Bad Axe County

Bad Axe County
Bad Axe County by John Galligan

A secret rose

A secret rose
A Secret Rose by Kirsty Ferry

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Bad Axe County by John Galligan- Feature and Review


Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.



Bad Axe County: A NovelBad Axe County: A Novel by John Galligan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bad Axe County by John Galligan is a 2019 Atria Books publication.

A gritty, atmospheric crime story-

This is an ambitious mystery thriller which profiles the rural Wisconsin terrain as much as it does the characters, becoming an intricate part of the plot.

Heidi Kick was a small -town beauty queen when her life took a tragic turn. Her parents allegedly died as a result of a murder-suicide pact. Despite their financial downturn, which was believed to be the motive, Heidi never bought into that theory.

Now, after the local sheriff’s sudden demise, Heidi becomes interim sheriff. This doesn’t set well with the local good ole boys in the community at all. But Heidi is not totally without a support system, with one or two allies in the department helping her make logical decisions.

She does have to balance a marriage, and small children, along with her demanding, pressure -filled job. She’s holding her own, until an unexpected storm in the area triggers a series of events, revealing the dark, lurid underbelly of Bad Axe County.

Suddenly, the inexperienced, but determined sheriff is neck deep in corruption, human trafficking, sleazy private parties hosting underage girls, and a strange burglary. The deeper she scratches beneath the surface, troubling implications hit a little too close to home. Dark forces are working against Heidi, thwarting her at every turn. While working around the clock to locate a missing girl, Heidi fervently hopes to finally discover the truth about her parents.

I won’t lie- what initially caused me to give this book a closer look was the atmospheric cover art. The premise sounded intriguing enough, with the promise of a strong female lead, so I decided to take a chance on it.

However, I also must admit, in all honesty, the story wasn't quite what I was expecting. Although Heidi refuses to accept the official cause of death in her parent’s case, her obsession with uncovering the truth runs more in the background. More in the forefront, is Heidi’s ‘race against the clock’ mission to locate a missing girl without making any critical missteps.

The story starts off on an odd, unexpected note, emphasizing the character's quirks, as they pertain to the rural setting. The banter is light and good-natured, but the atmosphere suddenly shifts turning super dark, edgy, and suspenseful, with a no holds barred tendency towards violence. I immediately sensed it was time to fasten my seatbelt and hold on for dear life.

Unfortunately, there are several threads running at once, along with a large cast of characters, which, as I’ve stated countless times, rarely works out for me. Sure enough, I struggled to keep everything straight. I had to slow my reading down to a crawl and do a little re-reading on a few occasions, to be sure I was keeping everything and everyone straight. I can’t say I was a big fan of the execution, or the uneven flow, but at the end of the day, despite its messiness, all the threads eventually come together, and the book ends on a high note. So, as they say, a win is still a win, even if it’s an ugly one.

The conclusion is gratifying, especially since Heidi Kick lives to fight another day. I liked Heidi’s character, as well as her sidekick, Denise. Those two made a great team. I wouldn’t mind stopping by Bad Axe County again someday. I think this rural, deceptively bucolic area of Wisconsin still has many secrets, and the feisty Heidi Kick knows just how to unravel them.



John Galligan,in addition to being a novelist and teacher, John has worked as a newspaper journalist, feature-film screenwriter, house painter, au pair, ESL teacher, cab driver, and freezer boy in a salmon cannery. He currently teaches writing at Madison Area Technical College, where his experience is enriched by students from every corner of the local and world community.

Monday, July 15, 2019

MANGA MONDAY- A Bride for Glenmore by Sarah Morgan and Haruhi Sakura- Feature and Review


Kyla MacNeil is a nurse on the small and pleasant island of Glenmore. When her brother, Logan, a doctor, decides he needs some help for the season, Ethan Walker takes the job, moving to the small island from the big city. His arrival brings some much-needed help to the tiny island, but it also brings its fair share of problems. Ethan seems to hold everyone at arm’s length, but when he meets Luke’s infant daughter, he’s taken aback. Luke’s a recent widower, but Ethan seems to know more about his late wife than he ought to. Can Kyla find out Ethan’s secret before storms and sins break the two apart?


A Bride for GlenmoreA Bride for Glenmore by Haruhi Sakura
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Bride for Glenmore by Sarah Morgan and Haruhi Sakura (Illustrator) is a 2018 Harlequin/ SB Creative publication.

