Thank You Garden Blitz

THANK YOU, GARDEN
By LIZ GARTON SCANLON
Illustrated by Simone Shin
Children’s Picture Book / Poetry / Environment / Ages 3-7 Publisher: Beach Lane Books / Simon & Schuster
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 32
A community garden unites neighbors in this celebration of all the things that grow there, from flowers and fruits, to friendships!  This ode to working together for a better world will have young readers wanting to plant gardens of their own!
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Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of many beloved books for kids, including the brand new Thank You, Garden, as well as the Caldecott Honor book All the World and others, including several co-authored with her pal Audrey Vernick. Scanlon also wrote the middle grade novel The Great Good Summer and is published in numerous poetry anthologies. She serves on the faculty of the Vermont Faculty of Fine Arts and is a frequent and popular presenter at conferences and festivals. Find more about her life and work at www.LizGartonScanlon.com
Follow illustrator Simone Shin on Instagram!
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The Caretakers: Review and Giveaway

THE CARETAKERS
by
ELIZA MAXWELL
Genre:  Psychological Thriller / Gothic Fiction / Sisters Fiction  Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: April 14, 2020
Number of Pages: 317 Scroll down for the giveaway!
In the isolated estate she’s found the perfect getaway. But there’s no escaping the past in this chilling novel from the bestselling author of The Unremembered Girl.
Filmmaker Tessa Shepherd helped free a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned for murder. When he kills again, Tessa’s life is upended. She’s reeling with guilt, her reputation destroyed. Worse, Tessa’s mother has unexpectedly passed away, and her sister, Margot, turns on her after tensions from their past escalate. Hounded by a bullying press, Tessa needs an escape. That’s when she learns of a strange inheritance bequeathed by her mother: a derelict and isolated estate known as Fallbrook. It seems like the perfect refuge. A crumbling monument to a gruesome history, the mansion has been abandoned by all but two elderly sisters retained as caretakers. They are also guardians of all its mysteries. As the house starts revealing its dark secrets, Tessa must face her fears and right the wrongs of her past to save herself and her relationship with Margot. But nothing and no one at Fallbrook are what they seem.  “Suspense fans will be satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly
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The Caretakers was an intense and gripping read. The suspense/thriller takes you for quite a ride. The story follows two lovely ladies, one named Tessa, a young filmmaker, and Kitty, an elderly woman with bones in her closet (not literally in case you were wondering.) Tessa just helped free a man from jail that she believed was innocent from committing murder.  But then, not long after his release, he begins making videos for those of Bonham. The chilling videos are targeted towards the one that wrongfully put him in jail, indicating that he would soon go after the chief’s daughter. 

As the story unravels, Tessa journeys to a place that was left in her granddad’s will. There she meets Kitty. Tessa is trying to get away from all that is happening in Bonham, never did she realize that by venturing to that house, that Kitty would eventually reveal secrets of her Tessa’s own family. 

It’s a heart wrenching, heart-pumping read. I finished it in a day because I simply couldn’t put it down. And the twist at the end is one I did not see coming. It’s clever. It’s exciting and cunning. And the power behind the broken love of two sisters and their path to mending was beautiful. 

My favorite character in this story besides Kitty and Tessa was Ben. He’s Tessa’s sister’s husband. I love how intricately connected Tessa, Ben, and Margot are. There’s alot of history among the three which is revealed throughout the story, but the three of them sure do make a formidable team. 

I really enjoyed the reveal of what had happened to Kitty and Dee. This was very shocking something I was not expecting which made me love it even more. 

And that ending! It’s definitely one I won’t forget anytime soon. 

This is a must read for any murder mystery and suspense thriller fans. Eliza Maxwell has this amazing way with doing the least expected in her stories. I have loved every book of hers that I have read, and this one was just wonderful! 

Definitely a 5/5!


Eliza Maxwell is the author of The Shadow Writer, The Widow’s Watcher, The Unremembered Girl, The Grave Tender, and The Kinfolk. She writes fiction from her home in Texas, which she shares with her ever-patient husband, two impatient kids, a ridiculous English setter, and a bird named Sarah. An artist and writer, a dedicated introvert, and a British-cop-drama addict, she enjoys nothing more than sitting on the front porch with a good cup of coffee. For more information, visit www.elizamaxwell.net.
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Bayou City Burning

BAYOU CITY BURNING
Harry & Dizzy Lark, Book 1
by
D.B. BORTON
Mystery / Detective / Humor / Historical Publisher: Boomerang Books
Date of Publication: May 30, 2019
Number of Pages: 390
Houston, 1961: comedy meets mystery and history. It’s hard to be hard-boiled when your biggest fan and worst critic is your twelve-year-old daughter, especially when she’s cracking your case for you and defending you from the bad guys, along with sidekicks human and feline. Houston is still a cowboy backwater, but Texas politicians dream big. P.I. Harry Lark is out to save the city for President Kennedy’s moon mission. Dizzy Lark is out to save Harry. Jani Brooks of Romance Reviews Today calls Bayou City Burning “a terrific mystery loaded with humor, lots of excitement, and fascinating, well written characters” and rates it “a Perfect 10 book.”
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Visit D.B. Borton’s website to read the Prologue, Chapter One, and Chapter Two of Bayou City Burning! 
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D. B. Borton is the author of two mystery series—the Cat Caliban series (Berkley, Hilliard and Harris) and the Gilda Liberty series (Fawcett)—as well as the recent novels Second Coming, Smoke, and Bayou City Burning (all from Boomerang Books). She is Professor Emeritus of English at Ohio Wesleyan University. A native Texan, Borton became an ardent admirer of Nancy Drew at a young age. At the age of fourteen, she acquired her own blue roadster, trained on the freeways of Houston and the broad stretches of oil-endowed Texas highway, and began her travels. She also began a lifetime of political activism, working only for political candidates who lost. She left Texas at about the time everyone else arrived. In graduate school, Borton converted a lifetime of passionate reading and late-night movie-watching into a doctorate in English. She discovered that people would pay her to discuss literature and writing, although not much. But because she found young people interesting and entertaining and challenging, she became a college teacher, and survived many generations of college students. Later, during a career crisis, she discovered that people would pay her to tell stories, although even less than they would pay her to discuss stories written by someone else. Borton has lived in the Southwest and Midwest, and on the West Coast, where she has planted roses and collected three degrees in English without relinquishing her affection for the ways in which actual speakers constantly reinvent the language to meet their needs. In her spare time, she gardens, practices aikido, studies languages other than English, and, of course, watches movies and reads.
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Spent Identity: Review and Giveaway

SPENT IDENTITY
Annalisse Series, Book 2
by
Marlene M. Bell
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Light Romance
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: December 11, 2019
Number of Pages: 378

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A body, a disappearance, just another hot summer in upstate New York.

It’s July when antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury reaches her family’s small-town farm to consult with the trusted aunt who raised her. She learns that her beloved homestead—the one she expects to inherit—is for sale. While Annalisse reels at the betrayal and her shattered dreams, the Walker Farm ranch manager discovers a corpse in the barn. Officials close the suspected murder scene, and Annalisse seeks refuge with her aunt at Alec Zavos’s rural estate in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Then Aunt Kate vanishes.

Annalisse solicits the help of Greek tycoon, Alec Zavos, even though their rocky romance has dissolved into routine separation. What began as hope on Crete nine months ago has eaten away at Annalisse’s hope for a future with him.

In Spent Identity, Annalisse and Alec come together for the second time and find themselves in the center of not one mystery, but several. Where is Kate, and why sell her farm now? Is the dead man a coincidence or a clue to the aunt’s disappearance? John Doe’s identity may hold needed answers to solve the puzzle before Kate’s unstable health issues make her rescue impossible. The clock ticks, and a vengeful murderer is in charge…

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Spenty Identity is suspenseful and filled with mystery, drama, and romance, I simply couldn’t get enough. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and keeps you guessing the entire time. 

Spent Identity follows Annalisse, an appraiser for a gallery in Manhattan that takes a bit of an extended vacation at Walker Barn where Aunt Kate, the woman that raised her, lives. Annalisse needs some time and distant from her busy life and her always away beau Alec. The last thing she expected to find was a man dead in the barn. Soon after the incident, Kate goes missing and their lives are thrown into chaos as they try to find Kate and piece together who the killer is and why they would take Kate. 

It was neat to see these characters grow from book 1 in Stolen Obsessions. Annalisse is both assertive and passive, but has no problem jumping head into danger to uncover the truth about the mysterious happenings at Walker Barn. As for Alec, he is presented at first as a bit of an arrogant ass, but since we already fell in love with him in book 2, you already know the good sie of Alex and know that he and Annalisse will work out their differences in the end. I thoroughly enjoyed both characters. I felt like Alec had more character development than Annalisse. Nothing really changed with Annalise as far as her development and personality. She’s pretty much the same character throughout the book. I personally would have liked to see more of a change in her as we do with Alec. But she’s a great character! Very strong willed and determined which I love in my female leads and it was a nice change from book 1 where I felt like she was constantly the damsel in distress. I felt like Annalisse was determined to take more control of her life in this book. 

As for the story development, I loved how it all unraveled. I probably blamed everyone at one point for being the killer, which is part of the fun! This book keeps you guessing and surprises you with who the villain of the story is. I love a good surprise in a murder mystery novel! 

There’s so much to enjoy from Spent Identity. There’s soft romance and there’s secrets uncovered. There’s a killer out for revenge. There’s family drama! Spent Identity held its suspense throughout the whole book and was a very intriguing read! It was a real page turner! I look forward to reading more by Marlene M. Bell. 

Rating: 4/5

Marlene M. Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested on her website or www.texassheep.com.Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in beautiful East Texas with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large and lovable Maremma guard dog named Tia, and Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats who believe they rule the household — and do.


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Autographed copy of Spent Identity & companion notebook, Mary Poppins-style bag (18×13” tapestry carpet bag with leather trim, handmade in Israel), $100 Amazon gift card, and 18” freshwater pearl necklace. 
JANUARY 7-17, 2019

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