Jumping Jude – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Jumping Jude is the third book in the Made Marian series by Lucy Lennox. These books are just so awesome! I’m probably overdoing it in my praise, but I absolutely love them!

Book Cover: A Made Marian Novel - Jumping Jude by Lucy Lennox - Gold background - top has two shirtless men with beards - one has shoulder length hair, the other is cropped short - the bottom has a stage with cheering fans
Made Marian #3

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Synopsis

Jude: Reaching the top of the country music charts brings out the crazy, and there’s no one crazier than my ex. Unfortunately, his threats to out me are escalating. Enter the bodyguard of my dreams. I’d probably chafe under his constant presence if his attention to my body wasn’t so… ah… thorough. Now I have to worry about outing myself to millions of fans if I can’t keep my hands off him in public.

Derek: Now I’m an ex-Marine turned babysitter. If I have to hear Jude sing his mega-hit Bluebells one more time, I might murder him myself, and after 6 years in special ops, I know my way around a weapon. Unfortunately, so does he. Except his arsenal includes washboard abs and a killer set of pipes. I’ve faced guns, knives, explosives and yet it’s Jude Marian who may end up bringing me to my knees.

 

Review

Jumping Jude is the third book in the Made Marian series by Lucy Lennox and it’s just as great as the first two, Borrowing Blue and Taming Teddy. I absolutely adore this series and the Marian men! This book comes in a very close 2nd as far as my favorite in the series.

This book belongs to Jude and Derek, two men who have yet to come out to their families or the world. Jude belongs to a hit country band and country music and its fans aren’t always the most accepting in the world (this is the view of the book, not necessarily my own view!). Derek on the other hand comes from a military background and a very conservative Southern Baptist family, neither is conducive to coming out. So here we have two guys who are attracted to each other and they don’t realize the other is gay as well.

The characters in this book are incredibly complex and well-developed. The plot is also complex but still easy to follow along with. I loved the ending and I’m thrilled that Jude and Derek were able to remain together.

 

 

 

Day of Secrets – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars.

Day of Secrets is the second thriller-type mystery from Daryl Wood Gerber and it is spectacular! It was incredibly suspenseful so I found myself having to read it in stages since anything too suspenseful can be difficult for me to get through (it depends on what else is going on in life), but at the same time, I didn’t want to put it down!

Book Cover: Day of Secrets by Daryl Wood Gerber - Background is grey - man is standing in dark colored clothing facing away from the audience. There's a gold locket in his hand.

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Graphic of a globe with two closed books on the right side of it, an open book in front of it, and an apple on the left side of the globe
©Graphic Garden

Synopsis

A mother he thought he’d lost. A father he never knew. An enemy that wants them dead.

At the age of five, Chase Day became an orphan. For thirty-one years, after a rebellious youth, he did his best to turn his life around and build a normal life—first as a Naval officer and then as a history professor at a boutique Bay Area college. Now, all that changes when he finds his mother, whom he thought had perished in a fire, dying from a gunshot wound. In her last breath, she urges him to find and protect the father he never knew. Where has his father been? Why has he never made contact? Can Chase discover why his family is a target before an unknown enemy destroys him?

Stack of books - chemistry, physics, and biology
©Graphic Garden

Review

Wow. That was the first word that came out of my mouth when I finished this book yesterday evening on my evening break. The second phrase was “Holy Toledo that was intense!” Both of which are dead-on accurate.

This was a pretty great read! I fell in love with the characters almost immediately. Chase is a great guy. He’s well-rounded and complex. He’s had a lot of crap happen in his life, but he seems fairly well-adjusted. Especially for suddenly having to deal with the fact that his mother wasn’t really dead, but now she is; his father’s alive and apparently in trouble; and his grandmother doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to tell him anything about these things.

This story moved along at a pace between steady and fast. It was fast-paced, but not so fast that you couldn’t follow the story line and/or got lost in the details. I think I described it to my mom as “a cliff-hanger on every other page”. That was a slight exaggeration, but not by much! The action in this book really keeps the story hopping!

I thought the ending was terrific. Things worked out the way they were supposed to and you got the feeling that all the major players were going to be alright after their run-in with the villains.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good suspenseful thriller that doesn’t have a lot of gruesome, violent scenes! Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it!