I read the original Harlequin Medical release of this book not all that long ago. I really like Sarah Morgan and am pleased with the direction her career has taken. It’s so fun to watch an author’s blossom. It is also fun to see one of Sarah’s books released as a Manga.

The story is centered around the small community of Glenmore and the medical dramas they encounter, ranging from minor incidents to serious issues. Dr. Logan MacNeil has decided he needs a little additional help during the summer months.

Dr. Ethan Walker is hired and Logan’s sister, Kyla, a nurse, helps the new doctor familiarize himself with the clinic. At first Ethan’s big city attitude is annoying, but the more time he spends with Kyla, the closer they become. However, Ethan his harboring an explosive secret, one that could change the way Kyla feels about him. Not only that, their budding romance can’t deepen into anything too serious because Ethan has no plans to stick around Glenmore Island once the summer is over.

This is a wonderful medical romance with a very surprising twist I never saw coming, when I read the original story this Manga is based on.

Now, however, since I already knew what the big secret was, the fun was in seeing the story come to life through the fabulous artwork. The illustrator captured the characters and the scenery quite well.



USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes romance and contemporary women's fiction and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn't reading or writing she loves being outdoors. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney- Feature and Review


Bribed by Kyle, his twin brother, Dominic Renbourne agrees to take his twin's place for a few weeks at Warfield Manor, where he is to pay court to Lady Meriel Grahame, the orphaned heiress Kyle intends to marry. The last thing Dominic expects is to be entranced by a silent sprite whose ethereal beauty is as intoxicating as the flowers and trees that surround her. 

For much of her life Meriel has lived outside normal society, finding joy and peace in her garden, safe from the nightmare that nearly destroyed her as a child. She is content with solitude until the handsome intruder begins to inspire dreams of life beyond her sanctuary. Despite his longing, Dominic's sense of duty keeps him away from his brother's future bride, but Meriel's untamed spirit proves more powerful than Dominic can resist . . .



The Wild Child (The Bride Trilogy, #1)The Wild Child by Mary Jo Putney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This may be one of the most imaginative historical romances I've ever read.

Kyle and Dominic are twins, but Kylebeing the firstborn is the official heir. The boys were close as children, but then their parents made a choice that caused a rift that never closed.

But, Kyle now needs his brother to help him with a very delicate matter. Kyle has to see to some very painful and personal affairs, but he is supposed to meet and get to know his intended bride. So, he enlisted Dominic to woo the fiance' in his place. He knew Dominic wouldn't help him unless he made him an offer he couldn't refuse, which in the case, was an estate Dominic could call his own.

So, Dominic agrees to pretend to be Kyle for a few weeks.

Meriel experienced a traumatic event when she was a child. Both her parents were killed in a raid. She was shuffled around until someone finally contacted her next of kin. Meriel never spoke another word after she was returned to her uncles. So, it was assumed she was "mad". Meriel ran wild on her estate. She was either in her garden, or her tree house, or running around loose, with no rules or school or any of society's strict expectations of a young heiress. The match with Kyle had been decided over 20 years ago, between families. It was hoped that marriage would bring Meriel out of her shell and she would become more normal.

It took Dominic a little while to convince Meriel to spend time with him. But, once they became better acquainted,  Meriel responded to him. Dominic was so enchanted with her, he knew he had to leave the estate or he would betray his brother in the worst way.

However, one of  Meriel's uncles kept her out of an asylum while the other one wanted her committed. When the "good" uncle became ill, and the "bad" uncle learned of the plot to marry Meriel off, he came after her to stop the marriage.

The story was quite interesting. I found myself stopping throughout the day and reading a chapter or two. I couldn't wait to see what would happen between the two brothers, and the two uncles, and with Meriel.

My heart ached for Kyle. I really did feel sorry for him. But, I also knew that he wouldn't have been good for Meriel. Dominic had also suffered great pain during his time in the army, and could relate to Meriel's pain. There were some really funny moments when Muriel, who knew a great deal more than she let on, acted on impulse, and times when she was very clever. (She wanted Dominic, and found a rather inventive way to loosen his inhibitions) She was a very bad girl sometimes.

Her methods were controversial and might raise a few eyebrows. But, this is an older historical romance, which often pushed the envelope a bit too far.

It was refreshing to have a female that appeared fragile,  but was really strong,  and knew her mind. She was at the mercy of so many people with their own agendas, but she rose to the occasion even when she didn't want to.

I also liked that there were so many people who truly cared for Meriel, and really liked her even though she didn't follow convention. That is truly a sign of real friendship and love when people love you just the way you are.

