Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"Peach Clobbered" by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered
(Georgia B&B Mystery Book 1)
by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered (Georgia B&B Mystery Book 1) by Anna Gerard

Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

What’s black and white and dead all over? Georgia bed and breakfast proprietor Nina Fleet finds out when she comes across a corpse in a penguin costume.
Nina Fleet’s life ought to be as sweet as a Georgia peach. Awarded a tidy sum in her divorce, Nina retired at 41 to a historic Queen Anne house in quaint Cymbeline, GA. But Nina’s barely settled into her new B&B-to-be when a penguin shows up on her porch. Or, at least, a man wearing a penguin suit.
Harry Westcott is making ends meet as an ice cream shop’s mascot and has a letter from his great-aunt, pledging to leave him the house. Too bad that’s not what her will says. Meanwhile, the Sisters of Perpetual Poverty have lost their lease. Real estate developer Gregory Bainbridge intends to turn the convent into a golfing community, so Cymbeline’s mayor persuades Nina to take in the elderly nuns. And then Nina finds the “penguin” again, this time lying in an alley with a kitchen knife in his chest.
A peek under the beak tells Nina it’s not Harry inside the costume, but Bainbridge. What was he doing in Harry’s penguin suit? Was the developer really the intended victim, or did the culprit mean to kill Harry? Whoever is out to stop Harry from contesting the sale of his great-aunt’s house may also be after Nina, so she teams up with him to cage the killer before someone clips her wings in Peach Clobbered, Anna Gerard’s charming first Georgia B&B Mystery.

If the incidents of the past few weeks are ever turned into one of those Hallmark Channel murder mysteries, I’ll suggest the producers call it Summer of the Penguins. Which would be all the more ironic because I live in the small Georgia town of Cymbeline. Here, June temperatures climb well into the nineties, with the humidity equally off the scale. Not exactly a place conducive to our little friends from Antarctica.
And yet, when I answered the door of my three-story Queen Anne home that Saturday morning following Memorial Day, one of those black-and-white flightless birds was camped out on my doorstep. Unfortunately, the penguin in question proved to be but the first of several that I’d be encountering in the space of a few days.
At half past ten in the AM, the temperature was already hot enough to drop you if you didn’t stay properly hydrated. And that didn’t count the humidity, which was thick enough to swim in. That was why I was dressed in ragged cutoff blue jeans and a faded I AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERDS T-shirt, with my brown hair rubber-banded into a messy ponytail and bangs held back with a sweaty red bandana.
After an hour spent prying errant crabgrass, chickweed, and the occasional nettle from the jade-colored St. Augustine grass that neatly blanketed my quarter-acre front lawn, I was dangerously close to “drop me” territory. I’d just gone inside to grab a tall, restorative glass of homemade lemonade when, from my kitchen, I heard a muffled pounding on my front door.
Matilda, my Australian shepherd and the reason for my doggy T-shirt, immediately scrambled to her fuzzy feet and let out a warning woof.
“It’s okay, Mattie,” I told her as, glass in hand, I headed to the front of the house again. “Probably more tourists. Don’t worry, I’ll run them off.”
I wasn’t kidding about the tourists. I had discovered within the first week of moving from my old condo in Atlanta to my new digs in Cymbeline that owning a historic home in a touristy town came with certain drawbacks. Not the least of which was random strangers knocking on one’s door demanding a peek inside. It was probably time to get those rusty front gate hinges oiled so I could actually close said gate and keep out the riffraff. Because sometimes riffraff was code for really bad people coming to rob you and murder you in your sleep. Which was why, following my divorce a year earlier, I’d taken up my mother’s habit of keeping a weapon by my bedside.
Hers was a Louisville Slugger, the hefty wooden kind that could send a kneecap flying over the left-field fence. Since my ex was a pro golfer, I’d opted for the more appropriate steel-shafted putter … lighter, and not quite so in-your-face until it actually was.
Not that I thought I was going to need my dark-alley equalizer on a bright weekend morning. Instead, I readied my rehearsed “Sorry, go away” speech, opened my paneled front door, and peered through the screen to the wraparound porch beyond. Uh-huh, definitely a penguin, though it stood close to six feet tall, a good six inches taller than me, and was big even for an emperor penguin. He would have been taller except that his head was missing. I located it a moment later tucked beneath one large flipper.
No, he had not been decapitated.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
Peach Clobbered is a quirky, interesting and enjoyable read.” ~ The Book Decoder
“The story is superbly written, and the characters are perfect. I love all the differences, and the setting with the Shakespearean references is fabulous.” ~ Baroness’ Book Trove
“The pacing was perfect and each chapter drew me right into the next. I was engaged by the characters completely and was anxious to see how everything in this novel panned out.” ~ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
“... a great mystery that is full of charm, personality, an adorable dog, and a surprising ending. Overall a fantastic start to a new series that is perfect for cozy fans. I totally loved it so I give it 5/5 stars.” ~ Books a Plenty Book Reviews
“You will giggle, gasp and then giggle some more with this peach of a cozy!” ~ A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

