Monday, November 28, 2016

Great Escapes Book Tour: A Killer Location: A Home Sweet Home Mystery by Sarah T. Hobart

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2262 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Alibi (Nov. 22 2016)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English

Tour Participants

November 21 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW
November 22 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
November 22 – Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT
November 23 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
November 23 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – THANKSGIVING U.S.
November 25 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
November 25 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST
November 26 – Booklady’s Booknotes – REVIEW
November 26 – LibriAmoriMiei
November 27 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
November 28 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW
November 28 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST
November 29 – Readeropolis – INTERVIEW
November 30 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT
December 1 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – REVIEW
December 1 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
December 2 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT

Book Description

 As this captivating cozy mystery series featuring real estate agent Sam Turner continues, a dream home turns into a crime scene when murder intrudes on an open house.

Thanks to a few sales and a self-help book on becoming a super-agent, Sam Turner is well on her way to becoming real estate royalty in Arlinda, her eccentric hometown on the Northern California coast. And after settling into her new house with her teenage son, she’s finally a homeowner, too. Sure, things aren’t perfect—for example, her sister still doesn’t know that Sam is dating her ex, police chief Bernie Aguilar—but perfect is boring. And Sam’s life is never boring.

When Sam’s boss, Everett Sweet, assigns her an open house in Arlinda’s most exclusive neighborhood, she brushes up on her super-agent tips, hoping to wow potential buyers. But there’s nothing in the manual about stumbling upon the owner’s dead body halfway through the tour. When suspicion falls on her boss, Sam and her co-workers are suddenly out of work, their real estate licenses suspended. Now, with her job on the line and a mortgage to pay, Sam will need every trick in the book to clear Everett’s name.

About the Author

Sarah Hobart is a real estate agent and former newspaper reporter in Northern California, where she lives with her husband and two children in a majestic fixer-upper overlooking State Highway 101.

Purchase Links:
Amazon      B&N

My Review

 A Killer Location is the second book in the Home Sweet Home Mystery series by author Sarah T. Hobart. This is the first book of Hobart's that I have read.

A Killer Location is set in coastal Northern California in a town called Arlinda. I am thinking it is most likely representative of the city of Eureka which is a beautiful historic town that I have visited often. Realtor Sam Turner holds an open house in an exclusive area of Arlinda where a body is discovered in the house...the body is the homeowner's. Sam's police chief boyfriend Bernie who happens to be her ex-brother-in-law in on the case. But Sam is determined to solve it first.

Good cozy mystery! Cozy mystery fans will enjoy A Killer Location.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Bible Review: NIV, Journal the Word Bible, Cloth over Board, Pink Floral: Reflect, Journal, or Create Art Next to Your Favorite Verses by Zondervan Publishing

  • Hardcover: 1408 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310445167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310445166

Book Description

 The NIV Journal the WordTM Bible allows you to creatively express yourself every day with plenty of room for notes or verse art journaling next to your treasured verses. With unique and sophisticated covers, this single-column edition features thick cream-colored paper with lightly ruled lines in the extra-wide margins, perfect to reflect on God’s Word and enhance your study.

Excellent for a gift or for personal use, it can also be a cherished heirloom to pass on to future generations with your personal writings inside! This exquisitely designed floral cloth over board edition is likely to become a lifelong treasure.

Features of this treasured Bible include:

  • Lined, wide margins for notes and reflections
  • Thicker cream paper for enduring note-taking
  • Full text of the most read, most trusted modern-English Bible – the New International Version (NIV)
  • Easy-to-read black-letter text
  • Lays flat in your hand or on your desk
  • Ribbon marker

My Review

The NIV, Journal the Word Bible, Cloth over Board, Pink Floral: Reflect, Journal, or Create Art Next to Your Favorite Verses by Zondervan Publishing is a beautiful bible. I fell in love with the cover as soon as I saw it online. It is just as beautiful in person. I love the colours of pink and purple.

I have always wanted a journaling bible and am now thrilled to own one. The standard print is easy to read without reading glasses for me. The pages are substantial so I will be able to write my thoughts, prayers and reflections without worrying about ruining the bible. It has lovely wide margins perfect for journaling.

The NIV, Journal the Word Bible is the standard NIV Bible. It is not a study bible. It does not have illustrations, maps or other information. It is a straightforward NIV bible with plenty of room for journaling.

I am thrilled with this gorgeous bible perfect for reflecting, journaling or drawing. I highly recommend the NIV, Journal the Word Bible, Cloth over Board, Pink Floral: Reflect, Journal, or Create Art Next to Your Favorite Verses.

Review: Montana Secret Santa (Love at the Chocolate Shop #3) by Debra Salonen

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1305 KB
  • Print Length: 168 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Tule Publishing (Dec 1 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01M1AO5RM

Book Description

 Ad exec Krista Martin, while feeling more Grinch than elf, still jumps at the chance to co-chair Marietta’s Secret Santa Society. Why not? Especially since brilliant, attractive, and innovative tech wunderkind Jonah Andrews has agreed to help. He’s well connected and Krista’s hoping for some advice on rebooting her career.

