Friday, March 24, 2017

Checking in and returning soon


Hi, everyone! I'm just checking in to let you know I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I'm just juggling a lot of balls activities at the moment and haven't gotten into a rhythm where I can get everything done at once and feel good about it.

I'm delighted to be coordinating two virtual book tours (STILL ME ... AFTER ALL THESE YEARS and CREATING STORIES). Be sure to check out their schedules. In addition, I'm organizing virtual book tours for THE SNOWMAN and DREAMS, GOALS AND ADVENTURE. You can sign up now to participate. I'm loving working with these amazing authors and wonderful bloggers.

I'm also busy with a couple of away from the computer type things that are taking a lot of my attention. I promise to be back soon with some amazing books to tell you about. 

Thanks for checking in on me. Take care and enjoy your day!! 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Roux the Day {+ Giveaway}


ROUX THE DAY by Linda Wiken
◊ Series: A Dinner Club Mystery, Book 2
◊ Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Berkley (March 7, 2017)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 0425278220
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0425278222

SYNOPSIS:

In the latest mystery from the author of Toasting Up Trouble, the Culinary Capers dinner club is back in business when a charity casino event makes a real killing…
 
Event planner Jennifer “J.J.” Tanner is planning a cruise ship casino night—and she’s really going overboard. She even arranged for radio DJ Connor Mac and TV personality Miranda Myers to help the good times roll. But the party comes to a screeching halt when Miranda is found dead on the main deck...
With a boatload of suspects, the police focus in on J.J., who, though recently linked with Connor, never knew he was once engaged—to Miranda. With Half Moon Bay’s gossip mill running full tilt, J.J. turns to her fellow dinner club members to help fish for clues and keep herself out of hot water...

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES

With amusing characters and a fun cruise ship casino night setting author Linda Wiken quickly draws readers into her delightful story.

Moving at a steady pace, the story holds your attention until the very end. The twists and turns along the way will keep you on your toes as you try to uncover the killer’s identity. The setting comes alive through the author’s vivid descriptions.

The characters are well-developed, realistic, and very likable. The secondary characters enhance the spunky storyline. The author has created a fun atmosphere readers will enjoy visiting again and again, as well as characters they feel they know as friends.

ROUX THE DAY is an entertaining mystery that will be hard to put down once you begin. An added bonus is a number of tempting recipes at the end and a sneak peek at the next installment in the series.

Roux the Day by Linda Wiken, A Dinner Club Mystery (Book #2), Berkley, @2017, ISBN: 978-0425278222, Mass Market Paperback, 304 Pages

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

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Penguin Random House, I have a print copy of ROUX THE DAY by Linda Wiken to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, March 29.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Don’t these book covers from Penguin Random House grab your attention and have you looking closely for bits of detail? Do you think a cruise ship is a good setting for a murder mystery?


Monday, March 20, 2017

I’m Traveling Alone {+ Giveaway}


I’m always intrigued by thrillers and author Samuel Bjork is making his American debut with a definite winner, I’M TRAVELING ALONE.

Thanks to the lovely Sara and the wonderful folks at Viking & Penguin Books, I have a copy of Samuel’s new book to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.

A chilling and fast-paced thriller in which two detectives must hunt down a vengeful killer – and uncover the secret that ties each of them to the crime

This book (Penguin Books; $16; ISBN: 9780143108627; On-sale: March 14, 2017) is already a global success—a bestseller in 10 countries—with rights sold in 30 countries. This is the first in a fresh new crime fiction series from Penguin.

A six-year-old girl dressed in doll’s clothes is found lifeless in the countryside wearing an airline tag around her neck reading “I'm Traveling Alone.” This shocking murder prompts police investigator Holger Munch to assemble a special unit for the case, including his protégé, Mia Kruger.
Mia is in a self-imposed exile, haunted by memories, but upon viewing photographs of the girl she discovers the number 1 scratched into the girl’s nail. Instinctively feeling there will be more murders, she finds herself sucked back into the violent crimes unit. She soon finds a link between this case and the unsolved abduction of an infant girl six years prior, as well as a mysterious reclusive religious community residing in the woods.
Mia leads the team in tracking down a revenge-driven and ruthlessly intelligent killer. But when Munch’s own six-year-old granddaughter goes missing, Mia realizes that the killer’s sinister game is personal, and I’M TRAVELING ALONE races to an explosiveand shockingconclusion.
        

