Top Ten Tuesday: Mainstream Popular Authors I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Check out upcoming Top Ten themes on Jana’s blog and go here to see what others have on their Top Ten Tuesday lists!

Today we’re talking about popular mainstream authors we still haven’t read. Some of these may be on my TBR, and some I’m just not interested in.

  • Colleen Hoover (not interested)
  • Sarah J. Maas (normally fantasy is my jam, but I haven’t been bothered enough to pick any of these up yet)
  • Jodi Picoult (Mad Honey is on one of my reading challenges for this year – we’ll see if I get to it!)
  • Ann Patchett (would read, just haven’t yet)
  • Rebecca Yarros (her books are on my TBR!)
  • Barbara Kingsolver (thus far, I haven’t been interested enough to read any of her books)
  • Taylor Jenkins Reed (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is on my TBR, but the rest of her books don’t really grab my attention)
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates (on my TBR!)
  • Lisa Jewell (no specific reason, there are just not enough hours in the day to read literally all the books)
  • Prince Harry (y’all know Spare was all the rage there for a while, but I

Are any of my authors on your list? Leave a comment!

Posted in Book Memes, Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Word of the Week: November 13, 2023

Word of the Week: a bookish meme hosted here on Mondays in which we share a word that we find entertaining, enlightening, edifying, or just plain fun to say! Share your own word on your blog, then help me grow the meme and come share it here on mine!

It’s been a minute – life has been hectic! But today, I am back with a new Word of the Week.

Today’s word is one I’ve never heard, but given the amount of fantasy and sci-fi I read, I think it may be a new favorite.

I found this word on Haggard Hawks. It’s attributed to American sci-fi writer James Blish, who said in a 1955 review, “As usual, the problem is ‘solved’ by pulling three rabbits out of the author’s hat (though of course he doesn’t call them rabbits — they look like rabbits, but if you call them smeerps, that makes it science fiction).” I’ve certainly read my fair share of fictional universes where things sometimes acted very much like their analogues on Earth. So while I may not have known the word, I completely get the meaning.

Have you ever heard this word before?

Got a word? Share it below! Then share the meme to help it grow.

Posted in Book Memes, Word of the Week | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Book Beginnings on Friday and Book Blogger Hop: November 10, 2023

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted each week by Rose City Reader. It’s a chance to share the first sentence or so of the book you are reading this week. You can check out others’ book beginnings here. I’m also going to link up with Carrie at Reading Is My Superpower for First Line Friday.

This week’s book beginning:


Accompanied by His lifelong friend, Nur, the young Jesus ventures throughout the towns and villages of Israel, Palestine, and across the sea to the port city of Ephesus. With Nur always at His side, Jesus experiences the joys and hardships of humanity—Jews and gentiles, rich and poor, believers and nonbelievers, freemen and slaves.

Nichols’ gifted storytelling brings forth this unique perspective on the life of the Messiah, providing a rare insight into His personal joys and suffering. The reader will experience the emotions of His power and authority when, on a mountaintop above Capernaum, He pronounces the future, and a spectacular miracle occurs in the city below.

The Orphan

The shadows of Mount Tabor crept across the desert floor toward the city. A young boy clad in a calf-length grey tunic, belt, and sandals glanced over his shoulder as he entered the synagogue grounds.

And thank you to Anne at Head Full of Books for taking up the Friday 56 mantle! Freda, who previously hosted the Friday 56, is dealing with some personal things and has stepped away. Freda, you’re in our thoughts and prayers, and we miss you in the book blogging world. Hope you’re able to return soon!

He told his new crew the vessel was modeled after those of ancient times, but improvements to its structure gave it exceptional speed in good waters.

What do you think? Would you keep reading? Keep your eyes out in the next few days for my full review.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. It starts each Friday and runs through the following Thursday. Each week, there’s a new prompt featuring a book-related question. It’s designed to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, make new blogging friends, and gain followers. See what others have to say on this topic and link up your own post here.

Do you consider yourself a bookworm or a reader? 
(submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

Top 20 Funniest Bookworm Memes

That pretty much says it all. I am a BOOK DRAGON. I devour books. I need books like I need air. (Okay, I can put them down long enough to sleep, feed the family, take care of basic hygiene, and tend to my day job that keeps the lights on.) Being a reader sounds so casual. Books and I are in a very serious, very long-term relationship.

