Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Elizabeth Montagu (1718), Wallace Stevens (1879), Graham Greene (1904), Jackie Finney (1911), Jan Morris (1926), Vernor Vinge (1944), Achmat Dangor (1948), Dan Santat (1975),

Wallace Stevens won the 1955 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

Quote: “Book lovers will understand me, and they will know too that part of the pleasure

of a library lies in its very existence.” ― Jan Morris

“The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. You’re there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see – every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties.” – Graham Greene

Tip: Don’t overuse exclamation points. Your words should convey the emotion so you don’t have to rely on them.

Jumpstart: You have been given the gift of crafting a new world. What would you leave out? What would you add?

Spotlight: Mary Cunningham

Andi’s step-mother, Ruby, is a real piece of work, but is she a murderer?

Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent/amateur sleuth, puts aside her resentment of her father’s widow and books a 60th birthday cruise to Cancun for Ruby and three friends. Never does Andi imagine the cruise will include the murder of a has-been lounge singer—or that Ruby might be the main suspect.

Flirting with more than danger after arriving in Mexico, Andi connects with charming local sheriff, Manual Gonzales. An embarrassing night involving the sheriff, too many margaritas, and a Mariachi band, can’t quell her determination to clear the name of her ex-stepmother.

While gathering clues and interviewing witnesses, however, she suspects dear old step-mom isn’t the only one in jeopardy.

Purchase Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09QXR7WKX

B & N: Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder by Mary Cunningham | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

Author, Mary Cunningham, grew up on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn.”

Through the author’s horrifying stint as a travel agent, Andi Anna Jones sprang to life. The adult/mystery series gives extra meaning to the phrase, “Write what you know.” Cunningham has several books published, including Cynthia’s Attic series, a five-book middle-grade fantasy, and women’s lifestyle/humor book, WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty.

She is a member of Sisters In Crime, Sisters In Crime, Atlanta Chapter, International Thriller Writers, Inc., and the Carrollton Writers Guild.

When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming, and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband.

Website: https://www.marycunninghambooks.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/marycunninghambooks/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MaryCunningham

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/367223.Mary_Cunningham

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLNEK4

BookBub: Mary Cunningham Books – BookBub

Review: The Time Traveling Matchmaker

THE TIME TRAVELING MATCHMAKER by Janie Emaus

Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Romance, 224 pages

3***

Blurb: Like every goal-oriented twenty-something, Jessica Singleton, an aspiring filmmaker, is obsessed with finding her future as quickly as possible. What she doesn’t know is that the future is obsessed with finding her. Renn Porter, an agent with Time Traveling Matchmaker’s Inc, blasts back in time-and into her life-in order to transport Jessica to the soul mate who has paid for this service…in the future. But things turn dangerous when it’s revealed that Renn has been sent after his own soul mate. Caught between two times, Jessica and Renn struggle to stay alive. Falling in love is the biggest risk either of them have ever taken-because, as they are destined to learn, the very existence of Time Traveling Matchmakers, Inc. rests in Jessica’s hands.

Thoughts: This was an unusual time-travel romance in that the matchmakers are from the future, hired by people who want their soul-mate, and the matchmaker goes back in time to find them (using futuristic technology to determine who that is). When novice matchmaker Renn meets Jessie (the supposed match for someone), things definitely do not go smoothly. Not only is he drawn to her like no one he’s ever met, but he gets the feeling things at work aren’t exactly as they’re supposed to be.

I loved the first few sentences from Jessie: I used to believe in happily ever after, but now I only believe in…after summer…after school…after breakfast…etc. I know that feeling all too well. Jessie meets Renn and after some misunderstandings, they turn to each other, but there’s someone who doesn’t want them together.

While I liked the story overall, I thought the writing was a bit jumpy with things happening, then not happening (going into buying a phone, not buying one, then having a phone). Dates that are a bit…off. But I did love the juxtaposition with Jessie’s parents. That was so sweet. I wish a character Renn knows had been found, but I have a feeling that’s a loose thread for a later book.

