Posted in 2022 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours You Read How Many Books Challenge

Shielding the Tiny Target (Love Inspired Suspense) by Deena Alexander #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @DeenaAlexanderA


Shielding the Tiny Target (Love Inspired Suspense)
by Deena Alexander

About Shielding the Tiny Target

Shielding the Tiny Target (Love Inspired Suspense)
Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Setting – Long Island New York
Love Inspired Suspense (July 26, 2022)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1335587187
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1335587183
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09N7QBRJR

A little girl in peril…

And a killer in pursuit

Accepting help from Jack Moretta is widow Ava Colburn’s last chance after her late husband’s killers track her down and target her little girl. But after years on the run, it’s hard to trust anyone else with their lives—and even harder to trust Jack with her secrets. Could he be just what this little family needs to put the deadly past behind them?

From Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Ava Colburn thought she was safe but somehow her husband’s killers have found her and threatened to hurt her little girl, Missy. After all these years it is hard to trust anyone with their true story. Like her husband Liam, Jack Moretta is a firefighter. Jack not only came to her rescue but also saved a fellow firefighter. Is he a man she can trust with her secrets? Or is it time to disappear again?


The story kicks off with a hair-raising event followed by a heart-stopping event so that I as a reader was all in before I even reached the end of the first chapter.

Ava does her best to be a strong independent woman and the best mom she can be to Missy. She has made several friends since she came to town but none of them know her whole story. Jack knows there is a lot more to tell but he doesn’t push until things get more dire. He is in town himself for a family matter but will return to the NYFD as soon as some arrangements are made. He is a man who leans heavily on his faith in God for the correct path to follow while Ava has lost her faith after all she has been through. This story is filled with good people except for a couple who are in from out of town. I loved how many layers the characters had and the genuine outpouring of wanting to help.

The mystery gets pretty intense and sets a fast pace as Ava tries to find something with bad guys nipping at her heels. There are some definite clues to follow and some dangerous situations all of which kept me on the edge of my seat.

You know if you are reading a book from this publisher there is going to be love and romance along with the suspense and Ms. Alexander blends everything together with an expert hand. Readers get involved in the characters’ lives and hope there will be a happy ending.

Shielding the Tiny Target is a stand-alone book that was impossible to put down. Courage. Danger. Faith. This book has it all. It is a Perfect Escape that I think fans of romance entangled with suspense will love.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Deena Alexander

Deena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, where she met and married her high school sweetheart. She recently relocated to Florida with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Now she enjoys long walks in nature all year long, despite the occasional alligator or snake she sometimes encounters. Deena’s love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night, and she now works full-time as a writer and a freelance editor.

Author Links

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS
August 1 – Baroness Book Trove – 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.”

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

A Death in Eden: A Novel (A Sean Stranahan Mystery) by Keith McCafferty #Review / #Giveaway @penguinusa

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.


A Death in Eden: A Novel (A Sean Stranahan Mystery)
Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Montana
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin Books (July 3, 2018)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 317 pages
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B077CTG2B5

When scarecrows appear in the cliffs above Montana’s famous Smith River and a little girl reports being chased by one in the night, state investigator Harold Little Feather is brought in to find the culprit.  Are the menacing effigies related to a copper-mining project that threatens the purity of the Smith? That’s Harold’s initial suspicion, but his investigation takes an ominous turn when a decapitated body is found in the river.

As Harold’s search leads him back in time through the canyon’s history, Sean Stranahan launches his raft upriver. He has been hired to guide a floating party that includes Clint McCaine, the manager of the mine project; Bart Trueblood, the president of “Save The Smith,” a grassroots organization devoted to stopping the project; and the documentarian filming their arguments. McCaine and Trueblood grew up on the Smith on neighboring ranches, and as they travel downstream, it’s revealed that the two share a past that runs much deeper and darker than their opposing viewpoints.

The currents of the seemingly unrelated trips will soon flow together, and Stranahan’s long-time love Sheriff Martha Ettinger will enter the fray as the boats hurtle toward a date with danger at a place called Table Rock.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There is something strange happening along the Smith River in Montana. Several scarecrows have been erected on the cliffs above the endangered waterway. Is someone putting them up to protest the proposed copper-mining project or is there something else going on. After a little girl claims to have been chased by one of the scarecrows State Investigator Harold Little Feather is brought in to put the matter to rest. Instead, his investigation turns up a headless body floating in the river.

