Cookies and Milk by Shawn Amos

Cookies & Milk

by

Shawn Amos

Book Info

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Publishing Date: May 24, 2022

It’s a summer of family, friendship, and fun fiascos in this semi-autobiographical novel that’s as irresistible as a fresh-baked cookie.

Eleven-year-old Ellis Johnson dreamed of spending the summer of 1976 hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing his harmonica. Instead, he’ll be sleeping on a lumpy pullout in Dad’s sad little post-divorce bungalow and helping bring Dad’s latest far-fetched, sure-to-fail idea to life: opening the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store. They have six weeks to perfect their recipe, get a ramshackle A-frame on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard into tip-top shape, and bring in customers.

But of course, nothing is as easy as Dad makes it sound, even with Grandma along for the ride. Like she says, they have to GIT—get it together—and make things work. Along the way, Ellis discovers a family mystery he is determined to solve, the power of community, and new faith in himself.

Partially based on Shawn Amos’s own experiences growing up the son of Wally “Famous” Amos in a mostly white area, and packed with humor, heart, and fun illustrations, this debut novel sings with the joy of self-discovery, unconditional love, and belonging.

5 Stars!

A unique story of growing up in the mid-70s that is still relatable today – to both the young and the young at heart.

In Cookies and Milk, Shawn Amos relates the feel of the middle school years during the mid-1970s perfectly. His main character, Ellis Johnson, is looking forward to a great summer and turning 12, spending time with his best friend, Alex, listening to their favorite music, and just being kids. Didn’t we all, and wouldn’t we still? You can feel his disappointment and restlessness when things don’t go as planned.

I love how he was able to adapt and “get it together,” wanting to make his father’s dream come true but still being a little grumpy about the whole thing. His introduction to Wishbone was a great plotline, and I never expected where this eventually led, but it was an extremely satisfying surprise. I loved Grandma with her fearsome cane and intriguing slips of paper with the secret acronyms for Ellis and his father to puzzle out. And I so wanted everything to go right for his father from the very start. I enjoyed the supporting characters that arose out of the Sunset Boulevard neighborhoods. They were a great mix of people in various circumstances, and I loved that they formed a sort of “found” family.

My favorite part of the story was Ellis’s increased exposure to his family’s culture, something he really missed out on growing up in a primarily white neighborhood and school. He was at the perfect age to learn and soak up the views and lifestyles different from his small family. The author wonderfully conveyed Ellis’s excitement and the wonder he felt.

With its blend of historical fiction, life in the 70s, and family mystery, I recommend COOKIES AND MILK to middle-grade readers and those with an interest in music (contemporary of the time and the blues from even earlier decades), and since it is semi-autobiographical, to those who enjoy some excellent chocolate chip cookies.

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Shawn Amos is a world-renowned Blues musician who grew up the son of Wally Amos, aka Famous Amos: a pop culture icon, cookie mogul, and household name to this day. When Shawn’s not touring or recording as The Reverend Shawn Amos, he works as a partner at NYC communications firm Hudson Cutler. He is also a divorced father of three children, with whom he enjoys baking. This is his first novel.

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Deathwish (Superhero, #2) by Justin Richman

Fast-paced and exciting, Adam’s a regular guy with a superhuman ability and his story may even be better than the super series debut.

Adam’s body has the unexplainable ability to heal itself almost instantaneously, and he’s been supplementing his income from his retail position by fighting for money in the alley behind his best friend’s bar. But one night after an encounter in Decker City with the vigilante crimefighter, known as The Gray Hood, he begins to consider the possibility that he, too, could put his special ability to better use. After he loses his day job, he goes on a ride-along with a police friend, Lt. Shane Cranston, and he’s smitten: he wants to fight crime.

At this time, Decker City is a hotbed of violence and criminal activity but Adam’s hometown, nearby Mapleton, is fairly quiet until Adam and Shane get involved in some of Decker City’s investigations. Suddenly, both their lives are on the line and Adam is finding out firsthand how much damage his body can take and still come back.

Deathwish is the second novel in author Justin Richman’s great new Superhero series, and I believe it is even better than his debut outing. It’s a fast-paced, exciting, and entertaining story about a regular guy with a superhuman ability to instantly heal even his most grievous wounds. Adam was dealt a tough hand when the ability was discovered and has really been on his own his whole life, and I really liked the clever and snarky guy, even his (at times) “Dad joke” dialogue. He’s an extrovert and ready to take action, shake things up, and make things work. I loved that he jumped into action even as bullets were flying, knowing absolutely nothing about what he was doing or heading into. I laughed out loud quite a bit and would have read this book cover to cover in one sitting if I hadn’t had to deal with real life.

