Book Review: Shopping is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

Black Friday should be all about shopping and discounts, but when Sean and Sara only have a few more items left to buy, screams fill the mall—and for good reason. A man has fallen to his death from the second level. 

But what exactly happened isn’t that straightforward, and normally, Sean and Sara would leave this matter to the police, but the widow was a childhood friend of Sara’s. While the police are leaning toward the belief the man intentionally took the leap, the widow is adamant her husband would never jump and asks Sara for her help. 

Despite the fact there is an unresolved past between the friends—in which Sara feels she let her down—Sara can’t turn her back on her now. Fueled by guilt and the need to find answers, Sara convinces Sean they should look into the man’s death. 

But the answers aren’t all coming quickly. Mall security has dropped the ball and there’s no seeming motive for murder. To find out the truth will take unconventional means, a little undercover work, and the help of their friend Jimmy. And if it all comes together, they just might have this case wrapped up in time for the holidays. Maybe even with a pretty little bow.

Available from these popular retailers.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Sean and Sara McKinley used to be detectives in New York but they were able to quit their jobs after Sean received a windfall. Now it seems that murder mysteries fall into their laps and, of course, they can’t help themselves but to try to solve them.

Even though Sean and Sara could have someone do their Christmas shopping for them, they want the gifts to be personal, so they go to the mall on Black Friday. Suddenly, someone goes over the railing and the distressed widow turns out to be an old friend of Sara’s. Even though Sean thinks they shouldn’t get involved, once they talk to the widow, they decide to look into it. It takes some problem solving and a little help from their friends, but they find themselves on the right path but with a twist at the end.

The McKinley Mysteries are cozy mysteries which is a little different from Carolyn Arnold’s other series. Shopping is Murder is a quick and fun read that does stand alone. I like Sean and Sara’s relationship and their friends who help them out on cases. I’m looking forward to reading more of these.

About the Author

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™. Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website  Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Pinterest  Goodreads  Amazon Author Page

Book Review: The Man Who was Death by Pat Herbert

Dave Allison is a man with a secret, several secrets, none of them pleasant.

The year is 1968. The Reverend Paltoquet takes on the handsome Dave as his gardener to tend the graveyard as well as the vicarage gardens, and very soon he has the female population in a tizzy, not least among them the vicar’s usually imperturbable housekeeper, Mrs Harper. To outward appearances, he has everything going for him, but there is a dark side to his character. He has the ability to see people’s auras, and whenever he sees a black one around a person’s head, he knows that person will die.

Four years prior to working for the vicar of St Stephen’s in the borough of Wandsworth, he was employed as gardener to Lord and Lady Mountjoy at Mountjoy Court in a small Kent village. Following the demise of the lord of the manor in suspicious circumstances and the equally suspicious death of Lady Mountjoy’s lover, Paul Brierley, Dave is forced to leave and pick up any odd jobs he can to survive.

So, with his new family, he sets up home in Tooting and is soon working in and around the area, and this is when he comes to the attention of Bernard Paltoquet who is looking to replace his old gardener who is well past retirement age.

Dave is popular everywhere he goes, especially with the women, but he is a married man now with a little boy on whom he dotes. But back into his life comes Lady Mountjoy and with her his sordid past rears its ugly head.

Dr Robbie MacTavish, Bernard’s close friend, falls for the charms of Lady Mountjoy when she appears on the scene, unaware that she is a cold-blooded killer.

Slowly the story of Dave and Lady Mountjoy unravels, culminating in both getting their just desserts.

Titles in the Reverend Paltoquet Mystery Series are:

The Bockhampton Road Murders
Haunted Christmas
The Possession of November Jones
The Witches of Wandsworth
So Long at the Fair
The Man Who Was Death
The Dark Side of the Mirror 

Amazon.UK * Amazon.com

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is the sixth book in the Reverend Paltoquet series. I’ve read them all and enjoy them. They have a bit of a dark side and a touch of paranormal along with some quirky regular characters. The other characters in The Man Who Was Death are rather pitiful.

The regulars: Bernie (Reverend Paltoquet) can be a bit selfish, but he usually realizes that and tries to change and be more Christian-like. Robbie is a good doctor and believes himself to be a ladies’ man. My favorite recurring character is Mrs. Aitch. She seems cantankerous, but those close to her know that she’s got a big heart. I love that she speaks her mind no matter the consequences.

The other characters in The Man Who Was Death include Lord Mountjoy, his wife, his housekeeper, and his gardener. Theirs is a tragic story but it was hard for me to feel sorry the Mountjoys. They not only ruin their lives but the lives of the housekeeper and gardener as well. The gardener, Jed, is the one to pity the most. He is a good man, but death is always nearby. He loses his parents at a young age, and that’s just the beginning of his grief. What makes it worse is that he can see a black aura around someone if they’re going to die.

The ending was quite a surprise although it was the right ending for this book. I definitely recommend the Reverend Paltoquet books. They do stand alone but I enjoy them even more because I feel like I know the main characters well.

Book Review & Giveaway: We're All Not the Same, But We're Still Family by Theresa Fraser & Eric E.W. Fraser

This story was written for adoptive families to explore the benefits of adoption openness. The main character, Deshaun, loves his family but always wondered about his biological family. Does he look like them? Did they love him? With the support of his adoptive parents, Deshaun gets to meet his biological family. They develop an ongoing relationship, so Deshaun feels more stable in his adoptive family, but also develops a comfortable relationship with his birth family. Deshaun and his family are reminded (as we all are) that family can include biological, adopted, foster and kin members.

After reading this book, a child and their family will be able to:
– Discuss feelings about adoption
– Imagine what openness might mean for them
– Acknowledge similarities and differences among family members
– Discuss if an expanded sense of family is possible for their circumstances

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This story about Deshaun and his adopted and birth parents is a good book for both children and adults to read who are involved some way in the adoption process. I’m sure many adopted children have a lot of questions about their birth parents, and the way Deshaun’s parents dealt with those questions are exceptional.

As the author points out at the end of the book, openness is very important but the adoptee needs to be taken into consideration. My mom was adopted, always knew she was adopted, and she didn’t want to know anything about her birth parents until late in her life, mainly for medical reasons.

My favorite line in the book is, “Finding his birth family made a big difference in how Deshaun saw himself.” We’re All Not the Same, But We’re Still Family is what the perfect circumstances would be for Deshaun. Both families love him and finding his biological father improved his life. Such a heartwarming story!

There are many children’s adoption books that address the important themes of identity, attachment, grief and loss; however, very few approach the topic of openness for older children in the in-depth manner that Theresa and Eric do in their book. The emotions that Deshaun describes are typical of many adopted children and could help normalize universal feelings for young adoptees. I would highly recommend this book for all adopted children and will certainly be using it in my practice.
–Tecla Jenniskens, M.S.W., R.S.W., adoption social worker

Many foster and adoptive parents fear the consequences of introducing their children to birth parents. This story offers a redemptive look at how parents can remain history keepers for their children by helping them answer important questions about themselves and their origins. This book is a beautiful example of how fearless curiosity and compassion can lead to increased coherence in a child’s story and an expanded sense of family for everyone.
–Paris Goodyear-Brown, LCSW, RPT-S, clinical director of Nurture House, executive director of the TraumaPlay Institute and author of A Safe Circle for Little U and Trauma and Play Therapy

We’re All Not the Same, but We’re Still Family is a lovely book that tackles issues adopted children really think about when they question their identity and place within a family. The authors describe the process of a boy’s search for his biological family, with the full support of his adoptive parents, and the events that brought him into the child welfare system. The illustrator’s rendition of the Skyped meetings between the two families is captivating, while the text gives careful attention to the unification process. I applaud the authors on their inclusion of realistic steps in this complicated process, as we witness a child’s journey to find and complete his family.
–Laurie Zelinger, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, board certified psychologist and author of Please Explain “Anxiety” to Me!

From Loving Healing Press www.LHPress.com

Available to buy from…

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   GPlay   Paperback   Hardcover 

Inside the book
Deshaun meeting his birth family over a Skype call

About the Authors

Eric Fraser is 17 years old and adopted. Like Deshaun, he found some of his birth family when he was in middle school. He likes lacrosse, skateboarding, and, ice-skating in the wintertime. He is a public speaker and talks about what kids need and value from helping relationships.

Theresa Fraser is Eric’s mom. She and her husband fell in love with Eric the second they saw him. He is an amazing teenager who carries around the love he received from his birth family and ancestors as well as his chosen family.
In her work as a therapist, Theresa believes strongly that families can be defined in many different ways, and often this includes foster/adoptive and birth family members. How blessed all family members are when contact can be shared and it is positive for the child.

Theresa has a variety of certifications that enable her to work effectively with people across the lifespan. She is a Trauma Specialist, Certified Play Therapist, Registered Psychotherapist (Ontario) and Certified Counselling Therapist (Nova Scotia). She has experience using a variety of evidenced based interventions. She has won provincial, national and international awards and has many publications.

You can also follow Theresa here…
Website   Facebook   Twitter  Goodreads

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I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

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Book Review: Past Deeds by Carolyn Arnold

Author: Carolyn Arnold
Series: Brandon Fisher FBI Series, Book 8
Genres: Hard-Boiled, Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
Year: 2020

A prosecuting attorney is murdered in a sniping that takes place in Arlington, Virginia, less than fifteen minutes from Washington. FBI Agent Brandon Fisher and his team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit are called in to investigate the threat level and to determine if the lawyer was targeted. The FBI hadn’t anticipated previous victims stretching from coast to coast.

The team splits up across the country, but more than jet lag is getting to Brandon. As their profile on the shooter takes shape, their one theory on motive strikes too close to home and has him battling with regret over a past decision. He comes to discover some choices not only haunt us but can have long- and far-reaching repercussions we couldn’t even begin to imagine. Will Brandon be able to set aside his personal issues for long enough to stop a serial killing spree before there’s another victim?

Past Deeds is a gripping psychological crime thriller that will have you flipping the pages as you try to put the clues together faster than the FBI. To stand a chance, you’ll need to unravel the psyche of a killer. This mystery will also make you think and reflect—and you just might wonder if any past decisions you’ve made are stalking you, ready to strike.

Become addicted to an international bestselling series that will take you into the minds of the most heinous and disturbing serial killers the world could ever imagine.

Available from these popular retailers on February 18, 2020:

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I have read several of Carolyn Arnold’s books, and they never disappoint.

Brandon Fisher works for the BAU with the FBI. When a prosecuting attorney is assassinated, his team is called in, and they soon realize that this may be the work of a serial killer. As more evidence comes to light, the team analyzes and theorizes until they figure out who the killer is and why they are killing.

Along with the excitement of chasing a killer, the agents have their own problems. Brandon is a good guy and he’s likable but he has made his mistakes and he’s having trouble right now dealing with one of those. I find it interesting that he and Paige work for the BAU but are unable to communicate very well or “read” each other. There’s also a new agent who is working with their supervisory agent, Jack Harper. The poor woman questions herself at every turn. I like how Carolyn Arnold makes these people seem so real.

I like Carolyn Arnold’s writing whether it’s a cozy mystery or an FBI thriller or something in between. Her writing flows well and her characters are realistic. If you like murder mysteries, serial killers, and/or the TV show Criminal Minds, you will like the Brandon Fisher series.

About the Author

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™. Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Find the author on the following sites…
Website  Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Pinterest  Goodreads  Amazon Author Page

Book Review: Soul Alchemy by Elizabeth Foley

Soul Alchemy ~ A Vision Quest

By Elizabeth Foley

Genre: Art & Poetry

Purchase Soul Alchemy: https://radiantearthstudios.com/soul-alchemy-art-and-poetry

Artist’s Statement about Soul Alchemy 

For me making art is a spiritual practice.  It makes me feel alive, centered, and connected to something greater than myself.

Much of my work explores feminine archetypes from warrior and muse to medicine woman and inner child.  Each painting is an expression of my own journey to reconnect with these parts of myself.

At the core of each painting is something I seek to discover, an intention I am exploring.  What does my inner artist need in order to feel free to express my unique voice?  What does the idea of the Muse mean to me. How do I access her inspiration?  What would my life look like if I thought of myself as legendary?

As I progress through a painting I enter a dialogue with the emerging image.  What message does it have for me each step along the way?  What does the way that this layer or that drip of paint interacts with each other have to tell me about my inquiry? 

Each brush stroke is made with intention.  Dots become prayers. A line reflects a trauma or long held desire.  Deeply personal symbols are created that reflect a broader universal language.

I believe that at the core of the problems that plague today’s world – human suffering and environmental degradation – is greed, apathy, and a lack of compassion.  To solve these problems what we need isn’t just a legislative or a scientific response but a spiritual and cultural transformation. 

We need to wake up to our interconnectedness with each other and with nature.  To create real change we must awaken compassion, empathy, and understanding.  I envision my art as one voice in a chorus of voices that will catalyze this shift in the consciousness in humankind.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The paintings in this book are alive with vibrant colors. In one of them, She Who Calls Circles, I felt like she could actually see into my soul. There are so many details in each painting that you can spend a long time on each one trying to get everything out of it that the artist is trying to say.

The poetry that goes along with the paintings is also well done. It’s obvious that Elizabeth Foley is passionate about the strength of women and empowering ourselves to become the best that we can be. The poem below was my favorite because I found it inspirational. It accompanies the painting from the cover of the book.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for some inspiration through art. It will touch you.

This poem accompanies the piece titled Elishaba ~ Visionary Warrior


You Are Legendary.
 
Dive deeper within yourself.
There are gifts awaiting you there.
Dive Deeper.
 
Inside you lives one who is patient and powerful.
One who is focused, fearless and fierce.
 
Dive Deeper.
 
Inside you lives one who owns her truth.
One who is boldly authentic.
 
Dive Deeper.
There are powers untapped within you.
 
Inside you lives a cosmic warrior
a visionary queen,
a healer,
a sage.
 
Dive Deeper.
 
Inside you lives one who is consecrated to the divine.
One who embraces determination.
 
Trust.
Trust a little more.
Trust even more still.

Trust your intuition.
Trust that you are on the right path.
Trust in your vision.
Trust that if you take the leap
You will come floating gently down into the valley of your dreams.
 
You are meant to show others the way.
You are meant to lead others to greatness.
You are meant to shine light in the darkness.
 
You are one with the universe.
You are a supreme being of infinite wisdom.

Facebook Group – Radiant You – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1506259369529561/

About the Author

Artist, Elizabeth Foley helps women feel more joy and fulfillment by experiencing creative expression.  She offers online and in person workshops, retreats and one on one coaching.  Elizabeth has been passionate about creativity since childhood and believes that we are all creative beings whether we claim the identity of artist or not.

Elizabeth is a painter, potter, poet and creativity coach.  Currently her medium of choice is acrylic paints.  Elizabeth studied fine art and ceramics at The University of Oregon and apprenticed to accomplished Oregon potter Gil Harrison. She has studied with award winning artists Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici.  Elizabeth is a certified Intentional Creativity Instructor and a Cosmic Smash Book Teacher in training.

Elizabeth loves getting her hands dirty with paint, clay and in the garden.  When she isn’t busy in her studio you’ll find her climbing a mountain or relaxing by a waterfall in her hammock.  Elizabeth is grateful to make her home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC.

Book Review & Giveaway: Clown William and the Wind of Vengeance by Robin Elno

Clown William and the Wind of Vengeance by Robin Elno

Publisher: IngramElliott Publishing (December 1, 2019)
Category: Historical Fiction, Western
Tour dates: February, 2020
ISBN: 978-1732843639
Available in Print and ebook, 218 pages

 Clown William and the Wind of Vengeance

A reluctant 1870s gunslinger with Tourette’s and a quick draw . . .

While the battle for Lincoln, New Mexico, rages on, William is consumed by his own war against Jesse Evans, the man he blames for the loss of his friends and the start of his life as a gunfighter.

But when William finds Jesse at his most vulnerable—jailed with a gunshot wound—he can’t justify pulling the trigger. A gunfight must be fair.

William braves hostile military territory to orchestrate his archenemy’s release—only to discover he has become the prime target for an army of bounty-motivated gunslingers.

The hunter is now the hunted—and William must weigh whether revenge will give him the peace of mind he has been seeking.

Can William defeat his internal tornado before he becomes one of its victims?

Amazon
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IndieBound

Guest Review by Sol A.

The Clown William novels by Robin Elno are a fantastic guilty pleasure. Part Western/part Thriller, the writing is tight, compelling, dramatic and at times even amusing and romantic.

Reading this book, I really felt like I’d been plunged headfirst into the Old West. I could practically smell the horses and hear the sharp gunshots echoing through the trees. William is an excellent, complex character. He is a man who suffers from Tourette syndrome and, therefore, creates a very interesting and varied character. He has been through a lot of struggle in his life; living in such a different time with different views on his disorder than we, thankfully, have today.
I felt like he was a much more dynamic and layered character than your typical laconic Western outlaw who is only there to shoot people and deliver one-liners. I really connected with William and felt for the character a lot.