The ending of the book was bittersweet. Meriel will finally be able to put her demons behind her. But, Kyle's story, still left me feeling sad. I know that his story is explored in the next book in this trilogy and I am looking forward to seeing him have his HEA.



Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. After earning degrees in English Literature and Industrial Design at Syracuse University, she did various forms of design work in California and England before inertia took over in Baltimore, Maryland, where she has lived very comfortably ever since.

While becoming a novelist was her ultimate fantasy, it never occurred to her that writing was an achievable goal until she acquired a computer for other purposes. When the realization hit that a computer was the ultimate writing tool, she charged merrily into her first book with an ignorance that illustrates the adage that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. 

Fortune sometimes favors the foolish and her first book sold quickly, thereby changing her life forever, in most ways for the better. (“But why didn't anyone tell me that writing would change the way one reads?”) Like a lemming over a cliff, she gave up her freelance graphic design business to become a full-time writer as soon as possible.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Secret Rose by Kirsty Ferry - Feature and Review


A fabulous new story from Kirsty Ferry set in Cornwall. Perfect summer reading! 
“Wherever you go, I will follow” 
Merryn Burton is excited to travel down to Cornwall to start her first big job for the London art dealers she works for. But as soon as she arrives at Pencradoc, a beautiful old mansion, she realises this will be no ordinary commission. 

Not only is Pencradoc filled with fascinating, and possibly valuable artwork, it is also owned by the Penhaligon brothers – and Merryn’s instant connection with Kit Penhaligon could be another reason why her trip suddenly becomes a whole lot more interesting. 

But the longer Merryn stays at Pencradoc the more obvious it is that the house has a secret, and a long-forgotten Rose might just hold the key 



A Secret RoseA Secret Rose by Kirsty Ferry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Secret Rose by Kirsty Ferry is a 2019 Choc Lit publication.

A tense Gothic mystery!

I’ve been raving about this lovely cover, which caught my eye immediately! But, once I had committed myself to reading this book, I was curious about what was behind all that gorgeous artwork.

Kirsty Ferry has quickly become one of my favorite time slip romance authors. While the mysteries in her previous books have been suspenseful, revealing long buried secrets from the past, bring peace to those in the present, this book has a more sinister quality to it. There is a real and constant feeling of unease and danger from the past which threatens those in the present. In fact, as I was reading this book, it reminded me of the Gothic romance and mystery novels that were all the rage in the 1970s.

Cornwall is, as everyone knows, the perfect backdrop for a good Gothic tale. When Merryn Burton arrives at Pencradoc Mansion, she is upbeat and ready to uncover some valuable works of art.

After meeting the Penhaligon brothers- Kit and Coren, the trio stumbles across the portrait of Rose, the first Duchess of Trecarrow, who was thought to be quite mad.

After the discovery, something odd begins to happen, as Coren and Kit begin channeling Ellory and Jago Penhaligon, brothers from the 1880s, once caught in a bitter love triangle involving Rose.

While Coren becomes surly and rude, Merryn finds herself drawn to Kit as they work to unlock the secrets of the past.

However, as ghostly appearances become bolder and more insistent, the couple may find themselves in grave danger as it appears the past may be about to repeat itself.

I loved this story from start to finish. I loved the dual timeline, of course, but the Cornwall setting, the old mansion, the strong paranormal elements, the old murder mystery, and the present- day tension is a potent combination.

The characterizations are strong, and the plot is both mesmerizing and atmospheric. I was completely caught up in the stories from both time periods, as they slowly merged, finally bringing long overdue peace for those trapped in the past, and much needed answers and closure for those in the present. The two love stories are sweet, and the ending couldn’t have been better.

This book was a labor of love for the author. We have a few things in common with our love of Victoria Holt and this book proves to be a wonderful tribute to Holt’s style of storytelling. But I must say, Ferry’s own writing, and modern spin on the traditional Gothic mystery and romance novel is outstanding, and stands on its own merits.



Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale 'Enchantment'.

Her timeslip novel, 'Some Veil Did Fall', a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit timeslip, 'The Girl in the Painting' in February 2016. The experience of signing 'Some Veil Did Fall' in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!

Kirsty's first timeslip novel 'The Memory of Snow' is set on Hadrian's Wall, not far from where she lives and her second novel, the vampire tale 'Refuge' is set on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which lies just off the beautiful Northumberland coast.

