Posted in Books, Reviews

Review: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

 

*****5 stars

Note: I reviewed this book through a NetGalley advanced reader copy. It will be published in February.

Jess has a dilemma. She’s come to visit her brother, Ben, who is a reporter in Paris. Although they haven’t had the best relationship over the years because, after their mother’s death, he ended up with a more privileged life while she landed in less fortunate circumstances in various foster homes. Upon her arrival at his apartment, she discovers some unusual things. He doesn’t answer his phone to let her in and when she manages to follow someone else into the locked complex and knocks on his door, he doesn’t seem to be there, although he’d contacted her only minutes before. Gaining access to his apartment, she finds evidence that frightens her — blood on the floor and Ben’s broken medallion that he never removes.

Meeting the other occupants of the apartment building who tell her they haven’t seen Ben recently, she doesn’t know who to believe or trust. This book features alternate points-of-view of each of the apartment residents. There are multiple twists on the way to learning what really happened to Ben. Each character is well depicted with both good and bad traits, and each one has a motive to kill Ben and make sure his sister doesn’t ask too many questions.

Jess befriends Nick, Ben’s friend who invited him to stay in the apartment and who has a secret of his own. They go to the police together to file a report about Ben’s disappearance, but since Jess can’t speak French, Nick translates her request for the investigation. Because the police don’t consider the issue a priority, Jess takes matters into her own hands and contacts Theo, a man that Ben was scheduled to interview for a story before he disappeared. When Theo takes her somewhere that he tells her may help her find out what happened to her brother, the answers put her life in jeopardy as they reveal the truth about what took place at Ben’s apartment before Jess arrived.

If you like a mystery with twists and interesting characters, I recommend this book.

Posted in Freebies and Special Offers

Holiday Cozy Mystery Giveaways

As I mentioned in my December Author News, two of my cozy mystery eBooks are free Friday, December 3 through Monday, December 6.

Sneaky’s Christmas Mystery won the coveted Muse Medallion from the Cat Writers’ Association.

Another death has occurred in Cobble Cove near the holidays. This time, it’s the owner of the new pet store in town who was felled by a case of cat food that crushed his skull. Was it an accident, or murder? While the townspeople including the sheriff are divided in their opinions, Sneaky and Kittykai, the library and inn cats, sniff out the truth.

Here are some reviews:

SHORT AND SWEET

“A quick coffee break read that has you catching up not only on the humans but also the animal residents in a small town. The death of a new owner of a pet shop has divided the town. Was it an accident or was it murder?”

FUN BOOK TO READ

” . . . a quick moving and fun book to read.”

Giveaway Link: mybook.to/sneakyxmas

Celebrating Christmas with My Characters was the first Cobble Cove story. It introduces the characters from the first two books through the gifts they give their author (me).

The characters from Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove cozy mysteries gather in the Cobble Cove library to celebrate the holidays. Each character receives a gift from the author, and Alicia, the main character, reads some excerpts from the first book, A Stone’s Throw, and the new release, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Here are some reviews:

WHAT AN INTERESTING WAY TO INTRODUCE YOUR BOOKS! NOW I WANT TO READ THEM ALL!

This short novel has served its purpose, with me at least. I now want to read these books in their entirety!”

FIVE STARS

“Love this author…another of her winning novels!”

Giveaway Link:

I hope you enjoy both of these seasonal stories and wish you all a very Happy and Healthy Holiday.

Posted in Freebies and Special Offers

Holiday Showcase with December Sales and Author News

HOLIDAY SHOWCASE

If eBooks aren’t your thing or you’re looking for print copies to give as gifts this season, I have a dozen suggestions. Some of these books are available in large print and hardcover, as well as paperback. I’ve included a short description of each with purchase links to Amazon and Bookshop.org that supports Indie Bookstores. Bookshop.org also has free shipping through Monday, November 29.

Cobble Cove Cozy Mystery Series: A Stone’s Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Written in Stone, Love on the Rocks,, and No Gravestone Unturned.

Follow the adventures of Alicia, the librarian and Sneaky the library cat in the small, fictional upstate New York town of Cobble Cove, New York.