What about you? Bookworm or reader, or somewhere in between? Stop by the Book Blogger Hop to see what others have to say, and leave a link of your own!

Posted in Book Beginnings on Fridays, Book Blogger Hop, Book Memes, First Line Friday, Friday 56 | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Book Review and Giveaway: Courting Miss Emma by Linda Broday

The Hangman’s Daughters, Book 2
Linda Broday
Western / Clean & Wholesome / Sweet Romance / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Severn House
Date of Publication: November 7, 2023
Number of Pages: 203 pages
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Texas, 1868. Emma Taggart has finally found a place to belong – setting up Heaven’s Door orphanage with her sister Maura was a new beginning for her – and one she will do anything to protect.
When guarded ex-army man Stone Landry buys the neighboring land and moves in – camels and all – Emma’s world changes forever. He is an infuriating man who instantly gets under her skin – in ways she never dreamed possible, and despite herself, Emma starts to wonder if, just maybe, he is man enough to take on a Hangman’s daughter . . . But their newfound connection is quickly tested by violent night raids, kidnappings, and underhand tricks by powerful rancher Zeke Parker, who is intent on running them out of town and taking the land he deems to be his. Can Emma find enough courage to trust in Stone to give her the life, the family, she’s always dreamed of?

Review Header
Emma Taggart dedicates her life to caring for her charges at Heaven’s Door Orphanage. She loves them without reservation, and figures they’re the closest she’ll come to having children of her own. So when her new neighbor, former soldier Stone Landry, shows up one day and accuses her of failing to keep an eye on them, she doesn’t take it very well. But when an attorney shows up saying that neither the orphanage nor Landry have any claim to the land they’re living on and have to vacate the premises, Stone and Emma realize they’ve got to work together to keep their homes. No-good rancher Zeke Parker will stop at nothing to take the land out from under them all, and Stone isn’t going to let that happen.

I love, love, love, Linda Broday’s books! I had only good things to say about the first in this series, Winning Maura’s Heart, and she continues the story in fine fashion with Courting Miss Emma.

As one of the hangman’s daughters, Emma has given up on the idea of love. Sure, her sister Maura managed to escape the fate of being the hangman’s daughter, but Emma reckons that won’t happen for her. She envisions potential epitaphs for herself as a lonely spinster, and those are by turns wryly funny and heartbreaking.

Linda Broday gives us a lot to focus on in this book! There’s the main story of the dastardly land grab by the villainous Zeke Parker. We also get to meet a new, unexpected Taggart family member, and in wonderful found family fashion, Stone takes in a young man and does a pretty good job of parenting even though he thinks his own past makes him unsuitable as a father.

There’s action aplenty, with gun battles and a kidnapping (that doesn’t go quite according to the kidnappers’ plans). But there’s also that sweet, sizzling romance. Broday writes clean romance that, for its lack of on-page spice (which I appreciate!), may still leave you fanning yourself because my, doesn’t it seem a bit warm in here? They get off to a rough start, but the chemistry between Emma and Stone practically burns off the page from the get-go, and I am here for it. They’re two wonderfully flawed people who’ve learned to expect the worst from life that find each other and realize that maybe life’s best isn’t out of reach for them after all.

I love that Emma isn’t some wilting violet. She isn’t afraid to jump into the thick of things, and she also isn’t afraid to tell Stone Landry exactly what she thinks. She’s a heroine who doesn’t just wring her hand and wait timidly to be rescued when she finds herself in a difficult spot. She’s resourceful and uses what she’s got to make it easier for her rescuers to get her out of harm’s way.

The children are just wonderful. Emma loves them with all her heart, and maybe they grow on Stone a little, too! Their interactions with Stone and his camels are hilarious, and their determination to help their beloved Miss Emma is touching. I want to reach into the pages and hug them all.

And yes, I said camels! Stone has rescued camels that were mustered out of military service. If you’re a long-time reader of the blog, you may remember another Lone Star Lit book that talked about the military camels of Texas, Once Upon a Camel. That book is for a younger audience, but I loved it, too, and it was fun seeing the camels show up in a different context.

