Category: iRead tour

The Chef’s Secret Spotlight

iRead Book Tours

With luscious prose that captures the full scale of the sumptuous feasts for which Scappi was known, The Chef’s Secret serves up power, intrigue, and passion, bringing Renaissance Italy to life in a delectable fashion.

About The Chef’s Secret

​A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.

When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—properties, money, and his position—to his nephew and apprentice Giovanni. He also gives Giovanni the keys to two strongboxes and strict instructions to burn their contents. Despite Scappi’s dire warning that the information concealed in those boxes could put Giovanni’s life and others at risk, Giovanni is compelled to learn his uncle’s secrets. He undertakes the arduous task of decoding Scappi’s journals and uncovers a history of deception, betrayal, and murder—all to protect an illicit love affair.

As Giovanni pieces together the details of Scappi’s past, he must contend with two rivals who have joined forces—his brother Cesare and Scappi’s former protégé, Domenico Romoli, who will do anything to get his hands on the late chef’s recipes.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Kobo, iTunes and Google Play.

About the Author

Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US.

A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston but considers Italy her next great love after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin. She is the author of Feast of Sorrow.

You can connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win in a grand prize package of 2 paperback books by Crystal King (Feast of Sorrow and The Chef’s Secret) and a $25 Amazon GC (1 winner) or you could win a paperback copy of The Chef’s Secret (5 winners) here.

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A Postmodern Love

iRead Book Tours

Have you ever fallen in love and then had not just your life but your conception of life altered forever?

About A Postmodern Love

Have you ever fallen in love and then had not just your life but your conception of life altered forever? Come and find out more in A POSTMODERN LOVE, a contemporary adult novel–romance, noire, psychological suspense.

In the end, a man is shot through the heart. Another man is driven to the edge of madness. Caught between them is Lana Fauves, a beautiful, intelligent woman, but one who is haunted by her past and the loss of her true love, a musical genius. In this fast-paced novel–romance, thriller, and noire–Thomas Wilde, a doctor and veteran of the Iraq War, will stop at nothing to win over the woman he has desperately fallen in love with. But amid the machinations of the modern world, will he find true love, or only heartache, deception, and murder?

My Thoughts

In this novel we are introduced to Thomas Wilde, a successful ENT physician working in LA. He has quite the past having been to Iraq and returning home not quite the same as when he left. He had been married in the past but his marriage failed due to multiple reasons. He does not seem to have a strong relationship with family and we can see throughout the novel that he has an obsessive personality, which has gotten him in trouble in the past.

Lana, our other main character and Thomas’ obsession, is much more difficult to read. She is mysterious, manipulative, secretive and has many layers to both her history and personal life. Throughout the novel, I never knew quite what I should expect from her or what she would do next.

Thomas meets her by chance and she becomes an instant obsession for him. He has to know her, to speak to her and to help her. She brings out this different side to him, a side that will stop at nothing to reach his end goal. He is met with obstacle after obstacle and as we turn each page, we unravel more ghosts from Lana’s past. What starts off as an innocent attraction quickly dives into a world of lust, money, power, obsession and murder.

This is a well written novel that I enjoyed from start to finish. Lana’s story and her developing relationship with Thomas was a bit hard to follow at times but this is in line with her personality. She only reveals what others need to know when they need to know (or if she wants you to know) and this is how the novel read. I truly enjoyed every minute and didn’t want to put this novel down in fear of missing something.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Nick Totem has been a practicing physician for more than a decade, and he has been writing all his life. He combined real experience in medicine with a love for writing to create compelling fiction.

The Giveaway!

Enter here to win an Amazon gift card: https://goo.gl/NVa5Hy 

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Melding Spirits

There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley—It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.

About Melding Spirits

Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.

Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.

Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.

It seems the perfect summer is underway—but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.

My Thoughts

Melding Spirits is an excellent, well written, captivating novel from the start. It has an excellent plot, well developed characters that you just can’t help hold close to your heart and suspense that makes you never want to put the novel down.

We are introduced to Evan, a young man who is wise and mature beyond his age. His mother is trying everything to make ends meet as a single Mother, which forces Evan to be both a child and caregiver himself. When he finds the chance to spend the summer with his beloved Grandmother, there could be no turning back. Could you really blame him? He deserves a bit of his childhood back.

This is the summer that would change Evan. He meets and forms a bond with a young girl that would forever change his life, Katie. We follow their magical summer with the pair and Evan’s friends – it is refreshing to see their innocence and love of life. But under this are tones of something not being quite right in their small, beautiful town. Is something evil brewing or is it just normal teen angst?

You are left on the edge of your seat, unwilling to put the book down to the last second as you have to know what happens to Evan, Katie and the characters in this town. I loved every moment of this well written novel, a definite must read for young adults and adults alike.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indigo.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.

In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.

He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.

Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of Melding Spirits and a $20 Amazon Gift Card by entering here. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Ghost Book Review

iRead Book Tours

Assassinations, a love story, a kidnapping, and many twists and turns characterizes this riveting novel of historical fiction, circa 1958, thirteen years post World War II.

The Ghost Book Review

About The Ghost

Assassinations, a love story, a kidnapping, and many twists and turns characterizes this riveting novel of historical fiction, circa 1958, thirteen years post World War II.

Events are uncovered where The Ghost, a powerful Vatican Bishop, is sending assassins to retrieve a secret tailpiece – a hidden extension of the 1942 Wannsee Conference Papers that underpinned the Holocaust against Jews. Only two copies of this tailpiece remain where names of thousands of high level Nazis such as Eichmann and Mengele are listed along with their future destinations – should Germany lose the war.

At the same time, New York City detectives working with British M16 secret service, and Israeli Mossad agents, get Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and his group, (including an Israeli sanctioned killer) involved in order to find and send the crucial coded microfilm to England’s renowned decryption center. Now, in 1958, these Jewish Nazi hunters will not forgive and not forget.

This story is newsworthy testimony regarding the villains who are actual historical figures and are named. Fitting it all together (as in the screenplay based on the story titled: “We Will Find You,”) is the avenging drama of the novel.

My Thoughts

The Ghost is set thirteen years post World War II and follow several characters who are solving and trying to protect secret paperwork that could destroy a Vatican bishop and release the whereabouts of all of the top Nazi criminals.

The story starts off with the attempted murder of a young boy who was trusted by his Mother with the paperwork. This sets off several events that tie in his alcoholic uncle, New York detectives, British secret services and Israeli agents. It is quite the fast moving and complicated plot with a lot of twists and turns. I found myself at times having to go back and double check to ensure that I did not miss anything. It was an excellent story from start to finish and I found myself researching the characters and some of the events that were described in the novel. While heart breaking and some of the events make you feel sick to your stomach as they did happen, these stories need to be told so that we don’t see this happen again. History classes in school do not cover enough of these stories and I think it is important that we teach our youth and adults about these atrocities so that they will never be repeated again.

The story is well written but is fast paced and demands your attention. It blends history with a great sense of mystery and suspense. You never quite know what is coming next. The ending was well suited to the tone of the  novel, although I would love to know what happened next for these characters as I am sure the events in the novel would have forever changed their lives. A definite must read for youth and adults a like.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Dr. Henry Kellerman, psychologist/psychoanalyst/author, is a practitioner in New York City. His more than 50 years of treating individuals with a host of humanity’s psychological/emotional struggles as well as his more than 30 books published, is testament to his virtuosity AND SKILL in the telling of compelling stories.

The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Spring Thaw Book Review

iRead Book Tours

In today’s hectic world, many whodunit fans don’t have time to get their mystery fix diving into a whole novel. Lauren Carr’s SPRING THAW AND OTHER MYSTERY SHORT STORIES is for these fans—but that doesn’t mean whodunit fans who do have time can’t dive in as well.

Spring Thaw Book Review

About Spring Thaw

A novella, Spring Thaw features retired federal agent Chris Matheson from Lauren Carr’s newest bestselling cold case series. When his late father’s former friend is indicted for the seven year old murder of a church bishop, Chris renews old broken friendships to thaw out the cold case.

Featuring Mac Faraday from Lauren Carr’s popular Mac Faraday Mysteries, an estate auction turns into a deadly affair after Gnarly’s antics cause Mac to purchase a gem of a dress, which isn’t his color in Killing Bid. (Previously published in Lauren Carr’s BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

Beauty to Die For features the Lovers in Crime, Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates in a race against the Angel of Death to clear the name of a dying woman’s son, who was framed for murdering Miss Pennsylvania. (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR).

Countdown to Murder returns to the Lovers in Crime where Cameron and Joshua try to solve the murder of a young pregnant widow before it happens.  (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR).

Mystery fans will see that every dog has his day, especially if that dog is Gnarly. In Lucky Dog, Gnarly helps Mac Faraday to solve the murder of a wealthy society girl.  (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR).

Dog Loving Mystery Fans will get a special treat when they read The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program. In this Gnarly Mystery Short, Bert and Ernie learn the hard way that crime does not pay when they dog nap Gnarly. (Previously published as a bonus feature with A WEDDING AND A KILLING).

Gnarly, the rambunctious German shepherd, is also features in Lauren Carr’s Christmas short, A Gnarly Christmas. It is Christmas day and Gnarly has been up to his old tricks again. Now he’s in the dog house–or rather the boathouse–after stealing the Christmas feast! Moments after Archie and Mac leave Spencer Manor, Gnarly hears a call for help from Rocky, the Maltese down the street. Four assassins for hire have invaded the home of Rocky’s elderly owners. While the home invaders wait for instructions from a mysterious caller, Gnarly must plot to stop them. Can Gnarly save Christmas with only the help of an 8-pound Maltese dressed in an elf suit? (Previously published as a single short story by the same name).

My Thoughts

Spring Thaw is a collection of some of the best short writing mysteries that you will find around. I find that sometimes short stories can be missing information, move too fast or feel too disjointed at parts. This was not the case in this collection from Lauren Carr – we still had her great build up of the plot and character development that she is famous for but just not the length. The stories were easy to read one at a time and put down and come back to (but to be honest, I just couldn’t I had to keep reading – I love the characters so much!). The plots were well designed for a short story and well written – you felt engaged and a part of the story at all times.

Gnarly takes centre stage near the end of the story! He is such a cheeky, clever and adventurous dog (you just want to give him a cuddle but only if you are on his good list!). He is that little bit of comic relief that you need in such intense mysteries.

This is an excellent collection of short stories to cherish over and over – you will not be disappointed with this collection.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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