Thursday, January 31, 2013

Printed Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Printed Books Giveaway Hop!

There will be a different book given away at each of the stops. At the bottom of this post are all the sites participating in the book hop. Make sure to visit (and follow) everyone and enter their giveaways :)

So, on to my part in the hop!

I'm giving away three fun titles...Undead and Unappreciated by Mary Janice Davidson, Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells, and A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Simply leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you, and if you choose to follow my blog I'll enter you twice. Good luck and have fun!!!

Cat Thursday - The Beauty of Tara

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s) and then link up at the host's site: The True Book Addict.

It's all for the love of cats!

One of my favorite photos of Tara that I think shows how beautiful her little face is. I'm her Mommy and extremely partial but I just think she's the most perfect fur baby in the world :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Dare Me Date by Tonya Kappes

Blurb: Jozy doesn't want to be alone on Valentine's Day. . .again! Especially since she lives in Floral, Wisconsin, one of the most romantic small town in the United States. 

Maddie, Jozy's long time best friend, dares Jozy to be someone she's not in order to catch the eye of a very handsome stranger.

Will Jozy take the dare so she doesn't have to be alone on Valentine's Day or is the joke on her?

My Review: Another fun read from Tonya Kappes and her Small Town Romance Short Story series, this one set on Valentine's Day. These delectable morsels will whet your appetite for the next full-length book from the amazing Ms Kappes...grab a box of chocolates and immerse yourself in a romantic tale of a love that was meant to be.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Linda O. Johnston's Oodles of Poodles Book Tour

My name is Linda O. Johnston, and among other things I write the Pet Rescue Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. It’s a spinoff from my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries. Do you sense a theme here? I love animals! And I definitely enjoy writing about them.

At home, I’m owned by two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Lexie and Mystie, who love giving me orders. And lying on my lap as I write.

But I don’t always obey them. At least once a week, they recognize by the scent on my clothing that I’ve been disloyal to them. That’s when I come home from volunteering at Pet Orphans of Southern California, a great private pet shelter in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley.

When I started writing the Pet Rescue Mysteries, I visited a lot of animal shelters both here in Los Angelesand in places I visited, such as one in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, and another in Vancouver, Canada. I wanted to learn all I could about how they rescued and rehomed pets.

I knew that a huge number of animals that wound up in shelters, primarily the public ones, were killed each year because there was not enough room to keep them all. That never made sense to me. If people acted responsibly and had their pets spayed or neutered--unless, of course, they bred them intentionally and made sure that all the offspring had good homes where they, too, would be spayed or neutered appropriately--then all the shelters would be able to put themselves out of business.

Of course things don’t work that way. I’ve learned a lot over the years. People don’t necessarily behave responsibly. There is a difference, at least in the L.A. area, about how public versus private shelters can take in animals. The public shelters generally take them all in and have policies about how long they generally keep them if they aren’t claimed by their owners, adopted, or taken in by private shelters. If they can’t keep them any longer, those animals are, unfortunately, killed.

Private shelters here cannot take in strays, since, presumably, owners who lose their pets are more likely to go to public shelters to try to find them. And in a perfect world, all those lost pets would be microchipped so their owners could be notified quickly--and for that reason alone strays can be brought to private shelters so they can be checked for chips. But I digress.

Pet Orphans, as many private shelters, conducts rescues at the public shelters to take in dogs and cats that might otherwise be in danger of losing their lives. Animals that seem likely to find new homes fast are the preference, since that way more pets can be saved. Private shelters here can also take in owner surrenders if they have room.

I’ve learned a lot volunteering at Pet Orphans, where I’m a dog adoption counselor, among other things. That means I have the great enjoyment of taking people who come to the shelter to meet the dogs who are there and, hopefully, introduce our visitors to their next family member.

Now, although I currently only volunteer at Pet Orphans, I also visit other local shelters whenever possible--both to educate myself and to see what’s going on. Recently, a new store opened up in Studio City, near where I live, that’s called Lucky Puppy--and it not only sells pet products, but it also rescues and rehomes dogs!

