BLOG TOUR – Frozen Stiff Drink – REVIEW

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Greetings!  It’s been a while, but I’m happy to be bringing you a review of the next mystery in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, Frozen Stiff Drink!!!  This is the sixth book in the series by my friend, James J. Cudney!!!

About Frozen Stiff Drink

Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery
(Braxton Campus Mysteries)

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Gumshoe – A Next Chapter(March 18, 2020)
Digital Edition – ~270 Pages
ASIN: B0849MJH6H

Purchase Link: Amazon
Rafflecopter Giveaway

Synopsis:

A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. Nana D disappears after visiting a patient at Willow Trees, leaving behind a trail of confusion. When the patient turns up dead and a second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother?

Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. Sheriff Montague wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward and complicates her future.

Between locating Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition. The suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

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Review5 out of 5 stars

This was a really great book! The suspense was just right and I had only a small inkling of who the villain MIGHT be. It turned out I was right, but I really wasn’t sure with this one. That’s what makes a mystery great in my opinion!

The character development in this book is terrific. We really learn a lot about Hampton and Kellan’s relationship over the years and see a whole new side of the Ayrwick family, which I enjoyed.

The setting descriptions were right on and I felt they were closer to “just right” for me. I know I’m picky though, so most people will enjoy the level of description.

The multiple storylines that intertwined and mixed were thoroughly entertaining and I highly recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers! While it’s best to start with the first book in the series, Academic Curveball, this could be read as a stand-alone if necessary.

All in all, a delightful addition to the Braxton Campus Mystery series.

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About James J. Cudney

 

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College. I’ve spent twenty years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. I can’t believe I’ve finished writing the sixth book in this series. Come join in the fun…

 

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

Social Media Links

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

List of Published Books

Braxton Campus Mysteries – Purchase Links

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)

Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)

Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)

Frozen Stiff Drink – #6 (March 2020)

Author’s Other Books

Watching Glass Shatter (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama)

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family. Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death. We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them, or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits. Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (Contemporary Fiction / Family Drama)

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies. Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent. Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen are revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense. Father Figure (April 2018)

BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERY SERIES

Academic Curveball: Death at the Sports Complex (#1)

When Kellan Ayrwick, a thirty-two-year-old single father, is forced to return home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds the dead body of a professor in Diamond Hall’s stairwell. Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Then he finds a second body after discovering mysterious donations to the college’s athletic program, a nasty blog denouncing his father, and a criminal attempting to change student grades so the star baseball pitcher isn’t expelled. Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana weeding through the clues, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. Fate has other plans. Kellan is close to discovering the killer’s identity just as someone he loves is put in grave danger of becoming victim number three. And if that’s not enough to wreak havoc on his family, everything comes crashing to a halt when his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever. In this debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series, readers discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic, and nosy residents. Among the daily workings of Braxton College and the charming Ayrwick family, Kellan weighs his investigative talents against an opportunity to achieve a much sought-after dream. When this first book ends, the drama is set for the next adventure in Kellan’s future… and it’s one you won’t want to miss. Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack: Death at the Theater (#2)

When an extra ticket becomes available to attend the dress rehearsal of Braxton’s King Lear production, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies, sisters-in-law Eustacia and Gwendolyn Paddington, to show support for the rest of the Paddington family. When one of them appears to have a heart attack in the middle of the second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate who killed her friend. Amidst family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks. But did one of them commit murder for an inheritance? Kellan is back in his second adventure since returning home to Pennsylvania. With his personal life in upheaval and his new boss, Myriam, making life difficult, will he be able to find a killer, or will he get caught up in his own version of stage fright? Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip: Death at the Masquerade Ball (#3)

Braxton College is throwing the Heroes & Villains Costume Extravaganza to raise money for renovations to the antiquated Memorial Library. While attending, Kellan stumbles upon a close family friend standing over a dead body that’s dressed as Dr. Evil. Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill an annoying guest at the Roarke and Daughters Inn or does the victim have a more intimate connection to someone else on campus? As Kellan helps the school’s president, Ursula, bury a scandalous secret from her past and unearth the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his own family who’s reappeared after a lengthy absence. When all the peculiar events around town trace back to the Stoddards, a new family who recently moved to Wharton County, the explosive discovery only offers more confusion. Between the special flower exhibit that’s made an unplanned stop on campus and strange postcards arriving each week from all around the world, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. Unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to arrive at his doorstep. When it does, Kellan won’t know what hit him. Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)

