Sutherland’s Crossing – A Beau Crenshaw Detective Novel: A Sinister and Twisted Murder Mystery by Gwen Kelly (Book Spotlight)

Set in steamy Charleston, South Carolina, the mysterious disappearance of a twin daughter to wealthy socialites has the town ablaze with rumor and conspiracy.

What began as a missing person’s case now has Detective Beau Crenshaw heading in a different direction when a body turns up at a swamp. The pattern of death is eerily similar to Mary’s, an unsolved murder from years earlier.

The collision of similarities too great to be a coincidence makes him suspect he is chasing the same person, but how can this be possible? Has this person been lying dormant all these years, waiting for the right opportunity to erupt, or is this a copycat?

Beau goes on the hunt for a killer. He can’t mess up this time. He’s given a second chance to get a madman off the streets.

What follows is a dark web of intrigue and deception that will push Detective Beau Crenshaw to his limits.

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

Chapter 1

Sunday, June 18, 1995

 

A slight breeze caressed the Spanish moss draped over the limbs of the live oak trees—majestic portraits of southern charm—holding secrets of the past tightly embedded in every vein of their massive frames. Oh, the stories they could tell. A voice echoed brazenly through the forest walls.

“Come out, come out wherever you are.”

The salty air was oddly silent, yet noticeably dense. As the late-afternoon sky set in motion its dark descent, the billowy softness of the pure white clouds shifted against the backdrop of the periwinkle-blue sky, causing fragmented glimpses of the sun poking through the clouds. Staring long enough, the mind could take hold and contort the images into characters as if watching a movie, but in a flash these clouds contorted the mind into a new scene, forever in motion and constantly twisting the narrative. Audra knew her narrative was about to become twisted.

“I know you’re here.”

The screech of cicadas came from every direction as they started up their early-evening songs of the South, intermittent with katydids in a much higher staccato-style pitch, frogs croaking to the beat. As if silently orchestrated, birds harmonized their ballads to make magic. It was a classic June afternoon in Charleston, South Carolina, known for its relentlessly humid subtropical climate, and yet for Audra, this day would be anything but typical. She had to carry forward, somehow. Think, Audra, think, she told herself, and breathe, for God’s sake! Every second counted. From here on, every decision would have a life-altering effect. As an introvert, acting impulsively was as uncomfortable to her as orbiting the moon.

Today all her senses were elevated, her nose first detecting the rotting flesh of a dead animal nearby, its odious stink compounding by the potent smell of jasmine, which by itself is a beautiful aroma, unless commingling with the foul stench of death. Her eyes feasted on the scene before her to force the scent from her mind, but Audra’s nostrils couldn’t escape the wicked unpleasantness.

“Come on. This is ridiculous. Where are you?”

She shuffled forward and grabbed onto the weathered porch railing, stumbling with each step. Sweat beaded on her brow, and her drenched clothes stuck to her body, the material creasing and pinching her skin when she moved, its restriction only adding to her sensation of constraint. Droplets of briny sweat would land on her upper lip unnoticed. Every so often, a piece of the paint flaked off the porch railing and stuck itself to her wet skin. Pieces of her thick, shoulder-length brunette hair glued itself to her face, and when she raised a hand to swipe the stray strands from her skin, the saturated hair resisted leaving the flawless complexion.

The cawing from a trio of black crows jerked Audra back to reality as they flew past her, their tone first eerily piercing but eventually softening as they glided into the periphery, then disappeared entirely from view. Their departure left behind the sound of her heart beating madly in her chest. Each thump sent a chilling echo throughout her.

Why did everything have a sensation of being so exaggerated? She wanted to scream. And yet . . . there was still a drive in her pushing her forward . . . to get to the finish line. Like the sensation on a roller coaster as it creeps ever so slowly to the top . . . click clack . . . click clack . . . click clack. Finally, it reaches the top, and for a moment, is suspended in an odd weightlessness, with no way of turning back. You are now relying on the metal bar lying across your lap to keep you tucked in place, preventing an escape, forcing on, and providing a false sense of security. And as it crosses the threshold, the coaster picks up momentum, and that sinking feeling in your stomach begins an uncomfortable dance. The weightlessness is amplified until everything catches up. Then the nervous laughter begins, and you embrace the triumph of conquering the beast. The lines become blurred between normal excitement and what is deep-seated agony.

She spotted her twin sister, Abby, now, less than a 100 yards away, but Abby couldn’t see her. She was fiercely looking for her, though, and now mad as a rabid dog, screaming out into the swamp to an audience of no one.

“I know you’re there, Audra. Come out, and let’s talk about this. Grow up and face me for once in your life. Come on, Audra. Stop this.”

