Jan 072020
 

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.

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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.

Author Links
Website and Blog   Twitter    Facebook    Instagram     Goodreads     Amazon Authors     Pinterest    LinkedIn    BookBub    AllAuthor    YouTube

Purchase Links – Amazon  – Apple Books –  Barnes and Noble – BookBub  –  Kobo –  Scribd 


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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops.
January 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 7 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
January 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
January 9 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
January 10 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
January 12 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 13 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
January 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 15 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 15 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 16 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT
January 16 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
January 17 – I’m All About Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST
January 18 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 19 – TBR Book Blog – SPOTLIGHT
January 20 – My Reading Journeys – 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.”

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Dec 272019
 


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/



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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.”

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Dec 102019
 

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.

 

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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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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
December 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 3 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
December 4 – Island Confidential  – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 5 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST
December 5 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
December 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 8 – Baroness” Book Trove – REVIEW
December 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 10 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, GUEST POST
December 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
December 11 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 12 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 12 – My Reading Journeys  – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 13 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
December 14 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
December 15 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

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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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Dec 072019
 

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.

 

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Nov 302019
 


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.”

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Nov 122019
 


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

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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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Nov 072019
 

To Be Released Tuesday, November 9, 2019

A Woman of Two Minds
Medical Thriller/Suspense
Setting – Nevada
Black Opal Books (November 9, 2019)
Paperback: 300 pages
ISBN-10: 1644371677
ISBN-13: 978-1644371671
Kindle ASIN: B07WDD56PL

Kit Mackenzie, a brilliant young CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, is on trial for the murder of her mother. Was it self-defense or homicide? After the prosecutor discovers a secret brain operation in her past, he believes Kit has a strong motive for murder. His discovery begins one of the most unusual trials in American history. Media from all over the world descend on the courtroom to cover a story they find too astonishing to believe. Mackenzie must depend on her renowned attorney and the insights of a skilled neuro-scientist in the fight to prove her innocence and gain the acceptance of a man she has always wanted.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This was a powerful read. I am going to try to write this review carefully not to give too much away because to enjoy this story you need to read and discover all the bits and pieces on your own.

Kit Mackenzie was in a dark place, dark enough that she tried to take her own life. She did survive but her life is dramatically changed forever. A change the prosecutor believes led her to kill her mother. Her fate plays out over the pages of this story.

When I accepted this book for review I was not aware of the suicide element to the story, but I became so engrossed in Kit’s story there was no way I was going to put this book down. For this gripping story, I pushed down the uncomfortable moments.

The trial takes place in 2018 but we travel back in time to follow Kit’s journey before she tried to take her life and then through the trial date to get her perspective and the perspective of those around her.

The medical aspect of this story was profound and very interesting. New medical discoveries are made every day but it takes some true bravery and sacrifice to submit to the operation in this story.

The author set a perfect pace. As it got later into the evening I was saying to myself, just one more chapter and continued to read two or three more and then repeated the process. I finally had to stop because my eyes just wouldn’t stay open. Speaking of eyes, I went to the optometrist the next morning and my Kindle went with me. Even after my eyes were dilated for the exam, I just increased the font size so I could keep reading while my husband had his exam. I quickly finished the book after we got home.

Ms. Morris does keep her readers on their toes too, right up until the very last page . . . what a moment!

Well-written and plotted, this story blew me away. If medical thrillers or bold thought-provoking stories are your thing you will enjoy A Woman of Two Minds.  This book has earned a place on my Best Reads of 2019 list!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

  Bourne Morris is also the author of the Red Solaris Mysteries. You can read my review of The Red Queen’s Run here, The Rise of the Red Queen here, and The Red Queen Rules here

Find out more about Bourne Morris and her books on her website here, Facebook and Twitter too.



I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
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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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Oct 182019
 


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.


Malice in Maggody (The Arly Hanks Mysteries)
Humorous Mystery (Explicit Language)
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Originally Released (February 5, 1991)
MysteriousPress.com/Open Road – Reprint edition (February 14, 2017)
Print Length: 260 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01N4RHNLC

After a crossbow killing at a cheap roadside motel, Ozarks police chief Arly Hanks finds herself investigating her first murder case.

Her marriage over and career gone bust, Arly Hanks flees Manhattan for her hometown: Maggody, Arkansas. In a town this size, nothing much ever happens, so Arly figures she’s safe as the town’s first female chief of police—until the husband of one of the local barmaids escapes from state prison and heads for town. And that’s not all. An EPA official with ties to polluting the local fishing hole has suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

As if two manhunts aren’t enough to contend with, a body has been discovered at the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel, shot clean through the neck with an arrow. For some reason, Maggody’s residents—all 755 of them—have gone tight-lipped, stonewalling Arly’s investigations, and Arly hasn’t a soul to trust but her half-wit deputy. Now, as Maggody’s finest, she’ll have to show a little muscle and a lot of cunning to curtail the inhospitable mountain malice that’s overtaken her town. And she’ll have to watch her own back every step of the way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Arly Hanks returns to Maggody, Arkansas, population 755, after her career and marriage blows up and lands the job of Chief of Police. The crime in Maggody is virtually non-existent and writing traffic tickets is the major concern. But then a prison escape puts everyone on guard. The man who escaped is the husband of Jaylee Withers, a barmaid at Ruby Dee’s Bar and Grill. The residents of Maggody are also dealing with the EPA who has given the go-ahead for a sewage treatment plant that will feed into the beloved Boone Creek. The man sent to get all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed made it to town but hasn’t been seen since.

So the crime rate in Maggody has taken a huge spike with two manhunts. But that’s not all … Arly now has to add a murder to her list when a body outside the pay-by-the-hour Flamingo Motel and she isn’t getting any help anyone in town, not even her mother. Thankfully Arly isn’t on her own and I don’t mean her Barney Fife deputy, she gets a much-needed assist from the State Police even though she isn’t happy to accept it.

___

This book is listed on many sites as a “cozy mystery” so I was completely caught off guard when the first line of the book is “It’s sh*t – pure and simple sh*t, no matter what they call it in those g*ddamn reports” (asterisks added by me.) While the language may be authentic and I have no problem with that language in almost any other genre, I just don’t believe it should be found in a cozy mystery.  I did keep reading and did enjoy the book but I refuse to classify it as a cozy mystery.

Joan Hess has created larger than life characters and placed them in a quirky small town. Almost everyone we meet is hiding something or keeping a secret or involved in nefarious activities and sometimes all three. While I found most of them to be pretty stereotypical and could be offensive to some readers I did find them entertaining.

The mystery plotlines were interesting even with readers knowing many things Arly didn’t. The story was well-plotted and the final reveal was surprising but made perfect sense. The author leans heavily on humor and some scenes were pretty hilarious.

Colorful characters in a Southern small-town, Malice in Maggody was an unusual and stirring mystery. I do plan to read more of this series.

One note: I think formatting this book for digital devices made transitions hard to follow at times. Storyline transitions were blurred due to the flow of the text. Spaces for setting changes or time changes within the chapters would be appreciated.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

I was sad to learn while researching this series that the author passed away in November 2017. Joan Hess was an American mystery writer, a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former president of the American Crime Writers League. She wrote two popular mystery series: The Claire Malloy Mysteries and The Maggody Mysteries (also called The Arly Hanks Mysteries), and has contributed to multiple anthologies and book series, including: Crosswinds, Deadly Allies, Malice Domestic, Sisters in Crime, and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. She also wrote the Theo Bloomer mystery series, under the pseudonym Joan Hadley.


I am giving away 1 Kindle Copy!
It 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.
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If you share the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
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*This book was from my private collection.

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Sep 172019
 


The Vanished Bride (Brontë Sisters Mystery)
Biographical Historical Fiction/Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Yorkshire, England
Berkley (September 10, 2019)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593099052
ISBN-13: 978-0593099056
Kindle ASIN: B07PF6T82G

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters—the Brontë sisters—learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines—it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

When I pull out my list of favorite books, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is always near the top of the list so when I learned of this book I knew I just had to read it.

Bella Ellis writes a story where the Brontë sisters with a couple of assists from their brother become amateur detectors when they learn of a young bride missing from her home with a gruesome scene left behind. The sisters spend their days trying to write but have been bored and in need of some fresh ideas. They soon realize they know the governess caring for the missing woman’s children. Charlotte feels this gives them the in they need to investigate. The sisters are very independent but their father worries about their excursions. They feed him stories so he doesn’t worry but he knows his daughters. He prays each day that they come home safe.

This story takes place before any of the Brontë works have been published. The author captures their knowledge, imagination, uniqueness, and perseverance in an excellent way.  She immerses them in a complex and compelling mystery. The girls travel “hither and thither” is their quest to find the vanished bride. The clues started to fall into place for me a bit before the sisters but I was totally entertained by the journey I was taken on. The author’s descriptive talents brought each setting and the characters place in it to life. In a time where women are usually seen and not heard and treated like property, the feminist slant to the story was refreshing.

What I really enjoyed was the story being told by each of the sister’s point of view alternating chapter by chapter.  It really gives insight into their lives and thought processes allowing readers to get to know each in a more personal way. Ms. Ellis has done her research and presented it in an interesting way.

Intriguing and entertaining, The Vanished Bride, is a fascinating historical mystery that fans of this genre will enjoy whether they have read Brontë sisters work or not. It does make me want to go back and reread some of their stories and poetry which I haven’t done for years.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Bella Ellis is the Brontë-esque pseudonym of Rowan Coleman, an acclaimed author of numerous novels for adults and children. She first visited the former home of the Brontë sisters when she was ten years old. From the moment she stepped over the threshold she was hooked and embarked on a lifelong love affair with Charlotte, Emily, and Anne; their life; their literature; and their remarkable legacy.


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.

Follow Berkley Mystery on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End October 1, 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.”

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Aug 292019
 

Singapore Sapphire (A Harriet Gordon Mystery)
Historial Mystery/ Amateur Sleuth
1st in Series
Setting – Singapore
Berkley (August 6, 2019)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-10: 198480264X
ISBN-13: 978-1984802644
Kindle ASIN: B07KDW7YKS

Early twentieth-century Singapore is a place where a person can disappear, and Harriet Gordon hopes to make a new life for herself there, leaving her tragic memories behind her–but murder gets in the way.

Singapore, 1910–Desperate for a fresh start, Harriet Gordon finds herself living with her brother, a reverend and headmaster of a school for boys, in Singapore at the height of colonial rule. Hoping to gain some financial independence, she advertises her services as a personal secretary. It is unfortunate that she should discover her first client, Sir Oswald Newbold–explorer, mine magnate and president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers Club–dead with a knife in his throat.

When Inspector Robert Curran is put on the case, he realizes that he has an unusual witness in Harriet. Harriet’s keen eye for detail and strong sense of duty interests him, as does her distrust of the police and her traumatic past, which she is at pains to keep secret from the gossips of Singapore society.

When another body is dragged from the canal, Harriet feels compelled to help with the case. She and Curran are soon drawn into a murderous web of treachery and deceit and find themselves face-to-face with a ruthless cabal that has no qualms about killing again to protect its secrets.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I was a little hesitant when I opened the book to a glossary and a cast of characters. I was afraid the different dialects were going to mess with the flow and I like to get to know the characters myself as I read the story, especially for the first book of a series. So I skimmed the glossary and ignored the cast list and jumped right in. What I found was a unique mystery with very interesting characters in a fascinating setting.

Harriet Gordon lost both her husband and child to Typhus in India. She returned to England and became involved in the Suffragette Movement and got into a bit of trouble. She then decided to join her brother, a minister, and headmaster of a school in Singapore. There was work there for her to do but with no pay. To earn money she placed an ad to be a personal secretary. Her first client was Sir Oswald Newbold, a man well known for his exploration and a mining magnate. He was also president of the exclusive Explorers and Geographers Club. He had hired Harriet to transcribe his memoirs to get them ready for publication. Her employment ends abruptly when she finds the man dead in his home.

Inspector Robert Curran arrives on the scene and sees Harriet is a formidable woman with a keen sense of observation. He also feels she is hiding something. Something not pertaining to the death but something that is holding her back. Inspector Curran is holding something personal back from her as well, but beyond that, he believes she can help him with his case.

These characters are very well-developed for the first book in a series, but the author has left them plenty of room to grow. I enjoyed the way a friendship was built between them. The author also surrounds these characters with a diverse cast. Young students from the school, the staff, her brother to everyone we meet as we follow along with the investigation. All the characters are strong even those with minor parts to play. There are a lot of characters but I had no trouble keeping them straight.

The descriptions of Singapore, 1910, are vivid and I could tell the author was familiar with the setting and had researched it greatly.  It was no surprise when her biography stated she had lived there. Her words definitely transported this reader back in time to a place I knew very little about. She even captured the weather and makes her readers feel it. I was sweating in sympathy for the characters.

The mystery was an imaginative jewel. Precisely plotted, with culture and time are clearly portrayed. The pace had a slow build but really picked up about halfway in. The story was complex with twist after twist. The ending was suspenseful and kept me on my toes until everything was revealed.

Singapore Sapphire was an extraordinary read and I am looking forward to my next adventure with Harri and the good inspector. This series is off to an excellent start.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About A.M. Stuart 

Australian author, A.M. Stuart, learned her passion for history from her father and began her writing career halfway up a tree in the school playground where she wrote her first (unpublished) historical romance.

There have been many published, and multi award-nominated, historical romances (writing as Alison Stuart) since then but her first love has always been historical mystery.

Born in Kenya, her family came to Australia when she was ten years old. As an adult, she lived in Singapore for a number of years, where the idea for the Harriet Gordon Mysteries first crystallized.

In her life outside writing, she enjoyed a varied career as a lawyer in a wide number of fields including the military (where she held the rank of Major) and as a senior executive in the fire services.

The first of The Harriet Gordon Mysteries, SINGAPORE SAPPHIRE, was published by Berkley in August 2019.

Readers can connect with A.M. Stuart at her Facebook page, Twitter or subscribe to her newsletter.


Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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.

Follow Berkley Mystery on Twitter for 2 Bonus Entries!

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

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

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

Contest Will End September 12, 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.”

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A Small Town Can Be #Murder (Whistle Stop Mysteries) by Julie Seedorf Get Your Copy Today!
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