Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for “Murder in the City of Liberty”

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About the Book

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Book: Murder in the City of Liberty

Author: Rachel McMillan

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case—and this one brings the war in Europe dangerously close to home.

Determined to make a life for herself, Regina “Reggie” Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish’s hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

Click here to purchase your copy.

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This is the second book about Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, and as far as I remember I have not read the first book.  While I think it would be helpful to read Murder at the Flamingo first, I found myself able to follow along with the storyline fairly well.  This historical book, set in 1940 in Boston tells the tale of a set of private investigators.

This book started off a little slow for me, and I initially had a hard time staying interested.  However, at some point in the story, I did become more interested.  I am a fan of murder mysteries, so I really wanted to enjoy this one.  I felt like some details were focused on too much in the story, while other things I wanted to know about were brushed to the side.

The book centers around a case Hamish DeLuca and Reggie Van Buren are trying to solve involving Errol Parker, who plays for the Boston Baseball farm league. Errol has been subject to a series of what the local police state are pranks.   I loved the interactions of the characters -, especially between Hamish and Reggie.  Throughout the story, the crimes and adventures seem to increase.  The ending was fairly satisfactory to me. I have to say I really felt sorry for Vaughan, who was in love with Reggie and ultimately walked away from her since she realized she was in love with Hamish.

Dirk Foster was a character I was easily able to despise and want to see brought to justice.  Nate was a character, however, I found myself liking throughout the story – even when he was keeping secrets.

At times the story seemed to drag along, while at others it seemed to fly by.  All in all, I would recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

About the Author

McMillan Rachel

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

 

Read the excerpt

Boston

April 19 40

There really never was a good time to drown. But this particular April had been unseasonably cold and promised spring long in coming. The slosh of the Charles River warmed by ribbons of June sun would have been preferable to the crusted sludge of leftover ice rimming the harbor, or so thought Reggie Van Buren as she bobbed up and down like a buoy.

A New Haven Van Buren ought to have perished an old, wealthy woman, tendrils of snow-white

hair falling around a satin pillow, comforted in the knowledge that she would be interred in

the family plot, her soul destined for paradise—not with water up to her nose, choking as it lapped in and out like a tide over her chattering teeth. But a New Haven Van Buren also might have had the propriety to insist upon the use of her given name and not the “Reggie” she so preferred. The Reggie she was just hearing now in a rather frantic yet familiar voice.

“Reggie!” Hamish DeLuca’s panicked voice reached into the hollow dome of her cement cave. “Reggie!”

“I was st-stupid. I s-slipped.”

She treaded poorly, her arms feeling like gelatin, her form rather lacking the swimming skills

she had learned informally alongside her family’s schooner on Regatta Day. Reggie strained to rise above the lapping water. She took turns treading and raising herself as high up on her toes as she could. Rotating and wondering why she failed to complete the ballet classes her parents enrolled her in as a child. Standing on tiptoe might have added inches to her height and allowed her to clear her mouth of the water. As it was, her calf muscles strained. She said something that came out in a series of bubbles before glugging, rising upward, and noticing for the first time how the fog from her icy breath rippled over the water. If she couldn’t understand herself,

how would he?

“S-slipped,” she said again, trying to make him out in shadow. “H-Hamish.” She tried again. Funny, usually he was the one with the stutter. Hamish DeLuca with the stutter and the bit of a handshake and that one pesky dimple and those big blue eyes. Her own eyes fluttered. Maybe she would never see him again. She would just slip under the water and rest her heavy eyelids. She blinked until a stream of torchlight buttered the dark walls, crystallizing the percolating water drips around her, and then the figure of her rescuer, whose blue eyes looked even more brilliant than usual in the eerie glow of the flashlight.

Hamish dropped to his knees. “Take my hand.”

“This didn’t turn out as I expected,” she chattered.

“Reggie, we don’t have much time.” His voice rippled as he looked frantically at her and then over to the grille she had stared at since she got into the mess, watching the water level rise and fall and rise and fall until it made her dizzy. She clung to his hand a moment.

“We should have gone with plan B.”

Hamish growled. “We didn’t even have a plan A.”

“You’re my hero, Hamish.” She patted his hand with her icy one. “It was so nice of you to come.”

“Reggie, just take my hand.”

“I’m stuck!”

“What?”

“M-my shoe.”

Hamish said something she was altogether certain she had imagined in her half-frozen and very soggy state. And then, of course, he recklessly jumped in to get her.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, June 11

Simple Harvest Reads, June 11

The Power of Words, June 12

amandainpa, June 12

As He Leads is Joy, June 13

Fiction Aficionado, June 13

Through the Fire Blogs, June 14

Carpe Diem, June 14

Moments, June 15

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 16

Have A Wonderful Day, June 16

Cordially Barbara, June 17

Rebekah’s Quill, June 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Hallie Reads, June 18

Bigreadersite, June 19

Connect in Fiction, June 19

Blogging With Carol, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 20

For Him and My Family, June 21

Remembrancy, June 21

Pause for Tales, June 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 22

Godly Book Reviews, June 23

Texas Book-aholic, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of both book in the series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e513/murder-in-the-city-of-liberty-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Posted in Books, Celebrate Lit Reviews, Mysteries, Uncategorized

Review and Giveaway for The Watch on the Fencepost by Kay DiBianca

 

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About the Book

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Book: The Watch on the Fencepost

Author: Kay DiBianca

Genre: Christian Mystery / Suspense/ Romance

A WATCH THAT REVEALS MORE THAN JUST THE TIME . . .