'The Memory of Snow' was also commended in the Northern Writer's Awards, shortlisted to the top five of Wyvern Publication's novel competition in 2011 and longlisted in the Red Telephone Novel Competition in 2012. 

Kirsty has also put together a collection of short stories entitled 'Turn on a Sixpence' and a non-fiction collection of articles entitled 'History and Mystery - Northern Hauntings Explored'. 

'Skellig' author David Almond has given Kirsty excellent feedback on her work and she recently attended a Crossover Fiction workshop with David, facilitated by the Royal Society of Literature. 

Kirsty has also had articles and short stories published in Peoples Friend, Ghost Voices, The Weekly News, It's Fate, Vintage Script, and Wyvern Magazine. Her short stories also appear in Wyvern Publications 'Mertales' and 'Fangtales anthologies, Whitby Abbey's 'Pure Inspiration' anthology and Bridge House Publishing's anthologies 'Devils, Demons and Werewolves', 'Crime after Crime' and 'Voices of Angels', along with 'The Best of CafeLit 2011'. All of these books are available on Amazon. 

Kirsty was a judge in the Paws 'n' Claws 'Wild and Free' Children's Story competition in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

You can find out more about Kirsty and her work at, catch her on her Facebook AuthorPage or follow her on Twitter @kirsty_ferry.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray- Feature and Review


The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.



The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry GirlsThe Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray is a 2019 Berkley publication.

Even healthy and happy families are complicated and complex. This is especially true with mother and daughter relationships, and the connections between sisters. In this novel, Gray examines the darker aspects of the relationship between three sisters as they struggle to make peace with a turbulent past.

The reader must watch as they slowly, and often painfully, accept a new set of equally challenging circumstances, and learn to cope with personal demons, while trying to do what is best for the next generation.

Althea helped to raise her younger siblings, often taking the brunt of their abusive father’s righteous wrath. Now, as adults, Althea and her husband, Procter, are facing prison time, which means their twin daughters, Kim and Baby Vi, are staying with Althea’s sister, Lillian.

Lillian, a widow, who is already taking care of her aging former mother-in-law, is at a loss about how to deal Kim’s problems. Lillian is haunted by her own experience with abuse, while Viola, on a break from her long-term girlfriend, is struggling to keep her eating disorder at bay.

This novel is a poignant, yet powerful debut novel. The story alternates between the first- person narrative of the three sisters, as they each share their own journey from the past to the present.

This technique is especially effective here, as the reader can see the same set of events from different perspectives. Each sister endured a traumatic childhood, and is coping in her own individual way, while harboring unique memories, fears, and resentments.

However, Lillian and Viola rise to the occasion when they become responsible for their nieces, while Althea must take responsibility for her actions, and accept the reality of her own proclivities and shortcomings.

The future offers hope, as they all begin the journey towards forgiveness, acceptance, and healing, not only as individuals, but as strong women, mothers, daughters, sisters and family.

Even though the story lags in a few spots, it is realistic, raw, and unflinchingly emotional, but above all, hopeful. I know I will think of these characters often and wish them well.

A very solid and personal debut novel!



Anissa Gray was born and raised in western Michigan, where her father pastored a Pentecostal church and her mother was a homemaker. She graduated from Western Michigan University and received her Masters in English from New York University. After graduate school, Anissa went on to work as a print reporter at Reuters in Manhattan, covering global financial news. That was followed by a move to Atlanta and the initiation of her career in broadcast journalism at CNN, where she has held roles as writer, editor, and producer, receiving Emmy and duPont awards for contributions to the network’s coverage of major stories.

After more than 20 years as a journalist, Anissa, a lifelong book lover and voracious reader, pursued fiction writing, applying her love of storytelling from the realm of real-life, newsworthy happenings to the events and encounters that shape our lives. Her first novel, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, will be published in 2019.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick- Feature and Review


When Jocelyn Hillier is named legal guardian for the late Mr. Allardyce's pack of pedigreed Labrador retrievers, her world is flipped upside down. She's spent her entire life toiling in the tourism industry in Black Dog Bay and never expected to be living the pampered life of a seasonal resident in an ocean side mansion, complete with a generous stipend. But her new role isn't without its challenges: The dogs (although lovable) are more high-maintenance than any Hollywood diva, the man she wants to marry breaks her heart, and she's confronted at every turn by her late benefactor's estranged son, Liam, who thinks he's entitled to the inheritance left to the dogs.

Jocelyn has worked too hard to back down without a fight, and she's determined to keep her new fur family together. As she strives to uphold the "Best in Show" standards her pack requires, Jocelyn finds love, family, and forgiveness in the most unexpected places.



In Dog We Trust (Black Dog Bay #5)In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick is a 2019 Berkley publication.

The tourist season is beginning in Black Dog Bay. The wealthy who ‘summer’ here are filtering in, which means Jocelyn Hillier, who runs a laundry service for the tourists is busy, especially now that her mother is recovering from surgery.

But, it’s Jocelyn’s other job as a dog walker and sitter for Mr. Allardyce which unexpectedly turns her life upside down.

When Mr. Allardyce suddenly dies, he leaves his fortune to his dogs, and names Jocelyn as their guardian, propelling her into a life of ease. But Mr. Allardyce’ estranged son, Liam, has decided to contest the will. However, he never counted on Jocelyn’s determination to honor Mr. Allardyce’s will or her will to fight for a new way of life.

If things weren’t complicated enough, Jocelyn and Liam discover that although they are legal adversaries, they happen to like one another- a lot!!

This is a sweet, light, and mildly fluffy story about family, class distinctions, and compromise. There is heartbreak along the way, but ultimately this is a book that will lift your spirits and leave you feeling upbeat, which is something we could all use a lot more of. The romance is sweet, with only a mild angst, despite the circumstances. Also, there are dogs- and who doesn’t love a story that features dogs?

Jocelyn is a terrific character, and I cheered for her from start to finish. The supporting cast is outstanding, each pulling their share of the load, and adding something special or important to the story.

When I close a book with a big goofy grin on my face, I owe the author a debt of gratitude for cheering me up and sending me a few much- needed positive vibes. Some will scoff and claim it is not realistic, but lets look at it a little closer-

The feel -good ending here didn’t just magically work out on its own. The characters each had to concede something or contribute something. They all had to consider the viewpoint of others involved, which requires work, patience, and maturity. Things don’t always turn out like we hope they will in life, but when people work together the results are often better than one could have thought possible.

I’d say it paid off nicely for them. Their example is one we could all learn from. The message is just as important as those presented with a heavier tone or in a more dramatic way. So, to say it isn't possible for people to settle disputes, or conflict in a civil manner, or that love doesn't factor in it, sells us all short, in my opinion.

You may notice this is a part of a series, but this book can be read as a stand-alone. However, I think it would be fun to read the previous installments and of course I will be sure to catch any future chapters in this series, especially since Black Dog Bay is the best place to recover from a heartbreak. You may arrive with a frown, but you’ll leave with a smile- and that’s good enough for me!



This is the part where I’m supposed to brag about all my illustrious accomplishments, but honestly, I’d rather talk about my dogs and brag about some of the things I haven’t done:

I’ve never been to prison*, court-ordered rehab*, or splashed across the cover of a salacious weekly gossip tabloid with my ladybits on display**.

I’m a Leo, a middle child, and a formidable Trivial Pursuit opponent. I read everything I can get my hands on, from the classics to comic books. I don’t drink coffee because, frankly, I’m high strung enough without adding caffeine into the mix. Here is the true story of how I became a novelist:

So I had just started seeing this guy, and on our second or third date, he invited me to be his guest at a family wedding. Being young and free and a bit commitment-shy, I was about to decline until he casually mentioned that the bride was a successful romance novelist. Well, the second I heard that, I had to go. Being a writer had always been my dream job, and I’d never met anyone who’d actually beaten the odds and made the leap into big-time publishing. So I RSVP-ed, sidled up to the bar at the reception, waited until the bride and all her author friends uncorked the good champagne, and then peppered them with endless questions about writing, editing, and landing an agent. They were so funny and encouraging and generous with their time and advice. (And drunk!) Next thing you know, I had joined a critique group and was knee-deep in the manuscript that would eventually become MY FAVORITE MISTAKE. The open bar at that wedding changed my life forever.

Oh, and the guy who invited me to the wedding? I ended up marrying him. All together: awww

I live in Arizona in a very cute fixer-upper that my husband and I bought in a burst of can-do, pioneering confidence. We thought it would be fun to embark on a series of do-it-yourself renovations. Yeah. I know. Turns out, replacing baseboard that’s been painted over 15 times since 1958 is not as easy as those Home Depot commercials would lead you to believe. Also, freshly-installed lawn drip systems and “helpful” dogs are a bad mix.

Friday and RoxieSpeaking of dogs, here we have the indefatigable canine lawn maintenance crew: Roxie and Friday. Both were rescued from the pound when they were puppies. I think they’re Rhodesian Ridgeback mixes. (Probably. Maybe? Anything’s possible.) Roxie is the brains of the operation and Friday iswell, he’s very sweet. And so indolent he could be mistaken for a piece of furniture, which I consider a very desirable trait in a family dog.

I absolutely love hearing from readers, so please feel free to email me, with the caveat that I am often on deadline/on the road/on the ragged edge of sanity, so it may be awhile before you get a reply. Just know that it’s not you; it’s me!

Have fun exploring the site, and if you have any questions about my new book, my backlist, or finding an agentI’ll be right over there at the bar.


**That I know of.

Monday, July 8, 2019

MANGA MONDAY- Rachel Rising Vol. 1 by Terry Moore- Feature and Review


Rachel wakes up in a shallow grave. Horrified, she digs her way out and goes looking for her killer in the little town of Manson. What she finds is a trail of death following her and more than one blood-chilling suspect. Rachel Rising will haunt you for life... and death. Collects issues #1-6.


Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of DeathRachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death by Terry Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rachel Rising Vol. 1- The Shadow of Death by Terry Moore is a 2012 publication.

This series is going to be awesome!

This series in available with 'comiXology' unlimited, so I decided to check out the first volume going in completely blind.

Rachel wakes up in a shallow grave, realizing someone had tried to kill her. Clawing her way out, she goes in search of a killer.

Part mystery, part supernatural horror, this black and white comic hooked me immediately. I loved dark, macabre atmosphere, the humor, and the depth of the story, which had an almost hypnotic effect on me.

The supernatural investigation kept me reader guessing, wondering about witches and the un-dead. The philosophical discussions about life and death are absorbing adding another layer to the story.

Unlike nearly everyone else who read graphic novels, I have not read any of Terry Moore’s other series. I must say, this is most excited I’ve been about a graphic novel series, since I began taste testing them a few months back.

This story is very creepy, with the artwork carrying the bulk of the load, magnifying the feeling of unease and suspense beautifully. I’m hooked!

On to Volume two!



Following the examples of independent comic creators such as Dave Sim and Jeff Smith, he decided to publish Strangers in Paradise himself through his own Houston-based "Abstract Studios" imprint, and has frequently mentioned a desire to do a syndicated cartoon strip in the authors notes at the back of the Strangers in Paradise collection books. He has also mentioned his greatest career influence is Peanuts' Charles Schulz.[1] Some of Moore's strip work can additionally be found in his Paradise, Too! publications.

His work has won him recognition in the comics industry, including receiving the Eisner Award for Best Serialized Story in 1996 for Strangers in Paradise #1-8, which was collected in the trade paperback "I Dream of You".

Friday, July 5, 2019

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Bump in the Night- Colin Watson- Feature and Review


Tuesday nights have suddenly turned quite ridiculously noisy in the country town of Chalmsbury, where the good folk are outraged at having their rest disturbed.
It begins with a drinking fountain being blown to smithereens – next the statue of a local worthy loses his head, and the following week a giant glass eye is exploded. Despite the soft-soled sleuthing of cub reporter Len Leaper, the crime spate grows alarming.
Sheer vandalism is bad enough, but when a life is lost the amiable Inspector Purbright, called in from nearby Flaxborough to assist in enquiries, finds he must delve deep into the seamier side of this quiet town’s goings on.
Witty and a little wicked, Colin Watson’s tales offer a mordantly entertaining cast of characters and laugh-out-loud wordplay.



Bump in the Night (A Flaxborough Mystery Book 2)Bump in the Night by Colin Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bump in the Night by Colin Watson is a 2018 Farrago publication. (First published in 1960)

The Flaxborough Chronicles by Colin Watson is a mystery series, which began in 1958 and ran through the mid-1980s. Farrago has reissued the series in digital format and has given the covers a new and improved look.

I had never heard of this author or series until I discovered them on Netgalley a while back. What a terrific find!

In this second installment, the country town of Chalmsbury is experiencing a spate of explosions, decimating objects like a statues and park fountains. It could be a the handiwork of a prankster, but then the pranks turn deadly.

The characters in this procedural, which might also appeal to cozy mystery fans, are so quirky and the dialogue is often hilarious. The story is so absorbing, with a unique plot, which is packed with some very interesting details, as the underbelly of the quaint country town is exposed. It is obvious the author put a lot of thought into the story. While this is a short book it packs a nice punch and is wildly entertaining.