Found family, sweet romance, action, tension, hope rising from the ashes – Courting Miss Emma has everything I love in a book. It’s in the running to be one of my favorite books of 2023.

Keep on scrolling to enter the giveaway!

I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of western romance novels and short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. On a still day, I can often hear the voices of American Indians, Comancheros, and early cowboys whispering in the breeze here on the high West Texas plains. We refer to this land as “cowboy” country and men here still ride the range just as cowboys of old. My stories focus on family life and almost all have children.
1st $25 Amazon gift card;
2nd autographed hardcover copy of WINNING MAURA’S HEART;
3rd eBook copy of COURTING MISS EMMA;
4th audiobook of ONE SHOT AT LOVE.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 11/17/23)
Posted in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Lone Star Book Blog Tours, Lone Star Literary Life, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Book Review and Blog Tour: To Bind a Dark Heart by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

Welcome to my stop on Second Sky’s blog tour for To Bind a Dark Heart by Kathryn Ann Kingsley!

Book: To Bind a Dark Heart

Author: Kathryn Ann Kingsley

Pub Day: November 3, 2023 

Buy Link(s):

About the book:

“Run, Gwen. Run as far and as hard as you can. Because when I catch you… You will belong to me.”

When she shattered the Iron Crystal and returned magic to Avalon, Gwen also shattered Mordred’s heart. Torn between her passion for Mordred and his rage at her betrayal, she fled into the wilds.

Gwen’s choice has transformed Avalon, and the island teems with magical wonders freed from the crystal. But Gwen also released the vicious and chaotic elementals. Desperate for revenge against Mordred, some of them see Gwen as an ally, others as a hostage.

Now, the Prince in Iron hunts Gwen relentlessly, though at night he visits her in dreams, unable to break the desire that binds them. She is his weakness. If his enemies captured her, he knows that he would make any deal, break any vow to return her to his side.

As the elementals prepare for battle, Gwen will face an impossible choice. Can she stand by as Avalon’s magic is destroyed once again? Or will she fight to overthrow the man she loves?

Cover designed by: @DariaBlackHalo (X)
@DariaBlackHalo (Instagram)

My review:

Gwen is on the run, hiding from Mordred’s wrath after she shattered the Iron Crystal and freed the elementals. Light and color and beauty have returned to Avalon, but so have elemental egos and tempers. Gwen is in the company of a nasty demon who wants to be rid of her and doesn’t much care if she dies in the process, and everyone she meets either fears her, wants to kill her, or thinks they can use her for their own ends. And if Mordred learns exactly what her connection is to Grinn, the demon Ash King, she fears her life will be forfeit – that whatever Mordred might feel for her won’t be enough for him to let her live.

In this story, we see more than just Gwen and Mordred’s points of view. That added a new layer to things. For instance, Grinn. You don’t really expect a whole lot from him, as he’s a demon. But he did make me chuckle a couple of times when he grudgingly accepted some form of help or comfort from Gwen. We also see the thought processes of Lancelot, now freed from Mordred’s control, and the other Knights who are still bound to the Iron Prince. And the wizard who apparently had his head full of so many things about what was and what is that he couldn’t remember a thing about himself was at times both maddening and almost whimsical.

One of the most heartbreaking parts of the story for me was the introduction of the Gossamer Lady, Galahad’s true love. The Gossamer Lady, an elemental, is now released from the Crystal. But Galahad is just as bound to Mordred as ever he was. They can see each other, and they can spend time together in small amounts, but they are by no means free to be together. Add in the fact that Lancelot is raising an army of elementals with the intent of ending Mordred’s reign permanently, and it’s possible that Galahad, his true love, or the both of them won’t survive until the end of the book. How do you read that without being emotionally wrecked?!

I said in my review of To Charm a Dark Prince that Gwen was a bit of a vanilla heroine. And so she remains here. I mean, I can’t fathom being in her shoes – far from home, away from everything familiar, now aware that the grumpy old cat in the barn is really a demon, and facing danger at every turn. That’s vomit-inducing, and maybe I’d just go with the flow, too. But she doesn’t seem to grow much here. She lets others dictate what she does and when for the most part, whether she likes it or not. She seldom takes a stand for herself.