Jonah knows Krista has a not-so-hidden agenda, but sparring with her over cocoa at their Secret Santa meetings is the most fun he’s had since returning to his old hometown. Krista may come across as all business, but Jonah’s positive he’s glimpsed a little girl inside her who wants to believe in Santa… and in love.

Love at the Chocolate Shop series
Book 1: Melt My Heart, Cowboy by C.J. Carmichael
Book 2: A Thankful Heart by Melissa McClone
Book 3: Montana Secret Santa by Debra Salonen
Book 4: The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek
More books in the series coming soon


About the Author

 - Born and raised in Brookings, South Dakota. Youngest of five (much youngest). A Baby Boomer who married her high school sweetheart (our lockers were side-by-side). Mother of two, grandmother of three darling princesses, dog mother of 2.5 mutts.

- Graduate of South Dakota State University with a Master’s degree in Geography and History.

- Job history: taxi driver, flax seed counter, cartographer, rural mail carrier, substitute teacher, secretary/community liaison for Merced College’s Child Development Center, bookkeeper, journalist, author.

- First sale story: June, 1999, to Harlequin Superromance. Total number of books sold to Harlequin =27.

- Honors and awards: Romantic Times BOOKreviews, 2006 Series Storyteller of the Year. Winner: Best Superromance of 2010: Until He Met Rachel. Nominated for Desert Quill in 2008.

- First book published by Tule Press, summer 2014: Cowgirl Come Home. The Big Sky Mavericks series opens Aug. 2014 with: Nobody's Cowboy.

My Review

Montana Secret Santa is the third book in the Love at the Chocolate Shop series by Tule Publishing. This book is written by Debra Salonen. I always enjoy Salonen's books.

I really enjoyed Montana Secret Santa. It was a short sweet read that is perfect for the Christmas season. Both Krista and Jonah are people that I would enjoy knowing. I like that the Chocolate Shop series has continuing characters. I like the town of Marietta. It is an adorable town in the middle of one of the most scenic areas in the US.

Montana Secret Santa has everything a reader would want in a Christmas romance. Highly recommend for romance readers.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Review: Escape Clause (Virgil Flowers #9) by John Sandford

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1587 KB
  • Print Length: 399 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399168915
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (Oct. 18 2016)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01BD1SSA8

Book Description

Whenever you hear the sky rumble, that usually means a storm. In Virgil Flowers’ case, make that two. The exceptional new thriller from the writer whose books are “pure reading pleasure” (Booklist)

The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others -- as Virgil is about to find out.

Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship wi th his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another…she thinks Virgil’s kind of cute.

“You mess around with Sparkle,” Frankie told Virgil, “you could get yourself stabbed.”
“She carries a knife?”
“No, but I do.”

Forget a storm – this one’s a tornado.

About the Author

John Sandrford was born John Camp on February 23, 1944, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He attended the public schools in Cedar Rapids, graduating from Washington High School in 1962. He then spent four years at the University of Iowa, graduating with a bachelor's degree in American Studies in 1966. In 1966, he married Susan Lee Jones of Cedar Rapids, a fellow student at the University of Iowa. He was in the U.S. Army from 1966-68, worked as a reporter for the Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian from 1968-1970, and went back to the University of Iowa from 1970-1971, where he received a master's degree in journalism. He was a reporter for The Miami Herald from 1971-78, and then a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press from 1978-1990; in 1980, he was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and he won the Pulitzer in 1986 for a series of stories about a midwestern farm crisis. From 1990 to the present he has written thriller novels. He's also the author of two non-fiction books, one on plastic surgery and one on art. He is the principal financial backer of a major archeological project in the Jordan Valley of Israel, with a website at In addition to archaeology, he is deeply interested in art (painting) and photography. He both hunts and fishes. He has two children, Roswell and Emily, and one grandson, Benjamin. His wife, Susan, died of metastasized breast cancer in May, 2007, and is greatly missed.

My Review

 Escape Clause is the ninth book in the Virgil Flowers series by John Sandford. Great series. I am a big fan of John Sandford's Virgil Flowers. My library has ebooks available to take out which is how I was able to read this book.

Two tigers have been stolen from the zoo and Virgil is on the case. I wasn't sure if I would like the story line but as it turned out I should not have been worried. It is an excellent story and a great addition to the series.

Virgil Flowers and the people around him all are interesting. Sandford is a great storyteller and the Escape Clause is well written. I was hoping that something would happen involving Katya the female lion and it did! Great story.

Highly recommend.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Ace Collins’ ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ Giveaway

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1891 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (Oct. 4 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English

Make this upcoming Christmas holiday a Christ-filled season of joy and wonder with the help of Ace Collins' new devotional, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. From December to New Year’s Eve, reawaken the Christmas season with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas. Download a free sampler of the book by clicking here.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year Ace Collins

Celebrate the magic of Christmas with @AceCollins' new devotional and new family traditions (plus a #giveaway)!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Book Description

 For Christians worldwide, the month of December is filled with joy and wonder as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth. There is no other time of the year that can compare to the Christmas season for both the young and young at heart. 