In my Pet Rescue Mysteries, my protagonist Lauren Vancouver is the chief administrator at HotRescues, a private no-kill shelter in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. There are different definitions, of course, of “no-kill” and in my stories there is always a happy ending for the animals, even if they don’t get adopted right away. They’ll have a loving home forever, if necessary, at HotRescues. The Pet Rescue Mysteries are fictional in other ways, too. For example, HotRescues is never hurting for funds. That’s because it was founded and supported by Dante DeFrancisco, a wealthy pet supplies mogul. Of course, the Pet Rescue Mysteries are murder mysteries, so even though the animals may turn out fine at least one person gets murdered in each story, and Lauren has to help figure out who the killer is. Therefore, I always say that, in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people!

I continue to learn as I volunteer and will often use what I can in my stories. For example, I hope to have a novella published soon that talks about NKLA - “No Kill L.A.” - part of No Kill Nation, a movement to try to end the killing of animals in all shelters.

My new Pet Rescue Mystery, OODLES OF POODLES, takes place in the film industry. It’s sort of a story within a story, since it’s about a movie being filmed about rescued poodles, starring-- you’ve got it!--rescued poodles! Lauren gets involved because of those cherished and adorable poodles. She’s also involved because Dante is one of the film’s co-producers. Lauren visits the film sets often on his behalf--and also to observe how the dogs are being treated. Also present is a Certified Animal Safety Representative™ of the American Humane Association, which is the only group that can provide the coveted “No Animals Were Harmed”® designation --their registered trademark. One night the director, who had been endangering the poodles during the filming, is run over by a car. Murdered. The chief suspect is Lauren’s good friend, veterinarian and TV personality Dr. Carlie Stellan. Of course Lauren has to find the real murderer and solve the crime to help Carlie... and the dogs.

If you love animals, I hope you’ll take a look at the Pet Rescue Mysteries. There’s an underlying message in them about saving animals, but I don’t believe in browbeating my readers with it. The stories are cozy mysteries!

Even so... why not consider volunteering at one of your local shelters? I’m glad I do. Oh, and by the way, Pet Orphans is featured in this season’s Pit Boss, now showing on the Animal Planet TV station.


Shelter manager and pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver once again takes on the role of amateur sleuth when there’s a murder on a film set . . .

Has Hollywood gone to the dogs? Pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver is observing production on a new movie called Sheba’s Story. The title character—a white Miniature poodle—is played by many similar-looking poodles, and to make sure no animals are harmed, Lauren’s friend, veterinarian Carlie Stellan, and Grant, a handsome representative from the American Humane Association, are on location. But when the film’s director is killed in a suspicious hit-and-run after arguing with Carlie about animal safety, it’s up to Lauren to clear her friend’s name and catch a killer before someone else ends up in oodles of deadly trouble.

Oodles of Poodles can be purchased at Amazon.
Linda O. Johnston's first published fiction appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and won the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the Year. Since then, Linda has had more short stories published, plus ten mysteries and eighteen romance novels.

Linda’s new Pet Rescue Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime is a spinoff from her successful Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series. The Pet Rescue Mysteries debuted in March 2011 with BEAGLEMANIA, followed in October 2011 by THE MORE THE TERRIER and in April 2012 by HOUNDS ABOUND. OODLES OF POODLES will be published in February 2013. Protagonist Lauren Vancouver runs a no-kill pet shelter in LA’s San Fernando Valley and will do anything to save animals. In the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people!

Linda also writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne including the Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters. So far, they include ALPHA WOLF, ALASKAN WOLF, and GUARDIAN WOLF, and the Nocturne Bites "Claws of the Lynx," which is contained in the print anthology AWAKENING THE BEAST. “Hawk’s Challenge” and “Cougar’s Conquest,” also Nocturne Bites, were published in October and November 2011, respectively. UNDERCOVER WOLF will be published early in 2013.

Linda's first Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel UNDERCOVER SOLDIER was published in July 2012.

Linda has also been a transactional lawyer and loves writing contracts as well as fiction. She has taught courses on romance writing at the California State University, Northridge College of Extended Learning and The Learning Annex in Los Angeles. She has spoken on romance writing and mystery writing at various chapters and conferences of the Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime chapters, the Independent Writers of Southern California, and the Surrey Writers’ Conference. She has additionally presented a variety of programs at libraries and bookstores.