When Gwen and Mordred are reunited (because you know they will be), sparks fly in short order. As with the first book, there’s a bit of on-page spice. Not my usual jam, but not so much of it that it makes me not want to keep reading the story.

And once battle actually ensued, then I had a hard time putting the book down! The story once again ended with a cliffhanger that leaves you anxious to get your hands on the next in the series, because how will they get out of this?! I’m ready to read the third in the series and see what happens next.

Thanks to Second Sky and Netgalley for an advance reader copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

About the author:

As a USA Today bestselling author and award-winning designer, Kat has always been a storyteller. She delights in spinning stories of the sweetest nightmares to delight her readers with her unique twist of fantasy, horror, and romance. With ten years in script-writing for performances on both the stage and for tourism, she has always been writing in one form or another.

Also on her list of skills are artistic direction, scenic painting and props, special effects, and electronics. A graduate of Boston University with a BFA in Theatre Design, she has a passion for unique, creative, and unconventional experiences. In her spare time, she builds animatronics and takes trapeze classes.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website | TikTok | Goodreads | Second Sky Email Sign-Up

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Fantasy, Romance, Second Sky Books | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Book Review and Giveaway: Good Talk…Good Talk by Ginny Andrews | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Ginny Andrews
Nonfiction / Humor / Comedy / Essays
Publisher: Ginny Andrews Comedy, LLC
Date of Publication: October 5, 2023
Number of Pages: 171 pages
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Raise your hand if you have ever run into a mannequin in a store and apologized. Continue to keep your hand raised if you want to pre-write thank you notes to those whom you anticipate attending your funeral because you suffer from chronic “way too nice” syndrome. Keep it up high if you have ever farted in church or yoga class. Man, my arm is getting tired!
Most people are awkward during the middle school years, grow out of it, and blossom into mature, well-functioning human beings…I’m still waiting for this to happen. Awkwardness is my hidden talent, although most who know me would tell you it isn’t hidden—it’s written on my forehead. My daily life is filled with epic failures. Sometimes I feel like I’m one big malfunction! As I have gotten older, I just try to embrace it.
After you read this collection of essays, hopefully you will be able to accept your imperfections too! Nope, probably not because I’m still not there! However, maybe my comedy will stick with you like that hemorrhoid you can’t seem to get rid of, like ever—Good Talk. . .Good Talk.



“Reading Ginny Andrews’s Good Talk. . .Good Talk is a lot like hanging out with that girlfriend that invariably makes you laugh until you cry.” —Lauren Cassel Brownell, author of Zen and the Art of Housekeeping and Dying to Donate

Good Talk. . .Good Talk is a laugh out loud winner, filled with quirky stories reminiscent of Patrick McManus.” —J. Andersen, author of The Breeding Tree, The Gene Rift, and Legacy’s Impact

“Anyone with anxiety will totally relate to Ginny Andrews’ humorous tales of the struggle of day-to-day life in today’s world.” —John A.B., Amazon Reviewer

Review Header
Reading Ginny Andrews’ writing is like sitting down with a dear friend and just shooting the breeze. You know, if the breeze happens to include stories about yoga sessions gone wrong, adventures on the “yellow dog” (the school bus), and how not to react in an unexpected lockdown drill, among other shenanigans.

With wit and wry insight, Andrews regales the reader with tales of her missed cues and missteps in this journey we call life. I’ve often said that my epitaph will be “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” and I think Andrews might say the same. Even something as seemingly simple as rubbing some Bengay on the aches and pains of impending middle age turns hilariously, awfully funny. (And she had a coupon to buy the Bengay! She is my people!) Her monologues are filled with those things that have you wanting to crawl in a hole when they happen, but you know you’ll laugh at them. Eventually.

I think Ginny Andrews and I would be BFFs if we moved in next door to each other! Pizza and Dr Pepper and swappin’ stories for the win.

So if you’re one of those totally put-together people who’s never put a foot wrong, someone who always knows the right thing to say and the right way to act, this may not be your kind of book. But if, like me, you’ve said to yourself, “Well, that didn’t go the way I expected,” then I think you’ll be snort-laughing your way through Good Talk…Good Talk like I did, and you should read it immediately.

And if you keep on scrolling, you can enter to win a signed copy of Good Talk…Good Talk AND an Amazon gift card! (You know, so you can buy more books.)