Audra felt conflicted. How was she going to protect herself? Everything was rushing forward like a dam that had broken. She needed to settle down, to think clearly. But the panic wouldn’t let go. The horrible panic. Oh, how she hated that word. She was sick of its grip on her, of its being in charge of her life knowing that panic held the cards for what the day would bring. She was so sick of it all. What a strange existence. Maybe death was the best end.

At only thirty-three years old, Audra didn’t want to deal with this, to experience this kind of torment. A ripple of strength overcame her, and Audra knew what she needed to do. She needed to finish the ride. She turned around and gasped as a voice broke against her stillness so close she could feel the warmth of the breath.

“Hello, sister. It’s been awhile.”

 

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

Lovely Leo ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐: I am a once avid reader who in the last few years has not done much reading that is not on a device. I have to say that reading this book has rekindled my love of reading books! This is an amazing author who we need to be following and telling everyone about! I had a hard time putting this book down because every time I wanted to, a new twist happened that I didn’t see coming and I needed to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. I can’t wait to read the next book to see the story continue. I love it when a series wraps up the main event but leaves some unanswered questions on the backstories so they carry forward in the next book. I’ll be watching for Ms. Kelly’s next installment in the series.
 
Lee Austin ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐:  Love this book! I couldn’t put it down. It’s a great read and I highly recommend to anyone that loves a good mystery thriller. I don’t want to say too much and spoil anything but what a great twist that I didn’t see coming! This book would make a great gift as well.
 
Kelly ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐:   This book was fast paced with extremely interesting characters! I enjoyed the story and it had me on the edge of my seat until the very last page! The character development was fascinating and the story was fresh and utterly unpredictable. I truly enjoyed reading every page!
 
 
 
 
 

Meet the Author

I am an award winning author who’s passionate about writing. I love to share stories. I’m always evolving to become the best fun version of myself. As I follow my path, I will continue to write stories, help shelter dogs find beautiful loving homes and aid individuals needing financial assistance to spay and neuter their pets.

My ultimate goal is to one day have a small farm called Sutherland’s Crossing Sanctuary for animals needing a place to be loved, to feel at peace and eventually die with dignity.

I have many stories still brewing in my head and will continue to write books in many genres – murder mystery, children’s book, historical true story, comedy book and whatever else formulates.

Please join me on my journey as I produce more books for you to enjoy and so together, we can continue to get lost in the world of words all while helping the animals!

Amazon Author Page Link

Author’s Website Link

Reedsy Author Link

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Life Lessons of Lucy Lu: Book 1 – Lucy Lu Gets Adopted by Gwen Kelly (Book Review)

“Mama, wait! You forgot me! Please don’t go Mama! Please don’t leave me here!” Lucy Lu cried out. “Why are you leaving me?”

OH, NO! Even though Lucy Lu was an adorable, happy puppy who loved to be with people, her Mama abandoned her at an animal shelter! After a cold and scary night outside at the shelter, Lucy Lu was welcomed in by the nice lady that worked there, and she met a new dog friend that taught her how to be a good dog and get adopted. But Lucy Lu was still very afraid that she would have to live in a kennel forever… and she wouldn’t find a family to love and play with!

And then one beautiful day, finally, a happy, kind woman named Gracie visited Lucy Lu at the shelter…

Life Lessons of Lucy Lu is a beautifully illustrated dog book for kids and a great gift for any dog lover. This empowering book also teaches children to be caring of abandoned animals.

“Oh, Lucy Lu,” Gracie said. “You are perfect. You are the one. I would love to adopt you and be your new Mama. Would you like that?”

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

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

 

According to The Zebra’s website, “Every year, 6.5 million dogs, cats, and other former pets are abandoned or lost and enter shelters. But of all these animals, only 3.2 million are adopted and many see shelters again after less than a year of finding a new home.” The number of euthanized pets is staggering and saddening, too. Lucy Lu is one of many dogs abandoned at a shelter. Readers never learn why the American pit bull and Staffordshire terrier mix was left tied to the shelter’s doorknob. We do get a glimpse into the mind of the sweet puppy. Lucy Lu was confused, wondering why her Mama drove off without her. She pleaded for her Mama to please come back. Lucy Lu’s cries made me cry. My heart broke for her. 

Beth, the human who operates the shelter, wonders what kind of person would abandon a dog, especially one that can’t be more than four months old. I wondered as well. Beth brought Lucy Lu inside, fed her, and gave her a warm place to sleep. There, Lucy met another shelter dog named Sally, a border terrier mix. Beth explains to the veteran canine guest that Lucy Lu might not be adopted immediately. Unfortunately, it’s common for black mixed-breed dogs to get “overlooked.” Therefore, Lucy Lu needs all the love and kindness they can offer. 

Sally was all too familiar with being overlooked by prospective adopters. Over the years, she taught Lucy Lu to be a “good girl.” She taught Lucy Lu the importance of good manners, such as not jumping on people or getting into the garbage. As Lucy Lu watched pups getting adopted over her, she questioned what was wrong with her. Why didn’t anyone want her? Children in foster care often wonder the same thing. They believe there’s something about themselves that makes them unwanted and unlovable. Again, just thinking anyone (with or without fur) thinks this is heartbreaking. 

Sally and Lucy Lu did get their forever homes, but not every shelter animal is so lucky. If you are ready for the huge responsibility of owning a pet, I recommend you visit your local shelter today. Let’s give our animals what they want—a forever home! 

Lucy Lu’s story touched my heart, and I know it’ll touch yours too. I agree with the author’s recommended reading age: ages 4 to 9. 

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

Meet the Author

I am an award winning author who’s passionate about writing. I love to share stories. I’m always evolving to become the best fun version of myself. As I follow my path, I will continue to write stories, help shelter dogs find beautiful loving homes and aid individuals needing financial assistance to spay and neuter their pets.

My ultimate goal is to one day have a small farm called Sutherland’s Crossing Sanctuary for animals needing a place to be loved, to feel at peace and eventually die with dignity.

I have many stories still brewing in my head and will continue to write books in many genres – murder mystery, children’s book, historical true story, comedy book and whatever else formulates.

Please join me on my journey as I produce more books for you to enjoy and so together, we can continue to get lost in the world of words all while helping the animals!

Amazon Author Page Link

Author’s Website Link

Reedsy Author Link

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Doggie Detectives (The Everyday Adventures of Papa & Paws Book 8) by Papa Paws (Book Review)

Today, Molly Paws and her sisters discover another dog toy is missing. Their toy box is empty, so they put on their detective hats and work together to find clues to solve the mystery. Will they ever see their toys again? Will they find out who did this?

Children’s picture book about a sweet little doggie named Molly Paws and her family.

  • Created by a dog dad, every story is based on a real-life event.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers ages 0-5(ish) will enjoy the cute illustrations of the dogs.
  • Moms, dads, and grandparents will love reading the heartwarming stories.

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

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

 

Doggie Detectives (The Everyday Adventures of Papa and Paws) is based on an actual event, which makes this story more relatable in the eyes of young readers. Children will think of their canine companions and be eager to help solve the mystery of the missing toys! 

Toys bring hours of joy and comfort to young children. They grow incredibly attached to certain ones, and to lose one breaks their hearts. Molly Paws and her sisters did not lose just one toy; they lost FIVE in a week. This news is devastating; they must find them. I adored the doggies wearing detective hats illustrations, and so will kids. And who can resist a dog with a heart-shaped nose? No one!  

Molly Paws and her sisters work together to sniff out clues. The clues were not hard to uncover, so children as young as two could join the investigation. Papa Paws illustrated five missing toys. Adding a suspect list would’ve been a nice touch. It would help young minds wager a guess who snatched the missing toys. As you continue reading, ask your young listener who they think stole the toys. Ask if they agree with one dog’s suspicion that Mama the butler did it. 

I’m not an expert on dog breeds, so I can’t pinpoint which breed made which comments in the story. But I agree with the tiny dog with the pink bow that I’m surprised they didn’t question any kitty cats.

Without disclosing who did it, I will say the culprit learned a valuable lesson after they were found with the loot— It is more fun to share and play with friends.

Doggie Detectives (The Everyday Adventures of Papa and Paws) is a fun, interactive storybook with charming illustrations. I recommend sharing the story with children two years and older. 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

Meet the Author 

Nicholas J. Nawroth is Papa Paws. He is a dog lover and artist. At age 9, he created his first comic book featuring his dog, Woody, and has been drawing ever since. He has never lost touch with his childlike wonder and love of dogs, which he shares in his stories. In his free time, he enjoys snuggling up on the couch with the family to watch movies.

Amazon Author Page Link

Reedsy Author Link

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ellie Wants to Draw: A Doodle Dilemma (Ellie The Chick Book 5) by Avery Smart (Book Review)

Meet Ellie, the creative little artist chick with a passion for drawing!

From houses to tall trees, flowers, and flying butterflies, Ellie’s artistic spirit knows no bounds. Her imagination soars as she sketches rainbows, the sun, rockets to Mars, boats sailing on the sea, and even castles guarded by mighty dragons.

A little bit here and a little bit there, it’s not going to hurt anyone when you are drawing quietly alone, right?

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 


Whether scribbling on a piece of paper or drawing masterpieces, drawing has many health benefits. It allows the artist to express their feelings. It’s a stress-releaser. It improves motor skills. It activates a person’s imagination and creative side. 