About the Author
Diane A. S. Stuckart
Diane A. S. Stuckart is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mystery series (writing as Ali Brandon). She’s also the author of the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries, as well as several historical romances and numerous mystery, fantasy, and romance short stories. The first book in her Tarot Cats Mystery series is Fool’s Moon. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series from Crooked Lane Books launched July 2019 with Peach Clobbered, written as Anna Gerard.
Diane is a member of Mystery Writers of America and has served as the 2018 and 2019 Chapter President of the MWA Florida chapter. In addition to her mystery writing affiliations, she’s a member of the Cat Writers’ Association and belongs to the Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association. She’s a native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma but has been living in the West Palm Beach, Florida, area since 2006. She shares her “almost in the Everglades” home with her husband, dogs, cats, and a few beehives.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed print copy of Peach Clobbered by Anna Gerard (US only).


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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

"The Poet of the Heart" by LaNona Walker

The Poet of the Heart
by LaNona Walker

The Poet of the Heart by LaNona Walker

The Poet of the Heart by LaNona Walker is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

People can fade away, rose petals can be crushed and things can be lost, but at least you’ll remember how it was. The Poet of The Heart is a poetry collection that touches everything the heart can feel, hope for, cherish, and even regret. In a collection of poems ranging from romantic to heart-wrenching, LaNona Walker dives into her passions and writes from the heart. Fragmented pieces of dreams and losses combine to bring you a touching series of stories that have deeper meanings in their rhymes and lyrics.

The Dance of Fire and Rain
He chose the fire,
And she chose the rain.
He swore he’d set the world on fire-
Just for her.
But she was by nature-
The flood that would put it out.
He wouldn’t stop, and she couldn’t go anywhere.
So the fire and the rain danced.
Until the fire burned out, and the rain disappeared.
The flames rose higher and higher,
And the teardrops of the sky fell.
The fire and the rain danced,
Until both were nothing.
Just embers and smoke,
Nothing more and nothing less.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Imagine a poem combined with beautiful tales. This is what this is. Beautiful, poetic and simply stunning!” ~ TeaAndBooks
“Awesome debut for author LaNona Walker! Her imagery is soft, but crisp, and I love the way the same theme flows throughout the entire collection, ending with the ultimate and sacrificial ‘love of her life’. A great gift book to your BFF or granddaughters.” ~ Addison Carmichael
“… the writer of this book of poetry is skilled on the myriad of poetic devices. She uses them well, and though the concepts may be deep, it is relatively simple to follow her train of thought and her symbolism. This is not ‘high-brow’ poetry; it is intended for the ordinary person. Whether you know poetry or not, these poems are for you.” ~ Ruth Hill
“Omg! I loved this so so much! I can relate to a few and some I found very admirable! LaNona has such a beautiful writing style! Can't wait to read future works!” ~ Desara

About the Author
LaNona Walker
LaNona Walker is a bookaholic and major coffee drinker. When she’s not jotting stories down or getting lost in books, she can be found baking delicious treats while jamming to music or re-watching movies (mostly Marvel) with her Pug. Or getting dragged away from a bookstore by family members and friends.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a swag pack.


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Monday, July 15, 2019

"Left Fur Dead" by J. M. Griffin

Left Fur Dead
(A Jules & Bun Mystery Book 1)
by J. M. Griffin

Left Fur Dead (A Jules & Bun Mystery Book 1) by J. M. Griffin

Left Fur Dead is the first book in the Jules & Bun Mystery series by J. M. Griffin. Available for pre-order: Who’s Dead, Doc?.

Who’s Dead, Doc? by J. M. Griffin

Left Fur Dead is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

On Fur Bridge Farm, Jules cares for rescued rabbits. But when a killer strikes, she’ll need a rabbit to rescue her ...
Juliette “Jules” Bridge prides herself on the tender rehabilitation she provides for injured or abused rabbits on her New Hampshire rescue farm, but she has a very special relationship with one bunny in particular. Bun is a black-and-white rabbit who happens to have the ability to communicate through mental telepathy. Once she got over the shock, Jules found her furry friend had a lot to say.
One frigid March morning on their walk together, Bun spots a body. The police identify the frozen stiff as Arthur Freeman, aka Arty the Mime. Jules and Arty knew each other on the children’s party circuit, where he’d perform magic tricks and she had an educational rabbit petting pen. With Bun egging her on, Jules decides it’s time they hop to it and put their heads together to discover who silenced the mime. But their investigation leads them down a rabbit hole of more suspects and lies, while a killer sets a trap for them ...

“It’s quite blustery today,” I murmured as a fine sheen of ice-crusted snow crunched under my feet while a steady wind buffeted us. The edge of the water, glazed with shards of ice, reminded me of broken glass. Tall grasses, stiffly encrusted with snow, barely swayed in the wind coming off Lake Plantain. Frosty boulders dotted the landscape. New Hampshire in March was frigid. I stopped abruptly when Bun’s voice entered my head.
Bunny, my black-and-white rabbit, snuggled against my chest in the baby sling he rode in. Bun’s head protruded from the sling opening, and his ears twitched as he glanced around.
“That looks odd, like a frosty hand rising from the tall grass over there.” Bun dipped his head to my left. I followed his lead, slanting a look in that direction.
Holy crap, it did look like a frozen hand reaching upward. My heart began to pound, my breath came short and fast, and I veered toward the area.
“You don’t think it’s real, do you?”
“I’m sure it’s just the way the frost has clumped the grass together. We’ll have a look.”
My name is Juliette Bridge, better known as Jules. I’m the owner of Fur Bridge Farm, where I raise rabbits, find good homes for them, and care for others that have been rescued from difficult and often abominable situations. Bun, my best buddy, lives in my farmhouse as my resident housemate. He has a personality that warms my heart, that is, when he’s not poking his sweet little nose where it doesn’t belong.
Not your average rabbit, Bun’s smart, sociable, talkative, and very talented. His specialty is pure nosiness. He communicates with me by way of mental telepathy, which adds another dimension to an ongoing list of my problems. I know, it sounds ludicrous, but when Bun talks, I’ve learned to listen. I never thought I’d have a talking pet, but there you have it. He’s never mentioned how this ability came about, and I’ve never asked. Uncertain if everyone can hear him, I can only assume they aren’t willing to acknowledge his ability.
We’ve shared the farmhouse for the past couple of years, after I rescued him from a despicable family with no respect for animals. They were glad to see him go, saying he was in league with the devil. I figure they could hear him talk.
The first time I heard his voice, a soft, lilting, somewhat musical sound, I wondered if I’d imagined it. As time went on, he kept talking to me, and I continued to ignore him. One morning, about a year ago, we were taking our usual walk, when I ran into Margery Shaw. Margery had been Bun’s previous keeper and there was no love lost between us. Having seen Margery coming before I did, Bun had huddled down inside the sling, burrowing as far as he could, trying to disappear. I heard a warning to take care before there was only silence.
The woman marched up and asked if I’d heard the rabbit talk. That was the dawning realization that Bun could, and often did, communicate with me. Unwilling to admit it to Margery, I shook my head and asked if she was imagining things. Her anger evident over my remark, I left her standing on the path as I jogged off, holding Bun close to my chest.
From that day forward, Bun and I have conversed on a regular basis. I doubt I can answer him telepathically and haven’t tried. I’m careful where and when I speak aloud to him. It doesn’t look good to prospective rabbit owners if I’m blathering on about something to Bun when they’ve come to the farm in search of rabbits of their own.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“An excellent start to a new series, I love the fact that one of the protagonists is a rabbit! It is certainly a change from the usual cats and dogs.” ~ A Wytch’s Book Review Blog
“This was a fun read, and as someone who supports various animal rescue groups, I enjoyed the discussion of the educational and rescue aspects.” ~ Christa Reads and Writes
“I think the highest compliment I can give to this book is that after reading it I want to go out and adopt a rabbit!” ~ Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows
“This was a new twist on the normal cat or dog partners you find in a lot of cozy mysteries ... If you enjoy cozy mysteries with animal companions, you’ll definitely want to give this new series a try.” ~ The Book’s the Thing
“This is a fun story, tender and emotional, with lots of light-hearted moments; impossible to read without smiling much of the time.” ~ The Power of Words