Samuel Bjork is the pen name of Norwegian novelist, playwright and singer/songwriter Frode Sander Oien.

Oien wrote his first stage play at the age of twenty-one and has since written two highly acclaimed novels, released six albums, written five more plays, and translated Shakespeare, all in his native Norway.

Oien currently lives and works in Oslo. I’M TRAVELING ALONE is his American debut.

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Viking & Penguin Books, I have one print copy of I’M TRAVELING ALONE by Samuel Bjork to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, March 28.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks for stopping by today. Do you know thrillers such as this? Do you enjoy reading books by foreign authors?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Cold Pressed Murder {+ Giveaway}


COLD PRESSED MURDER by Kelly Lane
◊ Series: An Olive Grove Mystery, Book 2
◊ Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
◊ Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Cozy, Mystery
◊ Publisher: Berkley (March 7, 2017)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 0425277232
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0425277232
 
SYNOPSIS:

Eva Knox and her quirky Southern family are back in the second in the “intriguing”* culinary mystery series.
 
It’s the pits for the attendees of the annual Farm Family Fare in Abundance, Georgia, when olive oil farmer Eva Knox finds herself in the middle of a murder case...
Eva and the residents of Knox Plantation are oozing with excitement over the activities planned for the Farm Family Fare. The weekend event consists of two days of tours, exhibitions, music, tastings, and, most important, cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs from the Chow Network. The enthusiasm, however, begins to dribble away after one of the star chefs goes missing—and is later found dead in the back of a refrigerated truck.
The scandal gets messier after the police discover that Eva’s sister Daphne spent the night with the victim right before he died, making her the prime suspect for his murder. It’s up to Eva, with the help of her other sister, Pep, and her best friend, Precious, to track down the real killer before Daphne finds herself squeezed into handcuffs...

INCLUDES RECIPES!

Author Kelly Lane pulls you into COLD PRESSED MURDER with her quirky characters and the charm of a small-town setting.

The story flows smoothly and at a good pace. The twists and turns will keep you on your toes until the killer is revealed. The charming setting is inviting and captivating. The author’s vivid descriptions make you feel you’re there with the action.

The zany characters are likable and well-developed. The protagonist is easy to relate to and the supporting characters add depth to the story. The author’s blend of humor with family loyalty makes for a well-balanced tale. The author also weaves in a bit about olives and includes several tempting recipes to enhance this culinary mystery.

An enticing tale you’ll enjoy from beginning to end.

Cold Pressed Murder by Kelly Lane, An Olive Grove Mystery (Book #2), Berkley, @2017, ISBN: 978-0425277232, Mass Market Paperback, 352 Pages

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

Thanks to the wonderful folks at Penguin Random House, I have a print copy of COLD PRESSED MURDER by Kelly Lane to giveaway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Sunday, March 26.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Do you enjoy stories that include recipes? Do you usually try the recipes or just add them to your list of dishes to prepare later?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Facials Can Be Fatal by Nancy J. Cohen


FACIALS CAN BE FATAL by Nancy J. Cohen
◊ Series: A Bad Hair Day Mystery, Book 13
◊ Hardcover: 286 pages
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Five Star Publishing (February22, 2017)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1432832824
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1432832827

SYNOPSIS:

          During the frenzy of the December holidays, the last thing salon owner Marla Vail needs is a dead body slathered in a green facial mask at her new day spa. The victim, Valerie Weston, had been a major donor for Friends of Old Florida, a nonprofit historic preservation society. Marla's stylists are scheduled to work backstage at their upcoming gala fashion show, but Val's demise might put a crimp in their plans.
Hoping to salvage her reputation, Marla determines to track down the suspects. Although Val had been well liked by most people, she may have stumbled onto secrets that others would kill to keep. What are the connections between a greedy land developer, a dress designer whose husband may have links to the Asian mob, a mortician who might be involved in the human hair trade, and members of the nonprofit group's board of directors? Are the latter as dedicated to their cause as they'd like Marla to believe, or do they have their own self-interests at heart?
Sparks are sure to fly when this smart stylist joins forces with her sexy detective husband to solve a decades-old mystery that includes a secret journal, pirate tales, and shipwrecks along the Florida coast. With the rollercoaster excitement, you might need a trip to the day spa to relax.


Author Nancy J. Cohen once again takes readers on a tantalizing ride of mystery, murder, mayhem, and humor in FACIALS CAN BE FATAL.

