Posted in Reviews

Review of the Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

*****5 stars

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

I can’t say enough good things about this book. It had me turning the pages as the story shifted from 18th-century to modern London. Nella is an apothecary in 1791 who takes over her mother’s business but now dispenses poisons instead of herbal remedies to women who wish to do away with their husbands or lovers because of abuse or infidelity.

Current-day Caroline is visiting London on what would’ve been her anniversary trip, but she recently learned of her husband’s adultery. Seeking time away, she takes the trip herself and is enlightened by what she learns during a mud lurking expedition in which she recovers an old bottle in the sea with an inscription of a bear. Investigating her find at the British Library, she befriends a researcher who helps her discover the whereabouts of Nella’s apothecary shop that has been hidden for over 200 years.

As the story alternates between past and present, Caroline becomes absorbed in investigating the apothecary’s story. When Caroline’s husband joins her in London to apologize for his behavior and ask her for a new start, she is faced with a decision regarding her marriage. Delving further into the apothecary’s life, Caroline seeks to solve a mystery which allows her to confront her own future.

Posted in Reviews

Review for Falling into Magic: Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic #1 by Elizabeth Pantley

*****5 stars

This is an enchanting read. I savored the descriptive details of the magical town of Destiny Falls. It made me want to pack up, jump in the mirror that transported Hayden, and move there. Of course, the cat on the cover, the sassy Latifa, was a big plus for me. All the characters in this story were well written. If you like mystery, a touch of romance, fantasy, and twists, you’ll enjoy this book. I’m looking forward to the next in the series, The Disappearance of Emily, and participating in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour starting this week.

Blurb to Falling into Magic

When Hayden was a child, she lost her cat. Adults told her the cat ran away, but she knew the truth. The mirror had taken her.
She knew because the mirror had given her a glimpse of an alternate world and had nearly pulled her in, so she was certain the cat had suffered that fate.
Twenty years later Hayden discovers the secret of the mirror when she is thrust into it. She learns of a world she never knew existed, and a family she never knew she had.
But danger brought her here, and it followed her. Now, Hayden is on a mission to remove the threat, so that she can begin her magical, meaningful new life in this enchanted world.

About the Author (from her Amazon author page)

Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her parenting books have been published in over twenty languages.
Elizabeth has also written the new Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic book series. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She’s the mother of four, and Nana to one.
You can get more information, articles, contests, and more, at her website: http://www.nocrysolution.com/ or her blog at http://elizabethpantley.com

Posted in Reviews

Review for Bettina’s Tail: My Story of Rescue by Stasie Fishman

***** 5 stars

This children’s book, following the author’s previous cat rescue story, Sammie’s Tail, is just as charming and educational. Bettina will win any child’s heart with her adorable face and “I am” sayings such as “Brave, brave, brave! I am!” when she runs past people after a snowstorm and “Happy, happy, happy! I am!” when she goes into an outdoor cat house that was put out for her and eats some food that a kind lady she met gives her. This true story, told from the cat’s point of view, also includes photos of Bettina’s rescue by the author and resources for adults interested in cat rescue. More rescue stories are in the works for the other cats Ms. Fishman has rescued with Freddie’s Tail coming next. Each cat, like Sammie and Bettina, will share their special story to the delight of young and old cat lovers. Highly recommended.

Posted in Cozy Mystery, New Releases, Reviews

Review of Bait and Witch, A Witch Way Librarian Mystery by Angela M. Sanders

*****5 star Review

The first of the new Witch Way Librarian paranormal cozy mystery series by Angela M. Sanders is a treat for bibliophiles and those who enjoy cozies featuring witches, cats, and libraries. The main character, Josie, doesn’t know she’s a witch until she runs away from a dangerous situation to a small town in Oregon. Accepting a job as a librarian at the Wilfred Library, she discovers that books and a black cat named Rodney respond to her in magical ways. As Josie is caught up in a murder investigation and the possibility that she may lose her new job when the library is replaced by a community center, she becomes attracted to a man who may be a killer and the cause of the library’s sale. Strange things continue to happen to her that culminate in her learning the truth about herself and Sam Wilfred. I found this a fun read full of charm, magic, and surprises and look forward to the next book in the series.

Read my interview with Rodney the cat when I featured this book’s blog tour on my library cat’s blog. https://wp.me/p7XcB0-15t

Posted in Blog Tour, New Releases, Reviews

New Ebook and $20 Giveaway

I’m proud to announce that Pet Posts: The Cat Chats , is now available in Ebook as well as paperback and is free for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers. This cat book features full-color photos and stories narrated by two of my current felines and two who have passed to the Rainbow Bridge. The “tails” that are told are informative about health topics ranging from feline diabetes, asthma, hyperthyroidism, and more. There are also short stories, a poem, and links to articles and blogs about cats. If you or someone on your holiday list is a cat lover, this is a purr-fect book.

Pet Posts is also on blog tour until December 23rd with a $20 giveaway. The tour can be followed from the host blog, Silver Dagger Book Tours.

Here is the review from Our Town Book Reviews:

Not just an enjoyable book or collection of cat articles to read but also an informative read.

This book is also well-written and well put together. Although it contains a lot of information about cat illnesses and the treatment of them, as well as cat behaviors, it flows like a story. Never dry and what I’ll call “academic”. To make this happen the author has written some of the chapters or articles with the POV being one of the cats.

This book could be titled All About Cats. However, there must be 100 books with that title. So “Pet Posts” is fine, but it is the everything you need to know about cats book. From appetite loss and illness to the best snuggly beds. All told to you by a cat. What more expertise could you get?

Debbie De Louise has many books published. Many have cats in them, some fictional and some not but all have excellent reviews.

Don’t miss this book that makes a great gift for you or a cat lover on your holiday list. The eBook is free on KindleUnlimited and less than $5 for the eBook. The paperback is also now on sale for $1 less.

Posted in Reviews

Review for Faye Faraway by Helen Fisher

I first heard about this book through a library webinar I attended. As a fan of time-travel books, I found the premise interesting, a story about a woman whose mother died when she was young but who was able to go back in time to see her again. Although I didn’t lose my mother as a child, I know the feeling of wanting to spend more time with a loved one you’ve lost. Faye discovers that there are negatives as well as positives for doing this when she comes across an old box that had originally contained a Christmas gift for her. This box serves as a time machine that can send her back to the year prior to her mother’s death. While the trip back is bumpy, and Faye is bruised and battered from it, she is eager to befriend her mother who is younger than she is at the time. She also meets her young self which is an anomaly in this type of fiction. While Faye is reluctant to share her experience with anyone, including her husband who is about to enter the clergy, she confides in a blind co-worker. As she investigates the past through her time-travel trips and also through information she gathers in the present, she learns some amazing facts about her mother. The end is a twist that will surprise you but that makes sense of the plot. While this is a time-travel mystery, it’s also a story about faith and family. I read the advanced reader’s copy. The book releases in late January, and I highly recommend it.

Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews

Review and Blog Tour for Time Management For Creative People by Deirdra Eden

 

Chances are you’ve tried and failed with spreadsheets, agendas, day planners, and other mathematical and finite ways of measuring time. Applying the strict regimes of industrial systems to a creative mind can kill creativity, damper the enjoyment of your work, and knock you off balance.
In this workbook you will learn to balance, organize, and prioritize all you need to get done by living your life in creative cycles and seasons while maximizing your high and low energy times the way you were meant to.
 
Your creativity is a powerful force that can be harnessed, focused, controlled, commanded, and become a powerful ability as you masterfully channel your desire to create into the powerful motivating force it is meant to be.

 

  

 

 

Deirdra has spent the last decade captivating audiences of all ages with her novels and fairy tales. Her specialty is paranormal theology that delves into documented historical phenomenon and natural disasters of biblical proportions. 

As an author and one who has a full-time job to juggle along with my family and writing, I was interested in reading Deirdra Eden’s Time Management for Creative People. While I read the eBook copy, I’m sure the paperback edition will be more useful because of the fill-in charts, diagrams, and tables included in this workbook. I loved the way that each exercise built on the other allowing the reader to learn ways to organize projects and priorities while setting goals for the future. Projects are divided into Yearly, Quarterly, Monthly, Weekly, and Daily tasks. The Creative Time Management Wheel diagram illustrates the creative, seasonal cycles and high and low energy levels of the creator. I recommend this book for anyone in the Arts — authors, artists, musicians, etc. Keep an eye out for this book at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores.
Posted in Authors, Interview, Reviews

Interview of Sandra’s Book Club: Readers Get Free Books, Authors Get Reviews, Free options Available.

Q: First, tell us how you came to be a published author and how you came up with the idea to provide services to authors.

A: I wrote my first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, WHILE I was still in college. The book follows the story of a 14-year old Mexican-American girl trying to get out of the barrio and make something of her life. Full of humor and refreshing dialogue, this book was voted as an inspirational favorite by teen readers. Shortly after that, I wrote the sequel entitled Beyond the Gardens, published in October 2009.
In the second book, the lead heroine gains new confidence and strength as she learns the hard way that “you can take the girl out of the barrio, but you can’t take the barrio out of the girl.”
I write stories with strong and independent female characters that I, myself, would like to read about.
When I’m not writing, I get my fill on reading for the enjoyment as well as to improve my craft.
Like every published author, I was emailing book bloggers, asking them to please review my book. But, like querying to a publisher, most of them were unresponsive and some weren’t interested. And, of course, I used paid services that would list my book in their newsletters, reaching potential readers that may or may not review my book. That worked out okay. But let’s face it: getting reviews is tough. It’s hard when your book isn’t well publicized and no one is willing to give it chance. That’s what started my book blog. Initially, it started as just a blog for my own personal reviews on books that I read. At that point, I started taking requests from authors and publishers. My own personal review would be free, but, of course, like every other blogger, I only chose the ones that I wanted and rejected those that I didn’t. Yes, my readings tastes are pretty open in a wide variety of genres, but there are some that just don’t really interest me (i.e. westerns, politics sports, etc.) So how do I help those rejected authors get reviews? After all, I couldn’t possibly review them all. That’s when I came up with the idea of starting a book club of readers and a review program to supply authors with more reviews besides the one that I give them. Readers can sign up to get free books from authors, and authors can get reviews for their books. It’s a simple, easy, and convenient program. And it’s working!


Q: How can this review program benefit writers?

A: The review program allows authors to list their books and reach a wide range of readers. It’s been a hit so far! About 85% of participating authors get at least 1 – 2 reviews on Amazon, and we receive over 75 reviews a month from readers. And the best part about it is that we offer free ways for authors to list their book in our program. As an author, I totally understand that budgets can be tight, which makes it harder (maybe even impossible) to promote your books. Most authors shy away to any promo service when there’s a price. What better price is there than FREE?

Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of a book to make it sell?

A: The story itself along with a fabulous cover is definitely important. But probably the most important would have to be reviews. Let’s face it: reviews are the life blood of any book. More reviews equal a greater online exposure and a higher sales ranking, which, could result in sales. My book, Single Chicas, has over 70 reviews, and that has given me more royalties on Kindle sales. The reviews made
the difference because before I got no royalties, and now I’m surprised to actually see one come through knowing that I didn’t do any promotion. Book reviews are definitely the key thing here.


Q: How is your author review program unique?

A: My review program is unique because I offer a free option for authors, and I do that because I want authors of all kinds to get a fair chance at getting reviews for their books. Every book deserves a review. These are HONEST and LEGIT reviews. There is no buying reviews here. Readers are free to choose any book and reserve the right in whether or not a review gets posted. It’s all strictly voluntary
and 100% honest.


Q: I see on your website that you also do graphics. Would you mind telling us a little more about that end of your service?


A: As a graphic designer, I help authors with book covers, bookmarks, flyers, social media graphics, headers, and so on. I often try to offer clients bundle packages that include graphic design, book promotion, AND an opportunity to get listed in my review program to reach potential reviewers daily. I definitely know what authors want and I try to give that to them in a bulk deal.

Q: How can authors and readers sign up?


A: For authors interested in submitting their book to get reviews, please go to:
https://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/2020/08/submit-your-book.html
For readers interested in signing up to read free books, please go to:
https://sandrasbookclub.blogspot.com/2019/09/read-review-program.html

Posted in Cozy Mystery, Reviews

Review of Christmas Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

*

*****5 stars

This review appeared in the October 1, 2020 issue of Booklist..

As a big fan of Joanne Fluke’s cozy mystery series featuring cookie baker Hannah Swenson and her family in Lake Eden, Minnesota, I was thrilled to review her latest mystery, Christmas Cupcake Murder. Although part of the series, this book takes place before Hannah solves her first missing person’s case and before her mother, Delores, opens an antique store with her friend, Carrie Rhodes.

When Hannah finds an injured man on the floor of a vacant building that her mother is renting to house her antiques, she learns that he’s had a blow to the head that’s rendered him with memory loss. Determined to help the man, who seems to identify with the name “Joe” and is experienced with furniture repair and restoration, Hannah begins a search to find his family. When “Joe” befriends Freddie, the intellectually disabled man who helps at the hospital, he recalls that he has a brother with a similar condition. As Hannah follows further clues about “Joe,” she discovers that someone attempted to murder him. The mystery is finally solved by locating a recipe in a library book.

At the end of nearly every chapter of this fun story are delicious holiday recipes. There is also a handy index at the back. Don’t miss this charming cozy mystery that will also satisfy your sweet tooth.

Posted in Reviews

Review and Blog Tour for Larceny At the Library, A Washington Whodunit, by Colleen J. Shogan

***5-stars

As a librarian and a pet lover, there were two things I liked most about this book — the setting (the murder takes place in the Library of Congress) and the dog (Clarence). The mystery and human characters were top-notch, too. The plot was equally absorbing as we join amateur sleuth Kit Marshall on her fifth adventure where she attempts to solve the murder of Gustav Gaffney, the Assistant Librarian of Congress, who was found dead the morning after the preview of a special exhibit containing the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets on the night of his murder at Ford Theater. Gaffney’s killer is suspected of having also stolen some of the objects from this exhibit, but Kit has another theory and sets out to prove it.

I loved the way Shogan describes the Library of Congress and other D.C. buildings. It was almost like taking a tour of Washington. I was also surprised by the twist at the end. I highly recommend this fun cozy mystery.

Larceny at the Library (A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

About Larceny at the Library


Larceny at the Library (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Publisher: Epicenter Press (July 14, 2020)
Print Length: 202 pages
ISBN-13: 9781603818353
ASIN: B0863MN6TP

Congressional staffer Kit Marshall is excited to attend a historic event displaying the contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets the night he was assassinated at the Library of Congress. The next day, a senior librarian is dead and several invaluable artifacts are missing. Kit’s husband Doug discovers the body and immediately becomes a suspect in the death and theft. Kit springs into action once again to figure out who is responsible for the crimes. Her sleuthing takes her to the DC Public Library, the National Portrait Gallery, Ford’s Theatre, and the most ornate, beautiful rooms at the Library of Congress. At the end, Kit must put her own life on the line to retrieve her most valuable possession, which goes unexpectedly missing as she hunts down the killer.

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at several universities and previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. She is currently the Senior Vice President of the White House Historical Association.

Colleen is a member of Sisters in Crime. “Stabbing in the Senate” was awarded the Next Generation Indie prize for Best Mystery in 2016. “Homicide in the House” was a 2017 finalist for the RONE Award for Best Mystery. “Calamity at the Continental Club” was a 2018 finalist in the “best cozy mystery” at Killer Nashville. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.

Author Links

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/washingtonwhodunit/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/cshogan276

Website – www.colleenshogan.com

GoodReads – www.goodreads.com/cshogan276

Purchase Links – AmazonB&N

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