A mysterious gold watch propels 27-year-old Kathryn Frasier into a quest to prove her parents’ recent deaths were not an accident. Following a trail of cryptic clues, she encounters a remarkable cast of characters, including an actress with a talent for disguises, a politician with a dark secret, and a handsome businessman who shows a sudden romantic interest in Kathryn. Can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

Click here to purchase your copy.

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The Watch on the Fencepost is Kay DiBianca’s first novel, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery.  The story begins with a prologue about a car wreck that is so vividly described, I felt like I was there. Chapter One begins our introduction to Phil Warren, an owner of a car repair shop.  Initially, I did not know what I thought about Phil, especially given his reaction to Kathryn Frasier, the female lead in the story.  Kathryn Frasier, we learn lost her parents in a tragic car accident she believes was an accident.  But as the story unfolds, the reader will discover it was no accident.

Kathryn learns she has an older half-sister she never knew about, and who was adopted by incredible people.  CeCe, the half-sister, is an actress who is a master of disguise which allows her to play an important role at the end of the book.  Kathryn is reserved and shy around men, but CeCe helps to push her out of her shell in order to discover the possibility of love.

As part of her impending birthday, her father (prior to his death) set up a series of clues as part of an overall puzzle for Kathryn to solve.  This puzzle/treasure hunt has no apparent ending in sight, but through careful thought, Philip and CeCe along with CeCe’s parents, Kathryn’s lawyer and other individuals help Kathryn eventually solve the mystery.

The book kept me interested and wanting to read more until I finished the story.  The imagery described in the book is incredible, as is the attention to detail. I loved the description of the watch Kathryn finds on the fencepost and how the watch keeps showing up in the story.  The person I thought was going to be the guilty party turned out to be innocent, but another person I eventually thought might be involved turned out to be guilty.  The twists and turns this book took fascinated me.  I only hope Kay DiBianca follows this book up with a sequel because I can tell there is so much more for this cast of characters.

So if you love a good mystery, check The Watch on the Fencepost out for yourself.

 

About the Author

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Kay DiBianca holds an MS degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in the IT departments of several major organizations, including IBM, UNC Chapel Hill, International Paper, and FedEx. She has an instrument rating in single-engine aircraft and competes in the Senior Olympics track events. She is a U.S. representative for Bridges for Peace, an international organization whose mission is to serve the people of Israel. She and her husband, Frank, live in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, visit kaydibianca.com.

Guest post from Kay

WHY I WROTE THE WATCH ON THE FENCEPOST

I’m a runner. I spend a lot of time on the treadmill, at a local track, or running in a park near my home. When I’m outdoors, I usually listen to podcasts or audio books to keep my mind occupied.

Several years ago, I was listening to a mystery novel while running on a trail, and I began to put together a story in my own mind. Over the following weeks and months, I had created the characters of Kathryn and Cece, and I could see them in my mind’s eye.

On another long run, I passed an old fence post and a plot began to form itself. Other characters seemed to materialize out of nowhere, and soon I had the basic outline of the book in my head. Before long I was ignoring the audio book voices coming through my earbuds and just adding to my own story. That’s when I decided to write it down.

In the next few months, my story grew from a general outline to a narrative that stretched to over 60,000 words, and I loved the little surprises that popped up along the way. Although I had intended the book to be a straight mystery, I found some of the characters writing their own scenes, and soon there was romance!

As I chiseled away the extraneous parts and added detail and nuance, the important story elements of love, faith, and family rose to the surface. I delighted in Kathryn’s discovering more about herself and Cece’s unfailing wisdom and humor.

I spent over a year working with an editor to revise and strengthen the book. With every change in a word or addition of a plot twist, the story got better. It’s been three years since that first run in the park that got me thinking about the story. Now Kathryn, Cece, Phil, Mike, Tommy, and all the others are ready to tell their stories to the world.

I think I’ll go for a run tomorrow to see what Kathryn and Cece are going to be up to next.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 2

Through the Fire Blogs, March 2

Blogging With Carol, March 3

Godly Book Reviews, March 3

Josephine’s Bookshelf, March 4

Mary Hake, March 4

Girls Living For God’s Glory, March 5

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, March 5

For Him and My Family, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Maureen’s Musings, March 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 7

Emily Yager, March 8

Andrea Christenson, March 8

Pause for Tales, March 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 10

Texas Book-aholic, March 10

janicesbookreviews, March 11

A Reader’s Brain, March 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 12

Inklings and notions, March 12

Real World Bible Study, March 13

Older & Smarter?, March 14

By The Book, March 14

Bigreadersite, March 15

The Becca Files, March 15

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kay is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter the giveaway.

