Friday, February 27, 2015

Rapture…Ceremony…Vengeance in Death


Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb - Thoughts in ProgressI’m continuing to explore the early cases of Lt. Eve Dallas in author J.D. Robb’s In Death series.

It’s been fun learning how some of the secondary characters came into Eve’s life and the cases she has dealt with. Today I’d like to feature the fourth (RAPTURE IN DEATH), the fifth (CEREMONY IN DEATH) and the sixth (VENGEANCE IN DEATH) installments in this fascinating series.


Narrator Susan Ericksen does an excellent job bringing the characters to life. Her distinct dialect gives each character their own unique voice. Her vocals enhances the tantalizing tale.

Three apparent suicides have seemingly no connection to one another, but Lt. Eve Dallas has a feeling there’s more to these deaths. Each one had given no indication they were upset or depressed prior to their deaths.

Autopsies on the victims reveals small burns on each of their brains. Eve begins to dig into the world of virtual reality to see what could have led to these people dying with a smile on their faces.

Author J.D. Robb makes futuristic New York City come to life through her vivid details and descriptions.

Blending the virtual reality deaths with the musical world of Eve’s closes friend, Mavis, Robb shows Eve’s determined side to protect her friend. Robb also combines the tough cop side of Eve with the newly married side to show her as a bit vulnerable when dealing with her handsome husband, Roarke.

Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb, In Death Book #4, Narrated by Susan Ericksen, Brilliance Audio, @2010, ISBN: 978-1441856951, Unabridged, 8 Discs, Run Time: 9 Hours 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb #5 - Thoughts in ProgressThe various characters come alive through the magic of Susan Ericksen’s narration. Her mannerisms and tone add depth to this intriguing story.

This time around Lt. Eve Dallas finds herself in a tight spot when she is called upon to investigate the actions of a fellow police officer following his sudden death. Before she has a chance to begin her investigation, the officer’s daughter approaches her in fear for her own life. When the daughter is killed a short time later, Eve has her hands full trying to put the pieces together.

The more she digs, the stranger the situation becomes. Then another body is left at Eve’s home making it appear Eve’s life is in danger as she ventures into the world of witches.

The story flows quickly with a number of twists along the way. Author J.D. Robb develops conflict within Eve when she must do her duty while hurting her mentor in the process.

Robb skillfully blends the brutality of murder with hints of humor and romance for a well-balanced story. The characters are likable and continue to evolve with each installment.

Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb, In Death Book #5, Narrated by Susan Ericksen, Brilliance Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1469233697, Unabridged, 9 Discs, Run Time: 10 Hours 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.


Vengeance in Death by J.D. Robb #6 - Thoughts in ProgressNarrator Susan Ericksen does a superb job giving distinct voices to all the characters. Her varied tones and accents enhances the story and adds depth to each character.

A mad man kills and then sends a cryptic riddle to Lt. Eve Dallas to figure out. Eve solves the riddle, but is too late to save the man. When a second victim is found murdered in one of Roarke’s vacant luxury apartments. Eve discovers her husband has ties to the dead men and possible the killer.

In a race against the killer’s time table, Eve and Roarke scramble to keep old allies safe and a dark secret buried.

Author J.D. Robb explores a bit of Roarke and Somerset’s past in this installment. Listeners/readers are given a glimpse at who and what Roarke had been in Ireland. In addition, a new character is introduced – technician Ian McNab – that will eventually become a part of Eve’s inner circle.

The story blends past and present and takes Eve to where Roarke grew up. The action is fast paced and the suspense mounts.

Vengeance in Death by J.D. Robb, In Death Book #6, Narrated by Susan Ericksen, Brilliance Audio, @2012, ISBN: 978-1469233949, Unabridged, 9 Discs, Run Time: 10 Hours 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Listeners/readers can enjoy these books in order or as stand-alone. Each is an intriguing adventure on their own.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope I’ve enticed you to check out these early releases in Robb’s In Death series. BTW, we got about 6.5 inches of snow by the time it was over. That's not suppose to happen in the South people. :)

*This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Flamenco, Flan and Fatalities by Mary McHugh {+ Giveaway}

flamenco flan 
I’m delighted to be participating in the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for author Mary McHugh’s latest release, FLAMENCO, FLAN AND FATALITIES, the second installment in her Happy Hoofers Mystery series.

Here’s some brief information about this delightful mystery and Mary is offering an awesome giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

Flamenco, Flan, and Fatalities (A Happy Hoofers Mystery)
Cozy Mystery  
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington
(February 24, 2015)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617733611 E-Book
ASIN: B00M4ASU8S

 goodreads-badge-add-plus

Synopsis

Murder is nothing to tap at. . .
        The high-kicking Happy Hoofers--Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini--have been booked to flaunt their fabulous flamenco footwork on a luxury train ride through northern Spain. But when a blowhard talk show host is found deader than four-day-old flan--with Gini as suspect numero uno--the feisty friends waste no time stepping into their sleuthing shoes to protect one of their own.
        The dynamite dancers will have to step up their game before a clever killer brings the curtain down on one of them . . . for good!

