Archive for November 13th, 2017

Only the Pretty Ones


Only the Pretty Ones (Angry Girl Crime Stories – 1) by Karen M. Bryson

She was the pretty one. She was the one who was taken.

Maxie Ford’s sister, Ella, has vanished.
When the police refuse to investigate, Maxie decides to take the law into her own hands.
With the help of a drug dealer, “Mickey Finn” Donovan, Maxie dives into the seedy underworld of the city in search of Ella.
What she discovers is a trafficking ring that abducts college girls for wealthy and high-powered men, and a legal system that is so corrupt no one is willing to stop them.

ANGRY GIRL CRIME STORIES is a series interconnecting dark romantic crime novels. Each story can be read as a standalone novel, or as part of the series.

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 Karen M. Bryson

Author’s Bio

KAREN M. BRYSON writes romantic mystery and suspense stories. She is a winner of the prestigious RONE Award for Excellence in the Indie and Small Publishing Industry as well as the RWA Lone Star Writing Contest.

Karen is also an award-winning/optioned screenwriter.

When she’s not at her computer creating new stories, Karen enjoys spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.

Karen previously wrote contemporary romance under the pen names SAVANNAH YOUNG, SIERRA AVALON, REN MONTERREY and USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR DAKOTA MADISON.

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My Review

5 stars

Maxie Ford has gone through hell and has the scars to prove it. Because of her past she lives as a recluse and telephone crisis counselor. But one night her younger sister Ella disappears from a local club. Maxie is insistent about the police looking into Ella’s disappearance but for some reason they won’t. So Maxie takes the investigation into her own hands. She partners up with local drug dealer Mickey Finn Donovan. They have a connection and it throws Maxie off since she is very distrustful. But they work well together to find Ella.

It seems that there is a large market for very pretty, young girls in the cities underworld. Girls that disappear to be bought, played with, and destroyed for the fancy of those in higher up positions. And there is a whole system to keep the girls missing and the perpetrator completely innocent.

Maxie is going to have her hands full navigating this world. Thankfully she has Mickey to look out for her and use his power to get them the answers they need. I felt bad for Maxie, she is so broken and lost yet she is no shrinking violet. She is one angry girl that is going to get answer.

I loved this book. It’s a great start to the series that hooked me right from the start. There are some dark corners of rape and abuse but I think that just makes this world that more real. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.

I received Only the Pretty Ones from Ari at Candid Book Reviews for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Crows of Beara


The Crows of Beara
By Julie Christine Johnson
Genre: Fiction, Climate Fiction, Eco-Lit, Women’s Fiction

Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart
When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life.
Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine.
Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice–a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.
Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.
Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are.

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Julie Christine Johnson

About the Author

Julie’s short stories and essays have appeared in several journals, including Emerge Literary Journal; Mud Season Review; Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim; Cobalt; River Poets Journal, in the print anthologies Stories for Sendai; Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers; and Three Minus One: Stories of Love and Loss; and featured on the flash fiction podcast No Extra Words. She holds undergraduate degrees in French and Psychology and a Master’s in International Affairs. Julie leads writing workshops and seminars and offers story/developmental editing and writer coaching services.

Named a “standout debut” by the Library Journal, “Very highly recommended” by Historical Novels Review and declared “Delicate and haunting, romantic and mystical” by bestselling author Greer Macallister, Julie’s debut novel In Another Life went into a second printing three days after its February 2, 2016 release.

A finalist for The Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature, judged by PEN/Faulkner author and Man Booker Award nominee Karen Joy Fowler, Julie’s second novel The Crows of Beara was acquired by Ashland Creek Press and will take flight on September 15, 2017.

A hiker, yogi, and wine geek, Julie makes her home on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington state.

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My Review

5 stars

Annie Crowe’s life has gone to hell. Her marriage is over because of her infidelity, her addiction sent her to rehab, and now this is her last chance at keeping her job. She works for a mine that is planning on breaking ground in Ireland. The catch is that it will destroy the breeding ground of the Red-billed Chough. This is Annie’s last chance to keep her job. She is sent to Ireland to convince the locals that the mine is going to help them improve their economy.

Daniel Savage has his own demons and as has been recruited to stop Annie’s campaign. But the more they are around each other; Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn to each other. They are also drawn to the land and a mysterious voice they both hear. Both will have to face their demons and heal from them if they are going to save the land.

I really enjoyed this story. It is a touching story of two people that are broken and at the bottom of their lives. I loved how they find a common denominator that can bring them together to finally heal. Of course being based in the beautiful land of Ireland just makes this story more magical than just the joining of two broken people.

This is a beautiful story and one that I strongly recommend people checking out. It is a great story and one that will appeal to contemporary romances.

I received The Crows of Beara from Sage’s Blog Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Case of the Flying Note: A Detective Mystery

The Case of the Flying Note
By Alice Cotton
Genre: Children’s fantasy adventure

Come dive into The Case of the Flying Note and read Alice Cotton’s imaginative musical tale where Detective Reed has to track down Presto, a newly written note who has flown out of his music. Detective Reed is hot on Presto’s trail as the flying note enters Sound City, the land where all music symbols live. Newly written notes sometimes do this and because they have wings, it is difficult to keep up with them. But Detective Reed, a highly trained half note, knows what to do.

The detective follows Presto into clouds of lost music notes far up in the sky where thunderclouds are booming. These lost notes are floating all around Reed when suddenly Presto plunges straight down towards the ground and into a strange green forest populated by hoards of musical rests.  Of course, Detective Reed is close behind him but never catches up with Presto. Why doesn’t Reed just grab him? Where is Presto going?

Detective Reed watches as Presto dives into the large petals of a singing pink flower and discovers an underground music academy within the flower’s roots. Reed makes his way into one of the school’s classrooms and almost gets hit by the shooting arrows of C sharps and then in another room, he witnesses a rare gathering of violins. Whatever are they doing? Finally, the flying note reveals the reason he flew out of his music. This inspires Detective Reed to use a most unusual, inventive strategy to help Presto solve his musical problem.

Who knew music symbols could be so interesting and fun? Readers learn music concepts as they zoom along with the detective. AND Detective Reed’s adventures continue with Reed’s next story, The Secret at Willow Wail, and again, in the upcoming Adventures on a Blue Moon.  Each story addresses a different musical concept as readers fill their minds with the fanciful characters that live in Sound City.

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Author’s Bio

In the beginning, in Cleveland, Ohio, ten year old Alice Cotton had her head stuck under the piano lid of her father’s baby grand piano, plucking the strings and listening to all the resonating sounds they made. For hours! Then, later, as a teen, after playing clarinet in a school marching band, she started performing and writing songs with her new guitar.  Unbeknownst to her she was also in the process of meeting her future music partners who would be accompanying her in creating successful music acts around the U.S.

Alice moved to New Orleans, where she collaborated with childhood friend, Cora McCann (Writer & editor, Content Marketing, Cleveland Clinic). They wrote songs and performed them as a duo acoustic guitar act called Sunstorm. They performed in some of the most popular tourist clubs in the New Orlean’s French Quarter.

Then, in Oregon, Alice co-led one of the top performing night club bands  that she shared with another childhood friend, Lisa Coffey, (harpist/instructor). Of course, their music was quite original with the sound of harp strings next to the guitar, bass and drums. Their band, Night Music, worked hard to become one of the top working bands in the American northwest. Alice completed their sound by playing electric guitar as a rhythm and lead player.

Later, she worked with a variety of other ensembles that played on weekends for dances and private clubs. Alice became one of the only female lead guitarists in Oregon.

Along with performing, Alice also taught math, music and art to young students in various public and private schools, always encouraging her students to pursue their studies in fun, creative ways.

Alice Cotton’s goal now is to tantalize young people (as she was at age 10) into pursuing a life of music and art. Hence she writes books such as The Case of the Flying Note for all kids, young and old but particularly geared toward 8 – 11 year olds.


My Review

5 stars

Welcome to Sound City, a musical place. Our story revolves around Detective Reed. He is called in about a note that went missing during the composition of a new song. We follow along with Detective Reed as he cases down the note through all kinds of compositions. But will he be able to catch it to help finish the song?

This is a delightful story about music. It is well written and explains everything that is brought to your attention relating to music. I loved following Detective Reed as he had the adventures around Sound City. But I loved the reason why Presto flew away in the first place.

Besides a lovely story, you also have gorgeous illustrations that make the story even more interesting. This is a wonderful music based book that would be great for any kid or adult interested in music. This is the first in a series of stories and I cannot wait to see what happens to Detective Reed Next.

I received The Case of the Flying Note from Sage’s Blog Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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