New Release: MURDER AT THE MARINA by @Ellen_Jacobson #5starreview


Congratulations to Ellen Jacobson on the release of her debut novel, Murder at the Marina!


First I welcome Ellen for a guest post, followed by my FIVE-STAR review. Take it away, Ellen:

Thanks for hosting me on your site today to celebrate the release of my cozy mystery, Murder at the Marina. This is the first book in the lighthearted and humorous Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery series, featuring a reluctant sailor turned amateur sleuth.

My own sailing adventures and misadventures inspired me to write this series. My husband and I bought our first sailboat in New Zealand in 2012. After a couple of years cruising in those beautiful waters, we returned to the States and bought a bigger boat which we moved onto in 2015. We’ve since cruised in Florida and the Bahamas, labored over endless boat projects, and worked to keep our cruising kitty (savings) topped up.

I wanted to reflect my experiences learning to sail, cruising and living aboard a boat, and being part of the boating community in my cozy mysteries. You could say that there’s a little bit of me in my main character, Mollie.

I thought I’d share one of the boating tidbits which I wrote about in Murder at the Marinanamely, fear of alligators and other sea monsters. When Mollie first visits Palm Tree Marina and walks down the dock, she worries about falling into the water and what dangers might lurk there. I can completely relate to this as we have alligators who make their home at our marina, swimming right next to my boat. Typically, alligators aren’t interested in attacking humans, but, unfortunately, there’s always someone who decides to feed them. Not a great idea. The gators start to associate humans with food and, more often than not, they have to be removed and destroyed.

Now that I’ve become more accustomed to alligators, I don’t freak out as much as I used to. In fact, we have a couple of babies swimming around at the marina right now and I caught myself thinking that they were adorable. Then I remembered the teeth. It will be interesting to see if Mollie does encounter alligators, crocodiles, or other creatures over the course of the series and how she reacts.

If you’d like to learn more about Mollie and her sailing adventures, you can find details about Murder at the Marinabelow.

Murder at the Marina (A Mollie McGhie Cozy Sailing Mystery #1)Murder at the Marina by Ellen Jacobson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Little Sweet Potato Sleuth

What a charming debut novel!

Mollie McGhie is an intrepid journalist who has just moved to a Florida coastal town with her husband, Scooter. Scooter has some endearing nicknames for his wife, like, My Little Sweet Potato, but his 10th wedding anniversary gift is not so endearing: a ramshackle sailboat. Neither Mollie nor Scooter possesses the skills to rehabilitate the boat, much less sail the open sea.

Mollie’s disdain for the sailboat multiplies when she finds a dead body on deck. Who murdered the victim? Suspects abound in the town’s colorful cast of characters.

After Mollie overhears one suspicious conversation, her clueless question cracked me up:

“Wait until those new marks of yours find out what you sold them.”

He shook Penny by the shoulders. “You better not say anything, you hear me?”

I was left with one question—who were these new marks she was referring to?

Chocolate is Mollie’s fuel for sleuthing. Not only is she trying to identify the murderer, but also she believes one woman in town suffers from alien abduction. Good thing her “journalist” job is for the Federation of Alien Research, Outreach, and UFO Tracking. She’s determined to beat out another woman for promotion.

Mollie’s investigative efforts do not impress the police chief.

”Mrs. McGhie, what a surprise to find you here. You seem to specialize in finding bodies.” Chief Dalton raised both of his eyebrows. “That makes two bodies in just four days, doesn’t it?”

His math was correct. I guess the ability to be able to do simple arithmetic was an important skill for police officers. That’s probably why I never joined the force. I struggle with math. I’m also scared of guns.

I found the female version of Inspector Clouseau to be fun and entertaining despite the danger swirling around her. A great read!

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Blurb

A dilapidated sailboat for your anniversary—not very romantic. A dead body on board—even worse.

Mollie McGhie is hoping for diamonds for her tenth wedding anniversary. Instead, her husband presents her with a dilapidated sailboat. Just one problem—she doesn’t know anything about boats, nor does she want to.

When Mollie discovers someone murdered on board, she hopes it will convince her husband that owning a boat is a bad idea. Unfortunately, he’s more determined than ever to fix the boat up and set out to sea.

Mollie finds herself drawn into the tight-knit community living at Palm Tree Marina in Coconut Cove, a small town on the Florida coast. She uncovers a crime ring dealing in stolen marine equipment, investigates an alien abduction, eats way too many chocolate bars, adopts a cat, and learns far more about sailing than she ever wanted to.

Can Mollie discover who the murderer is before her nosiness gets her killed?

Buy Links

Murder at the Marina—A Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery #1
Print ISBN 978-1-7321602-1-7
eBook ISBN 978-1-7321602-0-0
Mystery


Author Bio

Ellen Jacobson writes mystery and scifi/fantasy stories. She is the author of the “Mollie McGhie Sailing Mystery” series. She lives on a sailboat with her husband, exploring the world from the water. When she isn’t working on boat projects or seeking out deserted islands, she blogs about their adventures at The Cynical Sailor.

You can connect with Ellen on:

The Cynical Sailor Blog – http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/
The Cynical Sailor Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/TheCynicalSailor/

Newsletter Sign-up – http://eepurl.com/dpy5sv

New Release: Best Night Ever by @StephFaris #Giveaway

Best. Night. Ever

By Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, Jen Malone, Gail Nall, and Dee Romito

Love Actually meets Adventures in Babysitting in this hilarious novel written by seven authors about seven classmates who are preparing for a crazy night at their middle school dance.

Lynnfield Middle School is prepped and ready for a dance to remember, including an awesome performance from Heart Grenade, the all-girl band who recently won a Battle of the Bands contest. Seven classmates—Carmen, Genevieve, Tess, Ryan, Ellie, Ashlyn, and Jade—intend to make the most of the night…or at least the five of them who are able to attend do. The other two would sacrifice almost anything to be there.

One thing’s for sure—this entire crew is in for one epic night! Gail Nall, Dee Romito, Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, and Jen Malone have created a charming, hilarious, and relatable novel that’s perfect for anyone who can’t wait to dance the night away.


Buy Links:


(This story looks fun and interesting!)


Bios:

One of Rachele Alpine’s first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. Rachele is a high school English teacher by day, a wife and mother by night, and a writer during any time she can find in between.  She lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she writes middle grade and young adult novels. Visit her at RacheleAlpine.com.

Ronni Arno Blaisdell is the author of Ruby Reinvented. She has written for several magazines, blogs, and websites. In a previous life she worked as a publicist in Hollywood, and eventually built a home in Maine. She is a keen SCBWI member and contributor to the KidLiterati.com blog. Visit her online at ronniarno.com.

Alison Cherry is the author of the YA novels RedFor Real and Look Both Ways, and the middle grade novels Willows vs. Wolverines and The Classy Crooks Club. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, dance, and opera productions. This whole “writing books” thing is just a cover for the international crime ring she runs out of her Brooklyn apartment. (Shhh, don’t tell.) Visit her online at AlisonCherryBooks.com.

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing. When she isn’t crafting fiction, Stephanie is indulging her gadget geek side by writing for online technology sites. Her work is regularly featured on the small business blogs for Intuit and Go Payment and she is a featured columnist for SmallBizTechnology.com. She lives in Nashville with her husband. Visit her online at StephanieFaris.com.

Jen Malone is a former Hollywood publicist who once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star’s tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. Jen is also the author of the middle grade novels At Your Service and The Art of the Swap, coauthor of the You’re Invited series, and wrote the YA novels Map to the Stars and Wanderlost. You can visit her online at JenMaloneWrites.com.

Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail is the author of the middle grade novel Breaking the Ice, the coauthor of You’re Invited and You’re Invited Too, and the author of the young adult novel Exit Stage Left. You can find her online at GailNall.com and on Twitter as @GaileCN. Visit her online at GailNall.com.

Dee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family are steadily checking items off their own bucket list of adventures. You’re likely to find her at the local ice cream shop, writing at a café, or curled up on the couch with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. To join the fun and create your own bucket list, visit TheBFFBucketList.com.



The Rafflecopter giveaway is for a free hardback copy of Best. Night. Ever. (signed by Stephanie Faris). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WHEN IT HITS YOU (It Series #1) by @NickiElson3D #contemporary #romance #NewRelease


I’m so pleased to have my critique partner, NICKI ELSON, here to tell you about her new book! I adored this book (see my 5 star review.) Thank you to author Darcia Helle for this f’in blog post idea. Take it away, Nicki:

Thank you, Jen, for having me over to celebrate the release of WHEN IT HITS YOU (a new edition of the novel formerly known as Vibrizzio). Reacquiring my rights to this story allowed me to re-brand with an emphasis on the love story. I’m so excited to have it join its sister books in The It Series: WHEN IT HOOKS YOU and WHEN IT HOLDS YOU.

For today’s post, Jen gave me ten F-words to relate to one of my characters. I chose Lyssa Bates, the lead in WHEN IT HITS YOU.