 Includes Photo Tips And Tasty Recipes

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary McHugh graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, with a B.A. in English Literature and studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. She is the author of nineteen nonfiction books and two novels. She was a contributing editor for Cosmopolitan, an articles editor at Woman’s World, Travel Holiday, and Bridal Guide, and has written articles for The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and Family Circle.

She loves to tap dance and to travel -two passions that inspired her to write the Happy Hoofers series.

She lives in the New York area. For more on Mary and writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook

FLAMENCO, FLAN AND FATALITIES can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, Kobo, and Google Play.

For more on Mary’s tour, visit the following tour participants:

February 22 - Cozy Up With Kathy – Spotlight
February 23 - Back Porchervations – Review
February 23 - Socrates Book Reviews – Review
February 24 - Chloe Gets A Clue – Spotlight
February 24 - LibriAmoriMiei – Review
February 24 - Melina's Book Blog – Review
February 25 - dru's book musings – Booked by author
February 25 - Christa Reads and Writes – Review
February 26 - Thoughts in Progress – Spotlight
February 26 - Griperang's Bookmarks – Spotlight
February 27 - A Chick Who Reads – Review
February 27 - Celticlady's Reviews – Spotlight
February 27 - Lilac Reviews – Review
February 28 - Lisa Ks Book Review – Spotlight
February 28 - The Gal in the Blue Mask – Review
March 1 - Laura's Interests – Review
March 2 - Shelley's Book Case – Review
March 2 - Babs Book Bistro – Review
March 3 - Sapphyria's Book Reviews – Spotlight
March 3 - Community Bookstop – Review
March 4 - Jane Reads – Spotlight
March 4 - Brooke Blogs – Spotlight
March 5 - 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – Spotlight
March 6 - Marie's Cozy Corner – Spotlight
March 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review
March 7 - deal sharing aunt – Spotlight
March 8 – off
March 9 - Queen of All She Reads – Review
March 10 - Michele Lynn Seigfried's blog – Spotlight
March 11 – off
March 12- readalot – Review
March 17 - Reeca's pieces – Spotlight
 
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host? Click Here Find Details and Sign Up Today!
 
flamenco flan    large banner640

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This giveaway is for five print copies of FLAMENCO, FLAN, AND FATALITIES. To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Hope the weather is treating you well. At the time of this posting (around midnight) we had already received over four inches of snow and it was still coming down. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but folks I live in the south and we’re not suppose to have snow. Thanks again and a have wonderful day.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Gifted Realm Series


Within The Realm by Jillian NealI’m delighted today to be participating in the campaign to feature author Jillian Neal’s The Gifted Realm series.

The series features five intriguing books with the sixth slated for release soon. Here’s a brief look at each of the books available in the series.

WITHIN THE REALM (Book 1)

He buried his father seven years earlier. As Rainer Lawson comes of age, he is set to join the ranks of Elite Iodex, the fiercest law enforcement organization in the Gifted Realm. Rainer will not allow his father's assassination to have been in vain. 

Emily Haydenshire has been the love of his life since childhood, and he wants nothing more than to start their life together. Heady desire consumes them both, but this raw sexual need could blind them to the dangers that surround them. 

As they allow their voracious passions to consume them, evil seems to lurk around every darkened corner. The Interfeci criminal organization is desperate to regain power. Iodex is set to use their extraordinary powers to harness and control the energies of the Earth in order to keep the Interfeci at bay. Will Rainer's determination be enough to protect his family and the love of his life Within the Realm?

WITHIN THE REALM can be found at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and All Romance Ebooks.

Lessons Learned (Book 2) by Jillian NealLESSONS LEARNED (Book 2)

One breathtakingly hot, passion-filled, night ignites a fire in his soul. Everything in his world should be nothing short of perfection…but he is Rainer Lawson.

His wild evening with Emily is the Realm’s front-page story. Could he have lost the respect of the man that has been like a father to him? Could his family’s hard-earned fortune really dissolve before his very eyes?

Evil rapidly cinches its chokehold, and everything his father fought and died for threatens to implode. Rainer attempts to protect those that he loves and satisfy the fiery passions between he and Emily, but everything in his world is spinning wildly out of control. His desire to prove himself could very well be his undoing.

Sometimes the best of intentions are not enough, but perhaps it is the trials by fire that make the man. Steel sharpens steel, and passion burns white hot in “Lessons Learned.”

LESSONS LEARNED can be found at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and All Romance Ebooks.

