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10.31.2014

A Wedding and A Killing ~ Review

A Wedding and A Killing
A Mac Faraday Mystery 8
By Lauren Carr

Mac Faraday and Archie Monday are prepared to have a secret wedding one without crowds and fuss, but a murder in the church puts everything on hold.

As the investigation progresses long held secrets are brought to light - secrets that raise more questions.  As rumors swirl about the victim Mac is determined to solve this case and return to the altar and say I do!

A Wedding and A Killing is perfect for fans of a good mystery. And as an added bonus there is A Gnarly Mystery Short - The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program.  This short is just too funny.  Gnarly (Mac's German Shepherd) is dognapped.  And Gnarly has the dognappers begging Mac to come get Gnarly.

I totally love Gnarly in both the short and the feature book.  Gnarly is the one who discovered the victim and he really keeps the story interesting with his antics.

I was provided a copy of this book through PUYB in exchange for my honest review and my participation in this tour.


About A Wedding and a Killing:
When Mac Faraday decides to do something, there’s no stopping him … even murder!

Not wanting to wait until their big day to start their life of wedded bliss, Mac Faraday and his lady love, Archie Monday, decide to elope to the little church where his ancestors had all married—along the tranquil shore of Deep Creek Lake. However, before they can say, “I do,” the sanctuary erupts into chaos when Gnarly finds a dead body in the church office.

As they dive into the investigation, Mac and his team discover more questions than answers. What kind of person walks into a church and shoots a man for no apparent reason? How do you solve the murder of a man who has no enemies in the world? Which of the seemingly kind-hearted church members is really a cold-blooded killer?

Then, there is the all-important question, how long do Mac Faraday and his lady love have to wait to get married?

Meet the Author:
Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. A Wedding and a Killing is the eighth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.

In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder. Dead on Ice (A Lovers in Crime Mystery) was released September 2012. The second installment, Real Murder was released to rave reviews in June 2014.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
For More Information
Visit Lauren Carr’s website.
Connect with Lauren on Facebook and Twitter.
Visit Lauren’s blog.
Is your group looking for a speaker for your next event? Click here.
Contact Lauren.

For More Information • A Wedding and a Killing is available at Amazon. • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Escape Through the Wilderness ~ Bookspot Light

Escape Through the Wilderness
By Gary Rodriguez

Book Spotlight:

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “Last Chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.




Escape Through the Wilderness Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, October 6
Tuesday, October 7
Author interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Wednesday, October 8
Spotlight and giveaway at Inside BJ’s Head
Thursday, October 9
Friday, October 10
Book spotlight at The Writer’s Life
Monday, October 13
Video trailer reveal at Putting Words Down on Paper
Tuesday, October 14
Book review at My Devotional Thoughts
Wednesday, October 15
Thursday, October 16
Video trailer reveal at Stands of Thought
Friday, October 17
First chapter reveal at Rebecca’s Writing Services
First chapter reveal at FictionZeal
Monday, October 20
Book review at By the Book
Tuesday, October 21
Wednesday, October 22
Author interview at Blogcritics
Thursday, October 23
Author interview at Beyond the Books
Friday, October 24
Book spotlight and giveaway at Mary’s Cup of Tea
Monday, October 27
Book spotlight and giveaway at Maureen’s Musings
Tuesday, October 28
Book review/spotlight and giveaway at Mom Loves 2 Read
Wednesday, October 29
Author interview at As the Pages Turn
Thursday, October 30
First chapter reveal at Blooming with Books
Friday, October 31
Book spotlight and giveaway at Blooming with Books

10.30.2014

Guess Who Noah's Boat ~ Review

Guess Who Noah's Boat
By Matt Mitter 
Illustrated by Ela Jarzabek

Guess Who Noah's Boat is a cute and fun book that will enthrall even the most reluctant young reader starting with the cover.  Little fold-over flaps make for a fun interactive reading experience as you let your little readers guess who or what is hidden from view.

Enjoy learning about Noah's ark with this delightful and fun book.

This is a perfect book for children's church, Sunday school, and early literacy programs.  Looking for a gift for Christmas or a birthday?  This would be a well-loved and cherished gift around which memories would be created.

I was provided a copy of this book through Kregel's blogger program in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.
 