Posted in Book Reviews, Celebrate Lit Reviews

Review and Giveaway for Fatal Homecoming

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About the Book

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Title: Fatal Homecoming

Author: Stacey Weeks

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Write Integrity Press

It was murder. She was sure. And that assurance could cost her life.

Undercover RCMP officer Rick Chandler poses as a detective in the small town of Chenaniah River. He is investigating the possibility of a corrupt police force when Jessie returns to bury her brother, and she refuses to believe evidence that point to her deceased brother’s involvement in drug trafficking. Soon, the same person that murdered her brother targets her. Can Rick help Jessie dodge bullets, escape fires, and exonerate her brother before the attacks escalate?

 

Jessie Berns has returned to her hometown to find answers about her brother’s suspicious death. With the help of an old friend, Detective Rick Chandler, they pursue a truth that someone is willing to do anything to keep hidden—even kill again. They uncover decades-old secrets that expose hidden sins and threaten the lifestyles of high-powered people in their small town.

As they close in on the devious mastermind manipulating the community, it becomes frighteningly clear to Rick that Jessie is not the one calling the shots in her amateur investigation. She is the killer’s new target.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

 

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If you want a book that has an incredible amount of nonstop action and intrigue, then this is the book for you.  From the moment I started reading, I could not bear to put the book down.  Stacey Weeks masters the art of creating a spellbinding story.  Between Jessie Berns and Rick Chandler, constant action and mystery keeps the reader guessing about what is actually going to happen.

With extended family members, an estranged father, and a brother who was murdered, Jessie Bern creates a desire in the reader to see her find answers, find peace and find closure.  With secrets of his own, Rick Chandler initially desires to keep Jessie safe because she and her brother were childhood friends.  But quickly those feelings become something more.

While this book definitely is from a Christian perspective, it does not slam the reader in the face with those ideas.  Instead, Jessie and Rick have to overcome obstacles to their faith that brings them closer to each other and to God.

No one knows who to trust with drugs, secrets, murders and attempted murders the action keeps the reader on their toes.  At various points, I felt I knew who was behind the murder and attempted murders, but I wanted it to be someone different.  I have to say the ending of the story brought closure and a sense the book ended in a satisfactory way. So if you enjoy reading Christian mysteries, check this book out for yourself.

About the Author

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Stacey Weeks: My primary ministry in life crowds around my dining room table like a ravenous herd every night. My husband and children are both my greatest blessing and greatest ministry opportunity. Caring for them is a privilege bestowed upon me as wife and mother.

I believe God simultaneously called Kevin and me into ministry. Kevin’s calling was clear – he is a pastor. I, on the other hand, took years to recognize the specific areas in which I was equipped and called serve. I believe that God has called me to meet Kevin’s needs, to meet the needs of our children, and to serve Him personally.

 

Guest Post from Stacey Weeks

A Pile of Stones

Often, the things I am studying in the bible make their way into my novels. At the time of writing Fatal Homecoming, I was reading the book of Joshua.

In Joshua chapter four, Joshua describes the pile of stones the Israelites built as a memorial to God. Those stones were evidence of the Lord’s provision for them. The monument was a reminder to future generations that God had delivered his people.

In Fatal Homecoming, Jessie needs to remember God’s provision. She wears a unique pendant passed down through the women of her family. Her necklace is comprised of river stones that represent the rocks from Joshua. They are to remind that God always meets His children in their moment of need.

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Shortly after writing this necklace into Fatal Homecoming crisis struck a good friend of mine. As our church gathered around a suffering family to love and support them in their time of need, I decided to make a real pendant of stones to give to my friend to remind her and to remind me that God meets every need in His time and in His way.

The pendant of stones can be strung on a necklace or keychain. It is more than words on paper and more than a pile of rocks strung on a string. It was a reference point. They mark where God gave me a story to share so that others may know and believe.

If you are the lucky winner of this pendant of stones, I pray that every time you look at it, touch it, and feel the weight of it around your neck that you will remember to believe that your God is good. Always.

 

Stacey has also gifted all the blog readers with a short story to download. Enjoy!

Click here to download.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 14

Carpe Diem, February 14

Real World Bible Study, February 15

Blogging With Carol, February 15

Multifarious, February 16

Mary Hake, February 16

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

Bukwurmzzz, February 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 18

Maureen’s Musings, February 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 19

Texas Book-aholic, February 19

Through the Fire Blogs, February 20

Ashley’s Bookshelf, February 20

Quiet Quilter, February 21

Inklings and Notions, February 21

Daysong Reflections, February 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

As He Leads is Joy, February 23

Simple Harvest Reads, February 23 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Spoken from the Heart, February 24

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 24

EmpowerMoms, February 25

Janices book reviews , February 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 26

Bigreadersite , February 26

A Baker’s Perspective, February 27

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Stacey is giving away a grand prize of a beautiful handmade necklace (May vary from picture)!!

Be sure to enter the giveaway for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/da8a/fatal-homecoming-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

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