EVERY ACTION (Book 3)
Every Action (Book 3) by Jillian Neal 
        “Mr. Lawson…” the man drawled. His French accent did nothing to cover his sinister tone. “Saw the little show your fiancée put on for you last night at the Tower. She's quite a handful isn't she?”
        “I don't know who the hell you think you are, but if you get anywhere near her, I'll kill you.”
        “Well then, Mr. Lawson, you better hope you find her before I do.”
~~~
If Emily’s father doesn’t win the vicious race for Crown Governor, the Realm falls to the savage clutches of Wretchkinsides. Evil chokes ice cold, but the hot, kindled burn between Rainer and Emily keeps them ablaze.  


A whirlwind trip culminates from DC, to Paris, Boston, to Seattle. The race is on and the stakes are far too high. Ultimately the entire Gifted world awaits their fate. 


Everything that tries to rip them apart, everything that keeps them tightly bound, and everything involved in the ultimate betrayal, teaches Rainer that not Every Action is an option.


EVERY ACTION can be found at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and All Romance Ebooks.

ROCK BOTTOM (Book 4)

Rock Bottom (Book 4) by Jillian NealDan Vindico is the Chief of Elite Iodex, the fiercest, peacekeeping, police force in the Realm. He appears to have been constructed of raw sinew and steel. He’s sought revenge for his fiancée’s murder for the last decade. As he tears apart the men responsible, seemingly without end, he finds himself drowning in the riptide. Amelia’s kidnapper is going to walk free. The knowledge drives Dan to the brink. 

Rainer Lawson, son of the assassinated Crown Governor and the newest officer to earn the Elite rank, can’t seem to do anything more than watch his boss be crushed under the weight. With Emily on another continent, Rainer has already let his guard down for one brief moment and has seen the brutality of the Interfeci. They’ve taken something he can’t ever get back. Can they be stopped? Can they save Vindico from the hellish abyss he seems determined to let consume him? 


Vindico can’t continue on. He’s reached the end. Narrowly escaping certain imprisonment and possible death, his body seems unwilling to fight anymore. While licking his inflicting wounds, in walks his saving grace. He’s hit Rock Bottom. Rainer, Logan, Garrett, and all of his men can’t save him. Perhaps, what he needs are the wings of an Angel. Can he have anything good in his life? Can he have true love again? How can he keep her from ending up like Amelia? Could it ever be worth the risk?


ROCK BOTTOM can be found at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and All Romance Ebooks.

AN ANGEL ALL HIS OWN (Book 5)

An Angel All His Own (Book 5) by Jillian NealShe’s everything Dan Vindico has ever wanted. Fionna Styler embodies every single thing he told himself could never exist inside of one woman. She’s beautiful, smart, funny, powerful, and she’s his… almost. 

No one can know they’re together. The Interfeci would never let her live. It was an inevitability, but Dan simply cannot resist her. 


After a vow to somehow keep her safe, Dan learns what that really entails. Betrayal, scandal, millions of dollars, and watching her in the arms of other men are only the beginning, when danger intrudes into every sanctuary he secures. 


Dan can’t determine if the demons in his soul or the monsters outside are more vicious, but Fionna’s life depends solely on him. That blasted tomb is ever-present in his mind. Can he save the Angel who managed to pull him from the depths of hell, the one he longs to make his own?


AN ANGEL ALL HIS OWN can be found at Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and All Romance Ebooks.

ALL BUT LOST (Book 6) – Coming in March!

Rock Star PR & Literary Consultants logoWith the quick lock of their eyes on one another, the passion ignites. Their bodies speak volumes that can never be shared. As long as Dan Vindico keeps Fionna Styler between him and his bed sheets, she’ll be safe. If anyone finds out about the two of them, she’ll be at the very top of every Interfeci hit list. Keeping anyone from knowing that his world now rises and sets to the rhythms of her body is all that matters. 

The Realm prepares for a long anticipated trial, the birth of the new Crown Governor’s baby, and the wedding of the century. Everything is going according to plan until one night threatens to unravel every precaution and every safeguard Dan has set to keep Fionna safe. If he doesn’t end the Interfeci soon, he’s going to lose everything, including Fionna.

Dominic Wretchkinsides, head of the Interfeci criminal organization, goes several steps too far, and Dan declares war. They meet in a heated battle where the winner takes all and there are no holds barred. Could getting everything he’s wanted for so long cost Dan Vindico everything he already has? Can he keep Fionna safe or will everything he’s worked for be All but Lost? 

ALL BUT LOST can be pre-order at Amazon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jillian Neal is a romance writer with a passion for passion who pens strong, character driven novels, told from the male perspective. Her guys aren’t afraid to let us inside their minds or inside their bedrooms. They’re hot on the trail of a sinister criminal organization when they’re not burning up the bed sheets. 

She’s a self-proclaimed ‘Southern girl with a sassy mouth.’ Her coffee addiction is barely legal, and she’s most often running around with her hair and her pen on fire! She's full of smarts, sass, and sizzle and that's a lot to get into barely five feet of girl with her head always in the clouds.


For more on Jillian and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope I’ve enticed you to check out this tantalizing series. What’s on your reading radar at the moment?

03-TGS-teaser

Monday, February 23, 2015

Author Gerrie Ferris Finger: Writing A Million Fictional Words