F’ing Lyssa

Something about Lyssa that is…

1. Frightful – She dumps a shocking amount of cream in her coffee.

2. Favorable – She’s the kind of friend who’ll whisk your drunken ass away from embarrassment.

3. Flamboyant – She gets saucy on the dance floor with the sexy cousin of the groom.

4. Factual – She’s’ a youngest child.

5. Fanatical – She becomes a little too attached to her battery-operated boyfriend.

6. Feisty – Her first line of defense: sarcasm. Lots of sarcasm.

7. Formidable – She’ll rise to a challenge, whether it’s taking the lead in the boardroom or rocking “the lawnmower” on the dance floor.

8. False – She pulls on a fake smile when her mother and sister get under her skin.

 9. Fierce – She’s not afraid to call people out…unless one of those people is her mother or sister.

10. Frustrating – She can’t see herself the way Hayden does.

WHEN IT HITS YOU

Electronic. That’s how my love life was supposed to stay. Just me and my B.O.B.s (battery-operated boyfriends, if you don’t know). I didn’t expect to get partnered at work with the Adonis in Ralph Lauren. And I certainly never thought he’d turn out to be anything but an arrogant jerk.


Lyssa Bates doesn’t need a man. The twenty-six-year-old financial analyst is more than fulfilled by her career, friends, and a ready supply of double-A batteries. Her relationship with Hayden King is purely professional—and that’s how she intends to keep it. But accidental kisses in Dallas, all-nighters in Chicago, and hot tub confessions in Baltimore mess with her head and shake her resistance. Especially when he turns his charms full on her.

Why is it that whenever you’re not looking for love, that’s exactly when it hits you? ~Lyssa

Only 99c for a limited time.
Free to read in Kindle Unlimited.



WHEN IT HOOKS YOU #Romance #NewRelease by @NickiElson3D

Welcome to #ComedyBookWeek, an annual, online celebration of humor in writing. I’m hosting Nicki Elson and her new release, WHEN IT HOOKS YOU. You can read my 5 star review here. Today Nicki’s sharing a humorous excerpt from the book.

NICKI: I have a lot of favorite funny moments in this story, but I selected this one to share today because it’s the one that cracked me up the most while I was writing—plus it comes with a bonus fun-fact about tigers.  Thanks for having me over, Jen!

JEN: This TOTALLY made me snicker. Plus, it was educational!

Excerpt from WHEN IT HOOKS YOU by Nicki Elson

The rain persisted, so they decided to stay at the museum for lunch, sitting at a table in the middle of the towering atrium that separated the historic part of the museum from the newer wing.

“This is more impressive when the sun is shining.” Lyssa frowned, her eyes raised toward the thousands of drops racing down the enormous glass wall.

“It’s still pretty cool,” Trish said. “A dreary day is sort of nice once in a while. Not every day can be sunny. Though I imagine that—” she tilted her head to indicate a spiky lime green spire; it was made entirely of glass and rose straight up from the floor near the window “—is amazing when the sun hits it.”

Lyssa sighed. “Yeah, it is. Guess this means you’ll have to come back soon so you can see it.”

“Definitely.” Trish smiled. “You know what that thing keeps making me think of?”

“What?”

“A tiger penis.”

Lyssa choked on her ice water and threw her hand to her mouth, her eyes going wide in shocked question.

“Sorry,” Trish said, not making any effort to sound the least bit remorseful. “Tigers have barbed penises. It helps them stay in while mating.”

Dabbing at her lips with her napkin, Lyssa asked, “Why do you know that?”

“After I started relating to the feline, I did a little Googling. Fascinating creature, the tiger.”

“I bring the girl to a museum, try to show her a little culture, and she turns a Chihuly into a giant phallus.”

“I’d say the artist did a fine job of that all by himself.”

Lyssa’s gaze scanned the length of the piece. “I suppose he did. Still, this could be a sign that it’s time for you to get yourself some.”

Trish laughed but declined to respond, instead giving her attention to the menu. Adam Helms was the first man to make her seriously consider losing her revirginity. If his kisses were any indication, a night of wrestling between the sheets with him could be the one way to top their perfect second date.


WHEN IT HOOKS YOU is available at Amazon.

Free to read in Kindle Unlimited

Learn more about Nicki’s books at nickielson.com


Review: BREAKING FAITH by @HeyitsmeJoy #romance

Breaking Faith
Breaking Faith by Joy Eileen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Killer Characterization

I met author Joy Eileen on Twitter, where she seems fun and passionate. I’m not surprised her debut novel shares the same qualities.

