Thursday Review: Death of a Dapper Snowman and more from James Bond

This week I’m reviewing two fast and funny stories.

Death of a Dapper Snowman (Stormy Day Mystery, Book 1)

by Angela Pepper

The opening of this story is AMAZING. Pepper pulled me slowly into her tale and then 51E1msNhz2Lbam, knocked me off my reading chair with a shocking event. I don’t want to give away the plot, but she hooked me.

Stormy Day is a likable heroine, the kind you want to hang out with. She left her big-city job to return to her hometown to help her dad recuperate from hip surgery and ease into retirement. The characters Stormy meets are so richly drawn the town becomes very real.

And then there’s the cat, Jeffrey. He’s adorable and indispensable.

The mystery is so well plotted  I didn’t figure it out until the end. I highly recommend it to readers who love cozy mysteries. (5 stars).

Click the cover for the Amazon link. Last I looked it was free.

Secret Bond (Jamie Bond Mysteries Book 2)

by Gemma Halliday and Jennifer Fischello

Jamie Bond runs a detective agency, which mostly tracks down cheating spouses, but this time the main case is personal. The gun used to shoot her father, Derek, three years ago has been found. In order to protect her, he hasn’t told her what really happened. Slowly she unravels the truth and almost gets herself killed.

51Gcb9mXOjLThe two secondary plot lines add a lot of humor. One involves a nudist colony and the other requires her best friend Danny (who we all know wants to be more than a best friend, and who is as straight as they come) posing as a gay guy. Lots of jokes, and situational humor.

Adding to the bedlam is an emerging love triangle between Jamie, her best friend Danny and the grief-stricken DA Aiden. I’m personally rooting for Danny, but I’m not at all sure he’ll win and of course, I have to read the next story to find out.

Its’ the second Bond mystery I’ve read and I’m eager to start a third.

I strongly recommend it for people who like humorous cozies, with Janet Evanovich-like humor. (5 stars)

Click the cover to get the Amazon link.


Thursday Review: The Girl in the Mayan Tomb


If you like the adventures of Indiana Jones, you’ll love this book. It’s an action-packed archeological thriller, filled with strong, well-defined characters that had me sitting on the edge of my seat from the first word to the last. There are many things I like about this story, but I’ll focus on one. The story opens when a young boy discovers the location of an ancient archeological site; that event captured my imagination and from there I was hooked.

I’m looking forward to reading more in Kevin Tumlinson’s,  Dan Kotler series.  I highly recommend The Girl in the Mayan Tomb to readers who like thrilling, archeological adventures.

Amazon Link

Thursday Review: Robyn: A Christmas Bride

Robyn: A Christmas Bride

(Book 9 in the Brides of Noelle  Series)

by Jacqui Nelson

51ceT3gOvKLJacqui Nelson swept me away to the small town of Noelle, Colorado in the year 1877, The love affair between Welsh tomboy Robyn Llewlyn and Max Peregrin isn’t happening fast enough for Robyn, so she decides to become more ladylike, thinking that will surely snare his heart. These two have a torturous time of it. We know they love each other and we suspect that deep down in their hearts they know that too, but their reluctance to share their true feelings keeps them apart. The question becomes, will another bachelor steel Robyn away from Max?

The characters in this story are strong and bold. Grampa Gus is once again my favorite. His gruff manner hides a soft and endearing heart. Robyn’s three big brothers are great fun and the women of Noelle create a perfect tableau.

I loved the story, and I highly recommend it for readers who like sweet romances with happy endings that leave you with the feeling that all is right in the world. (5 stars)

Click on cover for Amazon link.

Thursday Review: The Banshee of Castle Muirn and Sherlock Holmes

51dEAkJqOTLThe Banshee of Castle Muirn

by Sheila Currie

Sheila Currie’s debut novel, The Banshee of Castle Muirn, is a romantic fantasy steeped in Celtic lore. Currie skillfully drew me into the story with a rich setting, twisting myth, legend and historical detail into a magnificent crucible for love. It is the story of a young woman with the powers of a Banshee living in a troubled time. She would like to live a simple life with the man she loves, but all the forces are against her. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and recommend it to readers who enjoy Scottish historical romance.

Buy Link


Sherlock Holmes and the case of Brash Blonde

by Gemma Halliday & Kelly Rey

This is the second book by Gemma Halliday that I’ve read. While I believe it’s targetted to51xIQsDHsXL a younger audience, I loved it. I doubled over with laughter when the heroine interrogates a yoga instructor from the sixties and worries about twisting her pancreas. Omigosh, these ladies can write. The mystery is intricately woven with a heavy dose of red herrings. The characters jump off the page. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes witty, cozy mysteries.

Buy Link

Thursday Reviews: 2 Must-Reads for Authors

51Vlvna9vLLSix Figure Author

by Chis Fox

Why am I reviewing a favorite book, authors already love? Well, I’m doing it, on the off-chance, someone out there hasn’t heard of it. To be honest, the tile put me off for some time. It sounded too  “hard-sell” to me. But it’s not that kind of book. Trust me.

Chris Fox presents a fact-based discussion of how a six-figure author uses data to sell books, a must read if you’re in the business of selling books. Fox begins by explaining how Amazon, a “data-driven company,” sells books, ” Amazon is effectively, building an artificial intelligence capable of determining what you will buy.” It’s been doing this for years. Since it knows what each customer wants, all you have to do is provide it with the information about who wants your book. Basically, “…teach Amazon to identify your target audience.” You do this by nurturing a group of dedicated readers who love your stories. The rest of Fox’s book is a discussion of how to do this.

Buy Link

Strangers to Superfans

by David Gaughran

You’ve heard of “the hero’s journey,” a term coined by Joseph Campbell, describing the 51yF6BPbYsLepic tale of the heroes in stories. Gaughran uses the journey metaphor to describe  “the reader’s journey,” from the moment she discovers your book until she becomes a superfan. He details a six-stage process (i.e., discovery, visibility, consideration, purchase, and advocacy). While most writers, particularly new ones, focus on the first stage–getting noticed–he advises paying attention to each stage so that we keep readers interested in our books and so they tell other readers how great they are. Each stage, he claims, gets trickier.

Gaughran advises writing to market, knowing your genre, targeting your readers and nurturing your relationship with them and using the correct metadata to make your book stand out.

I highly recommend this book for all authors.

Buy Link


An “Excellent” #Review from InD’tale Magazine

The Feb edition of InD’tale Magazine posted an excellent review for Cheating Death, my anthology of Gambling Ghost stories.

Here are some highlights:

“… In four stand-alone stories four women interact with the teahouse ghosts with varying degrees of romance, humour and action… Each story has a different twist, and no two stories end the same. Due to the length and quick pace, most stories begin and end with a bang one way or another … Overall lovers of paranormal romances, and bad boy ghosts, should enjoy everything this anthology has to offer.”

Reviewed by Sarah E. Bradley


A Top Amazon Reviewer!!! Reviews Midnight Magic

Midnight Magic got the most amazing five star review. I may not breathe for a week:

Dripping with atmosphere and personality

VINE VOICEon November 13, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I’ve been involved in the Amazon Top Reviewer community for years, and in the course of that I’ve been exposed to dozens and dozens of self-published books by hopeful nascent authors. Sadly, most of those efforts are poorly written messes full of bad writing — comprising every sort of mistake you can imagine.

A few are jewels in the rough, where I enjoy the book, and when possible and I think the author would like the feedback, I note a few things that might help improve their writing.

Exactly four times in eight years of exploring self-published authors, I’ve come across work that the NY houses should have found and latched on to.

Jo-Ann Carson is my fourth discovery for that list.

Midnight Magic is exquisitely executed prose. I’ve done a lot of writing, and some people tell me that I’m a pretty good writer. But I would shrink with trepidation from the prospect of writing a scene that simultaneously gives a reader shivering goosebumps and makes them chuckle. That’s talent.

Now, along with that talent for scene crafting comes a ripping good story, with imaginative characters and settings which breathe life fully into the author’s make-believe world(s). I’d be tempted to enumerate some of the interesting and amusing touches in the book, but it would be a disservice. I know from my own experience that you’ll much more enjoy coming across those interesting surprises on your own.

We have in Midnight Magic an appealing heroine, metaphysical friends and encounters, nasty creatures, and humorous relationships that I won’t detail per my preceding paragraph. LOL The story immediately grabbed me, and it didn’t let up. Haunted houses have received countless treatments, and you’ll quickly encounter one here that won’t remind you that you’ve read about them before.

I found everything here to be fresh and inventive, and I’m most certainly looking forward to more about these characters and from this author.

Well done, and certainly recommended.

Writers dream of finding readers who appreciate their work. To find one that is also a selected Amazon reviewer (i.e., a Vine Voice) is a dream come through. I am so grateful.

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