Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Book Review: SWEET HEARTS (Samantha Sweet Mysteries #4) by Connie Shelton

Synopsis (from Amazon)

USA Today bestselling author Connie Shelton’s most delightful cozy mystery series yet—with a little romance, a little magic and a whole lot of chocolate! With nearly 2 million books sold and downloaded in more than 110 countries, see what the fuss is all about! 

Will there be Valentine wedding bells for Samantha Sweet and Beau Cardwell? (introduced in this mystery series opener Sweet Masterpiece) Sam's bakery, Sweet's Sweets is busier than ever this Valentine week, as she struggles to replicate the magical chocolate-making techniques of the enigmatic chocolatier who boosted her winter holiday sales into the stratosphere. However, candy classes take second place to a new mystery, when Sam meets a woman whose missing son's case seems to have been dropped by the authorities. Marla Fresques learns that she is dying and needs for her son to come home and raise the daughter he left behind. Sam agrees to help, hoping that Sheriff Beau's inside connections will bring about a quick and happy resolution. 

But what about Sam's and Beau's own wedding plans? They may be in jeopardy when an entirely new development appears in the form of Beau's ex-girlfriend who is determined to win him back. With the familiar mix of cozy mystery, romance and a touch of magic that has enchanted readers of this series, Sweet Hearts draws the reader even further into the captivating world of Samantha Sweet. 


Valentine's approaching and Sam is one busy lady. Her bakery is doing great and orders for Valentine's keep coming in, along with customers asking for more of the special chocolates she had at Christmas. She also thought it would be romantic to be married on Valentine's Day and all of those details are still up in the air. The last thing she needs is to meet Marla who comes to Sam, not in search of something sweet. No, she wants Sam to find her son who went missing ten years ago. Marla has raised his daughter, Jolene, since then. Only Marla's dying and is afraid what will happen to Jolene. To top it off, Beau's ex shows up and tries to win him back. 

This is my second in the Samantha Sweet Mysteries and I enjoyed both. This is a light, fun read, with some heavier moments. It has the small town feel, most evident when Sam meets Marla's neighbors and friends. There's conflicts in relationships, a mystery to be solved, and a twist here and there. Marla's magic box comes in handy, though she's still learning how it works. Then there's the special chocolates. Oh, my.

There are 16 books in the Samantha Sweet Mysteries. I always suggest readers start at the beginning of a series. At the time of this posting, the first in the series, Sweet Masterpiece is only 99 cents (AMAZON). The full series can be found at AMAZON. Sweet Hearts Purchase Link AMAZON


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Blog Tour and Book Review: DEADLY RESCUE : A World War II Mystery by Kate Parker

Deadly Rescue: A World War II Mystery(

About the Book

As the Phony War morphs into the Blitzkrieg, two British intelligence officers risk getting trapped behind enemy lines in the ninth Deadly mystery from USA Today Bestselling author Kate Parker. 

April, 1940. Hitler is invading Denmark on Tuesday. Olivia Redmond has only a weekend to bring a Nobel Prize winning chemist and his war-altering research to Britain. The scientist and his wife want to leave, but their troublesome daughter will do anything to stop her parents from departing.

When the daughter’s German fiancĂ© is murdered, the police refuse to let anyone depart until they find the killer. If Olivia wants to escape Denmark with the chemist and his breakthroughs, she will have to unmask the killer before the Nazis stop her forever. 

Deadly Rescue, book nine of the Deadly Series, is for fans of World War II era spy thrillers and classical cozy mysteries, of intrepid lady sleuths with determination and smarts. No explicit cursing, violence, or sex.


The British government's concern is that the discoveries and intelligence of the renowned chemist, Dr. Jorgeson, will be used to prolong the war. Livvy definitely agrees with that, but her motive in going to Denmark is that the Mrs. Jorgeson had been friends with her mother. Livvy is paired with Mike Christianson who she's never met, but at least he speaks Danish and has a military mindset. Only the two of them must convince the Jorgensons and their daughter, Katrine quickly as the Nazis have announced they will invade Denmark.

When first a maid and then the German assistant to Jorgenson is murdered, the police are not willing to let anyone leave until they catch the killer. Thinking fast, Livvy throws out an idea that Braun killed the maid and then may have inadvertently killed himself when trying to kill someone else. That gets them on the train and ferry at least, without a moment to spare, but Livvy's not so sure that's what really happened.

The story is well-plotted and Parker's character's are strong and well-developed. The history and likely tension experienced with an invasion pending and wartime are well-portrayed. Add in much interpersonal tension. There is enough action and twists to keep the story moving at a steady pace.This is the 9th in the series, but only my second. It can be read as a stand alone. 
Livvy makes a wonderful sleuth in this historical cozy. Readers who like historical fiction and particularly the WW II era, will find much that resonates and are sure to enjoy this one. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

About the Author

Since she was unable to build a time machine in her backyard, Kate Parker immerses
herself in research and then creates the world that lives inside each book that she writes. Her favorite place is London and her time travel destination is anywhere from the late Victorian era through World War II. 

Since she lives in the Carolinas with her daughter and a 95-pound puppy, the practical side of her is thankful for air conditioning and all the modern comforts of life. Comforts she will take with her if she ever figures out how to build her time machine. 

Author Links:

Purchase Links 

Amazon - B&N - Kobo   

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Book Review: WINTERS MOURN (Winter Black, FBI Book 1) by Mary Stone

I'm not a big thriller reader, but this one caught my eye... 

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Thirteen years ago, Winter Black came home early from a sleepover to find her parents brutally murdered and her little brother gone—taken by a serial killer called The Preacher. 

Now a rookie FBI agent assigned to her first murder case, Winter has returned to the small Virginia town where she grew up. But when bones found by a hunter lead to the discovery of a secret burial ground containing the remains of children, the investigation suddenly hits close to home as the past and future collide with each new shocking discovery. 

Will they find her brother’s bones in the makeshift graveyard next? Only The Preacher knows, and he’ll do anything to keep the past—and its secrets—buried until he’s ready to make his final move. 

A masterfully conceived psychological thriller reminiscent of James Patterson, Winter’s Mourn will keep readers turning the pages—and watching the window—long past midnight. 


Winter Black is a rookie FBI Agent, returning to her hometown with her memories from when her family was murdered. The FBI is called in to investigate when bones are found. As the story unfolds and her recollections are mixed with current day, secrets are uncovered. This is very well-written and the pace kept me reading. Winter is a likable character, despite her demons, and the story is entertaining. If you like psychological thrillers, I think you'll like this one as well. Reader beware, profanity is used but at least to me, it seemed appropriate. Looking for a new series to keep you occupied for a while? This is the first of 19! Happy reading.

Purchase Link      AMAZON

About the Author 

Mary Stone lives among the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of East Tennessee with her two dogs, four cats, a couple of energetic boys, and a very patient husband. As a young girl, she would go to bed every night, wondering what type of creature might be lurking underneath. It wasn’t until she was older that she learned that the creatures she needed to most fear were human. 

Today, she creates vivid stories with courageous, strong heroines and dastardly villains. She invites you to enter her world of serial killers, FBI agents but never damsels in distress. Her female characters can handle themselves, going toe-to-toe with any male character, protagonist or antagonist.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Book Blitz: MCKENZIE'S LAST RUN by Gayle Rosengren

Middle Grade fiction 

Thirteen-year-old MacKenzie (Mac) Lawrence secretly blames himself for his father’s death. In his grief and guilt, he has pulled away from everyone, even his twin sister Tessa. When their mother announces her plans to remarry barely 18 months after Dad’s death, Mac is furious and runs away in an attempt to force her to break off the engagement. 

Unfortunately, nothing goes as Mac plans. He ends up seriously injured, miles from home, unable to reach out for help, while clues he inadvertently left behind suggest he’s been kidnapped—possibly by Mom’s fiancĂ©—and set his twin sister Tessa on a desperate search to find him. But she’d better hurry, because the clock is ticking, and Mac is running out of time.

Read an excerpt:

“We’re not keeping anything from you, Mrs. Lawrence,” Sergeant Hernandez said. “I promise. It’s just that Officer Borkowski has been concerned by some of the unusual circumstances surrounding MacKenzie’s disappearance.” 

Mom’s forehead puckered. “Unusual circumstances?” 

The sergeant nodded. “The fact that MacKenzie didn’t take any money with him, for example. That’s very unusual for a runaway. And he didn’t take his bike either. Again, this isn’t the norm. Taken together with the bloodstains on the carpet, well, there’s another possible explanation that we can’t entirely rule out.”

The back of Tessa’s neck prickled. What was Sergeant Hernandez getting at? She looked at her mother, who was frowning at the police woman, twisting her hands together. 

“I still don’t understand. What are you trying to say?” 

Beside her, Simon’s eyebrows snapped together. “Surely you’re not suggesting what I think you are.” He pulled Mom closer. 

Tessa’s throat tightened. “What is it?” Mom’s eyes were huge green pools of panic. 

“We need to investigate the possibility that your son may not have run away,” Sergeant Hernandez said. “Someone may have taken him.” 

Mom shook her head like Tessa did to get water out of her ears after a dive. Her mouth sagged open and she slumped against Simon. “No.” 

Tessa’s heart cannonballed into her stomach. They thought someone took Mac. They thought someone broke into his room and took him! But that was crazy. Why would anyone want to kidnap Mac?

Excerpt from McKenzie's Last Run. Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved.

About the Author:

As a girl, books were among Gayle’s best friends and inspired her dream of writing for children someday. It was a dream that only grew stronger over the years. Gayle majored in Creative Writing in college. Her first book, What the Moon Said (Putnam 2014) was a Jr. Library Guild selection and CCBC title, and her second, Cold War on Maplewood Street (Putnam 2015) won the Tofte-Wright Award for Children’s Literature. 

She has worked as an advertising copywriter, a pre-school teacher, a youth services assistant in her local public library; and a research assistant in the American Girl library. Gayle is a lover of stories whether she’s writing them or reading them. Visit her website to learn more about Gayle and her books.

Author Contact Information 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1595989048 https://twitter.com/gaylerosengren 

Purchase Link

Gayle Rosengren will be awarding a $100 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.