From December to New Year's Eve, reawaken the wonder, joy, and magic that is Christmas with daily scripture and inspirational readings of stories behind popular Christmas traditions, carols and movies. Enjoy a wealth of fun activities to help make the most of the season, including heartwarming holiday recipes and homemade gift ideas. 

With this soon-to-be-cherished holiday devotional, best-selling author Ace Collins will capture your imagination and help to make each day of December more memorable and meaningful to you, and those you love, by shining a light on the real spirit of the season.

About the Author

 Ace Collins defines himself as a storyteller. He has authored more than sixty books that have sold more than 2.5 million copies. His catalog includes novels, biographies, children's works as well as books on history, culture and faith. He has also been the featured speaker at the National Archives Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted a network television special and does college basketball play-by-play. Ace lives in Arkansas. Learn more about him by visiting

My Review

 I love Christmas and I love devotionals so I knew that Ace Collins' The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: A Countdown to Christmas was a book that I wanted to read.

 The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: A Countdown to Christmas takes the reader through the month of December. There are devotions, recipes and tips. Each day begins with a bible reading. This is the perfect book for lovers of Christmas. I am looking forward to December 1st!

This is a great gift for someone or a gift to yourself. Highly recommend.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Review: The Champagne Conspiracy (Wine Country Mysteries #7) by Ellen Crosby

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1187 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250076552
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 1 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English

Book Description

 Winter has come to the Montgomery Estate Vineyard in Atoka, Virginia. Lucie Montgomery and winemaker Quinn Santori have decided to make champagne, a first for the vineyard.

But then Gino Tomassi, Quinn’s uncle, turns up on their doorstep one afternoon, demanding help in solving the mystery of what happened to Zara Tomassi, the first wife of his grandfather, who died in a San Francisco hotel in 1923 under suspicious circumstances. And it seems there’s no coincidence that her death came the day after President Warren Harding passed away in that same hotel. Gino needs answers before his blackmailer takes him for all he’s worth―or exposes an explosive family secret.

Lucie searches for what happened almost a hundred years ago as she delves into Prohibition-era Washington, D.C.―a town of bootlegging and duplicity, jazz clubs and speakeasies. But then the investigation turns deadly, threatening Lucie, her relationship with Quinn, and the vineyard, as they realize someone is still out there nearly a century later who will go to any lengths to keep the truth about Zara’s death a buried secret.

About the Author

 Ellen Crosby is the author of THE CHAMPAGNE CONSPIRACY, the 7th book in the Virginia Wine Country mysteries, which will be out November 1, 2016. Also in 2016, GHOST IMAGE, the second Sophie Medina mystery will be out, along with the US edition of MOSCOW NIGHTS. Before writing fiction, Crosby was a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, Moscow correspondent for ABC Radio News, and an economist at the US Senate. After living overseas for many years, she now lives in the Washington, DC suburbs of northern Virginia. More information at or

My Review

The Champagne Conspiracy is the seventh book in the Wine Country Mysteries series by Ellen Crosby. I have read all the earlier books in the series and really enjoyed them.

I have followed Quinn and Lucie's relationship since the beginning and was glad to see that both of them were characters in The Champagne Conspiracy but sad to see that their relationship was stalled. Lucie's brother Eli and his daughter are now living full time at the winery. I was glad to see all the familiar characters from the previous books in The Champagne Conspiracy.

Quinn's California past was once again front and center in The Champagne Conspiracy. His cousin Gino was trying to suppress family secrets and discover who was trying to blackmail him. It soon became obvious that the roots of his trouble were located in Virginia's wine and horse country.

There were lots of twists and turns in The Champagne Conspiracy. I really liked the ending. If this ends up being the last book in the series then I am satisfied.

Great series. The Champagne Conspiracy was an excellent addition to the series.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Review: Unraveled (Red River Mystery #6) by Reavis Z. Wortham

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 781 KB
  • Print Length: 323 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (Oct. 4 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01LBVWF40

Book Description

The small, rural Northeast Texas community of Center Springs has seen its share of troubles during the 1960s, everything from kidnapping, murder, and bank robbery. By 1968, the residents think life has finally quieted down, but they find their peaceful way of life is quickly spinning out of control as a decades-long family feud between the Clays and Mayfields once again flares to life.

Fourteen-year-old Top Parker who lives with his grandparents Constable Ned Parker and Miss Becky in a little farmhouse near the Red River finds himself caught up in another adult situation sparked by a mysterious fatal single car accident involving the white mayor of Chisum and his black female assistant. Questions and accusations arise about their relationship as the families wreak vengeance on each other.

But what is the significance of a man calling himself the Wraith, who moves through region at will, invading homes and watching the Parkers? What is Maggie Clay’s secret? That she’s half white and married to a black man with a long criminal past? And was Mayor Frank Clay, the only bright spot in a dark and cruel family, really what everything thinks he is?

It’s a busy time for Sheriff Cody Parker, who finds himself a possible suspect in the murder of several residents. He takes the advice from his Deputy John Washington and removes himself from the investigation, giving free reign to both John and Deputy Anna Sloan as they try and unravel the answers by following different paths.