Faith attends college and works at a coffee shop on campus when she meets hunky Jason, her “knight in coffee justice”. Despite the niggling discomfort she feels in Jason’s presence, they end up moving in together, and his control over her becomes complete. She tiptoes around trying to avoid his wrath, but he is the one responsible for cutting her down with his words and fists.

When she can’t take it anymore, she escapes to meet her friends at a bar where a local band, The Jackholes, plays. Faith feels drawn the the lead singer, Killian. She jumps into help the harried waitress, in the process revealing her bruised arms (to her friends’ horror). Kill gets Faith a job as server and a home at his place, to keep her safe from Jason.

Most of the time I dislike scruffy, tatted heroes, but Kill is a dream man. He’s not a boorish alpha by any means. His reputation as a man ho goes out the window once he meets Faith. Faith can’t deny her attraction to him, but is wary of getting hurt again. He had a sweet, vulnerable side to him he kept hidden. It was because of that side, I needed to avoid him. I already determined he would break my heart if I didn’t stay away.

Their banter is hilarious.

We walked to a huge monstrous black truck. I had to practically pole vault into the cab. “Nice truck. Overcompensating?” I asked, glancing at the juncture between his legs.

Kill’s laugh was amazing. The rumbling in his chest made my traitorous nipples harden.

Kill is spot on when he tells Faith:

“As your friend I have to say you have an uncanny knack for attracting the biggest poseurs, douche bags, and tools. You’re like a beacon.” Kill looked up to the ceiling as if he was praying for patience. “You know you look hot. It’s like you added an extra strength light bulb to your douche beacon. Every douche for miles will be lined up.”

The unresolved sexual tension between Faith and Kill about killed me. I grew to care about Faith and want good things for her.

I did have some quibbles about this book. It needs tightening of the plot and exposition. For how long it is, I expected more resolution of major plot lines. I don’t mind cliffhangers but I think it would work better to include the excerpt of the next book as the ending of this one, to give readers some relief from the UST.

A fun, readable debut romance!

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Check out the Facebook release party–giveaways close August 21. 

New Release: BREAKING FAITH by Joy Eileen @HeyItsMeJoy #rocker #romance

***Coming soon: My rocker romance review!***


Breaking Faith

The JackholeS series part 1

by Joy Eileen

Synopsis

Faith made the mistake of giving her heart to someone who didn’t deserve her. After making the decision to leave, she sought refuge at a bar full of misfits. They accepted Faith without question, and now they protect her as if she’s family. While putting the pieces of her life back together, she fights to keep her broken heart from falling for the moody lead singer of the JackholeS. A man named Kill. Killian has his own demons to battle, yet Faith brings out his protective side: a side he thought he’d buried long ago. Can Faith and Kill trust each other long enough to leave their pasts behind and find love? Or is the past too overpowering to allow anyone a chance at happiness?
WARNING: This book contains explicit non-consensual sex scenes. It contains strong language and adult situations. This book is not intended for anyone under 18. This is a series so this book does not end with resolution. Don’t worry the second book is already done and the third is being created.

NOW LIVE!!

Grab your copy here:

Barnes and Nobel: http://bit.ly/1Km8LbA
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1WpLu1O

Teasers

Excerpt:
Realizing I was half naked and pressed against him, I slowly backed away. The immediate sadness from the removal of his electricity was staggering. 
His grin disappeared, and the laughter in his eyes was replaced with desire. I could see why girls all over Portland were infatuated with him. Just one fierce look, and I wanted to wrap myself around him until you couldn’t tell where he stopped and I began. 
I took the step I had just taken away from him back toward him. We both inhaled sharply when our bodies collided.
He pulled in his bottom lip, raking his teeth over it until it popped out. My attention became rapt on his bottom lip and I wanted to bite it like he had just done. 
The wet heat between my legs was on fire, and the only way I could think of getting rid of the burning ache was to have him buried deep within me. The look in his eyes, before my attention went to his lips, showed he was thinking the same thing. 
My tongue darted out, and he groaned, making his chest rumble. The sound caused my nipples to pebble, aching along with the rest of my body for his attention. 
He lowered his face to mine until our foreheads touched, our lips a breath away. Both of us were panting, the dull pain between my legs caused me to press my thighs together, trying to gain friction to help with the need building inside of me.

