Books · Craft · mystery · Writing

Release Day: Not A Creature Was Stirring

It’s here! Release day! Not A Creature Was Stirring is the first book in my new series featuring Merry Winters, a crafterpreneur who specializes in all things Christmas.

notacreaturewasstirringEmpty nester Merry Winters loves three things: Christmas, crafting and her family. To regain purpose and joy, Merry hits the road to a Christmas vendor event with her furry sidekick Ebenezer in her new mobile crafting sleigh, aka an RV.

But it soon turns into the nightmare before Christmas when Merry unwraps her Scrooge of an ex-husband’s body in one of the RV’s compartments. Add to that his missing winning lottery ticket believed to be stashed somewhere in the RV, leading the homicide detective and Merry’s stepdaughter to believe Merry is the one whodunit.

With visions of prison dancing in her head, will Merry be able to solve this Christmas calamity before she’s locked away?

I’ll be on a blog tour from January 21-Feb 3 2019. Here’s where you can find me:

January 21 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

January 22 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW

January 22 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

January 23 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 24 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 24 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 25 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

January 25 –  Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

January 26 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

January 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 28 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

January 28 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 29 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

January 29 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT

January 30 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 30 – Reading Is My SuperPower – GUEST POST, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY

January 31 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

February 1 – MJB Reviews – REVIEW

February 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 3 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

February 3 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

Stop by my tour spots to learn more about me, Merry, and also to enter into a giveaway.

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Books · Reviews

SRP Reviews: Holiday Edition (Part III): A Very Meryton Christmas, A Family for Christmas, and All I Want For Christmas

During the holiday season, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas, books, and movies that I can during this time frame.

Between traveling during November and December and editing a book, I didn’t get as much reading done this holiday season as I like. I’m hoping next–or rather this–holiday  season year I’m able to indulge more in my passion of reading Christmas/holiday themed stories. Here are the last three books I read this year:

a very meryton christmasA Very Meryton Christmas by Olivia Kane. This Christmas tale features Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth isn’t happy to find out that Mr. Darcy, who hasn’t been kind to her, will be in Netherfield Park during the holiday season, she is despondent, fearing his presence will ruin Christmas for her. At first, she vows not to spend any time where she might run into and later allows the Christmas spirit dictate her treatment of Mr. Darcy. This was a lovely story set during the Christmas season and also filled with the spirit of the holiday.

 

a family for christmasA Family for Christmas by Mona Ingram. With the holiday season about to start, Maddie finds herself without a job. Instead of her being let go putting a damper on her life, she uses it as a springboard to start a gift-wrapping and shopping helper business. This book had plenty of Christmas spirit and I enjoyed getting to know both couples (dual romance story) and the niece of the heroes in the story. There was plenty of angst Christmas angst, meaning not anything traumatic…unless you count the fact the niece is an orphan but her parents death happen off-screen and not during the story.

I love both of the couples in the book, though I do wish that each had their own book as I’d have loved to have more time to spend with each couple. The story was heartwarming and very reminiscent of a Hallmark Christmas movie…so if you enjoy those movies, you’d like this story.

all i want for christmasAll I Want For Christmas by Sheila Roberts. Susan Carpenter, aka Suzi Christmas delights her town with the over-the-top Christmas display she erects in her front yard every year–except for one of her neighbors and the new landlord of the house next-door. Suzi’s love of Christmas starts to lose it sparkles when she finds her light display threatened by those that wish Christmas wasn’t so bright.

When Luke Potter, the landlord, loses his renters because of an obnoxious Christmas display, he teams up with his godfather who also happens to be a neighbor who dislikes the lights as much as him. It isn’t long before Luke, aka Scrooge, regrets his decision but finds himself unable to veer from his bah humbug path.

This was my favorite book this Christmas season. I loved how Susan fought for what she believed in and kept her Christmas spirit alive even though at times it dimmed a little, nothing kept Susan down, especially when it came to sharing the joy of the holiday with her family and town. I’m off to see if there’s a story featuring Luke’s brother as I grew to like all the characters in the story…well except for the grinchy neighbor.

 

Books · Holiday · Reviews

SRP Reviews– Holiday Edition (Part II): A Wish for Christmas, Four Days of Christmas, and The Man Who Invented Christmas

During the holiday season, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas, books, and movies that I can during this time frame.

A Wish for ChristmasA Wish for Christmas by Michele Brouder.

In a wish for Christmas, we meet India Ramone, a single mother who also helps her grandfather take care of her younger brother (early teens). India is juggling work, caring for family, and trying to come up extra cash for Christmas. The last few years has been tough on the whole family and she wishes to make things a little brighter for those she loves. India takes a job as a temporary personal assistant to a billionaire…a difficult and demanding  man who rather Christmas just goes away.

John Laurencelli does everything he can to avoid Christmas, including ignoring his sisters and nephews. No one seems to understand that the holidays that are a merry time for everyone else just brings painful memories back to him. But, his new assistant has a way of making him see the holiday as less about him and more about others.

This story is a sweet love story that takes place around the holiday season and I love how India opens up John eyes through just being herself, even extending forgiveness when others might not have done so. While reading the story, I couldn’t help but smile as I got caught up in the couple’s growing relationship and in the Christmas spirit. The book brought to mind a Hallmark Christmas movie (which I love).
Four Days of ChristmasFour Days of Christmas by Emma St. Clair.

This is a clean (no sex scenes) romance story that takes place around Christmas time. To earn some extra money for law school, Natalie takes a job as an elf at the booth where children get their photo taken with Santa. Natalie isn’t thrilled with her elf costume but is intrigued by the kindhearted Santa. I don’t want to give too much away (especially about the subplot) so won’t mention the other guy in the story. I do wish there had been more about the developing relationship and less story devoted to the subplot, to me it took away from the sweet, Christmas feel of the story. There were some funny moments, sweet and tender moments, which all added up to a nice read.

the man who invented christmasThe Man Who Invented Christmas.

When the movie came out last year, it didn’t play in the theater near us so I’ve been waiting for it to come out on DVD (on Amazon Prime video which is how I saw it). I love the Christmas Carol, have read it a few times and have watched–and own–several different versions of the movie. (My favorites are the ones with Patrick Steward and Scrooged).

Saturday, my husband and I sat down and watched it. Being a writer, I loved seeing how the characters came to exist and watching them follow Charles Dickens around while he wrote the story. I laughed during the scene where he was coming up with Scrooge’s name, I could relate as I can’t get a character to come alive if they don’t have the right name, sometimes even changing during the midway point of writing the book and then having to use the find and replace function.

It was interesting to see how he come up the story, and how some of the lines were inspired by people. I have to say I was a little surprised to learn the people who inspired the character of Scrooge (or at least what I took away from the movie). I don’t want to give it away for those who haven’t watched so I won’t mention any names.

 

Books · Holiday · Reviews

SRP Reviews– Holiday Edition (Part I): Blue Christmas, The Christmas Wedding, and Christmas Chronicles

During the holiday season, the reviews I post on The Self-Rescue Princess will have a different focus as my reading habits change. From Thanksgiving until the New Year, I only read novels set during the holiday season or have a seasonal theme. The Holiday Edition reviews will focus on the holiday spirit in the stories, and I plan to review more than one book in each post. I decided to go with more than one because I find I read more at this time and I want to share as many holiday short stories, novellas, books, and movies that I can during this time frame.

Editing a book and having two trips in November and one two-week trip in December has me a little behind in my holiday reading. The reason I’m behind has more to do with one of the trips (Disney!) “required” a lot of crafting time as I personalized shirts for my family for the trip. Eight shirts for four days took a lot of time. But, the pictures for my scrapbook will be awesome. Well, anyway…time to focus on the purpose for this post–holiday reviews.

Blue ChristmasThe first review for the year is Blue Christmas: A Snow Valley Romance by Lucy McConnell.

The Christmas season is Paisley Hackett’s busy time of the year. She is in charge of Snow Valley’s Hospital fundraising drives and a lot of the activities that bring in money are held over the holiday season. Paisley throws every ounce of herself into her job, but still makes sure she finds time to participate in holiday outings with her brother, his wife, and two children. When she spots an attractive guy at the tree lighting ceremony, she is surprised to discover it is someone she knew in high school. Grown-up Clay Jett is much different than his teenage age and Paisley is intrigued by the changes.

Clay Jett arrived back in town to redirect his life, trying to find a balance between being a sought after producer and having a life that was more than music. He remembers Paisley and while she tries to ignore the sparks between them, Clay wants to see if they can be fanned.

I enjoyed this sweet romance set during Christmas time. I loved that the couple were getting to know each better during Christmas events around the town. There were times I thought Clay was a little too heavy-handed in trying to immerse himself back into the town that he had left–and in doing so tried to take over some elements of Paisley job. Paisley wasn’t a pushed over and refused to allow anyone, even the guy she was interested in, to walk over her. Go Paisley!

The Christmas WeddingThe next book is The Christmas Wedding by KL Ramsey. This is a steamy romance that ends around Christmas Day.

Lorna Sanders has spent a lot of time helping others, including stepping up to raise her niece after the girl’s parents died. Lorna has been content in her life though sometimes her heart still yearns for romance, love, and her own children. When Jonathan Sawyer enters her world, she is intrigued by the man and while she fantasies about time with him, knows it won’t work because of an age difference and a voice in her head saying she’s too old for her dreams to come true.

I enjoyed getting to know Lorna and Sawyer. Sawyer (Jonathan) wasn’t a man who gave up though Lorna wanted him to, but I was glad that he wasn’t too pushy. Sometimes heroes can be a little too forceful in pursuing the heroine and I was happy to see that wasn’t the case here. The couples romance progressed through the months and wrapped it around the Christmas season. It was a fast paced read so if you’re short on time this holiday season, this the book is perfect to indulge in some reading. It’s not overly Christmas (for those that don’t like too strong of a Christmas theme) but has enough of the spirit and setting for those, like me, who want those aspects in a story.

Christmas ChroniclesThe Christmas Chronicles, a Netflix original movie. I love Christmas movies and was excited when I saw the trailer for a new one coming out this year. And I’ll admit I was intrigued about watching Kurt Russell play Santa Clause (and I’ll admit I loved his Santa Clause). Teddy and Kate are trying to get through the first Christmas without their dad. Teddy is sullen and seems to want the holiday just over, while Kate is trying to find the magic again. While watching old family movies of past Christmases, Kate sees Santa’s hand and blackmails her brother into helping her catch Santa in the act. Things don’t go quite as planned and Kate and Teddy end up “helping” Santa complete his mission of delivering all the gifts on Christmas Eve.

I loved this movie and it will be on my “watch to start the season” list. Usually, I don’t like holiday movies that are about a parent dying. But while the event explains the reason for the children’s behavior, especially the son, the movie doesn’t center around it. I loved the holiday spirit of the movie and the message. And Santa’s new look was awesome and how it was addressed. The humor was a great mix of sarcastic, heart warming, and laugh out loud…occasionally leaning toward cheesy camp–but that is what I love most about holiday movies…the fun. The ending (especially the very end) was perfect. I hope A Christmas Chronicles II is the new works!

 

Books · Reviews

SRP Review:Drop Dead Ornaments by Lois Winston

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

drop dead ornamentsDrop Dead Ornaments features Anastasia Pollack, a mother of teenagers and an editor for a craft magazine who finds herself drawn into a murder investigation when her son’s girlfriend’s father is accused of the crime.

Anastasia is a take-charge woman with a heart for her family–even her ex-family members who don’t (in my opinion) deserve her kindness. But, that trait is what makes Anastasia who she is and why I adore her so much. She knows these annoying family members flaws and deals with it the best she can. I love how the book not only focuses on the mystery but also what else is going on in the heroine’s life.