 About the book:

Children will love this interactive new telling of the Noah's ark story. With fun, rhyming text, each spread asks kids to guess which animal is heading toward the ark. The answer is revealed under the cleverly designed flap. With eye-catching illustrations and easy-to-understand text, Guess Who Noah's Boat is sure to become a favorite.

Escape Through the Wilderness ~ 1st Chapter Reveal

Escape Through the Wilderness

Title: Escape Through the Wilderness
Author: Gary Rodrgiuez
Genre: Tween/Young Adult Christian Adventure
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tate Publishing (June 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-1-63268-201-7





Chapter 1 Reveal:
Saturday, 8:14 p.m.

This is a KGX Channel 7 Breaking News Report. I’m
Valerie Parker.

Four teenagers have gone missing tonight from an adventure
camp in Northern Idaho. Early reports say the teens and their
river guide were involved in a rafting accident sometime this
afternoon. Their names are being withheld pending notification
of their parents. Rescue teams are being assembled, according
to local authorities. The camp earns the title, “The safest camp
in Idaho” every year. Tragically,  after today all that has changed
forever. Stay tuned to KGX Channel 7 for more details as they
develop...

Thursday, two days earlier

 It was a warm August afternoon and Camp Arrowhead buzzed with
 activity. New teen campers had been streaming in since mid-morning.
 Savannah Evans, who had arrived earlier in the day, was heading toward
 the message board to check out the day’s schedule when she noticed
 another car pull into the drop zone.

Curious, she waited to catch a glimpse of the new camper. But
before she saw the passenger, a huge commotion exploded in the arriving
vehicle.

An agitated woman who appeared to be the girl’s mother started yelling
from inside of the car. “Come on, Jade! Hurry up and get out of the car;
we’ve got a plane to catch!”

Savannah watched in shock as the distraught girl scurried out of the
backseat as fast as she could. In tow were a backpack, two suitcases, and a
purse slowly winding itself around the poor girl’s arm. In an instant the auto
sped off, leaving a trail of dust and the young teen in a heap. There were
no hugs or even attempts at a goodbye, only a heartless door slam and
the vehicle peeling off at a high rate of speed.

Staggering under the weight of her load, the devastated girl fell to the
ground and began sobbing.

Savi was stunned by the dramatic scene happening in front of her.

What was THAT all about? Was that her mom? Savannah thought to herself.

Pretty rough no matter who it was!

She felt sorry for the distraught new arrival crying on the ground.

“How embarrassed I’d feel if that was me, especially with everybody
watching.” She thought.


“I should go and help her.”

She hurried over to the drop off area, bent down on one knee, and did her
best to comfort the frazzled stranger.

“Can I help you with some of this stuff? It looks like a lot for one person
to carry.”

Startled, the girl at first tried to shake off the unwelcome intruder. “Leave
me alone—I don’t need any help,” she said in a harsh tone. “Who are you,
anyway?”

“My name’s Savannah, but my friends call me Savi. I...I just thought you
could use some help.”

Savi waited patiently for the girl to collect herself. Slowly she lifted her
tear-stained face to see who had spoken to her so kindly. The sight
of her face made Savannah inhale sharply.

“What? I look stupid, right? I already know that.” The girl said even more
perturbed.

“No, not at all. I wasn’t thinking anything like that.

It’s just...you’re really pretty.”

In her sixteen years of living in Oxford, Mississippi she never saw a girl as
beautiful as this one. Despite the tear tracks on her face and a pair of puffy
eyes, she looked like a real life sized china doll. Her milky white complexion
contrasted by her long shiny black hair was stunning. When you added
in her soft delicate features, she was flawless. As close to perfect as a girl
her age could look.

The girl finally realized that Savi was only trying to be friendly and helpful.

“Thanks for saying that, Savi, but I don’t feel very pretty right now...My name’s
Jade Chang—Sorry I snapped at you—Do you mind if I call you Savi?”

“Not at all, I’d like that,” Savi replied with a smile.

“I feel like such a fool. I can’t believe my mother did that to me,” she said
shaking her head.

“Well...you’re not going to have to deal with her for a while. Come on. Let’s go
see what cabin you’re in... Maybe we’re in the same one.”

Jade stood up and with Savi’s help gathered up her belongings and headed for
the camp office. As they walked, Savi looked down at Jade’s Coach purse, Tumi
suitcases, and North Face backpack. All this great stuff... but she still seems so
unhappy.

During their walk to the office, Savi looked over at Jade and could see she
was deep in thought and that her heart was heavy. So while carrying her suitcase
with her right hand, she lifted her left and patted her gently on the back. Jade was
touched by the kind gesture so she glanced over at Savi and gave her a friendly
smile. Savi grinned friend at camp.

“Savi, I noticed you’re limping. Did you hurt your ankle?”

“Actually, I hurt it a few years ago,” she replied. “Oh I didn’t mean to...”

“That’s okay, it’s no big deal.”

“No, really,” Jade said apologetically, “I’m sorry for being so nosey.”

“No worries,” Savi replied. “It’s not as if you asked me how much I weigh or
something,” as she rolled her eyes and gave Jade a friendly nudge with her elbow.

Both girls laughed and continued walking toward the camp office. On the way,
Savi said to Jade, “How ‘bout I tell you the story about my ankle later?” Then the
two of them agreed to put off the subject for another time.

When they arrived at the office, they looked for the cabin assignments posted
outside the door. Savi could tell Jade was already feeling a bit more comfortable
and starting to relax.

“Jade over here...Those are the boys’ cabins...Here’s the girls’. I’m sure they’d
be thrilled to see you, though,” Savi joked.

Embarrassed, Jade threw her head back and then made her way over to where
Savi was standing in front of the girls’ cabin assignment board.

“You said, ‘Chang,’ right?” Savi asked, running her finger down the list of
names.

“That’s right,” Jade replied.

“Here you are...Oh that stinks! We’re in different cabins,” Savi noted.“Want to
go inside and see if they’ll move us to the same one?”

Jade looked over at her and paused a moment... “Umm, okay. That sounds
great.”

The girls did their best to convince the camp director that they should be in the
same cabin. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t budge. But he told them he’d keep in mind
their desire to be together when planning future events. When they left the office,
the girls decided to drop off Jade’s stuff at her cabin and grab a cool drink. After
leaving the snack shack, they found a shady spot on a carved log bench.

“I promised I’d tell you about my ankle. I guess this is as good a time as any.”

“You know you don’t have to,” Jade replied.

“I know, but I want you to know how I got my limp.”

“I have to admit...I am a bit curious.”

“Well, when I was eight years old, the U.S. National Gymnastics Team came to
Oxford, Mississippi to put on an exhibition at Ole Miss.”

“Ole Miss?” questioned Jade.

“Oh sorry, that’s short for University of Mississippi. Anyway, my dad took me to
see the competition and that event changed my life.”

Jade shrugged. “How?”

“Watching the different routines was so cool. I instantly fell in love with
gymnastics, particularly the balance beam. The girls were so graceful but strong
at the same time. I dreamed of becoming one of them. For the next three years I
trained on the beam and competed in a bunch of events. My goal was to make the
U.S. National Team.”

Suddenly, Savi stopped. “I’m not boring you, am I?”

“No, not at all! I’m really interested. Keep going.”

“In just three years, I was ranked fourth in the nation in my age category.
Everybody was so proud of me. But only the top three girls went to nationals.
The final cuts were a few years ago in Nashville. I was tied for second place
with this girl named Julie, with only one routine to go—I was freaking out! I knew
my only hope of beating her and advancing was to do a flawless routine and
stick my landing. Everything was going great until my final element, an aerial
summersault. It was always my most challenging move. I was hoping I could pull
it off. The summersault was perfect but as I landed on the beam...” Savi paused
and looked down at her ankle. “My left foot hit the beam wrong and my ankle
snapped like a dry branch.”

“Oh my gosh, that’s awful! I’m so sorry.”

“Yeah, me too. Because that ended my career in gymnastics and my dream of
going to the Olympics.”

“They couldn’t fix it?” Jade asked.

“They tried, but it never healed quite right, so I’ve learned to live with it. I get
around just fine, though.”

“I can see that—Wow! That’s quite a story. Thanks for telling it to me.”

“Well, now you know a little about me, but I know absolutely nothing about you.
Next time we meet, it’s your turn.”

“That’s a deal.”

They both finished their drinks and stood up.

“I can’t believe how tall you are! You must be at least 5'7".”

“Actually, I’m 5'8",” Jade said proudly.

“I knew you were up there. I’ve always been on the short side. Only 5'2". But you
know what they say, ‘good things come in small packages.’” Jade smiled and
nodded in agreement. Then they said good-bye, and headed toward their separate
cabins.

Savi called over her shoulder, “I’ll look for you later!”

“Okay, later!” Jade yelled back.

Savi was on the way back to her cabin when she came upon three boys leaning
against a big tree, joking around with each other. She caught one of the boy’s eyes
and he watched her as she walked by toward the cabins. He immediately noticed
her limp and nudged his friends. “Look at that one. I didn’t know this camp was
open to special needs kids!” he said in a raised voice, most likely for her to hear.
Again, the same boy blurted out, “I hope they don’t match me up on some activity
with ‘lame girl.’”

Savi overheard the insult but pretended she didn’t. She also heard one of the
boys standing with him say, “Nice one, Conner!”

By the time Savi reached her cabin, she was red-faced and fuming. Alone,
sitting on her bed, she stared out the window at Conner. She watched as he and
his friends amused themselves at the expense of others walking by.

Here we go again, she thought to herself. I thought I left those bullies back
at school! Then, she rose to her feet and stepped outside of the cabin. With an
animated face and a loud voice she yelled in the bully’s direction, “Hey, Conner!
Your mom’s on the phone and says you forgot to pack your blankie and Batman
underwear!”

Instantly, a roar of laughter erupted from those within earshot of her clever
retort. This time it was Conner’s turn to feel the sting of humiliation. He slinked
away to his cabin not to be seen again until the dinner bell.

Savi stood in front of her cabin triumphant, though she did feel somewhat
ashamed for finding the taste of revenge so sweet. Suddenly, a familiar voice
shouted from across the campground, “Savi, come look! We’re paired up together
for tomorrow’s rafting trip! We’re in the same raft!”

She leaped for joy and joined Jade at the message board for an energetic high
five.

“And guess what? There are boys in our raft. Two of them!” Jade proclaimed
excitedly. “One’s named Rico Cruz and the other is some guy named Conner
Swift.”

“What?” Savi yelled. “Conner...I just met that jerk! I’m not getting in a raft with him.

No way!” Savi vowed.

“Oh, yes you are, little lady!” Savi heard Camp Director Anderson say forcefully
behind her. “All raft assignments are final. What’s done is done. There will be NO
changes!” the director reiterated as he walked away.

Savi stood staring blankly at the message board.

What could be worse than being in a raft with Conner Swift! It wouldn’t be
long before she’d find out.


About the author:
Gary Rodriguez is president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development and conflict resolution. He is the author of the new adventure novel Escape through the Wilderness scheduled for release in June 2014.

His first book Purpose-Centered Public Speaking was an instant hit and recently republished by Tate Publishing.

His extensive resume includes eighteen years as an executive in the radio business where he spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting.  He was twice nominated as medium market manager of the year by the Bobby Poe report, a national media publication.

For over thirty-five years, Gary has spoken in public both nationally and internationally.
Gary’s resume includes a season in the U.S. Army where he was highly decorated as
the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army's history at age 18 years. He was also awarded
the Silver Star (the nation's third highest award for valor) while serving in Viet Nam.

Visit the book’s website at http://ettw.tateauthor.com/ You can also find Gary at
http://leadermetrix.com/ and http://www.leadermetrix.com/authorspeaker.

10.29.2014

Noah - A Wordless Picture Book ~ Review

Noah
A Wordless Picture Book
By Mark Ludy

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well Noah is a book filled with pictures and no words.  The pictures tell the story of Noah and the message he received from God directing him to build a large ship.

The pictures will capture the attention of the youngest "reader" from the opening page.  This is the perfect book to accompany a reading of Noah from the Bible.

Journey with Noah as he follows God's direction building the ark, bringing the animals aboard, and living aboard the ship as the world he knew was remade.

Share Noah with the little ones in your life.  This would be a lovely gift for a new baby, a baptism/dedication, birthday or Christmas.

I was provided a copy of this book through Handlebar in exchange for my honest review.


About the Book:


A hundred years before the Great Flood, a man named Noah came home talking crazy. God wanted him to build the biggest ship the world had ever seen. The future of humanity depended on it. How would his wife respond? What would the neighbors think? Was it even feasible?

This lavish re-imagining of one of the greatest stories of all time will fascinate children and adults alike. Nuanced and playful, yet meticulous in following the biblical narrative, Mark Ludy's world-class art digs deeper than the Sunday-school tale of cuddly animals, exploring Noah's relationship with his family, the natural world, God--and a formidable engineering challenge. Immerse yourself in this stunning wordless epic.

Whatever your age, you'll never read this story in the same way again.

A Promise to Protect ~ Review

A Promise to Protect
Logan Point Book 2
By Patricia Bradley

Since the attack on Sheriff Tom took place Ben Logan has been acting sheriff.  He is determined to find out why someone attacked his father and why.  But with nothing to go on this may become a cold case.

But when there is a suddenly upswing in crime in Logan Point, Ben has to wonder is it aimed at discrediting him or is it related to Tony Jackson's murder.  Adding to the complexities of the case is Tony's sister (and Ben's old girlfriend) Doctor Leigh Somerall.

Tony's dying request was for Ben to keep Leigh safe - but Leigh is determined to stay as far away from Ben and the past as she can. But when the danger threatens her son Leigh just might have to accept Ben's offer of protection whether she wants to or not.

But there is more going on in Logan Point than anyone ever realized and as various cases all begin to have a common thread the danger grows.  And the promises of the past just may have a second chance especially if the truth is allowed to come out...

A Promise to Protect will keep you guessing as to the truth and the perpetrator's identity.  If you like romance and suspense wrapped up in an intriguing crime this is just the book for you.  A Promise to Protect is a book of second chances.  A second chance at love.  A second chance at forgiveness.  And a second chance at family.

I was provided a copy of this book by Revell through their blogging program in exchange for my honest review.


About the Book:
In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman's secret could change everything.

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn't heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn't mean he can get her--or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago--out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task--protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it's no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

10.28.2014

When Night Comes ~ Review

When Night Comes
By Dan Walsh

Culpepper, Georgia, seemed like the perfect Southern town.  And for Joe Boyd the perfect place to live away from the crime scenes of Pittsburgh.  But he may have misjudged this quiet college town when he gets a call about a dead body.

But when special guest lecturer Jack Turner starts having experiences at night they seem more real than his normal day-to-day life.  But why did these occurrences start once he returned to Culpepper?  With the help of Rachel Cook, a young teaching assistant from his past, Jack is determined to find answers.  But the answers just may cost them their lives if their not careful because someone is watching.

Dan Walsh has a way with words as can be readily noticed with the following few sentences: The look on the decedent’s face sent a chill through Boyd. Few things could.  He’d seen a lot of dead people over the years, but he couldn’t recall ever seeing anything quite like this.

When Night Comes be afraid to fall asleep - it could be the last thing you ever do - especially if you dream!  This is suspense at its best and you don't want to miss out on it.

I was provided a digital copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.


About the Book:
Jack Turner comes back to Culpepper to give a series of lectures for his old history professor. Within days, he starts having bizarre experiences at night. Like he’s traveling back in time, experiencing the epic events in his lectures firsthand. He has no control over these experiences and can’t make them stop. 

Joe Boyd thought he’d left big city crime back in Pittsburgh when he took a detective job in Culpepper, Georgia, a sleepy southern college town. His peaceful life ends when two students turn up dead in two weeks. The coroner is saying natural causes, but something doesn’t add up. 

Rachel Cook, a teaching assistant at Culpepper, can’t believe Jack is back in her life again. She’s had a crush on him since she was fourteen, but Jack never knew. He instantly seems attracted to her, but she can tell…something is deeply troubling him. 
Watching all this from a distance is Nigel Avery. He’s certain this experiment’s about to unravel. It’ll be his job to tie up all the loose ends when it does. 

Bestselling author Dan Walsh is known for page-turning storylines. Fans of his novels The Discovery and What Follows After will especially love…When Night Comes.