Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day – giveaway winner

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Jennifertarheelreader.  Congratulations, Jennifer!!  You have won an ARC copy of Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day.  I will send you an email.

Thanks to everyone who participated. If you didn’t win this time, don’t despair. There will be more to come.

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We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 5-stars

EXCELLENT writing!! This story is a gradual build-up. I felt like the writer was taking me on a leisurely stroll through time, casually relating events in the lives of three women, blood relatives. As we continued to walk along I could feel the tension mounting until it reached a crescendo, and I couldn’t bear to abandon it until I turned the last adventure-filled page!

We Hope for Better Things is set in and around Detroit, MI, and follows a triple timeline—Lapeer County, 1861 (civil war); the 1960’s (civil rights movement and Detroit riots); and modern day Detroit.

When Journalist, Elizabeth Balsam, is given a camera and the promise of some old photographs to deliver to a great aunt she’s never known, by a black man who claims his uncle was married to her aunt, her interest is piqued. The photos, which were allegedly taken during the ‘67 Detroit riots, are just the thing Elizabeth could use to develop the kind of story that aligns with her reputation as one who exposes corruption and neglect. Recently fired, Elizabeth is eager to get her hands on the elusive photographs, but first she has to visit with their rightful owner, her old great aunt, Nora Balsam. Nora lives in the old family house in Lapeer County, Michigan, which was also the home of Nora’s great-grandmother, Mary Balsam. All three women, Mary, Nora and Elizabeth, are linked by blood, and as Elizabeth stays on at the Lapeer house and gets to know Nora through the many objects in her home, where she finds treasures from the attic to the cellar, she’s intrigued. What does it all mean? Close-lipped thus far, Elizabeth hopes that in time Nora will open up and contribute to her story in her own words. As time goes on, and Nora starts talking, secrets about the past overshadow Elizabeth’s career ambitions and she becomes more determined to devote herself to contributing to her family’s legacy.

Forbidden relationships, racism, secrets, lies, betrayals, tragedy. Yup, it’s all in there, cleverly constructed with each little fragment eventually coming together to form a unique, atmospheric tale that was impressive. I couldn’t believe this was the author’s first book.

Here’s another thing that I loved. Although there were tumultuous scenes and turbulent times depicted, there was not one profane word or gruesome account. That’s what I call excellent writing. When I can envision what a riot must be like through dialog or prose, without having it described to me in expletives, I consider that the mark of a great writer. Very highly recommended.

Thank you, Revell Books, for a complimentary copy of We Hope for Better Things. All opinions expressed about it are my own.

Thanks for reading!! 😊

Confessions of a Mediocre Widow by Catherine Tidd (Audiobook – Tantor Audio)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5-stars

**TOP PICK**

I have to admit that based on the cover I didn’t know this book was non-fiction. It quickly became apparent to me that it was. This is an emotional read that left me with a tear-stained face several times. It’s one of the best memoirs I’ve read thus far.

Brad Tidd, thirty-four, could not have known when he left his house one morning in 2007 that a single decision would immediately change his life, and then end it. Catherine, his wife, thirty-one, and the mother of their three small children, would spend her eleventh wedding anniversary planning her husband’s funeral. She details the agony of that experience, along with the surreal feelings that followed her husband’s sudden death and the ways it affected her life. She chronicles the many stages of grief she experienced, and she does it candidly and in a poignant, yet inspiring way.

Tidd talks about many pertinent aspects relating to the grieving process, and gives excellent advice to widows, as well as to friends, relatives and associates of widows, emphasizing what to say, what to avoid saying, and how to help. I found her advice very practical and beneficial since I’ve had the awkward experience of feeling at a loss for words when speaking with newly widowed friends. She recites her journey through the beginning stages of widowhood, and shares her experiences and feelings about dating, her in-laws, counseling, anxiety, the widow stigma and much more.

This book had a profound effect on me. As I listened to the author recount the sudden loss of her husband it shook me to my core and made me uncomfortable. It forced me to think about what it might be like to lose my own husband, or for him to lose me, a thought I try to avoid. My heart went out to Catherine because she was so young when it happened to her, and it was totally unexpected. Having to plan a funeral, deal with feelings of intense loss, raise three children under the age of five, alone, and become the sole breadwinner after having been out of the workforce for several years would feel overwhelming to anyone. And yet, she eventually confronted her fears, got her life in order and triumphed.

