French Ghost, by Corinne LaBalme

Thank you to Corinne LaBalme for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.


Ghost-writer Melody Layne is stranded in Paris when the over-sexed but unloved French movie star who hired her to produce his memoir accidentally drowns before the interviews begin. It’s a major financial relief when his enigmatic Spanish son re-hires her, but the seductive Carlos Ortega is strangely silent about his reasons for funding a feel-good bio about a father that he clearly despised. There’s enough amour in the air for Melody to ignore this apparent paradox… at least until she uncovers a hidden cache of death threats addressed to the actor. For the French police, the sexy, secretive Spaniard – and sole heir to the actor’s immense fortune – is suddenly a prime murder suspect. Can Melody’s research into the Ghosts of Carlos-Past be enough to save her lover from prison?



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  • The cozy mystery genre might be my favorite, and this book did not disappoint. I loved everything about it.
  • I loved that I was hooked immediately and didn’t need to wait several pages or chapters to feel fully invested in the story.
  • I loved that this was one of those stories that kept me turning pages long after I should have shut off the lights. Every scene and every chapter left me feeling like I had to know what happened next.
  • I loved the author’s talent for dropping me right into the heart of France and French culture. I was completely transported. The sights, sounds, smells, and food were crafted so vividly that I almost felt as if I were sitting in little cafes with Melody Layne and munching away on a croque monsieur or pain au chocolat.
  • I loved that the author created 3D characters – characters that I liked and cared about.
  • I loved feeling like I had a bird’s eye view into the glittering world of French stars.
  • I loved that this cozy mystery read almost like a romance as well. I was as invested in seeing what happened with Melody and Carlos as I was in finding out what happened to the deceased French movie star.
  • I loved that as the book ended, I wanted to read more by Corinne LaBalme. Finding a new favorite author is always a treat!


French Ghost was a thoroughly engaging and delightful read from start to finish. Readers should prepare to be hooked from the beginning and expect to find it a challenge to stop turning pages. The author drops the reader into the heart of France and French culture. The sights, sounds, smells, and food were crafted so vividly that readers will feel transported to find themselves sitting in little cafes with Melody Layne, munching away on a croque monsieur or pain au chocolat. The author offers a bird’s eye view into the glittering world of French stars and creates fully developed 3D characters that leap off the page. This cozy mystery reads almost like a romance as well. Following Melody’s relationship and Carlos is as enjoyable as trying to determine what happened to the deceased French movie star. If you’re looking for a new favorite author, look no further than Corinne LaBalme.


Corinne LaBalme lives in France and loves everything about it… except eating snails. Her articles about European fashion, food and fun destinations have appeared in The New York Times Travel section, Diversion, La Belle France and France Revisited. Her favorite place to write? Any Parisian café with a good croissant connection…  


Holiday Romances

Please join me in welcoming Alicia Dean. Today, I am spotlighting two of Alicia’s holiday romances perfect for the season. Each book is only 99 cents!!!

A Knight Before Christmas


The last thing Heath King wants is to return to Kansas City for the holidays. Being in his home town holds too many bad memories, and now there are new bad memories in the making, among them a sister he never knew about–proof that his father was unfaithful. But the most difficult thing he’ll face is running into Nicolette, his best friend’s widow—the woman he’s loved since the day he met her.

Before Nicolette Morgan has time to fully grieve over her husband’s death, a blackmailer enters the picture, demanding she pay him or he’ll ruin the lives of everyone she loves. Nicolette sees no way out until she unexpectedly encounters Heath King. When she turns to him for help, old feelings are rekindled and she realizes she never stopped wanting him.

As Christmas approaches, Heath must find a way to stop the blackmailer…but can he also rescue the love he lost fifteen years ago?


She smiled, but her eyes didn’t join in. For the first time, Heath noticed something not quite right about her. It was more than just the weight loss. In the places where her body touched his, he detected a slight tremble. Her voice was overly bright, and her eyes held a look of desperation, of fear. The signs were all subtle. Had he not known her for fifteen years, he might have missed them. She seemed on edge. Fragile. Like the wrong move, the wrong word, might cause her to shatter.

She maneuvered him into an alcove and once there, released him. He tried not to think about how much better it had felt with her warmth touching him.

“How long are you in town?” she asked.

“I’m here until Christmas day. I’ll be heading out that afternoon.”

“You have to leave on Christmas?”

He nodded. “I’m bidding a big job, and the client wants to meet on Christmas evening.”

“Who would want to work on Christmas if they didn’t have to?”

“Someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas. He’s a Jehovah’s witness.”

“Ah. I see. To him, it’s just another day.”


Nicolette seemed at a loss for what to say next. She glanced around the room, then back up at him, a worried frown tugging at her brow. He reached out and took her hands in his. They felt like she’d been ice fishing without a pole.

“Is everything okay?” he asked quietly.

She smiled, but it was small and forced. “Of course. I mean, I miss Rudy like crazy, but other than that, everything’s fine. Why?”

Heath searched her eyes, noting a hint of fear before she let her lashes fall over them. “You seem upset, distracted, maybe a little scared.”

“Scared?” Her laugh was as forced as her smile. “What do I have to be scared of in a room full of people?”

He moved his hands up her arms and felt a shudder run through her body. Something was definitely not right. He made his voice hard, authoritative, and tightened his grip. “I don’t know, Nicolette, why don’t you tell me?”

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The Twelfth Day


As a teen, party girl, Sabrina Spencer was the lone survivor of a serial killer’s attack on her family. Her testimony put the killer behind bars, and she spent the following decade carving out a new life and trying to forget. But someone hasn’t forgotten. Two weeks before Christmas, she begins receiving bizarre messages with demented references to the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Handyman Josh Cravens is remodeling the lake house she rents each year to escape the painful reminders Christmas brings. While his dimples and blue eyes are hard to resist, he’s the exact kind of player she’s been avoiding since she outgrew her wild days. But the isolated cabin and threatening messages boost her paranoia to fever pitch.

As Christmas draws closer, she’s torn between finding comfort in Josh’s arms, and fear that he might be behind the twisted countdown to the twelfth day.

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Author Bio:

Alicia Dean is a suspense and paranormal author in Edmond, Oklahoma. She wrote her first romance at age 10 (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. In addition to reading and writing, Alicia loves watching and re-watching her favorite television shows, among them Dexter, Justified, The Vampire Diaries, Ozark, Friends, Seinfeld, and Everybody Loves Raymond.  





Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_

Instagram: AliciaDeanAuthor



Shortbread Shakedown, by Sofia Aves

Congratulations to Sofia Aves on her new release, “Shortbread Shakedown.” This holiday romance is part of the Christmas Cookies Series published by The Wild Rose Press.


Exchanging gunfire is easier than facing reintegration at Christmas alone.
A package determined to derail his scheduled future delivered by a mystery woman. A tiny note hints at who she is—and how to find her.

When veteran and acting Brigadier General Dominic Cage returns from deployment days before Christmas, he’s unprepared for the shortbread cookies pressed into his hands in a case of mistaken identity by a stunning woman. Unable to forget her, Cage trusts Violet’s promise of a true Christmas—until the lines of his reality blur.

Damaged and resolute, and unable to escape the gunfire that haunts him, Cage’s choice could cost them everything.

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Author Interview with Susie Black

I’m delighted to share my interview with Susie Black and details for her new release “Death by Sample Size”. As a bit of a clotheshorse, I loved hearing the inspiration behind the first in this mystery series. Be sure to check out the complimentary swimsuit fit guide following the interview.

Book title: Death by Sample Size
Genre: Cozy Mystery

What was the inspiration behind your latest release? Who could push a sales exec to dream of murder and mayhem? Who else but a buyer? After completing a rather challenging conversation with an important, but difficult account, I imagined how good it would feel with my hands around her scrawny neck, squeezing the life out of her. While the notion of knocking off my annoying customers was wildly appealing, a horizontally striped prison uniform making my four-foot, nine-inch body look like a barbershop pole and a fire hydrant had a child wasn’t a pretty sight. The viable alternative?  Writing humorous murder mysteries set in the Los Angeles garment center. Brilliant and cathartic! In one fell swoop, eliminate a pain- in- the- patootie buyer, avoid life in prison and still get the order. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Where do you get your ideas?  Like the protagonist in my Holly Swimsuit murder mystery series, I am a ladies’ apparel sales exec. From the start of my career, I have kept a daily journal that chronicles the quirky, interesting, and often challenging people I’ve encountered as well as the crazy situations I’ve gotten myself into and out of. The journal entries are the foundation of my research and all my writing. The most critically important skill a successful sales exec must have is to be a good storyteller. Fortunately, I’ve been telling stories since I learned how to talk. Since I’d never written a novel before, the only thing I knew to do was to apply the same story-telling skills I’d successfully used hawking bikinis to writing a tale. So, where did my story ideas come from? My mother didn’t raise stupid children. I paid attention to the mantra. Write what you know. With a dollop of imagination, a pinch of angst, and a decades-long career chocked to the gills with juicy characters, I had more stories itching to be told in my daily journal than time to write them. Do ideas for plot or characters appear first? Since I am a people person, characters always appear first. All of my characters are based on real people I’ve encountered during the course of my career, with my take on them and some poetic license, of course.

Have you ever travelled when researching information for a book? Yes. I have traveled to New York City as well as day trips into downtown Los Angeles to the Apparel Mart as well as to garment factories.

When did you begin writing? I’ve been writing for a long time. I wrote my first short story when I was in elementary school.

How many hours do you dedicate each day towards writing? I try to write something every day, but I don’t have a set writing schedule or dedicate X number of hours daily to it.

What has been your biggest challenge? Marketing.

What does literary success mean to you? When a readers says they can’t wait until my next book will be out.

What writing tips or marketing advice would you like to share? Writing tips: Keep writing, no matter what, keep writing. Trust your gut, believe in yourself, never let anyone crush your dream, and never stop asking what if? Marketing advice: Be selective about what type of marketing you do and do what you like and what you believe in. If you don’t see the point to Twitter, don’t do it as you won’t be effective trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Don’t try to do everything or you will do nothing well.

Which authors inspire you? The late, great Joan Hess, The late, great Anne George, Nancy J. Cohen, The late, great Donald E. Westlake, Carl Hiaasen

What project are you currently working on? Book number two in the series is ready for querying. Book number three is back from the Beta readers and revisions are being worked on now.

Upcoming books: Book two will publish sometime in 2022 events & appearances: I have made a presentation to the Palm Valley Country Club Book Club, I will be a guest on the Novel Talk Podcast


“The last thing swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected was to discover ruthless buying office big wig Bunny Frank’s corpse trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey with a bikini stuffed down her throat. When Holly’s colleague is arrested for Bunny’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth jumps into action to find the real killer.  Nothing turns out the way Holly thinks it will as she matches wits with a wily killer hellbent on revenge.”

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Death By Sample Size : Target

Author Bio

Born in the Big Apple, Susie Black now calls sunny Southern California home. Like the protagonist in her Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, Susie is a successful apparel sales executive. Susie began telling stories as soon as she learned to talk. Now she’s telling all the stories from her garment industry experiences in humorous mysteries. She reads, writes, and speaks Spanish, albeit with an accent that sounds like Mildred from Michigan went on a Mexican vacation and is trying to fit in with the locals. Since life without pizza and ice cream as her core food groups wouldn’t be worth living, she’s a dedicated walker to keep her girlish figure. A voracious reader, she’s also an avid stamp collector. Susie lives with a highly intelligent man and has one incredibly brainy but smart-aleck adult son who inexplicably blames his sarcasm on an inherited genetic defect. 

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Instagram: Susie Black (@hollyswimsuit) • Instagram photos and videos


Amazon: Goodreads: Holly Schwartz – The United States (1 book) | Goodreads

Link to Holly’s Swimsuit Fit Guide

New Release: The Gingerbread Cookie Code, by Ann M. Trader

Congratulations to Ann M. Trader on her new release, “The Gingerbread Cookie Code.” This holiday romance is part of the Christmas Cookies Series published by The Wild Rose Press.


Computer geeks write code… and sometimes they bake them in gingerbread.

Clay Blackstone, avowed bachelor, is an ambitious computer design engineer at a prestigious firm. When an accident puts his dad on crutches, he returns home to help with his family’s Christmas tree farm, never expecting to find romantic entanglement with an alluring woman he remembers as a tomboy in braids.

As a single mother launching a bakery business, Shelby Turner has experience with measuring cups and watercolor paints, but not handsome, intriguing men—especially one who is her secret schoolgirl crush.

Between her sweet treats, his tech savvy, and their combined chemistry, will they risk their hearts and discover the code to their happily ever after?

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Release date: 11/16/21

Author Bio

Ann makes her home in North Carolina and is a member of Romance Writers of America and Heart of Carolina Romance Writers. A book-lover at heart, she writes contemporary and historical romances with The Wild Rose Press. 

She’s a fan of TV dramas (in no special order: Stranger Things, The Last Kingdom, Outlander, Poldark, Yellowstone, Outer Banks, and Peaky Blinders), all kinds of romance books, and Southern comfort food.

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