Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg - #review

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

Six Dogs 'Til Sunday by Lia Farrell - #review #giveaway

It’s January in Rosedale, Tennessee, and Mae December is preparing for her March wedding to Sheriff Ben Bradley. Mae, who boards dogs for a living, is also busy tending to her pregnant dog and scouting locations for the movie featuring the music of her former fiancé Noah West, who died in a car accident four years earlier. Fortunately, the picturesque old house at the end of Little Chapel Road is for rent.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pawprints and Predicaments by Bethany Blake - #review #giveaway

The Tail Waggin’ Winterfest is the highlight of the season in the famously pet-friendly Pocono Mountains town of Sylvan Creek. But despite attractions like an ice sculpture display, a dogsled race, and gourmet hot chocolate, Daphne Templeton finds herself annoyed by TV producer Lauren Savidge, who’s filming the festivities. She’s critical, controlling, and as chilly as the January air. Daphne would like to tell her to go jump in a lake—and as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what they’re both going to do . . .

Monday, February 19, 2018

Dead as a Doornail by Tonya Kappes - #coverreveal

Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone. And doesn’t our Sheriff Kenni Lowry know that? Well, she knows a lot of things.
Lucy Lowell takes great pride in writing negative reviews in the local newspaper for anything that does not go her way. When Lucy is found dead, it appears to be from natural causes.
But Sheriff Kenni Lowry knows there is more to it because the ghost of her grandfather, the ex-sheriff, is standing over the body.
His presence can only mean one thing: Murder!
Since Kenni’s relationship with Deputy Finn Vincent has heated up, Kenni is having trouble conducting the investigation without Finn questioning her every move.
Can Kenni unravel the mystery on her own or will she have to tell Finn the real reason she knows it was murder—the ghost of her poppa?
It’s blowin’ up a storm and only Kenni knows how it’ll end.








Dead as a Doornail by Tonya Kappes will be available May 15 from Henery Press!

It is Available for Pre-Order Today!!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper by Ana Brazil - #review #giveaway

Gilded Age New Orleans is overrun with prostitutes, pornographers, and a malicious Jack the Ripper copycat. As threatening letters to newspaper editors proclaim, no woman is safe from his blade.

Desperate to know who murdered her favorite student, ambitious typewriting teacher Fanny Newcomb launches into a hunt for the self-proclaimed Irish Channel Ripper.

Fanny quickly enlists her well-connected employers—Principal Sylvia Giddings and her sister Dr. Olive—to help, and the women forge through saloons, cemeteries, slums, and houses of prostitution in their pursuit.

Fanny’s good intentions quickly infuriate her longtime beau Lawrence Decatur, while her reckless persistence confounds the talented police detective Daniel Crenshaw. Reluctantly, Lawrence and Daniel also lend their investigative talents to Fanny’s investigation.

As the murderer sets a date for his next heinous crime, can Fanny Newcomb and her crew stop the Irish Channel Ripper before he kills again?



I love a good class struggle in my fiction, and historical fiction set in the Gilded Age seems to be strewn with such struggles, no matter where specifically it is set.  I've read several set in New England, and now Fanny Newcomb and the Irish Channel Ripper by Ana Brazil, set in New Orleans.

When Fanny's father (a lawyer of some renown) dies, she is faced with either marrying the surviving partner (Lawrence) or getting a job.  She gets a job teaching at a school Sylvia Giddings and her sister have set up to help young women living in the "Irish Channel" section of New Orleans prepare for jobs other than becoming a domestic servant or entering the world's oldest profession.

Many of the city's Protestant citizens have very definite ideas about those living in the Irish Channel:  they're Irish (saw that one coming, didn't you?), Catholic, drunks and the women are prostitutes.  In other words, they're 'not us'; and 'not us' is bad or inferior.  Part of me would like to go slap some folks upside the head and say, "Snap out of it!"  But that would only 'make the whole world blind and toothless', as Gandhi said.

Fanny is in the Irish Channel one night when the body of a young woman is found.  Sylvia Giddings' sister, Olive, a woman doctor (*gasp*) is called to the scene and I believe declares it a strangling.  World on the street is the woman was a prostitute.  Fanny thinks it's a mistake, because the woman found dead was a promising student at her school, not a prostitute!

Then something funny (as in funny strange) happens.  For the official autopsy, the cause of death is listed as large knife wounds to the trunk and neck, a la Jack the Ripper.  But there's the problem that Olive's declared cause of death differed so greatly.  (Things that make you say, Hmmm, right?) And apparently someone has written to the newspaper claiming to be the Irish Channel Ripper and saying he wasn't finished yet.

Fanny starts investigating, for the sake of justice for her student.  This leads to her being physically assaulted in an all-but-abandoned Irish Channel building.  But what really got my back up was that the 'unsub' locked her in an apartment and set a fire to kill her AND a group of blind men who happened to be in the room with her.  Luckily, Fanny was up to that challenge.

Unfortunately, Fanny finds out the address the student gave for her home...was a brothel.  And she found several 'photos of an intimate nature' in the bedroom - which revealed a possible new motive for the murder.  Was the death Ripperesque or was it in a struggle to control the pornography produced in the area?

Fanny has several more breathlessly close-close calls while trying to figure out what she wants her relationship to Lawrence to be like, as well as worrying (with Sylvia and Olive) that the school might close if students were too afraid to attend.

This book featured several feisty female characters who wanted to have an impact on the world around them and not just react to things other people (men) did.  They did have some support in the community, but it was far from universal.

So if you are a fan of feisty females, New Orleans, the Gilded Age, and/or well-written mysteries, Fanny Newcome and the Irish Channel Ripper by Ana Brazil should be in your collection.  And make some room - because this is one in a series of books!



A native of California, Ana Brazil lived in the south for many years. She earned her MA in American history from Florida State University and traveled her way through Mississippi as an architectural historian. Ana loves fried mullet, Greek Revival colonnades, and Miss Welty’s garden. She has a weakness for almost all things New Orleans. (Although she’s not sure just how it happened…but she favors bluegrass over jazz.)

The Fanny Newcomb stories celebrate the tenacity, intelligence, and wisdom of the dozens of courageous and outrageous southern women that Ana is proud to call friends.

Although Ana, her husband, and their dog Traveller live in the beautiful Oakland foothills, she is forever drawn to the lush mystique of New Orleans, where Fanny Newcomb and her friends are ever prepared to seek a certain justice.

For more information, please visit Ana Brazil’s website and blog. You can also find her on FacebookPinterest and Goodreads.




Click on the banner above to go to the tour page, where you will find links to more reviews of this title.  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours while you are there!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review.)


This book helps me fulfill the following 2018 reading challenges:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Murder is a Dirty Business by Tricia L. Sanders - #review #giveaway

When Cece Cavanaugh’s husband empties their joint bank account, steals her designer luggage, and runs off with a younger woman, Cece must decide whether to ask her manipulative mother-in-law for a handout or get a job. Choosing the easier path, Cece lands a job cleaning a crime scene where a high school coach was murdered. When his wife is implicated—a young woman Cece practically raised—Cece finds herself mopping floors, balancing an empty checkbook, and ferreting out a killer.

Best of Luck (O'Briens) by Corinne Scott - #review #giveaway

Crew Costa isn’t Irish, but for a kid from the school of hard knocks, he’s had the luck of the Irish with his chain of faux-Irish pubs, O’Shaughnessy’s Shenanigans. Number 13 is set to open in time for St. Patrick’s Day. The Bronx is already the site of several authentic Irish pubs, including The Lion O’Brien. Started by Liam O’Brien, the pub is now managed by his youngest daughter Siobhan, but only after her four older brothers refused the job. Now Siobhan has to prove she is worthy.

Clairvoyant and Present Danger by Lena Gregory - #review #giveaway

Whoever said that dead men tell no tales has never met Cass Donnovan…

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz - #review #giveaway

The Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz
Publication Date: September 2017
eBook & Paperback
Series: Heaven's Pond Trilogy, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day - #review #giveaway

For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana—until murder saps the life out of the celebration . . .

