Tag Archives: humor

Banking on a Murder:  A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald (Book Review)

Fiona’s old college chum, Priscilla Conroy, has recently moved back to the Pittsburgh area after a most unpleasant divorce. Fiona was looking forward to reconnecting with her friend to help cheer her up and the two had made plans to meet at the bank where her friend worked after it closed—only Priscilla never shows up for the lunch date. Thinking the worse, Fiona is beside herself and spends the entire Memorial Day weekend searching for her friend. Did her ex-husband abduct her? Has she been murdered? Somehow Fiona knows that the key to Priscilla Conroy’s disappearance lies within the bank. But how can that be?

Join Fiona Quinn for a quick mystery that’s sure to keep you guessing!

 
Buy the Book:
Amazon
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
Banking on a Murder: A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery by C.S. McDonald is a cozy mystery with ZERO foul language or suggestive scenes. It’s the perfect read for adults and teens. What’s even better, it’s only 30 pages long, so it won’t take all afternoon or day to read. 


I know many parents are choosing the homeschool route. If you’re one of these people, Banking on a Murder: A Fiona Quinn Quick Mystery would be an excellent story to include during their ELA studies. Students can predict the outcome and then help write the review to share online. 🙂 


I made my prediction regarding Priscilla’s whereabouts, and I was wrong. 


C.S. McDonald’s creations ALWAYS keep me entertained, and this time was no different. This was yet another story with an exciting plot and characters. Speaking of characters, Vivien Leigh cracked me up. Her attitude reminded me of my Nana. Maybe when you read this story, she’ll remind you of yours. 🙂

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
 
 
Connect with the author:  
Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook
 
 

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Tickling the Bear: How to Stay Safe in the Universe by David Wann (Book Review and Author Interview)

TICKLING THE BEAR: HOW TO STAY ALIVE IN THE UNIVERSE by David Wann
 
 
Anthropology professor Marc Blake is on a “hero’s journey.” His challenge is to overcome a troubling medical diagnosis –a virus from a tick bite. Along the way he shares his deepest thoughts as the reader follows his courageous efforts to survive. May, an attractive Danish woman, also endures setbacks with resilience, gradually coming center stage in the story. Her husband Kai has a passion for growing herbs and healthy vegetables, marveling how gardening provides a sense of purpose, good health, direct contact with nature, and companionship. Marc’s niece, a natural beauty and ex-model, offers readers a comical, on-again, off-again romantic episode with a Silicon Valley genius she fears might outshine her. Will she prove to be his equal?
 
Quirky humor injects both lightness and conflict into a 30-year marriage. A six-year old’s “best summer ever” is a reminder that life’s an absolute miracle. Collectively this extended family contests a widespread belief that life is happening to us – that we are passive consumers. On the contrary, each character in this upbeat book is actively self-guided, perfecting their passions and offering generous support to family and friends.
 

​Though author David Wann has previously written non-fiction books about sensible, sustainable lifestyles, in his first-novel these themes are woven right into a compelling story. “Our lives don’t look much different than most Americans,” the characters might say. “Really, we are not ‘doing without,’ more like doing within.” Kai enjoys investing in regional businesses, and also loves to travel effortlessly on Denver’s bike paths. Meatless Mondays or grilled-salmon Sundays are a great way for the outgoing May to bring friends together for active conversation. Each character would insist that kindness and gratitude are encoded in our genes and are far more powerful than anger. In a world that’s currently so full of disruption and confusion, they offer both a sense of direction and grounded hope.

 
 
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ BAM ~ IndieBound
 
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
Marcus Blake has been given a year to live due to the Q virus. David Wann (the author) states the virus steadily destroys white blood cells, is transferred from insects to people, and has a 5% survival rate. The odds are against Marc, but he decides to beat the odds.


While this is a story about a man’s quest to survive, we gain much insight into the lives of Marc’s friends and family. For example: Rocket, his brother, lives off the land and is a talented woodworker. Kai was taught the power of plants/herbs/flowers by his father.


David Wann spoke passionately about nature, his disgust for Trump and pulling out of The Paris Agreement, and even discussed gun rights and taxes. These might be problem areas for those who don’t want a book with political topics. However, if you don’t like the former president, you’ll have no issue with David condemning Trump’s actions. 🙂

Marc faced death head-on. At one point, literally (skydiving scene).
In the end, I won’t disclose if he lived or died. The journey to discovering Marc’s fate will be filled with love, laughter, tears, and some drugs. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of pot between brothers. 🙂
 
 
 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Author David Wann

 
David Wann has been a self-acknowledged author since second grade. He’s written hundreds of articles and columns; ten books – one a best seller; and produced five TV documentaries viewed by 20 million. He’s lived in a cooperative neighborhood (cohousing) for 26 years where he has been the organic gardener for 27 households. He’s an amateur musician and the proud father of two. His greatest ambition is to make a difference in a world that urgently requires “all hands on deck.” His books include Affluenza; Biologic; Superbia; Simple Prosperity; The Zen of Gardening; The New Normal, Reinventing Community and others.
 
 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: KAM’S PLACE

 
What are some of your personal interests, and how do they shape the plot and characters in Tickling the Bear?

(David Wann)  Throughout my adult life, I’ve focused on several passions: my relationships; writing; playing guitar; being in nature, and gardening. Through thick and thin, these are what I relied on to keep me sane (though some might question if it worked!)
 
 
Would you say that one particular character is more like you than the others?

(David Wann)  I suppose all the characters resemble me in one way or another, but the protagonist, Marc Blake, is kind of an avatar for me. I wish I had his courage. He’s been diagnosed with a life threatening virus he got from a tick bite in Borneo. His journey in the book takes him from Denver to California and back in his quest to heal himself by spending time with family and close friends. Like me, he is interested in creating a future that works. He’s a professor of Future Studies, and admittedly, some of his words could very easily come from my mouth.
 
 
Are you a professor, too?

(David Wann)  No, but I’ve given many keynote talks and presentations at universities about sustainable lifestyles and designs. If I said some of the pointed things Marc says about life in America, people might think I was being overly critical, so I let Marc say them.
 
 
What about Marc’s brother, Rocket, who’s kind of a joyful dropout from mainstream America, making a living on a small organic farm and with his woodworking? Does that come from your experience?

(David Wann)  Partially. I’ve been an organic gardener for forty years, and I did dream the dream that Rocket and his family bring to “life,” but I have to say that I’m lucky I chose an easier path. Farming in California and most other places takes a lot of guts and also requires that a person loves being home. I enjoyed portraying Rocket as a man rooted in his community, carving two large totem poles that celebrate the indigenous people, plants and animals of the region.
 
 
Say something about your own home. You live in an intentional community, right?

(David Wann)  Yes, about thirty years ago I joined eight or ten others to buy ten acres of land and create a “cohousing” village – not a commune – that now has 27 houses. The idea is to provide support for each other and to follow our convictions collectively. We each own our homes but share common assets like a community house, a large garden, and a people-friendly landscape, perfect for the kids who build forts and give performances for enthusiastic neighbors. I’ve been the village organic gardener for 25 years, which is a great match with writing. I focus at my desk and un-focus in the garden. In terms of writing, one of my characters plays the role of an author who makes it to the “big tent” with science fiction and fantasy novels. (I should be so lucky). She jokes about her poor characters feeling lost when she’s taking a break from writing. “What are we supposed to do now?” She compares launching a new novel to launching a probe to Jupiter: it’s impossible to know if the mission will succeed, but there’s only one way to find out.
 
 
What do your other characters do for a living?

(David Wann)  The Sakata family runs an herbal business and also designs Zen-inspired landscapes. Two generations of the family live next door to each other with a large, shared backyard. The son, Kai, is a Wall Street dropout, and his wife May is an environmental activist and aspiring state senator. Solar panels on the roof their small home provide power and everything they really need is within walking or bicycling distance. There are always jars of canned and pickled produce on the pantry shelves and herbs hanging from kitchen beams to dry- a little like my own family’s kitchen. So yes, I guess my own passions and experiences made their way into the book, but I’ll confess that some of the romantic encounters are wishful thinking. I still get kind of choked up when one of the romances comes full circle, just like readers were hoping, though another attempt doesn’t quite make it.
 
 
It sounds very true to life!  Thanks for your comments, and thanks for writing the book.

(David Wann)  It really was my pleasure. My characters carried me through some difficult times. I hope they’ll do the same for the book’s readers.
 

connect with the author: 
website twitter facebook instagram goodreads
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: All questions and answers were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 
 

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Gingersnap Snatcher by Vicky Weber (Book Review and Author Interview)

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Abuela made cookies to eat after school.

The gingersnap kind, just the thought made us drool!

We rushed home excited. We opened the door…

…The cookies were missing-just crumbs on the floor!

Can you help the kids crack the case of the Gingersnap Snatcher?

 
 
 
 

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

Oh my goodness gracious, I loved everything about Gingersnap Snatcher. 

First, the story was adorable and funny. As an owner of a kitty, I cracked up over the image of Mr. Wiggles, created by Svitlana Liuta, with a mouthful of cookies, and one is his paw. Oh, and the Christmas tree scene is totally relatable. My kitty is either in the tree or lying on the couch, staring at the twinkling lights. 

I think toddlers will love looking at all the bright and bold pictures, while elementary school-age children will love trying to solve the mystery alongside the three siblings. I can practically hear the giggles when they discover who the cookie thief was.

 After the revelation, stick around; Vicky Weber included bonus material.

1.) “Gingersnap Snatcher” song. To be honest, we (my daughter and I) could not find the right rhythm and beat to make it flow effortlessly. Instead, we sang, “Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?”

2.) A way for you to get Abuela’s gingersnap recipe. Most kids love helping out in the cookie-making process, and they also love eating their creations. If you haven’t made these from scratch yet, now’s the time!

I can’t wait to make these with my youngest!  

 

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

Amazon Purchase Link

 
 
 
 
 
Vicky Weber is a musician and an elementary educator with a love for children’s literature. As a Puerto Rican author of Taíno descent, she strives to create picture books that are fun, engaging, and educational. All her current titles are based on her background in music education or her heritage. While she has taught a variety of grade levels, primary level education is where her passion lies. It has long been a dream of hers to teach children through the magic of books and she hopes you love reading her works as much as she loved writing them.

 

 

Do you write every day?

(Vicky) I don’t but I think that’s healthy. With any job, trying to do big projects every single day is a quick way to burn yourself out. I write whenever I can but I also try to spend as much time with my family as I can.

 

As a mom and business owner, how do you find the time to write?

(Vicky) Great question. I’ll be honest, it’s not easy. My baby girl is almost five months old, so I try to soak up every snuggle and every laugh because I know that time goes by quickly. Really, it’s all about balance and creativity. Sometimes, I write using the notes app on my phone. Sometimes, I use talk-to-text and send story ideas to my husband. And sometimes, writing doesn’t happen until after my daughter’s bedtime. Every day is a new adventure…both in writing and in parenthood.

 

You have published 6 books with another on the way. Do you have a favorite?

(Vicky) (I actually have more than that!) Rhythm Rescue was my first idea for a story, but it wasn’t the first book I published because I was nervous. Scared, even. I didn’t know if other people would like it and the book was so close to my heart. I feared rejection. But I pushed through, got it published, and now, it is my bestselling title. I frequently get emails and pictures of teachers using it with their music classes or parents reading it to their children. If I had to choose a favorite book, it would be that one.

 

What’s your favorite song/instrument/book?

(Vicky) To be quite honest, my collection of books for my music classroom is quite large because I strongly believe that music and literacy go hand-in-hand. There are so many that I love! One that I always start the school year with is Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. It is a great way to facilitate a conversation about respecting one another as we create, and we discuss how some things will be easier than others but to never give up. Throughout the year, when students get frustrated, I remind them of the end of the book: “We all can dance…when we find the music that we love.”

 

What does a typical morning look like for you?

(Vicky) Oh, nothing special. I get my daughter ready for the day and then I sit down with my coffee and breakfast. I check my planner (I have to keep one or I’ll have NO idea what day it is!) and then I get to work. I network, market, write, research, answer other author’s questions…it takes up more of the day than you’d think! But I love it.

 
 
connect with the author:  
website ~ twitter ~ facebookGoodreads ~instagram
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: All questions and answers were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 
 
 

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NEW Release: Love Awaits – a collection of erotic short stories

Gay.
Straight.
Lesbian.
Monogamous.
Ménage à trois.
Couple swapping.

In this steamy collection, you’ll encounter six erotic stories that’ll leave you breathless and begging for more. Maybe, one of these stories will cause your first bookgasm. You know, a scene is so intense, so erotic that you can’t resist getting off to it. *wink wink*

Enjoy. *kisses*

Amazon Print Link

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 

 

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Chipper Makes Merry by Kimber Fox Morgan (Book Review)

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Children’s Fictions (Ages 3-7)

 
​Tip toe, tip toe, crackle, crunch!

​Chipper the Fox sneaks through the forest to spread cheer to his weary friends. Will his merry making be a success? Or will a smelly fish disaster and a log pile tumble ruin his plans?
“Chipper Makes Merry” takes you on Chipper’s arctic quest filled with lessons of love, kindness and determination.

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

 
Chipper Makes Merry by Kimber Fox Morgan is a delightful children’s book that left my niece smiling. She loved the cute characters drawn by Kim Sponaugle, especially the walrus. She liked its large teeth and round body. She also laughed when the Arctic fox held up the sticky fish. 


What I loved about Chipper Makes Merry, besides the adorable drawn characters, was the repetition. My niece was saying the following line with me in no time flat: Tip toe, tip toe, crackle crunch! 


While my five-year-old niece could make out some of the sight words in Chipper Makes Merry, there were still several words she needed my assistance with, such as mischief and scheme. This didn’t bother me because, with repetition, she will be able to decipher the words on her own soon enough. 


Overall, Chipper Makes Merry was a humungous hit. I love any book that promotes spreading cheer and helping out others. When people or animals are feeling sad, we should want to lift their spirits.
 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

 
 
 
Meet the Author:
Picture
 
Morgan is a fun wife, and imperfect mom of 3 crazy kiddos and 2 little lemon (problematic) dogs. She tries to live her strengths the best she can. She likes to say she is creative, not crafty. Morgan is a homemade Halloween costume type of mom. She lets her kids mix the play doh. She bakes fun birthday cakes (cutely, but far from perfection). She loves a homemade valentine and a school project. Chipper the Fox is an extension of Morgan’s creative strength. Originally designed as character to create merry during the holiday season, Chipper has grown and developed into a story of determination and love.

connect with the author:
website ~ instagram  ~ Facebook

 

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