Confessions of a mediocre widow was gripping, moving and memorable. If you’re a widow, young or old, this book will likely resonate with you and stir up many raw emotions. If you have not yet come to terms with your widowhood status, this book might be a bit difficult for you to get through, but I can say confidently that it will be informative and affirming as well. For the rest of us, especially those who are married, if you read this book you will look at your spouse in a very different way. I felt the need to make a conscious decision not to take any days that I share with my husband for granted. Very highly recommended.

After reading this book, as regards the title, Confessions of a Mediocre Widow, I’m convinced that the author is anything but.

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Narrator – Celeste Oliva: I cannot think of a better narrator for this book. Celeste Oliva’s voice was composed, mellow, and pleasant to listen to; comforting, but not weak. Many times I had to remind myself that the voice was that of a narrator and not the author herself. She sounded so convincing, as though she was telling her own personal story. She was appropriately animated when necessary, which brought the author’s feelings to life. Excellent!!

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Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a complimentary download of Confessions of a Mediocre Widow. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day – REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 4 stars

When bike shop owner, Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida, stumbles over handyman Jake Lacey’s body on the path behind her micro-home on Cape Cod, suspicion initially falls on her. Mac’s frustration with Jake over the low-standard job he did on her roof repair raised the eyebrows of Westham Police Chief, Victoria Laitinen. Might Mac’s dissatisfaction from the shoddy roof job be a motive for murder? Mac is not overly concerned about proving her own innocence. But how can she explain away the murder weapon that belongs to her brother, Derrick? Sure, Derrick’s had some alcohol problems in the past, but that doesn’t make him a killer. And he’s over all of that now….isn’t he? As Mac and the Cozy Capers book group, of which she is a part of, start piecing together clues in the hopes of finding out who murdered Jake, Mac learns things about her brother that raises concerns about his innocence. Could Derrick really do such a thing? Mac’s sleuthing, along with help from the Cozy Capers, directs her attention to a few individuals who may have had a motive for wanting Jake out of the picture, for good. But can she find out which one?

The Cape Cod setting, plausible suspects and little red herrings kept me guessing and jumping from suspect to suspect trying to identify the culprit. The author’s menagerie of characters was an indication that she heartily embraces diversity in many forms. There might have been a little over-eagerness to portray this, but it made for interesting reading. There’s an African grey parrot named Belle that I loved, and the descriptions of Cape Cod made me want to go there.

Murder on Cape Cod is a refreshing start to a new series.

Thank you, Kensington Publishing, for a complimentary copy of Murder on Cape Cod. All opinions expressed about it are my own.

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**GIVEAWAY**

Thanks to the publisher I have an extra ARC copy of Murder on Cape Cod to give away. (It is currently being sold exclusively at Barnes & Noble.)

Comment below for a chance to win. U.S. residents only. 😔 Winner will be announced on 1/18/19.

Amy by James Renner (Audiobook – Tantor Audio)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars

This book is about a young reporter’s unceasing quest to find out what happened to Amy Mihaljevic.

Amy Mihaljevic disappeared in 1989 when she was ten years old. In early 1990 her body was found. James Renner, around the same age as Amy at the time, had been following the story about the cute little girl with the side ponytail. When Amy’s body was found James was devastated. The perpetrator was never caught. Sixteen years later, James, now a fledgling reporter for Scene magazine, revisits the story about Amy, hoping to uncover what really happened to her. As he gathers information from family members, friends and detectives who worked on the case, James quickly discovers there were a number of viable suspects who walked away, a few of them still living, and that one of them could be responsible for Amy’s death. As his investigation intensifies and he tracks down and interviews some of the suspects, along with those who knew them, James is struck by the deviance and depravity that surrounds him, and he becomes obsessed with finding Amy’s abductor.

James Renner’s tenacity in pursuing the Amy Mihaljevic case was captivating. Although a fledgling reporter at the time, Renner’s interviewing techniques were impressive. He cautiously spoke with anyone he could find that was connected to the case or considered a suspect, regardless of the danger to his own life. Each new chapter seemed to present another suspect or perspective regarding what happened to Amy, and I couldn’t stop listening to this book until I’d devoured the entire second half in one sitting. The suspense was such that I couldn’t tear myself away from it. There were real-life bogeymen, conspiracy theories, cover-ups, and almost too many suspects to keep straight. Some of it was very sad too though, like the impact that Amy’s death had on her mother, Margaret. She’d appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show in 1992—the show was about unsolved child murders. Margaret had a rough go of it after Amy died. I won’t divulge what happened to her, but it was sad.

It’s fascinating to me how some seemingly ordinary people are really cold, calculating, and manipulative at their core; capable of committing heinous crimes. People we see in restaurants or who we have casual conversations with as we go about our daily lives are these same people. It’s frightful imagining the number of disturbed individuals who lurk among us. Renner’s book exposes us to some of the personalities of such characters.

This book was compelling. In the end, I was hoping to learn that justice had been served for little Amy, but it was not to be. I didn’t receive the closure that I thought was sure to come. The investigation is still ongoing nearly thirty years later. Nevertheless, the story gripped me, enlightened me and educated me in a way that I won’t easily forget.

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a free download of AMY, by James Renner. The author, whose voice is somewhat monotone but serene and welcoming at the same time, did a great job narrating his book.

Small Town Rumors by Carolyn Brown

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 4.5 stars

What do you get when you have a small town full of busybodies? Rumors and gossip that spread like lightening. And in small-town Bloom, TX, the folks thrive on them. So when Jennie Sue Baker, daughter of wealthy businessman, Dill Baker, and snooty southern belle, Charlotte Baker, is seen getting off of a Greyhound bus looking ratty and carrying a single suitcase, rumors start flying. What happened to her charmed life in NY, and why is she back in Bloom? Opinions vary about Jennie Sue. Some think she’s a spoiled brat who deserves to know what it feels like to suffer adversity. Others see her as a loving, caring individual who’s nothing like her stuck-up, snobbish mother who’s more interested in keeping up appearances than she is of people. Who’s right?

Cricket Lawson, a farmer’s daughter who grew up alongside Jennie Sue, chooses to despise her and doesn’t mind letting her know.

Jennie Sue was like….

Cricket’s brother, Rick, disagrees with his sister’s assessment of Jennie Sue. In fact, Rick has always had a bit of a crush on her.

There’s one thing that everyone living has in common whether they’re good, bad, rich or poor—unforeseen occurrences that can change our circumstances in an instant. And when that inevitably happens, to Jennie Sue and others, everyone’s true colors come to the fore.

There’s much to love about this book. The small-town setting where everybody knows your name (and situation🙄); the highly developed characters, including my favorites, a pair of feisty, sassy old sisters (octogenarians) who have Jennie Sue’s back; life-altering tragedies and redemption.

I chose this book because of the title, cover and positive reviews. And thanks to Amazon’s offering me a 3-month Kindle Unlimited trial for 0.99¢ a month that I couldn’t pass up, I was able to download both the e-book and audiobook for my reading and listening pleasure. 😌 This was a great way for me to discover a new author, Carolyn Brown, and I’m glad I took a chance on her. I see more of her books in my future.

Thanks for visiting! 😊

Dangling By A Thread by Lea Wait (Audiobook – Tantor Audio)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 – 4.5 stars

Angie Curtis, owner of Mainely Needlepoint, is intrigued by a mysterious loner, Jesse Lockhart, whom some refer to as The Solitary. He lives on isolated Kings Island, alone, and occasionally travels into Haven Harbor for his mail and other necessities. Mainely Needlepointer, Dave Percy, seems to be a friend of The Solitary, but when Angie enquirers about him, Dave Is elusive about the man. One thing’s for sure, Jesse isn’t enthused about anyone who tries to invade his island. He’s protective of the great cormorants that nest there, and won’t have them disturbed by intruders, especially not rich ones who want to buy his island right out from under him. There are a few who would gain from the sale of Jesse’s island. So when Jesse turns up dead, Angie is intent on keeping Jesse’s dream alive of protecting the birds, and of finding out who murdered him.

Dangling By A Thread is another solid mystery by Lea Wait that I enjoyed. In addition to the suspense leading up to the culprit, I was enlightened by the nesting habits of great cormorants and the uniqueness of their wings.

An additional delight of this series is that each new chapter opens with brief facts about an ancient needle-pointer and their work. I looked forward to learning about each and every one.

You can never go wrong with a Mainely Needlepoint Mystery, and this one is no exception.

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Christina Delaine has the perfect voice, pitch and pace for narrating this series. I always enjoy listening to her.

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a complimentary download of Dangling By A Thread. All opinions expressed about it are my own.

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