Amazon Purchase Link: mybook.to/CCseries

Individual titles are also available on Bookshop.org

My romance novella, When Jack Trumps Ace, makes a thoughtful gift for those who enjoy love stories featuring jewel thieves, a scavenger hunt, and a cat.

Amazon Purchase Link:  mybook.to/Jackpaper

Bookshop.org Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/3I2ggec

Cloudy Rainbow is a paranormal romance featuring a virtual world, a clairvoyant, and reincarnation.

Amazon Purchase Link: mybook.to/CRpaper

Bookshop.org Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/3D2siQO

Reason to Die is my mystery thriller with cozy elements. It features a female detective, a serial killer of handicapped people in a small town, and a parrot.

Amazon Purchase Link: mybook.to/RTDpap

Bookshop.org Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/3nVbPcZ

My psychological mystery, Sea Scope, has won several awards, including a silver medal from Readers’ Favorites. It involves a murder near a lighthouse, family secrets, and features alternating timelines.

Amazon Purchas Link: http://mybook.to/seascopetp

Bookshop.org Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/3D23f0v

Memory Makers involves the clinical trial of a new memory drug and the woman who volunteers for it hoping to recall the face of the man who killed her sister.

Amazon Purchase Link: mybook.to/MMpbk

Bookshop.org Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/3E4NuXK

Time’s Relative is a time-travel tale that takes place in 1998. The main character is a librarian who accepts a job that turns out to allow her to travel to the past and future where she encounters Y2K, 9/11, and the COVID pandemic.

Amazon Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/timesrelative

Bookshop.org Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/3FLKUXg

Meows and Purrs is a collection of cat poems that were inspired by the felines I’ve known and loved all my life. Some poems are funny; some are sad, but they all capture the beauty and intelligence of these creatures. A great gift for cat and poetry lovers.

Amazon Purchase Link: mybook.to/catpoemspaper

Bookshop.org Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/3EgHwn3

SALES

I have three books on sale this December. My award-winning eBook, Sneaky’s Christmas Mystery and Celebrating Christmas with My Characters, the first Cobble Cove story are both free on Amazon from December 3 through December 6.

Sneaky’s Christmas Mystery purchase link: mybook.to/sneakyxmas

Celebrating Christmas with My Characters purchase link: mybook.to/XmasCharacters

Also on sale for 99 cents rom December 17-21 is the eBook of my time-travel mystery, Time’s Relative. Please note that the sale for this book may not be posted until noon EST on the first day of the sale.

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/timesrelative

AUTHOR NEWS

I’m proud to announce that my publisher, Next Chapter, will be reprinting my self-published cat book, Pet Posts: The Cat Chats. This book will soon be available in paperback, hardcover, large print, eBook, and on audio.

Also, in case you missed it, I appeared on Stephanie Larkin’s TV show, Between the Covers, with two other authors. I talk about my latest releases and read two poems from my collection of cat poetry.

In January, I’ll be sharing my writing and publishing plans for 2022. There will be a survey regarding this in my December newsletter, which will be emailed on December 1. Those who complete the survey will be eligible for a $10 gift card. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up at https://debbiedelouise.com. Even if you don’t win the survey contest, I select a winner each month for a surprise gift from my active subscribers.

Posted in Anthology, Reviews

Review: The Moments edited by JK Larkin

***** 5 stars

The Moments is another interesting anthology from the Red Penguin Collection. In this book, nine authors share a special moment in their lives. There are some amazing stories here and others that are everyday events that are still unique to the author.

Air Force veteran David Lange, recounts the birth of each of his children in different places in “Welcoming Life.” Swan Rose, a former musician and current poet, writes about various special moments with his daughters and wife in “The Best Time of My Life.” Retired navy pilot, Jim Tritten, describes a once-in-a-lifetime experience he had on a nine-day warrior expedition to Big Bend National Park in “Touched by Rapture.” Skye Ballantine pens “Christmas Kindness,” a story about sharing gifts with those less fortunate and the true meaning of the holidays in simple pleasures of special moments. “When the Music’s Over” by William John Rostron relates his failed attempts at playing in a band and attending Woodstock and what it taught him about life. Nika Jordan Rose completes the collection with a play called “Lost & Found” which explores the deeply human need for connection in a self-isolated world.

These essays and the others in this anthology make for a great read any time of year but especially during the holiday season when the opportunity to encounter special moments of your own are more likely. I especially enjoyed editor J.K. Larkin’s introduction to this book and how he began the popular Red Penguin Collection during the pandemic.

Pick up a copy of The Moments here: https://amzn.to/3oQ1hek

Posted in Anthology, holidays

Review: ‘Tis the Seasons: Poems for Your Holiday Spirit edited by J.K. Larkin

*****5 stars

This holiday poetry anthology is part of the Red Penguin collection of books edited by J.K. Larkin. It contains 36 poems by various authors that reflect the wonder, joy, and nostalgia of the holiday season. Some poems are funny; others are sad, but they all deal with holiday feelings and experiences.

Some of my favorite poems include David Lange’s “Needle in the Corner,” a poem with a sad twist; J.S. Manino’s “Thrill Before Christmas” which is a clever takeoff of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” song; Lisa Diaz Meyer’s “Merry Christmas Eve (Grandpa’s Walk); Linda Trott Dickman’s “Still Proceeding”; the funny “A Kiss Under the Mistletoe” by Gary S. Watkins; and two poems that deal with the pandemic: “A Pandemic Christmas” by Meldoy Lipford and “Bright Nights” by Kathryn Sadakierski. My short poem “Advent” is also featured.

I can heartily recommend this collection to get you into the holiday spirit. It’s available as a paperback or eBook and also free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers. Pick up a copy at https://amzn.to/30QiuvO.

Posted in Books, Reviews

Review: The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa (traslated from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai)

****4 stars

Note: I reviewed this book through a NetGalley advanced reader copy. It will be published in December.

Although this book is geared toward a young adult audience, as the main character, Rintaro Natsuki, is a high school student, book lovers of all ages will enjoy this story. There’s a paranormal theme as well as a sweet romance, and it all takes place during the holiday season.

Rintaro’s grandfather has died leaving him a used bookstore. As he is grieving for his grandfather and contemplating his move to his aunt’s house, Rintaro is visited by a talking tabby cat who requests his help saving books. Thus follows Rintaro’s adventures into three labyrinths that appear in the back of the bookstore. After solving the mystery of the first labyrinth, Rintaro’s friend, Sayo, the school rep who has been bringing him makeup work after he’s missed classes, is able to see the cat who reappears and asks for help in the second labyrinth.

As Rintaro becomes more involved with Sayo, the cat named Tiger begins to make comments that they could be girlfiend and boyfriend. Working together, Sayo and Rintaro solve two other labyrinths and save more books. The stories behind these adventures will make sense to booklovers who know that in today’s society, print books and classics are less in demand than digital, commercial reads. Rintaro’s love of books increases as he solves each labyrinth’s dilemma.

The final labyrinth has Rintaro facing his feelings for Sayo and realizing the true worth of books and how they connect people. A story that can be read on several levels. Book and cat lovers will enjoy it very much.

Posted in Reviews, short stories

Review: Two Carrot Ring And Other Fascinating Jewelry Stories by Janet Metz Walter

****5 stars

When I first learned about this book, I thought it was a great idea for a unique read. After finishing it, I’m even more convinced of that. The book contains true stories contributed by people about a piece or pieces of jewelry. It’s divided into eight parts: Proposals; Gifts; Humor; Lost and Found; Repurposed Jewelry; Up Above; and Travel Stories. The story that gave the book its title, “Two Carrot Ring and the Central Park Charm,” was in the “Gifts” section. It was contributed by D. Sabel and tells a sweet tale involving a Woolworth ring and a special charm. It’s a very romantic story and also includes a nice poem.

The other stories in this collection are just as interesting. Some are nostalgic; others are modern, but they are all shared from the heart. Reading them, I realized I, too, had stories about my own jewelry pieces. Hopefully, the author who assists her husband in his jewelry business, Gold Fire Diamonds, will publish another volume.

Posted in Uncategorized

Review: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

***3 stars

Note: I reviewed this book through a NetGalley advanced reader copy. It will be published in June.

I had high hopes for this book because it involved a library mystery, my favorite to read. It started out interesting with a group of four strangers meeting in the Boston Public Library and hearing a woman’s scream while they are seated together. When they learn the following day that a woman was killed, they form a friendship united by this experience until occurrences happen that cause them to suspect one of their group.