Running With Wild Blood by Gerrie Ferris Finger - Thoughts in Progress Feb. 23I’m delighted today to welcome author Gerrie Ferris Finger to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her recent release, RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD, the fifth installment in her Moriah Dru/Richard Lake series.

Gerrie is a Georgia author and a former journalist who writes mysteries thus making her an extra special guest for me. She joins us today to talk about the writing life. Join me in giving Gerrie a warm welcome. Gerrie, welcome and thanks for stopping by. 

“Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.”
--Mark Twain

Moriah Dru, a private investigator specializing in finding children, and her lover, Richard Lake, an Atlanta homicide police lieutenant did not miraculously arrive in the series fully formed. It seems like I wrote a million fictional words before they could be created.

RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD is the 5th in the Dru/Lake series that began with THE END GAME. That novel wonThe End Game by Gerris Ferris Finger the St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic First Traditional Novel Award in 2010.

When I retired from news writing at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and embarked on a career as a novelist, I took so many back roads, I can't count them. I knew the differences between writing novels and newspaper copy. The longer form, whether genre or literary, involves conflict, plot structure, character building, setting, plot and theme. News editors reject all that to crowd as much information into as small a space as possible. 

After reading my first efforts (that were not Dru/Lake) my literary agent told me, "Your prose is too sparse. Your dialogue needs to give me a sense of the air and scenes around who’s talking. Don't tell me they looked shocked; tell me what shocked looks like."

I went overboard. It was like, Oh boy, I got the green light to indulge in the fine art of beautiful language—something I couldn't do as a news writer. So I wrote flashbacks that confused, heavy-handed imagery, too many metaphors, too much repetition and that dreaded of all, the detailed back story. 

The Last Temptation by Gerris Ferris FingerAfter toning down the prose, I listened carefully to what agents and editors were preaching. They are Voice hounds; they hear it in the first pages. I worked on my voice by using the narrative to pace the story. I peopled my work with fewer characters which enhanced the conflicts. THE END GAME was the first novel where I deliberately changed my voice to that of my characters. I heard Dru’s voice in my head before I wrote the first word of her story.

Gerrie, thanks for joining us today and sharing this look at how Dru and Lake came to be. Hearing the voices does make a huge difference. Now here’s a brief synopsis of RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD:
     
   In this 5th in the series, Lake gets a cold case when a witness suddenly gets his memory back. Burdened with cases, Lake recruits Moriah Dru to look into the murder of Juliet Trapp‚ age sixteen when she died‚ and a student at Winters Farm Academy. Juliet Trapp, a wealthy girl who loved adventure, told her mother she was going to Bike Week with Wild Blood‚ an outlaw motorcycle gang‚ over the Christmas break. The Atlanta police were unable to solve Juliet's murder after interviews with the bikers.
       The Devil Laughed by Gerris Ferris Finger Dru interviews Juliet’s addled mother and the witness who had alcoholic amnesia when he saw Juliet in a bar with a biker the night of her murder. A photo run in a news story about her three-year-old murder jogs his fog of memory.

        The case roars into high gear when Juliet's father‚ Sherman Trapp‚ is murdered in Chattanooga where Wild Blood has moved its headquarters. Dru discovers that Trapp was trying to find the killer of his daughter‚ but got too close.

        Dru and Lake join forces with a wary Wild Blood to solve the murders and clear the club—if everyone in it can be cleared of murder.

        There are sub plots in the story: Where is Bunny Raddison, Juliet’s best friend? What role do a few male instructors at Winters Farm Academy play in Juliet’s and Bunny’s tragic lives? Why is Grady, the FBI agent, sticking so close to Dru?
 
Other books in the series:
Murmurs Of Insanity by Gerrie Ferris Finger 
#1 THE END GAME: Two sisters disappear. Dru learns they are bound for the overseas sex slave trade, and someone in their neighborhood has to know how and who.

#2 THE LAST TEMPTATION: The case takes Dru to the California desert where the glitzy characters of Palm Springs have a lot to hide, and bury.

#3 THE DEVIL LAUGHED: The grapes of wine country hold secrets of a past where four people and a sailboat disappeared four years ago.

#4 MURMURS OF INSANITY: Art as murder; murder as art. Dru must learn the path to both.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Retired journalist for The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, in 2009, Gerrie Ferris Finger won The Malice Domestic/St. Martin's Minotaur Best First Traditional Novel Competition for THE END GAME, released by St. Martin's Minotaur in 2010. 

She grew up in Missouri, then headed further south to join the staff of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There, she researched and edited the columns of humorist Lewis Grizzard and co-wrote a news column with another reporter for three years. The series that started there is still going strong today. RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD was released in January 2015.

For more on Gerrie and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

My thoughts on RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD

Author Gerrie Ferris Finger’s characters ring true-to-life with traits readers can relate to. The likable characters are well-developed and their interactions realistic.

The setting involving a biker gang will grab your attention as the twists and turns, with the aid of a few red herrings, holds you spellbound until the end. The story flows smoothly at a good pace with lots of action and interesting dialogue.