What I like best about Anastasia is how she balances her quest for justice with the needs and fears of her family. She has gotten herself into some huge scrapes in the past that have placed her life at risk and is doing what she can to assure her family she take her safety into consideration…though she can’t turn her back on someone in need. I also enjoy how Anastasia has a respectful “professional” relationship with the homicide detective. I sensed that while they both annoyed the other, they didn’t consider the other one an enemy.

I can’t wait to read more of her adventures and the progress of her relationship with her family and her boyfriend.

Books · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Cora Chevalier from Assault and Beadery

ASSAULT AND BEADERY BANNER 640

Assault and Beadery coverPlease tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

All of my dreams are coming true. Since moving to Indigo Gap, North Carolina, I’ve been blessed with a great boyfriend, a lovely home, and a booming craft retreat business. But on the eve of my first Crafty Mom’s Escape Weekend, tragedy strikes again in Indigo Gap. This time, it’s curtains for Stan Herald, the disagreeable director of the local theater group, who’s murdered on the opening night of their new production. Worse, my friend Zee is accused of the crime.

I’m determined to prove my friend’s innocence, but Zee’s mysterious past is making that difficult. And with a list of suspects longer than a double spool of satin cording, getting a bead on the real culprit won’t be easy. With my friends Jane and Ruby at my side I must string together the clues and solve Stan’s murder before the killer gives an encore performance.

What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

My friend Zee is innocent. I know it. I have to help. It doesn’t seem like the police are helping her.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

No, I never did. Even though I used to work at a women’s shelter, I have never been involved in a murder investigation until I moved to Indigo Gap.

Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

I run a craft retreat and I’m a craft blogger. As to who’s least happy about my sleuthing, that would be a toss up between the local police and my boyfriend Adrian.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I’m a people pleaser, which I think is a good and bad  trait. I want to help, but sometimes people  take advantage and I get myself into trouble. I’m creative and love to craft and write, but am not so good with details, like paying the bills and making things add up in the books!

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

Being able to rely on yourself, know that you can handle just about any situation. Also, part of being confident and strong is being vulnerable at times. Showing vulnerability is not a weakness.

What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

Listen to that little voice inside of you and act on it.

What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

People can fool you—and themselves.

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

I’ve hung up my hat—for now!

Books · Heroine Interviews · mystery

SRP Heroine Interview: Carrie Singleton from Read and Gone

read and gone

READ AND GONE coverPlease tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life? 

Recently, my life has been just about perfect. I love being the Clover Ridge Library’s head of programs and events. I have a great boyfriend and wonderful friends. And then my father, whom I haven’t seen in years and happens to be a thief, shows up at my cottage wanting me to help him get his half of a heist of gems from his crooked partner. As if I would ever do anything like that!

What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

When my father’s partner-in-crime is found murdered, my father becomes suspect number one. Now crooked as his is, my father is no murderer and I feel obliged to clear his name. I must find those gems before my father or any of the several people searching for them finds them.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Yes, actually, since I helped solve a cold case and a recent murder in my community a few months ago.

Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

I’d say Lieutenant John Mathers, the police chief of Clover Ridge Police Department, would rather I didn’t get involved in his cases. John is a good friend of my Uncle Bosco and he worries about my safety.

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

Some of us have grown up in a dysfunctional family as I did, but that’s no reason to let it interfere with having a wonderful, worthwhile rest of your life. Try not to be bitter; allow yourself to have loving, caring relationships. Unless it would be toxic to let a family member back into your life, be willing to give this person another chance if he/she has changed.

What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

I realized how much I love my father. Growing up, I was very hurt because he was never around, even when he wasn’t in jail. Spending time with him as an adult, I saw that he loves me and shows it as best he can. Much as I’d like it, I cannot expect him to behave like a typical father.

If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

You Can’t Choose the Members of Your Family

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?

I intend to continue sleuthing when the need arises. To be perfectly honest, I LOVE sleuthing. It’s challenging and exciting!