Monthly Archives: September 2018

Review & Giveaway: Out and In by Pat Dunlap Evans

OUT AN IN
a mystery-thriller
MARIE DONOVAN MYSTERIES, #1
by
PAT DUNLAP EVANS
Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: A.M. Chai Literary
Date of Publication: April 27, 2016
Number of Pages: 316
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Stunning beauty and amateur cellist Marie Donovan finds herself in deep trouble after her pro-quarterback husband dives off a Dallas high rise—many say in shame after his shady investments go sour. Just months later, the grieving Marie faces capital murder charges for the death of a lecherous opera maestro. When hard evidence points squarely at her, only her best friend and defense lawyer believe her.
 
Marie is no stranger to struggle. During her six years as an NFL Football wife, she fends off groupies eager to take her man, all the while feeling lost in her husband’s macho culture. Studying the cello becomes Marie’s solace until her hard-drinking husband retires after an injury. Returning to Dallas, he plays with high society’s money in an investment scheme until winning at all costs leaves Marie and her twin sons on the hook for millions.
 
Scorned by society friends, charged with murder, Marie pins her hopes on hunky defense lawyer Ryan Ingles, one of Cole’s college football pals. After Ryan’s legal team discovers some of the maestro’s dark secrets, Marie and Ryan’s investigative troupe travel to exotic islands in search of clues Cole left behind. As the tropics weave a romantic spell, a corrupt offshore banker dashes Marie’s hopes. She wonders if she’ll ever be free of blame…and able to claim her own place in this world.


PRAISE FOR OUT AND IN

Out and In is the perfect mystery-thriller for the beach, a long flight, or to savor before bed…an exciting but heartfelt story about a beautiful woman who struggles to prove her innocence … As for the ending, I am still stunned.” — Lara Reznik, Amazon best-selling author of The Girl from Long Guyland and Bagels and Salsa.
 
“Could not put it down, once I started reading. Definitely a must-read. Look forward to reading more books from Pat Dunlap Evans. ” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Mimi”
 
“Awesome…flowed nicely … definitely kept you on your toes to who actually committed the murder. The lead character was a perfect blend of hard and soft. A great read.” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Tiffany”
 
review
I have never felt such mixed emotions about a book before. I think that almost every element of this book – the setting, the plot, the characters – evoked feelings from opposite poles within myself. Take the setting: I hate Dallas; but I love the fine arts scene. Like Marie, I play the cello and love the human voice quality of it. Unlike Marie, I couldn’t imagine playing my instrument naked. I don’t love it that much. The plot: I really liked the mystery side of this book. Some authors hit you over the head with key details, thus ruining the surprise. Evans knows how to write a mystery and keep things mysterious. But the romance side of things, some details came down hard and bopped you on the nose. The characters: I felt compassion for Marie and her predicament but felt zero sympathy for her with regard to her spoiled “boys”. I guess I found it hard to believe that a go-getter like Cole wouldn’t have taught his sons how to succeed – even if that meant teaching them the wrong way to do things. 
The book cover is clever and sensual with a man (is that supposed to be Luca?) drawing a bow across the back of a woman with cello strings and f holes tattooed or drawn on her back. I’m not a fan of the font used and the decision to put “a women’s mystery-thriller” on the cover too. Bop! Right on the nose with that one. It’s nitpicky, but I think that bass clef signs should have been used instead of treble clef signs at the beginning of each chapter since that is the clef that cellos mostly play in. Speaking of the chapters, I didn’t mind the changes in point of view, but it sometimes took me a while to figure out who was talking. To be fair, there were a few chapters where Evans didn’t want us to know who was talking. I really liked those chapters where the killer(s) would talk about what they have done and how they got away with it.
The book could have used another pass on the editing table, but it was an entertaining read. I had a hunch about who the killer was and was surprised when it seemed like someone else murdered Luca. But then I got another helping of surprise when I realized that the story had not yet quite ended and then we finally get to find out whodunnit. I was hoping that Marie would have a drama free life from here on out, but I’m happy to see that this book is the beginning of a series. I recommend this book to anyone who thinks they can solve mysteries easily (yes, this is a challenge to you).
Pat Dunlap Evans was born in Michigan but “got to Texas as soon as I could,” she says. Her family lived in San Antonio and later Dallas, where she attended South Oak Cliff High School and Southern Methodist University. Pat eventually completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at University of Missouri, Kansas City, with emphasis on creative writing. She also taught freshman writing courses as a part-time lecturer.After a divorce, Pat stressed her way as a single mom through twenty-five years of high-stress advertising and marketing roles before retiring to write fiction and screenplays. She lives in the Lake Travis area with her second husband Dr. Bill Evans and enjoys travel, golf, volunteer work, sailing, and the chaos of the couple’s combined five adult children, five grandchildren, and two cockalier dogs.

Pat has published two novels, To Leave a Memory and Out and In, with a third novel Those Who Try due out soon.

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1ST PRIZE:
Signed Copy of Out and In + $10 Amazon Gift Card
2ND PRIZE:
Signed Copy of Out and In + $5 Amazon Gift Card
3RD PRIZE:
$5 Amazon Gift Card
(US ONLY)
September 12-21, 2018

 

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Character Interview & Giveaway: A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

A RUMORED FORTUNE
BY
JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO
  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 31, 2018
Number of Pages: 416
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Welcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England
Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. 
It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune—before someone else finds it first.

PRAISE FOR A RUMORED FORTUNE: 

“Everyone loves a treasure hunt—pair it with a heroine you can’t help but love, a hero you can’t help but swoon over, and a family mystery that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, and you end up with A Rumored Fortune. This book is a treasure in itself and one you won’t be able to put down!”
— Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of the Ladies of the Manor series and Shadows Over England series
“Politano combines romance and mystery with great skill to create plot twists that will keep readers captivated until the very end.”— Publishers Weekly

“The author has done a great job, offering up a plot filled with wit, charm, action, and a lot of female strength.”— Suspense Magazine


CLICK TO PURCHASE

Character Interview
Interview with Margaret Waithe, the housekeeper of Trevelyan Castle, in A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano
Mrs. Waithe, you must know something about this mysterious fortune said to be hidden at Trevelyan. Can you tell us if the rumors are true?
If you’re looking to fortune hunt, there’s a line forming behind the house, starting with all the relatives who think they’re owed a piece of it. You’ll have to fight your way through them, and then face the master’s daughter besides. I’m not sure which’ll give you worse trouble, but you can have your go of it. I’ll warn you, though, the old master was an odd one, and you’re not likely to guess where he’s hidden the fortune unless you understand the man himself.
Who do you think will find the old man’s fortune?
If anyone was smart enough, it would be his Tressa. No one could truly know old Josiah Harlowe, but she came closer than most. She was the only one who tried. Everyone else is busy digging through the castle walls for hidden crevices and entries while Tressa is smart enough to dig through her father’s notes and learn about the man who hid it in the first place. None are smart enough, or more deserving, of the man’s inheritance than his daughter.
You mean to say he didn’t even tell his own family where he put his money? How did he expect them to survive his possible demise one day?

I’m sure the man didn’t plan on drowning out there in the channel. He’s lived here so long, we never expected it, either. And him, being in the prime of health like that. No one could have predicted such an early demise. He did plan on telling his family where he’d put it before he died—I heard him telling his Tressa that years ago when she was begging for the secret.
It seems there’s far more to the story here, isn’t there?
More to the man’s sudden death? More to how he came by his fortune? More to every single creature who parades themselves through these doors to “grieve?” Yes, to all of them. Every last one. With Josiah Harlowe, there is always more to the story, no matter what the story is.
What do you think of that new vineyard manager, Mr. Donegan Vance?
(pause) Can’t say just yet, sir. He’s an unusual one just like the master, full of secrets and contradictions. He certainly isn’t finding much favor with the ladies of Trevelyan, that’s for sure. Now the town-folk, that’s a different story. You know how some people are full of smooth talk and fancy promises, but their actions never live up? Well this man’s the opposite. He’s a bit jarring with his words, since he doesn’t bother to pretty them up or smooth them over with all the expected niceties, but no matter how gruff his words, his actions are astounding. That man makes kindness a lifestyle and no one is below his help or attention. I’ve never seen the like around here, and I’ve opened these doors to plenty of respectable gentleman. Somehow, he’s even more respectable than them, if you actually watch the man to see what he does. He’s had his eye on Miss Tressa, and I rather hope she opens her eyes to him. Perhaps I’ll help.

Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her
WEBSITE   FACEBOOK    TWITTER   
 
 
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GRAND PRIZE:
Copy of A Rumored Fortune + Novel Teas (box of 25 tea bags) + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: Copy of A Rumored Fortune
$10 Starbucks Gift Card
3RD PRIZE: Copy of A Rumored Fortune
+ $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
(US ONLY)
  September 11-20, 2018
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