When I was about to break and press my lips to his, Kill turned around and stormed away, leaving me confused and unsatisfyingly hot.  
Add to your TBR on Goodreads: 

About the author

Joy Eileen is a born bibliophile who becomes deeply engaged with her characters, and has devoured more books than she would like to admit. She becomes obsessed with happily-ever-afters, and will read any genre that fulfills that requirement. Evading the library is something she has been known to do, because after befriending the characters returning them would be a heartbreaking event. Books are held hostage on her bookshelf, and any author that makes her ugly cry becomes her sworn enemy. Nicholas Sparks is one of the many on the list of villains.
As a massage therapist, most of Joy’s stories come to her while working. With the sound of classical music, and snoring from a half covered hostage, characters are created. The victim (massage patient) has no idea that while their body is being manipulated, Joy has traveled into distant lands creating landscapes and inhabitants as she goes. Her patients should be wary as sometimes they are pulled into her stories and turned into characters. Hero or Foe? Well, that depends on how they tip.
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THE ROSIE PROJECT by Don Tillman: #Review


My book club chose a wonderful read for June: The Rosie Project. Here’s my review:


The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Man with Asperger’s Delightful Journey to Love

Books like these make me appreciate my book club even more because I probably wouldn’t have tried it without my friend Colby picking it this month.

Don Tillman is a 39-year-old genetics professor in Australia who knows he is socially inept but doesn’t know he has a raging case of Autism Spectrum Disorder. He would like to date but his difficulties with emotions and subtleties of interactions have made that difficult. Being the scientist he is, he decides to write a questionnaire for potential partners he dubs “The Wife Project”. He believes his data driven approach will weed out unsuitable candidates.

He’s friends with a married psychologist couple, Gene and Claudia, and they try to help him sort out these puzzling social interactions. Sadly, Gene and Claudia are his only friends.

When Don attends a dating event, his unique perceptions of the world are hilarious.

Olivia resumed talking to me while the others engaged in small talk — an extraordinary waste of time when a major life decision was at stake. On Claudia’s advice, I had memorized the questionnaire. She thought that asking questions directly from the forms could create the wrong “dynamic” and that I should attempt to incorporate them subtly into conversation, Subtlety, I had reminded her, is not my strength. She suggested that I not ask about sexually transmitted diseases and that I make my own estimates of weight, height, and body mass index. I estimated Olivia’s BMI at nineteen; slim, but no signs of anorexia.

Every time Don meets someone new, he mentally calculates their BMI. BA HA HA! I’ve met quite a few characters through dating but I’ve never had one come out and ask me my BMI–Don would totally do that if not for Claudia’s advice.

Don’s friend Gene sets him up with Rosie, a “barmaid”. Rosie comes over for dinner prepared by the excellent cook Don.

I commenced retrieval of vegetables and herbs from the refrigerator. “Let me help,” Rosie said. “I can chop or something.” The implication was that chopping could be done by an inexperienced person unfamiliar with the recipe. After her comment that she was unable to cook even in a life-threatening situation, I had visions of huge chunks of leek and fragments of herbs too fine to sieve out.

Once Don discovers Rosie smokes and runs late, he automatically discards her as a candidate for The Wife Project. But when Rosie tells him she’s trying to discover the identity of her biological father, geneticist Don is suddenly all in to helping her with The Father Project.

They narrow down potential fathers based on her mother’s medical school class, and proceed to obtain DNA samples from over fifty men in a madcap manner.

Don eventually learns that Rosie is a doctoral psychology student who’s smarter than she seems. Don and Rosie test a sample from one probable father.

“But I’ve never consciously thought of him as my father.”

“He’s not,” I said.

The results had come up on the computer screen. Job complete. I began packing up.

“Wow,” said Rosie. “Ever thought of being a grief counselor?”

“No. I considered a number of careers, but all in the sciences. My interpersonal skills are not strong.”

Rosie burst out laughing.

Don is just so damn endearing! The funniest scene is when Don and Rosie pose as bartenders at a medical school reunion in order to swab cocktail glasses. Memorizing orders and drink recipes is where computer-mind Don excels, and he performs so well that the bar owner wants to go into business with him.

Equally funny is when Don wants to woo a ballroom dancing champion, so he practices his dance moves with a skeleton from a nearby lab. When he tests out his dance moves in front of a crowd, he learns Unfortunately, this requires cooperation on the part of the partner, particularly if she is heavier than a skeleton.

When Don decides he would like to have sex with Rosie, he talks it over with Gene:

“So why the stress?” said Gene. “You have had sex before?”

“Of course,” I said. “It’s just that adding a second person makes it more complicated.”

“Naturally, said Gene. “I should have thought of that. Why not get a book?”

So Don buys a book and memorizes all the sexual positions. Naturally, he brings out the skeleton again for practice, and naturally, the dean walks into his office while Don is getting into compromising positions on the floor with the skeleton. *laughs*

In addition to the charming humor, there’s some depth to this story about love and growth. I definitely want to read the sequel. Highly recommended.

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