This delightful story centers around a day spa facility, one place you might think of as being stress-free. Through rich details and vivid descriptions readers get the feel of the facility and the protagonist’s beauty salon, as well as the South Florida setting.

Cohen’s characters are quirky and well-developed, the type of friends you wish lived down the street. The setting quickly draws you in and the twists and turns hold you spellbound until the end. The author blends the murder mystery with family life and drama for a well-balanced story with touches of romance and humor.

New readers to the series aren’t left in the dark when reading this 13th installment to the Bad Hair Day Mystery collection. At the same time, Cohen doesn’t overdo the background so much returning fans are inundated with repetitive information.

FACIALS CAN BE FATAL is entertaining, intriguing, and captivating. You’ll never look at a cream facial mask quite the same ever again.

Facials Can Be Fatal by Nancy J. Cohen, A Bad Hair Day Mystery (Book #13), Five Star Publishing, @2017, ISBN: 978-1432832827, Hardcover, 286 Pages

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

Thanks for stopping by today. Have you read any of the Bad Hair Day Mystery series? Do you enjoy stories where family life (the drama and all) is woven in with the mystery solving?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ashes by Steven Manchester


I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for author Steven Manchester’s latest release, ASHES, through Partners in Crime Tours.

Steven has graciously answered a question about his writing during his stop here.

Genre: Fiction
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Number of Pages: 260

ASHES can be found at the following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Middle-aged brothers Jason and Tom Prendergast thought they were completely done with each other. Perceived betrayal had burned the bridge between them, tossing them into the icy river of estrangement. But life – and death – has a robust sense of irony, and when they learn that their cruel father has died and made his final request that they travel together across the country to spread his ashes, they have no choice but to spend a long, long car trip in each other’s company. It’s either that or lose out on the contents of the envelope he’s left with his lawyer. The trip will be as gut-wrenching as each expects it to be . . . and revealing in ways neither of them is prepared for.
At turns humorous, biting, poignant, and surprisingly tender, Ashes puts a new spin on family and dysfunction with a story that is at once fresh and timelessly universal.

Please join me in welcoming Steven to Thoughts in Progress. Welcome, Steven.

Could you explain a bit about your writing process from the time the idea for this book came about until the time you actually received a printed copy of it? How long it took, some of the steps you followed, the difficulties of the process as well as the joys, etc.

Steven:
I’d just finished The Changing Season, a coming-of-age novel, and enjoyed the write so much that I wanted to keep the momentum going.

I pitched the idea of Ashes to my publisher and mentor, Lou Aronica, and he loved the direction I was going in.

As I’m nearly fifty years old, the conversations I used to share with my two brothers—Billy and Randy—have significantly changed. When we were young, we discussed career choices and romantic pursuits. As the years unfolded, the talks focused on raising children and juggling hectic schedules. Now, these conversations are peppered with reports of doctors’ appointments and where we stand with our retirement plans. The evolution of our conversations is as bittersweet as it is comical to me—and was the basis for Ashes.   

Here’s the high-level timeline for Ashes:

* The first step in writing Ashes was to agree on the concept with my publisher.
* Once done, I went away to create a storyboard (which is essentially a story outline on steroids).
* Within that storyboard, I began to develop the characters (it’s all about characters for me).
* Lou and I tweaked the storyboard one last time before I went off on my own to write the book.
* Even with all the research (i.e., I actually mapped out the cross-country trip with AAA), the first draft took me six months.
* Lou gave it a read and made his suggestions.
* It took me another month to produce the second draft.
* Lou read it again and provided his final comments, which I made. This took two weeks.
* The book then went to the copy editor, who went through the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb (two months to complete).
* From that point, the publisher approved the final draft and sent it to several proofreaders.
* The waiting time was spent gathering celebrity endorsements, agreeing upon the final book cover, polishing the text that goes on the cover, etc.
* Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) were printed and sent out to reviewers.
* The final hardcover book went to print and was received six months later.
* The entire process took nearly eighteen months.   

I loved writing Ashes. Two brothers—estranged for fifteen years—are brought together under circumstances that neither can avoid. By trapping them in a car for several long days, I was able to play out some deep, dark emotions that quickly rise to the surface. The outcome proves to be biting and comical exchange that the reader can experience as if they’re sitting right there in the backseat with the box of ashes. Although there are several twists and turns along the way, the goal was to keep the journey real and relatable—proving that every family has its fair share of dysfunction, as well as unbreakable bonds.

Steven, thanks for visiting with us today and sharing this look at your writing process. The idea of the brothers trapped in the car for that extended period would make for some interesting conversation.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Steve, here’s some background on him.

Author Steven Manchester
Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island as well as the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season.

His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

For more on Steven and his writing, visit his website and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by today. What do you think the conversation would be like between two brothers (or sisters) trapped in a car on an extended road trip?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

He Gave Me Barn Cats {+ Giveaway}


I’m delighted today to welcome author Maria Santomasso-Hyde to Thoughts in Progress today as part of her HE GAVE ME BARN CATS Blog Tour with MC Book Tours.

Her book is being released today (March 14) by Dancing Lemur Press. In celebration of the tour, I’m sharing my thoughts on this charming book. In addition, you can enter to win your own copy of Maria’s book. Please see the end of the post for more giveaway details.

◊ He Gave Me BARN CATS
◊ by Maria Santomass0-Hyde
◊ Published by Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
◊ Available March 14, 2017
◊ $10.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 134 pages
◊ Genres: Christian Fiction/Christian Life-Death, Grief, Bereavement
◊ Print ISBN 978-1-939844-21-7
◊ eBook ISBN 978-1-939844-22-4
◊ Order through Ingram, Follett Library Resources, or from the publisher
◊ $3.99 eBook available in all formats

Inspired by true events...

        Maria has cared for her very ill mother for many years. Her burdens are heavy, causing a sadness bordering on darkness.  When she discovers her historic barn is now home to a mother cat and kittens, she feels lighter than she has in years. As the kittens grow, they teach her as only animals can do.
          Then tragedy strikes. As Maria loses her family, the darkness envelopes her like the heavy fog that blankets her Blue Ridge Mountain home each morning. She creates a scorecard:  God: 9, Maria: 0.  Her questions turn into anger at God.  She searches to find answers as to why her loving God would take away so much in such a short time.
          How will she learn to trust again? Can the kittens in her barn help her heal?


Here are my thoughts.

This is a tender story about love, loss, grief, and hope. The author uses a variety of viewpoints to share her story. While the story does go back and forth from the thoughts of these various viewpoints, readers are able to follow without any problem.

The author shares her emotional journey at losing her elderly mother after having taken care of her for many years. During this journey the author finds hope, loss, and happiness through numerous animals that she and her husband share their lives with.

If you’ve ever care for a loved one during a lengthy illness, this book will touch your heart. The comfort and hope the author finds from the animals around her will resonate with those who have four-legged fur babies as part of their family.

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is filled with emotions. Readers will be able to relate on many levels to the ups and downs the author encounters throughout this story. If you’re the least bit tender-hearted, don’t be surprised if you need a tissue or two before the story ends.

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


HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available for pre-order in print format at following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Everything Cats, Foyles, and Chapters-Indigo.

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available for order in eBook format at the following sites: Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Amazon.

Be sure to add HE GAVE ME BARN CATS to your shelf on Goodreads.

Author Maria Santomasso-Hyde
Formerly a newspaper reporter, Maria Santomasso-Hyde now owns Alta Vista Fine Art Gallery.

She lives in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, with her husband, Lee, and The Queen of the Universe (Roma, their Black Cat) … and other Black Cats who decide to move in.

For more on Maria, visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Come join the blog tour and learn more about Maria and HE GAVE ME BARN CATS by visiting the following blog:

March 8 - Rockin' Book Reviews - Guest Post
March 10 - Defending The Pen - Excerpt
March 13 - Reviews by Crystal - Q&A
Alex J. Cavanaugh - Guest Post
March 14 - Thoughts in Progress - Review
March 15 -
March 16 - A Bluestocking's Place - Excerpt
deal sharing aunt - Review
March 17 - Juneta @ Writer's Gambit - Q&A
March 20 - The Story of a Writer - Feature
CBY Book Club - Excerpt
March 21 - bookworm1102 - Excerpt
Storey Book Reviews - Excerpt
Celticlady's Reviews - Feature

This is a tour-wide giveaway for two (2) print copies (U.S only) and two (2) eBooks (international). To enter just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient.

Thanks for stopping by today during Maria’s visit. Do you think animals helps us in times of stress and loss? Do you think animals are a gift from God?