Friday, November 27, 2020

Mordecai's Ashes by Arlana Crane

Karl had no job, a bossy sister, and then an inherited detective agency.

We meet Karl as he starts up his grandfather's detective agency, and then adds on his niece as an assistant.

Karl was getting jobs, but when he is asked to help break up a drug ring or at least find out where it is, it is a bit more than he was used to. He did like the challenge, though.  

I thought it was pretty dangerous, and it made me nervous when he was taking photos and going undercover.  I was happy when he was done and returned to his office. That part of the book did become a bit long.

This book has great characters and is a light read except for when Karl was on this dangerous assignment where drugs were being sold and people had been murdered.

You will like Karl and definitely like take-charge Kelsey.

MORDECAI'S ASHES had a nicely flowing story line, plenty of tension, some levity, and a fun twist at the end.

This was an enjoyable read. 4/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blogger Hop - 11/27 - 12/3

Question of the Week:

Do you own an e-reader? If so, what is your favorite thing about it? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)

My Answer:

I do own an e-reader. 

I like it for the convenience at night.

I also like it because it can hold so many books and barely weighs anything.  I'm sure that is a standard reason and answer.  :)

Today's Prompt: Black Cover


Thanks to these Litsy folks for today’s prompt:




Today’s Prompt:  BLACK COVER

All good ones.

Any you have read?

Friendly Fill-Ins - 11/27/2020



1. Why is _____ so expensive?

2. On holidays, I always have a second serving of ________.

3. I'm eternally grateful for _______.

4. 'Tis the season for _________.

1.  Why is gas so expensive?
2. On holidays, I always have a second serving of mashed potatoes with gravy.
3.  I'm eternally grateful for not being ill with the COVID, and I pray that will continue.
4. 'Tis the season for not getting too many books read, but I will try to read the same number I usually do.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Spotlight and Giveaway of The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb

The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb Banner

The Venturi Effect

by Sage Webb

on Tour November 1 - December 31, 2020

The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb


After fleeing the crush of a partnership at a large Chicago criminal-defense firm and the humiliation of a professional breakdown, Devlin Winters just wants to be left alone with a couple sundowners on the deck of her dilapidated mahogany trawler on Galveston Bay. But when an old flame shows up on the boardwalk with a mysterious little boy in tow and an indictment on his heels, fate has other plans, and Devlin finds herself thrust onto a sailboat bound for St. Kitts and staring down her demons in the courtroom, as she squares off against an obsessed prosecutor with a secret of his own.

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thriller
Published by: Stoneman House Press, LLC
Publication Date: November 15th 2020
Number of Pages: 329
ISBN: 9781733737944 (Ebook: 9781733737951)
Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Red metal boxes lined the wood-railed tourist boardwalk, giving children access to fish food if the kids could finagle quarters from parents wilted and forlorn in the triple-digit Gulf Coast heat. With the food, kids could create great frenzies of red drum, snook, spotted sea trout, or whatever fish species gathered at the boardwalk’s pilings in agitated silver vortices. Devlin Winters lifted her ballcap and wiped a sleeve across her brow. She favored long-sleeved t-shirts for just this reason—their mopping properties . . . and to protect her from the Galveston Bay sun in its unrelenting effort to grill her and the other boardwalk barkers. In the two years she’d been on the boardwalk, she’d never fed the fish.

A kid stopped beside one of the boxes.

“Can I have a quarter, mommy?” the boy asked.

He looked about eight or nine, though Devlin had little interest in guessing accurately the ages of the pint-sized patrons fueling her income stream.

“I’m not sure I have one,” the mom replied.

She appeared a bit younger than Devlin, maybe late twenties.

Once upon a time, Devlin would have looked at a mother like that and made a snide remark about crib lizards and dead ends, but nine bucks an hour in the sun makes it awfully hard for a carny to judge others. Lacking a more interesting subject, Devlin watched the woman paw through a backpack-sized purse. The chick produced a quarter and handed it to the kid, who dropped it into the box’s payment slot and ground the dial, catching in his miniature palm a limited portion of the fish food that spilled out of the machine when he lifted the metal flap. The majority of the pellets rained down onto the wooden boardwalk planks, bounced, and disappeared through the cracks between the planks.

Devlin fancied she could hear the tiny fish-food BBs hitting brown water: plink, plink, plink. Once upon another time, when she was still at Sondheim Baker, but toward the end, she would go outside in the middle of the day. Instead of sitting at her desk, drafting appellate briefs for the Seventh Circuit, she would ride the elevator down to La Salle, down seven hundred feet of glass and stainless steel and terribly expensive architecture. She would drop down those elevator cables at random times, at times rich, successful attorneys should have been at their desks. And she would turn left out of that great glass building the color of the sky and walk over to the river, that nothing-like-the-Styx river that mankind had turned back on itself, contrary to nature.

She would stand and look down into the water, which was sometimes emerald, sometimes the color of jeans before they are ever washed. Once or twice, she had reached into her purse (expensive purses, Magnificent Mile purses from Burberry and Gucci and Herm├Ęs) and she had dug around until she’d found a penny. She’d dropped the penny into the river and, even now, on the sauna-hot boardwalk with the whistle of the kid-sized train behind her and the pulses of unimpressive pop music overhead, she was sure she could hear those pennies hit the Chicago River, hit and sink down, down, and farther down.

Plink. Plink. Pli—

“You want to try this one?”

The fish-feeding entertainment had run its course and the mother stood in front of the water-gun game Devlin guarded. She gestured toward Devlin and the row of stools in front of their narrow-barreled water guns.

“Is it hard?” The kid looked up at his mom, and the mom turned to Devlin.

“He can do it, right?” she asked. “I mean, he can figure it out, right?”

“Sure, it’s easy.” Devlin lifted her cap for another mop across her hairline, and then wiped perspiration away from her eyes under her sunglasses. “It’s fun, little dude,” she said to the kid in his obviously secondhand clothes.

She wanted to care, wanted to be “affable” or whatever it is a carny should be toward summer’s ice-cream-eating cash-crop flux of kids. But wanting alone, without effort, is never enough.

The mom held out a five-dollar bill.

“You both wanna do it? I gotta have more than one person to run it for a prize.” Devlin rubbed the top of her right flip flop and foot against her left calf.

“Oh,” the woman said, “I wasn’t planning to play. I’m no good at these things.”

“Um,” Devlin stepped out of the shade of the game’s nook and cast her eyes up and down the boardwalk, “we’ll find some more kids.” She took the woman’s money without looking away from the walkway and the beggarly seabirds.

A young couple, likely playing hooky from jobs in Houston, held the hands of a girl sporting jet-black pigtails and lopsided glasses.

“Step right up, princess. You wanna win a unicorn, right?” Devlin reached back into her game nook and snatched a pink toy from the wall of unicorns, butterflies, bees, and unlicensed lookalikes of characters from movies Devlin had never heard of. She dangled the thing in the girl’s direction.

“Would you like to play, habibti?” The mom jiggled the girl’s arm.

“Tell ya what.” Devlin turned to the mom. “The whole family can play for five bucks. We’re just trying to get some games going, give away some prizes to these cuties.” She turned back to the first mother. “And don’t worry, I’ll give him three games for the fiver.”

“Hear that, Vince? You’ll get to play a few times. Is that cool?”

Vince picked at his crotch. Devlin looked away.

“Yes, we’ll all play,” the second mother said. The dad pulled a twenty out of a pocket and Devlin started to make change while Vince’s mom hefted Vince onto a stool.

“Just a five back,” the father said. “We’ll play a few times.”

“Sure thing,” Devlin replied. Then she raised her voice to run through the rules of the game, to explain how the water guns spraying and hitting the targets would raise plastic boats in a boat race to buzzers at the top of the game contraption. She offered some tired words of encouragement, got nods from everyone, and counted down. “Three, two, one.”

She pushed the button and the game loosed a bell sound across the boardwalk.

A guy in waiter’s livery hurried past, hustling toward one of the boardwalk’s various restaurants, with their patios overlooking the channel and Galveston Bay. He’d be serving people margaritas and gimlets in just a few more steps and minutes. Devlin wanted a gimlet.

She drew a deep breath, turned back to her charges. “Close race here, friends.”

An ’80s-vintage Hunter sailboat slid past in the channel, leaving Galveston Bay and making its way back to one of the marinas up the waterway on Clear Lake.

When Devlin turned back to her marksmen, the girl’s mother’s boat had almost reached the buzzer.

“Looks like we’ve got a leader here. Come on, madam. You’re almost there.”

Devlin checked her watch. She’d be off in less than an hour. She’d be back on her own boat fifteen minutes after that, with an unopened bottle of Bombay Sapphire and a net full of limes rocking above the galley sink.

The buzzer blared.

“Looks like we have a winner. Congratulations, madam.” Devlin clapped three times. “Now would you like a unicorn, a butterfly, or,” Devlin pulled a four-inch-tall creature from the wall, not knowing how to describe it, “this little guy?” She held it out for the woman’s inspection.

Habibti, you pick.” The mom patted her daughter’s back. The kid didn’t say anything, just pointed at the butterfly.

“Butterfly it is, beautiful.” Devlin unclipped the toy from the wall of plush junk and handed it to the girl. “Well, we’ve got some competition for this next one, folks, now that you’re all warmed up. Take a breather. We’ll start the next game when you’re ready.”

“Can I try?” A boy pulled at a broad-shouldered man’s hand, leading the guy toward the row of stools. It was hard to tell parentage with these kids and their mixed-up step- and half- and melded-in-other-ways families, and with this one, the kid’s dark curls and earnest eyes contrasted with the dude’s Nordic features and reminded Devlin of a roommate she’d had in undergrad, a girl from Haiti who’d taught Devlin about pikliz. Devlin hadn’t thought about Haitian food in ages. She decided she would google it later and see what she could find in Houston. A drive to discover somewhere new to eat would do her good.

Any chance at plantains and pikliz would have to wait, though. The kid and the dude now stood in front of Devlin. Ultra-dark sunglasses hid the guy’s eyes, and a ballcap with a local yacht brokerage’s logo embroidered on it cast a shadow over his face. Devlin cocked her head. She narrowed her eyes and hoped her own sunglasses were doing as good a job of being barriers. He reminded her of—

“Still time to add another player?” The dude pulled out a wallet and handed Devlin a ten.

“Sure,” she said. “Is this for both of you? You should give it a try, too. This’ll get you both in on the next two games.”

She didn’t wait for confirmation. She shoved the money in the box beside her control board of buzzer buttons and waved the guy and his kid toward stools on the far side of the now-veteran players already seated.

“Uh, sure,” the guy said, putting a hand on the kid’s back and guiding him to a seat.

Running through the rules again, Devlin envisioned those gimlets awaiting her. With Bombay Sapphire dancing before her, she counted down and then pushed the button to blast the bell and launch the game. The buzzer over the newcomer father’s boat’s track rang moments later. What kind of scummy guy just trounces a kid like that? Devlin rolled her eyes behind the obscuring lenses.

“Looks like our new guy is the winner, ladies and gentlemen. Now, would you like a unicorn, a butterfly, or this little dude?” Devlin again proffered the hard-to-describe creature, walking it over for the fellow to examine.

“What is it?” the guy asked.

Devlin shrugged. “What do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino?”

The guy’s sunglasses gave away nothing. But something she couldn’t articulate made her feel like he was studying her.

“An ’el-if-I-know,” she said.

Still nothing . . . except that feeling of scrutiny.

“Dude, I’ve got no idea,” she replied to her reflection in the lenses.

“Grant, which one do you want?” The guy turned away and handed the unnamed creature to the kid, and then gestured at the identifiable unicorns and butterflies hanging on the wall over Devlin’s control station.

“Those are for girls,” Grant said, waving at the recognizable plushes on the wall.

“So is this one okay?” The guy patted the thing in the kid’s hand.

Grant wrinkled his nose. “Yeah, I guess so.”

“All right, folks. You’ve all got another game coming here. Competition is fierce. Who’s gonna take this last one?” Devlin strode back to her place at the control board.

“Deep inhale, everyone. Relax. All right, here we go. Three, two, one.” She pushed the starting button.

Up shot the new guy’s boat again. What a bastard. Poor Grant. This patriarchal showmanship would be worth about five or ten grand at the therapist’s in twenty-five years.

Out in the channel, two jetskis purred past, headed toward the bay. The day’s heat had cracked and the sky hinted at evening. Behind her, the victory whistle sounded. She turned. The dude with the sunglasses sat patting Grant’s shoulder, with Grant’s boat at the top of its track. So the guy wasn’t a complete fool.

“A new winner here, ladies and gentlemen.” She walked to Grant’s stool. “Now, little man, because you’ve won two prizes today, you can trade that one you’ve got and this one you’re going to get for one bigger one. You can pick from these if you want.”

She pointed at a row with only-slightly-bigger caterpillars, ambiguous characters, and a dog in a purple vest.

“That one,” Grant said, pointing at the dog.

“That one it is, good sir.” Devlin retrieved the dog, taking back the first creature and returning it to the wall in the process.

As she retraced her steps to Grant, the dog in her hand, fuzzy pictures coalesced in a fog and mist of bygone memories.

Devlin handed the dog to Grant. “There you go.”

She looked at the guy again, focusing on him for longer than she should have, feeling him perhaps doing the same to her. Yes, she had it right: it was him. She pushed a flyaway strand of bleached hair back into place beneath her cap and turned away.

“Thanks for playing this afternoon, folks,” she called. “Enjoy your evening on the boardwalk.”

The parents gathered their kids, and Devlin walked back toward her control board. Waiting for Grant and him to head off down the row of games and rides, she fussed with the cashbox and then lifted her water bottle to her lips. She could feel him and the kid lingering, feel them failing to move along, failing to leave her to forget what once was and to focus on thoughts of gimlets at sunset on the deck of a rotten old trawler.

“Um.” His voice sounded low and halting behind her. A vacuum, all heat and silence, followed and then a masculine inhale . . . and then the awkward pause.

He cleared his throat.

“Sorry to interrupt, but are you from Chicago?”


Excerpt from The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb. Copyright 2020 by Sage Webb. Reproduced with permission from Sage Webb. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Sage Webb

Sage Webb practiced criminal defense for over a decade before turning to fiction. She is the author of two novels and the recipient of numerous literary awards in the U.S. and U.K., including second place in the Hackney Literary Awards. Her short stories have appeared in Texas anthologies and literary reviews. In 2020, Michigan’s Mackinac State Historic Parks named her an artist in residence. She belongs to International Thriller Writers and PEN America, and lives with her husband, a ship’s cat, and a boat dog on a sailboat in Galveston Bay.

You can find Sage at:, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

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


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sage Webb. There will be Fourteen (14) winners for this tour. Seven (7) winners will each receive a $15 Gift Card and Seven (7) winners will each receive a physical copy of The Venturi Effect by Sage Webb (US addresses only). The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Spine Poem

It is fun to make these.

The poem says:


Are you going to give one a try?


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Starts With A T

Thanks to these Litsy folks for today’s prompt:






Today’s Prompt:  STARTS WITH T

Any you have read?


Monday, November 23, 2020

COVER REVEAL: Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams


Information in this post is courtesy of Tavia Kowalchuk | Senior Director, Marketing |William Morrow
BOOK DETAILS: OUR WOMAN IN MOSCOW by New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams (William Morrow hardcover; on-sale June 1, 2021) 
A pre-order link HERE.
The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion that proves again why Elin Hilderbrand says Beatriz Williams “is writing the best historical fiction out there.”


In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two children. The world is shocked by the family’s sensational disappearance. Were they eliminated by the Soviet intelligence service? Or have the Digbys defected to Moscow with a trove of the West’s most vital secrets?

Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a postcard from the twin sister she hasn’t seen since their catastrophic parting in Rome in the summer of 1940, as war engulfed the continent and Iris fell desperately in love with an enigmatic United States Embassy official named Sasha Digby. Within days, Ruth is on her way to Moscow, posing as the wife of counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox in a precarious plot to extract the Digbys from behind the Iron Curtain.

But the complex truth behind Iris’s marriage defies Ruth’s understanding, and as the sisters race toward safety, a dogged Soviet agent forces them to make a heartbreaking choice between two irreconcilable loyalties.


PROMPT: Art Appreciation

Thank you to eggs of Litsy:





Art fans will enjoy all three of these books.

Have YOU read any of them?


Mailbox Monday - 11/23/2020


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.


Warning:  Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.


Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at MAILBOX MONDAY.


Here is a shout out to the administrators:

Leslie @Under My Apple Tree

Serena @ Savvy Verse and Wit

Martha @ Reviews By Martha’s Bookshelf


THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive.


I hope you had a good mailbox.


On Monday, November 16, I received:

1.  DARK ROADS by Chevy Stevens, courtesy of Sara La Cotti of St. Martin’s and Netgalley.

2.  ALL THAT WE CARRIED by Erin Bartels, courtesy Baker Publishing Group/Revell Books, and LibraryThing.

3.  IF I DISAPPEAR by Eliza Jane Brazier, courtesy of Stephanie Felty of Berkley/Penguin Random House, Netgalley.


4.  SEARCHING FOR SYLVIE LEE by Jean Kwok, courtesy of William Morrow Books.


On Tuesday, November 17, I received:

1.  THE IRISH STORM by J. Walter Ring, courtesy of the author.

On Thursday, November 19, I received:

1.  THE HUNTING WIVES by May Cobb, courtesy of Berkley Publishing and NetGalley.



It's Monday!! What Are YOU Reading? - 11/23/2020
I hope you had a great reading week.
This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at BOOK DATE!

Post the books completed, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish at some point.
Books Completed:

THE WIFE UPSTAIRS by Rachel Hawkins - review will be on January 5, 2021 - finished on November 21.
Do NOT miss this one.

WISHING BEACH by Heather Burch - review will be on December 1 - finished on November 16.

A SWEET read with lovable characters and a wonderful story line.

WRONG ALIBI by Christina Dodd - review will be on December 29 - finished on November 14.

PRETTY LITTLE WIFE by Darby Kane - review will be on December 28 - finished on November 11.

MORDECAI'S ASHES by Arlana Crane - review will be on November 27 - finished on November 7.

It was a fun mystery...great characters.

THE LAST TO SEE HER by Courtney Evan Tate - review will be on December 15 - finished on November 3.

Don't pass up this one.
AUNT IVY'S COTTAGE by Kristin Harper, courtesy of Bookouture - review will be on December 7 - finished on October 31.
A lovely read. 
THE NIGHT OF THE FIRE - review will be on November 18.

TAKE IT BACK by Kia Abdullah - review will be on December 8 - finished on October 24.

I'll be on a blog tour hosted by John Karle | Associate Director of Publicity | St. Martin's Publishing Group.
A very powerful, well-written book. 


THE STAR-CROSSED SISTERS OF TUSCANY by Lori Nelson Spielman - review will be on November 17 - finished on February 16, 2020.

LOVED this book.
Book Currently Reading:

ALL THAT WE CARRIED by Erin Bartels - review will be on January 7.

Books Up Next:

THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD by Melanie Benjamin - review will be on January 8.

LANA'S WAR by Anita Abriel - review will be on January 11, 2021.

THE PERFECT GUESTS by Emma Rous - review will be on January 12, 2021.
THE CHILDREN'S TRAIN by Viola Ardone - review will be on January 13.
IF I DISAPPEAR by Eliza Jane Brazier - review will be on January 26, 2021.

THE PARIS LIBRARY by Janet Skeslien Charles - review will be on February 2, 2021 .

THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS by Susan Meissner - review will be on February 3.
THE LAST TIARA by M. J. Rose - review will be on February 4.
THE GIRL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS by Jenny LeCoat - review will be on February 9.

THE ECHO WIFE - Sarah Galley - review will be on February 16.

THE FAMILY SHIP by Sonja Yoerg - review will be on February 23.
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE by Carola Lovering - review will be on March 1, 2021.
BAND OF SISTERS by Lauren Willig - review will be on March 2.
THE LAST GARDEN IN ENGLAND by Julia Kelly - review will be on March 3.

EVERY LAST FEAR by Alex Finley - review will be on March 4.
SURVIVING SAVANNAH by Patti Callahan - review will be on March 9.

OFF THE WILD COAST OF BRITTANY by Juliet Blackwell - review will be on March 10, 2021.

THE SWEET TASTE OF MUSCADINES by Pamela Terry - review will be on March 16, 2021.

ARE WE THERE YET by Kathleen West - review will be on March 17, 2021.

THE WHISPERING HOUSE by Elizabeth Brooks - review will be on March 18, 2021.
THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE by Stephanie Dray - review will be on March 30, 2021.

MOTHER MAY I by Joshilyn Jackson - review will be on April 6, 2021.

THE GOOD SISTER by Sally Hepworth - review will be on April 13, 2021.

BITTERROOT LAKE by Alicia Beckman - review will be on April 14.
THE PERFECT DAUGHTER by D. J. Palmer - review will be on April 20, 2021.
THE LAST NIGHT IN LONDON by Karen White - review will be on April 21, 202.
THE SOCIAL GRACES by Renee Rosen - review will be on April 22, 2021.

THE LAST BOOKSHOP IN LONDON by Madelein Martin - review will be on April 27, 2021.

RUBY FALLS by Deborah Goodrich Falls - review will be on May 4, 2021.
THE HUNTING WIVES by May Cobb - review will be on May 18.

WHEN ROBINS APPEAR by Denise Webb - review will be on May 27, 2021.

STRANGER IN THE MIRROR by Liv Constantine - review will be on July 6, 2021.
THE IRISH STORM by J. Walter Ring - review will be on July 30.

DARK ROADS by Chevy Stevens - review will be on August 3, 2021.