As in Richman’s first Superhero book, there are some great secondary and supporting characters. Shane Cranston, Adam’s friendly connection in the Mapleton PD, is a nice guy who is good at this job and genuinely tries to help the wayward Adam find his way. The same can be said for Adam’s best friend, Chuck, who is the only other person that knows Adam’s secret. I liked Adam’s flirtation with Kate Phillips and would love to see that go somewhere for Adam. However, there is a particularly interesting, lock-picking officer, Liz McKenzie, that would be fun to know better.

I also enjoyed the crossover between this and book one, The Silver Hood. Usually series will maintain the same setting throughout, but in the second Superhero book, we’re actually in a nearby city. It was interesting to see the towns all used the same radio dispatcher until Decker City got so busy and crime-riddled that they had to set up a separate system. It was reasonably true-to-life regarding the lack of cooperation and exchange of information that can arise between agencies. I appreciated that the author didn’t let Shane and Adam “poach” on Decker City’s jurisdiction without the DC PD initially asking for assistance and later the two rightfully anticipating repercussions for overstepping.

The action in the story is steady with exciting, almost frantic moments regularly kicking the pace up a notch (to “Eleven”). A major plot twist made me exclaim aloud; I was that surprised. There is a bit of a cliffhanger ending, and there are still some shadowy things and people lurking in the background that predicts this author has much more planned! There is also an intriguing explanation for how Adam acquired his unique healing ability.

With its entertaining premise and non-stop excitement and action, I recommend DEATHWISH to readers who enjoy fantastic superhero tales. (This book has some death and destruction and drinking, but no drugs or “kissing scenes,” if that is a consideration for sharing with a younger audience.)

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from Reedsy Discovery.

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The Silver Hood (Superhero, #1) by Justin Richman

It is a very entertaining story of a regular guy who gains a superpower and uses it to fight crime and help his hometown.

Raised by his grandfather after the loss of his parents, Devin Shephard has lived in Decker City all his life. But the hometown he loves has been plagued by wave after wave of violence and crime, businesses are shuttering, and fearful residents are fleeing to safer towns. The police are critically understaffed, and the city is quickly headed to destruction.

Devin has worked hard for where he is in life. He’s now a successful financial manager at TruGuard Investments. He is looking forward to a comfortable future, hopefully, including Lara, his best friend, and the girl he’s secretly loved for years. One night, driving home after a hockey game in the city, Devin’s car is hit by another and ends up plummeting off the roadway and into the river. Unconscious, he is in the submerged vehicle until he’s rescued by emergency personnel. Miraculously, he survives being underwater for an estimated 20 minutes. But as he recovers, he discovers something in his brain was affected. He is now able to move objects with his mind!

Devin secretly decides to put his newfound powers to good use. After improving his fighting abilities and with his grandfather at his side, he dons a gray hoodie to hide his features and heads out into the city at night to wage his only personal war on the criminals destroying his beloved hometown.

The Silver Hood was an entertaining story of a regular guy gaining a superpower and using it to better his community. The book was easy-to-read and really held my interest as it offered a great back story for Devin and included a clean and sweet romance. I liked the nerdy Devin a lot, but my favorite character has to be his grandfather. I enjoyed their scenes together the most.

Love-interest Lara was a pleasant surprise. She’s sweet, attractive, and intelligent. I enjoyed their long friendship, and its slow transformation to something more, both characters worrying about ruining a perfectly good friendship should things not work out. Their coworker, Tommy, was funny but aggravating (in a fun way)! I could relate to both Lara and Devin’s ambivalent feelings about him.

As mentioned previously, there is a clean and sweet romance in the plot, but I wouldn’t label The Silver Hood as a “kissing book,” as they call it in The Princess Bride. However, there is drinking and drug use in the story if that is a consideration, especially for those wanting to share this with a younger reader. The book is classified as Sci-fi/Fantasy but also contains a good mystery. With its fun premise, likable characters, and fast-paced action, I recommend THE SILVER HOOD to readers that enjoy superhero stories.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a review copy from the author through Reedsy Discovery.

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was a delightful, addictive story of second chance romance and a family dealing with changes in the makeup of the family order.

After the death of his wife of many years, Major Ernest Pettigrew soldiered on with his orderly life of retirement in the English countryside village of Edgecombe St. Mary. He found pleasure in gardening, maintaining the family home, playing golf with old friends at the local club, and looked forward to a bit of hunting during the season. When his younger brother passed away unexpectedly, he was shocked and grieved but anticipated finally receiving the completed legacy from their father’s estate – his brother’s half of a matched pair of Churchill rifles. Each had agreed to leave the other their rifle upon their death. Unfortunately, his sister-in-law had other plans. She and her daughter and Ernest’s son wanted Ernest to immediately sell the Churchills as a pair to reap a higher profit.

Meanwhile, the major had struck up an acquaintance with the local village shop owner, Mrs. Jasmina Ali, and in time had discovered they shared many common interests, views, and opinions. But the villagers of Edgecombe St. Mary and the golf club members viewed Mrs. Ali as a foreigner and as a shopkeeper of a lower class than themselves, littering the path of their budding relationship with prejudice and many tiresome stumbling blocks. In addition, Mrs. Ali’s own extended family, especially her nephew, Abdul Wahid, who she wanted to take over the shop, expressed their disapproval of her relationship with the English major.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was a delightful, addictive story: one I didn’t want to put down until it was done. The major is such a good guy! Yes, he is a little strait-laced and uptight, but he means well and tries hard. Jasmina Ali is a lovely woman, someone I would love to know in real life. Their growing affection for each other was wonderful, and I rooted for them to work out from the start.

The author has excellent supporting characters, especially Grace, Abdul Wahid, Roger, and Sandy. However, I enjoyed the family of caterers with their older family members still working in the business they founded quite a lot.

I felt the whole Mughal-themed dinner dance was a recipe for disaster, and I was not disappointed with the results. Abdul Wahid was a source of surprises, though, throughout. One of my favorite exchanges occurred between him and the major.

                “But I must ask you. Do you really understand what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman?”

                “My dear boy,” said the major. “Are there any other kind?”

I was on the edge of my seat during the major’s confrontation with Abdul Wahid at the cliffs in the park.

I recommend MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND to fiction readers who enjoy stories set in small English villages, tales of different cultures trying to find their comfort zone in established communities, second chances at romance, and family, both the kind you’re born into and those you find and form later in life.

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Giveaway, Blog Tour, & Review: Washed in the Blood by Shelton L. Williams

WASHED IN THE BLOOD

by

SHELTON L. WILLIAMS

Genre: Memoir / Biography / True Crime

NEWLY UPDATED!

Date of Publication: February 17, 2022

Number of Pages: 175 pages 

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The true story behind the Kiss and Kill murder in Texas in 1961. Author Larry King says: Washed in the Blood is a page-turning read about the time–early 1960s–and place–Odessa, Texas–during its rowdy oil boom days when violence often rode the range. It is at once an examination of local mores and foibles, piety and hypocrisy and an inside-look at the famed ‘Kiss and Kill’ murder of a 17-year-old would-be actress, Betty Jean Williams, whose ghost is said to haunt the Odessa High School campus to this very day.

Washed in the Blood gives Betty Williams, the victim of the Kiss and Kill murder, a voice!

Washed in the Blood is an excellent and heartfelt tribute to the author’s cousin, Betty Williams, who was tragically killed at the age of 17 by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Mack Herring. The book is a memoir of the cousins growing up together in the West Texas oil patch of Odessa during the 1950s and early 60s, where football was KING and anything else not worthy of notice. It was on the cusp of the hippie counterculture and before women’s lib. It is a tale of a young man and woman coming-of-age, a shattering of innocent belief in our justice system, and a ghost story. I was utterly enthralled by Shelton L. Williams’ unfolding tale of the events of that time, now 60 years in the past.

The newspapers, radio, and television of the time focused on the young man that ended Betty’s life. Here, the author tells the victim’s side of the story, at least what he knows of it, including his personal memories and involvement in the events surrounding his cousin’s death; he was there after all. Her death continues to resonate with young women even today.

After Betty’s death, Williams continued to pursue the answers to questions that remained after the investigation and the trial about what and why things had gone as they did. He talked to an astonishing number of people that may have held a piece to this enduring puzzle. His method of relating this story made it feel like these events had happened only yesterday. I appreciated how he identified the different individuals involved at the time, their roles, and his thoughts at the time and now, years later, after a lot of thought and life experience has made their impact. Many were just kids from school and friends he or Betty hung out with or dated. Her death affected so many more people than you’d suppose until you stopped to think. And the impact is still felt today.