The ending will leave you staggering as the families clash on a small battlefield and the killer is finally revealed in a most unexpected way. These aren’t the 1960s that most Baby Boomers remember.

About the Author

As a boy, award-winning writer, Reavis Z. Wortham hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, Texas, the inspiration for the fictional setting for THE ROCK HOLE. He was born in Paris, Texas, but lived in Dallas. “We grew up in the city and went to school there, but every Friday evening my parents put us in the car and made the 120-mile drive to Chicota, where we truly lived at my grandparents’ place in the country until Sunday evening, when we came back to the city. Our true home was that little scratch farm in Lamar County.”

Author Reavis Z. Wortham’s first novel, THE ROCK HOLE, is described by Kirkus Reviews as “an unpretentious gem written to the hilt and harrowing in its unpredictability.” Kirkus also listed it as one of the “Top 12 Mysteries of 2011.”

BURROWS, the second Red River Mystery, received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly, “Wortham's outstanding sequel to The Rock Hole (2011)... combines the gonzo sensibility of Joe R. Lansdale and the elegiac mood of To Kill a Mockingbird to strike just the right balance between childhood innocence and adult horror.”

In a recent Starred Review by Kirkus Reviews says of BURROWS, “As in Ned’s debut (The Rock Hole, 2011), his grandchildren, Top and Pepper, are on hand to provide welcome humor and lend perspective to the acutely and unobtrusively observed small-town landscape. The result is that rare bird, a mystery with something for everyone.

Reavis also penned DOREEN'S 24 HR EAT GAS NOW CAFE. More than 1,500 newspaper and magazine articles bear the byline of this award-winning Texas writer. THE ROCK HOLE was a finalist in the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association.

THE RIGHT SIDE OF WRONG, book three in this gripping series, will be released in July, 2013.

Reavis is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Writers’ League of Texas, and the International Crime Writers Association.

He lives with his wife, Shana, in Frisco, Texas.

My Review

Unraveled is the sixth Red River Mystery by Reavis Z. Wortham. I love this series. I have read all six books in the series and found them all to be fabulous reads.

I love going back to the 1960s in Reavis Wortham's Center Springs each. I look forward to it every time. Wortham is an amazing writer who combines wisdom with action and history. He realistically brings 1960s rural Texas to life. Unraveled is an excellent addition to the Red River Mystery series. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

Two deaths equals two families reviving a feud that had been smoldering. And someone seems to be trying to frame Sheriff Cody Parker. Constable Ned,  Miss Becky, Top and Pepper are back once again to help readers navigate this tale. I am always suspicious of traveling carnivals and one plays a prominent role in Unraveled.

I cannot recommend this series enough. It is perfect for fans of recent history as well as mystery lovers. I highly recommend Unraveled.

Review: A Thankful Heart (Love at the Chocolate Shop #2) by Melissa McClone

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1046 KB
  • Print Length: 198 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Tule Publishing (Nov. 3 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01MA0G2RC

Book Description

 Chocolate is better than men, and so are dogs. At least, that’s what Dakota Parker tells herself as she mends her broken heart and finds forever homes for rescue animals. So far, so good. She can indulge her love of chocolate where she works while her foster dogs provide her with the unconditional love she craves. What more does she need?

Seattle architect Bryce Grayson is counting the days until he can return home to the big city with his father in tow. That is if he can convince his dad to leave Montana. Bryce’s escape plan, however, goes astray when he meets Dakota. Her sweet kisses put the chocolate she sells to shame. Maybe he should be the one to move to Marietta, but could he be happy living in such a small town?

He has until Thanksgiving to decide.

Love at the Chocolate Shop series
Book 1: Melt My Heart, Cowboy by C.J. Carmichael
Book 2: A Thankful Heart by Melissa McClone
Book 3: Montana Secret Santa by Debra Salonen
Book 4: The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek
More books coming soon

About the Author

 I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, two daughters, son, dog and too many cats! I write "sweeter" contemporary romance novels for Harlequin and Tule Publishing.

My Review

A Thankful Heart is the second book in the Love at the Chocolate Shop series by Tule Publishing. This book is written by Melissa McClone. I have read McClone's books before and have always enjoyed them.

Dakota Parker is a very likeable character who rescues animals as well as working in Sage's chocolate shop. Bryce Grayson is a Seattle architect whose father lives in Marietta. Bryce's dad has had an accident and Bryce has come to help for a month. He fully intends to take his father back to Seattle with him. He is a stubborn guy and not very likeable for the most part.

Bryce is interested in Dakota but has not intention of sticking around town. She knows this and continues to be drawn to him. One of them is going to have to budge if their relationship has any chance of succeeding.

Well written and an enjoyable read. Good addition to the Love at the Chocolate Shop series.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Great Escapes Blog Tour: The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole (A Taste of Texas Mystery #2) by Rebecca Adler

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1571 KB
  • Print Length: 303 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425275949
  • Publisher: Berkley (Nov. 1 2016)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01BK0SQ72

Tour Participants

October 24 – Sleuth Cafe – CHARACTER GUEST POST
October 24 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW
October 25 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
October 25 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  
October 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST, SPOTLIGHT
October 26 – Grace. Gratitude. Life. by Marie McNary – REVIEW
October 27 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 28 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
October 28 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
October 29 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 30 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW
October 31 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
October 31 – Readeropolis – REVIEW
November 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
November 1 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 2 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
November 2 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW
November 3 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
November 4 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
November 4 – Varietats – GUEST POST
November 5 – Community Bookstop –  REVIEW
November 6 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW

Book Description

Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan is about to serve up some Lone Star justice in this spicy Taste of Texas Mystery from the author of Here Today, Gone Tamale.Tourists are pouring into the town of Broken Boot for the annual Homestead Days celebration. Opening the festivities at Two Boots Dance Hall is smooth-talking country singer Jeff Clark, the ex-boyfriend of Patti Lopez, Josie’s best friend. When the charming Clark woos Patti onstage in an attempt to rekindle some sparks with his old flame, Josie fears her friend will end up just one more notch on the singer’s guitar strap.

To impress her editor at the Broken Boot Bugle, Josie and her Chihuahua Lenny pursue the singer to Patti’s house, hoping for an interview. Instead, they discover Clark facedown in a bowl of guacamole with a bloodied guitar at his side. With Patti suddenly a murder suspect, Josie must use her reporter skills to find out who had a chip on their shoulder—before the killer double-dips...