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Well-Timed Murder by Tracee de Hahn - #review #giveaway

Swiss-American police officer Agnes Lüthi is on leave in Lausanne, Switzerland, recovering from injuries she sustained in her last case, when an old colleague invites her to the world’s premier watch and jewelry trade show at the grand Messe Basel Exhibition Hall. Little does Agnes know, another friend of hers, Julien Vallotton, is at the same trade show—and he’s looking for Agnes. Julien Vallotton was friends with Guy Chavanon, a master of one of Switzerland’s oldest arts: watchmaking. Chavanon died a week ago, and his daughter doesn’t believe his death was accidental. Shortly before he died, Chavanon boasted that he’d discovered a new technique that would revolutionize the watchmaking industry, and she believes he may have been killed for it. Reluctantly, Agnes agrees to investigate his death. But the world of Swiss watchmaking is guarded and secretive, and before she realizes it, Agnes may be walking straight into the path of a killer.

Monday, February 5, 2018

An Argument of Blood by J.A. Ironside and Michael Willis - #review

William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young duke’s dissolute behaviour and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. He’ll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom from the rebels.

On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old Ælfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon Jarl, Harold Godwinson. Ælfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political manoeuvring as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with William’s, and both must fight to shape the future.

An Argument of Blood is the first of two sweeping historical novels on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.

Publication Date: June 19, 2017
Penmore Press
Paperback & eBook; 369 Pages

Series: Oath and Crown, Book 1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/War



Reading the early chapters of An Argument of Blood by J.A. Ironside and Michael Willis, William put me in mind of Henry V of England a couple of centuries later.  Both were kind of rowdy in their youths, but grew into their positions of leadership as time went on.  According to Shakespeare, Henry's actions were by design in order to get to know his future kingdom.  Apparently, William was just a spoiled  jerk as a young man.

I felt like I was wandering around in the background of castles (like Aelfgifa?) and battles.  I was there, yet not there.  I could see, hear and almost feel the action going on around me from the outstanding setting and descriptions given by the authors.

Historical fiction is one of my two favorite genres.  It makes the dry facts and dates of history come alive, while 'teaching' the same information.  Naturally, authors have to take some liberties with information not contained in history books, to make the story more enjoyable.  Most try to make their works as historically accurate as they can.  An Argument of Blood is a prime example of such careful research, coupled with a thrilling tale!

The print version has 485 pages intrigue, cruelty, adventure, negotiations, betrayals (you name it, it's here) that puts many of today's action blockbuster movies to shame.  It even inspired me to look up some information about both the Normans and the Saxons of that time.

And as eager as I am to get to the warm weather months (as I sit watching snow come down outside), I will also be glad for the cooler autumn months of 2018, because that's when the 2nd book in the "Oath and Crown" series, A Black Matter for the King, is due to be published!  The way things were wrapped up at the end of book one, and given what I know of the historical period, I am very, very much looking forward to fall!



J.A. Ironside (Jules) grew up in rural Dorset, surrounded by books - which pretty much set her up for life as a complete bibliophile. She loves speculative fiction of all stripes, especially fantasy and science fiction, although when it comes to the written word, she's not choosy and will read almost anything. Actually it would be fair to say she starts to go a bit peculiar if she doesn’t get through at least three books a week. She writes across various genres, both adult and YA fiction, and it’s a rare story if there isn’t a fantastical or speculative element in there somewhere.

Jules has had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies, as well as recorded for literature podcasts. Books 1 and 2 of her popular Unveiled series are currently available with the 3rd and 4th books due for release Autumn/ Winter 2017.

She also co-authored the sweeping epic historical Oath and Crown Duology with Matthew Willis, released June 2017 from Penmore Press.

Jules now lives on the edge of the Cotswold way with her boyfriend creature and a small black and white cat, both of whom share a god-complex.


Matthew Willis is an author of historical fiction, SF, fantasy and non-fiction. In June 2017 An Argument of Blood, the first of two historical novels about the Norman Conquest co-written with J.A. Ironside, was published. In 2015 his story Energy was shortlisted for the Bridport short story award.

Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service.

His first non-fiction book, a history of the Blackburn Skua WW2 naval dive bomber, was published in 2007. He now has four non fiction books published with a fifth, a biography of test pilot Duncan Menzies, due later in 2017. He currently lives in Southampton and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.




Click on the banner above to go to the tour page, where you will find links to numerous reviews of this title.  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours while you are there!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the authors and publishers via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review.)

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Vanished Bride of Northfield House by Phyllis M. Newman - #review #giveaway

England, 1922  Times are hard. Anne Chatham is a clever, modest young woman with little money, no prospects for marriage, and a never-shared secret—she can see spirits.