Recommendation: This is a decent story with an interesting premise, but there are some writing hiccups that made it not quite work for me. But overall, the concept is really good and I actually do look forward to more from this author.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Netgalley and the author, I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

9/19/22

Review: The Rising Tide by Amy Lane

THE RISING TIDE by Amy Lane

Fiction, LGBTQ+, Urban Fantasy, 288 pages

4****, level 5 (steamy) heat

Blurb: The tidal archipelago of Spinner’s Drift is a refuge for misfits. Can the island’s magic help a pie-in-the-sky dreamer and a wounded soul find a home in each other? In a flash of light and a clap of thunder, Scout Quintero is banished from his home. Once he’s sneaked his sister out too, he’s happy, but their power-hungry father is after them, and they need a place to lie low. The thriving resort business on Spinner’s Drift provides the perfect way to blend in. They aren’t the only ones who think so. Six months ago Lucky left his life behind and went on the run from mobsters. Spinner’s Drift brings solace to his battered soul, but one look at Scout and he’s suddenly terrified of having one more thing to lose. Lucky tries to keep his distance, but Scout is charming, and the island isn’t that big. When they finally connect, all kinds of things come to light, including supernatural mysteries that have been buried for years. But while Scout and Lucky grow closer working on the secret, pissed-off mobsters, supernatural entities, and Scout’s father are getting closer to them. Can they hold tight to each other and weather the rising tide together?   

Thoughts: This is a really good urban fantasy with magic families, a nasty evil force, and a little romance. I will admit that I thought it was a YA at first, but had to quickly revise my opinion due to the high heat level and occasional imbibing by the characters. I really thought Scout and Lucky were much younger than they were. I’d put them in their early 20s — and maybe I missed that detail as I was reading this very intriguing story.

Scout gets kicked out of his home wearing nothing but a robe. His father banished him because he wasn’t considered a strong wizard—and also because he is gay. Using his magic, Scout also manages to get his sister out, but that just puts their father on their tail even more as Kayleigh was supposed to marry into another strong wizard family (against her will). Scout and Kayleigh make their way to Spinner’s Drift, a series of small islands of the coast of the Carolinas. There, they meet Lucky as well as others who have magical abilities. Lucky is also on the run from mobsters in Philadelphia.

At first, Lucky is really standoffish to Scout. He doesn’t want to get attached in case he has to run. But their attraction can’t be denied and the two develop deep feelings for each other. While on an outing, they discover a soul trap—a place of darkness that has trapped multiple souls in an unending cycle of grief. Scout wants to fight the darkness and release the trapped souls, but would that also change the island—a place of refuge for people like them?

There is a lot going on in this story. So many battles being fought—within the characters, their relationships with others, family issues, evil entities, and more. And it all works. Plus there are some hot and heavy sex scenes between Lucky and Scout. I really like this story, but… the ending didn’t work out as well for me. I would have liked a little more. It just seemed rushed. I’d like to have seen the reunion for Tom. The releasing of the souls. Not a lot, just…more. But it did work for the most part.

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a well-written urban fantasy with hot sex, this one will do it. Nicely.

Disclaimer: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

9/22/22

Review: Lost and Found by Andrew Grey

LOST AND FOUND by Andrew Grey

Fiction, M/M Contemporary Romance (Western), 282 pages

(Hot: contains multiple explicit sexual scenes)

4****

Blurb: Rafe Carrera hasn’t seen his Uncle Mack since he was a kid, so when he inherits his ranch, it throws him like a bucking horse. He’s been on his own for a long time. Now suddenly everyone wants to be his friend… or at least get friendly enough to have a chance in buying the ranch. Russell Banion’s family may own a mega-ranch in Telluride, but Russell made his own way developing software. He misses his friend Mack, and purchasing the ranch will help him preserve Mack’s legacy—and protect his own interests. It’s a win-win. Besides, spending time with Rafe, trying to soften him up, isn’t exactly a hardship. Soon Russell realizes he’ll be more upset if Rafe does decide to leave. But Rafe isn’t sure he wants to sell. To others in the valley, his land is worth more than just dollars and cents, and they’ll do anything to get it. With Russell’s support, Rafe will have to decide if some things—like real friendship, neighborliness, and even love—mean more than money. 

What I liked: the romance. Andrew Grey knows how to tug on the heart strings and make you feel the emotions the characters are feeling. The characters are realistic and the imagery so natural.

Rafe has had a hard life. His parents kicked him out and he had to do whatever he could to get food. He finally found rodeo where he started riding bulls and winning until he captured the world championship. But he knew his time on the bulls was over. Then he gets a letter from his uncle’s lawyer – inheriting Mack’s ranch in Colorado.

Rafe ends up with a ranch, a home, three dogs, friends, and determined enemies. Including his parents. And a boyfriend in Russell, from the neighboring ranch.

What I didn’t like: only one small thing – one of the bad guys just walking off. Yeah, he lost everything, but I’d like to have seen him in jail too. But like I said, a small thing.