Book Excerpt

Chapter 1
“Ride ’em cowgirl!”
Diablo lurched, twirled a half turn, bucked his rider, and reeled the opposite way.
“Shut your mouth before I jump off this contraption and belt you one across the kisser,” hollered Patti Perez, her jet-black hair flying in all directions.
We might not be real cowgirls, but living in far West Texas meant we could play the part when the occasion warranted. And there was no better time to talk like characters from an old Western than when riding the mechanical bull at Two Boots on the first night of Broken Boot’s Homestead Days Music Festival.
Patti is the sole proprietor of the Feed and Supply, the only Goth princess in our town of three thousand–plus, and my best friend. With dark-lined eyes wide open, she rode that bull as if she planned to ride it all the way to the weekly livestock show in San Angelo.
Without warning, Diablo shuddered to a halt, causing Patti to slide from the saddle to her feet in the blink of an eye. The crowd near the padded arena burst into applause with a few appreciative whoops from the menfolk. I joined in, though I couldn’t miss the fact she’d barely escaped hitting the mat face-first.
“Come along, Grace,” I said, raising my voice above the wail of an electric guitar. “You don’t want to show up the band.” The festival’s first act was in full swing.
“Just you wait,” she muttered. “You’re up next.”
Ever since a murderous restaurateur tried to put bullet holes in the two of us, Patti and I had forged an unbreakable bond. Tonight, like every other Thursday night, we vented our frustrations with the vagaries of small-town life on the back of Diablo at my family’s dance hall.
“Tall, blond, and handsome at two o’clock.” I gestured with my thumb to a fence post–thin dude in a pioneer costume, sporting a droopy mustache and a scruffy goatee.
When she laughed, the piercings up and down her ears jingled. “Maybe at two o’clock in the morning.” We sat at our elevated table and immediately dove for the basket of buffalo wings, which had arrived during our excursion to the bull riding arena. After our brush with eternity, a strange thing happened. Patti, my not-in-the-least-bit-romantic friend, began longing for a mate. And not just a mate. A husband.
Our weekly excursion to Two Boots was my way of helping her beat the small-town dating blues. In our postage-sized town on the Chihuahuan Desert, if you brought all of the eligible men together in one place, half of them would be older than Methuselah and the other half would look as if they crawled out from under a rock.
I backed away from the wings and wiped my fingers. “When does this Jeff Clark play?” If tonight’s headliner would get his boots onstage, I would avoid giving the enthusiastic tourists the added thrill of watching me tossed through the air onto the seat of my britches.
I was looking forward to meeting Jeff Clark. He and Patti dated for a spell while I was living in Austin, pursuing my big-city journalism career—that unfortunately entailed writing obituaries and classified ads. As much as I wanted to see him face-to-face, I didn’t think the hand of fate had orchestrated his appearance in our Homestead Days Music Festival as much as Patti had. Uncle Eddie simply made some calls, negotiated a price, and wham-bam, we had a band.
This new and, frankly, a bit desperate Goth Girl made me nervous.
She frowned and checked the time on her phone. “His set should start in fifteen minutes, if this hillbilly would ever get off the stage.” With two fingers, she began to pull pieces of straw from her bottle-black hair.
I ignored her remark. Ty Honeycutt was many things, but one thing the fine-looking country singer was not was a hillbilly. Was he a redneck? His neck was so red you could stop traffic with it. But, friends, Texans aren’t hillbillies. After the death of his aunt Dixie, stories of his wild antics faded away. He’d loved her more than his own mother, and I sympathized with his loss. If anything should happen to Aunt Linda, a chunk of my heart would shrivel into dust.
“Is that your way of saying that Ty’s songwriting talent doesn’t hold a candle to your own?”
“Go on,” she said with a disparaging wave of her hand. But when she tipped her head back to take another swig from her longneck, she wore a secretive smile.
I laughed. “I can’t wait until Tuesday. The audience is going to go crazy for your songs.” In a few days, Patti would join a group of hand-selected amateur singer-songwriters in the final concert of the festival. Social media and word of mouth had done their bit in promoting the performers, and the singer-songwriter contest. We were crossing our fingers that talent scouts and record labels from across the state would attend. If nothing else, the five-hundred-dollar cash prize would be a welcome pat on the back.
Still, Patti’s sudden interest in her old beau made my stomach roil. “It’s not too late to slip out the back,” I said. Only last summer she warned me away from serious relationships with professional musicians. With a curl of her lip, she pointed out you could flirt with them, but keeping them faithful was another matter—unless you planned to tie them to your fence post. Intoxicated by my plans, her comments fell to the ground unheeded like grains of rice after a wedding. How was I to know my musician fiancé would abandon me at the altar for the Great Barrier Reef? I sighed.
Her chin rose. “You can leave if you want, but what do I have to lose by giving Jeff another chance?”
“Your dignity, pride, and sense of self-worth.” I touched her hand. “Remember how devastated you were after you caught him cheating the last time?” Why my intelligent, fiercely independent friend didn’t realize he might be planning to add another notch to his guitar strap was a mystery to me.
A funny look crossed her face. She pulled her cell phone from her back pocket. “It’s him,” she gushed. “He says he can’t wait to see me.”
“Just…be careful.”
She patted my hand. “I will, don’t worry.”
I found it impossible not to imagine all the negative things that could possibly go wrong as I trailed along behind her. She maneuvered her way through the crowd of locals in long calico dresses and tourists in straw hats and suspenders, around a couple dancing the two-step, and over a woman kneeling on the wooden floor to recover the contents of her pioneer reticule. I tried to tell Patti I didn’t want to go backstage to meet Clark, but Ty’s tenor thundering from the speakers made it impossible.
She halted at a door near the kitchen marked by a short, beefy security guard and a sign that read:
You ain’t in the band!
As she prepared to knock, a blonde with zebra-like highlights, dressed in a cutoff T-shirt, Daisy Dukes, and cowboy boots came giggling out the door. “Bye, Hank.” She gave us the once over, sneered, and walked away whooping with laughter.
The security guard eyed her with a vacant, beatific smile as if the sashaying girl had lobotomized him with her hips.
A deep furrow appeared across my friend’s forehead as she watched her go. Without warning, Patti spun toward the door and grabbed the handle.
The security guard pounced, forcing his body between Patti and the door. “Can’t you read?” he growled, like a bulldog guarding a pile of week-old steak bones.
“Just a minute,” I said, straightening to my full five feet, four inches. “Not only does my family own this place, but Jeff also sent Patti a text message to join him backstage.”
Hank crossed his arms across his rent-a-cop work shirt. “I don’t care if he asked her to marry him. No one goes through the door thirty minutes before showtime.”
“What about that . . .” Patti hesitated. “Lady?”
“She went inside an hour ago.” This time a cruel grin spread across his face. Blocking our entry was the highlight of his day, bless his pea-picking heart. “Not to mention, she’s got to more offer. Goth and boring aren’t on the menu for tonight, girls.”
My temper flared so fast my ears started to burn.
“Hey, Josie.”
I glanced over my shoulder to discover that Vince Schreiner, our regular weekend bouncer, had joined our little party.
He swaggered over in a Davy Crockett costume complete with coonskin hat, a ready-to-rumble grin across his face. “What’s going on, gals?”
Before I could step away, he gave me a one-armed hug, drowning me in the scent of Old Spice and cigar smoke.
The security guard jabbed the handwritten sign with a pudgy finger. “They forgot how to read.”
Vince dropped his arm from my shoulder. “Don’t you worry about these gals.” Flexing his muscles like a Friday-night wrestler, he gave the other guard a curt nod. “Go take your dinner break. I’m your relief.”
“Says who?”
“Says my boss—this young lady’s uncle—who happens to be writing your paycheck.”
After a quick glance at his wristwatch, the security guard nodded. “In case you weren’t briefed, no one goes in the dressing room this close to performance.” He studied me as if I were a stinkbug on the bottom of his shoe. “No matter who they say their uncle might be.”
“Got it.” Vince stepped closer until the guard moved out from in front of the door. “Now git. Your break’s already started.”
For a few seconds, the security guard merely clenched and unclenched his jaw, staring at each one of us in turn. Good sense or hunger finally seeped into his brain and he stomped off toward the kitchen.
“Who died and left him in charge?” Patti, always serene and unflappable, adjusted the collar of her blouse, fidgeted with the leather bands on her wrists, and then began running her fingers through the ends of her hair as if we’d walked inside from a Texas windstorm.
“That would be Jeff Clark’s agent. Under his contract, we’re required to provide additional security.”
Vince flexed his muscles and turned to look at me with his good eye. “Don’t know why. I got it handled.” My childhood friend lost the vision in his left eye to a piece of shrapnel while fighting in Iraq.
“How do I look?”
I placed a hand on Patti’s arm. “You’re just as beautiful as you were before that blond bimbo walked out of Jeff’s dressing room.”
“You bet your butt I am.”
I grabbed both her arms and gently shook her. “Girl, you got this.”
“Whoever he is,” Vince cracked his knuckles, “if he hurts you, I’ll break his face.”
Patti laughed, stepped out of my grasp, and threw back her shoulders. “Bring on the pain.”
“Wait a sec.” Holding us back with his outstretched hand, Vince eased open the door.
Angry voices assaulted the air. “Take it back, Clark!”
“You better check yourself, son. Who do you think got you this gig?”
“That doesn’t mean,” a man grunted, as if in the midst of a struggle, “you can take what you want.”
“It’s mine . . . for the . . . taking.” A groaning sound emanated through the door, as if heavy bodies locked in a game of tug-a-war slid across the floor, bumping into furniture on their way.
“Not this time.”
Before Vince could open the door, something large and heavy crashed to the floor. “Everything all right in there?” the bouncer called through the opening.
I shot a glance at Patti and found her gaze riveted to the door and her hands fisted as if preparing to join the fray.
Suddenly the door banged open and a redheaded man in a black leather vest and matching pants growled, “Get out of the way.” We jumped back as he swung toward Vince and raised his arm high like a bear ready to maul.
“Whoa there, Cochise,” Vince said, jumping back before the other man could make contact. After a tense moment and a glare at the three of us, the man in black stomped off toward the bar.
Patti’s brow furrowed. “Who was—?”
Another man, this one in a white hat and a matching, muscle-hugging tee, lunged through the door. He looked every bit the country-music star. Wavy chestnut hair that curled softly along his neck and around his ears. Incandescent blue eyes. A stance both strong and laid back like he was born to embrace the guitar and sing songs of love to adoring women everywhere. No wonder Patti wanted to give him a second chance. Or third or fourth.
He stopped short at the sight of us, but his hostile gaze pursued the other man as he disappeared into the crowd.
“Can’t y’all read?” He slapped his hand on the door, ripping the sign so that it hung precariously from one corner. “I’m not signing T-shirts or cowboy hats or bandannas—nothing. Not until after the show, so beat it.”
“Jeff?” My friend swallowed and pasted on a bright smile, which looked a little funny, as her everyday expression was something between solemn and funereal.
His transformation was awe-inspiring. First, the deep furrows across his forehead changed into solid lines; then his hard, down-turned mouth relaxed; and finally the bite and brawl in his eyes cleared into something bright and shiny. “I thought you’d decided to wait until after the show.” He smiled at my friend as if she were the best dark lager, tastiest apple pie, and smokiest beef brisket all rolled into one.
I hoped that look was genuine because Patti deserved someone who truly cared for her. She’d seen enough hurt in the past few years to last until she was gray. But my stomach filled with dread, signaling a warning that he wasn’t to be trusted.
Ignoring my nauseous reaction, I turned my attention to the room behind him. “Everything okay in there?” I nodded toward the dressing room. I didn’t care if he was country singer Jeff Clark or the governor of Texas. He would pay for any damage caused by their testosterone-laden tussle.
His smile dimmed for a brief moment, and I caught the calculation behind his charm. Dang it. I didn’t want my gut reaction toward him to be correct.
“Jeff, this is my good friend Josie Callahan.” Patti placed her hand on his arm. “Her family owns this place.”
His expression morphed into one of delight. “What a pleasure, ma’am. Can’t tell you how great it is to be playing Two Boots after all these years on the Texas circuit.”
I couldn’t help but notice that he hadn’t answered my question about the state of the dressing room.
“Watch out,” the Two Boots bouncer interjected. “Next thing you know the sun’ll melt your cell phone right through your windshield.”
We chuckled. “This is Vince,” I said. “He keeps things from getting too rowdy around here.”
With a nod, Jeff shook his hand. “Howdy.”
“Head doorman and bouncer,” Vince added. Both men’s biceps bulged as the handshake turned into a test of their virility.
Jeff grinned as he disengaged from Vince’s strong grip. “I’ll be sure to keep that in mind if I find someone in need of bouncing.” His eyes locked with Patti’s until his gaze lowered briefly, caressing her body from the butterfly tattoo at her ear to the black combat boots on her feet.
From the look on Patti’s face, I could see she’d cast caution to the wind.
I gave myself a mental shake and let go of my worries. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt, if only for the sake of my friend’s happiness. After all, I was jaded from my own disastrous relationship. The truth: my BS meter was kaput.
A young man wearing a Jeff Clark Summer Tour tee and tattered jeans hurried over from the direction of the kitchen. “Jeff, where you been?” He ignored the rest of us. “Less than five minutes, man.”
“Right.” Jeff transformed from lover to businessman in the flutter of an eyelash. “See you soon, sugar.” He kissed Patti’s cheek and whispered something that made her blue eyes dance.
“Three minutes.” The roadie shifted back and forth on the balls of his feet.
Jeff managed to grace each of us with his oh so sincere smile. “Enjoy the show,” he said, and hurried off already in earnest conversation with his roadie.
We maneuvered our way back to our table, but after fifteen minutes there was still no sign of the charming Jeff or his band onstage. “I hope my eardrums are still intact after this,” I said, as we waited at our table.
Ty Honeycutt and his band of local musicians were currently playing his boot-stomping, electric-guitar-wailing blend of country rock for a standing-room-only crowd. Though they’d greeted his opening number with enthusiastic applause and his guitar solos with cheers, it was obvious by the disappointed sighs at the beginning of each subsequent song he wasn’t whom the crowd had paid to see. I hoped he didn’t notice the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm for his music.
“Is this a sellout?” Patti made a sweeping gesture. “And is it legal?” With a glance of dismay, she drank a healthy swig of beer.
“It’s an answer to Uncle Eddie’s prayers.” We needed the additional revenue to cover the night’s elevated expenses.
“Huh.” She shook her head at my conservative turn of phrase. “You better pray no one has the fire marshal on speed dial.”
I lifted my cider. “Here’s to paying our debts, expanding our business, and more tourists than we can shake a stick at.”
Her pinched lips relaxed and broke into a grin. “Amen, sister.”
Due to the success of our Wild Wild West Festival and the popularity of the late Dixie Honeycutt’s jewelry designs, Broken Boot was now a slightly bigger blip on the radar. Tourists not only passed through town on their way to Big Bend National Park; they also stopped for lunch and, more and more, stayed the night at the Cogburn Hotel and the Rifleman RV Park.
Nearly giddy with the chance to finally make money and pay his bills, Uncle Eddie searched until he found an up-and-comer for the Homestead Days Music Festival that would draw a bigger crowd. That man was Jeff Clark.
“Good night, Broken Boot,” Ty yelled from the stage with a whoop and a screech of his electric guitar. The crowd applauded with more enthusiasm now that the main event was finally within their sights.
Suddenly Jeff Clark and his band stormed the stage to whoops, hollers, and thunderous applause. From the audience, the singer looked handsome and dangerous. Tattoos decorated his well-formed biceps, trailing down to his wrists. Funny, I hadn’t noticed those earlier. Had he donned tattoo sleeves? With a whiskey-smooth baritone he greeted the crowd, earning another round of enthusiastic cheers.
I joined in, cheering and applauding like a true believer. I pushed aside my own disappointments and clung to hope. As he began his set, he made eye contact with the front row of fans, mostly women, and tipped his hat. They screamed in response like a crowd of eighth-grade girls at a boy-band concert. If anyone else besides my fiercely intelligent friend had decided to make a play for this country girl’s fantasy, I’d have chalked it up to temporary insanity and told them to get back on their medication. I sighed. This wasn’t about me. It was about Patti finding happiness.
I caught her watching him with laser-beam intensity, the corners of her mouth lifted in a huge smile of anticipation.
And, sure enough, within seconds, the sexy musician’s gaze abandoned the front row of adoring fans to lock eyes with Patti. Again, he tipped his hat and widened his million-dollar smile. Heads turned to find the recipient of his attention, but none landed on my companion. It was too hard for them to believe he had eyes for a Goth princess.
“Looks like he’s making his move.”
“You bet your sweet Aunt Fanny he is.” She swigged the final sip of her beer, slammed the glass to the table, and wiped her mouth with her thumb.
From the stage, Clark gave Patti a come-hither wave of his hand, and the ladies in the crowd went wild as if his invitation was meant for them.
Goth Girl jumped from her stool. “Here goes nothing.”
“Be careful,” I hollered as she headed toward the stage and disappeared into the crowd.