Washed in the Blood presents the reader with a sharply focused picture of life at that time and in that place, but it is a near-perfect reflection of the concurrent and broader society. He delineates the double standards of conduct acceptable and expected of women, girls, men, and boys. His research into Betty’s life also reveals some of the impacts that those differences had on her, himself, his family, and so many other lives.

At just under 200 pages with accompanying photos and illustrations, this book could be read in just one enthralling sitting. I recommend WASHED IN THE BLOOD to readers who enjoy gritty, honest memoirs, coming-of-age tales, true crime stories, and those set in West Texas in the early 1960s.

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AmazonShelton L. Williams

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions, and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now the three books in the Covey Jencks Mysteries series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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Full Dark House (Bryant & May, #1) by Christopher Fowler

A robust murder mystery and police procedural in which the past comes back to haunt the present.

When a bomb destroyed the London offices of the Peculiar Crimes Unit early one Sunday morning, founder and lead detective Arthur Bryant had been seen already inside, still at work from the night before. Work was Arthur’s life, after all. His long-time partner and second-in-command, John May, was devastated by his sudden death; their personal and working relationship stretched back decades to WWII during the Blitz.

Despite his grief, May pulls himself together, determined to find the bomber and bring them to justice and avenge his friend’s death. His investigation immediately focuses on their current cases. But as he backtracks Bryant’s movements on his last days and the cases he was working on, the clues seem to lead him to London’s the Palace Theatre, the location of May’s very first case with Bryant more than a half-century earlier. Bryant had always been interested in the supernatural; was his death a matter of a ghost from the past returning to wreak death and destruction in the present?

If you’re interested in a puzzling mystery and a realistic story of living in London during the Blitz, Full Dark House is for you. The author recreates wartime London with the populace already amid nightly bombing raids by the Germans, sudden death, destruction, sleepless nights, rationing, and the indomitable spirit of the British people.

The mysteries are intriguing, and the circumstances in the Palace Theatre are palpably tense throughout the book. The murders are pretty unusual and kept me wondering when the next shoe (or body) would drop. I know I’ll have an extra shiver or two the next time I visit a theater.

I enjoyed the two main characters, though; with the complex storylines and two full investigations running, I didn’t get a complete picture of who these men really are. Arthur Bryant is quirky and interested in myriad subjects, willing to experiment, and has a secret personal tragedy in his past. He reminded me of CSI’s Gil Grissom if he’d been operating in 1940s London. John May is the steady, normal one. Together, we are told, they balanced each other out to create a very successful investigating partnership for the Peculiar Crimes Unit. I also liked that some of the supporting characters in the present-day part of the story were the children of former Peculiar Crimes Unit members active at the time of the flashback crime.

However, this book felt long and seemed to drag at times. There were two crimes and two timeframes, and this is the setup for a series, so I’m also feeling it is to be expected, so I plan to read the next book in the series.

I recommend FULL DARK HOUSE to mystery readers that enjoy a full-on, step-by-step investigation in their stories, historical mysteries, or mysteries set in London during WWII or in a theatre setting.

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Giveaway & Blog Tour: Turn to Me by Becky Wade

TURN TO ME
A Misty River Romance
by
BECKY WADE
 
 
Contemporary Romance / Christian Fiction / Clean & Wholesome

 

Date of Publication: May 3, 2022
Number of Pages: 416 pages 
 
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His promise will cost him far more than he
imagined.
 
Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.
 
Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return — by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.
 
As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?
 

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Becky Wade is the 2018 Christy Award Book of the Year winner for True to You. She is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and moved to Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. Her humorous, heart-pounding contemporary romance novels have won three Christy Awards, the Carol Award, the INSPY Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award for Romance. Becky lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three children.
 
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Revelations (Ghost Agents Trilogy, #2) by Nita DeBorde

The entire story is chockful of eye-opening twists and turns and a more appropriate title I cannot possibly imagine!

Months after the events in Galveston, Claire Abelard is back in Boston at Bureau headquarters, giving yet another account of what occurred there. This time, high-level officials from the world headquarters in Paris are present to hear for themselves what had transpired. After Claire answers the same questions asked during the previous three interrogations, the leadership committee is still dragging its feet, unmoved by the disappearances of rogue entities, disbelieving of her evidence that another secret organization known as “The Syndicate” is responsible. Also, rather than supporting her actions to save the rogue ghosts of Galveston, the committee is taking a hardline approach to her unsanctioned activities.

To make matters worse, Claire’s new love interest, Drew Mitchell, a rare Level 5 sensitive with Force Perceptive Acumen, was recruited by the Bureau after the Galveston incidents and is concluding his training regimen in Boston. Bureau leadership is greatly impressed with his abilities and performance. He is almost guaranteed to be assigned to a role at headquarters, ending any chance the two may have at a long-term relationship.

As she agonizes over what to do since the Bureau seems disinclined to get involved in helping the rogues, Claire’s brother, Zach, who is a Bureau VP, asks her to return to headquarters to listen to a plan he’s developed. But Claire also receives a call for help from Jeff Holden, one of the Bureau’s New Orleans agents and an old boyfriend. Something dangerous and weird is happening to the rogue projections down in The Big Easy, and the Bureau’s official answer to the problem is to destroy the rogue spirits!

Revelations is the second book in The Ghost Agents Trilogy by author Nita DeBorde and a more appropriate title I cannot imagine! Nothing is as it first appears and no one is off-limits from having secrets! The entire story is chockful of eye-opening twists and turns! And I really enjoyed getting to see behind the scenes at the Bureau, the Syndicate, and, of course, the dark world of the ghosts.

Claire continues to be a heroine I can root for as she presses ahead in her search for the truth about what’s happening to the rogue projections (the ghosts not under the protection of the Bureau). Her clandestine investigations are the main plotline for everything that occurs.

I loved the Galveston setting of book one, and the change of venue to Boston and New Orleans certainly did not disappoint. The immensely entertaining spirit of Jean Lafitte returns, and the new locations provide a wealth of opportunities for the ghosts of additional historical figures to make appearances. I laughed out loud at some of Paul Revere’s characteristics and mannerisms. The author also slips in interesting and delightful snippets of history as our protagonists investigate their way across these two great cities.

Readers are introduced to several other Bureau figures, adding to the Ghost Agents’ world-building and increasing our understanding of its history, mission, operations, and politics. So much secrecy, suspicion, and surprising loyalty switches all make for an exciting story of danger, hidden agendas, and betrayal, with Claire Abelard, who is only now realizing her own unique abilities, at the center of it all. The book ends at a very exciting point in the story with a cliffhanger ending, so I will be waiting with great anticipation for the resolution and finale in book three.

If you haven’t read Ghost Agents, Revelations might be hard to get into; so much of its story depends on knowledge from the previous novel, but I highly recommend it to fans of book one. I recommend The Ghost Agents Trilogy to readers of mystery fiction who enjoy a paranormal element in their puzzles, especially those who like ghost stories.

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Hour is Come (A Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery, #0.5) by Victoria Tait

A tantalizing beginning for the new Dotty Sayers Mystery series!

When Captain Alasdair Sayers was killed while on a peacekeeping tour in Africa, he left behind a young wife, Dorothy (known as Dotty to all), and two children he’d shared with his former spouse, Angela. The regimental benefits provided Dotty a place to live at the camp and a small annual income; however, the amount earmarked for the children didn’t even cover their school fees, and Angela was beside herself.

Although Angela had left Alasdair for another man, she was bitter that Alasdair, after her desertion, had risen to the officers’ ranks and re-married. She and Dotty had never been friends, but their relationship had never been acrimonious, and she appeals to the younger woman’s naivety and tender emotions for money. She bulldozes Dotty into placing some of Alasdair’s antique furniture for sale in an upcoming auction nearby.

After the auction house men removed the pieces selected for the sale, Dotty realized she’d not completely emptied Alasdair’s bureau and went to the auction location to retrieve the contents. But as she removed one of the bureau drawers, she was thrown off balance and accidentally bumped into a large grandfather clock, and out fell a dead body.

Hour is Come, a generously sized prequel to author Victoria Tait’s Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series, is fast-paced and really fills out the background for Dotty and her family and friends. This is not a historical mystery; Dotty is not THE Dorothy Sayers; she’s a namesake via her marriage to the deceased Captain Sayers.

Frankly, Dotty surprised me. She’s meek, timid, and achingly reserved. She is putty in the hands of Angela, the more worldly, bold, and grasping ex-wife. However, as Dotty’s backstory is revealed, I could easily see how she’d developed into her current condition. She came from a sheltered girlhood home straight into a “father-approved” marriage with an older, set in his ways, rigid army captain, not to mention the shock of becoming a widow at age 28. I almost cheered at the mention of her purchasing the china cups from Akemans Antiques Centre, something her deceased spouse would never have allowed her. Baby steps. I’m glad that as the story progressed, she continued to test her wings, desires, and judgment.

Dotty’s world is initially populated by kind Army wives and regimental staff who also display the tendencies to protect, guide, and try to make decisions for the young woman. She abruptly expands her circle of acquaintances through her unplanned involvement with the antique dealers, including members of the local constabulary. I most enjoyed her burgeoning friendship with the “hot mess” known as Constable Keya Varma and anticipate more adventures between the two.

The Cirencester-area setting was terrific. The author gives us enough detail to picture where the action takes place without bogging down the story with exposition. It felt comfortable, and the descriptions of the lovely scenery, bustling markets, quaint shops, and snippets of its long and storied history were tantalizing; just the place to visit next time you travel.

But speaking of tantalizing, Hour is Come is precisely that. After reading it, I was absolutely sold on continuing this series, ready to begin book one, Fake Death. However, the prequel is only available through the author to subscribers to her free e-newsletter, so sign up and get your download.* I recommend HOUR IS COME to cozy mystery readers who enjoy female protagonists, sleuths with superior baking skills, settings in the Cotswolds, and antiques.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author.

*As of April 13, 2022, HOUR IS COME is available FREE on Bookfunnel here.

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Giveaway, Blog Tour, & Review: The Catch (US Marshals, #3) by Lisa Harris

THE CATCH

U.S. Marshals Series #3
by
LISA HARRIS
Fiction / Christian / Mystery / Suspense / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 5, 2022
Number of Pages: 352 pages 
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Everything hidden is eventually found
After a harrowing attempt on a judge’s life at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge’s wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is not who they think she is.
Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the people who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.
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Lisa Harris is a USA Today bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than forty books, including The Escape, The Chase, The Traitor’s Pawn, Vanishing Point, A Secret to Die For, and Deadly Intentions, as well as The Nikki Boyd Files and the Southern Crimes series, Harris and her family have spent over 17 years living as missionaries in southern Africa and currently are living there.
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review-2-2

The Catch is the exciting and oh-so-satisfying conclusion to author Lisa Harris’s US Marshals series.

This third book of the US Marshals trilogy kept me glued to its pages as federal marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn search for a missing baby and sitter. The story reveals the truth about the murder of Madison’s husband five years earlier, the series’ major plotline. But will the resolution release the main character from her single-minded mission and allow her to find peace and a new life with Jonas?

I particularly liked Harris’s choice to feature the US Marshal Service in this series. Growing up, a friend of my parents was a marshal, and I always enjoyed his stories and company. And, other than movies like The Fugitive, this law enforcement branch seems infrequently used in the mystery genre, except for minor, minor roles. Of course, that thought sent me down a rabbit hole of research looking for main role books!

Another aspect I enjoyed was that the action traversed the Pacific Northwest. Readers are treated to the area’s broad variety of settings, including the vibrant city of Seattle, forestland, mountains, wilderness, the coast, its water and beaches. The changing venues energized an already exciting story that, once it started, never let up. There was so much unseen danger constantly looming over the characters, not only the two marshals but the missing woman and baby Easton.

The story also incorporated what looked like a simple mistake of communication between two federal agencies. This lapse led to unexpected collateral consequences that truthfully had me wondering how law enforcement can possibly coordinate all the things they do in reality. In this instance in the book, it seemed like their hands would have been tied no matter what.

But The Catch is not just a mystery. The book beautifully weaves together a puzzling mystery, heart-thumping suspense as well as a second chance romance. The emerging feelings between Madison and Jonas and their circumstances were heart-aching and, at all times, clean and honest. The series targets the Christian fiction market, and this author’s ability to deftly reveal her characters’ faith-filled lives and thoughts felt natural and genuine. The story warrants a broader audience, and readers who think they are not Christian fiction readers should definitely try this one.

I recommend THE CATCH to fans of the first two books in the trilogy and readers who enjoy exciting, suspense-filled mysteries with a clean and poignant underlying romance.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Christian fiction, Mystery, Romantic Suspence