Recommendation: If you like Mr. Grey’s work, you won’t be disappointed by this one. There’s lots of emotion and a HEA that satisfies.

Disclaimer: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Spotlight: K.G. Fletcher

Faultless Love
(The Bennetts of Langston Falls, Book 1)

RELEASING 11-11-22
(Pre-order available NOW!)

He’s a convicted felon out on parole for a crime he didn’t commit. She’s the girl who put her life on hold while he was away. Can the two pick up right where they left off?

He never should’ve gone on that beer run. If he’d stayed at the party, kissing Robyn by the bonfire, his life would’ve turned out totally different. But actions have consequences, the slam of the judge’s gavel echoing the death knell of his freedom.

Now he’s back in his hometown, starting his life over at his family’s Christmas tree farm and winery.

Running into Robyn wasn’t part of the plan.

She leaves him pining and reckless to see her again. But things permanently changed after that night so many years ago. Or so he thought.

With Robyn, he feels understood, wanted, and strong—things he hasn’t felt in a long time. When she’s in his arms, he’s tempted to trust again. To love again. To fly free again.

But deep down, he’s petrified.

Will the love they share be enough to overcome the past? Or will his second chance at happily ever after implode, confining him to a life sentence—alone?

Author’s Note: A steamy standalone romance about two lives turned upside down. One-click if you love a sacrificial hero willing to risk it all, and a heroine who never gave up on him. Romantic Add-ons: Steamy second chances, an idyllic small town, skinny-dipping in ponds, barn loft liaisons. This love story comes with a guaranteed Happily Ever After.


PRE-ORDER FAULTLESS LOVE

GOODREADS TBR

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KG is a hopeless romantic. When she’s not on the road singing, she’s probably at home day dreaming about her swoony book boyfriends, or arranging a yummy charcuterie board while sipping red wine and listening to Frank Sinatra.

KG loves to interact with readers on social media and share about her writing and singing journey.  For more info about tour dates (and FREE concert tickets), sign up for her newsletter on the “Contact” portion of her website! 

Website: https://www.kgfletcherauthor.com/new-releases.html

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16175390.K_G_Fletcher

Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts for the Coming Week

September 24

Birthdays: Horace Walpole (1717), F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896), Robert Lewis Taylor (1912), John Brunner (1934), Eavan Boland (1944), David Drake (1945), John Kessel (1950), Richard K. Morgan (1965), Eleanor Catton (1985),

Robert Tayloer won the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters”

John Brunner won the 1968 Hugo Award for “Stand on Zanzibar”

Quote: “All fine prose is based on the verbs carrying the sentences. They make sentences move.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tip: Figure out the GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) in your story. Every story should have this. In fact, each scene should have this. Try: (who) wants (what) because (why) but s/he can’t because (why not). For instance: Dorothy wants to go home because there’s no place like home but can’t because she needs to defeat the wicked witch and learns running away doesn’t help.

Jumpstart: “I’d never have done that with you if I’d known…”

September 25

Birthdays: Charles Edward Russell (1860), William Faulkner (1897), Robert Laxalt (1923), Shel Silverstein (1930), Bell Hooks (1952), Luanne Rice (1955), Kristin Hannah (1960), James Ransome (1961), Jim Murphy (1963), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (1964)

Charles Russell won the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for “The American Orchestra and Theodore Thomas”

William Faulkner won the Pulitzer (twice) and the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Shel Silverstein is best known for his children’s books and poetry- most of which have made the “banned books” lists. He also wrote the song “A Boy Named Sue”, sung by Johnny Cash.

Quote: “Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of writers come and go — published and unpublished — and what I’ve learned is that the ones who make it keep writing no matter what. When life is tough, they write; when the kids are sick, they write; when rejections pile up, they write.” – Kristin Hannah

Tip: Don’t make enemies of other authors by doing selfish things that benefit only you and hurt others. It will come back to haunt you and only give you a bad reputation among your peers.

Jumpstart: You’ve been named in the will of someone you didn’t even know. A very rich someone. You will inherit everything, but only if you…(what?) and why did they leave it all to you?