*** Thank you to Daryl Wood Gerber for providing me with an ARC of this book. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. ***

 

Graphic of a globe with two closed books on the right side of it, an open book in front of it, and an apple on the left side of the globe
©Graphic Garden

Blog Tour – 2 Lesley A. Diehl Books – REVIEW & AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Large Banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Dumpster Dying & Grilled, Chilled, and Killed by Leslie A. Diehl - May 15-May 28, 2017 - includes both book covers

Today, I’m excited to be hosting a blog tour for Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled, and Killed, the first two books in the Big Lake Murder Mysteries series by Lesley A. Diehl! I’ll be reviewing both books and then underneath that there’s an interview with Ms. Diehl.

Golf tees crossed in background with golf ball sitting on top

Book #1 – Dumpster Dying – 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Cover: Leslie A. Diehl - Dumpster Dying: Tropical green and blue background with a blue dumpster, a pink flamingo behind the dumpster and a brown cowboy boot with blood on it in front of the dumpster
Big Lake Murders #1

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Synopsis

Emily Rhodes came to rural Florida for the cowboys, the cattle, and to do a little country two-step, not to fall head first onto a dead body in a dumpster. Ah, the golden years of retirement in the sunshine state. They’re more like pot metal to Emily Rhodes, who discovers the body of the county’s wealthiest rancher in the Big Lake Country Club dumpster. With her close friend accused of the murder, Emily sets aside her grief at her life partner’s death to find the real killer. She underestimates the obstacles rural Florida can set up for a winter visitor and runs afoul of a local judge with his own version of justice, hires a lawyer who works out of a retirement home, and flees wild fires — hand-in-hand with the man she believes to be the killer.

Clipart of four bar drinks - Martini, Margharita, liquor, and mixed drink

Review

I had a little trouble getting into this book, but once I did, I enjoyed it. At first, I felt a little confused about what was going on and why. I think I got one of the subplots mixed up with the main plot. I believe part of that were my own issues and mindset at the time and not the actual writing.

The characters in the book are well-rounded, complex, and interesting. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve started liking them.  Our heroines take some chances, but they’re not the “too stupid to live” heroines who thrust themselves into danger all the time. Even though our main character, Emily, annoys our illustrious Detective Lewis with her snooping, for the most part, she doesn’t deliberately go looking for trouble. I appreciate that in a heroine.

The story line moves along at a decent pace. There was an area in the middle where it felt like it was dragging a little bit, but it soon picked back up again. Setting descriptions are adequate. They’re perhaps slightly less than I would prefer, but I’d rather authors err on the side of not enough description rather than too much description.

I enjoyed the personal relationships that developed during this book and I’m looking forward to how they continue to develop in the second book. I’m interested to see if Emily makes a choice on a new male companion or if she decides on being single for a while.

All in all it’s a good start to the series and I look forward to reading the second book.

Golf tees crossed in background with golf ball sitting on top

Book #2 – Grilled, Chilled, and Killed – 

Book Cover: Lesley A. Diehl - Grilled, Chilled, and Killed - Tropical background with flamingo silhouette and an alligator - grill, fire and spatula in foreground.
Big Lake Murders #2

 

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Synopsis

It seems as if Emily is destined to discover dead bodies. This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbeque cook-off dead and covered in barbeque sauce in a beer cooler. She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong. Lewis’ denigration of Emily’s speculations is condescending enough to stimulate her dormant snooping skills. As the two of them go on their separate paths to find the killer, Lewis’ old partner, Toby the dirty, tobacco-spitting cop interferes in the investigation leaving Lewis with the wrong man in jail. Killers, bootleggers, barbeque and feral pigs—it’s a lethal game of hide and seek in the Florida swamp.

 

Review

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the 2nd book finished before today, but what I have read, I’ve really enjoyed! When I do finish it, I’ll do a separate review post for it.

Interview with Lesley A. Diehl

Today, my blog stop also consists of an interview with Ms. Diehl. I’m thankful that she took the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions!

Lesley Diehl, Author - Middle-aged white woman with greying blond hair that hangs to her shoulders. She doesn't wear glasses. She's standing next to a blue paneled building in means and a red, shiny jacket

Question #1: 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. Diehl’s Reply: My “day” job is helping my husband renovate our 1974 cottage. We bought it almost ten years ago when we were younger (and apparently thought we’d live forever!) and continue to work on it every summer. To say it is a work of love is to look into past attitudes toward the project. Now it is simply a lot of work for two old codgers.


Question #2: 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. Diehl’s Reply: I write something every day. It may be a short story, a blog, or a book length manuscript. If I’m working on a short story, I set the goal of completing a section each day. With a manuscript, I aim for 3000-5000 words. I like to write to the sound of the trout stream burbling over the rocks. I do not write to music, and I prefer the sounds of nature to accompany my work. We live in a very tiny house down south and it is within yards of our neighbors on either side of us. Sometime it is difficult to work with all the noise from the street and from a neighbor’s television. I usually turn on the AC (it’s the equivalent of white noise) to deaden the sound. Particularly annoying is the sounds of things being blown up. I may be a mystery writer, but I don’t blow up buildings or people in my work!


Question #3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reigns” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?

Ms. Diehl’s Reply: I have a few characters written with such dominating personalities that they sometimes do hijack the story, but I think they are meant to. I don’t allow them to take over the plot (they may think they do, but it’s always my plot, but they can get out of hand if I don’t give them the reins sometimes). Emily’s lawyer is a good example of this; he lives in a retirement home, loves to play poker and usually has some senior lady in his room (and his bed!). He’s fond of telling stories, most of which are outright lies.


Question #4: 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. Diehl’s Reply: After many rejections—I won’t reveal how many—from agents, I went with a small publisher, then found yet another small publisher for another manuscript. That was almost a decade ago. Since then with the changes in the publishing industry, I have gotten the rights back to these books and have reissued them under my own imprint. I found an agent and now publish a series with Camel Press (the Eve Apple mysteries set in rural Florida) and also publish short stories and novellas with other small publishers. I am truly a hybrid author!


Question #5: 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. Diehl’s Reply: My books go through many revisions because I revise a chapter as I finish it, then revise the entire manuscript several times before it goes to my publisher for concept editing and line editing. I set my books aside for at least a month after a final revision, then go back and look at them again. I always use an editor for my self-published work. I do not use beta readers. There is nothing as crucial as a professional eye (editor) other than the author’s own.


Question #6: 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. Diehl’s Reply: The villains in Dumpster Dying and in Grilled, Chilled and Killed are not based on real people, but I certainly have met my quota of vile people whose evil natures provide the inspiration for my villains. Often I create the physical make-up of villains from people I have seen or met (not necessarily bad people), but the character of the villain is not based upon an actual person. Some of my villains do bad things, like my bad cop Toby Sands, but with his bumbling ways, outrageous arrogance, love of chewing tobacco and inflated view of his competence, he’s more pathetic than evil.


Question #7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?

Ms. Diehl’s Reply: Most of my characters are fictional with the exception of family members who have wandered into my short stories about my grandmothers and my aunt, yet I have so fictionalized these relatives that were they alive today, they would have difficulty recognizing themselves. Grandma Papa and Grandma Mama, Aunt Nozzie and Darcie’s mother have appeared in Thanksgiving anthologies published by Untreed Reads (The Killer Wore Cranberry: Vols. 1-4) and in a collection of novellas and short stories (Happy Homicides: Fall into Crime from Just in Time publishing).


Question #8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?

Ms. Diehl’s Reply: I am so fond of my Aunt Nozzie character that I intend to continue writing short stories about her and may consider putting her in a novel length work. Who wouldn’t want to write about someone who is six feet tall with flaming red hair, a propensity for getting into trouble and a desire to match make for her niece as well as find someone lusty for herself?


Question #9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?

Ms. Diehl’s Reply: I love English mysteries for both their location—I especially love the English countryside and small villages—and because most English authors know how to develop nuanced and multifaceted characters and fascinating relationships. I will certainly miss P. D. James and think that, although American, Elizabeth George knows her way around issues of class and psychology.


Question #10: What books have influenced your life the most?

Ms. Diehl’s Reply: I know I should say one of the classics, but I’m a mystery writer, so those who write this genre have influenced my life by impacting what I love to do—write. I count Agatha Christie as an early and continuing influence. I read her when I was in high school and continue to do so.


Question #11: 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. Diehl’s Reply: I’d spend the day with Emily Rhodes lawyer, Hap, that old curmudgeon, and buy him his favorite treat, a hot fudge sundae while I picked his brain about what rural Florida was like when he was a kid.


Question #12: 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. Diehl’s Reply: I sometimes read them, but not on a regular basis. I never write anything in response to either a good or a bad review. A bad review can get me down for a short time, but I like to keep negative comments about my work in perspective: balance the good with the bad. I’ve been fortunate that good seems to be predominant. I don’t think any negative review has influenced my writing, but it may lead me to understand better the impact of my writing upon readers. It’s always good to take a step back and ask “what’s happening here?” And “was it what I intended”.

Once again, sincere thanks to Ms. Diehl for being willing to answer my questions!

 

Thanks for joining me today! If you want to visit more stops on this blog tour, click on the banner below and it will take you to the main tour page where there is a list of tour participants!

Medium banner: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents Dumpster Dying & Grilled, Chilled, and Killed by Lesley A. Diehl - May 15-May 28, 2017 - includes the book cover for Dumpster Dying

A quick update on posts

This is just a quick note to say that all of my review and spotlight posts should now have the Amazon Affiliate purchase link. I’ve been working hard on bring all of the reviews and spotlights up-to-date with that over the last few weeks.

All reviews should also have a similar format. When I started writing reviews, I never included a synopsis because I figured you can read that on Goodreads or Amazon. As I went on, I realized that I have some people who read my blog who may not be familiar with the books I was reviewing/spotlighting. I started including a synopsis here on my blog. When I post my reviews on Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes & Noble and other sites, I don’t include the synopsis, but here on my blog I do.

While I was updating the Amazon purchases links, I also put in the synopsis for the books. So now, all formatting should be the same.

Going Green for Mental Health Awareness

Today, I’m going green for Mental Health Awareness. May is Mental Health Awareness month here in the United States. This is something near and dear to my heart because I live with five (5) mental illnesses every day of my life and I have a tendency towards a sixth (which just means that my symptoms aren’t bad enough for full diagnosis). 

  • 1 in 5 adults (60 million people) in the United States lives with a mental health condition.
  • 1 in 25 adults (10 million people) in the United States live with a serious mental health condition. 
  • 60 million adults in the United States face the day-to-day reality of living and dealing with a mental illness. 
  • 90% of all suicides are committed by people with a mental health condition, but it doesn’t have to be this way. 70-90% of all sufferers experience a significant reduction of symptoms if they are getting the right treatment and have good support.
    (All statistics are from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

I am one of those 60 million people. Day-to-day living with a mental illness is not easy, to say the least. Some days, it’s debilitating. Other days, it’s just simply hard. On those days when it’s just simply hard, I’m able to go to work, able to blog, able to get together with friends, able to have a life. The days in which it’s debilitating, it’s just that – debilitating. I cannot work, cannot blog, cannot hang out with friends. About the most I can do is maybe make it out of bed to the couch. Maybe.

Mental health isn’t something that’s easy to talk about and yet, it should be. One should be able to say, “My anxiety is really high today” just as easily as one can say, “Man, my allergies are really bad today”. They’re both illnesses. Neither is more “legitimate” than the other. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma attached to mental illnesses. Stigma refers to not only the tangible reasons that most people stay silent such as bullying, rejection, and discrimination, but it also refers to the intangible reasons, feeling isolated, being blamed for your mental illness, and feeling shame for having a mental illness.

If you notice, while I’m open about the fact that I have five (5) mental illnesses, I did not name them. That’s because of the stigma associated with them. It’s become more acceptable to talk about having depression and anxiety, both of which I have. But there are still some very severe mental illnesses where the stigma attached is so great that people automatically assume that if someone has one of those illnesses, they’re a danger to society. Unfortunately, I have one of those. Consequently, I don’t usually talk about what specific mental illnesses I have.  

However, let me be candid and frank. Any mental illness, no matter how severe, does not automatically mean the person is a danger to society. I’m not saying it’s not possible. We all know it’s possible. I watch the news as much as the rest of you. But simply having a mental illness should not be the sole component that an individual is judged on. Period. Do you automatically think that someone with diabetes or multiple scleorsis or cancer is a danger to society? No, you probably don’t because most people don’t. Similarly, those with schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities), antisocial personality disorder, or any other mental illness should not automatically be considered a danger to society.  With the proper treatment (which is usually a combination of medication and therapy), people can learn how to cope with their mental illness and can be productive members of society, but many don’t seek help because of all the stigma attached to mental illness. We as a society need to work together to change that.

My challenge to all of you today is two-fold:  

  1. I encourage you to educate yourself, learn about the disorders that people have, and then go out and start conversations with people about mental illness. Help end the stigma that people with mental illness feel. Help end any stigma you may feel against someone with a mental illness. Only by working together can we end all stigma. 
  2. If you have a mental illness and you’re currently not seeking help for whatever reason, please do yourself the favor and seek help. It is the single best thing you can do to change your life. It’s not easy. I know it’s not, but it really is the single best thing you can do to learn how to cope with your mental illness. 

Large banner with ways of talking and not talking about

 

 

Blog Tour – Debbie De Louise Books – REVIEWS

CobbleCove-LgBanner

Today, I’m excited to bring you a stop on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove Mystery series. Currently there are three (3) books in the series and I will be reviewing all three today!

Line of small rocks and pebbles all jumbled together

Book  #1, “A Stone’s Throw”: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book Cover: A Stone's Throw - background of a brick-paved walkway/street with shadows of two people walking.
Cobble Cove #1

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Synopsis – Book #1

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers… After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library. Secrets stretch decades into the past… Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John. Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered… When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears… Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

Review – Book #1

This was a great start to the series. We got adequately introduced to the characters and some of their back stories; we visited main locales of the upcoming series; and we were introduced to the author’s style of writing.

The characters in this series are definitely interesting. They’re fairly well-rounded. We learn some of their back story, but not enough to make them completely flat in the future. They’re complex and definitely each have their own issues, but they’re interesting.

The mystery was totally interesting and had lots of great twists and turns that I didn’t see coming! I didn’t know who the villains were until they were revealed. For the most part the book moved along at a steady pace, though there was one point where it dragged slightly.

All in all, a great start to the series and I look forward to the 2nd and 3rd books.

Line of small rocks and pebbles all jumbled together

Book Cover: Between a Rock & a Hard Place by Debbie De Louise - white woman with long blond hair and a red pea coat standing against a cement block wall with a cement staircase behind her.
Cobble Cove #2

Book #2, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”: 3 out of 5 stars.

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Synopsis

Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her… Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.

Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged… Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.

John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse… When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.

Alicia faces her worst nightmare… The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?

Review – Book #2

I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I did the first one. For one thing, one of the issues they mention in the description of the book doesn’t even happen until the book is 3/4 of the way done! I was super disappointed in that. Plus, I felt like the ending was a little too convenient and not at all realistic.

The characters are mostly the same and that’s nice. It’s nice to see one of the characters from the first book make a reappearance in this book in a different capacity and as a seemingly different person.

The story moved along at a decent pace, I just was very disappointed that the one piece of the story line happened so late in the book. Usually something that’s in the description of the book happens more towards the beginning of the book.

This book just wasn’t as good as the first, but the interpersonal relationship growth in the book is important so if you’re going to read the series, I do suggest you read it and not skip it.

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Book Cover: Written in Stone - Cobble Cove Mystery #3 by Debbie DeLouise. Photo of a Siamese cat laying on a stone wall with the lettering over top in yellow.
Cobble Cove #3

Book #3 – Written in Stone: 4 out of 5 stars

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Purchase Links for Book #3: AmazonB&N

Synopsis

Alicia McKinney is confused . . . Was the strange email her husband received from the fictional detective in their mystery series a threat? Did the killer mistake the woman shot in the library for Alicia or the victim’s twin sister?

Cat vs. Dog . . .  After Sneaky goes missing from the library, will he turn up before a young girl becomes ill with worry over his disappearance? And will he return in time to outsmart Fido by being first to find the perpetrator’s smoking gun?

Alicia is worried . . . While waiting for the killer’s next move, Alicia has other concerns. An old flame of John’s is in town and her friend, Gilly, has adopted the role of Miss Marple to aid her sheriff boyfriend in his investigation.

When all clues point to one of her co-workers, Alicia joins Gilly in searching for the answers to the mystery.

Will they survive . . . or is their ending written in stone?

Review – Book #3

This book I felt was in between the first and second as far as quality. It wasn’t as good as the first, but it wasn’t as bad as the second.

The mystery was far more interesting than the second one, but didn’t have as many twists and turns as the first. I still wasn’t sure who the villain was until it was revealed, but I was pretty sure who it was NOT.

The portion of the book dedicated to the sub-plot of the library cat, Sneaky, going missing was well-done. It didn’t detract from the original mystery, but it wasn’t an annoying little thing either.

The one thing that really got to me by the time I got to this last book was the main character’s emphasis on her weight. Now, I will say that I’m predispositioned for this to be something that gets on my nerves, but I felt like it was just mentioned too often. They live in a town where she walks almost everywhere, so she’s getting a lot of exercise, and yet she’s constantly talking about her weight and watching the sugary desserts and this and that. I’m all for eating sensibly. I may be fat, but I do try to eat more healthy than I ever have before, but I also do not see the point in completely depriving oneself of desserts (unless you have a food allergy or diabetes or something like that). And if she lives in a town where she’s getting that much exercise, then she shouldn’t have to worry about eating dessert or a donut a couple of times a week.

That’s a topic I can easily get on a soapbox about, so I’m going to stop now. This book was definitely better than the second. If there’s a fourth, I’ll read it. 🙂

Line of small rocks and pebbles all jumbled together

About the Author

Author, Debbie De Louise - middle-aged white woman with glasses, shoulder-length brown hair and a big smile. She's holding a cat on her lap and wearing a pink t-shirt.Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University. Her published novels include Cloudy RainbowA Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Cobble Cove Mystery #2) has been on the Amazon bestseller list for cozy mysteries. Debbie has also written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres and a romantic comedy novella, When Jack Trumps Ace. She is currently seeking agent representation for her psychological thriller, Sea Scope. Debbie lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

Author Links

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page:http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW/

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up:https://debbiedelouise.com

Taming Teddy – REVIEW

5 out of 5 stars

Taming Teddy is the second book in the Made Marian series by Lucy Lennox and is even better than the first book, Borrowing Blue! In fact, I think this might just be my favorite in the series so far.

Book Cover: Taming Teddy: A Made Marian novel by Lucy Lennox; Blue background with a snowy woods scene at the bottom, two men without shirts on the top.

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black and silver film canister on the right with a line of 35mm film stretched out to the left

Synopsis

Teddy: If there’s one thing I don’t do, it’s commitment. You don’t become an award-winning photographer by staying in one place. I’m always on the road, looking for the next shot, the next award, the next hot body. Which is how I end up on Dr. James Marian’s front porch in the middle-of-nowhere Alaska. He’s known as the Wildlife Whisperer, and I want to photograph him in action. He’s reluctant at first, but I can be persuasive.

Soon enough I have him in bed saying yes over and over and over again, but my ability to shoot and scoot is frozen by a Denali snowstorm.

Jamie: I always thought of myself as the marrying type. Until I got left at the altar. Now I have a new motto: never commit and never fall in love. So when a cocky nature photographer decides I’m the key to his next masterpiece, it seems like the perfect arrangement: the hotshot’s only in town for a brief assignment and then he’ll be gone. No commitment, no strings, and no chance of getting my heart broken again.

There’s just one problem: I think I’m falling in love. Now I’m afraid that maybe I’m the marrying type after all. And he definitely is not. (Source: Goodreads)

black and silver film canister on the right with a line of 35mm film stretched out to the left

Review

After reading four and a half books in this series, I think this one is my favorite. Number one, I’m an amateur nature photographer so Teddy’s job spoke to me. Number two, I’m enthralled with wildlife so Jamie’s job spoke to me as well. But even more than that, the way they were together and their love story was simply wonderful. 🙂

This one actually had that little bit of pizzazz and emotional connection I need to rate it five stars. I understand holding someone at arm’s length at first only to have that ultimately fail in the end and end up falling head over heels in love. There’s nothing like it in the world, especially when that person loves you back.

The characters in this series are just wonderful. They’re well-rounded, complex, and developed. The author has thought about it enough to give them all adequate back stories and it’s a joy to read.

The descriptions of the settings are great. I never have any trouble imagining where we are and yet they’re not so descriptive that they’re boring. Ms. Lennox does an excellent job with that balance.

The plot line moves along at a steady pace. I never felt that it was dragging, but I never felt that it was going to fast either.

All in all this book is just about perfect! While it can be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend reading the series from the beginning, starting with Borrowing BlueTry it and have fun with the Made Marian crew!