Ginny Andrews is a former high school teacher and coach, who is now an aspiring comedian, speaker, and writer. She would greatly appreciate it if you purchased her book! Door Dash, dog-sitting, used car sales, lawn mowing, and selling random items found in her house aren’t high paying gigs!
Signed paperback of GOOD TALK. . .GOOD TALK
+ $25 Amazon gift card
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 11/10/23)

Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Humorous, Lone Star Book Blog Tours, Lone Star Literary Life, Nonfiction | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Book Review and Blog Tour: Murder in a French Village by Merryn Allingham

Book: Murder in a French Village
Author: Merryn Allingham
Pub Day: October 30, 2023 
Buy Link: Amazon:

Book Description:

Join bookshop owner Flora Steele and handsome writer Jack Carrington as they set off on a French adventure and solve a chilling crime!

Jack is stunned to receive a call from his estranged mother, Sybil, asking him to drop everything and come to France. Together with Flora, his fellow sleuth, they pack their suitcases, dreaming of fragrant lavender fields and freshly baked pain au chocolat. It’s only when they arrive that they discover the shocking truth – Sybil’s friend was killed on a street in Paris, and she is desperate for their help.

The case leads them to a picturesque village in the south of France where life should be rosé, but even the bright blue skies can’t hide the fact that something is very wrong. And the mystery only deepens when Flora discovers that Sybil was in fact the intended target. Who would want her out of the way?

Perhaps Sybil’s relationship with wealthy Italian count Massimo Falconi has something to do with it. His darling daughter Allegra, ruthless business partner Pascal and his jealous estranged wife Isabella all have reasons for revenge…

Then when another person in the small French town dies in suspicious circumstances, Flora is convinced the two untimely deaths must be connected. Just when the case seems impossible to crack, a chess box provides an unlikely clue.

Can Flora discover the truth before Sybil meets her end? Or could trouble in paradise spell a final au revoir for the detective duo?

A completely addictive cozy crime novel. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Faith Martin and Joy Ellis!

If you’ve read previous books in Merryn Allingham’s Flora Steele series, you know there’s no love lost between Jack Carrington and his parents. So when his mother calls from France beseeching him to come to Paris, he’s taken aback. He hasn’t spoken to Sybil in seven years. Why is she calling now? Because an acquaintance was struck and killed by a car, and she thinks the car was actually aiming for her.

Flora also has unfinished business in France. According to her former boyfriend, she will find her parents’ graves there. So she and Jack travel together to meet Sybil in Paris. Paris is quite the experience for Flora! Soon they travel to the village of Vaison, where Sybil is living with Italian count Massimo Falconi and his family. It doesn’t take long for Jack and Flora to pick up on the not-s0-subtle undercurrent of hostility in the villa. Does Massimo plan to marry Sybil? (Sybil certainly hopes so!) Who might resent that enough to try to kill her? One of his two daughters? His ex-wife? One of the maids at the villa? A local mechanic?

Merryn Allingham spends a fair bit of time focusing on the scenery in Paris and Provence. We get to see it through Flora’s eyes, and her sense of wonder at her surroundings is a lot of fun. I’ve never been to Paris or Provence, so I enjoyed living vicariously through Flora!

But the mystery isn’t left hanging for the sake of the environment. I can certainly see why Richard Frant is Flora’s FORMER boyfriend. He irritated me from his first appearance in the book. I was hoping he hadn’t led Flora on a wild-goose chase in some misguided attempt to win her back.

And Sybil. What a piece of work she is! But I did feel for her, because she was surrounded by people who (with the exception of Massimo) really did not like her. No matter how unpleasant she might be as a person and how lackluster her parenting skills might have been, she was in a situation that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

We get to see Flora and Jack draw closer here. The trip is good for Flora in more ways than one, and she loses some of her hesitancy in letting herself admit how she feels about Jack. That makes me happy. They’re wonderful together, and I hope there’s a wedding for them in some future book!

An intriguing mystery in a beautiful setting, suspects and red herrings aplenty, and a satisfying touch of romance. Merryn Allingham has another winner with Murder in a French Village!