*****

September 26

Birthdays: Max Ehrmann (1872), TS Eliot (1888), Minette Walters (1949), Jane Smiley (1949), Will Self (1961), Mark Haddon (1962), Bernice McFadden (1965),

Bernice McFadden was the winner of the 2017 American Book Award and the 1917 NAACP Award for Outstanding Literary Work for “The Book of Harlan”

Jane Smiley won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “A Thousand Acres”

Quote: “Every first draft is perfect, because all a first draft has to do is exist.” ― Jane Smiley

“At the beginning of my writing process I feel like I have people coming to visit. Like one or two people. When I am really engrossed in the writing my house is full… All I’m doing is recording what I hear. As I get close to the end my house starts to empty out. It feels melancholy and lonely without the characters‘ voices.” – Bernice McFadden

Tip: Remember that setting can reveal character. There’s a big difference between someone living in squalid conditions and a posh high rise. The setting helps define the character. Especially if there is a disconnect—someone raised in luxury now living on the streets or someone living in a mansion who grew up in squalid conditions will have very different opinions than someone who’s been there all their lives.

Jumpstart: You’re listening to the local news while cooking dinner. A news flash comes up about a dangerous criminal who’s wanted by the police…and it’s your name and picture they’re flashing. What do you do?

*********

September 27

Birthdays: Grazia Deledda (1871), Jim Thompson (1906), Nicholas Mordvinoff (1911), Louis Auchincloss (1917), Ernest Becker (1924), Bernard Waber (1924), Paul Goble (1933), Katie Fforde (1952), Martin Handford (1956), Irvine Welsh (1958), Jonathan Evison (1968),

Grazia Deledda won the 1926 Nobel Prize for Literature for “Reeds in the Wind”

Nicholas Mordvinoff won the 1952 Caldecott Medal for “Finders Keepers”

Ernest Becker won the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for “The Denial of Death”

Paul Goble won the 1979 Caldecott Medal for “The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses”

Quote: “If you are prepared to persevere, listen to good advice, recognise bad advice, read a lot and accept it may take many years, you probably will get published, eventually.” – Katie Fforde

Tip: Different types of editing include: Developmental (checks for weak scenes, boring parts, plot inconsistencies, structure—the big picture); line editing (word choice, sentence construction, tags, etc.); copyedit (nitty gritty of grammar, punctuation, spelling, trademarks, etc.), and proofread (final overall look). If you hire an editor to go over your work, be sure you know what you’re getting.

Jumpstart: You wake up one morning, ready to start the day, but when you go into the bathroom, there’s a message on the mirror in your handwriting. It tells you not to go out. There are more notes over the house warning you not to go out. But it’s a beautiful day and you’ve been cooped up for days. What do you do? When did you write the notes and why?

****

September 28

Birthdays: Prosper Merimee (1803), Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856), Simon Leys (1935), Rosario Ferre (1938), Marcia Muller (1944), Simon Winchester (1944), Piper Kerman (1969),

Prosper Merimee was a French author who wrote the novel “Carmen” on which Bizet based his opera.

Kate Douglas Wiggin is best known for her book “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”

Piper Kerman wrote the memoir “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison” on which the TV series is based.

Quote: “This may sound silly, but I attach a little counter to the corner of my computer so I know I have to produce, say, 100,000 words by December. If I’m ahead one day, I take a break; if I’m behind, I keep working.” – Simon Winchester

Tip: If you must use brand names in your story, be sure they’re used in a positive light and acknowledge the trademarks in the front matter. When possible, use generic terms instead of actual brand names. For instance: sports drink instead of Gatorade.

Jumpstart: You were in a horrible accident and have been in a coma. What nobody knows is that you can hear everything they say. What do you hear from various friends, relatives, doctors?

*******

September 29

Birthdays: Miguel de Cervantes (1547), Elizabeth Gaskell (1810), Herbert Agar (1897), Oscar Handlin (1915), Stan Berenstain (1923), Elizabeth Peters (1927), Colin Dexter (1930), Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi (1934), Stuart Kaminsky (1934), James Fogel (1936), Donna Leon (1942),

Herbert Agar won the 1934 Pulitzer Prize for History for his book “The People’s Choice”

Stan Berenstain (along with his wife Jan) is best known for his children’s series “The Berenstain Bears”

Quote: “I think, for me, it’s always been the initial business—just getting a word down, any words down, on a blank piece of paper. Once I’ve done that, I’m away. Beginning is one half of the deed.” – Colin Dexter

Tip: Finishing your first manuscript is an incredible feeling. Go out and celebrate, but remember this: first drafts rarely sell. Be sure to polish your draft so it’s the best it can be.

Jumpstart: You’ve gone to a hypnotist to get help with anxiety. While under, he discovers you’ve been hypnotized before… specifically to forget something. What were you supposed to forget and why?

*****

September 30

Birthdays: Edgar Parin d’Aulaire (1898), Eileen Chang (1920), Truman Capote (1924), W.S. Merwin (1927), Elie Wiesel (1928), Carol Fenner (1929), Jurek Becker (1937), Laura Esquivel (1950), S.M. Stirling (1953), Nicola Griffith (1960), Margie Orford (1964), Ta-Nehisi Coates (1975), Tea Obreht (1985), Cecelia Ahern (1981),

W.S. Merwin won the 1979 and 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and was the 17th US Poet Laureate

Elie Wiesel was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace

Laura Esquival is best known for her novel “Like Water for Chocolate”

Quote: “I say write what moves you. Write what you feel compelled to write about. Unless they come naturally to you, ignore trends such as vampires and erotica just because they’re popular and focus on what you feel your heart has to say. It’s important to write for yourself, move yourself and then the reader will hopefully feel your passion and identify with those emotions.” – Cecelia Ahern

Tip: Tighten your manuscript by cutting adjectives and adverbs, wordy passages, and personal opinion.

Jumpstart: You’re on your way to Bermuda for a vacation, complements of your boss for a big deal you finalized. Then a strange storm comes up out of a clear sky and…

New Release: Two for the Show


Skye Warren 
Series: Midnight Dynasty Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dangerous Press 
Release Date: Aug 16 2022
Edition/Formats: 1st Edition ~ eBook & Print
Blurb/Synopsis: 

Pregnant. Alone. And heartbroken. The only thing Eva Morelli knows for sure is that she wants this baby. She learned how to depend only on herself a long time ago.
The father, however? He made his position on marriage and children very clear.
Finn Hughes has fought his fate for years, but it’s finally catching up to him. Duty took away his choices. How can he hope for forever? He already knows how this ends.
There’s only one thing worse than having a family.
Losing them.
Welcome to the Midnight Dynasty… The warring Morelli and Constantine families have enough bad blood to fill an ocean, and their brand new stories will be told by your favorite dangerous romance authors.

WARNING: 
This book is intended for readers eighteen years old and over. It contains material that some readers could find disturbing. Enter at your own risk…


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Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of Dangerous romance. Her books have sold
over one million copies. She makes her Home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.



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The Stripped Series

Experience the Stripped World of dark glamour and forbidden love…
Tough Love (Stripped, #0.5) Free Download
Love the Way You Lie (Stripped, #1)
Heartbreak (Stripped, #1.5) Free Download
Better When It Hurts (Stripped, #2)
Even Better (Stripped, #2.5)
Pretty When You Cry (Stripped, #3)
Caught for Christmas (Stripped, #3.5)
Hold You Against Me (Stripped, #4)
To the Ends of the Earth (Stripped #5)

The Chicago Underground Series

Meet the gritty and Dangerous men of Chicago Underground…
Rough (Chicago Underground, #1) Free Download
Hard (Chicago Underground, #2)
Fierce (Chicago Underground, #3)
            Wild (Chicago Underground, #4)
Dirty (Chicago Underground, #5)
Secret (Chicago Underground, #6)
Sweet (Chicago Underground #7)
Deep (Chicago Underground, #8)

A Modern Fairy Tale Duet

Fall in love with this sexy Modern fairy tale…
Beauty and the Professor
Falling for the Beast

The Dark Nights Series

Take a trip to the dark side With this twisted series…
Keep Me Safe (Dark Nights, #0.5)
Trust in Me (Dark Nights, #1)
Don’t Let Go (Dark Nights, #2)

A Deserted Island

The Crash (A Deserted Island Prologue Novella)

Criminals & Captives
Prisoner w/ Annika Martin (Criminals & Captives, #1)
Hostage w/ Annika Martin (Criminals & Captives, #2)

Endgame Series & MORE BOOKS IN TANGLEWOOD

It’s all about revenge And seduction in the game of love…
The Pawn (Endgame, #1)   
The Knight (Endgame, #2)
The Castle (Endgame, #3)

The Masterpiece Duet
Endgame Series Spin-Off (Damon Scott)

The Prince (the Masterpiece Duet, Prologue) (FREE DOWNLOAD)
The King (the Masterpiece Duet, #1)
The Queen (the Masterpiece Duet, #2)
Escort
Mating Theory
1001 Dark Nights (A Tanglewood Novella)

The Trust Fund Duet

Trust Fund (A Survival of the Richest Prologue)
Survival Of the Richest (Trust Fund, #1)
The Evolution of Man  (Trust Fund, #2) 

The North Security Trilogy

Overture (North Security, #1)
Concerto (North Security, #2)
Sonata (North Security, #3)
Audition (Standalone Title)
1001 Dark Nights (Finale: A North Security Novella)

The Diamond Trilogy

Hidden Gem (Prequel)
Diamond In the Rough (Diamond Trilogy, #1)
Gold Mine (Diamond Trilogy, #2)
Silver Lining (Diamond Trilogy #3)

Rochester Trilogy

Private Property (Rochester Trilogy, Book #1)
Strict Confidence (Rochester Trilogy, Book #2)
Best Kept Secret (Rochester Trilogy, Book #3)

Midnight Dynasty

One for the Money (Midnight Dynasty, Book #1)
Two for the Show (Midnight Dynasty, Book #2)

Standalone Dark + Dangerous Romance

Review: Gone for Gouda by Korina Moss

GONE FOR GOUDA (Cheese Shop Mystery #2) by Korina Moss

Fiction, Cozy Mystery, 256 pages

4****

Blurb: Things are going from gouda to bad to ugly for cheesemonger Willa Bauer in Gone for Gouda. Yarrow Glen’s newest cheese shop, Curds & Whey, has a lot on its plate, but cheesemonger Willa Bauer relishes a challenge. There’s a float to build for the fall festival, plus the French-inspired cheese shop is playing host to celebrity vegan chef Phoebe Winston. But when photos surface that prove this vegan influencer is, in fact, a carnivore, things crumble faster than any cheese on the market: Phoebe is murdered. Willa’s employee, the affable Archie, was the last one to see Phoebe alive and the first person the police suspect. To clear his name Willa must uncover who’s been up to no gouda

Thoughts: This is the second in a series, but I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything by not having read the first one. The author throws in enough clues for me to figure out who the people are, how they fit in together.

Willa owns a small cheese shop called “Curds and Whey” in the Northern California town of Yarrow Glen. I learned a lot about cheese in this book, especially Gouda cheese—enough that I was able to beat an expert to answer a trivia question the other day. I loved that! And the author finishes up the story with cheese-filled recipes at the end.

Willa is hosting celebrity chef Phoebe Winston in a “Cook and Book” demonstration in her cheese shop. Willa’s excited about the event until she actually meets Phoebe—a self-absorbed diva who expects everyone to do what she wants without question and without a thought as to how it might affect the other person.

Then pictures of vegan-proclaimed Phoebe scarfing down ribs appear in the papers and she is a no-show at the event. Then Willa finds out Phoebe has been murdered and everything goes downhill. One of Willa’s employees is suspected of the act and she goes into sleuth mode.

There is a touch of romance between Willa and Roman, the man who owns a meadery across the street, but also sparks between Willa and the lead detective Heath. A triangle that is so common to cozies.

The ending is well-done and satisfying and there are a couple threads left dangling that you know are going to show up in the next books in the series.

Recommendation: Definitely recommended. Have a plate of your favorite cheese selections — and maybe a glass of mead — while you read. Or maybe try a new one that you read about here.

Disclaimer: Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing this ARC. I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Spotlight: Vicky Burkholder

Will a bitter betrayal send a determined pilot and her engineer to a fiery death?

Cass Brennan makes her living scavenging artifacts and searching for her lost parents, while piloting her spacecraft. When she discovers an ancient ship, everyone rushes to steal her prize. Along with her godfather, and Zack Anderson, who she admires for his expertise with engines, gentle manner, and handsome features, Cass refuses to go down without a fight.

Zack is on a search also—to find who’s responsible for destroying his family. He doesn’t want to believe the beautiful, brave, and talented woman he’s trying hard not to fall for is the one he seeks. The more he gets to know Cass, the idea of her being a murderer is ridiculous, and he is definitely ready to take the next step in their relationship.

Zack and Cass are betrayed and then stranded on an unforgiving planet. While nature’s forces try to kill them, they fight to stay alive.

The Wild Rose Press

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Bio:

It seems like I’ve been writing and editing forever. And, in a way, I have. But only professionally for the last twenty years or so. I’ve worked for newspapers and magazines, done policy and procedures manuals for organizations and the government, and worked as an editor for a variety of publishers and private clients doing everything from novels to college-level textbooks. Whew! That’s a lot!

As a writer, I write fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and romance novels and novellas. At various times in my life, I have been a teacher, librarian, computer specialist, short-order cook, DJ and more. I’m married to the most supportive guy in the world and together we raised four great kids.

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