Guest Post by the Author
My Writing Journey
Thank you for having me here on your blog. To say I’m thrilled is putting it mildly. Instead, maybe I should say I’m giddy with excitement (she grins) to have the opportunity to introduce myself and share a bit of what lies behind my first novel in the Jules & Bun Mystery series, Left Fur Dead.
Having been interested in mystery novels and crafting since childhood, it seemed a natural progression to become a storyteller. My family would patiently smile when I regaled them with ideas for, what seemed to me, the next bestselling novel, one that never made it to the manuscript stage. Instead, those tiny kernels would tuck themselves in the nooks and crannies of my brain and bounce forward to fit nicely into a novel I was writing.
I’m not saying that my family wasn’t supportive. They were. It was just that I talked a lot about reading and writing novels, but I didn’t actually produce any until I was in my early fifties. When I reached that stage, I knew I should have been writing all those years. Stories poured out, the good, the bad, and the so-so of them. The very first manuscript I wrote never got further than a discarded flash drive and never saw the light of day. My courage bloomed when I joined a writing group who freely offered their knowledge and advice, along with some great critique sessions.
As I produced more and more work, I found I had included a pet, whose character was important to either solving the crime or coming to the rescue of the main character. That’s when I came upon the idea of having a rabbit who could communicate by way of mental telepathy with his sleuthing owner. In Left Fur Dead, Bun is delighted to be counted on when it comes time to investigate a crime. Bun is a rabbit who was rescued from a home where he was abused and now resides on a rabbit farm with other rescued rabbits and some who have never been in such a situation. Bun is funny, brilliant, and sharp-witted. He engages his new owner, Jules, who is the only one who hears and responds to his ideas and takes his conclusions seriously. Oh, and he believes he has superpowers, which is up for debate.
The sheriff in the New Hampshire town where they reside isn’t a fan of Bun. Sparks fly and danger lurks more often than not when Bun and Jules interfere with police investigations. I have high hopes that readers will find Left Fur Dead entertaining and hard to put down.
As for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed fleshing out the story and the characters in it. Bun and Jules are near and dear to me.

About the Author
J. M. Griffin
J. M. Griffin is the bestselling cozy mystery author of sixteen novels, including the Vinnie Esposito series. She lives in rural Rhode Island with her husband and two very mysterious cats.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five print copies of Left Fur Dead by J. M. Griffin (US only).


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Friday, July 12, 2019

"The Last Word" by Samantha Hastings

The Last Word
by Samantha Hastings

The Last Word by Samantha Hastings

The Last Word by Samantha Hastings is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Set against the smoky, gaslit allure of Victorian London, this sweetly romantic historical debut is full of humor and stars a whip-smart female heroine ahead of her time.
Where one story ends, another begins.
1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.
David is a successful young businessman but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.
Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves - and each other - are anything but fictional.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Last Word by debut author Samantha Hastings is a fun yet intellectual romp through Victorian London - the perfect book for book-lovers.

Lucinda lifted her head up and walked resolutely to David’s office. She knocked lightly on the open door.
David sat at his desk with his cravat untied and the top of his linen shirt open. His vest and jacket were hung on the coatrack in the corner. She could see a bead of sweat on his exposed collarbone. The slight breeze from the windows behind him stirred his hair. He did not look up but continued to write a letter; he must not have heard her knock.
Lucinda took a few steps forward and cleared her throat.
David glanced up at her and shot to his feet in surprise. Or attempted to. He’d forgotten to push out his chair first, so instead the tops of his knees slammed into his desk and he nearly toppled back into his chair before he managed to stand up. He gave her a stiff bow and then clutched at the opening at the top of his shirt.
“Lucy—Miss Leavitt, how do you do?”
Lucinda grinned; she’d never seen the perfect Mr. David Randall so disheveled. She pointed to the chair and said primly, “May I sit down, please?”
“Yes, of course,” he said. He hastily buttoned up his shirt, one button off of the correct one.
Lucinda sat. After a moment she said coyly, “Must you tower over me?”
He dropped into his chair instantly and then looked over his shoulder for his vest and coat. He stood again as if to go retrieve them.
“There’s no need,” Lucinda said. “It’s hot enough already.”
David smiled at her and inexplicably she felt hotter. He sat back down, rested his elbows on his desk, and interlaced his fingers. “What can I help you with today, Miss Leavitt?”
“Why do you assume I need your assistance?”
“I can think of no other reason for you to be here in my office.”
Lucinda let out a tinkle of laughter. “I am not here for your assistance, but rather to offer you mine.”
“What assistance?”
She pulled Mr. Quill’s ledger out of her embroidery bag and handed it to David. “My father had me go over some of the ledgers at our home and I found one that I think you ought to look at.”
He opened it and looked at the first couple pages. “What’s wrong with it?”
“The numbers between pages eight and nine are not consecutive,” Lucinda said. “Somehow between the two pages, twenty-three pounds disappeared into thin air.”
David turned a few more pages and then looked back and forth from page eight to page nine. “You are right.”
“My father would like us both to go to the Bath office and perform an audit on all the books,” Lucinda continued quickly, careful not to look him in the eyes. It was easier to lie if you didn’t maintain eye contact. Another invaluable lesson from finishing school. “You’ll probably want to contact the Justice of the Peace about Mr. Quill while we are there.”
“I do not see why you need to come,” David said slowly.
“Don’t you want my help?” Lucinda asked. “I’m much faster at numbers than you.”
“That’s true,” David admitted. “But I can’t help but think you only wish to perform the Bath audit so that you may visit Laura Street and inquire after your dead author. And I am very busy at the moment.” He gestured to the stack of letters on his desk.
“I have underrated your intelligence, David,” Lucinda said, forgetting to be formal in her excitement. She untied her bonnet and took it off. “But I do believe that the Bath audit is truly essential. And if we are, by happy coincidence, already in Bath, what could it hurt to make a short visit to Laura Street to make an inquiry? And, if we hurry, we can finish all of the correspondence on your desk and set out for Bath on the earliest train tomorrow. I should not think we need stay there for more than a night. Be sure to have your man pack the appropriate clothes.”
“I cannot escort you to Bath—”
“Without a chaperone,” Lucinda finished. “Mrs. Patton would love to visit Bath and drink the waters. The poor dear’s health seems quite precarious; she falls asleep at the least provocation.”
David exhaled loudly.
“Which stack of letters shall I start on?” Lucinda asked brightly.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Witty, spirited, and utterly swoon-worthy. ... Filled with fierce feminism, impeccable period detail, and a charming romance that's sure to stay with readers long after the last word.” ~ Addie Thorley, author of An Affair of Poisons
“Great voice. Unique premise. … And who can resist a plucky heroine who is determined to help write an unfinished romance novel by her favorite author!” ~ B.R. Myers, author of Rogue Princess
The Last Word is clever and entertaining ... Amusing and diverting. I loved Lucinda quickly, and the characters surrounding her came alive. I read the book in just over two hours because I didn't want to put it down. The romance was fun and flirty, and the plot was pleasantly unpredictable. A fantastic first novel!” ~ K8skicks
“What a fun novel. I really got into the Victorian details, which were aplenty. The premise was top-notch (and I like the author's inspiration for her idea. See author's note at the end), the banter was excellent, and the ending was completely satisfying. A sweet romance, for sure!” ~ J&M
“Utterly charming debut author! Lucinda is the epitome of womanhood. Set in a time when women were usually oppressed, Lucinda is intelligent, refreshing, and inquisitive. The love story is a slow burn that will keep you flipping the pages to see what happens next. I can't wait to read more of Hastings work. Well done.” ~ Cinders

About the Author
Samantha Hastings
Samantha Hastings has degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Reading (Berkshire, England), and the University of North Texas. She met her husband in a turkey sandwich line. They live in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she spends most of her time reading, eating popcorn, and chasing her kids. The Last Word is her debut novel.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of The Last Word by Samantha Hastings (US/Canada only).


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