I am so thrilled Farrago has reissued these books. The series and this author are underrated, in my opinion. I’d love to see the books get a little overdue recognition.



Colin Watson was educated at the Whitgift School in South Croydon, London. During his career as a journalist, he worked in London and Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he was a leader-writer for Kemsley Newspapers.

His book Hopjoy Was Here (1962) received the Silver Dagger Award. He was married, with three children, and lived in Lincolnshire. After retiring from journalism, he designed silver jewelery.

As well as a series of humorous detective novels set in the imaginary town of Flaxborough, featuring Inspector Purbright, Watson also wrote and later revised a study of detective stories and thrillers called Snobbery with Violence.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

More Than Bones by Craig David Singer- Feature and Review


Craig David Singer’s cheeky More Than Bones is a tale of self-discovery filled with quirky comedy and surprising depth. -John M. Murray, Foreword Reviews

Dr. Emily Norton is a recent med school grad starting her surgical residency at a renowned hospital in Baltimore. She's dedicated her life to science and reason--so when she receives a supposedly magical amulet from an eccentric neighbor, she ignores the old man's warning.

Almost immediately, Emily's well-planned world begins to unravel. At first, the problems are minor, like finding herself in trouble with the hospital administration on her first day at work. But soon Emily is dealing with much bigger issues, from losing her job and fiancé to being framed for a patient's suicide.

As Emily struggles to comprehend the amulet's strange effects, she also faces a dilemma about coincidence and fate: none of these disasters could have been caused by a mere amulet, right? Because everyone knows: there's no such thing as magic.

Desperate and confused, Emily will need to use every bit of her reason, love and faith to confront and conquer the cursed amulet--even if it means forsaking everything she's ever believed.

At turns darkly suspenseful and playfully lighthearted, More Than Bones chronicles Emily's mystical journey with humor, empathy, and more than a few surprises.



More Than BonesMore Than Bones by Craig David Singer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More Than Bones by Craig David Singer is a 2019 Twin Rabbits Books publication.

Faith, belief, forgiveness, friendship, and personal growth, with a cherry sized dollop of magic on top!

Dr. Emily Norton arrives in Boston to begin her medical residency with a wide- open future ahead of her. But, when her odd duck neighbor gives her an amulet, along with a word of advice, Emily, who doesn't believe in such nonsense, ignores the amulet and the advice. She soon comes to regret her decision, however, when bad luck becomes her new normal. Her fiancé dumps her, publicly, she is reprimanded on her first day at the hospital, fails to make a good impression with the other doctors, and then seriously offends her roommate, just for starters.

Meanwhile, Emily becomes attached to Rachel, a young mother who has been diagnosed with a deadly form of breast cancer. The two begin to form a bond akin to sisterhood. But, could Emily’s refusal to wear the amulet effect Rachel’s chances for remission?

Okay, I had a few preconceived notions about this book, and they turned out to be way off the mark. While this is not super heavy reading by any means, it was not exactly the light, fluffy material I was expecting.

The story follows Emily as she takes a journey which begins with avoiding anything faith based, to considering the possibilities of having a belief system. She has a few enlightening epiphanies about life, which helps her make peace with the past and prepares her for whatever life may bring in the future.

There are a few comical situations in the book, and the story is filled with eccentric characters, giving it a lighter tone at times, however, just because it has been categorized as magic realism and has a kitty cat on the cover, do not be deceived. The book addresses many heavy topics, such as suicide, cancer, death, and heartbreak and losing one's faith.

Emily tried my patience on several occasions. I initially felt empathy for her after her initial run of bad luck. While she lamented that no one respected her wishes to forego putting her faith in religion or charmed amulets, she didn’t respect others who did have faith in God or anything else.
While she was sympathetic, and followed her heart and conscience, she could also be rude, offensive, cold, and judgmental, chewing people out who may not have deserved her wrath simply because they believed in something she didn't.

The other cast members were hit or miss with me as well. Emily’s roommate was either hot or cold, and entirely too melodramatic. Grown men throwing temper tantrums?

But, then, there was Rachel. Hands down, she is the bright light in this story.

I have a lot of mixed emotions about this book. The story didn’t always flow evenly and one secondary story involving a fellow resident was underdeveloped, and I'm not entirely sure why it was necessary to the story. On the other hand, I was satisfied, for the most part, by Emily’s personal growth. I think we left her in a positive place with room for more improvement, and of course, I was very moved by Rachel’s story and the way she and Emily bonded. Her impact on Emily was enormous and her influence was inspirational for Emily and the reader, as well.