Along with the main story, there’s a subplot about a frustrated writer who corresponds with the book’s author sharing feedback on the plot and characters. Some of the feedback involves suggestions on how to improve the story. One of those suggestions involves adding details of the pandemic. The writer, a man named Leo who lives in Boston, is also represented in the book. But when he begins to send details of murders happening in his area, Hannah, the Australian author he is corresponding with, contacts the police who request that she continue to write to Leo to gather more information about him so they can conduct an investigation.

In my opinion, the two plots resolve predictably as the library murder is solved and the correspondence between Hannah and Leo end. Some readers may enjoy the way the main plot and subplot flow together and a few of the Australianism that are used. The characters are somewhat engaging, and there are a few twists that add surprises.

Posted in Anthology, Recipe, Reviews

Review of Feeding the Flock: Recipes from the Red Penguin Family

***5 stars

Feeding the Flock is part of the Red Penguin Collection of anthologies of various genres. This one focuses on cooking recipes for large gatherings, although the ingredients can be modified for smaller servings. Whether hosting Thanksgiving, a special birthday party, or other occasion or holiday, this is a perfect book to keep by your stove. What’s unique about this collection is that, besides some interesting yet simple recipes for groups, it includes note about how the cook/author created the recipe. It also features illustrations of each dish. Some of the familiar recipes included are Basic Stuffing Recipe, Dutch Apple Pie, Twice Baked Potato, and Linguine with Clams. Other less familiar recipes featured are Cawl Mamgu, a Welsh dish; Hungarian Krumpli Haluska; and Golabki (Polished stuffed cabbage). My favorite was the “Do You Take Your Peppered Peppers Laying Down or Vertical?” because I love stuffed peppers. I also enjoyed Mussels Marinara in Oyster Bay by Elaine Donadio who shared her memories of when she and her family lived and boated around this Long Island town which is one of my favorite places to visit. If you’re looking for a recipe book with a varied collection of dishes along with some great stories, this is the book for you.

Amazon Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2YHvd3m

Bookshop.org Purchase Link: https://bit.ly/3FgInDZ

Posted in Dogs, Reviews

Review of Muffin, Digby and Petal Together Forever by Brian L. Porter

*****5 stars

This is the first book I’ve read in Brian L. Porter’s Family of Rescue Dogs series. Previously, I’d read one of his Mersey mysteries and knew he was a great fiction writer, but reading his non-fiction dog book, it was obvious to me how talented he is in both genres. If you have a pet, whether it be a dog, cat, or other animal, you will recognize many of the anecdotes featured in this book. You will laugh when Brian relates the funny things his dogs have done and cry when you read about their health concerns and passing. It’s evident that Brian and his wife, Juliet, are animal lovers. As a cat person, I was still able to relate to these dog tales. In fact, I found striking similarities to some of the experiences Brian related about his dogs that I’ve also seen in my cats.

The book begins with Brian explaining how he and Juliet came to adopt three dogs together. It was after they’d lost one of their dogs Juliet was very bonded to, and it reminded me of how I adopted two kittens after I’d lost my old Siamese and my mother in the same year. I loved how Brian described the puppies as “one dog with twelve legs” and how he pointed out that “Bringing up three was no different than bringing up one.” I felt that same way about my two cats. I also enjoyed the way he described the playfights the dogs engaged in and that he found it “amazing that nobody gets hurt.” My cats also play fight, and I’ve often wondered how they survive after all that yowling and screaming.

I also empathized with Brian’s story about Digby’s close call to death when a mass was found on his spleen, and how he survived after it was removed by a doctor at a special veterinary surgery. I felt Brian’s disappointment and anxiety when a storm delayed Digby’s initial surgery and the issues he had driving to the surgery including car problems on the way home. I was relieved to learn that all turned out well. This emotional story was conveyed so well that I felt as if I was going through it with my own pets.

Another feature I loved about this book were the beautiful photos illustrating each chapter and the gallery of photos at the back. While Brian didn’t restrict this book to the three dogs in its title, he’s written books about his other rescue dogs. They’re all listed in the bibliography at the end along with his Mersey mystery series. I’m sure readers will want to check out both these series, as Brian is an international bestselling author and a talented writer of different genres.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3o2EmfI