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#NetGalley #BookReview The Art of the Decoy (Scandal Mountain Antiques #1) by Trish Esden

The Art of the Decoy

Scandal Mountain Antiques #1

by Trish Esden

Release date: April 5th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Art of the Decoy (Scandal Mountain Antiques #1) by Trish Esden from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

A brilliant series debut! The Art of Decoy is a fun read with a clever, intriguing, suspenseful plot, as well as a cast of quirky interesting and dynamic characters, which made this an entertaining read

When art and antiquities appraiser Edie Brown returns to her hometown of Scandal Mountain in Northern Vermont to help her uncle with the family business while her mother is imprisoned for art forgery. Her mother’s incarceration further tarnishing the family name after Edie had been caught up in an illegal deal as a juvie. Edie recovered having had her record expunged but not before the damage was done to her and her family’s reputation. She left behind her family, Shane, her old parole officer and old flame opting to leave town and branch out on her own. She went to school and landed a position at the prestigious Christie’s Auction house. 

Once back in Scandal Mountain she does not plan to stay too long, just long enough to salvage what is left of the family business. Joining her Uncle Tuck along with an intern appraiser/computer expert Kala they try to get the family’s Antique shop back on its feet. While at an event, Edie is approached by recent divorcee, Nina, with a folk-art waterfowl decoy that belongs to her father-in-law Claude who she and her daughter are currently living with. Edie recognizes the decoy as being a piece of work from a famous Quebec folk artist whose works are displayed in Canadian Museums. Edie sees a huge opportunity to earn some cash when Nina asks her to evaluate her father-in-law’s enormous collection. After a series of suspicious circumstances leads to the collection mysteriously vanishing, it looks like the past will come back to haunt Edie. When Nina points the finger at Edie, she gives her the ultimatum to find the collection in five days or she will go to the police and Edie and her mother could be cellmates. While tracking down the stolen collection Edie gets more than she bargained for, connections to murder, a museum robbery and vengeance put Edie deeper than she expected and under the microscope of the FBI Art Crime Team. As they collect more and more clues Kala uncovers disturbing news on the Darknet that makes Edie doubt all that she knows.  
 A brilliant series debut! The Art of Decoy is a fun read with a clever, intriguing, suspenseful plot, as well as a cast of quirky interesting and dynamic characters, which made this an entertaining read. Another perk is it acts as a great primer into the world of appraising antiquities. Overall, I enjoyed the book, I did feel it dragged a bit in parts, but the author more than makes up for it with a suspenseful and satisfying conclusion. I cannot wait to read more in this series, I highly recommend it.  

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A Hug and a Goodbye…for now…#WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media had been weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference, we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there.

We hoped to share stories that showed kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, we knew there was a positive, heartwarming story that would add some light and lift the human spirit thus the inception of #WATWB in 2017. Our mission was simply to flood the web with positive uplifting stories to inspire, give hope and motivate others.

As I mentioned last month, sadly, this will be our last #WATWB post. It marks our fifth anniversary and our fifty-fifth post which feels like a satisfying place to bid adieu. I can’t say enough how grateful I am to all co-hosts and bloggers who have been here month after month spreading light during some particularly challenging times on both personal and global levels. I want to especially thank Damyanti Biswas for co-founding this adventure with me and Ashlynn Waterstone who month after month gave it her all, promoting positivity by running our FB page and making sure our positive messages reached the masses.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to all who have participated over the years. I feel truly blessed to have read some beautiful uplifting posts and crossed paths with some incredibly talented bloggers on my journey. For me #WATWB changed the way I navigated the world wide web. Instead of being bogged down by the negativity online I was instead inspired, constantly on the lookout for positive stories to share, even during challenging times. It seemed like a small shift, but I would like to think it changed me for the better and I hope it was as positive for all who participated. As all good things must come to an end for our last share, the two co-hosts, this month will be Sylvia McGrath and myself, Belinda Witzenhausen.


If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.”. ~ Wayne Dyer

 Now onto my post…

I am a hugger, there I admit it, and like most huggers COVID was hard on me, it definitely curtailed my natural tendency to issue hugs on a whim. One thing I kept reminding myself is that Covid would eventually end and hopefully, life would return to normal. Imagine the thought though of never being able to hug your loved ones again. Well, that was the reality Kevin Eubanks lived with when eight years ago a stroke paralyzed one arm rendering it difficult for Kevin to even hug his family. Kevin was heartbroken that due to his limitations he would never be able to hug his grandchildren…but that all changed. When Eubank’s daughter Emily Sisco, occupational therapy assistant and adjunct professor at Arkansas State University, challenged her students to come up with a solution that would assist him, that is exactly what they did. Her students created “The Hugger aka “HugAgain”, a strap that can be used to help raise the arm, in order to give, and get hugs. This story hit home as I had a loved one in a similar situation, sadly they passed but I know that this would have made his life a bit brighter. The video below shows Kevin’s reaction on his first try…(warning keep tissues handy). *sniffles*🤗🤗🤗

Another Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/2615759.html

For more…. https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/family/story/grandfather-recalls-hugging-grandkids-1st-time-years-stroke-83387514

Their page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHugger2022/


👉To add some positivity in your life check out some of the wonderful sites listed in this article…. https://www.joincake.com/blog/positive-websites/👈

In closing, I will continue to share posts that carry with them the spirit that was so beautifully seen in #WATWB and I hope you too will continue to be a light in the darkness! If you post something that you feel would be perfect for #WATWB please feel free to share using the hashtag (#WATWB) post the link on our Facebook Page Wall (@watwbcommunity) or drop us a mention on twitter @WATWB.

✨A huge THANK YOU again! Be well and keep shining…. ✨

“Even a single lamp dispels the deepest darkness. ~”Mahatma Gandhi

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Recovery Agent (Gabriela Rose #1) by Janet Evanovich #Thriller #Adventure

The Recovery Agent

(Gabriela Rose  #1)

by Janet Evanovich

Release date: March 22nd, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Recovery Agent (Gabriela Rose #1) by Janet Evanovich from Net Galley , Simon & Schuster Canada &, Atria Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

an adventure filled with dangerous drug cartels, creepy cults, Incan legends, a psychotic antagonist, and snakes…. yep, lots and lots of snakes

In Evanovich’s first book The Recovery Agent in her new Gabriela Rose series we get what we expect from the prolific author. As with the author’s Stephanie Plum novels in her new series we get a feisty, fast, fun (bordering on silly at times) adventure story reminiscent of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, Romancing the Stone and the like.

Gabriela Rose, the protagonist of this new series a recovery agent hired to find missing treasures, for insurance companies and private clients uses her skills to help her hometown rebuild after a storm. A supposed descendent of the famous pirate Blackbeard Gabriela receives a call from her eccentric grandmother asking for help. Her hometown of Scoon, South Carolina, gets hit by a storm all but wiping out the city’s infrastructure and they are in desperate need of $15 million to rebuild. Her grandmother receives a message from Annie, a long dead relative, who claims to know the whereabouts of a journal that was in Blackbeard’s possession detailing the location of a long-lost buried treasure. The journal the key to finding the elusive Treasure of Lima, in particular the Seal of Solomon, was said to have been in the possession of Spanish conquistador Pizarro, who stashed it somewhere in the Incan city of Paititi.
There is one catch the journal is buried under the floorboards in a former family house in Barbados, a house she lost in a divorce, a house in possession of her Ex-husband Rafer

Gabriela leaves the comforts of her Soho condo to start her mission. First stop is Barbados to sneak into the house to retrieve the journal only to get caught by none other than her ex-husband, Rafer. Always an opportunist, Rafer pressures Gabriela to partner up with him and share what they find. After they come to a mutual agreement the head off on to an adventure filled with dangerous drug cartels, creepy cults, Incan legends, a psychotic antagonist, and snakes…. yep, lots and lots of snakes.

It is a fast-paced fun read that is for pure entertainment. If you’re looking for literary fiction, this isn’t for you however if you want a few hours of escapism replete with adventure and witty banter, then I recommend giving it a read.

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#NetGalley #BookReview Under Lock & Skeleton Key (Secret Staircase Mystery #1) by Gigi Pandian #mystery #cozy #lockedroom

Under Lock & Skeleton Key

(Secret Staircase Mystery #1)

by Gigi Pandian

Release date: March 15th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Under Lock & Skeleton Key (Secret Staircase Mystery #1) by Gigi Pandian from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press /Minotaur Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

As a cozy this really has it all, a complex, interesting mystery with thrill, chills and intrigue along the way….

Being a fan of Gigi Pandian’s Jaya Jones series, I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to read and review Under Lock & Skeleton Key, the first book of her locked room Secret Staircase Mystery Series. Those of you familiar with the Jaya Jones series will find some homage paid to it in this newest series however it works well as a standalone.

As the book opens, we meet Tempest Raj who has recently fallen from grace as a magician in Las Vegas After a trick goes horribly wrong Tempest barely escapes with her life but loses her reputation and is publicly disgraced. After losing everything Tempest returns to her family’s home in California. Tempest’s childhood home was far from normal, she grew up in a home any kid would love, filled with secret staircases and enchanted gardens. Her family owned the Secret Staircase Construction company which specializes in hidden and unique home designs inspired by magic. Her mother, the company’s creative vision, long gone, her father struggles to keep the company afloat. When Tempest was doing well with her Las Vegas act she had been sending money home to help her family but now she is doing all she can to find a way to help them.

When the body of her stage double is found inside a long-sealed wall in her father’s current project, she feels compelled to get to the bottom of it. When strange things begin to happen to Tempest along with her look-alike’s murder it is becoming clear that Tempest is at the heart of the murder, and she must solve it before she becomes the killer’s next victim.

Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian is a unique and extremely fun cozy mystery. I love the fact her books feature diverse, multi-faceted characters who all feel well-formed and really add to the story. As a cozy this really has it all, a complex, interesting mystery with thrill, chills and intrigue along the way….featuring some great Indian food (with recipes at the back), everything a reader could ask for. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the further adventures of Tempest Raj.