she doesn’t give up. She twists things around herself trying to see things from different angles until finally, all the clues fall into place. I was right there with her. I love it when I am kept on my toes right up until the end.

Fans of PI or traditional mysteries will enjoy this book. Not having read the first book in this series I was afraid I would be missing some vital details but Ms. Turner has perfectly crafted the story to be read on its own. That being said I want to go back and read Unspeakable Grudges for another dose of Claire Callahan. Secrets and Lies was an entertaining mystery. I hope there will be many more books in this series.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About P.H. Turner

P.H. Turner writes mystery and suspense novels set in the mountains and canyons of the West where she grew up and spent most of her working life. Pat worked in broadcast journalism on both coasts, the Midwest, and the Rocky Mountains. With roots to a Texas farm homesteaded in the 1850s, she’s returned to live within miles of the old farm.

Pat is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Author Links – Website GoodReads Facebook Amazon

Purchase Link – Amazon

Also by P. H. Turner

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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 Challenges Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge TBR Pile Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge Time – Part One

I have already posted about the Reading Challenges I am hosting.

2020 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

2020 Alphabet Soup – Author Edition Reading Challenge

2020 LITERARY ESCAPES CHALLENGE

2020 Craving For Cozies Reading Challenge

So now it is time to start traveling around the blogosphere and find the challenges hosted by others that I want to participate in. Note that all information is copied from the hosting blogs and you must go to their blogs to sign up.

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2020
Hosted by My Reader’s Block

This challenge focuses on tackling our To-Be-Read shelves.
I will be again signing up at the Mount Vancouver level.

You can sign up here. 

Challenge Levels:

Pike’s Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s
Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s

The Rules (a few minor adjustments from previous years indicated in green):
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. You are welcome to voyage further and conquer taller mountains after your commitment is met. All books from lower mountains carry over towards the next peak.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2020

*You may sign up at any time–no matter when you see this challenge. All qualifying books read after January 1st count.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2020–items requested or ordered prior to January 1, may count even if they arrive in the new year. No library books~. If you’re looking for a library book challenge or one that counts books on your non-owned TBR list, then please see Mount TBR’s sister challenge: the Virtual Mount TBR Challenge (click the link).
~The ONLY exception to the library rule: If you own the book in any form and have a reason to check out a version from the library instead, then you may count it. For example–if you own a hard copy, but are planning on taking a trip where listening to the audio version would be a great way to knock out a book while you drive, then by all means check out the audio version and have a wonderful trip! Please check with me if you have questions.

*Rules for Rereads: Any reread may count, regardless of how long you’ve owned it, provided you have not counted it for a previous Mount TBR Challenge.

*Audiobooks and E-books may count provided they are yours prior to January 1.

*You may count any “currently reading” book that you begin prior to January 1–provided you had 50% or more of the book left to finish when January 1 rolled around. I will trust you all on that. The only exception is if you have participated in Mount TBR in 2019 and were unable to finish the book in time for the final Check-in Post. Then–if you finish the book post-January 1, you may count it as your first step of the new challenge.

*You may count “Did Not Finish” books provided they meet your own standard for such things, you do not plan to ever finish it, and you move it off your mountain [give it away, sell it, remove from e-resources, etc.]. For example, my personal rule (unless it’s a very short book) is to give it 100 pages. If I decide I just can’t finish it and won’t ever, then off the mountain it goes and I count it as a victory–the stack is smaller!

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

*Feel free to submit your list in advance or to tally them as you climb.

*There will be a year-end check-in and prize drawing!

*A blog and reviews are not necessary to participate. If you have a blog, then please post about the challenge and link that post (not your home page) in the form below. My link provider has limited the number of link “parties” I can have open at a time–so I will be using Google forms for all my sign-up links this year. Non-bloggers may enter their names only without a blog link OR members of Goodreads are welcome to join the Goodreads group HERE.

*If you post on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media to log a book, please use #MountTBR2020.

2020 New Release Challenge
Hosted by (un)Conventional Bookworms

This is a new challenge for me, The majority of the books I read are new releases but I am going to sign up at the 61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran level.

You can sign up here. 