Mistaken Identity Crisis: Death on the Cable Car (#4)

A clever thief with a sinister calling card has invaded Braxton campus. A string of jewelry thefts continues to puzzle the sheriff given they’re remarkably similar to an unsolved eight-year-old case from shortly before Gabriel vanished one stormy night. When a missing ruby is discovered near an electrified dead body during the campus cable car redesign project, Kellan must investigate the real killer to protect his brother. Amidst sorority hazing practices and the victim’s connections to several prominent Wharton County citizens, a malicious motive becomes more obvious and trickier to prove. As if the latest murder isn’t enough to keep him busy, Kellan partners with April to end the Castigliano and Vargas crime family feud. What really happened to Francesca while all those postcards showed up in Braxton? The mafia world is more calculating than Kellan realized, and if he wants to move forward, he must make a few ruthless sacrifices. Election Day is over, and the new mayor takes office. Nana D celebrates her 75th birthday with an adventure. A double wedding occurs at Crilly Lake on Independence Day. And Kellan receives a few more surprises as the summer heat settles in Wharton County. Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)

Haunted House Ghost: Death at the Fall Festival (#5)

It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival. Despite the former occupant’s warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic to communicate with the apparition. Meanwhile, construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing. While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident occurs at the Fall Festival. Soon, Kellan discovers the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family. But can he capture the elusive killer – and placate the revenge-seeking ghost. Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)

 

BLOG TOUR – Haunted House Ghost – COVER REVEAL

Greetings and welcome! I’m excited today to be apart of the Digital Reads Book Tours Cover Reveal of my friend, James Cudney’s, book, Haunted House Ghost!!! It’s the 5th in the Braxton Campus Mysteries and I’m excited to show you this awesome new cover!!

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Release Date: October 1st, 2019

5th in Braxton Campus Mysteries

Pre-Sale Link: http://bit.ly/HHGhost

GoodReads Button

SYNOPSIS

It’s Halloween, and excitement is brewing in Braxton to carve jack-o’-lanterns, go on haunted hayrides, and race through the spooky corn maze at the Fall Festival. Despite a former occupant’s fervent warnings, Kellan renovates and moves into a mysterious old house. When a ruthless ghost promises retribution, our fearless professor turns to the eccentric town historian and an eerie psychic known for her explosive predictions, to communicate with the apparition.

Construction workers discover a fifty-year-old skeleton after breaking ground on the new Memorial Library wing. Could it be Prudence, Judge Hiram Grey’s first wife, who disappeared during a fiery Vietnam War protest that destroyed parts of the campus? While Kellan and April dance around the chemistry sparking between them, a suspicious accident at the Fall Festival leaves Hiram in a coma and another dead body to investigate. Kellan’s research digs up a tale of horror and pain about the true history and dastardly connections of the Grey family, forcing April to accelerate her plan to capture the elusive killer and placate the revenge-seeking ghost.

Jay

EXCERPT

Hunkering behind a weathered, illegible headstone in Wellington Cemetery’s oldest and scariest graveyard, I remained silent and stationary amidst a slew of exhumed corpses. Though surrounded by slender, tall white pines, a gnarly and knotty willow tree’s sweeping canopy of dying branches furtively brushed my neck. After an onslaught of howling winds furiously whipped my quivering skin, I peered over the loosened tomb marker and gawked at the mounds of freshly flung dirt. Why had a ruthless monster dug up so many coffins near the Grey mausoleum?

Skulking two rows away, the determined villain’s soulless eyes glowed like burning coal. The chilling tone of St. Mary’s somber church bells blasted—midnight’s fortuitous arrival. Its ominous beckoning prompted my unsteady feet to falter, crunching a pile of decaying leaves and foolishly revealing my secret location. Suddenly enshrouded in fog and hovering near the nameless gravestone, the rogue’s flowing black and gray robes resembled billowing smoke from an overworked chimney. “I hear you breathing, Ayrwick. Come out, come out wherever you are. I’m not finished with this game.”

“I don’t know who you are, but your obsession with me has spiraled out of control.” As an aloof moon cast an eerie luminosity, I cursed my new modern, sporty aviator eyeglasses for clouding over. Apparition or figment of an overwrought imagination, I couldn’t be certain; nor did I care at that moment. “You can’t be real. My mind is playing tricks on me.”

The ethereal bogeyman glided inches above the churchyard’s hallowed ground. The soles of its feet would vaporize upon stepping in the sacred dirt of the meandering pathways. “Are you ready to die?” the menacing, shrill voice taunted while hunting and cornering me in the darkness of my desolate hiding spot—the cold, melancholy resonance frightening all the bats, owls, and other nightlife creatures into hurried seclusion. The masked phantom narrowed a sinister gaze and brandished a mammoth-sized, razor-sharp scythe that cut swiftly through the crisp air and aimed with precision for my neck.

<<Message from the author: Oh, no! Will we lose Kellan to this assailant? Is this the book opener? The murder scene? The climax where Kellan confronts the killer? Stay tuned to find out… you know I love to include cliffhangers and shockers, so be prepared!>>

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AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 900 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, there is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

 

List of Books

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)

Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)

Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Next Chapter: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney?rq=cudney

Social Media Links

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

 

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BLOG TOUR – FLOWER POWER TRIP – REVIEW

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Greetings! Today, I’m excited to be hosting a spot on the Great Escapes Virtual Blog Tour for Flower Power Trip, the third book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series by James J. Cudney. I love this series so I’m excited to be bringing you a review of this third book!

About the Book


Flower Power Trip (Braxton Campus Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Creativia (March 30, 2019)
Print Length: 270 pages
Digital ASIN: B07NDK76WF

Purchase Link: Amazon

Rafflecopter Giveaway

SummerFlwrsLine
©Graphic Garden

Synopsis

At a masquerade ball to raise money for renovations to Memorial Library, Kellan finds a dead body dressed in a Dr. Evil costume.

Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill the annoying guest who’d been staying at the Roarke and Daughters Inn, or does the victim have a closer connection to someone else at Braxton College?

As Kellan helps school president Ursula bury a secret from her past and discover the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his family. Everything seems to trace back to the Stoddards: a new family who recently moved in.

Between the murder, a special flower exhibit and strange postcards arriving each week, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. But unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to be exposed – and when it is, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

Review – 4.5 stars out of 5.

As I stated above, I love this series!  The characters, the setting, the plot lines, everything. This book was no exception. Between the twists and turns of the plot and the subplots becoming more and more mysterious, I was riveted to this book!

I had deliberately saved it as a kind of reward to look forward to after having minor surgery on my wrist. It didn’t disappoint and I read it in one afternoon because I just couldn’t put it down!

The ending surprised me even though looking back I could see the clues throughout. I was still surprised and that to me is the sign of a truly great mystery.

highly recommend this series to everyone. The mysteries themselves are stand-alone but if you want to truly understand the intrapersonal relationships and goings on, you need to start with the first book, Academic Curveball. Either way, you should rush and order this book from your local independent bookstore or Amazon as soon as you can!

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About the Author

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College with a degree in English literature. I spent fifteen years building a technology career in the retail, sports, media, and entertainment industries. I enjoyed my job, but a passion for books and stories had been missing for far too long. I’m a voracious reader in my favorite genres (thriller, suspense, contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction), as books transport me to a different world where I can immerse myself in so many fantastic cultures and places. I’m an avid genealogist who hopes to visit all the German, Scottish, Irish, and British villages my ancestors emigrated from in the 18th and 19th centuries. I frequently blog and publish book reviews on everything I read at ThisIsMyTruthNow via WordPress.

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind, and my body. I decided to pursue my passion by dusting off the creativity inside my head and drafting outlines for several novels. I quickly realized I was back in my element growing happier and more excited with life each day. My goal in writing is to connect with readers who want to be part of great stories and who enjoy interacting with authors. To get a strong picture of who I am, check out my author website or my blog. It’s full of humor and eccentricity, sharing connections with everyone I follow—all in the hope of building a network of friends across the world.

When I completed the first book, Watching Glass Shatter, I knew I’d stumbled upon my passion again, suddenly dreaming up characters, plots, and settings all day long. I chose my second novel, Father Figure, through a poll on my blog where I let everyone vote for their favorite plot and character summaries. It is with my third book, Academic Curveball,, the first in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, where I immersed myself in a college campus full of so much activity, I could hardly stop thinking about new murder scenes or character relationships to finish writing the current story. Come join in the fun!

List of Books & Blog

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)

Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)

Flower Power Trip – #3 (Early 2019)

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BraxtonCampusMysteries

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4

Thanks for joining me today! If you want to visit other spots on the tour, please click the banner below which will take you to the main tour page!

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BLOG TOUR – Gwenna the Welsh Confectioner – PROMO

Tour BannerWelcome to my stop on the blog tour for Gwenna The Welsh Confectioner by Vicky Adin. Today, I have an excerpt for you to read and a chance to win a print copy of the book, so be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

Gwenna the Welsh ConfectionerGwenna_TWC_front

Publication Date: July 24th, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Against overwhelming odds, can she save her legacy?

Amid the bustling vibrancy of Auckland’s Karangahape Road Gwenna Price is troubled. For all her youth, she is now the master confectioner in the family business since her father died. She promised to fulfil her Pa’s dreams and open a shop, but with her domineering and incompetent stepbrother Elias in charge, the operation is on the brink of collapse.
In an era when women were expected to stay at home, Gwenna is a plucky young woman with uncommon ambition. She is determined to save her legacy. Despite the obstacles put in her way, and throughout the twists and turns of love and tragedy, Gwenna is irrepressible. She refuses to relinquish her dreams and lets nothing stand in her way. Blind to anything that distracts her, Gwenna risks losing the one person that matters most.

Inspired by a true story, Gwenna is a fascinating insight into life in Auckland at the turn of the 20th century.

Add to Goodreads

An absorbing read. This fast-paced novel once again demonstrates the author’s trademark flair for telling great historical stories.”

“Adin is a master of her craft. Gwenna, the confectioner; charming, irrepressible and utterly unforgettable. A must read for those who love historical fiction.”

Awarded a BGS Gold Quality Mark – “This is a wonderfully well written, constructed, and edited book. The story moves along at a good pace and the reader is pulled into the world and time in the first chapter.”

Excerpt

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Auckland New Zealand

1900

With a start, she leapt out of bed and, grabbing her dressing gown, hurried towards the hallway. Before she’d taken three paces her head started spinning and nausea rose from her stomach. She slumped to the floor by the door jamb, trying to take deep breaths and gather her senses.

“Johnno,” she called, then again louder, but received no response. She willed herself to be still and quiet her breathing, straining to hear any movement. Anything, but no sounds reached her ears. Her heart was beating so hard she could feel it pounding and echoing in her ears. She pulled herself to her feet and, holding onto the wall, made her way down the dark, wood-panelled hallway leading to the kitchen at the back.

The early morning sun seeped in through the grimy window; an errant thought she’d have to clean it drifted through her mind as her eyes searched for evidence she wasn’t alone. Any sign. Anything to quell the mounting terror, but she found nothing. No signs. No note. No fire in the range. She’d never been this alone before.

Shaking, and with the queasiness mounting, she opened the back door, ran down the steps and across the grass to the outhouse before she realised she was barefoot. The stench emptied her stomach in seconds.

Wiping her mouth on her sleeve, she tiptoed back across the grass, her feet now sensitive to every stone and foreign object in her path, and into the dimness of the house. Her teeth started to chatter, despite the warmth of the morning, as she stood by the door surveying the room. Clamping her jaw tight, she folded her arms across her body trying to calm her nerves while her mind listed what she should do next.

The square wooden table was as she’d left it last night, so the men hadn’t had any breakfast. The hamper she’d packed for them had gone, so they’d not go hungry. Although why she should worry about whether they’d eaten or not when there were more immediate things to worry about, she couldn’t explain.

Light the fire. At least then she could have a cup of tea. That might help calm her. As soon as she moved the dizziness came on her again; she reached for a chair and sat down, scared she would faint. And then what? How long would she lie there before someone found her? The quivering and shaking started again.

Sunlight shining into the room highlighted its dinginess. The sagging scrim-lined walls, yellowed with age and darkened with soot from the fire, closed in on her. Despite her meagre efforts, ingrained dirt still lay on every surface. Doorknobs wouldn’t turn, window catches wouldn’t shut, and the cracked and broken floorboards let the vermin in. She loathed the place, but she felt so weak and shaky at the moment she doubted she had the strength to do anything about it.

How she would tackle the outhouse on her own she had no idea, and the thought of carrying the water from the rainwater tank up the steps at the back seemed impossible. Johnno had done that for her. Tears fell as she contemplated her lot. They would have to get out of here before winter – before the baby was born. She couldn’t, just couldn’t live here any longer. Giving way to her unbearable gloom, she laid her head on her arms and sobbed.

She must have dozed off because when she next stirred pins and needles prickled her arm and her back ached. She stretched, easing her strained muscles, and this time she did light the fire. Johnno had left a pile of kindling, a basket of logs and a scuttle of coal for her.

Sipping on a cup of tea, she weighed up her options, her mind spinning with questions to which she had few answers.

Should she stay here, not knowing how long Johnno would be away? Could she introduce herself to the neighbour so she’d have someone to talk to? But her strength had deserted her in the last few days. She’d never felt so weak. She didn’t know if she could walk the good half-mile to the nearest house.

And where were the shops? Johnno had collected what she’d needed when he’d taken the wagon out last time. Could she walk to the village to get fresh food?

Should she go to Bethan? She was sure her stepmother would be more than pleased to take her in, but Gwenna couldn’t risk upsetting the precarious balance that existed between Bethan and Elias right now.

Should she go to Tillie? Her sister had enough to do, with her expanding girth and seeing to Charlie as well as caring for Tom who had his job. She was sure Tillie would welcome her in, but she couldn’t put her in such a difficult position.

So, she was back to staying here – alone.

Every fibre in her body screamed, ‘No!’

But stay she did.

Her father’s words kept echoing in her head. “Gwenna, bach. We can do anything we put our mind to.”

It was the argument he’d used when they’d moved to the Valleys to live with the Hughes family in the first place. He used the same argument after Owen was killed and he married Bethan and rose to be head of the household. He’d said the same thing over and over to push his argument about coming to New Zealand. Pa had had such hope.

At first, thoughts of her father deflated Gwenna’s spirits further. If he hadn’t died, life would be so different, but then her mood lightened. Pa said she could do anything. She just had to get on with it.

From somewhere in the centre of her being, she would find the strength. She had to. She placed her hands over her stomach. “I don’t know who you will be yet, but you are Pa’s grandchild and that means something. You are the future. For your sake, I will fulfill Pa’s dreams. I will.”

Purchase Here!

Amazon| Vicky Adin (Print Only) | WPRR (Print Only)

About the Author

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Multi-award winning historical fiction author, Vicky Adin is a genealogist in love with history and words.

After decades of research Vicky has combined her skills to weave family stories and history together in a way that brings the past to life.

Fascinated by the 19th Century women who undertook hazardous journeys to find a better life, Vicky draws her characters from real life stories: characters such as Brigid, the Irish lacemaker and Gwenna, the Welsh confectioner, or Megan who discovers much about herself when she traces her family tree in The Cornish Knot.

Vicky Adin holds a MA(Hons) in English and Education. She is an avid reader of historical novels, family sagas and contemporary women’s stories and enjoys travelling. Her writing has been compared to that Catherine Cookson.

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For your chance to win a print copy of Gwenna the Welsh Confectioner, click on the link below! (Open Internationally)

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Mini Tour Schedule

Feb. 11th

Reads & Reels (Excerpt) http://www.readsandreels.com

Love Books Group (Author Feature) https://lovebooksgroup.com/

Go By the Book (Review) http://gobythebookblog.wordpress.com

Feb. 12th

Valerie’s Musing’s (Excerpt) https://valeriesmusings.com/

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

Feb. 13th

The Voluptuous Book Diva (Excerpt) http://www.thevoluptuousbookdiva.com/

The Reading Nook (Excerpt) http://readingnook84.wordpress.com

The Cozy Pages (Excerpt) https://thecozypages.wordpress.com/

Feb. 14th

Jessica Rachow (Review) https://jessicarachow.wordpress.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

BLOG TOUR – Murder She Meowed – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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Argh. So far not starting off on a good start with this trying to blog more. Not only did I miss posting earlier in the week, I’m sorry to say that this post should have been up yesterday and I just realized it! 😦 My sincere apologies to the author, Liz Mugavero, for the lateness of my post.

This post is part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Murder, She Meowed by Liz Mugavero. I’m presenting an author interview that Ms. Mugavero was gracious enough to answer my questions for.  Information about the book, including purchase links will be below the interview.

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Author Interview with Liz Mugavero

Q1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?  Do you enjoy your day job?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I do have a day job! I work in marketing and communications, and currently lead a strategic communications team at Freddie Mac. I enjoy a lot of what I do.


Q2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I try to write a thousand words a day, usually as part of my morning routine. Otherwise the day’s distractions pile up and it’s harder to focus after a long day of work.


Q3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reins” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I am in the middle of being a plotter and a pantser. I used to be way more of a pantser, but now I work from an outline and do some plotting. It’s helpful especially with deadlines and day jobs. But I often pivot during the writing, because sometimes the book just needs something different than what I thought when I initially sat down to outline it.

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Q4: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I never wanted to quit. I always knew I wanted to write. It took me 10 years to get published after I started seriously writing mysteries, and then it kind of happened “overnight” when an agent reached out to my chapter of Sisters in Crime and inquired about authors who might want to develop a cozy proposal. I wrote a proposal, sold it, and I was off and running. I will be forever grateful for that experience!


Q5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: Given my schedule I don’t have the luxury of lingering over a finished book for a long time. I do a lot of revising when I write, and then I rely on one or two beta readers to give me final feedback right before I turn the book in.


Q6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I didn’t have a real-life inspiration for this villain – it unfolded naturally as I thought about my victim and why he might have ended up dead. I had to get into my killer’s head to think about the why and the justification for taking such a dire path – but that’s part of the fun!

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Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: Oh, a lot of my coworkers show up in my books…often as the dead people! But shhh…don’t tell them 🙂


Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I would love to write about Nellie Bly. Her story and her dedication to her work and the truth inspired me to become a journalist years ago, and I think there could be some great stories there.


Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I really enjoyed Becoming by Michelle Obama. Also Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere. I’m currently reading John Woman by Walter Mosley, and it’s excellent.

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Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: Starting with when I was a kid – Nancy Drew, of course. And Trixie Belden. Dennis Lehane has been a huge influence on me – I am in awe of his writing. Mystic River is still my favorite book to this day. And Joyce Carol Oates’ We Were the Mulvaneys – a haunting story of a family affected by a tragedy.


Q11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day? 

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I’d love to hang out with Jake McGee at his Irish pub, McSwigg’s. It seems like a fun place to be! And Jake’s pretty cute, so….


Q12: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?

Ms. Mugavero’s Answer: I do read them sometimes, and I’ve learned to take the bad ones with a grain of salt. I’m always up for constructive criticism, but if it’s a bad review for the sake of it, I’ve learned to ignore it.

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About the Book


Murder, She Meowed (A Pawsitively Organic Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Kensington (January 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496717589
ISBN-13: 978-1496717580
Digital ASIN: B07CWDC8G9

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Synopsis

Kristan “Stan” Connor loves concocting tasty organic treats for dogs and cats—and she also loves her fiancé, pub owner Jake McGee. But she’s not so enthusiastic about finding a dead body at her own bachelorette party . . .

Stan and Jake’s wedding will soon take place on the town green in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, followed by a reception at their beloved Irish pub filled with friends, family, and their four favorite canine companions. Stan just has to endure the traditional girls’ night out first. Male strippers jumping out of gigantic cakes aren’t her preferred entertainment. But the hired hottie never gets around to taking it all off . . . because someone takes him out first with one of Stan’s kitchen knives. A heartbroken Stan recognizes the victim as one of the delivery men from the local farm—who must have been moonlighting for some extra cash. Now the guest list has turned into a suspect list—and Stan’s making a vow to find the killer . . .

Includes Gourmet Pet Food Recipes!

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Thanks for joining me! My sincere apologies again to the author, Liz Mugavero, for the lateness of the post and my thanks for being willing to answer my questions. If you wish to visit other stops on the tour, please click on the banner below to be taken to the main tour page!

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