Being the third book in the series, the story hinged around William’s already developed story line with his nemesis, Jesse, the man who previously killed his friends and began him on the path to being a gunfighter and an outlaw. William and Jesse square off in a gunfight at the beginning of the novel, but Jesse manages to escape and William later finds him being held in jail at Fort Sumner. Of course, William is too moral to kill an unarmed man and decides that he must free his worst enemy from prison before he can fight him fairly.

If this is an example of Robin Elno’s Westerns, color me intrigued. I definitely want to find out more about William and his world.
I had a really great time reading this! Without spoiling the ending of the book, I can’t wait to find out what happens next! This one should definitely be added to your ‘to read’ list, asap.

Praise for the Clown Williams series

“I couldn’t put this book down. The premise is brilliant: What happens when a peaceful man is given the gift of violence?
Clown William is an unwilling hero whose life is full of ironies he can’t escape. He doesn’t have control over his tics, yet he was born with astonishing control over a gun. He wants a peaceful life, but in every town William comes to, rogues force him to defend himself with violence.
The plot moves briskly, the characters are complex and well-drawn, and the writing style is lively and pops with poeticism. Clown William comes highly recommended.”-Greendancer, Amazon Review

“Robin Elno gives a fresh twist to the classic Old West gunslinger. His reluctant antihero with Tourette Syndrome just happens to be the fastest gun around despite his tics – which makes him a constant target of bullies and miscreants. This fast-paced story keeps the reader engaged from start to finish. The book is sure to satisfy everyone from the casual fiction reader to the most ardent Western aficionado. The first book in a series, I am eager to read the next installments.”-Tom M., Amazon Review

“A quick read, packed full of action, challenges, twists and turns and surprises. The characters are well developed and engaging. Mr. Elno manages to present William as a strong man and his challenges in a realistic, sensitive way, his handicap does not hold him back. The reader will be drawn into this story and held in awe as you follow William’s journey. An enjoyable and satisfying read. I look forward to reading more of Clown William’s adventures.”-April, My Book Addiction and More

Awards & Recognition

About the Author

Robin Elno is a retired army colonel, semiretired psychiatrist, and full-time author. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, where he is an active member of the San Antonio Writers’ Guild. Elno’s Clown William series was inspired by the work of neurologist Oliver Sacks, who wrote about the unusual speed and accuracy often displayed by people with Tourette’s syndrome. Intrigued by the idea that strengths can rise from differences, Elno created the unique and compelling character of Clown William. Elno’s novels are often set against true historical backdrops like the Wild West.

Website: http://www.ingramelliott.com/clown-william.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ingramelliott/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ingram_elliott

Giveaway

This giveaway is for the winner’s choice of one print or ebook copy of the book. Print is open to Canada, the U.K, and the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends February 29, 2020,midnight pacific time.

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Feb 3 Review & Interview

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Feb 4 Excerpt

Gud Reader Goodreads Feb 5 Review

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Dawn Bound4Escape Feb 10 Guest Review

Bookgirl Goodreads Feb 14 Review

Toots Book Reviews Feb 17 Guest Review & Guest Post

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews Feb 18 Review

Jas International Book Reviews Feb 19 Review & Interview

Steve Amazon Feb 24 Review

Julie Literary Reflections Book Blog Feb 26 Review

Debbie M Amazon Feb 28 Review

Book Review: Tiny Poems for Gentle Hearts by Isabol Scheck

A collection of 150 poems for warming hearts and thawing souls.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Most of these poems are very short. They’re about love, love lost, loss of a loved one, and every once in a while, I found a gem that made me giggle like this one:

Poison dripped
from her acidic
lips,
since all he cared
for were her
hips.

I haven’t read a lot of poetry, but I’ve been reading more lately. I think if someone younger (teens or early twenties) asked me to recommend some simple poetry, this would be a good one to suggest.

About the Author

Isabel comes from England but lives in
Switzerland with her parents and her brother.
She works with children, which she adores,
but she also loves to write; especially poetry.
She uses experiences, images and people as
inspiration to create words. Isabel also loves
to express herself by drawing.