The 2020 New Release Challenge is a year-long challenge in which we aim to read books released in 2020.  Brandee and I are the sole hosts of the challenge, and we both hope many of you will sign up and participate!  There is one post on the top of our homepage for all review links for the year, where the link is open for books you read and review each quarter. I also want to say a big thank you to Michelle @ Limabean Designs for creating our beautiful logo!!

In 2019, I read 140 books that counted for the New Release Challenge, and I don’t see why this should be any different for 2020. This is just one reason why we want to continue with the New Release Challenge. We both always tend to do better when someone cheers for me, and we cheer for them. Also, trying to make sure we are held accountable both for the ARCs I receive and books we buy is important to us.

As always, I have already created a 2020 Release shelf on Goodreads, if you want to check it out to help you be inspired 😉

There is a Facebook Group for the New Release Challenge, to have a place where we can keep up with each other, cheer each other on, and get to know each other better. It is also a place where we can help each other find even more new releases. For those of you who have already participated, it’s the same group as before.

The rules for the 2020 New Release Challenge are simple:

  • Books have to be released and reviewed in 2020.
  • Other challenges can be used as well, if you are participating in the Netgalley / Edelweiss challenge or in the COYER challenge, books can count towards more than one challenge, as long as the ones you use for the 2020 New Release Reading Challenge qualify to the other rules.
  • The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages, it can be in any format though, physical, e-book, ARC or audiobook.
  • The New Release Challenge is open from January 1st through December 31st 2020, and sign-ups are open until September 1st 2020.
  • You don’t have to be a blogger to participate, you can link to your review on Goodreads or Booklikes instead – so don’t be shy!
  • If you want to spread the love, please use #2020NewReleaseChallenge on Twitter 😉

There are five levels  in the 2020 New Release Challenge:

  1. 1-30 books per year – New Release Newbie
  2. 31-60 books per year – New Release Pro
  3. 61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran
  4. 101-200 books per year – New Release Enthusiast
  5. 200+ books per year – New Release Obsessed

FOR THE LOVE OF EBOOKS 2020 READING CHALLENGE
Hosted by As Told by Tina

 

I look forward to this challenge. Years ago I couldn’t imagine that my reading of digital books would surpass the number of print books. Wow, how things change.

You can sign up for this challenge here. 

For The Love Of Ebooks is a very simple reading challenge. Just read as many ebooks as you can throughout 2020! It can be ebooks you purchased, eARCs, Library books. As long as it is an ebook, it will count. This year, we will have a readathon and a bingo card for you to challenge yourself!

Guidelines:

  • The Challenge begins January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020
  • All Books read for this challenge MUST BE EBOOKS! (ebooks, eARCs, library ebooks)
  • All genres count and re-reading and crossovers are encouraged!
  • Books can be any length.

How To Join:

  • Post your intention to join the challenge! A blog post, an instagram picture, a tweet, youtube video, or goodreads shelf will do. It’s whatever works for you.
  • You do not need to be a blogger to join. But I’d love for you to help me spread the word about the challenge.
  • If you are a blogger, I’d love for you to make a sign up post (it doesn’t have to be one whole post dedicated to the challenge, you can include other challenges you are joining) just make sure to link back to the sign up.

Official Challenge Tags:

You can follow us on Twitter and use the following tags so that we can all follow each other’s progress.

#ForTheLoveOfEbooks / #ForTheLoveOfEbooks20
Dates To Remember:

In 2019, I had posted monthly link-ups for For The Love Of Ebooks, however, I found that was way too time-consuming. So this year, I decided to do quarterly updates. The link ups will open on the first and close on the last day of the month.

January – March Quarterly Link Up
April – June Quarterly Link Up
July – September Quarterly Link Up
October – December Quarterly Link Up
For The Love Of Ebooks Readathon:

This year, I decided to add a readathon to For The Love Of Ebooks! The first For The Love of Ebooks readathon will be March 1 – 7. You can follow us on twitter here for all announcements.

Details for the readathon will be released on February 1st.

2020 CLOAK AND DAGGER CHALLENGE
Hosted by Carol’s Notebook

Because I host and participate in other challenges focused on cozy mysteries, the only books I count for this challenge are mysteries outside the cozy sub-genre. For that reason, I am again signing up at the  16-25 books – Detective level. 

You can sign up for this challenge here. 

Challenge Rules:

  • You can read any book that is from the mystery/suspense/thriller/crime genres. Any sub-genres are welcome as long as they incorporate one of these genres.
  • You don’t need a blog to participate but you do need a place to post your reviews to link up. (blog, Goodreads, Instagram, etc.)
  • Make a goal post and link it back here with your goal for this challenge.
  • Books need to at least 100 pages long. Please, no short stories.
  • Crossovers with other challenges are fine.
  • The Challenge will run from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. (Sign up ends March 15th)

We still have our facebook group so if you haven’t joined we would love for you too! Here’s the group’s link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/350512171977943/. It’s a closed group so just ask to join and we’ll let you in.

There will be a monthly link-up so we can see what everyone’s reading – and probably add some to our own tbr lists. At the halfway mark and at the end we will have a giveaway for those participating.

We’ll continue to use the hashtag #CloakDaggerChal.

Levels:

5-15 books – Amateur sleuth

16-25 books – Detective

26-35 books – Inspector

36 – 55 – Special agent

56+ books – Sherlock Holmes

This is just part one of my planned challenges. I will post more soon. 

You can go to the Sleep Less – Read More Facebook page to find many more challenges. A Novel Challenge is also a great resource.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in Cloak and Dagger Challenge Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Fields’ Guide to Fog (The Poppy Fields Adventures) by Julie Mulhern #Review


Fields’ Guide to Fog (The Poppy Fields Adventures)
Mystery/Suspense (Humorous)
4th in Series
Setting – London, England
Publisher: Independently published (September 30, 2019)
Paperback: 266 pages
ISBN-10: 1698265018
ISBN-13: 978-1698265018
Kindle ASIN: B07XZB4TYT

It isn’t easy having Hollywood’s biggest, brightest star for a mother—especially when her Russian oligarch boyfriend has been kidnapped. When Poppy Fields flies to London to be with her mother, she finds nothing but fog, danger, and phenomenal shopping.Too bad half the city wants Poppy dead, and she has no idea why.The odds against her are high, the menace is real, and if she doesn’t find answers quickly, a dirty bomb will send global financial markets plummeting. Poppy will need charm, smarts, and a killer Chihuahua if she wants to save the world (and snag those boots she spotted at Harrods).

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Poppy Fields’ is back and she and “Thor” are fighting crime across the pond and her feisty Chihuahua is along for the ride too. When Poppy receives a call from her mother telling her that her rich Russian oligarch boyfriend, Yurgi has been abducted she wastes no time getting there.  Yurgi’s son Vincent is handling the money issues if a ransom demand comes through. Chariss wants her daughter Poppy on hand to do what she is quickly becoming famous for – catching the criminals. They barely touchdown in the foggy city and bullets are flying. Can she do it again? Can she catch a killer and live to tell the tale?

___

This is another fantastic book for Julie Mulhern. The action starts quickly and goes full throttle until the very end. Bullets flying, a rolling fog, bombs exploding, a building collapses, more bullets fly, the masked motorcycle rider returns, and Poppy makes a surprising discovery. Amongst all that, Thor (Mark) starts to push a little harder for a relationship or even just one dance. Mr. Brown’s boss Jane Doe is also introduced and Poppy learns driving on the wrong side of the road is harder than it looks. Chariss wants her man back and is somewhat oblivious to everything else going on around her. Thankfully Poppy knows how to deal with her mother.

So much happens in this story it is impossible to put down. Ms. Mulhern’s characters are fully developed and jump off the page. Again, the drama and suspense in laced with plenty of humor. I absolutely love everything about the way she writes a story.  The pace is fast, the dialogue is crisp, and the characters are fabulous. Poppy Fields is an awesome protagonist and I just can’t get enough. This time there is one surprise that was just amazing and I am anxious and excited to see how that subplot continues.

I always mention planning accordingly when picking up a book in this series because once you start reading you will not want to stop until you reach the end.

Each Poppy Fields adventure is terrific! Fields’ Guide to Fog, like the 3 previous books, receives my Paradise rating. I recommend reading them all in order so you really get to know Poppy and the other characters and enjoy all their adventures!

