“Broken Promises (A Past Imperfect Mystery #1)” by Anne Willow #Review


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Title: Broken Promises (A Past Imperfect Mystery)

Author: Anne Willow

Genre: Adult, Cozy Mystery

Published: August 17, 2017

 

3/5 Stars!

Inheriting an antique shop, Past Imperfect, from her favorite aunt gives Julia Crawford a reason and motivation to walk away from her adulterous husband, Graham.

With barely enough time to be considered a resident and accepted into the touristy art community of Grand Marais on the shores of Lake Superior, Julia is the prime suspect in a murder investigation.  The story was at twenty-five percent by the time the murder occurred, so I looked forward to a slow-build in the investigation.

Without giving away spoilers, I can say the “investigation” was a letdown for me. Small town law enforcement is sometimes painted as backward and ill-equipped, but Sheriff Jack Barrett was portrayed as more than capable and crime scenes were processed using forensic science.

Which is why I couldn’t understand why Julia was ever a suspect simply because her fingerprints were the only prints on the murder weapon. It belonged to her. And why was she the only one to question why her prints were not found anywhere else at the crime scene? It was just one of several puzzling items for me.

The spouse is always suspect number one. The wife was at the police station at the same time as Julia, but where was she during the murder? Who discovered the body? Why would Julia murder a man she didn’t know in a place she’d never been to?

I figured out who the killer was but read on in hopes of a smoking gun or plot twist.

I didn’t get either.

The supernatural element was intriguing (and heartbreaking), but even it fizzled out for me before the end. I feel Aunt Sadie should have provided more details or given Julia more guidance, especially when dealing with curses and possession. I understood Elizabeth’s pain and Thomas got no less than what he deserved, but the resolution left me lukewarm.

Lucy and Sandy were good supporting characters, but much like Julia, they seemed to contradict themselves in every other scene.

Graham Crawford…ugh! It was annoying Julia had to remind herself of his true character and how badly he treated her to stand her ground. Granted, she was a woman in transition, but none of her memories or internal thoughts of Graham warranted him having any kind of pull or power over Julia.

Grammar and editing issues are minor. But while I don’t need dialogue tags in every sentence, conversations ran together and at times it was difficult to know who was speaking. I appreciate good scene description but getting through some paragraphs was exhausting with the number of adjectives used.

I didn’t fully connect with Broken Promises, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it. Other readers may enjoy its simple, laid back delivery and uncomplicated storyline.

As it is book 1 in the Past Imperfect series, we haven’t heard the last from Julia Crawford and the residents of Grand Marais. I would read the next book to see how the series progresses.

Enjoy!


SYNOPSIS

***FIRST IN NEW COZY MYSTERY SERIES***

Julia was in a search of a way out…a way back to herself.

The passing of her favorite aunt sends her to the small artist town of Grand Marais, nestled along the northern coast of Lake Superior. There she starts to weave the tattered threads of a new life, rediscovering her love of sketching, while running the antique shop, Past Imperfect. Everything is finally going right. Until a mysterious package arrives, tucked inside is an ornate silver letter opener bearing the initials E.C. along with an even more mysterious note. Julia’s natural curiosity piqued, but before she can discover who sent the letter opener, it’s found embedded in Tom Peterson’s chest. The tapestry of her new life begins to unravel as she is named a prime suspect. Now, left with few clues and a past not willing to let her go, Julia works to solve the mystery and the murder.

Infidelity through time and a curse that only she can break – once she figures out how.

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“Broken Promises (A Past Imperfect Mystery #1)” by Anne Willow #BlogTour


 

Title: Broken Promises (A Past Imperfect Mystery)

Author: Anne Willow

Genre: Adult, Cozy Mystery

Published: August 17, 2017

Page Count: 212 Pages

***FIRST IN NEW COZY MYSTERY SERIES***

Julia was in a search of a way out…a way back to herself.

The passing of her favorite aunt sends her to the small artist town of Grand Marais, nestled along the northern coast of Lake Superior. There she starts to weave the tattered threads of a new life, rediscovering her love of sketching, while running the antique shop, Past Imperfect. Everything is finally going right. Until a mysterious package arrives, tucked inside is an ornate silver letter opener bearing the initials E.C. along with an even more mysterious note. Julia’s natural curiosity piqued, but before she can discover who sent the letter opener, it’s found embedded in Tom Peterson’s chest. The tapestry of her new life begins to unravel as she is named a prime suspect. Now, left with few clues and a past not willing to let her go, Julia works to solve the mystery and the murder.

Infidelity through time and a curse that only she can break – once she figures out how.

5.0 out of 5 stars If you like mystery then you’ll want to read this book.

By Irene R on September 5, 2017

Great read, loved the mystery behind it.

Who knew that you could touch an object and feel the anger or love from it?

Julia doing what she loves best, sketching and selling old things. Come across a mystery only her Grandma could tell her. However her grandma has passed.

When a mysterious letter arrives with a trinket of sorts, Julia is thrown. She doesn’t know who the sender is until it’s to late.

With things going on with her Ex husband, and now her shop. Julia finds her life tipped upside down. She doesn’t know who did what, but she does know she didn’t do it. Obliviously!!

When the truth about the trinket comes to light, along with a few other things. Julia finally figures out who is who and who done it! Done what?? Well you have to read the book because I don’t want to spoil it for you.

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting characters, cool setting.

By Mark C on September 1, 2017

This cozy mystery-style story is populated with interesting characters in a very cool setting. Nice small town feel that makes Lake Superior almost another character in the story. The plotline was enjoyable and not overly complicated, and I really enjoyed the supernatural touch, particularly at the end. The flow is good and the author has a nice touch with knowing when to inject an unexpected twist. Strong showing for a first-time author. Between the characters in this town and the interesting “Past Imperfect” antique store setting, this is ripe for a series. And I hope the author maintains the slight supernatural element. That was quite an interesting byline without it dominating the story. Very well done.

Anne Willow has a small addiction to antiques. She loves getting lost in antique shops and learning the stories behind the treasures. The Past Imperfect series was born out of her story collection.

Anne has always loved the North Shore, especially Lake Superior near Grand Marais. She lives there with her husband and two children. When bringing the Past Imperfect series together, Anne couldn’t think of a better place to have Julia’s shop. If you find yourself traveling through, stop by Artist Point, you may just find her sitting on the rocks.

Anne loves to meet and chat with her readers. You can connect with her through the links below.

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“Grave Injustice (Cold Case Files Book 3)” by Netta Newbound #Excerpt


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Book Excerpt

Bill Featherstone was fed up with his life.

After thirty-five years of marriage, his wife, Marianne, told him she didn’t even like him anymore and moved out of their family home. Now, less than three weeks later, he found he was poorer than he’d been in his entire fifty-three years on the planet. Not only had she left him, but she’d systematically cleared out their savings in the months leading up to her declaration. Then, she took off with her fancy man.

As a self-employed electrician, Bill needed to take on extra jobs simply to pay the mortgage this month, a mortgage that had steadily increased over the years while he thought it was being paid off. It turned out Marianne had re-mortgaged several times, forging his signature. The crux of it was she’d screwed him, big time.

Zooming into the retirement village at just after 4 pm for his fifteenth job of the day, he almost mowed down a bent up old man on a Zimmer frame. He was crossing the road as though he had all the time in the world.

Bill slammed on the brakes and wound his window down. “Get out of the way, you idiot. You’re gonna cause a fucking accident.”

The old man carried on, completely unaware of him.

Bill slammed the heel of his palm on the horn which made no difference to the situation but brought plenty of nosy old codgers out from their bungalows.

Once the man had climbed up onto the curb, Bill zoomed off and parked his van a few hundred meters away. Then, he grabbed his toolbox and rushed to the address.

“Mrs. Jones?” he asked the pleasant-faced lady who answered his urgent door rapping. She reminded him of his grandmother.

“Have you come to fix my oven?”

“I certainly have, love. Can you quickly tell me what keeps happening?”

“The problem began a few weeks ago when my niece and her boyfriend came for a visit. I wanted to make them some scones—they love my scones—I won awards for them back in my younger day…”

“That’s all very lovely,” he interrupted, “but can you get on with it. I’m a busy man.”

“Oh.”

The stupid old woman seemed shocked and although he felt a little awful, he knew what these old people could be like. She’d probably drip feed him her life story before getting down to the problem in hand.

“The fuse keeps tripping when I turn on my oven.”

“Okay, lead the way.”

In less than a minute he located the fault. “Bloody hell,” he barked.

“What’s wrong?” Her trembling voice irritated him.

“Basic common sense, love. Look at this? Tell me what you see?”

She began trembling so badly she appeared to be shaking her head at him. “I-I don’t see anything.”

“This!” He jabbed at a piece of foil lying in the bottom of the immaculate oven. “Would you shove a knife in the toaster?”

“No, of course not.” She gripped the work surface as though to steady herself.

“Then why shove a load of foil into the bottom of the oven? It’s touching an element and shorting out.”

“I’m sorry. I only had gas in my last house. I thought I was doing the right thing.”

“Well you know what thought did, don’t you?”

“Is there a problem, Gloria?” An equally doddery old man appeared in the doorway.

“No. It’s my fault, Eddie. Go back through to the lounge and I’ll make another pot of tea.”

The man eyeballed Bill before stroking the woman’s arm. “Don’t worry, love. I told Sandy I’d take him for a game of dominoes. Are you sure you’re alright?”

“Positive.”

Bill ripped the foil out and tested the element before turning the oven on.

The woman returned from seeing her friend out. “Is it okay now?”

“Should be. When does the fault happen? As soon as you switch it on or after a few minutes?”

“Pretty much right away.”

“Well, it seems to be working alright now. I’ll leave the oven running while I pack up my van and fetch my invoice book.”

Out at the van, he shoved his tool box into the back and sat just inside, his right foot resting against the open door. He looked up, startled when a shadow fell over him.

“What the—?” Bill wasn’t able to say anything else. A searing pain that began under his chin, exploded in the back of his head.

Then nothing.


Title: Grave Injustice (Cold Case Files Book 3)

Author: Netta Newbound

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Geri and James return for their most explosive adventure to date.

When next door neighbor, Lydia, gives birth to her second healthy baby boy, James and Geri pray their friend can finally be happy and at peace. But, little do they know Lydia’s troubles are far from over.

Meanwhile, Geri is researching several historic, unsolved murders for James’ new book. She discovers one of the prime suspects now resides in Spring Pines Retirement Village, the scene of not one, but two recent killings.

Although the police reject the theory, Geri is convinced the cold case they’re researching is linked to the recent murders. But how? Will she regret delving so deeply into the past?

~ Buy Link ~

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~~~~~~~~~~

~ Author Bio ~

Netta NewboundNetta Newbound is the author of twelve popular thriller novels/novellas to date including the Adam Stanley Thriller Series and the Cold Case Files. Her debut psychological thriller, An Impossible Dilemma, shot up the charts in 2015 in both the UK and US reaching #1 in several thriller and horror categories. This rapid success gained Netta a name for herself in the thriller genre. The Watcher, another of her bestsellers that reached the top 20 in the Amazon chart, was published through Bloodhound Books, who will also publish her next book, Maggie, in October 2017.

Originally from Manchester, England, Netta has travelled extensively and has lived and worked in a variety of exciting places. She now lives in New Zealand with her husband. They have three grown up children and four grandchildren.

~ Author Links ~

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ nettanewbound
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ newboundnetta
Website – www.nettanewbound.com

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#Review “Black and White” by Ben Burgess, Jr.

On Monday, September 11th, “Black & White” by Ben Burgess #Review” ran through my blog without the review. Oops! Evidently, I added it to the queue without adding the review and never double checked. This post contains the review. Really. It does. Read it. 😉


 

Black & White cover

Title: Black and White

Author: Ben Burgess, Jr.

Genre: Literature & Fiction/Suspense/Legal

Release Date:  June 21, 2017

5/5 Stars!

Excellent Story on Real-World Problems!

Incredible read.

While a work of fiction, the scenarios played out in Black & White felt real.

Extremely real.

The author did a great job of dissecting multiple viewpoints and putting them on display. Even minor characters were well-developed.

A bigoted white law firm lands two huge cases—a black rapper accused of a quadruple murder (including two cops), and a white NBA star accused of raping a black stripper. Dangling a partnership as bait, the firm assigns the rapper’s case to Ben Turner… who’s also black; and the ball player’s case to Bill O’Neil… also white.

Let the games begin.

Both young men are determined to win and claim the partnership.

Despite their obvious differences, these two men had more than enough in common to be good friends—especially with Ben’s white girlfriend, Becky, and Bill’s black girlfriend, Ebony.

But that wasn’t the case. Preconceived notions, personal biases, and LIFE, itself make Ben and Bill adversaries. Combined with the personal drama of each of their lives, both men were fighting uphill battles battling the perceptions which guided their lives.

The son of two judges, privileged Ben dealt with being accused of “acting white”, “not being black enough”, “and never being good enough.” As a black woman, I completely understood Ben’s struggle, however, I felt he was too consumed with always trying to prove himself. Not saying Ben was wrong, by any means, but I believe he would have been happier if he spent more time living his life instead of constantly playing a role. Ben wanted to be seen as a good man and a good attorney without the element of race overshadowing everything he did. He would have saved himself a lot of grief and heartache by realizing nothing you do can or will change people. They have to want to change and invest in it.

Ben’s girlfriend, Becky, also worried about how people viewed her. Rebellious from a young age, Becky only sought to be taken seriously and respected by her white, wealthy family… which was never going to happen. Becky’s father, Steven Preston, considered himself nothing more than a pragmatist about race, but honestly, all he was missing was a hood and burning cross. I believe Becky loved Ben but allowed her father to overrule her too often because she still wanted his approval.

Gabby, Ben’s best friend, was also a piece of work. Once the object of Ben’s affection, all Gabby ever did was push him away, figuring he’d always be there. When Ben finally moves on with a relationship with Becky, Gabby becomes bitter, mean, and unkind. Her close friendship with Ben brings Gabby and Becky together often and Gabby doesn’t miss a chance to show or voice her disapproval of their interracial coupling.

I didn’t like Becky or Gabby. Not because of their personal views or opinions, but their personalities. Becky needed to get a spine and walk upright, and Gabby needed to shut up. She considered herself up front and “real” but Gabby was over-the-top rude and arrogant. I must give Becky props though for the scene where Gabby tells her black people cannot be racists and Becky stands her ground and schools her.

Bill’s life had been the opposite of Ben Turner’s. Abandoned by his father, he and his chronically ill mother found affordable housing… and eventually acceptance and family in Kew Gardens, a poor, black housing project. Bill overcame a lot as the only white kid in a black neighborhood, but I felt he was honest in his efforts and not simply just trying to get by. Bill’s friendship with Akeem and relationship with Akeem’s twin sister, Ebony, prove his character. He was genuine and not playing a role…at least not until he went to work at Wayne, Rothstein, and Lincoln.

After losing her brother to street violence, Ebony became a cop to help institute and implement change. She ended up mired in frustration and confusion when her own people saw her as part of the problem and hated her as much as they did white cops. Ebony also questioned her relationship with Bill—her first and only boyfriend—when she becomes attracted to a black male at work.

Add in Reggie and Johnny, the two men at the heart of each court case, and Black & White is a hot pot of racism about to boil over.

The author does an excellent job at maintaining balance in the story. No one is all right or all wrong. People are the sum of their experiences… mostly. That being said, Bill was the only main character I liked. While not an innocent, I felt his motivations were the most real and the purest. I also liked Simone, Ben’s cousin raised by his parents. Her dysfunctional background and issues with abandonment led her to look for love… and acceptance in all the wrong places. I understood the other characters and their motivations… I just didn’t like them.

Black & White is well-written and developed. The multiple viewpoints are not distracting but served to pull the reader further into the story. Grammatical and editing errors are minor and do not take the reader out of the story.

The quote from To Kill a Mockingbird which opens the story perfectly sums up the story’s theme. A work of fiction, Black & White is still an accurate commentary on the conversations about race NOT being had today. Not because we’re afraid of admitting our fears and prejudices about other races, but we’re afraid to accept certain truths about ourselves.

This is a must-read and I highly recommend it.

Enjoy!


Synopsis

When the prestigious law firm of Wayne, Rothstein, and Lincoln catches two major cases—a rape case where a White NBA star allegedly raped a Black stripper, and a murder case where a Black rapper allegedly killed a gay couple and two policemen—Bill O’Neil and Ben Turner are tasked to handle these racially charged litigations. The cases hit emotional chords with the two lawyers and force them to reckon with their interracial relationships and families. Will the racial tension of their cases destroy them or make them stronger?

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~~~~~~~~~

~ Author Bio ~

Ben Burgess, Jr. is the author of the award-winning novels Monster, Wounded, Love and Happiness, Daddy’s Girl, and the new novel Black and White. He is an active performer of spoken word poetry.

Ben uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in and to never give up on their dreams. His novels Monster and Wounded are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan.

Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management and an MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughters Jaelynn and Jaclyn and he is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.

~~~~~~~~~~

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“Black and White” by Ben Burgess #Review


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Black & White cover

Title: Black and White

Author: Ben Burgess, Jr.

Genre: Literature & Fiction/Suspense/Legal

Release Date:  June 21, 2017

When the prestigious law firm of Wayne, Rothstein, and Lincoln catches two major cases—a rape case where a White NBA star allegedly raped a Black stripper, and a murder case where a Black rapper allegedly killed a gay couple and two policemen—Bill O’Neil and Ben Turner are tasked to handle these racially charged litigations. The cases hit emotional chords with the two lawyers and force them to reckon with their interracial relationships and families. Will the racial tension of their cases destroy them or make them stronger?

~ Buy Link ~

Amazon ButtonGoodreads ButtonKindle Unlimited

~~~~~~~~~

~ Author Bio ~

Ben Burgess, Jr. is the author of the award-winning novels Monster, Wounded, Love and Happiness, Daddy’s Girl, and the new novel Black and White. He is an active performer of spoken word poetry.

Ben uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in and to never give up on their dreams. His novels Monster and Wounded are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan.

Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management and an MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughters Jaelynn and Jaclyn and he is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.

~~~~~~~~~~

~ Author Links ~

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Website

Twitter

Reader’s Favorite Review

Literary Titan Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Grave Injustice (Cold Case Files Book 3)” by Netta Newbound #Excerpt


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Book Excerpt

Dalton Lloyd closed the shutter on the serving hatch just as a doddering old woman appeared pushing her walking frame towards him.

“Am I too late?” she asked. “I only want an apple.”

“Do you see the sign? Kitchen’s closed,” Dalton barked.

The woman stepped backward. A look of total shock played out in the deep wrinkles of her face, and her already watery eyes welled some more.

“Don’t look at me like that, you old witch. I do have a life, you know, unlike you lot sitting around here waiting to die.”

Another old codger, who had been sitting towards the back of the dining room, suddenly jumped to his feet and rushed towards them. “How dare you speak to her like that!” he cried, shaking his fist towards Dalton menacingly.

“And you can shut up, and all. What are you going to do with that? Beat me senseless?” Dalton boomed out a laugh as he turned off the light and exited the side door to where his dilapidated truck was parked. Climbing in, he turned the key and headed out the main gates of the Spring Pines Retirement Village.

Relieved to shake off his day’s work, he headed to his local pub to play on the fruit machines, something he did every night—or on the nights he could afford to, that is.

The White Hart had been his local since leaving school. He didn’t like change and was perfectly happy to go about his daily routine until the day he popped his clogs. He didn’t like working at the retirement village—it did his head in. But the feeble-minded old people more than made up for it with their gullible attitudes and more money than they could possibly spend before they carked it.

He had a few favorites that he’d groomed over the past few months. Befriending the needy bastards had been a doddle—offering to pick up a bit of shopping worked every time and would always culminate in the offer of a cup of tea, leaving him to have a good mooch about their bungalow.

No matter how many times they were told to put their money into a bank or building society, they never seemed to listen, and he would always find a stash of notes either under the mattress, in a large old teapot in the kitchen, or in a shoebox in the wardrobe. They wouldn’t have a clue how much they had and, better still, they would add to it every week. So long as he wasn’t greedy, and didn’t take the lot, they were none the wiser. It was easy pickings to top up his wages with.

Pushing his last pound coin into the slot, he prayed for a win. It was much earlier than he usually left for home, but he’d have no choice if he didn’t win any money. And that would also mean no dinner as he hadn’t a scrap of food in the house.

When the last of the credits spun away, he slammed the heel of his hand on the play button and kicked the front of the machine. “Fucking rip-off piece of shit!”

“That’ll be all for tonight, Dalton, buddy.” Wayne, the hefty barman, lifted the hatch and shuffled his paunch through it. “Come on—or you’ll give me no choice but to bar you. Again.”

Dalton shrugged Wayne’s hand from his arm. “Get your stinking paws off! I’m going. But you wanna get someone out to look at that fucking machine. It’s rigged.”

“You don’t complain when you clear it out though, do you, Dalton?” Wayne grabbed his arm again and shoved him towards the swinging door.

“Alright. Take it easy. I’m going.” Dalton scowled at the much larger man, and then at the pub full of people who had all stopped what they were doing to focus on him. “What the fuck are you lot looking at?” He slammed through the door and out into the chilly night air.

As he approached his vehicle, he dropped his keys in the gutter and, after picking them up, he was startled by a man standing beside him.

“What the fuck do you want?”

The man didn’t say a word. He just stepped forward and punched Dalton on his chin.

Dalton laughed and then began choking. The punch hadn’t been hard, and yet something was seriously wrong. He lifted his hands to his chin and gasped when he saw the amount of blood covering his fingers. He looked back up at the man before falling forwards to his knees and sprawling in slow motion to the gutter.

The last thing he saw was the man’s brown leather shoes as he walked away.


Title: Grave Injustice (Cold Case Files Book 3)

Author: Netta Newbound

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Geri and James return for their most explosive adventure to date.

When next door neighbor, Lydia, gives birth to her second healthy baby boy, James and Geri pray their friend can finally be happy and at peace. But, little do they know Lydia’s troubles are far from over.

Meanwhile, Geri is researching several historic, unsolved murders for James’ new book. She discovers one of the prime suspects now resides in Spring Pines Retirement Village, the scene of not one, but two recent killings.

Although the police reject the theory, Geri is convinced the cold case they’re researching is linked to the recent murders. But how? Will she regret delving so deeply into the past?

~ Buy Link ~

Amazon Button

Kindle UnlimitedGoodreads Button

~~~~~~~~~~

~ Author Bio ~

Netta NewboundNetta Newbound is the author of twelve popular thriller novels/novellas to date including the Adam Stanley Thriller Series and the Cold Case Files. Her debut psychological thriller, An Impossible Dilemma, shot up the charts in 2015 in both the UK and US reaching #1 in several thriller and horror categories. This rapid success gained Netta a name for herself in the thriller genre. The Watcher, another of her best sellers that reached the top 20 in the Amazon chart, was published through Bloodhound Books, who will also publish her next book, Maggie, in October 2017.

Originally from Manchester, England, Netta has travelled extensively and has lived and worked in a variety of exciting places. She now lives in New Zealand with her husband. They have three grown up children and four grandchildren.

~ Author Links ~

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ nettanewbound
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ newboundnetta
Website – www.nettanewbound.com

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“Dog Collar Crime (A Lucie Rizzo Mystery Book 1)” by Adrienne Giordano

#FREE at the time of posting!


“Dog Collar Crime (A Lucie Rizzo Mystery Book 1)

Genre: Cozy Mystery/Women Sleuths

Release Date: December 29, 2015

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Out of work and down on her luck, Lucie Rizzo is forced to do the one thing she’s long avoided—move back home with her nutty, mob-infested family. A move that brings her back into the tempting arms of Frankie Falcone, the ex that never fails to make her heart sit up and beg. When Lucie turns a dog-walking gig into a fancy dog accessory business, life starts to look like a walk in the park… until three of her bling-wearing clients are dogjacked. Despite Frankie’s help, Lucie is thrown into an investigation that’s more Goodfellas than good doggie. If she can survive her family and a plot involving stolen diamonds, she might just have a second chance at love.

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