Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Apples and Alibis by Gayle Leeson - Book Blast

Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Grace Abraham Publishing (August 13, 2019)
Print Length: 188 pages

That's the last time Amy agrees to do a favor for a stranger...

Down South Cafe owner, Amy Flowers is in over her head. Operating a cafe while hosting the first Farmers' Market in Winter Garden has her swimming in apples. And when an elderly woman calls the cafe, pleading for a delivery for her upcoming party, Amy relents, feeling compelled to help the desperate customer.

But when she arrives, the woman is slumped over her kitchen table, and Amy is catapulted into the middle of a small town crime. Guilt-ridden for not arriving earlier to save the woman, she sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding the woman. Now, between running the cafe and dealing with the chaos of the farmers' market, Amy is squeezing in a murder investigation, a run-in with her boyfriend's mom, and her own mother's quirky life decisions. Life can't get any worse...or can it? This cafe owner needs a break--in the case.

This is not the first time I've featured Gayle Leeson or Gayle Trent on Nadaness In Motion. I recently had the privilege of reading the first book in her new paranormal cozy mystery series. Check my five-star book review of Designs on Murder.

Kerry Vincent, Hall of Fame Sugar Artist, Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show Director, and Television Personality says the series is “a must read for cake bakers and anyone who has ever spent creative time in the kitchen!”

About the Author:

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent, who also writes as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. She enjoys spending time with her sister, nephew, and niece, but she and her mother have a complicated relationship that isn’t always pleasant. Daphne has also reconnected with her high school sweetheart and is pursuing a rekindled romance while desperately trying to put her past behind her.

Says Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author, “One day I found myself happily reading . . . mysteries by Gayle Trent. If she can win me over . . . she’s got a great future.”

The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back.

Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of the genre will take kindly to Marcy, her Irish wolfhound, Angus O’Ruff, and Tallulah Falls. This is a fast, pleasant read with prose full of pop culture references and, of course, sharp needlework puns.”

Pat Cooper of RT Book Reviews says, “If her debut here is any indication, Lee’s new series is going to be fun, spunky and educational. She smoothly interweaves plot with her character’s personality and charm, while dropping tantalizing hints of stitching projects and their history. Marcy Singer is young, fun, sharp and likable. Readers will be looking forward to her future adventures.” (RT Book Reviews nominated The Quick and the Thread for a 2010 Book Reviewers’ Choice Award in the Amateur Sleuth category)

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

Connect with the author via her Websites for Gayle Leeson and Gayle Trent, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

Purchase Gayle Leeson's books via Amazon, B&N, and Kobo

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Money Is Murder by Carolyn Arnold - Book Review

Today, I'm featuring an author, I've read and reviewed several times on Nadaness In Motion. This is my third read in her cozy mystery series, I've also read one in her historical fiction adventure novels and one of her police procedural thrillers. Today, I'm doing a book review as part of a blog tour :) 

Join me in welcoming…. *drum roll* CAROLYN ARNOLD

Book: Money Is Murder
(McKinley Mystery Series book 3)
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles  

"So, this guy's asking you from the grave to solve his daughter's murder?"

Money Is Murder by Carolyn Arnold is the third book in the McKinley Murder Mysteries. The books are connected by the characters but can easily be read as standalones. My first read in the series was book 6, Coffee Is Murder and my second was book 8, Halloween Is Murder.

The book opens with the star couple Sara and Sean McKinley coming back from their honeymoon, which wasn't mystery-free. We learn that they were murder detectives but Sean inherited billions, which allowed him and Sara to quit their jobs and get married.
In Money Is Murder, we are told more about the benefactor who left Sean his wealth, a Mr. Douglas Quinn. Quinn leaves Sean a secret key and later a note asking him to look into his late daughter's death, which had been ruled a suicide.

"Situations around her death are intriguing and we don’t' even know a lot yet."

Alternate cover for Money Is Murder
Now Sean and Sara are set to meet up with employees and management from Quinn's mega-company Universal Acquisitions Corporation. From there they begin to take notes and share their intuitions about the people they meet.

There's a bit of romance in Money Is Murder, considering the couple just married and returned from their honeymoon. A little surprising, especially at the beginning, since I'm not used to that in cozy mysteries. But it's not over the top.

I loved how Sean and Sara would always sit together, bounce ideas, and discuss their findings and how they feel about the people they meet. Sara is sweet and astute; her mind picks up details quickly and easily lays them out when it's time to talk about the murder.

I felt like I needed to know why Quinn left Sean his money a little early on in the novel. It was a missing piece for me.

"No, I think she was murdered and it's likely someone from within these walls is behind it. And, if you ask me, I think it's her death that killed Mr. Quinn."

On the other hand, one of the things I liked about Money Is Murder is the quick pace made even more so by the short chapters. I enjoyed the mystery and the overall read. I liked getting into Sara's head.

Another thing was the action, there was a lot of it in Money Is Murder and I loved the thrill!

Overall, I think Carolyn Arnold's Money Is Murder is a fun and exciting read. I liked the financial aspect and how each book in the series comes with a theme.

Note: I received a free copy of Money Is Murder by Carolyn Arnold as part of a blog tour by Escape with Dollycas Virtual Book Tours.

Other books reviewed by Nadaness In Motion from the McKinley Mysteries are Coffee Is Murder, which features an excerpt and Halloween Is Murder.

Other books by Carolyn Arnold, reviewed by and on Nadaness In Motion:

Mystery, thriller On the Count of Three

Adventure, historical fiction, and mystery in The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh

Note 2: Money is Murder also includes the first 3 chapters from the subsequent book in the series, Politics Is Murder.

Note 3: Keep up with the rest of the blog tour including more reviews as well as guest posts and interviews here.

Book Overview (in published order)
1.     The Day Job is Murder (2014)
2.     Vacation is Murder (2014)
3.     Money is Murder (2014)
4.     Politics is Murder (2014)
5.     Family is Murder (2014)
6.     Shopping is Murder (2014)
7.     Christmas is Murder (2014)
8.     Valentine’s Day is Murder (2015)
9.     Coffee is Murder (2015)
10.  Skiing is Murder (2016)
11. Halloween Is Murder (2017)

Buy Money Is Murder by Carolyn via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, or Google Play

About the Author:

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online via her website, Twitter, Facebook, and don't forget to sign-up for her newsletter, which includes updates on new releases and special offers.

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Beginner's Affiliate Marketing Blueprint – Book Review

The Beginner's Affiliate Marketing Blueprint: How to Get Started for Free and Earn Your First $10,000 in Commissions Fast by Alex M. is a GEM I came across by chance while browsing through Amazon's free books on marketing.

The book opens with an honest Introduction about what this book will cover, what you, as a reader and future affiliate marketer, need to do, the right and wrong ways to do affiliate marketing, and finally "an in-depth explanation of the tools needed to grow you affiliate marketing business fast."

The author is a bit talkative and repetitive in the intro and first chapter but bearable. The whole book is about 70 pages long, so not a big deal, I just don't like repetition.

You should remember that even though you can read The Beginner's Affiliate Marketing Blueprint in a sitting or two, once you start applying the lessons, you'll need to refer to the book several times.

I loved the author's honesty throughout. In the introduction he addresses his readers saying: "My gut feeling told me that putting a big number in the title would only help to attract more of those looking [for] push-button solutions, the types of people who want to relax at the beach and magically make money fall into their lap. If you are such a person, I personally encourage you to stop reading this guide and move on to something else; this is definitely not the right guide for you."

I like how The Beginner's Affiliate Marketing Blueprint is divided into short chapters with sub-headings and parts that are in bullet-points. The book is very easy to navigate with lots of tips and tricks. It's obvious that Alex M. has done their research and tested out what he's talking about.

"If you want to make good money with affiliate marketing you need to treat it like a business, not a get rich quick scheme."

The author also explains the free and paid methods of affiliate marketing, that is how to market yourself and your business. In the part on the tools you need to keep track of your business, Alex M. offers a list and mentions what he uses for his business.

"You can have the best product in the world but if no one knows that it exists, you will not make any sales."

Overall I think The Beginner's Affiliate Marketing Blueprint by Alex M. is an excellent reference and introduction to the world of affiliate marketing. The author is realistic and down to earth. He even offers a link to a free course he's created on affiliate marketing at the end of the book.

Note: You can download The Beginner's Affiliate Marketing Blueprint: How to Get Started for Free and Earn Your First $10,000 in Commissions Fast by Alex M. for FREE via Amazon!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Clarissa's Warning by Isobel Blackthorn - Book Review

Book: Clarissa's Warning

Author: Isobel Blackthorn
Publisher: Creativia
Publishing date: 30 November 2018

Clarissa's Warning by Isobel Blackthorn is a brilliant novel set on the Spanish Canary Island of Fuerteventura! Simply WOW!

The book begins with a strong opening both in terms of story and tone. The idea of the warning is delivered in the first chapter, keeping the reader on edge throughout the book.

Clarissa's Warning is narrated in the first person perspective of Claire Bennet, who often talks about herself in the third person in a humorous way. Claire is a British bank teller, who has won a lottery making her a millionaire. Now she's bent on buying and renovating a ruin on the island of Fuerteventura, which is the second largest of the Canary Islands.

"The stubborn Senor Cejas had not come across the likes of Claire Bennet, a woman fixated on a dream, a woman prepared to offer fat in excess of the already overly inflated amount offered by the government."

This is not my first read for Isobel Blackthorn, whose prose continues to inspire and captivate. In 2017, I read and reviewed The Drago Tree and conducted an exclusive interview with Blackthorn.

"Despite the wind, there were pockets of stillness and the ruin exuded a timeless quality. Embedded in its dilapidated stated remained faint echoes of its history, overlaid with sorrow, as though the very stones and ancient timbers mourned their former selves, when they were united as one, strong and proud and true."

One of the things I liked about Clarissa's Warning was how Blackthorn kept the reader and the protagonist, Claire, guessing if there is a paranormal element at play. We learn from the beginning that Claire's aunt Clarissa believes in astrology, the signs, and ghosts but are unsure if there is something paranormal about the ruin Claire acquires.

"I am not sure how to tell you this, but I thought I'd better warn you. I wish you'd told me before you went ahead and bought the place…You have Moon and Saturn both in the twelfth house, the house of sorrows."

As the book progresses, Claire meets a photographer who is interested in the ruin she is renovating and obsessed by late travel writer Olivia Stone. The photographer, Paco, is convinced that Olivia Stone had once lived in Claire's ruin and that if the ruin housed a ghost, it would be Stone's.

"The workmen believed the house was cursed and a curse could mean only one thing – something terrible and tragic had happened there. Maybe Olivia Stone died there and her ghost was trapped for some reason.

On Fuerteventura, Claire is literally alone. She tries to make friends but isn't always successful considering how people look at her, the British millionaire who acquired a possibly haunted ruin on their island. Bit by bit, she comes to rely on Paco and gets close to him.

One thing that struck me about Clarissa's Warning was the pace. I can't decide if it was quick or slow. It includes Claire's day-to-day activities and some days it's uneventful but still the pace was quick in a way. I can't decide but I enjoyed it – the book and the pace. :D

"Aunt Clarissa said the spirits of the dead became trapped on the earthly plane due to their intense emotions."

As Claire moves into her half rebuilt home and begins to settle in, thoughts and memories of her mother, who had died in a tragic accident when she was a child, begin to resurface. Blackthorn sprinkles Claire's tragedy bit by bit in the book, but the scene with the actual accident brought tears to my eyes.

Character development is kind of different in Clarissa's Warning because Claire doesn't exactly mature, she's already sane and makes good decisions. But rather, she opens herself to possibilities she had never thought possible, like the paranormal. This allows her to take control of her house and her life.

Overall, I enjoyed the language, imagery, word choice, visual, and emotions I've found in Clarissa's Warning. I know that they say not to judge a book by its cover but having read Isobel Blackthorn before and with the cover as a bonus, I had a feeling this would be a great book. And I was right!

Overall rating: 5 stars

Note: I received a free copy of Clarissa's Warning from its author Isobel Blackthorn in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my review in any way.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Takhayyal Writing Prompt no. 98: Magic Book

Welcome back Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's MONTHLY picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal or Imagine.

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.

The August image is all about magic and inspiration. So what will this image inspire you to write?

Image courtesy of Moonlit.Cryatal.Shop's Instagram page

Note: Image is courtesy of Moonlit.Crystal.Shop via Instagram. I took permission prior to using this image.

Your post can be prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction, an imaginary situation, an artistic thought; you name it and write it.

General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord by Emmanuella Hristova – Book Review

Book: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord
Author: Emmanuella Hristova
No. of pages: 50
Publication date: April 2018

The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder is a short collection of poems that explores a tumultuous year of love, heartbreak and unimaginable loss. It documents the birth and death of a relationship, and the death of my sister. Each poem is an emotional time-stamp that plunges the reader into the depths of my feelings as they burgeon and wane. The book reads like a diary and chronicles the boundaries of the things that we all feel: passion, heartache, and pain that gives way to hope. 

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord is a raw and emotional poetry collection by Emmanuella Hristova.

At first I was at a loss with the arrangement and titling of the poems. But I realized that they're done in a historic kind of arrangement with some days having more than one poem written. Many pieces don't have titles just dates.

A note to remind oneself when reading poetry collections, especially those in free verse, not everyone breaks lines the same way. I disliked many of the line breaks in The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord but that could just be me and others might prefer them that way.

The poem titled "September 29th" is one of the beautiful ones I enjoyed in the first half, though I disliked the repetition of 'and' and some of the line breaks.

"Upon Success" is a short piece that every person everywhere in the world can relate to. It's short and I'll quote it; I didn't like the line-breaks here either.
"America is a weird place where/we leave the/people we love to/pursue little green pieces of/paper and ink to/fill empty slots on/our resumes."

I felt that the piece titled "October 5th" was more prose than poetry but I loved the imagery.  "October 9th" is brimming with stunning imagery, dark, and just wow!

"I hesitate when you kiss me because I/ am afraid you will taste the disaster/brewing underneath my skin. Or maybe/my kisses taste hot, like a dangerous/sun storm raging on the broiling/surface of our most familiar star."  - that's just a sample of "October 9th" which is a long and gorgeous poem.

Another important note about The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord is that there are many pieces handling sexual and physical abuse. The poems are powerful. Like these lines from "October 17th":
"Letting my lips touch yours/was a contract I signed/without reading the fine print: participant subject to hasty sexual advances/ without warning."

I couldn't get the poem "November 14th," it was odd with a dry tone and felt more like a series of commandments. "November 16th" reads like a broken down prose piece but is full of strong imagery.

Other 5-star pieces in Hristova's The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord include: "October 18th," "October 19th," "Upon Saying Thank You," "Upon Inspiration," "November 17th," "December 15th," and "Upon Celebrating International Women's Day."

"You came, conquered,/stole my heart and/left me with a Moleskin full of/pensive poems documenting unrequited love/exposed on cream, lined pages." - "Upon Inspiration"

I must admit that the second half of the book was much better than the first half. The poems were longer and deeper after the 50% mark. That said, "Upon Diluting Myself" and "Upon Being a Woman" are the most powerful pieces in the entire collection. 10 stars each of these.

"Upon Diluting Myself" is long but super powerful. It's also explicit, painful, eye-opening, and emancipating, all at the same time. Similarly, "Upon Being a Woman" is the most painful piece in The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord. It does have a lot of Spanish words, which I couldn't understand. The poem is probably the longest in the collection but speaks for a lot of women suffering from sexual abuse.
"Upon inheritance" is a sad and painful piece that nearly made me cry.

Last but certainly not least, The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord ends with "Here's to the Woman," Hristova's perfect conclusion to her emotionally raw poetry collection that I believe is dedicated to all women out there.

This collection was hard for me to judge, but my overall rating is: 4 stars.

Note: I received a free copy of The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord from its author Emmanuella Hristova in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Emmanuella Hristova was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the Bay Area. She is the third daughter to Bulgarian parents who immigrated to California shortly before she was born. She began drawing at the ripe age of four, and studied the fine arts for five years in high school. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley.

She began writing poetry at age twenty-four when she was in graduate school. She earned her Master's in Education from the same alma mater in 2017. Emmanuella spent two years as an English teacher in Richmond, California. During that time, she self-published her first poetry collection: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder. Currently, she is writing her first novel.
Connect with indie author Emmanuella Hristova via her website, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram