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Thursday, July 23, 2020

5 Star Book Review of Dani Pettrey's The Crushing Depths - review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

 

 

The Crushing Depths

by Dani Pettrey

on Tour July 1-31, 2020

Synopsis:

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey


When an accident claims the life of an oil-rig worker on the first drilling platform off the North Carolina coast, Coast Guard investigators Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent to take the case. Tensions surrounding the oil rig are high and the death has everyone on edge. Environmental activists are threatening to do whatever it takes to stop the structure from being completed, while rumors are being whispered about ancient curses surrounding this part of the ocean.



Mounting evidence shows the death may not have been an accident at all. Was he killed by one of the activists or, perhaps more frighteningly, a member of his own crew? Rissi and Mason have to sort through not only a plethora of suspects, but also their own past and attraction to each other.



Just as the case seems like it'll break open, worse news arrives. A tropical storm has turned their way and soon they're cut off from any rescue–and right where the killer
wants them. It's a race to discover his identity before he eliminates the threat they pose.


Book Details:

Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

Published by: Bethany House

Publication Date: June 30th 2020

Number of Pages: 320

ISBN: 0764230859 (ISBN13: 9780764230851)

Series: Coastal Guardians #2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Goodreads


Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

Dani Pettrey is a talented author - this is the first book of hers I have had the pleasure of reading. It was an absolute pleasure reading The Crushing Depths and I give it 5 stars!

Such an entertaining story delving into the  Coast Guard investigators. The Crushing Depths takes place on an off shore oil rig which was very interesting as I've never been on one. The author did a nice job giving enough details to keep me interested without getting into the mundane operations. My interest has been peeked to learn more, and it made for an interesting setting.

Who doesn't love a little romance between characters? Rissi and Mason did not disappoint. They are characters I found easy to relate to and I admire their work ethic.  The Christian Romance theme throughout kept me smiling and inspired while waiting to see how things were going to play out. The plot was well developed and enjoyable while not being predictable.

The Crushing Depths is entertaining and an enjoyable read - something I can definitely recommend to others!



Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Late September
Thirty-eight miles off North Carolina’s coast
Greg Barnes clinked along the grated metal steps, his boot heels rasping with each shuffle as he headed topside for a much-needed breath of smoke.
Thrusting the door open with a resounding creak, he stepped out into the night air.
A litany of protestors’ chants mimicked the shrill whining of cicadas.
He glanced at his watch. 1930. Didn’t those eco-nuts ever give it a rest?
As if the cursed rig wasn’t enough—they had the dang relentless protestors going practically day and night.
Exhaling, he rubbed his thumb along the smooth surface of the tarnished gold lighter in his pocket. His tight muscles seized, making his movements stiff. He shook his head. Those people needed to get a life.
Edging around the far corner of the main separator facility, he pressed his back against the structure’s cool outer wall. Generators whirred across from him, finally drowning out the clatter. He scanned his surroundings and exhaled in relief. Finally, alone.
His leg twitched. Just one drag . . . maybe two. It’d been an awful day, and that was the gentleman’s way of putting it.
With unsteady hands, he pulled the plastic-wrapped pack from his shirt pocket.
It crinkled beneath his hold and the sweet scent of tobacco wafted beneath his nose. He tamped the cigarette in his palm and slid it between his cracked lips. Just one drag.
Tugging the lighter from his pocket, he flipped it open, then rolled the pad of his thumb across the ignitor.
A spark flashed and fire roared, hissing over him in a sizzling cascade of torment.

Chapter Two

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Rissi Dawson sat at the long table on Dockside’s waterfront deck, gaping at Mason Rogers. He turned to look at her, his green eyes illuminated in the bright pole lights lining the wooden structural beams. She averted her eyes as heat rushed up her throat, spreading across her cheeks. He’d caught her staring again. Embarrassment drenched her. It’d been three days since his arrival, and she still couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact he was actually sitting next to her.
The boy she’d had the biggest crush on as a teen was back in her life. And on her Coast Guard Investigative Service team.
He handed her the basket of hush puppies the restaurant served instead of bread to start everyone off. His hand brushed hers with the movement, and her heart fluttered. “Thanks,” she said, keeping her gaze fixed on the red basket as she pulled two balls of fried cornmeal from it. She plopped the still-warm puppies onto the round plate to the right of her Coke. Get it together, girl!
The whir of a boat’s motor dropping to an idle sounded over the deck’s edge. A teen jumped out of the white outboard and onto the pier, tying her up to the cleat. Rissi loved living in a place with a boat drive-thru.
Noah raised his glass of iced tea. “Everyone . . .” The team lifted their glasses in response to their boss’s prompting.
Noah dipped his chin. “Welcome, Mason. Happy to have you on board.”
The team clinked their glasses together, even Caleb who sat brooding to her left. Observant as he was, there was no chance he missed the way she looked at Mason. In recent months, he’d developed feelings for her, so it wasn’t surprising he’d bristled at Mason’s arrival—especially after learning she and Mason shared a past, though he didn’t know the half of it. Only that they spent time in a children’s home together for a handful of months as teens.
The opening riff of “Sweet Home Alabama” emanated from Noah’s jean pocket. He hitched up as he extracted his phone. “Rowley,” he answered. “Yes?” Standing, he headed down the ramp toward the restaurant’s pier.
“Rockfish tacos,” the waitress said, placing the plate in front of Rissi. The sweet, tropical scent of the mango slaw swirled in the air.
The waitress handed out plate after plate to each of them, setting Noah’s burger at his spot while he continued to pace the pier.
Caleb bit into his Carolina BBQ pork sandwich, the scent of vinegar wafting in the night’s gentle breeze.
Finn Walker did the same with his crab cake sandwich. He and Noah, who was from Maryland, had argued for months over which state had the best crab cake. Finn had been convinced it was North Carolina, right up until Noah had crab cakes flown in fresh from Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore. It took two bites for Finn to concede the win.
“Sorry about that, folks,” Noah said, retaking his seat.
“Everything okay?” Emmy Thorton asked. Rissi looked forward to seeing the quirky angel every day at the station.
“Rissi, Mason.” Noah lifted his chin in their direction. “I’ve got an assignment for you.”
Her and Mason? They’d worked a case his first day on the team, but Finn had joined them for most of the investigation. This would be the two of them . . . alone. A mixture of elation and fear sifted through her.
“Great.” Mason set down his lemonade.
“We’ve got a death out on the Dauntless.”
“The offshore oil platform?” Mason asked, swiping a drop of lemonade from his bottom lip.
Stop staring, girl. So he’s jaw-dropping gorgeous. So you share a past. Still, staring is plain rude. Despite not having a mother to teach her, Rissi knew or, at least had come to learn, her manners.
Noah laid his napkin across his lap. “You two need to determine if the death was an accident or if foul play was involved. Helo is leaving from Textra Oil’s copter hub in forty-five. I need you both on it.”
Mason pushed back from the table. “No problem.”
“Great,” Noah said. “You’ll be joining the head of operations, a commercial diver, and the deceased’s replacement on the company copter.”
Rissi took one last bite of her taco before setting it down. She dabbed the corner of her lips with a napkin. “They aren’t wasting any time in replacing the deceased.”
“The deceased’s name is Greg Barnes. I talked to the head of operations, Bob Stanton, and he said they needed to replace him ASAP.”
“Must be an important position.” She reached for her glass and took a final sip.
“You’d think,” Noah said. “But Bob said the main reason they need to replace him fast is they’ve been working with a skeleton crew.”
Mason’s brows pinched as he stood. “Why?”
“Several guys didn’t show up for their three-week rotation transport out,” Noah said, popping a fry in his mouth.
“I know why they didn’t show up for that copter ride out there.” Tom Murphy leaned toward them from his table situated to their right.
“Why?” Mason asked, moving around to the back of Rissi’s chair. He held it out for her as she stood.
She glanced over her shoulder at him and smiled. “Thanks.”
He nodded.
Tom, one of Wrightsville’s most colorful fishermen, crooked his index finger, drawing them in. “That rig’s cursed.”
“Cursed?” Caleb chuckled. “You can’t be serious?”
Tom waggled his finger. “It’s no laughing matter, young man.”
“I’m sure it’s a good story, Tom,” Rissi said. No reason not to be polite. “But I’m afraid we’ve got to catch a copter ride.”
Tom shrugged and turned back to his food. “It’s your lives at stake.”
“What do you mean?” she asked before they passed his table, unable to stem her curiosity.
“You’ll see.” He smiled, his right incisor missing. “Henry’s curse is real.”
“Henry?” Why was she letting herself get sucked into this?
Tom let out a high-pitched chuckle. “Oh, you’ll learn all about Henry.”
“Shall we?” Mason said, gesturing to the wooden ramp leading down to the gravel parking lot.
Excusing themselves, they moved down the ramp. Mason leaned in. He smelled of the ocean and warm spice. He whispered, “Did that guy seriously just cackle?”
She nodded, strangely curious about the old man’s ghost story.
“I thought people only did that on Scooby-Doo.”
She let out a slip of laughter.
“I wouldn’t be laughing,” Tom called after them as they rounded the ramp on his side of the deck. “You two be careful out there, you hear? It’s a dangerous place to be. Just ask the men on board.”
***
Excerpt from The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey. Copyright 2020 by Dani Pettrey. Reproduced with permission from Dani Pettrey. All rights reserved.





Author Bio:

Dani Pettrey
Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as "a name to look for in romantic suspense," Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.
Her novels stand out for their "wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters" (Publishers Weekly), "gripping storyline[s]," (RT Book Reviews), and "sizzling undercurrent of romance" (USA Today).
Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and have appeared on the CBA, ECPA, Publisher’s Weekly, and Amazon #1 bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers' Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing's Best Award.

Catch Up With Dani Pettrey:

DaniPettrey.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!






Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!










Enter To Win!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Dani Pettrey. There will be 4 winners. Two (2) winners will each receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each win THE CRUSHING DEPTHS by Dani Pettrey (Print ~ Open to U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on July 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.
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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Carnal Knowledge Book Blog Tour - begins today!!

Carnal Knowledge

by Rachael Tamayo

on Tour July 11 - August 14, 2020

Synopsis:

Carnal Knowledge by Rachael Tamayo


What do you do when you know you’re on a serial killer’s hit list?



Six women are dead, and Wren Addison is the next victim on the SMS Killer’s list—or so she’s been told after waking in a pool of blood with no memory of the events that have transpired.



Newly separated and struggling to start her life over after her husband’s infidelity, Wren tries to remember what happened to her, but nothing is adding up as more horrors unfold around her. With her life on a timer and the murderer taunting her, she realizes there is nothing typical about this serial killer.



Wren is pushed to the edge as she dances between knowing she's likely to die and fighting to be the first to survive. As the truth starts to emerge, she rises to the challenge and decides not to go down without a fight.


Someone is going to die, and she’s determined it won’t be her.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published by: Tangled Tree Publishing

Publication Date: July 11th 2020

Number of Pages: 301

ISBN: 9781922359124

Series: A Deadly Sins Novel, #2 || Stands Alone

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:

You really don’t know how you feel about some things until they happen to you. You can guess. You can pretend you’d be strong, that you’d stand on the rooftops and shout your indignation as you shake your fist to the skies, but those are only guesses. Hopes. What we think we know about ourselves. They say no one ever really knows anyone. I think it’d be a safe bet to say that we don’t really know ourselves either. You think you do. The “Oh, I’d never do that! Look at how she’s acting. If I were in her shoes….” but you don’t. No one does.
I said the same things to myself when I walked out on my husband, Ricky, months ago. Those thoughts went through my head as I closed the door behind me for what I told myself was the last time. I wouldn’t let myself cry as I said goodbye to him, only feeling the first tears fall when I heard the click behind me, the locking of the door to what used to be our home together. When he didn’t chase me and beg me to stay.
I wept in that moment, wondering how much pain a person could take.
Over the days that followed, it faded into something more akin to numbness as I found an apartment and got a new checking account. As I arranged to find movers to get my things while he was at work, all while thanking God that we had no children.
Now I find myself in that place once more, though for an altogether different reason. Something has happened to me, something that leaves my body sore and my head feeling as if I have a hangover. These are the moments that tell you who you really are, leaving you exposed to your own darkness.
I found that out about myself. No one ever imagines themselves in this position. You’re not prepared. No amount of self-defense can prepare you for the shock that is the next morning, waking up in a bloody mess, knowing you’ve been sexually assaulted.
I can’t even say it out loud. I won’t. I refuse to do it. It makes it real, and I don’t want it to be real. I want it to be some horrible nightmare that I can wake up from.
But it’s not.
It’s the middle of the night. I’m sitting on the floor of my shower, the water finally not running pink anymore. My face feels puffy from crying as I carefully wash the wounds, the soap burning. I wince and then stand up before the water turns cold. Sitting here won’t accomplish anything.
I look down at the mark on my left breast, swollen and purple. The definite outline of teeth, broken skin, tender to touch. It’s not the only place I’m hurting, but it’s the only one I can easily see. The only one I can’t really hide from. It’s a slap in the face, a calling card from someone I can’t remember. A face that won’t ever haunt my dreams.
So, what do I do now? It’s about 4:00 a.m. Do I call someone? The police? My friend Lily? My husband? Maybe Alex? Surely she would believe me.
I blink away tears, dipping my head back into the hot spray to wash the blood out of my hair.
No, I won’t tell anyone. It’s too embarrassing. Too humiliating. This big foreboding thing happened to me. What they warned us all about. My drink was tampered with, and someone hurt me. I broke the rules, and I got this for it.
I should have listened, I suppose.
I feel sick knowing what someone did to me while I was asleep. Or was I? Maybe I did fight and just can’t remember. I’d fight, surely. I wouldn’t just lie there and take it, right? The thought gives me some minimal sliver of peace, like passing through the eye of the hurricane—you know it’s not real, not the end, but you relish it just the same.
By the time I get out of the shower, I realize I haven’t really slept. My alarm will go off at seven for work so I can catch the bus and be on time for the morning meeting. I could get three hours of sleep before that, maybe.
I shut off the water, suddenly a bit afraid. Knowing someone was here gives me the creeps. Makes me wish I’d gotten that gun Ricky tried so hard to get me to agree to, the one I refused. I wouldn’t give in, fearing some horrible accident. He kept his locked up, and I never bothered to learn to shoot. He begged to teach me, tried to get me to hold his Glock to “get the feel of it.” Nope. Now I regret it.
In the months I’ve lived here, I haven’t been afraid to be on my own until now. Someone got to me. I’m without defense in my own home.
***
Excerpt from Carnal Knowledge by Rachael Tamayo. Copyright 2020 by Rachael Tamayo. Reproduced with permission from Tangled Tree Publishing. All rights reserved.





Author Bio:

Rachael Tamayo
International Amazon bestselling author Rachael Tamayo is a former 911 emergency operator and police dispatcher. After twelve years in those dark depths, she’s gained a unique insight into mental illness, human behaviour, and the general darkness of humanity that she likes to weave into her books. A formerly exclusive romance author tried her hand at thrillers in her award-winning novel, “Crazy Love,” and loved it so much that she decided not to turn back. Born and raised in Texas, Rachael lives in the Houston area with her husband of almost fifteen years, and their two young children.

Catch Up With Rachael Tamayo:

RachaelTamayoWrites.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!






Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!










Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Rachael Tamayo. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on July 11, 2020 and runs through August 16, 2020. Void where prohibited.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

My Journey to Health and Wellness

WOW! Where to begin...

August 11th is my wedding anniversary. Last year, like every year, I put on my wedding dress. It still fit. I should have been pleased as I was 42 years old and have birthed and nourished 6 lovely children with my strong body. But...I looked in the mirror and felt I owed it to myself and my children to get healthy. I imagined myself at age 60 when our youngest will graduate highschool. I was nearly 300 pounds and wondered if my knees would need to be replaced. They didn't bother me, but several of my classmates had already undergone knee replacement surgeries and it only seemed logical that losing weight would help me avoid some serious health complications. I also knew my husband found me attractive, but I guess I wanted to have less of a "mom bod" and more of a "hot bod" like some of the younger parents of school age children. That was the first time I had really entertained getting healthy. I started wondering if maybe I could do bariatric surgery or something because I felt pretty active and I guess I started tossing options around in my head. Googling different types of weight loss when I had a few spare moments.

My friend Dori had invited me to a Facebook group months back when she lost 40lbs and I hadn't paid much attention to the group notifications, but one afternoon I was loading tractors for manure hauling and I had some time and took a look. There were real people talking about their own health and wellness journeys and the photos were inspiring. I started checking out the group on a regular basis and I started eating better and walking more. I was doing well on my own, but I wanted to do better. I wanted what these other people had! I wanted my flat tummy back. I wanted to wear my old belts and western belt buckles. I wanted to ride my horses and not be self-conscious. I wanted to make love to my husband with the lights on. I wanted to wear shorts with confidence. I wanted to ride my bike without feeling exhausted.

It took a while for my pocket book to line up with my desires and in the beginning of October I called Dori. I realized I could actually save money by eating healthier and I made my first purchase with Xyngular. I purchased a modified version of the Ignite Kit because I was still breastfeeding, and I talked to my friends and family about my decision. I explained I was going low-carb and I needed their help. I needed them to invite me for tea or coffee but exclude me from trips to the doughnut shop. I needed them to take walks with me instead of going for a pasta lunch. Everyone was supportive though I imagine they were skeptical. Afterall, I was the lady who bakes the cookies and bread as a side gig...how would I possibly make delicious things for my friends and family without eating them? No one said they had doubts, but I'm sure they did. If I'm being honest, I had my own doubts. As much as I disliked the lifestyle that got me to nearly 300lbs, I secretly loved so many parts of it. I needed to switch my thinking from "I live to eat" to "I eat to live".

I did an 8 day Jump Start as soon as my supplements arrived. The weight fell off and I was able to eat
real foods. Even my children enjoyed many of the same foods I was able to eat. All of a sudden I was able to walk a bit further and I felt better. More weight came off. By Christmas time, I was noticeable smaller and had purchased some new outfits. People were noticing and it felt so good. I made it through the holidays with only losing a few pounds, but I was happy I had not gained. I did another 8 Day Jump Start to kick of the new year and lost 11 pounds. My average steps each day had increased from 5,000 to 16,000 and I noticed a change in not only my looks and my attitude, but that of my family as well.

By this time, I had finished breastfeeding and had purchased the Ultimate Kit (you only purchase the kit once, and then after that you just replace what you've run out of) and I was taking not only the weight loss supplements but also the wellness supplements for better sleep and overall health. I was spending about $200 each month on Xyngular and still figure I was saving. I wasn't going to restaurants or grabbing convenience food or Starbucks coffee anymore. Life was very good all around.

We were eating salads regularly, and my children were grabbing carrots or celery instead of chips or crackers for a snack. I felt like a better person and a better mom. It happened without us really talking about it or planning it. We were transforming. My girls were doing dance exercise videos with me for fun. We were walking and hiking together to relax and explore. We were all getting healthier and feeling better. I didn't feel like I was dieting. I felt like I had a new lifestyle and I was simply embracing it. I wasn't crabby, edgy, or short with people. I was just the same old Crystal - just improved! People would ask what I was doing, but I wasn't ready to talk about Xyngular and here's why:

I wasn't ashamed, 
but I didn't want to endorse something 
until I was sure it worked!

I went along taking the supplements, drinking the shakes, etc... (here's what a typical day looked like as far as food consumption):



6:30AM.....8oz Of water πŸ’§

7:00AM......1 scoop Lean Shake Mix w/8oz Water.
2 Axion, 3 Advanced Omegas, 1oz Global Blend (1 capful) it’s delicious alone or put it in your shake!

10:00....2 boiled eggs πŸ’¦WATERπŸ’¦
1 Xyng

11:30 1-2 Cheat

12:00PM......4 to 6oz Lean protein & 2 cups (or more if wanted) veggies....I love a big ol salad with grilled chicken or turkey. Your grocer likely has salad dressings you can use....Walden Farms or Skinny Girl....or you can do what I do & use Balsamic Vinegar!! I LOVE it. Enjoy a Trimstix in 16 to 20oz of water (to taste)

3:00PM....4 or 5 deli turkey slices or a handful of roasted almonds. Take your Accelerate now if you’re younger, or wait til bedtime if you’re over 40....same time every day‼️ πŸ’¦WATERπŸ’¦

6:00PM.....4 to 6ozs Of lean protein & 2 (or more) cups veggies....I might have grilled flank steak & some steamed broccoli or Brussels that I've baked with garlic & Parmesan.
1 Probiotix & 1 Xr2
πŸ˜‹ πŸ’¦WATERπŸ’¦

Before bed, 1-2 Flush with a warm drink. If you find you’re having any trouble πŸ’©πŸ’© try a nice cup Smooth Move Herbal Tea before you hit the hay.πŸ˜‰

In April, we were struggling financially and a few things were going through my head. I was thinking "maybe I can just go off the system and lose the rest of the weight on my own - because I really can't afford this" and on the flip side, I was thinking "maybe I could become a distributor and earn enough money to cover my monthly order"...after all, I had referred quite a few people by this time, and I know Dori was making money off my friends and yet they were still coming to me asking questions and wanting to talk about the plan. May rolled around and I was still mulling over how I was going to proceed - I was still losing weight and had even purchased a 2-piece swimsuit for the upcoming swimming season on Wisconsin.

I stopped taking my Xyngular...I stopped for 6 weeks to kind of accomplish a few things:

I needed to save a little money because of some unexpected horse and children expenses

I needed to know I could someday go off the supplements without gaining the weight back. I didn't want to be on a "diet" for the rest of my life. I needed to know in my head I had indeed made a lifestyle change.

I gained no weight. I had lost 83lbs and went from a size 24 to a size 12 and now I knew I wasn't going to gain it back. I wanted more of this though...I placed another order because I ultimately want a healthy BMI which means my long term goal had always been 154lbs. I received my kit and did another 8 Day Jump Start. I got down to 207lbs and had the energy of someone 1/2 my age. I picked up a bottle of Vodka (to make homemade vanilla) and I was carded. 42 years old and someone wasn't sure if I was of legal drinking age. My teenage daughter was telling me she liked my outfits. I was on top of the world!

The beginning of June was pretty bleak in the farming world, I needed to make a choice. The monthly amount (roughly $200) with Xyngular may have been a savings from my old lifestyle, but when your household income doesn't cover the utility bills, that $200 seems like a small fortune. I became a distributor with Xyngular in the middle of June. By the end of June, I had signed up 16 of my friends and family to join me and they were excited to do so. I was getting text messages like this:

"you are such an inspiration"

"if you can do it, I know I can too"

"I'm glad you finally let me in on your secret"

Because of this amazing support, I quickly moved up the ranks to become a Xyngular Manager earning a special necklace and making enough to pay for my supplements and some groceries! I didn't feel like I was selling something because a healthy lifestyle sells itself! Results like this make people want to join me!

I don't know what the future will bring, but I know I am going to hit my goal of 154lbs before next summer, and I know plenty of my friends will be right along with me sporting healthier minds and bodies next summer!

So - there you go - this blog post will hopefully answer many of the questions people have been asking! I plan on taking all the supplements shown in the Ultimate Kit until I have hit my goal and maintained it for 6 months. At that time, I will continue taking the health supplements and will discontinue the weight loss supplements. This is my long term plan for sustaining my healthy lifestyle. I am confident I can do it and YOU can do it too! I don't think this is the ONLY weight loss program out there - it's just the only one that has worked for me! In fact, I have dear friends I love and admire who coach for other plans - so you won't catch me bad-mouthing anyone or any plan that helps people achieve their goals!

I know what you're thinking...

❌ I CAN’T drink water (YES you can πŸ˜‰)
❌ It’s been 2 days...it’s not working (I’m sorry...did you get unhealthy in 2 days? It WILL work!πŸ‘)
❌ I forgot (If health is your priority, you won’t forget)😳
❌ It’s hard! (it’s harder to be unhealthy & pay for the medical risks...CHOOSE YOUR HARD) 😬
❌ I’m busy - trust me! (we all are...we all have 24 hours in a day...again...make YOURSELF a priority)πŸ™Œ
❌ I can’t afford it (actually...you can...how much have you spent on junk food, coffee, soda, energy drinks, restaurants, weekend getaways, doctor bills, etc... this month?)πŸ’²πŸ’²πŸ’²

πŸ“£These are some of the reasons/excuses I have made myself in the past. πŸ™„ It’s not magic causing overnight success or anything else - you’ve got to put effort into yourself.

If you’re ready to make some changes, let's talk!!!!




5 Star Book Review - Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin (review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto)

Closer Than She Knows

by Kelly Irvin

on Tour June 22 - July 24, 2020

Synopsis:

Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin


A serial killer bent on revenge . . . and striking too close to home.



Teagan O’Rourke has always loved murder mysteries. In her job as a court reporter, she has written official records for dozens of real-life murders. She’s slapped evidence stickers on crime scene photos. She’s listened to hours of chilling testimony. But she’s never known the smell of death. And she never thought she might be a victim.



Until now.



A young police officer is murdered just inches away from her, and then a man calling himself a serial killer starts leaving Teagan notes, signing each with the name of a different murderer from her favorite mystery novels.



Panicked, Teagan turns to her friend Max Kennedy. Max longs for more than friendship with Teagan, but he fears she’ll never trust someone with a past like his. He wonders how much of God’s “tough love” he can take before he gives up on love completely. And he wonders if he’ll be able to keep Teagan alive long enough to find out.



As Teagan, Max, and Teagan’s police officer father race to track down the elusive killer, they each know they could be the next victim. Desperate to save those she loves, Teagan battles fears that once haunted her in childhood. Nothing seems to stop this obsessed murderer. No matter what she does, he seems to be getting closer.


Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Published by: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: June 9th 2020

Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 0785231862 (ISBN13: 9780785231868)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:

“We’re almost there, Ms. O’Rourke.” Officer Moreno came to a full stop at the corner of Park and Academic Court, where the glass-covered police department recruitment center and property room facilities glinted in the late-afternoon sun.
A smile brought out dimples on Moreno’s cherub-cheeked face. Her assignment to escort a court reporter and the evidence to the property room was almost to the halfway point. Teagan had told Moreno to call her by her first name, but the patrolwoman couldn’t seem to manage it. “I’ll get us through security, we’ll stow the evidence, and I’ll have you back to your car in a jiffy.”
Did people still say “in a jiffy”? Teagan’s grandma might, but this woman was no more than twenty-four. A couple of years younger than Teagan. She studied the officer’s face as she turned onto Academic Court and accelerated. The woman was for real. A straight shooter determined to be successful in a man’s world.
Teagan smiled, but Moreno had already returned her gaze to the road, hands at the proper ten and two positions on the wheel. “I know there’s plenty of other things you’d rather do than babysit evidence—”
The driver’s side window exploded.
The force knocked Teagan’s head against her window. Sudden pain pricked her face. Fragments of glass pierced her cheeks and forehead.
The car swerved, jumped the curb, and crashed into the wrought-iron fence that protected the academy.
Was this what Mom felt the day she died? The inevitability of it?
Air bags ballooned.
Teagan slammed back against her seat.
I’m sorry, Max.
I’m sorry I never said it.
A second later the bag deflated. The smell of nitrogen gases gagged her. Powder coated her face. The skin on the back of her hands burned.
Time sped up in an odd, off-kilter tick-tock.
Teagan struggled to open her eyes. Pain pulsed in her temple. Her stomach heaved. Waves of adrenaline shook her body as if she’d grasped a live electrical wire.
I’m alive. Today’s not my day to die.
The evidence. Protect the evidence.
***
Excerpt from Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin. Copyright 2020 by Kelly Irvin. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.





Author Bio:

Kelly Irvin
Kelly Irvin is a bestselling author and two-time Carol Award finalist. She is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats.

Visit her Online:

KellyIrvin.com

Goodreads

BookBub

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook


Book Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

I am so excited to tell you about Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin! The first thing(s) that drew me to this book were the categories it fits into - I know if I choose a book that is included in christian fiction, romantic suspense, and romance that I am getting something that is going to fit me well. I enjoy reading a good book I can feel comfortable recommending to both my aging mother and my teenage daughter. This book fits that bill! Not too steamy, not too scary, and I would say this book is 5 stars as it is "just right"!

I hadn't heard of Kelly Irvin before, but I'm excited to read more of her books. She writes incredibly well and her characters are well developed and interesting. Closer Than She Knows is a fast-paced read and the suspense is evident throughout. Teagan O'Rourke is a character I was immediately drawn to which pulled me into every page. The family theme throughout make this a great book for discussion and I was excited to pass my copy along to my daughter so we could chat about it together. It took me just over a day to finish reading and my daughter (who is 13) is just as drawn to it as I was.

Beautifully written and we can't wait to read more books by this talented author!




Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!










Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harper Collins and Kelly Irving. There will be 1 winner of CLOSER THAN SHE KNOWS by Kelly Irving (print). The giveaway begins on June 22, 2020 and runs through July 26, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
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Friday, May 8, 2020

Review of Shelly Frome's "Miranda and the D-Day Caper" - Another Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tour

Miranda and the D-Day Caper

by Shelly Frome

on Tour May 1-31 2020

Synopsis:

Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome

A modern day mystery with WWII tactics, old-time heroes and values, and the efforts of two amateur cousin sleuths from the Heartland.



On a sparkling spring morning in the Blue Ridge, small-town realtor Miranda Davis approached the tailgate market, intent on dealing with her whimsical cousin Skip’s unexpected arrival from New York. It turns out that Skip was on the run and, in his panic, grabbed his beloved tabby Duffy, recalling that Miranda had a recent part in solving a case down in Carolina. His predicament stemmed from intercepting code messages like “Countdown to D-Day,” playfully broadcasting the messages on his radio show over the nation-wide network, and subsequently forced to flee.



At first, Miranda tried to limit her old childhood companion’s conundrum to the sudden abduction of Duffy the cat. But the forces that be were hell-bent on keeping Skip under wraps by any means after he now stumbled close to the site of their master plan. Miranda’s subsequent efforts to decipher the conspiracy and somehow intervene placed both herself and her old playmate on a collision course with a white-nationalist perpetrator and the continuing machinations of the right-wing enterprise, with the lives of all those gathered for a diversity celebration in nearby Asheville and a crucial senatorial vote on homeland security hanging in the balance.


Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: BQB Publishing

Publication Date: March 1st 2020

Number of Pages: 338

ISBN: 1945448571 (ISBN13: 9781945448577)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:

“Okay, I get it,” said Miranda, assuming it was playtime as always. “We’re double agents. You keep reading the paper and light a cigarette. A minute later, you toss the cigarette and leave the book of matches on the table with the coded inscription Moscow rules. That’s when I take it and slip away awaiting further instructions.”
This was flippant Miranda. The one with the short bob, over thirty, just trying to set the tone on this glorious Saturday in the Blue Ridge and ease out of it. But at the moment, playful Skip seemed to have lost his way. His eyes were bloodshot, underscored by dark circles. And the signature mischievous smirk on that sliver of a face had been replaced by a worrisome twitch.
Folding the newspaper, with his cornflower blue eyes still gazing into the distance, Skip said, “I don’t know, kiddo. I tell you, I just don’t know.”
“Which makes two of us. So tell me why you couldn’t simply e-mail me?”
“Why? Am I holding you up or something?”
“No, you’re not holding me up. Look, what do you say we cut to the chase? Glancing around, taking his sweet time, making sure no one was within earshot, Skip said, “All right.”
“From the top.”
“Okay. Like I indicated, I was filling in, got a break on a prestige AM station.”
Getting more anxious by the second, his lanky body beginning to twitch, Skip said, “So, when opportunity knocks, you seize the day. Right?”
“Out with it. I am still waiting.”
Scrunching forward this time, Skip said, “One night I started to wing it. No more of this ‘Yup, it’s midnight, folks. Some of these homespun Indiana tales should ease you right off to sleep.’ I was antsy. I’d had it with Russ Mathews who’d signed off that night right before me, sounding more and more like some fear monger back in the day.”
“And what day was that?”
“World War Two.”
More glancing around on Skip’s part. More checking the flow of visitors coming and going.
Getting antsy as well, Miranda said, “Will you get on with it? Is there an upshot in our future? ”
“I’m coming to it,” Skip said, looking right at her this time. “Right after my kazoo rendition of I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash, I lean into the mic and say, ‘Guess what? Ole Russ Mathews must be on to something. I’m talking the plot against America. So I tell the insomniacs all over the Liberty Broadcasting system that, at first, I thought Duffy was pulling down on the blinds out of longing.”
“Duffy?”
“Just your average ginger house cat, left alone, separated from other felines on the prowl. But I come home to my sublet and notice he’s perched in the exact same spot, his green eyes staring across the street. So, over the airwaves, I said, ‘What if I told you night people something was up in a dilapidated rooming house in Hoboken? Right across the river from the Big Apple?’” “That does it,” Miranda said, getting to her feet. “How am I supposed to follow this? When you’re ready to get to the point, let me know.”
“Wait a minute. Don’t you see?” said Skip, getting to his feet as well. “I stumbled onto something. Before you know it, my ratings are starting to climb. But since the weather’s getting warmer, those guys across the street aren’t scurrying in and out of the cold. They’re loitering by the stoop, glancing across the shadows. Next thing I know, I’m getting negative call-ins. Listeners telling me to knock it off or else. Undaunted, I tell everyone in radio-land what’s going on out there may have far reaching consequences. Unless I intercept.”
“Oh, please,” said Miranda, walking away. “Listen to me.” Skip scurried over and held her arm. “I tell you, at the same time, those guys across the street were carting off concealed stuff.”
“I’m not listening anymore.”
“You’ve got to. You have obviously become a born tracker. Tracked down a poison pen perpetrator like the paper said.”
“Enough. Stop hyping everything up. Look at you. You’re coming down with full blown hysteria.”
“Exactly. Because it appears there’s no longer any line between entertainment and politics. While messing around, doing a take-off on Russ Mathews and boosting my ratings, I may have stumbled onto an actual plot utilizing WW II codes.”
***
Excerpt from Miranda and the D-Day Caper by Shelly Frome. Copyright 2020 by Shelly Frome. Reproduced with permission from Shelly Frome. All rights reserved.