About the Author

Rebecca Adler grew up on the sugar beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. Drawn to the Big Apple by the sweet smell of wishful thinking, she studied acting on Broadway until a dark-eyed cowboy flung her over his saddle and hightailed it to the Southwest.
Prior to writing women’s fiction, Gina always found a way to add a touch of the dramatic to her life: dinner theatre in Mississippi, can-can club in Florida, and playing a giant Furskin in the New York Toy Fair, plus the occasional play and musical.
She’s currently content to pour her melodramatic tendencies into writing her Taste of Texas culinary mystery series. Set in far West Texas, her humorous stories are filled with delicious suspense and scrumptious Tex-Mex recipes. Her alter ego, Gina Lee Nelson, writes sweet contemporary romances with a sweet, Southern-fried flavor.

Author Links

Twitter: @CozyTxMysteries

Purchase Links

Amazon   Barnes and Noble
KOBO      Apple

My Review

The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole is the second book in the A Taste of Texas Mystery series by Rebecca Adler. This is the first book by Rebecca Adler that I have read. It can be read as a standalone novel.

 Josie is a waitress at her Uncle Eddie and Aunt Linda’s Tex-Mex restaurant in Broken Boot, Texas. An ex-boyfriend of Josie's friend Patti is found dead, face-down in guacamole. Patti is the main suspect so Josie needs to help out to solve this mystery.

The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole is well written. The story is fast paced and is a good mystery. The characters are well written. Food, family and friends is how I would describe this book. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Tex-Mex recipes are included.