About the Book
Book: New Leash on Life
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Genre: Christian Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Release Date: October, 2023
How Is a Missing Military Working Dog Related to Two Local Fires?
Snuggle with your trusty hound and settle into a small-town mystery in book 6 of the Gone to the Dogs series.
Air Force veteran Dr. Lane Bishop and Nora Hernandez’s romance has cooled. He is busy working as a researcher at the vet school, and she’s busy with her restaurant and opening an antique shop. What Lane hasn’t told her is his PTSD, which manifests mostly with nightmares, makes him believe he’s damaged goods. But that is about to change when he meets a stray pup that acts a lot like a military working dog.
When a tornado hits Brenham, there is damage in the downtown area and a fire is ignited in Nora’s new store. A Belgian Malinois dog is seen at the fire and later Lane sees him at a wedding venue where an explosion occurs. Not long after, a second explosion rocks Brenham and sends Nora and Lane on a hunt for the person responsible. Will the pair find the guilty party before more damage is done to the city’s landmarks? And will Lane find the words to tell Nora how much he loves her before it’s too late?
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Kathleen Y’Barbo takes the reader on a wild chase for clues about several mysteries in this clean romance.
The main characters are in a long-term dating relationship where Lane is hesitant to propose, due to his PTSD. As he continues to drag his feet, Nora really struggles with wanting to break up with him. I loved the author’s handling of this. It felt true to both characters.
The cozy mystery aspects kept my interest despite a few sections of repetitive information (i.e. Nora tells her friend Cassidy, then immediately tells her boyfriend Lane the same information).
My favorite part of the book was Pal, the military working dog who Lane and Nora found. He really provided the perfect setup to resolve several plot points and he instantly bonded with Lane.
Fans of cozy mysteries and clean romance will really enjoy this story.
Genre: Christian Mystery Romance, Cozy Mystery
Series: Stands alone
Location: Brenham, Texas
Romance: Very brief mention of kissing, but not described.
Faith: light mention of church and prayer.
Disclaimer: I requested and received an advanced copy of this book courtesy of the publisher through Celebrate Lit Tours and Net Galley. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
About the Author
Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than one hundred books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Students and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.
When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical and mystery novels as well. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.
Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and one very adorable Londoner.
More for Kathleen
You’ve most likely seen military working dogs (MWDs) on television shows or in the news. Maybe you’ve seen police dogs in action or read about them. They’re often fierce looking and always well-trained and intelligent. Along with their handler, the MWD is a brave and not so secret weapon in the military and law enforcement world. And did you know that an MWD always outranks his or her handler? It’s true.
I was very aware of all of this, but I had no idea what happened to these dogs when they were too old or perhaps physically unable to continue in their roles. People retire from their careers, so it makes sense that MWDs would as well.
I first learned about retired MWDs from watching my friend Ronie welcome a gorgeous Belgian Malinois, Vvolt, to her family. Anyone who knew the family or came to know Vvolt through social media fell in love with that dog. With his ears cocked just so and his bigger-than-life personality, I knew I had to write about him someday.
When I was given the opportunity to co-write a cozy mystery series with my dear friend, Janice Thompson, I knew one of those books would have to include an MWD. Because MWDs are used in so many situations, from military police work to bomb sniffing to PTSD care and more—I had to narrow down the choice of what my dog would be doing. I won’t give anything away, but I can tell you that Pal, the fictional Belgian Malinois in NEW LEASH ON LIFE is very good at what he does. He also loves a good Whataburger when his regular kibble isn’t available, but I digress.
When I set out to create the personality for Pal, I looked to what I knew and loved about Vvolt. Big personality, toothy grin, and the ability to run and jump like a champ were all included in my dog’s version of the MWD. And like Vvolt, my MWD develops a strong bond with his handler and the family who welcomes him into their home. Pal is loyal, friendly, and apt to stand between his people and danger at the slightest provocation.
Pal’s person in NEW LEASH ON LIFE is Dr. Lane Bishop, a Texas A&M University research veterinarian and Air Force veteran. Lane deals with nightmares that came out of his military experiences. As you can imagine, this causes an issue or two with Nora Hernandez, the woman Lane adores but has not shared his worries with.
Then along comes Pal, a stray (or is he?) with a habit of disappearing and then turning up at the most unlikely places just when he’s needed. I won’t give away the story, but let’s just say that sometimes it takes an animal to show the humans what needs to be done.
Perhaps all this talk about MWDs has you curious about them. Maybe you’re someone who would love to explore the opportunity to give a retired MWD a second chance. Check the Airforce 37th Training wing’s website for details on how this can be done: https://www.37trw.af.mil/Units/37th-Training-Group/341st-Training-Squadron/Military-Working-Dog-Adoption-Program/ .
NEW LEASH ON LIFE is the story of new starts and second chances, of how God can doesn’t just use humans to achieve His purposes. For this and so many other reasons, the tale of Lane and Nora and Pal is dedicated to the memory of Vvolt and his people.
Well done good and faithful servant.
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Lily’s Book Reviews, November 8
To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.