So, I’ve waffled back and forth on my rating for this one. Usually when I can’t decide on a firm rating, I go with a middle of the road score. I'm giving this one an added half star for the record- and for Rachel.

3.5 stars




Craig David Singer is a physician and author living in Baltimore. A graduate of the University of Florida, Dr. Singer is a passionate sports fan, an incurable computer geek, and a music lover who cannot carry a tune despite his last name. He and his husband have traveled all seven continents in search of the perfect martini.

His first novel, More Than Bones, was released in January 2019.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Her Favorite Maverick by Christine Rimmer - Feature and Review


A single mom, her baby girl…

And maverick make three!

Logan Crawford might just be the perfect man. From the top of his Stetson to his pointy-toed boots, he is 100 percent cowboy. A girl would have to be a fool to turn him down. Or a coward.

Sarah Turner thinks she might be both. But the single mom has no time for love and no inclination to be the sexy rancher’s “just for now.” Logan, however, is determined to steal her heart!



Her Favorite MaverickHer Favorite Maverick by Christine Rimmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Her Favorite Maverick by Christine Rimmer is a 2019 Harlequin Special Edition publication.

As the story opens, Liv and Caroline- wedding planners in Rust Creek Falls, Montana- are experiencing a few financial woes. They’ve asked their friend and accountant, Sarah Turner, to have a look at their books.

Just as Sarah is about to deliver the bad news about the state of the ladies’ bank account, Max Crawford all but barges in, announcing he wants Viv and Caroline to find brides for his six sons- and he’s willing to pay them a million dollars for their trouble. While the ladies are flabbergasted by Max’s proposal, their reaction is mild compared to Logan Crawford’s when he overhears his father’s plans.

But, then Logan locks eyes with Sarah, and an instant spark passes between them. However, Sarah is sure that Logan’s interest will cool off immediately once he learns she is a single mom. But, after only a moment of hesitation to digest that bit of news, he never slows down his pursuit.

Sarah is finally making peace with the way her life turned out. Her big city plans fell through, and after two failed relationships, she returned to her hometown, to raise her daughter- alone. She’s sworn off men and dating, probably for good, thank you very much. But the edges of her hard -earned stability are beginning to fray.

Her quiet and stoic parents are acting like hormonal teenagers, and Logan, who has a history of short-term relationships, is determined to worm his way into her heart, breaking down all her defenses. To further complicate matters, Max, who should be over the moon about Logan’s attraction to Sarah, is trying to interfere in the budding romance, but not in a good way.
Can Logan convince Sarah to take a chance on love or will her fears overrule her heart?

This is the first book is a six -part arc in the Montana Mavericks series. I love the ‘six brides for six brothers’ theme, too! This first installment has set the stage for what promises to be a fabulous mini-series.

The main theme in this story is one of trust and overcoming one’s fears. If Logan wasn’t already a super sexy cowboy, his interactions with Sarah’s daughter make him doubly so. His character growth is almost organic. His heart and mind sync up at the same time. He knew Sarah was ‘the one’ because the prospect of spending his life with her makes him feel happy, not scared, like it would have earlier in his life.

Our Sarah, on the other hand, needs to do a little work on herself, first. Although, Logan wasn’t afraid, Sarah had enough fear in her heart for the both of them. Sarah’s ‘ A lonely heart is better than a broken heart’ attitude may cause her to miss out on the great love of her life. But she will have to find the inner strength to fight her fears so she can finally have her much deserved HEA!! Can she do it? Will she do it?

Rounding out the emotional depth in the story is the relationship between Sarah and her parents. The situation explains a lot about why Sarah is the way she is. It’s a sad story, but one with a happy ending.


What is Max’s problem anyway?

If you love contemporary romance featuring complex relationships, cute kitties, adorable kids, and hot cowboys, you will want to get in on the ground floor of this serial subset. If this first installment is any indication, it’s going to be a good one!!



A New York Times and USA-Today bestselling author, Christine Rimmer has written more than 100 contemporary romances for Harlequin Books. A reader favorite, Christine has won Romantic Times BOOKreview's Reviewer's Choice Award for best Silhouette Special Edition. She has been nominated seven times for the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award and five times for Romantic Times Series Storyteller of the Year. Christine lives in Oregon with her family.