 

You can read my review of Fields’ Guide to Abduction here. 

You can read my review of Fields’ Guide to Assassins here. 

You can read my review of Fields’ Guide to VooDoo here.

Book 1 is free right now!

About the Author

Julie Mulhern is the USA Today bestselling author of The Country Club Murders and the Poppy Fields Adventures She is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean–and she’s got an active imagination. Truth is–she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.

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 Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Penny for Your Secrets (A Verity Kent Mystery) by Anna Lee Huber #Review / #Giveaway @KensingtonBooks


Penny for Your Secrets (A Verity Kent Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – England
Publisher: Kensington (October 29, 2019)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713192
ISBN-13: 978-1496713193
Kindle ASIN: B07NCN3L74

England, 1919. In Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery, former Secret Service agent Verity Kent is finding that life after wartime offers its own share of danger . . .

The Great War may be over, but for many, there are still obstacles on the home front. Reconciling with her estranged husband makes Verity sympathetic to her friend Ada’s marital difficulties. Bourgeois-bred Ada, recently married to the Marquess of Rockham, is overwhelmed trying to navigate the ways of the aristocracy. And when Lord Rockham is discovered shot through the heart with a bullet from Ada’s revolver, Verity fears her friend has made a fatal blunder.

While striving to prove Ada’s innocence, Verity is called upon for another favor. The sister of a former Secret Service colleague has been killed in what authorities believe was a home invasion gone wrong. The victim’s war work—censoring letters sent by soldiers from the front—exposed her to sensitive, disturbing material. Verity begins to suspect these two unlikely cases may be linked. But as the connections deepen, the consequences—not just for Verity, but for Britain—grow more menacing than she could have imagined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

Verity Kent and husband Sidney attend a party at the home of the Marquess of Rockham. There is clearly tension between Lord Rockham and his wife, Ada but when she pulls out a gun at the dinner table and makes a joke about killing her husband Verity knows there could be trouble ahead. When she receives a frantic call from Ada saying the Lord was dead, Verity fears her friend followed through on her statement.

Verity is also called on by a woman she met working with the Secret Service to investigate the death of her sister. Verity can’t say no, but as both investigations continue she sees her two cases may be connected and may have more deadly consequences.

___

What I really enjoy about this series in the depth of the characters. The war had profound effects on everyone, but we get a personal look at Verity and Sidney as they try to deal with his return and the PTSD and guilt he is fighting while dealing with the Verity’s independence has gained while he was gone. The struggle is real and told in a very believable way. They are surrounded by a cast of characters all dealing with issues of their own and again Ms. Huber gives them depth and their circumstances real.

I found both mysteries to be very interesting. I was more drawn to the Marquess of Rockham’s murder. It was a different time and marriages were made for stature and wealth instead of love.  Ada really had trouble adjusting to the aristocratic ways and clearly isn’t happy. I didn’t condone her behavior but understood part of where she was coming from. Verity has to see something in this woman and I was trying to find some redeeming qualities.

The other death drew Verity back to her Secret Service sources. The victim had a tough job during the war which opened the case which was first classified as a bungled home invasion to so much more. Verity was pulled in several directions and I enjoyed following alongside her as she did her best to find answers, even putting herself in the line of fire.

Anna Lee Huber has a very detailed writing style. You know she has well researched this time in history and does a great job fictionalizing the time period and giving readers a story filled with imagery to bring the story alive. People and places were easy to see in my mind’s eye.

Each book in this series can be read on its own but I recommend reading them in order to really get to know Verity Kent.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

You can read my review for This Side of Murder here and Treacherous Is the Night here.

About the Author

Anna Lee Huber is the author of the historical mystery series. She received the Daphne du Maurier Award for her national bestselling Lady Darby Mysteries. She is a summa cum laude graduate from Lipscomb University in Nashville. To find out more about Anna Lee Huber visit her website here.

Also by this Author


GIVEAWAY

I am giving away my review copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Follow Kensington Books on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

LIKE Kensington Publishing on Facebook for 2 Bonus Entries!

Sign up for Anna Lee Huber’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries!

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End November 26, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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.”