The mix of a cold case with murder, bikers and intrigue, flavored with a hint of romance, leads to a well-blended story. New readers to the series won’t be left in the dark as RUNNING WITH WILD BLOOD can be read on its own.

Running With Wild Blood by Gerrie Ferris Finger, A Moriah Dru/Richard Lake Mystery Book #5, Five Star, @2015, ISBN: 978-1432829667, Hardcover, 319 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me as part of the author’s virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Thanks so much for stopping by today during Gerrie’s visit. I hope we’ve enticed you to check out this engaging book and entertaining series. When you hear the words – biker gang – do you automatically think trouble and mayhem?

(**SIDE NOTE: Sorry I’ve been away without warning, but sometimes life just happens. All is well I’ve just been trying to catch up on a few things on the home front while listening to several audio books. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll be back on a regular schedule and be by to visit with everyone. Hope all is well in your world with this crazy weather. Thanks again for stopping by.)

*This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ghosts in the Lighthouse Library? {+ Giveaway}


By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates - Thoughts in Progress Feb. 16A new cozy murder mystery series hit the bookshelves this month and I’m delighted to welcome the author, Eva Gates, here today to talk about this fascinating storyline.

BY BOOK OR BY CROOK is the first installment in Eva’s new Lighthouse Library Mystery series. To celebrate the release, thanks to Eva and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy of the book to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

First here’s a brief synopsis of BY BOOK OR BY CROOK:

Get bound up in murder in the first Lighthouse Library mystery!
        For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of-engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner. But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite.
        Calling on her Aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun—and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery—will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.
        Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending….
 
Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Eva as she tells us about ‘ghost stories.’

My new Lighthouse Library series from Obsidian is set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That’s not a place I am very familiar with, so I have set about in the past year to get to know it. I’ve fallen in love with the fabulous beaches, the great restaurants, the marvelous lighthouses, and the miles and miles of wild seashore.

As the Lighthouse Library books are set in a real place – the Outer Banks – in general and a very real building – The Bodie Island Lighthouse – in particular, it’s been important to me to get as much of it right in the books as I can.

Yes, I am well aware that the actual lighthouse isn’t a library and it isn’t exactly big enough to house one, plus assorted offices, hallways, staff rooms, book shelves, meeting rooms, and even a small apartment, but I have enjoyed keeping the exterior of the building and the grounds as true-to-life as possible.

With one exception: the ghost stories. I have deliberately not read a single book about ghost stories or paranormal legends of the area, and there are many.
 
Not because I’m either squeamish or the nervous sort, but because it’s much more fun to make up my own.

There are no paranormal elements in the Lighthouse Library Series, but Lucy Richardson’s nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, wants her to believe there are, hoping to scare Lucy out of her library job and back to Boston. Louise Jane considers herself to be one of a long line of women with special sensitivity to the supernatural. Lucy is never quite sure whether Louise Jane is telling stories she’s heard, or just making up what she thinks will scare Lucy the most. 

Here’s Louise Jane’s first attempt:

        The edges of Louise Jane’s mouth curled up. “I debated telling you about this. Andrew said I should keep it to myself. But I thought you deserved to know, Lucy. After all, you’re sleeping here. In the very room where Francis went mad. And died. You’re an intelligent, educated woman, aren’t you?”
        I nodded. It was daylight, the twenty-first century. Bright sunlight streamed in the window, the sun played on the calm sea. My room was cheerful, modern, with electric lights, plumbing, Wi-Fi, a telephone. Even a doorbell. But the corners seemed deep and full of shadows. I mentally shook my head. This room didn’t even have corners!
        “Now, don’t get me wrong,” Louise Jane continued. “Francis—the Lady, she’s called now— isn’t an evil spirit. Not at all. She was kind in life, or so they say, until she was locked away. She remains kind in death. When she sees a woman, a young—well almost-young—woman living in this room . . . Francis believes she’s trapped. And tries to free her. The only way she knows how. The way she freed herself.”
        It was so quiet up here when the library was closed, high above the sea and the marsh, no one else around. At night, the darkness broken only by the rhythmic flash of the light.
        “Well, well, look at the time. I promised to meet Andrew for a hike along the beach before lunch. Fresh air and exercise, there’s nothing like it. Are you all right, Lucy? You look awful pale.”
        “I’m fine,” I squeaked.

Eva, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing this look at Lucy and the ghost stories. I can certainly see how it would be more enjoyable to let new ghost stories play out on their own.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Eva, let me share a bit of background and you may realize you do know her. :)

Eva Gates is the pen name of popular mystery and suspense author Vicki Delany. Eva writes a new cozy series for Penguin Obsidian, the Lighthouse Library Mysteries, set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first book in the series, BY BOOK OR BY CROOK, was released Feb 3rd.

For more on Eva and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Now for my thoughts on this fun new series:

Author Eva Gates has blended two charming elements – libraries and lighthouses – with cozy mystery to create an intriguing new series. The setting of a real life lighthouse transformed into a library quickly draws you in as the author incorporates issues libraries deal with daily.

The characters are delightful and realistic. The secondary characters are unique and add depth while enhancing the story. Moving at a steady pace, the story flows smoothly and holds your attention until the end.

Combining the picturesque setting with friendship, a hint of romance, an interesting mystery, and all-out-fun, the author has the beginnings of a tantalizing new series with BY BOOK OR BY CROOK. What could be more enjoyable than curling up with a good book in a cozy lighthouse that holds mystery and intrigue?

By Book Or By Crook by Eva Gates, A Lighthouse Library Mystery Book #1, Obsidian, @2015, ISBN: 978-0451470935, Paperback, 352 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This giveaway is for one print copy of BY BOOK OR BY CROOK. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, Feb. 24. 

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Eve Gates' Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

Do you like lighthouses? Would you want to live in one? Do you think it would be fun to have a library in one? Thanks so much for stopping by today during Eva’s visit. I hope we’ve enticed you to check out this fun new series.

*This post contains affiliate links.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day … When Calls the Heart: Rules of Engagement


Flowers for Valentine's Day at Thoughts in ProgressToday is thought of as the day for lovers, the day for romance, the day for surprises and love.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

I hope you are having, will have or have had a wonderful day and get to celebrate in the way your heart desires.

To celebrate this day of romance I want to share my thoughts on the next DVD release from the delightful When Calls the Heart series inspired by the bestselling series author Janette Oke. The latest release is WHEN CALLS THE HEART: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT.

Mounty Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) returns to Coal Valley and his relationship with the local school teacher, Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), seems to be resuming. However, when an unexpected part of Jack’s past arrives in town, Elizabeth isn’t quite sure where she stands.

Meanwhile, Bill Avery (Jack Wagner) continues to investigate the mine explosion with Jack’s help. A budding relationship appears to be growing between Avery and Abigail Stanton (Lori Loughlin), even as she fears where the investigation may lead. A judge (James Brolin) arrives in town to hear the investigation. 

When Calls the Heart Rules of Engagement - Thoughts in ProgressThis on-going series is both entertaining and uplifting. The characters are realistic and likable making it enjoyable to follow their lives. The story has several plots playing out at the same time, but blend together for a comfortable small town community feel. The setting is inviting and wholesome.

WHEN CALLS THE HEART: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT is a movie that entire family can watch and enjoy together. While it is entertaining, it also features elements of inspiration and education that can be discussed among those watching. It’s a charming movie for all to enjoy.

When Calls the Heart: Rules of Engagement by Frontier Productions LLC (Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb Company), Written by Neal Dobrofsky and Tippi Dobrofsky, Directed by Neill Fearnley, ASIN: B00PFUW7R4

FTC Full Disclosure - I received this DVD from Edify Media, Inc. in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Michael Landon Jr. – Director:  Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend Michael Landon, has been in the film business for over 25 years.  With two of the highest rated films in the history of the Hallmark channel, and several top ten releases targeted to the Christian market, Michael has become known for creating heartfelt, inspiring films that connect to the family.  He has developed and/or produced, directed, and written screenplays for Fox, CBS, NBC, Disney, Sony, Lifetime, and others.

Brian Bird- Writer/Producer : Brian Bird is co-founder with partner Michael Landon, Jr., of Believe Pictures, a film and television production company.  He was co-executive producer and writer on the successful television series, Touched by an Angel.  Adding to Brian’s success, he had also written and produced episodes of Evening Shade, Step by Step and The Family Man.  Most recently, Bird wrote and produced Gametime, a two-hour television pilot for NBC, The Shunning, inspired by the novel by best-selling author Beverly Lewis, for the Hallmark Channel, and Not Easily Broken, adapted from the novel by T.D. Jakes and released theatrically by Sony/TriStar. 

About Word Entertainment: A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING & COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Love & The Outcome, Dara Maclean, Point Of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/VeggieTales among others), Word Print, Word Films, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records, Word Worship and Fervent Records.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. As I said earlier, I hope you have a wonderful and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. Do you have any special plans for today you’d like to share? I’ll leave you with a trailer for this delightful movie.

*This post contains affiliate links.

 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday the 13th…..!!!


Black Cat Close Up Friday the 13Did you hear the ominous background music in your head when you read the header?

What is it about Friday the 13th that we quickly relate it to bad luck and black cats? I’m sure if you Googled ‘Friday the 13th’ you’d get enough explanations (plus the movie links) to keep you reading until the next Friday the 13th (which is March 13, by the way). 

Most years only have one Friday the 13th. This year, however, there will be three (Feb. 13, March 13 and Nov. 13). The last year to have feature three bad luck Fridays was 2012 and the next won’t be until 2026.

I think attitude has a lot to do with how we look at this foreboding day. For me, I’ve always thought of Friday the 13th as a lucky day. Don’t know why I do this or when I started doing it. Guess I just wanted to be different than most people around me who were complaining about the day. For the most part it usually turns out to be a pretty good day.

What are your thoughts on Friday the 13th? Do you see it as a bad luck, good luck or just another day?

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have an awesome day. I leave you with this inspiring quote from my favorite dark chocolate candy.

Dove quote - Thoughts in Progress

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Flower Shop Gang Takes Over {+ Giveaway}


A Root Awakening by Kate Collins - Thoughts in Progress Feb. 12I’m delighted today to welcome author Kate Collins to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her latest release, A ROOT AWAKENING, the 16th installment in her Flower Shop Mystery series.

It looks like Kate has brought the gang from the flower shop to help her out. Thanks to Kate and the lovely Danielle at Penguin Group, I have a print copy of A ROOT AWAKENING to giveaway in celebration.

Here’s a brief description of this tantalizing mystery:

Abby Knight's marriage may be in full bloom, but house hunting is no bed of roses in latest novel in the New York Times bestselling Flower Shop Mystery series...
 
        Now that they’ve tied the knot, flower shop owner Abby Knight and her husband, Marco, want to put down roots. When it comes to picking a house, Marco can’t wait to get his hands dirty, while Abby isn’t ready for a fixer-upper. But conflict really sprouts when they’re checking out a dilapidated Victorian and watch a construction worker take a life-threatening tumble.
        Since witnesses claim the man shouted for help, suggesting that the fall was no accident, the victim’s flamboyant wife hires Marco to find the person responsible. Meanwhile, Abby keeps secret from Marco her own investigation into the home’s inhabitants, a family whose off-kilter behavior has aroused her suspicions. If only Abby’s very pregnant cousin, Jillian, will stop distracting Abby with false labor pains, she can conclude her own inquiries before Marco finds out…and her case blossoms into a disaster.


Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Kate and the flower shop gang. But wait, it seems the gang may be turning the tables on Kate.

Dear Readers,

I’m sitting here with Abby Knight, owner of Bloomers Flower Shop, along with some very important people in her life. They’ve agreed to meet me today in the coffee-and-tea parlor to let me interview them. Abby, would you like to introduce everyone?

Abby: Thanks, Kate. This incredibly sexy hunk on my right is Marco Salvare, who, as you know, is the man of my dreams, the guy who makes my heart beat faster, the—

Jillian: Yuk. Someone have a barf bag?

Abby: Hey! No need to get nasty. This, by the way, is my cousin Jillian, the—

Jillian: Wardrobe consultant extraordinaire.
 
Abby: Right. Next to Jillian are my assistants at Bloomers, Lottie Dombowski and Grace Bingham, and at the far left is my mom, Maureen Knight. My dad couldn’t come today, unfortunately. 

Kate: I’m sorry to hear that. I know he’s been a strong influence in your life, Abby. So tell me this. In MUM’S THE WORD, you try various means to bring more customers into your struggling flower shop, such as your addition of the parlor. What else do you plan to do to grow your business, no pun intended?

Abby: Okay, first of all, do you always have to refer to Bloomers as a struggling flower shop? That’s not good for our business.

Lottie: You tell her, sweetie. Kate, this little angel here kindly took over the shop when my husband’s health problems caused us a severe financial hardship. I think Abby’s doing a fantastic job, especially in this economy.

Grace: Hear, hear. Might I add that putting in this coffee-and-tea parlor was pure genius on her part?
 
Abby’s mom: That and selling my pieces of original art. 

Kate: Speaking of your art, Maureen, where do you get your inspirations?

Maureen (Abby’s mom): My inspirations? Well . . . I just combine things. For instance, (looking around) flowers and . . . tea. Flowers and . . . scones. No, wait. Scones and stems . . . thorns and coffee . . . I know there’s magic here somewhere. Let me just think for a moment . . .

Abby: Going back to your original question about growing my business, Kate – 

Jillian: Why just your business? Kate, my wardrobe consulting business is doing quite well, thank you. (Whispering to Kate) Would it be too much to ask if you would let me have some input on Abby’s wardrobe for the next book? I mean, seriously, do you see the khakis she’s wearing? Ew. 

Abby: I’m sitting right next to you, Jillian. I can hear you whispering. Stop it.

Marco: Calm down, Sunshine. Consider the source. 

Kate: Abby, your talent for creating beautiful floral arrangements is impressive, but where you really shine is in your ability to solve murders and catch killers. Isn’t that a contradiction of character?

Abby’s mom: (thinking aloud) Killers and flowers… murder and mocha … contradictions and coffee…

Abby: I don’t see it as a conflict. It’s more like I’m good at arranging things. I pay attention to details. Take all the flowers in my coolers, for instance. I have to pull the right stems out and put them together in a way that satisfies me as well as my customers. It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together, which is what it takes to solve a murder. 

Marco: (Putting his arm around Abby) Good answer, Fireball. You must have been thinking about that one for awhile.

Abby: Thank you. I have. But I’m really not the one who catches the killers, Kate. That’s Marco’s job. He’s the pro. He’s my hero.

Jillian: Did Abby actually say she pays attention to detail? Abs, hellooo. Have you looked in the mirror today?

Abby: That’s it. I’ve had it. Marco, let go of my arm. 

Marco: I don’t think so.

Abby’s mom: Mirrors and magnolias….puzzles and petunias….

Grace: Would anyone care for one of my blueberry scones? I made them fresh this morning.

Kate: I’d love to try one later. But since time is running short, let me just ask one last question. 

Lottie: Hold on just a gosh darn minute. Why don’t we ask you the question this time?

Jillian: I think that’s only fair.

Grace: What’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander.

Marco: (folding his arms and leaning back) This should be good.

Kate: What would you like to ask? I’m an open book.

Jillian: (Whispering to Abby) Is that supposed to be funny?

Abby: Okay, I’ve got a question, Kate. You spend hours at the computer every day, documenting our lives for the benefit of readers. That has to get monotonous. Why do you do it? What do you get out of it?

Jillian: That’s easy. Look at her outfit. She gets fashion advice from me.

Grace: I’d be more inclined to think she loves my quotes.

Lottie: Or our flower arrangements.

Abby: I think it’s deeper. Am I right, Kate?

Marco: Maybe she’s a romantic at heart. 

Abby: She’s writing a murder mystery series, Marco. I wouldn’t call that romantic.

Marco: I’m talking about us, sweetheart. Our relationship. It’s been pretty hot – at least for me.

Abby’s mom: Sweet hearts . . . relation ships . . . sweet ships . . .

Kate: It’s all of those things -- the flowers, the fashion, Grace’s wisdom, Lottie’s common sense, Abby’s deep love for Marco, her passion for helping people solve puzzles and her crusade against injustice. Marco’s strength and courage, and his devotion to Abby. It’s every one of you that keeps me coming back day after day. We’ve been together for over ten years now and I love you like family.

Lottie: Well, aren’t you a sweetie to say so? We love you, too, Kate.

Kate: And to be honest, it’s even Abby’s mom’s, um, unique art creations. I always look forward to seeing what she’ll come up with next.

Maureen: Unique . . eunich . . . unicorn . . . Wait. I’ve got it!

Abby: Say goodnight, Mom.

Kate: Hold on a minute, gang. I want to tell everyone about your latest mystery, A ROOT AWAKENING

Abby: It was a rude awakening for me, that’s for sure. Double mysteries are tough to solve.

Jillian: May I just say that my part in the story got really tense when –
Kate: You’re not allowed to tell them what happens, Jillian. Don’t give me that wide-eyed look. You know better.

Jillian: Fine. Then can I just say that they’re going to meet a new character in this book that most of us have come to love? 

Kate: What do you mean by most of you?

Jillian: (pointing to Abby) Ask her. Go on, ask.

Kate: Let’s leave that discovery to the readers, too, Jillian. Thanks, everyone, for showing up. And I hope all the readers will show up for the 16th installment in the Flower Shop Mystery series, A ROOT AWAKENING, which was released Feb. 3. The ending is a WOWZER~

Kate (and gang), thanks so much for stopping by today. Getting to know these characters does feel a bit like having an extended family.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kate, here’s a bit of background on her.

Author Kate Collins
Kate Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Flower Shop Mystery series. Kate’s 16th book in the series, A ROOT AWAKENING, is a February 3, 2015 release. 

All of Kate’s mysteries are available in print, digital, and large-print editions both in the U.S. and in the UK. Kate’s historical romances and children’s anthologies are also available in digital format at Amazon, B&N, and other e-book sellers. 

For more on Kate and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on Cozy Chicks where she blogs.

Here are my thoughts on this entertaining cozy mystery.

Author Kate Collins has created fun characters that are well-developed, likable and realistic. They are the type characters you would like to be friends with. The secondary characters add depth to the story.

The setting is warm and friendly. The story is inviting and holds you spellbound until the end. It moves at a steady pace with enough twists and turns to make it captivating and intriguing.

A ROOT AWAKENING is the 16th installment in the series, but can be read on its own. The humor, friendship, and caring mixed with the tantalizing murder mystery makes for a well-balanced story that will entertain your senses. 

A Root Awakening by Kate Collins, A Flower Shop Mystery Book #16, Signet, @2015, ISBN: 978-0451415516, Paperback, 336 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This giveaway is for one print copy of A ROOT AWAKENING. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Friday, Feb. 20.

To enter, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and following the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load, so please be patient. The winner from this giveaway will have 72 hours to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. The email will have ‘Thoughts in Progress Kate Collin’s Tour’ in the subject line, just so you know what to watch for (in case it goes into your spam folder).

With Valentine’s Day just a couple days away, don’t you think it’s a great time to check out this Flower Shop series? Thanks so much for stopping by today and don’t forget to check out A ROOT AWAKENING.

*This post contains affiliate links.
a Rafflecopter giveaway