Author Bio:

Shelly Frome
Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Catch Up With Shelly Frome:

ShellyFrome.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!






Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

05/01 Review @ Ebeeari
05/01 Showcase @ Im All About Books
05/03 Showcase @ Nesies Place
05/04 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
05/05 Guest post @ Its Raining Books
05/06 Showcase @ Reading A Page Turner
05/07 Guest post @ BooksChatter
05/08 Review @ Bring on Lemons
05/11 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
05/12 Review @ sunny island breezes
05/13 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads
05/14 Review @ Nik’s Nook
05/17 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods
05/18 Showcase @ Just Books
05/21 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
05/24 Showcase @ Eien CafΓ©
05/25 Review @ Cheryls Book Nook
05/27 Review @ Celticladys Reviews


Giveaway!!:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelly Frome. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on May 1, 2020 and runs through June 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

And today's review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto:

I had such a delightful time reading Shelly Frome's latest cozy mystery titled Miranda and the D-Day Caper ! It did take me until chapter 3 to really get into it, so I would tell you to give it a chance. This may have been more about the current state of our nation than anything to do with the book though - so take that for what it's worth. I found the characters to be likeable and enjoyable and the plot had plenty of twists and turns that kept me on my toes. There was lots of dialogue which helped draw me into the story. I felt the story was filled with just the right amount of drama and intrigue and I think we all have a "Skip" in our life - so his whimsy often made me smile. Reading this book was enjoyable and I'd absolutely recommend it to a friend! 



About today's reviewer:

Crystal is the office manager, council secretary, financial secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother, Auntie, babywearing mama, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children, two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, horses Darlin' and Joker, and over 250 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal milking cows, riding horses, and riding unicorns (not at the same time), taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books here, and at the WOW! Women on Writing blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade and she has never (not once) been accused of being normal!


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Dandelion Cookies

You'll love these delicious and attractive dandelion cookies! I know we do!

Dandelion Cookies - (yields about 3 dozen 3 1/2 inch cookies)

Ingredients:
1C butter
1/2C white sugar
1/2C dark brown sugar
2T local honey
2 farm fresh eggs
2t vanilla
3C flour
1t baking soda
2C dandelion petals (just the yellow part) - harvested from a pesticide free area and thoroughly rinsed


Instructions:
1) Prepare the dandelion petals by rinsing them (they become sticky and will reduce from 2C fluffy petals to about 1C once wet)


2) Start at the top of the list (with the butter) and add the ingredients together. Stir thoroughly after each ingredient is added. You can adjust the flour as needed - batter should not stick to the bowl but should also not be crumbly. If crumbly, add more butter or a splash of vegetable oil. If sticky, add a bit more flour.


3) Roll your dough into 2 logs and wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight)


4) Prepare for baking on the center rack and preheat the oven to 350 F



5) Slice your cookie log and place on parchment paper on your baking sheet (we stamped ours, but you certainly don't have to, and if you'd like you could coat with a light dusting of sugar or a mix of cinnamon and sugar instead of or in addition to stamping)


6) Bake for 11 minutes - depending on altitude, check the first batch often and adjust time
accordingly - they'll start to brown a bit when they're done.


5) Remove from oven promptly and allow to 'rest' for 1 minute before using a spatula to move from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack for drying/cooling.



6) After fully cooled, place cookies in an air tight container.  Resist the urge to keep your cookies in a cookie jar that is not air tight - they'll get dried out and lose some softness



7) Enjoy and Share!