Copper Waters: A New Zealand Cottage Mystery: Annalisse Series, Book 4 by Marlene Bell (Book Review)

A rural New Zealand vacation turns poisonous.

Antiquities expert Annalisse Drury and tycoon Alec Zavos are at an impasse in their relationship when Alec refuses to clear up a paternity issue with an ex-lover.

Frustrated with his avoidance when their future is at stake, Annalisse accepts an invitation from an acquaintance to fly to New Zealand—hoping to escape the recent turbulence in her life.

But even Annalisse’s cottage idyll on the family sheep farm isn’t immune to intrigue.

Alec sends a mutual friend and detective, Bill Drake, to follow her, and a local resident who accompanies them from the Christchurch airport dies mysteriously soon after. A second violent death finds Annalisse and Bill at odds with the official investigations.

The local police want to close both cases as quickly as possible—without unearthing the town’s dirty secrets.

As she and Bill pursue their own leads at serious cost, the dual mysteries force Annalisse to question everything she thought she knew about family ties, politics, and the art of small-town betrayal.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from R&R Book Tours.
I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand. However, when I eventually get there, I hope I’m not surrounded by all the drama that Anna and Bill encountered. One dead body and one murder mystery are enough, but they found themselves in the middle of two murder investigations. Okay, it was terrible news for them but great news for us.

The suspect list was long. There were so many motives. There was also a sketchy politician and police officer. Who killed VICTIM ONE and why? Why did VICTIM TWO meet his maker? I thought I knew the answers—I was wrong. Hello, plot twist!

While the mystery aspect of the book was terrific, I was a bit lost at times when the author mentioned events from the past three books. It didn’t affect the mystery’s outcome, but reading the first three books would’ve given me a better understanding of what the characters have gone through the past couple of years.

Time to add more books to my TBR list!

On a side note: I love all the fun facts about sheep. For instance, when gauging a sheep’s age, know that sheep get two large teeth for every year. Fascinating!

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Meet the Author

Marlene M. Bell is an eclectic mystery writer, artist, photographer, and she raises sheep in beautiful East Texas with her husband, Gregg, three cats and a flock of horned Dorset sheep.

The Annalisse series has received numerous honors including the Independent Press Award for Best Mystery (Spent Identity,) and FAPA— Florida Author’s President’s Gold Award for two other installments, (Stolen Obsession and Scattered Legacy.) Her mysteries with a touch of romance are found at marlenembell.com. She also offers the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! Based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. The simple text and illustrations are a touching tribute of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb.

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Home In Good Hands: A Homeowner’s Guide to Construction and Renovation by Simon Dauphinee (Book Review)

Planning a renovation or home construction project? Want to find the right contractor but don’t know where to start? Avoid costly errors and delays. Being prepared is of the utmost importance!

Books in this space are often long-winded and full of fluff. No homeowner needs to, nor has time to, read a 300-page book on renovating or construction, so don’t waste your time! Home In Good Hands is concise and free of fluff, so the reader can fit it into their undoubtedly busy life.

Read Home In Good Hands to learn all you need to know to successfully plan and execute your project. Make sure your home is in good hands!

Includes bonus tools and tips to help keep you organized and on track. Tricks of the trade inside!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Simon Dauphinee, a contractor with nearly two decades in the industry, wants your renovation to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Home In Good Hands: A Homeowner’s Guide to Construction and Renovation will show you what approaches work and what does not work. He’ll walk you through all you need to know, from project start to finish. 

First, let’s find a contractor! The writer points out referrals are best, but if you don’t have one, there’s always plan B. As a person who loves spreadsheets, I will keep his template in mind for future projects. Oh, and the script was excellent! 

As someone who selected a contractor based on price and not likability, I agree wholeheartedly with the writer’s following statement. “Compatibility with a contractor on a personal level is very important, as you will be hosting this person and their crew and working with them daily until project completion (9).”

The writer gives sound advice in every section, but the visual of the quote is quite valuable. It explained what to expect and look for in a sample job. Your future project might not resemble the picture, but it’s an excellent reference point. Oh, another sound tip…ask for references! 

Home In Good Hands: A Homeowner’s Guide to Construction and Renovation discusses “reviewing contracts,” “orders of operations,” and “the construction process,” but chapter 8 interested me greatly. “Advice from Homeowners” contained real-life testimonials from the author’s past clients. They’ve been there and done that, so their input intrigued me. After each testimonial, Simon Dauphinee gave a “key take-away.” It was a nice personal touch I hadn’t seen on other renovation guides before. While the entire book was beneficial, I could’ve read more client advice. 

Simon Dauphinee gives excellent advice to those seeking to renovate and should ease the stress out of a potentially stressful endeavor. I highly recommend you read it if you require outside assistance. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

Simon Dauphinee is an author, entrepreneur, and business owner with nearly 20 years of experience in the residential renovation/ construction industry. Simon has worked with hundreds of clients, led teams of employees, and was even featured in HGTV’s ‘Marriage Under Construction,’ Season 4.
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Three Milongas: One Metamorphosis by Tanguera Writer (Book Review)

Tanguera, an experienced tango dancer, thought she knew what tango was until three milongas, tango dance events, permanently changed her pale and egocentric life to what she had deeply longed for but never imagined to be possible.

An emotional, sensual, and spiritual recollection of real events and of the transformative power of tango.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Three Milongas – One Metamorphosis by Tanguera Writer is a short story (under 30 pages) centered around Tanguera, an experienced tango dancer who, through flashbacks, attempts to articulate why she chose to dance. 

“Why do you dance?” It was a simple question that left the main star wondering how she could explain why they danced the tango. To answer this question, they reflected on the three pivotal evenings of dancing that impacted their life.

Going into the reading, I was familiar with the tango; a well-known dance capitalized on a famous dancing show. Milonga was foreign to me (no pun intended). The writer does give you background information on the dance. During this time, musical and dance terms are mentioned, which the author defines seamlessly. 

People dance for a reason: exercise, socialize, love competing, or they can resist the lure of the dance—like Tanguera. But, like any other dance, the tango needs to be practiced— a lot. The right partner and teacher can make all the difference too. Two bodies are moving as one. With the right partner, you can enter a state of pure bliss. The rest of the world fades away as you get lost in the dance. Dance can also be an emotional experience, unleashing your emotions on the dance floor. I’ve seen many dancers on tv shed tears, so I wasn’t surprised the experience (music and the dance) filled Tanguera’s eyes with tears. 

Each dancing memory was tender, sweet, or sensual, and I could see why they impacted Tanguera. While I thoroughly enjoyed the walk down memory lane, the file I received had many editing and formatting errors. I would advise correcting them, so it doesn’t affect their score from other reviewers. 

If you look past the missteps in construction, Three Milongas – One Metamorphosis is a lovely book that anyone, dancers or bystanders, can enjoy. 

Review submitted to Reedsy on 12/6/22.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Tanguera Writer

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The Tickling Tale of Smoo by Louiza Kallona (Book Review)

Some strange things arrive suddenly, like frogs that rain down instead of cats and dogs. Other strange things creep up slowly until one day no one can ignore them any longer. This is the story of the McClaffertys, and the mysterious disappearance of laughter.

Lucy McClafferty and her brother Ben are fed up. The weather has been dreich for months, and no one is laughing anymore.

It’s up to Lucy and Ben to uncover the mystery of why the world has stopped laughing so laughter can return to the world again.

Join them on their weird and wonderful adventure as they travel to the top of Scotland, meet fantastical characters, face unexpected challenges, and discover that there is more to some people and places than meets the eye!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo by Louiza Kallona was a wonderfully weird story filled with excitement and humor. It all began when people seemed to lose their will to smile. Grandma said it must have to do with Smoo, a tickler of the world. 

As Grandma, Lucy, Ben, and Patrick arrived at Gabel Lylhu’s cottage in Durness, the weirdest factor increased tenfold. First, Grandma whistled, and fireflies answered her call. Then, there’s the cottage itself. Its unique decor was definitely on the strange side: bronze fox nailed to the front door, crocodile-tooth light switches, blowfish skeletons, and a clock that bleats. The most unusual discovery was a gargantuan nose on the turquoise, conch-shaped couch. The nose sent snot soaring out of its nostrils. Gross! 

After the visitors woke Gabel Lylhu (aka Belly Laugh), we learned about his connection to Grandma. The revelation surprised me as much as it surprised Lucy and Ben. With a quick rundown on the world’s happenings, Gabel and the kids set to find the Smoo and tickle her. The adventure has readers meeting extraordinary people, witnessing unusual events, and hopping on a spectacularly odd bus (Grand Express) that children will be utterly fascinated by and probably say they’d like to ride. 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo had humor, suspense, unforgettable characters, and a unique plot that required an out-of-the-box-thinking resolution. Oh, it also had puzzles that would delight and thrill those who like solving riddles and anagrams. I want to note that the anagrams are not very easy and might prove difficult for young readers. However, the answers are provided as the author tells the story, and thank goodness for that because they stumped even me. 

Kids will love The Tickling Tale of Smoo. Adults will love it too. It’s a story that the entire family can read and enjoy together! 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

Louiza Kallona grew up in London but moved to Scotland aged eighteen, attracted by the history, the whopping volcanic rock, and the hope of meeting people as funny as Billy Connolly. She wrote The Tickling Tale of Smoo while living with five other bikers in a farmhouse in the Scottish Borders.

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Healthcare Heroes ABCs: A Journey Through the Alphabet with Your Healthcare Hero Team by Courtney Booth (Book Review)

Healthcare Heroes ABCs takes children on a colorful and engaging journey through the alphabet to learn about 26 different kinds of healthcare professionals! From anesthesiologists to occupational therapists, home health aides to veterinarians, and medical social workers to genetic counselors, children will easily connect with the different heroes they see on each page.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Even before the latest pandemic hit, healthcare workers work day in and day out, saving lives. During the pandemic, we gained a newfound respect for the healthcare industry and those who work in that field. We’ve seen them pushed to their max, but they keep fighting. Courtney Booth, the author, is correct—healthcare workers are heroes!

I’ve seen countless books on learning ABCs; however, this is the first I’ve noticed that focuses on healthcare workers. The picture book covers every job imaginable, from “A” for an anesthesiologist to “Y” for youth counselors. Under each letter and position, there’s a brief overview of what the job entails. For instance: “T is for transplant surgeons” informs children that these workers help kids and adults live longer by giving them new organs when they are sick. There wasn’t a specific job title that began with “Z.” The author expressed how they were zillions of other jobs not covered. The illustrations accompanying this letter and description mentioned a handful of other healthcare-related careers. 

The healthcare industry is vital to our survival. There are so many jobs that one can choose for their future career if they choose that path. But even if your child doesn’t want to enter that industry, Healthcare Heroes ABCs: A Journey Through the Alphabet with Your Healthcare Hero Team by Courtney Booth will give elementary school children a better understanding of what each job does (from A-Y). If you are a teacher reading this to your class, you might prompt your students to share if they have a family member who works as a healthcare worker. Maybe even consider a healthcare career day at school. 

Amazon’s recommended reading age is two-ten years (grade level: preschool-fifth). Learning the letters is more suitable for two and three-year-olds, while the information about each specific job would be ideal for school-age children. 

I recommend teachers share this book with students. I also hope parents buy this book for their child(ren). 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

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Meet the Author

Courtney’s had her pencil on paper since she was little. She wrote her first story in second grade and told her first story to a group in elementary school. After reading countless children’s books, she’s happy to pour her passion into creating stories she wants her daughter to hear.

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