While Investigator Little Feather digs deep into the canyon’s history to find answers, our protagonist Sean Stranahan is hired to guide a floating party down the river. The party includes the manager of the mine project, Clint McCaine, and the president of “Save the Smith”, Bart Trueblood, his group is trying everything to stop the mine project. They are joined by a documentarian who is filming their journey down the river and their arguments about the project.

Soon Sean’s group and Harold Little Feather come together and Sheriff Martha Ettinger joins them as they set up for a dangerous showdown.


I have enjoyed this series from the start and am a huge fan of the author’s laid-back writing style. From casting a line in the water to the characters traversing up, down, and around the river and its cliffs everything just comes to life. You can almost hear the rush of the water, smell the smoke from the campfires, and reach out and touch the cliffs.  Mr. McCafferty does this better than many other authors that I have read. He really takes his readers on the journey.

This time our characters are a ways away from home and we meet several new characters with their own agendas. Harold Little Feather really shares the spotlight with Sean and Martha this time. He had expected a pretty low-key investigation so he invited the son he barely knows to meet up with him for the trip for a bit of bonding. I enjoyed getting to know him better and meeting his son very much. The acidic documentarian, Lillian Cartwright, brings her own drama to the situation. Anything to make a name for herself as she tees up “discussions” between McCaine and Trueblood. But there is a dark underbelly to this story. Someone has a score to settle and will go to any lengths to get what they want.

I was really drawn into this book by so many things. The fact that the scarecrows were located by ancient petroglyphs left by Native Americans. The history of it all was very captivating along with the mystery of Why? The Smith River itself and that people wait years for their names to be drawn in a lottery for the opportunity to float down the famous river. The dangers faced when you stop to camp like wild animals and rattlesnakes and other humans as well. All the character’s interactions were so enjoyable to observe.

The author’s keen wit can be felt throughout the story. Especially when it comes to Sean and Martha. Where will their relationship lead? I wonder if we will ever know but until then they do this unique dance throughout each story. One thing I do know is that they have each other’s back. When the bullets start to fly or a threatening menace arrives on the scene they will pull out all the stops to rescue each other and save the good people caught in the chaos. This time I was right up to the very edge of my seat and I am surprised there wasn’t smoke pouring out of my Kindle as everything came to a head.

A Death in Eden has become my favorite book in the series so far. Keith McCafferty is a superb storyteller. So much happens within the pages of this book it is almost impossible to put down while you are reading and it is a story that will stick with you long after you reach the end.

*Note the story does contain some explicit language.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

Keith McCafferty is the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor of Field & Stream. He has written articles for publications as diverse as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Mother Earth News, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, and on subjects ranging from mosquitoes to wolves to mercenaries and exorcism. Based in Montana and working on assignment around the globe–he recently spent a month in India trekking the Himalayas, fishing for golden mahseer, and studying tigers–Keith has won numerous awards, including the Robert Traver Award for angling literature. He has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award. Find out more about Keith and his books on his webpage here.



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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Special Guest – Patrick Kelly – Author of The Overlook Murder: A Wintergreen Mystery #AuthorInterview #Review / #Giveaway @pkfiction Great Escapes Book Tour


The Overlook Murder: A Wintergreen Mystery
by Patrick Kelly


It is my pleasure to welcome Patrick Kelly
to Escape With Dollycas today!

Hi Patrick! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Virginia and wrote my first short story in the second grade. After a long career in finance, I began writing popular fiction in my fifties. My wife and I live in Austin, Texas, but spend our summers in Wintergreen, Virginia. Wintergreen is the setting for The Overlook Murder. We have a terrier-mix rescue dog named Sebastian who often appears in my Instagram posts.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Before sitting down to write a new book, I’ll ruminate on the basic plot idea for six months or longer. During that time, I will take notes now and again and also do some casual background research. When constructing the outline for the story, I’ll keep a list of open items that need further research. The actual research process—which happens largely online—will take two or three days. For my current work-in-progress—Murder in White—I’ve learned a lot about drones and the hiking trails around Wintergreen, Virginia.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

Not yet. On days when I don’t feel like writing, I force myself to sit at the computer and construct sentences until I’ve reached my daily word target. This works well for me. Occasionally, I’ll hit a stretch where I crank out page after page of entertaining prose, but I can never forecast when that will happen. If I skip the days where I start off feeling blah, I’ll lose unexpected spurts of productivity.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Spend some time thinking about your goal for writing and publishing a book. Is this a bucket list item? Are you one and done? If so, read some books and blog posts about writing a novel and have at it. Be prepared to invest a thousand hours, and perhaps many more, to finish a novel you are proud to share with your friends and family.

However, if you want to write a book that makes money, spend a lot of time studying the business of publishing before you write your novel. This could take six months or longer. As a part of that process, carefully select your sub-genre (preferably a hot one with tons of voracious readers), read the most popular books in that sub-genre, and plan how you will write a novel that is similar to the others but better.

When you are not writing what do you like to do?

Travel. My wife and I have driven across the continental US twice in the last ten years. We take the dog with us. The US is a beautiful country and best enjoyed on foot or from a car. If I’m at home in Wintergreen, I enjoy nature hikes and visiting local antique stores and wineries. Nelson County, Virginia, is absolutely gorgeous.

Did the COVID pandemic affect you and your writing?

We stopped traveling during the first year of COVID, which led to an increase in my productivity; however, once things began to open up again, we wanted to go out all the time, which reduced my daily word count. All in all, the pandemic has not had a significant impact on the number of books I’ve published. We’ve been lucky so far in not contracting the virus. Some folks say we’ll all get it sooner or later. I’ll take later, thank you.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Paris. I went through a Hemingway phase in college and visited the City of Lights soon thereafter. Now, many years older, I would love to return. My dream is to live in Paris for four months and write a mystery featuring an American sleuth. Perhaps Bill O’Shea should win the lottery and move to Paris to take a French immersion course.

What is next on the horizon for you?

I’ve begun writing the third novel in the Wintergreen Mystery Series. In Murder in White, Bill O’Shea and his friends must try to solve a mystery in the middle of a raging snowstorm. The release date is scheduled for November 15, 2022.

Oh! That sounds like it is going to be a great read! 

Thank you Patrick for stopping by today!

Now keep reading for my thoughts about The Overlook Murder.

About The Overlook Murder 

The Overlook Murder: A Wintergreen Mystery
Cozy Mystery/Police Procedural 
2nd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Chaparral Press LLC (May 14, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1734239247
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1734239249
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09ZSTSWCD

It’s a short walk to the overlook but a long way down.

The rich entrepreneur Damian Susskind has recently survived a heart attack and quintuple bypass surgery. Suddenly aware of his own mortality, Damian summons his family and friends to Wintergreen to share the latest plans for his will. Unfortunately for Damian, one of those in attendance bears him malicious intent, and by the end of the day, Damian is dead.

Retired police detective Bill O’Shea is asked to help the short-staffed Wintergreen police department investigate an accidental death. Forensic evidence soon convinces Bill that this was no accident. There is plenty of motive to go around and more than a few suspects–the difficulty is tying a single killer to the crime. Will Bill and his friends solve the case, or will a Wintergreen murderer go free?

If you love beautiful mountain settings, a charming cast, and intriguing plot twists, you’re going to love the Wintergreen Mystery Series!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Wintergreen, Virginia where retired police detective Bill O’Shea is called in to assist in another investigation. Did the owner of the Fair Game sporting goods Damian Susskind fall to his death at the overlook on the Old Appalachian Trail? Or was he pushed? Is there more to the story? The rich entrepreneur had ticked several people off when he gathered his family and friends for a day-long retreat to convey his plan for the company and a big change to his will.

Following the evidence, Bill believes the man’s death was no accident. Working with the team he will have to work hard to catch the killer, especially because everyone including the caterers could have means, motive, and opportunity. Oh, and Cindy, Bill’s girlfriend’s company is the caterer for the retreat and Bill was assisting her that day.


As in the first book of this series, The Mountain View Murder, Bill O’Shea is a strong protagonist. He has the skills needed to solve a murder case, but he is also such a nice man. He never has an agenda and genuinely wants to help by following the evidence to get to the truth. Alex Sharp, the interim chief of police really has to lean on Bill because he is a real estate guy with no police experience. The small force includes Wintergreen Police Officer Mitch Gentry who is new to the force and Krista Jackson, the communications officer is new as well. Bill is a great mentor for these young people. Bill also helps his girlfriend Cindy with her catering crew. Cindy’s son Justin also is helping out until he leaves to join the Coast Guard and Cindy has recently hired an assistant Maddie Katz. Maddie and Justin may be starting a relationship. Again, Bill gets along with everyone. All these characters feel true to life.

We are also introduced the Damian Susskind and his staff. Prior to suffering a heart attack and recovering from quintuple bypass surgery the man was very involved in his business and his staff’s business including their personal lives. He only had one living relative, his stepdaughter, Lacey. She attended the retreat but she works for the Charlotte Department of Social Services.  So he felt she and his staff were his family. He butted into their lives whenever he wished and he lauded his money over them. Threatening to change his will at any time. These characters had a real edge. They are smart and out for themselves.

There was one character though that really turned me off this time. I know Cindy was dealing with some things in this story with her son leaving and her staff being questioned about their client’s death but she came off as a first-class witch and mean. She was extremely short with Bill several times and was degrading to him and the Coast Guard in one instance so much that I was absolutely shocked. She was then surprised that Bill walked out. I wanted him to run and never look back. She is not the right woman for him and never will be. I hope she is absent from any future books in this series.

The mystery put forth was handled very methodically but in an interesting way. Waiting for word from the medical examiner and several test results, Bill talked to everyone involved in the case, some tangentially. Some several times. He even sent up a reenactment to work through what the suspects had said. He let Mitch and Krista do their part with gentle guidance. Because of this, the story had a very even pace. The author plotted out this story so well. I was totally entertained by the pursuit of the truth and everything it took to get there. His descriptive writing style is excellent for this type of book. I enjoyed the way his words take us right out on the trails and inside the investigation.

As a side note, there is a cute little subplot involving Bill and Mr. Chips, the neighborhood groundhog that I absolutely loved. It also involved an encounter with another animal that was scary but so funny too!

The Overlook Murder was a fine addition to this series. I hope to travel to Wintergreen again in November and catch up with Bill O’Shea in Murder in White.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Patrick Kelly

Pat Kelly was raised in Yorktown, Virginia, graduated from UVA, and left the state to pursue a corporate career. After settling in Texas, Pat married Susie, and together they raised two daughters in the awesome city of Austin. With the girls now grown and gone, Pat has pursued a lifelong love of writing stories.

Pat has written eight novels–books one and two in the Wintergreen Mystery Series, the Joe Robbins Series of five suspense thrillers, and one standalone novel of historical fiction (The Sheila Stories)

Pat is the winner of a Beverly Hills Book Award and a silver medalist for the Wishing Shelf Book Awards for adult fiction. He serves as Membership Chair of the Heart of Texas Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Author Links

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TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
June 15 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
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Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Flashback Friday TBR Pile Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

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

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


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

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

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

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

An Edgar Award nominee.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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

The Dark Corners Collection

About the Author

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

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

 

 

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

Family Money by Chad Zunker #Review @chadzunker


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

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

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

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

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

Dollycas’s Thoughts

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


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

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

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

 

About the Author

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

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

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

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The Recovery Agent: (A Gabriela Rose Novel) by Janet Evanovich #Review

Available Today!


The Recovery Agent: (A Gabriela Rose Novel)
Humorous Fiction/Women Sleuths/Suspense
1st in Series
Setting – Peru – Costa Rica – New York – California – South Carolina
Atria Books (March 22, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1982154918
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1982154912
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08LDXJC6N

Lost something? Gabriela Rose knows how to get it back. As a recovery agent, she’s hired by individuals and companies seeking lost treasures, stolen heirlooms, or missing assets of any kind. She’s reliable, cool under pressure, and well trained in weapons of all types. But Gabriela’s latest job isn’t for some bamboozled billionaire, it’s for her own family, whose home is going to be wiped off the map if they can’t come up with a lot of money fast.

Inspired by an old family legend, Gabriela sets off for the jungles of Peru in pursuit of the Ring of Solomon and the lost treasure of Lima. But this particular job comes with a huge problem attached to it—Gabriela’s ex-husband, Rafer. It’s Rafer who has the map that possibly points the way to the treasure, and he’s not about to let Gabriela find it without him.

Rafer is as relaxed as Gabriela is driven, and he has a lifetime’s experience getting under his ex-wife’s skin. But when they aren’t bickering about old times the two make a formidable team, and it’s going to take a team to defeat the vicious drug lord who has also been searching for the fabled ring. A drug lord who doesn’t mind leaving a large body count behind him to get it.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Recovery Agent Gabriela Rose finds lost treasures and she is an expert at what she does. Now it is her own family that needs her help. Their town has been destroyed by a recent storm and they have to act fast if they are going to save it. According to an old family legend, they are connected to the Lost Treasure of Lima which includes The Ring of Solomon. Finding it could bring a huge payout for her family. She agrees to use her talents to find it but first, she needs to locate the map she needs to start her quest. That means she needs to go to the home her ex-husband received in the divorce. As soon as he learns of her plans he decides to accompany her on the adventure. In between fighting like an old married couple and fighting off a dangerous drug lord they do make a pretty good team. Now they just need to find the treasure and live long enough to save the little South Carolina town where they grew up.


Snakes! Snakes!! SNAKES!!!

I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series so I was excited to see her take on another strong woman’s adventures. She exceeded all my expectations. Gabriela Rose is a fantastic protagonist with guts and grit. She is strong, smart, determined, and courageous. A female Indiana Jones! She goes into places most people can’t even imagine and she absolutely loves it. She is joined on her current quest by her ex-husband Rafer. He is strong and smart as well but a bit of a slob. He is “disturbingly hot” though at “six feet two and nicely muscled”. They have their issues but they have each other’s back and make a terrific team. They also take their family’s needs to heart and it drives them to succeed. I really like these characters and am anxious to see how their relationship continues to play out as the series continues.

They travel to the jungles of Peru and Costa Rica and on to California to find their treasure with side stops in New York and South Carolina and come in contact with a variety of people. Some very bad people who have no problem killing people to get what they want or people at random. Some mostly good people who want to help them but have questionable occupations and histories. Then you have the SNAKES!!  They seem to be everywhere. The human characters are very well crafted. Some are slimy as the snakes while others will have you rooting for them along the way.

This story is a true adventure and action-packed, I was completely captivated by the history of the missing treasure and how many people had searched and were still searching for it.  I really enjoyed the underwater descriptions but each place Gabriela and Rafer traveled was wonderfully described to paint a vivid picture. You would never catch me on a trip to most of these places but I sure had a good time tagging along virtually with these characters, well except for the snakes.

Ms. Evanovich threw in some fantastic twists. With all the explosions and bullets flying the suspense was kept at a high level. A gripping novel it was almost impossible to put down. I only took two very short breaks and stayed up late to finish it all in one sitting not even worrying about the book hangover I would have the next day.

It wouldn’t be an Evanovich novel without her signature humor and this book has it in spades. Whether in the downtime or in the most stressful situations she places the funny absolutely perfectly.

The Recovery Agent was a spectacular story and a sensational debut for this series. I am looking forward to many more escapades with Gabriela Rose. This one was entertaining and fun and I can’t wait for more. Maybe with fewer Snakes! You will find The Recovery Agent on my Best Reads List for 2022. Did I mention there were a lot of snakes?

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Over the last twenty-five years, #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich has written a staggering twenty-five novels in the Stephanie Plum series. In addition to the Plum novels, Janet has co-authored the New York Times bestselling Fox and O’Hare series, the Knight and Moon series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, the Alexandra Barnaby novels, and the graphic novel, Troublemaker (with her daughter, Alex Evanovich).

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Also by Janet Evanovich




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

Posted in 2022 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Casino Queen (Night Hawk Casino Series) by Cara Bertoia #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @CaraBertoia

Casino Queen (Night Hawk Casino Series)
by Cara Bertoia

About Casino Queen


Casino Queen (Night Hawk Casino Series)
Cozy Mystery/Romantic Suspense
1st in Series
Setting – California
Wild Rose Press (March 16, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 260 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1509240918
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1509240913
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09PJWMG9Z

Caroline Popov, alone, heartbroken, and deeply in debt ends up in glamorous Palm Springs, California where Native casinos have just opened, offering employment to thousands. She lands a job at the Palm Oasis Casino where she is mentored by the charismatic tribal chairman, John Tovar.

Embraced by casino culture, Caroline works her way up to casino manager of the Night Hawk, in the High Desert of Southern California. There, she is responsible for managing multicultural team members, satisfying the demands of often unique guests, and growing revenue while rooting out corruption.

In the process of rediscovering her inner strength, she learns, you have to gamble like your life depends on it. Because it often does.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

After traveling to Russia with her husband Andrei, Caroline’s life implodes when he tells her their real estate business in Palm Springs is underwater in debt. He begs her to stay with him in Russia but she returns to California to face the creditors and deal with the fallout. To handle to immense tax debt her friend, John Tovar hires her to work at his tribe’s casinos. She soon finds herself promoted to casino manager at the Night Hawk Casino with the direction to update the place and grow it to be all it can be. But she also has to watch over the staff. Being around the amounts of money her employees see can quickly lead to corruption.


I started reading Casino Queen and could not put the book down. I stayed up late because the story had a slow build that grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Soon the story became so surprising and suspenseful the pages were flying so fast there should have been steam coming out of my Kindle.

Caroline Popov is a character with depth. She uses her keen observations skills to keep the guests of the casino happy and her employees honest. Sadly she does make a few enemies when she needs to ban some guests and fire a few employees. She has a huge heart so those actions weren’t easy but she can’t turn her back on out of control behavior or illegal acts. She also loves her husband dearly but couldn’t abide his actions. She fights hard to always do the right thing and at times that takes a lot of courage. The more I read the more I loved this character and became invested in everything about her and what she faced.

The author draws on her vast knowledge of casinos to give her readers a real beyond-the-scenes look at a place full of bells and whistles. From the slot machines, blackjack tables, money counters, and dealers, to the restaurants and security offices and personnel she goes into depth on it all. We also get to travel the desert to Caroline’s cozy home. The desert setting was great for this story. The desolate area was eerie at the right times and beautiful in others. I really enjoyed Ms. Bertoia’s descriptions. I felt like I was following right in Caroline’s footsteps.

Casino Queen was not what I expected from reading the synopsis, it was so much more. The casino culture was both interesting and intriguing. Add to that some mystery, suspense, and romance and you have an absolutely Perfect Escape. In the end, everything in this story appears to be wrapped up nicely. I am really excited to see where the author takes Caroline next.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Cara Bertoia

Growing up in a strait-laced Southern family, I was always fascinated with casinos. In my twenties on a summer hiatus from teaching in North Carolina, I drove to California and became a dealer at Caesars in Lake Tahoe. Well, I can tell you that after teaching high school, handling an unruly gambler was a piece of cake. My mother highly disapproved of my working in a casino, “a place so bad it has ‘sin’ in the middle.”

Eventually, I succumbed to pressure from the family and returned east to take a high-tech job in Boston. I also began working on my MFA in writing at Emerson. I wanted to write the first realistic novel about casino life from the perspective of an experienced table games dealer. I am always amazed that normal and sometimes quite intelligent players become absolutely clueless in the casino. They repeat superstitious nonsense and no amount of logic can change their position, maybe my novel will.

While in Boston I was offered the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. Jumping at the chance, I spent the next five years circling the globe. Sometimes life exceeds your dreams. I was awed by the wonders of Venice, the fjords of Norway, and the Northern Lights in Leningrad.

I returned from ships with a very special souvenir, my Scottish husband Ray. We went to work at the Spa Casino in Palm Springs. We now live in Hollywood, Florida, where I write about my casino years while wistfully gazing out at the ocean.

I love to see any of you out there reading Casino Queen. Send me a picture to carabertoia@yahoom.com and I will post it on social media. 

Thank you, Cara B

Author Links

Cara Bertoia’s Blog    Twitter     Cara Bertoia – Author (godaddysites.com) Cara Bertoia (@carabertoia) • Instagram photos and videos     Facebook   TikTok:  tiktok.com/@carabertoia

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

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

The Match by Harlan Coben #Review


The Match
Domestic Crime Thriller
2nd in Wilde Series
Setting – New Jersey
Grand Central Publishing (March 15, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1538748282
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1538748282
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B096RVLPV8

From the creator of the #1 hit Netflix series Stay Close comes a gripping new thriller in which Wilde follows a tip that may finally reveal the truth behind his abandonment—only to end up in the sights of a ruthless killer.

After months away, Wilde has returned to the Ramapo Mountains in the wake of a failed bid at domesticity that confirms what he’s known all along: He belongs on his own, free from the comforts and constraints of modern life.

Suddenly, a DNA match on an online ancestry database brings Wilde closer to his past than he’s ever dreamed, and finally gives Wilde the opening he needs to track down his father. But meeting the man brings up more questions than answers. So Wilde reaches out to his last, most desperate lead, a second cousin who disappears as quickly as he resurfaces, having experienced an epic fall from grace that can only be described as a waking nightmare.

Was his cousin’s downfall a long time coming? Or was he the victim of a conspiracy as cunning as it is complex? And how does it all connect to the man once known as The Stranger, a treacherous fugitive with a growing following whose mission and methods have only turned more dangerous with time?

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

We first met Wilde in The Boy From The Woods. He has tried the domestic life and failed. He now returns from Costa Rica to the Ramapo Mountains to his mainly solitary life in the woods. Then he receives news of a DNA match at one of the many ancestry sites. Will this match be what he needs to find the answers he has been searching for? Will he finally find out how he ended up in the woods alone? or will his search be thwarted by uncooperative relatives? or sources outside his control? And how will his connections affect others?


I am so happy Mr. Coben has returned to add to Wilde’s story. Hester Crimstein, Laila, Matthew, Sutton, and Oren have all returned as well. But we are introduced to a group of new characters as well that all connect with Wilde’s life in some way. A character from one of Coben’s other books makes an appearance too. All the characters develop nicely over the course of the story in good ways and bad. It was intriguing to see the relationships evolve, expand and play out.

While Wilde searches for his biological connections he comes up against cyberbullying, internet bots and trolls, vigilantes, a reality show and its fallout, a missing person or two, murders, and a search for a serial killer. Wilde also reconnects with people very important in his life. The pace isn’t fast as much as it is constant, there is always something happening, drama somewhere. Coben plotted this story out precisely. His descriptions of time and place allowed the reader to be right in the middle of every scene.  I did find the DNA information and explanations very interesting.

As a mom, I did have issues with the way a key event played out and was explained. The character’s actions just didn’t feel right and were accepted too easily. Maybe this will be addressed if there is a third book in this series. I hope so. I was loving the book until this point and it really stopped me in my tracks. This is the first time I will be giving this author who is one of my favorite authors less than 5 stars.

The Match was an enjoyable read with plenty of twists and a huge surprise of a reveal. The author does give enough information about Wilde for this book to be read on its own but I feel you should really read The Boy From The Woods first because you will meet Wilde and know his story from the start but it is also an excellent and compelling read. One of my Best Reads of 2020.

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About the Author

Harlan Coben is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of the world’s leading storytellers. His suspense novels are published in forty-five languages and have been number one bestsellers in more than a dozen countries, with seventy-five million books in print worldwide. His Myron Bolitar series has earned the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, and five of his books have been developed into Netflix original series, including his adaptation of The StrangerThe InnocentGone for GoodThe Woods, and Stay Close, which was released on December 31, 2021. He lives in New Jersey.

Find out more about Harlan Coben and his books 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 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery by Andrew Shaffer #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.


Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery
Mystery/Humorous
1st in Series
Setting – Delaware
Quirk Books; First Edition (July 10, 2018)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1683690397
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683690399
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B075HY5NPF

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama team up in this high-stakes thriller that combines a mystery worthy of Watson and Holmes with the laugh-out-loud bromantic chemistry of Lethal Weapon’s Murtaugh and Riggs.
 
Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted: the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

Dollycas Thoughts

Joe Biden is trying to adjust to life after his term as Vice President and his life seems quite boring when compared to his best friend who seems to be jet-setting around the world and living the high life.  But when Amtrack Joe learns from the former President that one of his favorite railroad conductors has died a gruesome suspicious death they decide to work together to get justice for a man Joe thought he knew pretty darn well. What they are saying about him just doesn’t add up and Joe is determined to prove it.


Oh, my stars! Why did I wait so long to read this book? I had snapped it up soon after it came out and it had been languishing on my To-Be-Read shelf ever since. Seeing it was set in Delaware instead of Washington like I first thought I moved it up the stack to help me hopefully complete my Literary Escapes Challenge this year.

Told from the former VP’s viewpoint we are taken on a fabulous journey involving serious topics but in a way that will have you laughing out loud.

The world-famous bromance had hit a bit of a bump in the road until tragedy strikes and brings the dynamic duo back together in an adventure that takes them to the deep dark underbelly of the state Joe calls home. Filled with edge of your seat moments and hilarious interludes this book was very hard to put down.

I am amazed to learn that Hope Never Dies is Andrew Shaffer’s first mystery although not his first humorous work. He has blended both together in this novel masterfully. He has really caught his character’s essence. Biden’s stories and one-liners which we now know even better now that he is President, and Obama’s wit and style clearly shine within these pages. I also love the few cameo appearances of Jill Biden. She knows Joe and seems totally unphased by whatever he has gotten himself into.

The one word that comes to mind about the author’s treatment of the characters and the situations is clever. While the death and the crimes that take place could be very real he has cleverly put two of the most well-known people in the world into the position of detectives but I use the term of detectives very loosely.

If you are looking for a fantastic escape, look no further than Hope Never Dies because readers are truly taken on an escapade. 5 Stars! A Perfect Escape!!!

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Andrew Shaffer is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books. He lives with his wife, novelist Tiffany Reisz, in Lexington, Kentucky, where he teaches at the non-profit Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. This is his debut mystery.

 

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*This book was from my private collection.

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Mystery in the Hill by Aaron Qualio #Review


Mystery in the Hill
Mystery/Thriller Short Read
Setting – Wisconsin
Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. (March 13, 2021)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 79 pages
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08YXG27JG

A small Wisconsin town is shaken to its core when four high school boys stumble upon an unexpected discovery. As past and present secrets are exposed, more unsolved mysteries are revealed, leading to more danger than anyone could have ever imagined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Set in 1997 four teenagers uncover quite a find. A find that will rock their world and change their lives forever as the past and present collide in a heartwrenching way. Ashbelle Wisconsin will now have a deadly history that started in 1944 and culminated in 1997.


I was contacted to read and review this book by a publicist who saw I like to support and feature Wisconsin authors. She told me this book was written during the pandemic by a man who was reflecting on his small-town life and how it affected him in big ways. I have to say that really came through in this story. His descriptions took me back to a simpler life in a small town. While I was older in 1997 than the teenagers in this book I could relate to their high school lives. Their friendships, actions, interactions, and curiosities were very familiar. I had a much harder time relating to the people from the past. Their choices and actions gave me chills.  Because of the emotions invoked by both time periods, I would say the author did a fine job of telling this story.

Reading the first chapter 1 was unsure if this was a story for me but by the end of chapter 2, my own curiosity was building, and mid-way through chapter 3 I was completely engaged. With each subsequent chapter, my reading pace increased. I liked that the chapters went back and forth between time periods wrapping up with the final chapter set in 2015. It gave the story a good rhythm and pace.

Mr. Qualio’s Mystery in the Hill introduced very interesting characters and stunning situations. The short novella length suited the story very well giving a true, ripped from the headlines kind of story feel. This appears to be his first novel and it has piqued my interest and has me wondering what he will write next. Reading his book was a great way to spend an evening. I look forward to more from this author.

*Does include some explicit language.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About the Author 

Aaron Qualio is the author of ‘Mystery in the Hill’, rated a #1 Amazon best-selling book. Aaron is a husband and a stay-at-home dad to two girls. He resides in Green Bay, WI, and grew up in a small Wisconsin town, where much of his inspirations come from.

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.”