Self Incrimination by Randy Singer (A Guest Review)

Guest Review

When Robbie drafted me for another guest review, I was deep in the Randy Singer whodunit, Self Incrimination.  Randy Singer wrote The Advocate, my favorite Christian legal fiction thriller.  Scratch the modifiers.  My favorite book, ever.

Robbie and I have a running conversation about Christian fiction that contains “un-Christian” elements of the culture in which Christianity is necessarily immersed – scenes of explicit sexual immorality or profane language, for instance.  Some writers insert “edgy” content into their Christian message to attract readers who might not otherwise read a book that contains the gospel.  Robbie thinks immoral content dressed up as Christian fiction is flying under a false flag.  Personally, harsh words do not phase me.  But then, I had a job as a teen-ager shoveling horse manure.  When the wind shifted, flecks of urine-soaked sawdust would blow across my face, and I really didn’t mind that either.

Self Incrimination is edgy and gritty.  It deals with child abuse, child sexual assault, rape and cold-blooded murder.  Nothing in it seems “sanitized.” Yet, upon reflection, I could not recall a single profanity, obscenity, or concession to contemporary sexual mores.  I told Robbie she would love this book, so she invited me to review it.

Leslie Connors is a first-year attorney, working in partnership with the lawyer she is about to marry.  As the novel opens, a wealthy socialite walks into the office to hire Leslie’s partner (who happens to be a famous trial advocate).  The woman’s sixteen-year-old daughter is charged with murdering her Dad.  The sixteen-year-old, however, hires Leslie.  In Leslie’s first trial, she has a client she believes in, but cannot believe.  Corrupt and incorruptible opponents are arrayed against her, and Leslie can hardly decide which are worse, or more formidable.  During it all, she is planning a wedding, but a bombshell explodes in its path and shakes Leslie’s confident, plucky life to its core.

While Leslie reels, a former client, the wife of a martyred missionary, hands her a copy of C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.  Leslie has a logical mind, like Lewis, her friend believes.  Unable to sleep, Leslie reads.  Passages haunt her.  Lewis describes sin as Jesus did in the Golden Rule – treating others in a way we ourselves would not want to be treated.  He describes sins as events that will inexorably overtake each one of us, next month, next week, or “perhaps this very day.”

That phrase echoes in Leslie’s mind as she remembers harboring health secrets from Brad, her fiancé. She remembers cringing when her client’s autistic brother spit on her.  We readers encounter these incidents as the story unfolds.  They gave me slight pause as I read them.  Then I thought I might have done the very same things.  Of course.  Most of us would have.  Because “All have sinned…”  Randy Singer has trapped us, and C. S. Lewis’ words convict us when they convict Leslie.  “…perhaps this very day.”

The book’s courtroom climax is a stunner, if you are like me and happily let an author lead you where he will.  I predict that when Robbie reads Self Incrimination, she will solve the mystery early on.  However, solving the mystery was not Randy Singer’s raison d’etre for writing the book, nor ours for reading it.  God uses the tragedy that unfolds in this story to lift the scales from a skeptic’s eyes.  A skeptic we are rooting for.

You will want to read Self Incrimination if you won’t mind buying or borrowing the rest of Randy Singer’s dozen-odd novels, because you certainly will.

Publisher’s Summary

Tara Bannister’s abusive stepfather finally pushed her too far. To save herself she had to kill him. Or did she? Tara’s confession doesn’t add up, and as her self-defense claim crumbles, attorney Leslie Connors must overcome more than first-trial jitters to mount a credible defense. Leslie must save Tara’s life—against her client’s will. In the midst of this taxing case, Leslie’s wedding plans to law partner Brad Carson are interrupted by a devastating diagnosis. Does she dare tell Brad? Before the final gavel falls, Leslie must confront the truth about herself and her mysterious client, or the darkness of the past will swallow them both.

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Frozen Notes (Book Four Amazing Grace Series) by Fay Lamb

My Review

I’m once again blown away by Fay Lamb’s writing!

Frozen Notes is book four of the Amazing Grace series. I was assured, since I hadn’t read the other three in this series, that it could be a stand-alone, and it can.

The opening scenes were difficult for me due to PTSD (just a warning for others). However, I wanted to read the story, mainly out of curiosity, to see how an author I thought of as a romance writer handled a mystery suspense novel. I wasn’t disappointed. Fay Lamb has a unique talent for bringing any genre she writes to life.

Once I got past the first chapter, I was unable to put Frozen Notes down! I read it in one sitting over the course of a couple of hours. I was so drawn into the story and the lives of the characters that EVERYTHING in the background disappeared.

Frozen Notes is a hard-hitting tale dealing with addiction, murder, lies and abuse, and that’s just a tiny glimpse into the lives of the major individuals living with Amazing Grace, North Carolina.  Fay Lamb takes gritty, ugly and petrifying circumstances, with no apparent chance for redemption, and turns them into moments of deliverance, recovery and salvation. She masterfully intermeshes the disparate, but linked, lives of each person and brings healing and hope.

I admire how she interposes profound messages of faith and deliverance throughout, in an artless way, never leaving you feeling preached to or beaten over the head with the tenet or belief. Her style opens the way for natural and genuine knowledge of biblical principles.

I received Frozen Notes from the author. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Fay Lamb is a gifted writer who creates wonderful, three-dimensional characters in the midst of an action packed story. ~Margaret Daley, USA Today Bestselling Author

****The author is donating 100% of her royalties from this book to hurricane relief through Samaritan’s Purse.

Lyric Carter’s dreams of fame and fortune in a rock band ended the day Balaam Carter left to pursue their dreams without her. When Balaam’s brother promised to love and protect Lyric and to love her son, Cade—his brother, Balaam’s child—as his own, she believed him. But Braedon turned her dreams into a nightmare by killing Balaam’s best friend, turning the gun on himself, and placing Lyric in the middle of a criminal investigation that could leave her and Cade dead.

Balaam Carter’s every dream has come true, but he’s living in a nightmare of addiction and regret. The famous rock star would give everything he has to return to the girl he once held in his arms—back when his only crime was running moonshine for his father. Now, he’s seeking redemption for all the destruction his dreams have brought to the people he loves.

No one said the road to recovery would be easy, but Balaam is also desperate to protect Lyric and the little boy he left behind from a state full of drug lords who believe Lyric has the evidence that will tumble their lucrative cartels. Balaam’s continued sobriety, his natural ability for finding his way out of trouble, and his prayers to God above for the strength to never let them down again are all that he has to protect Lyric and his son, and still, he doesn’t know if he’s up for the task.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Book 1 in Once Upon a Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep

My Review

If you enjoy stories with mystery and intrigue, twists and turns keeping you guessing at who is orchestrating the events, quick short reads (only 192 pages) and best of all-tied up with a Christmas bow-then Bleakly Manor is the perfect short story for you!

I don’t usually like mystery/suspense stories. However, Michelle Griep’s first book in her series, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, exudes just the right amount of inscrutability, that you will be reading quickly to get to the “who is doing it?” and then you’ll wish you’d savored it just a little longer.

Although there are some intense, mildly violent scenes, the story overall is one of trying to recover what each person feels they have lost. Some of the characters, like most people, are more at peace with themselves and God than others. Hence some are more pugnacious and cruel than others.

Don’t expect a happy time at Christmas in Bleakly Manor; it isn’t there in an overt or obvious way. Nonetheless, the ending (and the explanation of the traditions) provide the skinny Christmas bow.

I’m looking forward to the next edition in the series, and there is a sneak peek at the end of the book!

 

Publisher’s Review

A mysterious invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home may bring danger…and love?

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

Pour a cup of tea and settle in for Book 1 of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series–a page-turning Victorian-era holiday tale–by Michelle Griep, a reader and critic favorite.

I received this book from Barbour Publishing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Crown of Souls (The Tox Files Book #2) by Ronie Kendig

Publisher’s Summary

Six months after stopping a deadly plague, Cole “Tox” Russell and his team are enjoying a little rest. That peace is short-lived when a sniper shot hits Tox. The enemy is discovered to be one of their own, a rogue Special Forces team operator.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier.

Afraid his old friend is right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team engage in another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is cheating–he’s using a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.

Note from Me

Although I did not review Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig, I wanted to give a shout out to  Ronie. I know, based on her previous books and Book One in The Tox Files, that Crown of Souls will be another great book. There is also a prequel to the series, The Warrior’s Seal (The Tox Files): A Tox Files Novella, available for free on Amazon.

If you would like more information you can visit Ronie’s website at http://roniekendig.com/toxfiles/.

(Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Crown of Souls from the publisher and NetGalley. I was under no obligation to review the book. I am receiving no compensation through affiliate links or otherwise for any of the afore-mentioned books.)

 

Such a Tease (Meddlin’ Madeline Book 2) by Chautona Havig

Publisher’s Summary

Madeline, with a little assistance, discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! Can she expose him for the fraud she’s sure he is?

Rockland:1901
In book two of the Meddlin’ Madeline series, Madeline Brown has a new endeavor to occupy her time. But is it to keep her out of the way or a reward for her work in Sweet on You? With the help of her young friends, Madeline discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! What’s a girl to do?

However, her new position also gives her opportunities to observe, and what she sees sets more than one new investigation in motion. What does her old suitor, Delbert Jackson, know? Why is Mr. Merton giving important papers to that scoundrel, Vernon Smythe, and whatever happened to poor Abigail Cooper?

Add to these intriguing questions Henry Hardwick’s continued attentions, Edith’s newfound devotion to the temperance movement and Madeline’s determination to find her a more reliable suitor, and strange behavior from her Aunt Louisa and things heat up as summer fades from Rockland.

Unfortunately, her dear friend, Russell, busy with an important project at work, finds himself unable to help keep her out of trouble and away from danger. Is Madeline going too far? Will her meddling get her in serious trouble this time, will it destroy her reputation irreparably, or will she rid Rockland of a scoundrel once and for all?

My Review

Madeline is now stretching her wings in book two of the Meddlin’ Madeline series. She has taken a job as a bank teller, a job some feel, as a woman, she has no business doing. Others are thankful it will keep her out of trouble. Well, they just don’t know Madeline very well!

Such A Tease picks up not long after Sweet on You (see review here).  Even though you could read it without reading the first book, I feel you will get more out of book two if you read book one first. In Sweet on You, the cast of characters and the investigative skills of Madeline appear.

I love Madeline; she’s spunky, sassy, outspoken and virtually fearless. She sees something unusual or disconcerting, and she “teases” it like a dog with a bone, until she figures it out. She also has a deep abiding faith, surprising herself sometimes with how much she believes.

Chautona Havig has a keen imagination and a wicked sense of humor spilling into her stories, making them a delight to read. Her attention to detail and obvious research into the era she’s writing about lend a richness to her books that makes you eager for the next installment.

I received this book from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Such a Tease was part of this blog tour, but due to illness, I had not read it, and I was unable to do a review in the time for the tour.

Conspiracy of Silence (The Tox Files Book 1) by Ronie Kendig

Publisher’s Summary

Four years after a tragic mission decimated his career and his team, Cole “Tox” Russell is persona non grata to the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

Partnered with FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox has to pull together a team to begin a globe-spanning search for answers–and a cure. As their quest leads them from continent to continent, it slowly becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague–but battling against an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and opposition growing on every side, the key to everything may rest in an antique codex, the Crown of Jerusalem–but will Tox and his team be able to trust each other enough to break this century-spanning conspiracy of silence?

My Review

WOW! I don’t know that I even know how to describe Conspiracy of Silence! I am constantly amazed at Ronie Kendig’s books. Having been a military wife, I especially enjoy how true to life her books appear.

Cole Russel, more commonly known as “Tox,” (shortened from the nickname Toxic) is called back into duty for his country. If there’s one thing Tox can’t turn down, it’s a mission for his country. He puts together a team from his former Special Forces group and goes into action.

I came to really care for Tox and his buddy Chijioke (shortened to Chiji). Chiji works hard to keep Tox grounded and focused on God. He knows Tox well, and you can tell he loves him as a brother, too. In fact, Chiji is represented in the beginning of the book as Tox’s own Jiminy Cricket, which is an apt portrayal.

Mesmerized by the riveting action and enthralled with the suspense are a few of the ways I would characterize my reaction to book one of The Tox Files. Be forewarned, the nature of the book lends itself to several violent scenes.

Conspiracy of Silence covers a LOT of territory. Geographically, we travel from Israel and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, to the jungles of Nigeria, to the cosmopolitan cities of North America and Europe. We are immersed in the cultures of military special ops, Biblical archaeology and Jewish history-ancient and modern. Miss Kendig drops us right into the middle of the action and doesn’t release us until the book ends. Even then, you are wanting more, and luckily for us, there is a prequel (that is currently free for Kindle) and book 2 is scheduled for September of this year.

I received this book from Ronie Kendig via Mikal Dawn. I was not required to write a review. However, I enjoyed the book so much I decided to write one.

If I’m Found (Book Two of If I Run Series) By Terri Blackstock

Publisher’s Summary

In this riveting sequel to the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness.

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail cell.

My Review

Casey Cox is running for her life. She’s accused of a horrendous murder she didn’t commit. In addition, she stumbles upon other situations she feels require her immediate attention, putting her in even more danger of being found.

Dylan Roberts, a private investigator, has been hired to find Casey. However, the deeper he gets into the assignment, the more uncertainties and questions he has and the more perplexing the case.

If I’m Found is written in Blackstock’s traditional spine-tingling and suspenseful way. As a reader, you will be on the edge of your seat as the book carries you through fast-moving and riveting scenarios, moving from locale to locale as Casey is being hunted. She is an author I have come to enjoy and admire. Her books are always gripping and thrilling, with a faith-based emphasis I appreciate.

Terri Blackstock’s book, If I’m Found, is the second in her If I Run Series. Initially, there are a few confusing things in the story if you haven’t read the first book, If I Run. In spite of this, you can very quickly catch up on the story.

I can’t wait to read book one, and I am eagerly looking forward to book three. Unfortunately, it doesn’t debut until next year.

I received a copy of If I’m Found from The Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to provide a review.

*************************FOREWARNING*************************

If I’m Found has several incidences of graphic violence.

 

Beyond Justice by Cara Putman

Publisher’s Summary

Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she’s just been handed doesn’t destroy her first.

Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It’s why she became an attorney and why she’s so driven in her career. When she’s assigned a wrongful death case against the government, she isn’t sure if it’s the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there.

Further complicating matters is Andrew, her roommate’s distractingly attractive cousin. But Andrew’s father is a Congressman, and Hayden’s currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?

The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to kill the case—or her. Logic and self-preservation would indicate she should close the case. But how can she, when justice is still just beyond her reach?

My Review

Hayden McCarthy is assigned a seemingly impossible case, representing the family of a young man apparently murdered in a juvenile facility for immigrants. However, it was assigned to her because the partners know she can win the seemingly hopeless cases. But the deeper she digs, the more alarming the case becomes.

Her roommate, Emilie Wesley, left a legal career to become an expose journalist and decides to help Hayden unravel the mysteries, thus getting tangled up in the conspiracy.

Andrew, Emilie’s cousin, champion to the underdogs, works at a community center helping integrate young immigrants into the community and is fast becoming a charming distraction to Hayden.

In addition to Hayden, Miss Putman has two casts of characters; one set has a diverse mixture of interesting, faith-filled and compassionate natures, and the other set is more cold-blooded, cruel and sadistic than one can imagine. She does an exemplary job of weaving the characters and their interactions in ways that leave you holding your breath, wondering what will happen next.

Beyond Justice is a hair-raising novel, rife with surprising turns and plot developments that ensure the reader is kept engaged throughout the entire story.

Cara Putman has written an edge of your seat suspense story, full of intrigue and faith. She has taken her experiences as an attorney and turned them into a gripping novel.

I received a copy of Beyond Justice from The Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

*******************FOREWARNING*******************

Beyond Justice, due to the nature of the story, has many instances of violence.

Meddlin’ Madeline: Such a Tease

Such a Tease Banner

Click here to purchase your copy.

 About the Book

Such A Tease

Book: Such a Tease

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Fiction/Historical/Mystery

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Madeline, with a little assistance, discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! Can she expose him for the fraud she’s sure he is?

In book two of the Meddlin’ Madeline series, Madeline Brown has a new endeavor to occupy her time. But is it to keep her out of the way or a reward for her work in Sweet on You? With the help of her young friends, Madeline discovers her old adversary is gaining a following in Rockland! What’s a girl to do?

But her new position also gives her opportunities to observe, and what she sees sets more than one new investigation in motion. What does her old suitor, Delbert Jackson, know? Why is Mr. Merton giving important papers to that scoundrel, Vernon Smythe, and whatever happened to poor Abigail Cooper?

Add to these intriguing questions Henry Hardwick’s continued attentions, Edith’s newfound devotion to the temperance movement and Madeline’s determination to find her a more reliable suitor, and strange behavior from her Aunt Louisa and things heat up as summer fades from Rockland.

Her dear friend, Russell, busy with an important project at work, finds himself unable to help keep her out of trouble and away from danger. Is Madeline going too far? Will her meddling get her in serious trouble this time, will it destroy her reputation irreparably, or will she rid Rockland of a scoundrel once and for all?

About the Author

Chautona

Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona considers herself blessed to live in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. When not writing, which she admits isn’t often, Chautona enjoys blogging, paper crafts, sewing, smocking, photo editing, and old (read: before her parents’ time) music.

Guest Blog Post from Chautona

Leon Czolgosz is my new nemesis. He’s dead, but he ruined my book. No, really. The guy totally destroyed the opening pages of Such a Tease.

Now, these days, not a whole lot of people remember the name of Leon Cozolgosz. I didn’t. But I’ll never forget him now (although I may never remember how to spell his name).

Who is he? Only the guy who shot President McKinley. Why am I annoyed with him over a hundred years later? The idiot did this thing on September 6, 1901. You know, four days after this book opened? Yeah. Couldn’t he have done it on say… January 6, 1901? Even January 6, 1902, would have served my purposes.

Look, I’m not as callous as I appear. Truly. But if President McKinley had to die, did his murderer have to do it when it would completely mess up my book?

How did it mess up my book you ask?

I’ll tell you. I left it out—the whole assassination thing. There I was, fixing a wedding date for one of the characters, when a thought occurred to me. She could be married on Flag Day—if Flag Day was a thing then. I didn’t think it was. I really thought Wilson was responsible for that—you know, creating holidays in between his notes to Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany or something like that. But I hoped. Somehow—just maybe. I mean we had Labor Day from Cleveland, why not Flag Day from McKinley. But noooooo. He didn’t. What did he do?

He got shot. Four days after my book opened. And there wasn’t a single word about it in the story.

Like I could ever get away with that. This was news! Big news. And nothing about it in the life of a daughter of a politician? I think not.

Not only did this Leon Czolgosz (no, really. It’s spelled correctly) shoot the president on September 6th, but he didn’t do a good job of it! Look, I think I’ve established that I didn’t want President McKinley killed. But if the guy with the unpronounceable last name had to do it, couldn’t he have done a good job of it? Couldn’t he have shot the president in the head? McKinley suffered for eight days before he died. Eight days! They thought he was getting better and then gangrene killed him.

It would have been a mercy had Leon just shot McKinley in the head or the heart. Why the abdomen? Cruel, if you ask me, even for an anarchist.

And it made adding the whole affair to my book even more problematic. No, really! Think about it. I couldn’t have the newspapers announce the death of President McKinley on September 7th and then have a few mentions of the bank being affected or something. No… no… now I had to have a headline event, give false hope, and then add the death on top of it all.

Look, I do an obscene amount of research for my books. No, really. Keen was slang in 1901. Woohoo! Look up “peachy keen”? Yeah. Can’t use it. 1950s. The telephone? Can Madeline expect to use one in a burgeoning city in 1901? Considering there were over 850,000 telephones in use, yes. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that a photographer who works for a local paper might have a telephone in order to receive calls requesting him to come photograph some big event—like the Mayor’s speech on the death of President McKinley, perchance?

Yep. Somehow, I almost missed one of the biggest events in US history. Research saved the book—and ruined my timeline. All at the same time. Gotta love history. Or not.

And Leon Czolgosz? Yeah. Thanks for nothing.

Blog Stops

March 21: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

March 21: Jeanette’s Thoughts

March 22: Bibliophile Reviews

March 22: Captive Dreams Window

March 23: Blogging With Carol

March 23: A Greater Yes

March 24: Carpe Diem

March 24: A Baker’s Perspective

March 25: Reading Is My SuperPower

March 26: Back Porch Reads

March 27: Splashesofjoy

March 28: Christian Bookaholic

March 29: Lots of Helpers

March 29: The Scribbler

March 30: Neverending Stories

March 30: Bigreadersite

March 31: With a Joyful Noise

March 31: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

April 1: Pause for Tales

April 1: Avid Reader Book Reviews

April 2: Ashley’s Bookshelf

April 2: A Room without Books is Empty

April 3: The perfect beginning

April 3: His Grace is Sufficient

Giveaway

Giveaway Such A Tease

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a Reader’s Teaser Package
that includes:
A paperback copy of both Sweet on You and Such a Tease
A “Tea-for-One” teapot
A Tin of loose-leaf tea of your choice (six options available from our local tearoom)
A pound of assorted See’s chocolates
A set of six handmade antique-inspired note cards
A $25 Amazon Gift Card
And, for the teaser… the winner will also receive the exclusive short story (usually reserved for pre-orders) The Fate of Abigail Cooper!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b2b8

Sweet on You (Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries Book 1) by Chautona Havig

Meddlin Madeline 1

Publisher’s Summary

It is my hypothesis that social conventions are created to test our fortitude. 

Rockland circa 1900-
As the mayor’s daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind and a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her.

With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor’s daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father’s mayoral campaign.

So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline’s interest piques–until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she’s never encountered.

Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her “meddling” create tension for herself and her father? Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life?

Meddlin’ Madeline: Welcome to Rockland’s infancy.

My Review

Madeline Brown is not a typical female of the early 1900’s.  In fact, Russell Barnes, the brother of her best friend, Amy, points out her conundrum; Maddie is too traditional to be modern and too modern to be traditional. She also is intelligent and not afraid to show it.  Also, she is keenly observant, which causes her to aspire to be a Sherlock Holmes “wannabe.”

I enjoyed getting to know Madeline.  Chautona Havig writes in a very unique and intriguing style.  I even learned a few new words!  Her portrayal of Maddie as a fiercely loyal and steadfast friend is refreshing. As you get to know the main characters of the book, you feel a kinship and an affinity towards them. The young people in the story are realistic and true to life.  Their stories will resonate with many readers, and the villains will leave you outraged at their audacity.  However, you will be cheering, and in some cases laughing out loud, at how Maddie is able to manufacture a way to keep a friend’s heart from being broken.

Sweet on You by Chautona Havig is book 1 in the Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries.  Join us on Wednesday, when I link up with Celebrate Lit’s Blog Tour highlighting the second book, Such a Tease.