About the author:

Merryn taught university literature for many years, and it took a while to pluck up the courage to begin writing herself. Bringing the past to life is a passion and her historical fiction includes Regency romances, wartime sagas and timeslip novels, all of which have a mystery at their heart. As the books have grown darker, it was only a matter of time before she plunged into crime with a cosy crime series set in rural Sussex against the fascinating backdrop of the 1950s.

Merryn lives in a beautiful old town in Sussex with her husband and one last cat, Bluebell. When she’s not writing, she tries to keep fit with adult ballet classes and plenty of walking.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookouture, Cozy Mystery, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review and Giveaway: Bulletproof Barista by Cleo Coyle

Bulletproof Barista (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle

About Bulletproof Barista

Bulletproof Barista (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
20th in Series
Setting – New York
Berkley (November 14, 2023)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593197593
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593197592
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BV6GDX2W

When a film crew’s location shoot delivers an actual shooting, Clare Cosi finds herself at the scene of a true crime in this showstopping entry in the beloved Coffeehouse Mysteries from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

Only Murders in Gotham, the smash-hit streaming program, is famous for filming in authentic New York locations and using real New Yorkers as extras. For its second season, they’ve chosen to spotlight the century-old Village Blend and its quirky crew of baristas. Shop manager and master roaster Clare Cosi is beyond thrilled, especially when her superb bulletproof coffee lands her a craft services contract for the production.

Madame, the eccentric octogenarian owner of the landmark shop, reveals an old kinship with the star of the show, comedian Jerry Sullivan. Now a Hollywood legend, Jerry frequented the Blend during his early years performing in Greenwich Village comedy clubs. But the past may hold more than nostalgia for Jerry. Suspicious accidents begin plaguing his shoot. Then a real bullet is fired from a stage gun, and Clare becomes convinced something sinister is afoot.

While Jerry’s production moves to exciting new locations, Clare keeps the coffee flowing—and her investigation going—even as a murderer lurks in the wings. But can she root out the rotten player in this Big Apple production before the lights go out on her?

Includes a stellar menu of surefire recipes!

“A wonderful series with plenty of local color, great characters, and a setting so real that readers will be scouring the streets of Greenwich Village looking for the real Village Blend.”—The Mystery Reader

“Clare and company are some of the most vibrant characters I’ve ever read.”—Mystery Scene

If you’ve followed along, you know I’ve reviewed a couple of Cleo Coyle’s books on this blog. I am a big fan of the Coffeehouse Mysteries series, and I had high hopes for Bulletproof Barista.

Only Murders in Gotham is filming at the Village Blend, using the staff as extras, and Clare is beyond excited. She’s a long-time fan of Jerry Sullivan, one of the stars of the show. And when he’s won over by her new bulletproof coffee blend and offers the Blend the show’s craft services contract, well, that’s just bonus. But all is not well in TV land. There are suspicions that someone may be trying to sabotage the show. When Tucker, barista and aspiring actor, is shot during filming, Clare has to get to the bottom of things for her crew’s safety.

As always, the characters are wonderful. Madame is sharp as a tack, and she’s got important backstory to contribute. Matt’s relationship with Clare is still slightly flirty, but I get the feeling that they really do see each other as friends and allies, and Matt proves himself a reliable business partner here when Clare is caught up chasing a lead. The show characters are all intriguing: Sebastian, the director who seems to have something to hide; Kylee, the ingenue in a lead role who may be more than she appears; Hutch, the newly minted armorer for the show when the previous armorer becomes a victim; Lizzy Meeks, the president of Jerry Sullivan’s fan club; and Jerry himself, an aging comedian who wants to protect the show’s reputation.

There’s a twist in this book. Usually Mike is doing everything he can to keep Clare from digging into mysteries. Here, he asks for her help as her concerns dovetail with a drug investigation his squad is pursuing. It was fun having them able to compare notes and for Clare to be able to freely discuss the results of her investigation with Mike.

Here our antagonist is identified as the Player. As is customary, Coyle gives us snippets of the Player’s viewpoint and thoughts. That adds to the tension of the book for me. We get a little hint as to what’s coming next, but Clare has no idea. And I was well and truly surprised by who the Player turned out to be. Kudos to Coyle for keeping me in the dark!

I’ve seen reviews comparing the show in this book to Only Murders in the Building. I haven’t ever seen that show, so I can’t draw any comparisons between the two. I will say that this story gave me a whole new insight into the world of show business! The infighting, the intense focus on public opinion as shown in Jerry’s extreme reluctance to involve the police, the – well, the drama. Every time Clare was surprised about something, Tucker told her that’s just how the business is, and wow, it seems cutthroat. I learned a lot, and I’m even more convinced I’d like to stay far, far away from the bright lights of fame!

And of course, there are several delicious recipes included!

The Coffeehouse Mystery series continues to be a favorite for me. Cleo Coyle is one of my must-read authors, and Bulletproof Barista does not disappoint!

Scroll down to enter the giveaway!

About Cleo Coyle

CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times-bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, both celebrating 20 years in print. With more than one million books sold, their work has been honored with starred reviews and multiple best-of-year list selections by reviewers. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, Toho, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together. Connect with Cleo at

Author Links


Free Newsletter:






Purchase Links:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play Indiebound


November 2 – The Plain-Spoken Pen – REVIEW

November 2 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

November 4 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT


November 5 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 7 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR GUEST POST

November 7 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

November 9 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

November 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

November 11 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST

November 12 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – REVIEW

November 13 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

November 14 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

November 15 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT

November 16 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – REVIEW

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Posted in Berkley, Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Great Escapes Book Tour, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Death by Theft by Abigail Keam

Today I’m sharing about Death by Theft, the latest in Abigail Keam’s Josiah Reynolds Mystery series! Read all about it, then scroll down to enter the giveaway!

Death By Theft: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery
by Abigail Keam

About Death by Theft

Death By Theft: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery
Cozy Mystery
19th in Series
Setting – Kentucky
Worker Bee Press (October 30, 2023)
Number of Pages ~200

Josiah is happy for her pals Lady Elsmere and Shaneika Mary Todd when broodmare Jean Harlow gives birth to a male foal sired by Comanche. The owners of both horses have high hopes the foal will become a stakes winner—maybe even win the Kentucky Derby. The foal has a broad chest, indicating significant lung capacity—important for winning races, but just like his daddy, the foal is ebony with a bad attitude.

Josiah and Shaneika visit dam Jean Harlow early one morning and are shocked to find the prized foal is missing. They frantically search Lady Elsmere’s and Josiah’s farms without success. It’s urgent they find the foal fast as he is not yet weaned and is too young to be separated from his mother. Who would snatch the feisty foal from his mother’s care? And equally important, why?

Death By A HoneyBee
Death By Drowning
Death By Bridle
Death By Bourbon
Death By Lotto
Death by Chocolate
Death by Haunting
Death By Derby
Death By Design
Death By Malice
Death By Drama
Death By Stalking
Death By Deceit
Death By Magic
Death By Shock
Death By Chance
Death By Poison
Death By Greed
Death By Theft

About Abigail Keam

Abigail Keam is an award-winning and Amazon best-selling author who writes the Josiah Reynolds Mystery Series about a Southern beekeeper turned amateur female sleuth. Besides loving history, Kentucky bourbon, and chocolate, Abigail loves honeybees and for many years made her living by selling honey at a farmers’ market like her protagonist, Josiah Reynolds. She is an award-winning beekeeper who has won many honey awards at the Kentucky State Fair including the Barbara Horn Award, which is given to beekeepers who rate a perfect 100 in a honey competition.

Miss Abigail has taken her knowledge of beekeeping to create a fictional beekeeping protagonist, Josiah Reynolds, who solves mysteries in the Bluegrass. While Miss Abigail’s novels are for enjoyment, she discusses the importance of a local sustainable food economy and land management for honeybees and other creatures.

She currently lives on the Kentucky River in a metal house with her husband and various critters. She still has honeybees.

Official Site






Purchase Links – AmazonBarnes and NobleApple

2010 Gold Medal Award from Readers’ Favorite for Death By A HoneyBee
2011 Gold Medal Award from Readers’ Favorite for Death By Drowning
2011 USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books List of 2011 as a Finalist for Death By Drowning
2011 USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books List of 2011 as a Finalist for Death By A HoneyBee
2017 Finalist from Readers’ Favorite for Death By Design
2019 Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite for Death By Stalking
2019 Top 10 Mystery Novels from Kings River Life Magazine for Murder Under A Blue Moon2
2019 Honorable Mention from Readers’ Favorite for Death By Stalking: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery
2019 Top 10 Mystery Novels from Kings River Life Magazine for Murder Under A Blue Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Mystery
2020 Imadjinn Award for Best Mystery – Death By Stalking: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery
2022 Finalist in Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Finalist for Best Historical Category – Murder Under A Full Moon
2022 Finalist for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for Best Historical Category – Murder Under A New Moon
2022 Death By Chance: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Finalist for Best Cozy Mystery
2022 Top Ten Mystery Novel by Kings River Life Magazine for Murder Under A Bridal Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Mystery
2022 Top Ten Mystery Novel by Kings River Life Magazine for Murder Under A British Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Mystery


October 30 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

October 30 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

October 30 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT

October 31 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – AUTHOR GUEST POST

October 31 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

October 31 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW


November 1 – The Plain-Spoken Pen – SPOTLIGHT

November 1 – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 2 – Lady Hawkeye – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT

November 3 – fundinmental – REVIEW

November 3 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?
Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!
Want to Book a Tour?
Click Here

Posted in Blog Tours, Great Escapes Book Tour, Mystery, Spotlight | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: The Legend of Rachel Petersen by J. T. Baroni

  • Title: The Legend of Rachel Petersen
  • Author: J. T. Baroni
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Genre: Horror, Paranormal
  • Would I recommend: If you want a quick, spooky read, give this one a try!


Did his book raise the dead?

Outraged when the Post Gazette overlooks him for a well-deserved promotion, 43-year-old Sports Writer Christian Kane quits the paper and moves to the country to write fiction.

Inspiration flows from a lone grave he stumbles upon in the woods. He compiles “The Legend of Rachel Petersen,” a fascinating story revolving around the dead twelve-year-old girl laid to rest beneath the weathered tombstone. His book quickly becomes a bestseller; then Hollywood turns it into a blockbuster movie. Kane becomes rich and famous. But does an enraged Rachel become more than a figment of the writer’s imagination? Does she rise from her grave to seek revenge on Kane for slandering her name?

My review:

Christian Kane is a sports writer. He and his wife are getting ready to attend a banquet at which he expects to receive a big promotion. When the promotion goes to someone else, Kane rage quits his job, and he and his wife move to a fixer-upper house out in the country. He plans to become a writer.

At first he struggles, and when he asks his wife to read his first efforts with a critical eye, she literally laughs at him. So it’s back to the drawing board for Kane. And then he finds an old grave on their property, and inspiration strikes. The tombstone bears the name of Rachel Petersen, who was just 12 when she died. Kane decides that his book will tell her story.

J. T. Baroni uses the story within a story technique very skillfully. Rachel’s legend flows so smoothly, after Kane’s lackluster original efforts to write and as compared to the initial section about Kane’s life, that it could seem almost supernaturally inspired. (Was that by design? Only the author knows!) The fictional legend moves back and forth between the Civil War era and the 1950s, and characters in both eras appear realistic to the times in which they lived.

The Yoder brothers, in Rachel’s fictional legend, are probably some of my favorite characters in the story. They rib each other, as teenage boys do, and Thad’s sense of adventure and derring-do is what leads him to unearth Rachel’s bones (and maybe regret his life choices). The events that follow after that will have you holding your breath to see what happens next.

Rachel’s story has some elements of horror, but I consider her to be more of a paranormal character than a horror figure. The real monsters in the story are humans. I’ll let you read to find out who those may be.

After Kane’s story of Rachel becomes a success beyond his wildest imagining, we see another snippet of his life. And I’ll tell ya, if any of you are old enough to know what this means, part of it gave me bad, bad flashbacks to a certain season of a certain nighttime soap opera from years past. I turned to my husband and said, “Oh, he did not do this in this book!” But that wasn’t the end, and the end redeemed that one little part. You’re left questioning what’s real and what isn’t, and what might happen after the last page is turned. Does Rachel come to wreak her revenge? You’re going to have to read the book to find out.

I’d recommend this for fans of paranormal and horror who are looking for an atmospheric read for a gloomy fall or winter day. Read with the lights on.

Disclaimer: Thank you to the author for a review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

Posted in Book Reviews, Horror, Paranormal | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment