Thursday, August 3, 2017


Welcome to my stop on this awesome tour!

pic and description from author Marlene Bateman


What happened to Irene?

When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, mysteriously disappeared a few weeks before.  Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion to begin working, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

After Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance, a series of frightening incidents ensnare her in a maze of intrigue. Anna is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart.

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets in a troubled household, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. When her life is threatened, Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene—


This book was so great!  It caught me right at the beginning and kept me reading until it was done.  I couldn't sleep until I knew what happened to Irene.

Anna gets called to the house of Lawrence Richardson who has a very large estate.  She is asked to get Mr. Richardson's files in order, do his taxes and get his estate running efficiently again.  Even with all she has to do, she couldn't stop focusing on the girl that went missing before her under fishy circumstances. 

Bateman has built a beautiful world (okay setting) in this book.  The house sounds amazing, and I felt like I was living in it with Anna.  The great property that the Richardson's live on is beautiful, and I could see it while reading this book.  I love it when an author can bring a book to life for me.

Then there is Tyler.  Yummy, Yummy, Tyler.  Okay there are other characters in the book that are fantastic as well.  Like Anna...other ones....and TYLER ;).  All of the characters in the book play an awesome role, but Tyler, he's just, well YUMMY!

Anna is very determined to find out what happened to Irene, but when she starts looking too much people start to question her motives.  

This story is full of twists and turns.  It has mystery, secrets, wealthy men fighting, and one person has murder on their mind.  I have to admit I did not catch onto the "bad guy" until it came upon me in the book.  Needless to say I was surprised by the ending.  It was wonderful.

If you like, mystery with a bit of romance, this book is for you. It does have a bit of religion in it as well, but it goes with the book beautifully. 

Source:  I was given this book as part of a blog tour by the author.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.


The tallest parts of the mansion—fanciful turrets and a circular tower—were visible only in glimpses Anna caught between lofty oaks and towering pines as her cab wound through the knolls and hills of eastern Virginia.

When the cab turned up the long driveway lined with dogwood trees in full bloom, Anna Coughlin reached for her handbag, gripping it with a tension that had knotted her muscles ever since getting on the train.

The vast estate stood on a hilltop, like a castle—and she craned her neck to better view the starkly impressive gray-stone mansion of Ashton Hall—where she hoped to be hired. With its arched, leaded windows and slate roof with numerous chimneys, the house rivaled pictures she’d seen of castles in Europe.

Instructing the driver to wait, she climbed out, patted her hat in case it was askew, then smoothed her gray suit with gloved hands in hopes of presenting a professional appearance. Anna had no confidence she was clever enough or bold enough to pull this off, but she had to try.

Her eye was drawn by a tall man—more than six feet—who came from the side of the house. Since the man was striding toward her so purposefully, Anna stopped and waited. As he drew near, Anna noted his deep-set eyes were as black as his hair. His skin was tanned, his thin, long-fingered hands brown and strong.

“Miss Coughlin?” He stretched out a hand and shook hers, but there was no warmth for her in his eyes. “I’m Tyler Richardson. Unfortunately, your services are not needed after all.” A touch of arrogance marked his manner, as though he was long accustomed to command those around him.

“Your father called only last week to have someone come out,” Anna blurted in dismay. “May I ask what caused him to change his mind?”

A fleeting glimpse of discomfiture crossed Mr. Richardson’s face. “I wasn’t consulted about his hiring another secretary to replace the one who left so suddenly. My father isn’t in good health, and the last thing we need is someone coming in and upsetting him by making a muddle of things.”

His words kindled a fire that glinted in Anna’s eyes. How dare he make such an assumption? It was difficult to hang on to her temper, but there was too much at stake to let his boorishness sidetrack her. “Since I’m here, I’m sure you won’t mind if I keep my appointment. After all, your father is the one who requested my services. I’m sure he’s expecting me.”

Her words hit home.It took a few bitter seconds, but he finally acquiesced. “Come in, then,” he muttered ungraciously before leading the way up the steps and opening the door.

Following his rigid back down the narrow hall, Anna’s brows furrowed as doubts crept in. How wise had she been to come to this remote place? Especially when the previous secretary had disappeared so mysteriously? Even her employer thought it odd that no one in this mansion seemed to know where Irene had gone or where she was now. It was as if Irene had vanished into thin air.


Marlene Bateman also wrote:

and you can see my review here
 It is another great story!
Marlene Bateman also provided us with these fun tips.  Thanks Marlene for taking time out of your busy schedule to provide us with this fun tour!  Tips are always awesome.

Twelve Tips to Improve Your Writing Style
by Marlene Bateman, 
Author of; Searching for Irene

Writing well is hard work.  It’s not just what you write that matters; it’s how you write. Good writers can make any subject interesting, while inefficient writers can make anything dull.
Style is not what you write but how you write it.  Voltaire said, “Every style that is not boring is a good one.” The fiction writer’s primary job is to create an emotion experience for the reader and the two simple objectives of all writing is to be clear and precise. Below are twelve tips that will help you capture your reader’s interest and improve your writing style. 

1.      Use a Thesaurus. This makes it easy to look up words that are colorful, precise and mean exactly what you want to say.  You know thousands of words, but they don’t always rise to the surface of your brain. Replace house with mansion, cottage, or hovel.
2.      Say Things in a Positive Way.  Show readers what you want them to see, not what you don’t want them so see. For example, don’t say, “He was not a generous man.” Say; “He was a miser.”  Don’t say; “The painting did not have any flaws.” Say; “It was a masterpiece.”  Do not say; “Phil was not a graceful person.” Say; “Phil was a klutz.”
3.      Vary Your Sentence Structure. A varied sentence structure can keep the reader on her toes and cause them to pay attention to the writing.
4.      Use Good Comparisons for Your Metaphors—Not Clichés. Metaphors can be a great way to show and not tell. For example; No wonder the dog barked all the time. She had all the courage of a ninety-pound knight about to undertake his first jousting match.
5.      Use Sensory Images: Be sure to write about all five senses. If you're describing a beach, don't just talk about the heat or the color of the sand. Add in the smell of Coppertone, the feel of the sand beneath your toes, the sound of the seagulls, etc. The more sensory details you add, the more your reader will be drawn into your writing.
6.      Use Specific Details. The best details are ones that are really specific. Is the car a Toyota or a Volkswagen? Is it cherry-red or maroon-red? Does the man sit in a La-Z-Boy or a Barcalounger?  The more concrete your details are, the more your reader can get a visual picture. Writing gets more interesting as it acquires precision, not length.
7.      Recruit a Support GroupCreate a network of friends, colleagues, and coaches who can offer feedback. When they read your writing, tell them what you’re looking for. Ask them; “Is this too Catholic?”  “Do you find it interesting?”  “Does it seem real?”
8.      Write Toward an Ending.  Write with an ending in mind.  J.K. Rowling began writing the Harry Potter series by crafting the final chapter of the last book.  Help readers close the circle of meaning by answering questions raised at the start of the book.   
9.      Foreshadow Dramatic Events and Powerful Conclusions.  Plant important clues early.  For example, in Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban, terrible events at the end are reversed when Hermione reveals her ability to travel back in time by a charm she wears, which charm is indirectly mentioned early in the book.
10.  To Generate Suspense, Use Internal Cliffhangers.  Having a cliffhanger at the end of a scene or chapter leaves the reader in suspense and fuels their desire to learn what happens next.  One example is; “The door opened and there stood one of the oddest human beings he’d ever laid eyes on.”  You turn the page to see what he looks like.
11.  Use Dialogue as a Form of Action.  Novelist Elmore Leonard advised writers to “Leave out the part that readers tend to skip,” and focus on what they read.  You can always cut thick paragraphs of prose, but don’t cut dialogue.  Dialogue attracts the eyes of the reader and if done well, advances the story.
12.  Create High Personal Stakes. Create a need, a yearning or a goal that matters to your protagonist.  Your character’s stakes will be strong only if the character is sympathetic.  If characters are strong and appealing, and portrayed warmly, the stakes will feel high and reader interest will be high.

I want to give a shout out to Marlene Bateman for hosting this wonderful tour, and for sharing her talents with us.




pic and bio by Marlene Bateman

Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner.

Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die. 

Another Special Thanks To:

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