Linda is a member of the Los Angeles chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America, including the Los Angeles and Orange County chapters, and International Thriller Writers.

Linda O. Johnston’s Website
Three winners. Three prizes. Click HERE to enter to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card; a Kindle case; or a Cozy Mystery mug.

The tour schedule is as follows:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ghost Cat: Midnight Paws by Jessica Beck


Blurb: When Christy Blake loses one of her two cats, Midnight, and her boss in what looks like a robbery attempt at her secondhand shop, Memories and Dreams, she thinks it’s the end of the world. But Midnight isn’t ready to go anywhere just yet, so he comes back as a ghost cat to help her track down his killer. Clearly there is a bond between Christy and Midnight that is too strong to be broken by something as trivial as death.

My Review: When I first saw this ebook pop up on Amazon on Friday, I immediately downloaded it and put my scheduled reading on hold. I devoured it this weekend and already can't wait for Book 2 so I can spend more time with Christy, Shadow, and especially sweet little Midnight.

Christy works at a secondhand shop, Memories and Dreams, and is devastated by the recent murder of her boss and beloved cat Midnight. She's in such a state of grief that at first she thinks she's going crazy when Midnight's ghost appears to her, but she soon realizes he's come back to lead her to his killer. I picked up on a clue early on that led me to figure out the murderer, but that in no way took away from my enjoyment of the story. This short mystery contains a wonderful secondary cast including Christy's BFF, a promising love interest, and a town full of interesting characters with secrets of their own.

It looks like Midnight has returned to his beloved mistress and plans to stick around for awhile; I know I can't wait to see what further adventures they will have together.

Tonya Kappes' Reader Monday

I'm so thrilled today to be featured on the blog of one of my favorite authors, Tonya Kappes, as part of her Reader Monday feature. I'm sharing the story of my lifelong love of reading and my book blogging adventure. Check it out here.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Sunday Post #26

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Gifted from Author:

 Cover for 'Ghost Cat: Midnight Paws' Cover for 'Heaven with a Gun' 
Ghost Cat: Midnight Paws by Jessica Beck
Heaven with a Gun by Connie Brockway
The Haunted Fixer-Upper by Rose Pressey
Polar Opposites by Susan Page Davis
Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant
It Started with a House by Beth Prentice
Finding Jessie by Eve Paludan
Mellington Hall by Meredith Resce
A Pony for the Fair by Inge Moore
Murder in Death's Door Country by Elizabeth Rose
Sing: A Novel of Colorado by Lisa Bergren
Digging Up Death by Gina Conroy
Slow Curve on the Coquihalla by RE Donald
Hot Chocolate by Dawn Greenfield Ireland
Cat's Paw by LA Taylor
Blackbird Fly by Lise McClendon
Decanting the Dead by Sam Scrizzi
The Sourdough Wars by Julie Smith
Heart of a Hero by Billi Tiner
Cat or Dog for President by Julia Dweck
Cover Her Body, A Singular Village Mystery by Eleanor Sullivan
The Dare Me Date by Tonya Kappes
Miss Zukas and the Raven's Dance by Jo Dereske
Wilderness: A Novel by Lance Weller
A Lady's Pleasure by Robin Schone
Mr Right and Other Mongrels by Monique McDonell
Finding Infinity by Susan Lewis
Strictly Murder by Lynda Wilcox

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Page Turner Bonanza Tour: Sweet Prairie Passion by Roseanne Bittner


A Vector Comic Book Explosion Background with Stars

Welcome to Rosanne Bittner! She’s here to introduce her book, Sweet Prairie Passion!

Sweet Prairie Passion Book Cover

The first in a powerful series about the settling of the American West and its affect on pioneers and Native Americans alike.

Zeke Monroe, a half Indian scout, meets 16-year-old Abigail Trent on a wagon train west, and therein lies the beginning of a magnificent love story that covers fifty years of passion and drama set against the rugged frontier of an untamed land.

When Zeke and Abbie’s eyes met, their gazes held in the moonlight, and they both knew what had to be. In the next moment Zeke’s lips were on hers, searching tenderly for what he needed, and giving in return. … Abbie looked into Zeke’s eyes, once more searching. Then she smiled. “Even if it can’t be forever – it’s you I want. Only you.” Again, Zeke’s lips took hers …

Buy Links:
**This book is e-Book is exclusive to Amazon**

Portrait 1

Author Bio:
I’ve been writing for nearly thirty years and to date have had 57 novels published, all about the American West of the 1800′s and Native Americans. I write romance, but not the typical bodice-ripping adventures. My stories are deep love stories, often family sagas told as a series. It is the hero and heroine’s love that holds them together through the trials and tribulations of settling America’s western frontiers. I absolutely love the Rockies, the Tetons, the Sierras, and the wide-open plains, prairies and desert land west of the Mississippi. In my books, I strive to tell the truth about the settling of the West and how it affected our American Indians, as well as the gritty depth of what our brave pioneers suffered in their search for free land and a better life.

I am a member of the Nebraska and Oklahoma Historical Societies, my local southwest Michigan historical society, Women Writing the West, Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America (treasurer) and the national RWA, and a local charity group called the Coloma Lioness Club. I help run a family business and love doing things with my three young grandsons. If you visit my web site at, where all my titles are listed as well as a page that lists all my many writing awards; or you can visit me on Facebook. At either site you will learn news of new books to come as well as reprints of many of my past titles soon to be published in trade paperback and as e-books! I also have an author site at

Author Links:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

Currently Reading
Blurb: An autism cure will kill millions unless a service dog and his trainer find a missing 24 hours. 

An aunt searches for her lost nephew - and dooms her sister. 

A mom gambles a miracle will cure - and not kill - her child. 

A dog finds his true purpose - when he disobeys. 

Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything - husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot - and returns home with her trained Maine Coon cat, Macy, to Texas to recover. She's forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. When her sister trusts a maverick researcher's promise to help Steven, September has 24 hours to rescue them from a devastating medical experiment impacting millions of children, a deadly secret others will kill to protect. As September races the clock, the body count swells. Shadow does his good-dog duty but can't protect his boy. Finally September and Shadow forge a stormy partnership to rescue the missing and stop the nightmare cure. But can they also find the lost parts of themselves?

My Review: It's obvious that I read primarily cozy mysteries, because when the first sweet old lady in Amy Shojai's debut thriller got her face blown off I was stunned!!! Seriously, this is one gripping story that had me on the edge of my seat until the final swipe of my Kindle screen.

September is a very likeable, very real protagonist who has experienced great tragedy in her life (we don't even know the whole extent of what she's gone through until the very end). Of course my favorite moments involve the four-legged characters, particularly the scenes told from Shadow's perspective and his unending quest to be a "good dog", not knowing his greatest triumph will come when he breaks the rules. Macy the cat is a cat through and through, and both of these amazing animals play key roles in the resolution of the murder spree. It's obvious that the author is a certified pet behaviorist...the knowledge she has of animals and their thought processes shines through.

I really hope this book has a sequel. There is great chemistry between September and Officer Combs, and I think his friendship could help her to heal. I loved the final scene on Thanksgiving Day with the message that a family is who you make it, as September is surrounded by her beloved pets as she awaits the arrival of the friends that have stood by her. This is an action-packed adventure with great insight into the human/animal bond.

I received a copy of this book via Story Cartel in exchange for a review.

Black Lion Tours/Witch in The Wind Review Tour

Brenda M. Collins'
Witch in the Wind

Everything happens in Bandit Creek when witches, warlocks and canine familiars slip through the portal from the magical world called THE OTHERLAND.

When murder strikes in Bandit Creek, and the victims aren’t who they seemed, powerful guardian warlock, Marcus Egan, is sent from The Otherland to investigate. What he doesn’t expect to find is Avalon Gwynn, the grieving daughter of the victims, who has no idea she’s an extraordinary, hereditary witch. And Avy’s pent up magical abilities have just been set free in the mortal world.

Can Marcus catch a killer while making sure Avy doesn’t bring Crow Mountain crashing down on the town—destroying Bandit Creek for the second time?

This is a sweet paranormal novella of approximately 50,000 words written for an adult audience but also suitable for young adult readers.

Website | Twitter | Amazon | Smashwords | Kindle

My Review: This paranormal novella is part of a larger series all set in the town of Bandit Creek, Montana featuring various authors and genres. It can absolutely be read as a stand-alone and is a wonderful story filled with mystery, magic, romance, and the sweetest canine familiar you will ever meet. Avy and Marcus are a couple to cheer for and I look forward to the opportunity to spend more time in Bandit Creek with this enjoyable cast of characters.

I received a copy of the book as part of this blog tour.

Enjoy an Excerpt
Everything happens in Bandit Creek when WITCHES, WARLOCKS, and CANINE FAMILIARS slip the portal from THE OTHERLAND

(Excerpt from Chapter 2)

Marcus debated if he should fade into the background. In his line of work, his talent for making even another witch’s eye look past him without registering his presence was useful.

He felt another power surge. “What the—

The woman wasn't the magic source. Fierce, dark eyes locked on him, not in a friendly, or mortal, way. And the beast already knew Marcus was there. What the hell is a familiar doing here? Familiars couldn’t be summoned. They appeared only when gifted by a more powerful spirit in times of great danger. There hadn’t been such a creature around The Otherland for centuries. So who sent this one to the mortal world, he wondered. And why?

Pushing away from the wall, Marcus wandered over to the reception desk. By habit, he moved with quiet steps, yet the young woman seemed to sense his approach and turned in his direction. She pulled the cap from her head, pushed loose wisps of hair from her forehead, and looked up at him.

His breath stopped in his throat and his mouth watered. The little nymph was more than the usual pretty combination of golden blond hair and flawless fair skin. Her electric blue eyes, even smudged with fatigue, jolted his gut in a way he hadn’t felt since his teens, when his magical energy was working overtime along with his hormones.

He smiled and managed to keep his stance casual as he kept one eye on the familiar and one on the woman. She seemed startled for a second but then returned his smile with a brilliant one of her own. The familiar didn’t. He bared his teeth and growled.

“I mean you no harm.” He didn’t want the familiar to blow his cover so he stood completely still as he spoke to it directly.

To the woman he said, “Is he always afraid of strangers?”

The familiar rumbled again as if insulted.

“Only you as far as I know,” she replied. Her voice, a rich alto, wrapped around him like a siren’s song. “He was fine with me, and the sheriff, yesterday.”

He blinked trying to regain some control of his brain. “What’s his name?” He eased his hand, very slowly, towards the familiar murmuring reassurances that only the magical beast would understand.

“I don’t know really. I found him last night with no collar.” She shrugged and a light flush colored her cheeks. “I’ve been calling him Busby. You know, after the big furry hats the guards at Buckingham Palace wear. When I first saw him on my porch, that’s what he reminded me of.”

That answers one question, Marcus thought. He’s here to protect this woman. But does she know that? With his hand dangerously close to the familiar’s mouth, he let the beast scent the strength of his power. Warlocks were a level above most magical creatures, having been bred for generations as warriors. Of course, that didn’t mean the familiar wasn’t as strong, or even stronger. No one knew how familiars travelled from witch to witch and many assumed they were from the spirit realm.

Finally, the creature eased back on his haunches.

“Busby’s giving me a reprieve.” He very slowly withdrew his hand. To the familiar he said, “Giving me a chance, aren’t you, Busby. But you let me know who’s got the teeth when it comes to this woman.” He stepped back.

Meet the Author
Brenda M. Collins has wanted to write romance since she was twelve years old. At the age of twenty, she spoke to an editor in Toronto, Canada, who expressed an interest in her story; however, she soon realized it takes more than an idea to be an author. She joined a number of writing groups to learn about ‘the craft’ and completed two mystery manuscripts. To help her fellow writers develop strong business skills, Brenda has published articles, and delivered workshops to hundreds of writers, on career planning, professional networking and presentation skills. Her most recent article, entitled How to Improve your Presentations, is in the 2013 Writer’s Market (Brewer, R.L., ed. F&W Media Inc. p. 153).

Brenda’s debut novel, WITCH IN THE WIND, starts with a murder, but comes to life with witches, warlocks, a canine familiar and a magical dimension called The Otherland. For upcoming titles in The Otherland Chronicles, and other stories, keep an eye on Brenda’s website and follow her on Twitter.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow by Olivia Newport

The whole world is coming to Chicago.
Charlotte's whole world is coming down around her.

While the rest of Chicago focuses on the enormous spectacle of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, Charlotte Farrow's attentions are entirely on one small boy--her boy--whom she has kept a secret from her wealthy employers for nearly a year.

When the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him to the opulent Banning home, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child's fate. Can she face the truth of her past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life's struggles determine her path?

This compelling story of courage, strength, and tender romance captures the tension between the glittering wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.
My Review: Ever since reading Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, I've been drawn to anything involving the 1893 World's Fair. In this book the Fair is a backdrop and portrayed so vividly that I felt like I was there amongst the sights and sounds of such a marvelous event.
With the current popularity of period dramas such as Downton Abbey, this is a book with definite appeal to readers of historical fiction. The "dilemma" Charlotte faces makes for a real page-turner as she's forced to face any mother's worst nightmare. It's a beautiful story portraying the strength and power of a mother's love. I'm very interested in reading the first book in the Avenue of Dreams series, The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, to learn more of the back story of these characters.
"Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."
I received this book free from the publisher through the Baker Publishing Group book review bloggers program.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Love Saves the Day by Gwen Cooper

Currently Reading

Blurb: From the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Homer’s Odyssey comes a tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel, primarily told through the eyes of the most observant member of any human family: the cat.

Humans best understand the truth of things if they come at it indirectly. Like how sometimes the best way to catch a mouse that’s right in front of you is to back up before you pounce.

So notes Prudence, the irresistible brown tabby at the center of Gwen Cooper’s tender, joyful, utterly unforgettable novel, which is mostly told through the eyes of this curious (and occasionally cranky) feline.

When five-week-old Prudence meets a woman named Sarah in a deserted construction site on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, she knows she’s found the human she was meant to adopt. For three years their lives are filled with laughter, tuna, catnaps, music, and the unchanging routines Prudence craves. Then one day Sarah doesn’t come home. From Prudence’s perch on the windowsill she sees Laura, the daughter who hardly ever comes to visit Sarah, arrive with her new husband. They’re carrying boxes. Before they even get to the front door, Prudence realizes that her life has changed forever.

Suddenly Prudence finds herself living in a strange apartment with humans she barely knows. It could take years to train them in the feline courtesies and customs (for example, a cat should always be fed before the humans, and at the same exact time every day) that Sarah understood so well. Prudence clings to the hope that Sarah will come back for her while Laura, a rising young corporate attorney, tries to push away memories of her mother and the tumultuous childhood spent in her mother’s dusty downtown record store. But the secret joys, past hurts, and life-changing moments that make every mother-daughter relationship special will come to the surface. With Prudence’s help Laura will learn that the past, like a mother’s love, never dies.

Poignant, insightful, and laugh-out-loud funny in the ways only a cat can be, Love Saves the Day is a story of hope, healing, and how the love of an animal can make all of us better humans. It’s the story of a mother and daughter divided by the turmoil of bohemian New York, and the opinionated, irrepressible feline who will become the bridge between them. It’s a novel for anyone who’s ever lost a loved one, wondered what their cat was really thinking, or fallen asleep with a purring feline nestled in their arms. Prudence, a cat like no other, is sure to steal your heart.

My Review: This is by far the hardest review I've ever had to write; how do you do a book justice that has so completely touched your soul? In a word it is exquisite. I've spent the last few nights reading until the wee hours, savoring each and every word dreading the moment it would end. Every moment I wasn't reading it I was aching to get back to it, unable to stop thinking about it. I will never forget these characters or this has a forever home on my keeper shelf and in my heart.

Sweet little Prudence has completely stolen my heart. Her voice and the way she sees us crazy humans is exactly how I would imagine a cat's thought process to be. It is obviously how Gwen Cooper knows cats. Some of her observations had me laughing out loud, while others simply broke my heart. The pets left behind when an owner dies don't understand why they've been abandoned, and the way Prudence spent every moment in her new home surrounded by the Sarah-boxes, thinking that if she kept remembering Sarah she would return, fearing that if the scent of her and Sarah together disappeared Sarah would never find her way back...everytime I think about it I get a lump in my throat. Prudence's simple view of love is something we could all learn from; the love only a pet can provide.

Sarah and Laura's relationship teared me up as well, mostly because my own mother is my best friend in the world and I can't imagine not having this extremely important relationship in my life. I kept wondering what could have happened to drive such a wedge between a mother and daughter that had once been so close, knowing only that it had something to do with their neighbors the Mandelbaums and their cat Honey, and when the reason was revealed I was stunned. And to think the event is based on something that really happened is just unthinkable. It made the whole picture so much clearer, and showed that the circumstances surrounding Sarah rescuing Prudence were meant to be. The love and magic of one little brown tabby was meant to change so many lives.

I can pretty much guarantee you will need a box of tissues when you read this book, but you will also be filled with the hope, healing, and love that Prudence, Laura, and Sarah discover and make you want to hold your two and four legged loved ones a little tighter. It is sure to be a classic for anyone who loves a beautifully written story about the relationships that make up our lives, destined to be a cherished re-read because there is so much wisdom about love and life contained in it's pages you will want to absorb them again and again. I can't help thinking what a beautiful movie this would be.

Prudence now has her own special place in my heart right alongside my own beloved pets...she feels that real to me.

Tara adored the book (and Prudence) too!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back to the Future Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Back to the Future Giveaway Hop!

There will be a different book given away at each of the stops. At the bottom of this post are all the sites participating in the book hop. Make sure to visit (and follow) everyone and enter their giveaways :)

So, on to my part in the hop!

I'm giving away four Regency mass market paperbacks...A Regency Christmas Harlequin Historical Anthology, What Happens in London by Julia Quinn, A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas, and Untamed Rogue, Scandalous Mistress by Bronwyn Scott. Simply leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you, and if you choose to follow my blog I'll enter you twice. Good luck and have fun!!!

Q&A with Mollie Cox Bryan

Today I'm honored to be interviewing Mollie Cox Bryan, author of the Cumberland Creek Mystery series.

Welcome, Mollie, and thank you for joining me today. Can you tell us about your Cumberland Creek Mystery Series...what was the inspiration for the series?

For several years, I was a stay-at-home mom and part-time freelancef after working full time for most of my professional. I got to know a lot of women who were doing the same thing. It’s an isolated way of life at times. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I knew a lot of moms that struggled with depression and so on. At the same time, I found out that there was a woman in my neighborhood who was so addicted to meth that her family was in great danger. I begin each book with the same basic question: how well do we know our neighbors? So that was the spark of the inspiration.

At the same time, when I found out about my neighbor’s horrible meth addiction, a group of scrapbooking women opened their homes and hearts to me. I was hooked on the sharing and the generosity. Unfortunately, we no longer get together because our kids are older and we all are running in different directions.

With the newer books, the inspiration is the same at its core, but now, it feels like I’m visiting old friends when I write about my characters. Their personalities and stories are more the inspiration.

The books are also kind of a wish fulfillment for me that my friends and I could get together every week and scrapbook or eat or do anything. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Are you a scrapbooker?

Yes. Though I don’t have as much time to devote to it now that I’m writing full time. I usually catch up over Holiday breaks.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

I think I see parts of myself in each character. But they are each their own women. Heh.

Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?

A lot of people will go on and on about finding an agent, your platform, and so on. I say find a good teacher and learn your craft. The rest will come when you are ready—and you don’t really want to publish until you are ready. It’s a tough business.

If you could jump into the pages of a book and live in that world, which would it be?

I’d like to live in Three Pines, the fictional Canadian town in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books. It’s quiet and artsy, surrounded by woods.

Give us a glimpse into a typical day for you.

I usually get up before my daughters and get some writing in before they need to get up for school. I walk them to the bus stop every day. Depending on which day of the week it is, I head off to the gym for Zumba class or a run. If it’s a Tues. or Wed., I head back home and get busy either writing on my current project or writing blog posts and social media. Usually when my daughters get home, we get a snack or dinner—depending on what they have going on that night. And we are off for evening activities—dance, music, play rehearsals, and so on. And of course, there’s always homework and countless chores around the house. I am never bored.

What's your favorite way to spend a rainy day?

Reading in front of a warm fire with my family around me, including my dog and cat.

What's up next for the Cumberland Scrapbook Crop?

Here’s the blurb for the new book, SCRAPPED.

The ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop are welcoming an eccentric newbie into their fold. A self-proclaimed witch, Cookie Crandall can whip up a sumptuous vegan meal and rhapsodize about runes and moon phases with equal aplomb. She becomes fast friends with her fellow scrapbookers, including freelance reporter Annie, with whom she shares shallow roots in a community of established family trees. So when Cookie becomes the prime suspect in a series of bizarre murders, the croppers get scrappy and set out to clear her name. Annie starts digging and discovers that the victims each had strange runic patterns carved on their bodies - a piece of evidence that points the police in Cookie's direction. Even her friends begin to doubt her innocence when they find an ornate, spiritual scrapbook that an alleged beginner like Cookie could never have crafted. As Annie and the croppers search for answers, they'll uncover a shockingly wicked side of their once quiet town - and a killer on the prowl for another victim.

Twitter: @molliecoxbryan

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Sunday Post #25

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

For Review:

A Deadly Beef (The Classic Diner Mystery Series) by Jessica Beck
A Chili Death ( The Classic Diner Mystery Series) by Jessica Beck
A Killer Cake (The Classic Diner Mystery Series) by Jessica Beck
After the Ashes by Cheryl Howe
The Outer Edge of Heaven by Jaclyn Hawkes
Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond
Gooseberry Patch Circle of Friends Cookbook: 25 Chili Recipes
Past Imperfect by Kathleen Hills
Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark
English Tea Murder by Leslie Meier
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey
Dog Park by Deena Marie Kaylee

Friday, January 18, 2013

Scrapped by Mollie Cox Bryan

Blurb: The ladies of the Cumberland Scrapbook Crop are welcoming an eccentric newbie into their fold. A self-proclaimed witch, Cookie Crandall can whip up a sumptuous vegan meal and rhapsodize about runes and moon phases with equal aplomb. She becomes fast friends with her fellow scrapbookers, including freelance reporter Annie, with whom she shares shallow roots in a community of established family trees. So when Cookie becomes the prime suspect in a series of bizarre murders, the croppers get scrappy and set out to clear her name. . .

Annie starts digging and discovers that the victims each had strange runic patterns carved on their bodies--a piece of evidence that points the police in Cookie's direction. Even her friends begin to doubt her innocence when they find an ornate, spiritual scrapbook that an alleged beginner like Cookie could never have crafted. As Annie and the croppers search for answers, they'll uncover a shockingly wicked side of their once quiet town--and a killer on the prowl for another victim. . .

My Review: In the second Cumberland Creek novel from Mollie Cox Bryan, Annie's peaceful new life is disturbed by the violent deaths of two young women from the local Mennonite community. Suspicion falls on the newest member of the Scrapbook Crop, self-proclaimed witch Cookie Crandall, because of the runic patterns carved on the victims' bodies. The ladies stand by their new friend, but doubts arise about her honesty when they discover an elaborate "scrapbook of shadows" that a beginner never could have created.

This is an extremely well-crafted mystery filled with complex women and deep friendships, a quiet town with buried secrets, and witchcraft. I found it interesting how even though Annie is the main character, each of the scrapbookers day to day lives are given equal focus, from Vera's struggles as a single mom and doubts about her new relationship to 81 year old Beatrice's despair that the ghost of her dead husband has abandoned her since she had a fling in Paris. I'd love to have the opportunity to have a bowl of pumpkin soup with these ladies!

I received a copy of this book from the author with the request for a review. Please join me on Monday, January 21, when I'll be interviewing Mollie!