Ellie, the cute chick, loves to draw. However, she makes a mistake that many children make every day: she uses walls as her canvas. Crayola gives children washable art instruments: crayons, markers, pencils, and paints. This means the days of repainting walls, using stain lifters on clothes, and scrubbing skin are long gone!

Even though many washable options are on the market, not all parents will be thrilled with kids decorating the walls. Also, even though they have washable materials at home, their friend’s house or school might not. Therefore, teaching children the appropriate places to create their masterpieces is best. Despite all our efforts to keep walls clean, most children accidentally or purposely color a wall.

Ellie got more than one little mark on the wall. She had an entire scene with a tree, rainbow, sun, kite, rocket, and much more. When Ellie’s mom saw the kite’s tail streaking across multiple walls, she immediately told Ellie to stop. Ellie could’ve placed the blame on others. She could’ve refused to clean up her mess. But, since she knew right from wrong, she owned up to her mistake and began scrubbing the mess away.

From a design point of view, I would’ve put the text regarding what the chick loves to draw before the drawing action shots. Other than that, I couldn’t find a single item not to love.

Ellie’s story teaches children to take responsibility for their mistakes. It also opens a dialogue for parents to explain or remind kids what surfaces are for coloring and which are not.

Amazon’s recommended reading age is baby-6 years.

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

Meet the Author

Avery Smart, a vibrant author who resides in the heart of the lively family chaos with her three energetic kids. Nestled in the midst of parenting, she channels her passion for nurturing well-mannered children into delightful tales.

It is within this dynamic environment that she draws inspiration, transforming her deep-seated passion for fostering well-mannered children into captivating tales.

Avery’s writing becomes a heartfelt expression of her commitment to instilling values in the younger generation. Her three lively kids not only serve as a source of inspiration but also as eager test subjects for the lessons embedded in her stories.

Amazon Author Page Link

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Adventures of Burnie & Chloe: Burnie Explores the Neighborhood by Andrea McLean (Book Review)

Join Chloe and Burnie in this heartwarming story of unexpected twists and loyalty. Chloe, visiting her friend Burnie, experiences an ordinary day that takes a sudden turn when a plumber arrives to fix a broken pipe. As the plumber forgets to close the door behind him, Burnie seizes the opportunity for an adventure outside, tempting Chloe to break the rules.

The story unfolds with Burnie venturing deep into the woods while Chloe, true to her sense of responsibility, raises the alarm. As their journey unfolds, readers will share the tension, worry, and eventual relief as Burnie navigates the woods and reunites with his worried owner, Ava.

The Adventures of Burnie and Chloe, Burnie Explores the Neighborhood, is a charming tale that celebrates the bonds of friendship and the importance of following rules. Will Burnie’s escapade teach him a valuable lesson about the importance of staying close to home, or will it strengthen the bond between him and Chloe? Find out in this enchanting story that captures the essence of true friendship.

Preorder: Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

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

 

Animals are naturally curious, and their curiosity often leads them into hot water. While Burnie and Chloe were having another doggie playdate, a plumber arrived to fix a broken pipe in the kitchen. The dogs didn’t mind the repairman being there. In fact, they settled in to take a nap while he worked. It wasn’t until they heard the front door that their eyes sprung open. The workman stepped outside to grab a tool, leaving the front door wide open and unattended. 

If you have pets in your home, you can understand the need to keep all exit doors securely shut so your companion(s) don’t leave the safety of their home and get lost. Whether you have paws or hands and feet, becoming lost is scary. It’s common for people and animals to panic, not sure which way to turn. Burnie was lucky; he sniffed the proper path out of the woods, leading him one step closer to home. Understandably, Ava (his owner) was worried about her wandering pooch. While she was relieved to find him, she was not thrilled he broke the rules and told him he should never leave the house again without permission or an adult. That is sound advice to all children. 

Some pets, like Chloe, know better than to venture outside without their human. They might even try to talk their furry friends out of breaking the house rules, like Chloe tried to do in this cute children’s story. However, some animals are too drawn to the outdoors to listen to reason. While this is a story about two dogs, kids face similar situations. Should I obey the rules, break them, cave to peer pressure, or tell an adult about someone who made the wrong choice?

Everything worked out for Burnie, but his fate could’ve been worse. This story opens the door for parents and teachers to discuss the importance of following rules, asking for permission, and (of course) not traveling alone. 

With its bold, large text, The Adventures of Burnie & Chloe: Burnie Explores the Neighborhood  is a perfect choice for independent readers.

Amazon’s recommended reading age is 3-7. 

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

Preorder: Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

Meet the Author

Andrea C. McLean is a champion of personal discovery. She is passionate about kindling diverse connections and watching the resultant magic unfold. When she’s not spinning captivating narratives, Andrea coaches individuals to uncover their superpowers and navigate life’s twists with resilience.

Reedsy Author Link

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized