Tuesday, December 30, 2014

REVIEW OF 2014 - PLANS FOR 2015

November and December are curious months to be sure.  Both months prompt us to look back (and ahead) to what we're thankful for and what we've done. 

For me, 2014 has been a good year:

MURDER AT COLD CREEK COLLEGE (released in October 2013) has done well with average reviews at 4.3 of 5 stars - not bad for a first novel! Great Escapes arranged a great blog tour that helped get the word out.

MURDER IN THE ARBORETUM was released in September 2014 and thus far is at 4.8 of 5 stars with hopefully more reviews coming in! 

The whole marketing aspect of being a self-published author is getting a little easier, and I've gotten some good advice from fellow writers and through the various FB groups.  I finally gave in and have a Twitter account, though I can't possibly read all the tweets and honestly can't fathom how anyone can.

I started Book 3 - as yet untitled - in a feeble attempt to do NANOWRIMO.  I managed 20,000 words so it is off and running.

Family-wise, things have been a bit rocky in the extended family with one passing and another in extended care.  2014 also saw the passing of two friends.  

Healthwise, all is well for my husband and me - at least that's what I'm told. We both started working out, drinking more water, and eating better - well except for all the cookies of late. Some days we both agree that getting old is NOT for sissies.

Not quite resolutions for 2015:

First off, the plan is to continue to work out, hydrate, and eat better.  Ideally, a few pounds and inches will fall off along the way.

Great Escapes has scheduled a blog tour for MURDER IN THE ARBORETUM - the schedule will be posted in the next day or so.

Finish Book 3 - hopefully by early spring. It is, after all, one-third or so written already.

A few Kindle Countdown Deals are planned and possibly a boxed set deal for a short time in the late spring.  I haven't quite figured that out yet.

Participate in the Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge - I already have A, B, and P and 2 T's lined up for January reading.

Last, but not least, take time to relax and enjoy my husband's company and that of my friends.

What about you? How was your 2014? Your hopes (not quite resolutions) for 2015?




Sunday, December 28, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: MAYHEM IN CHRISTMAS RIVER by Meg Muldoon

Synopsis (from Amazon):
It’s July in Christmas River, and the temperature isn't the only thing flaring out of control.
After a fire destroys her best friend’s ornament shop, pie baker extraordinaire Cinnamon Peters soon discovers that the blaze was no accident. Just days before the annual Christmas River in July Parade and Play, it becomes clear that a maniac is roaming the tourist-packed streets of Christmas River. And he’s got a flair for the dramatic.
Will Cinnamon and her sheriff's deputy boyfriend find out who’s behind the blaze before the rest of the town goes up in flames?

Review
This is the second in the Christmas River series (sequel to MURDER IN CHRISTMAS RIVER), but can be read alone.  Cinnamon owns a pie shop, lives with her wise grandfather Warren, and is dating Daniel who wants Cinnamon to stay out of the Play and not get involved in the arson investigation.  This is especially true when it seems like the arsonist is targeting the businesses of the women in the play. But Cinnamon wants to do something to bring the arsonist down as a way to avenge her friend Kara who is the first victim.  Kara's also the only reason Cinnamon is in the play - she takes over as Mrs. Claus when Kara's shop goes up in smoke. Her involvement in the arson isn't the only tension between Daniel and Cinnamon though.  She has major trust issues she hasn't come to terms with as yet. There are multiple twists and turns to the unfolding mystery and the solution is not obvious, but believable.  Enjoyable read that kept my interest.  

The main characters are well-developed with tension and romance that makes sense for the context, including the old sheriff who has a penchant for Cinnamon's pecan pie. As said, this can be read as a stand alone, but to appreciate the relationships and romantic tension, I'd recommend reading the MURDER IN CHRISTMAS RIVER first.  The other books in the series are: MADNESS IN CHRISTMAS RIVER and MALICE IN CHRISTMAS RIVER. I've added these to my very large TBR pile.  November saw the release of ROASTED IN CHRISTMAS RIVER: A Thanksgiving Cozy Mystery Novella. Meg Muldoon is also the author of the Cozy Matchmaker Mystery Series (see 9/18/2014 review of BURNED IN BROKEN HEARTS JUNCTION).


Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Holidays

The holidays are upon us - whether that's Chanukah or Christmas or Kwanza - and I find myself losing track of what I need to do, when it needs to be done, and, yes, what day is it anyway.  More frequently than ever, I am glad that my computer has the date and time.  

With the holidays, comes the usual shopping (mostly online this year) and decorating (minimal this year), and baking.  Making cookies to send to family members is both a joy and a chore.  I've tried out some new recipes - mint clusters, rocky road (really a candy cluster, but very yummy) - and the usual - pizzelle, fudge balls, biscotti, chocolate chip, oatmeal, gingerbread, and well, the list goes on. I am still sharing cookies with friends and family.  Do you do anything special each year as part of your holiday celebration?  Have a special cookie recipe to share?

Somewhere in there I am continuing to read, mostly mysteries as well.  There are a number of blog tours that are scheduled for January and that means reading and reading. MURDER IN THE ARBORETUM is one of those many tours (January 5th is the first stop!). Santa should be very generous with Great Escapes and Lori Caswell! 


Also still trying to get in time for writing!  Like Sheridan though, I work in the academic world and this time of the year is fraught with finals, papers, and other activities. As I think about future books in the series, a Christmas themed mystery in Cold Creek is a consideration for next year.  Are you reading any holiday-themed books currently?  I have a few on my TBR list that I hope to get to as soon as the grading is done.

As you finish up that last minute shopping - less than a week to go - remember that books make great gifts for the reader in your life and reviews are appreciated by the authors in your life.

Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza or something else, best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!






Friday, December 12, 2014

Blog Tour: SHADOW OF DOUBT by Nancy Cole Silverman

Synopsis: 
When a top Hollywood Agent is found poisoned in the bathtub of her home suspicion quickly turns to one of her two nieces. But Carol Childs, a reporter for a local talk radio station doesn’t believe it. The suspect is her neighbor and friend, and also her primary source for insider industry news. When a media frenzy pits one niece against the other—and the body count starts to rise—Carol knows she must save her friend from being tried in courts of public opinion. But even the most seasoned reporter can be surprised, and when a Hollywood psychic shows up in Carol’s studio one night and warns her there will be more deaths, things take an unexpected turn. Suddenly nobody is above suspicion. Carol must challenge both her friendship and the facts, and the only thing she knows for certain is the killer is still out there and the closer she gets to the truth, the more danger she’s in.

Review:
Carol Childs is a radio reporter in Hollywood. When her neighbor Sam finds her famous aunt dead and, along with her twin sister, Sarah, is suspected of the crime, Carol gets involved. The twins are at odds with each other and Carol works to show her friend is innocent even as she is faced with facts that might indicate otherwise. Powerful people, friends, and scandal. The character of Misty Dawns adds a paranormal twist to this cozy and causes Carol to question her own beliefs about the people she considers friends.  

Carol is a likable lead character with depth, and the other characters are also well-developed. There is a bit of everything including romance. Silverman keeps the story moving, sometimes nudged a bit by Misty. An enjoyable read. I'll be looking forward to the sequel.

About The Author:
Silverman believes her twenty-five years in radio help her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001 she retired from news and copywriting to write fiction fulltime. Much of what she writes she admits is pulled from behind the headlines of actual events that were reported on from some Los Angeles busiest radio newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. In the last ten years she has written numerous short stories and novelettes some of which have won awards &/or been picked up for publication. Currently she has three audio books with MindWings Audio. Her first novel, The Centaur’s Promise, was published by Eloquent Press in 2010. 

Author Links 
WEB: www.nancycolesilverman.com  
FOLLOW: www.twitter.com/nancycolesilve1  
LIKE: www.facebook.com/pages/nancy-cole-silverman  
Purchase Links: AMAZON B&N a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review: UNBELIEVABLE (A Cassie Baxter Mystery Book 1) by Cindy Blackburn

Synopsis: 
Small sleuth, tiny town, unfailing fun. Welcome to Lake Elizabeth, Vermont, where the water is blue, the mountains are green, and Cassie Baxter is going nuts. Who wouldn’t go nuts in a town this size? What possessed Cassie to move in with her father? And why do they have to live next door to a mad scientist? A sexy mad scientist. Does such a thing even exist? And speaking of existing, what happened to the dead redhead? You know, the one Cassie found, and then lost? What’s up with that? Cassie Baxter intends to find out. Read Unbelievable and you will, too. The Cassie Baxter Mysteries: They’re not Cue Balls, but they are screw balls.

Review:
Saving money is one thing, but Cassie discovers that her father gets up early, and wants her to join him for breakfast, and for bingo, and may be doing a bit of matchmaking besides. Her usual escape is to take the kayak out on the lake for some alone time but this one morning that plan backfires when she finds a dead body. Nobody takes her too seriously when she reports it - after all she doesn't have a good explanation for kayaking in the early morning hours in her pajamas. Gabe says he'll look into it, but Cassie can't help but wonder which of her neighbors is a murderer and tries to figure it out for herself. 

From the quirky characters to the unusual witnesses (two goats and a dog), UNBELIEVABLE is definitely light, fun reading! But that doesn't mean there aren't mysterious twists and multiple suspects that keep you guessing. It's not easy to predict what's coming next or how all the pieces will fit together. This is a new series and it will be interesting to see what happens with Cassie and Joe and some of the other characters in future books.  

AMAZON


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Blog Tour: ANTIQUE MAGIC by Eileen Harris




Antique dealer Alicia Trent is hired to appraise a huge collection of treasures hoarded by a woman who has recently died in the town where Alicia grew up.

The huge old house poses mystery after mystery from the moment she arrives, but the stakes become deadly when murder is added to the mix. The question then becomes, can she stay alive long enough to unmask the killer?







Review:
As Ali takes on the job of cataloging all the antiques and "stuff" that Mrs. Hall has accumulated over the years is a massive undertaking in itself.  Add to that the gnawing sense that something about her death might be questionable, the many books on magic, the mysterious tunnels and apartment, and Ali's natural curiosity, and it's easy to get hooked.  The two nice looking men, Dan and Nick, add a little spice to the story, along with Naomi's great cooking.  Ali's a little too down to earth for magic, but some things can't be explained. Well written, with likable characters and expected as well as unexpected twists and turns. I'll be looking forward to more of Ali's mysteries.

Buy Links:
Wings e Press I Amazon I Barnes & Noble

Excerpt:

Without consciously making a decision to do so, I grabbed my robe and headed for the door. If the thief was in the house, it might be my chance to identify him or her. One last glance at the globe showed the black was now mixed with a lot of orange. It looked like a Halloween decoration.

I turned off the light in the room, then quietly unlocked and opened my door. A flashlight would be a big help, but mine was packed in my suitcase. This was the first time I’d needed it. I eased out into the dark hall. A nightlight plugged in at the top of the stairs made a dim glow and I started in that direction. Moving slowly, I listened intently for any unusual noise. Everything seemed quiet and peaceful. I didn’t think anyone had stayed overnight in the house except Naomi and me. The stairs were solid and didn’t make a sound as I crept down. Time moved in slow motion and it seemed to take forever to reach the bottom. Once there, I began making my way to the living room. We always turned off the electronic security on that door at night since there were no potential buyers coming in and out after five. Even though I still hadn’t seen anything suspicious, somehow the atmosphere seemed wrong. Danger seemed to lurk in every dark corner. I was anxious to make sure the items displayed for viewing hadn’t been disturbed. Moving into the room and closing the door seemed to take forever. I couldn’t wait to get the light turned on. At first glance everything looked fine. Walking around the items for a closer look, I still didn’t see any evidence of tampering. Maybe I was overreacting and chasing ghosts. I decided to return to my room, but instead I veered into the study for a quick look. I wasn’t quite ready to admit my fears were just my nerves playing tricks. This time I hadn’t done the smart thing and called for Dan. He had to be tired of my crying wolf and not finding any evidence. I’d need a darn good reason before choosing to disrupt the entire household again.

At first the study also seemed undisturbed, but as my eyes adjusted, my heart skipped a beat. Someone had pushed the button that moved the desk aside. The light on the stairs leading down into the passageway had been turned on. Someone had entered the house, but I couldn’t call Dan from here and didn’t want to lose the chance to discover the identity of the intruder. All of a sudden my policy of not crying wolf didn’t seem so wise. I picked up a large letter opener from the desk and started down the stairs. The cloying feeling of danger increased with each step. The second bookcase on the left hand side of the hall was moved aside, revealing a passage I hadn’t known existed. The walls in this new passage were lined with artwork. Creeping silently along, I noticed that the art consisted of a variety of styles. At a quick glance I saw pen-and-ink, charcoals, watercolors and oils. I wouldn’t know what all was there until I had time to investigate. Right now my attention was focused on finding out who was down here and why. The passage climbed steadily upward. There didn’t seem to be any side doors, at least none that were obvious, until the end of the passage. Here one door opened to the right. By now my sense of direction had become confused and I wasn’t sure what part of the house this passage ran through, but it might be somewhere on the second floor.

About the Author:

From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane : Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.







Stalk The Author
Blog I Facebook I Goodreads I Amazon 




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Book Blitz: COZY CHRISTMAS CAPERS



Available only December 1 – January 31, 2015

19 holiday short stories by 19 New York Times, USA Today and award
winning authors!

Enjoy these tales of mystery, romance, and laughter
amid the backdrop of pine trees, gingerbread men, and Santas galore!

The perfect short bites for cozying up by the fire with a cup of
cocoa…or waiting in line at gift wrapping!


Stories include:

Rosolio Red (Franki Amato Mysteries) by Traci Andrighetti
Chasing Tinsel (Miranda Vaughn Mysteries ) by Ellie Ashe
Death of a Christmas Witch (A Crewel to be Kind Mini Mystery) by Diane Bator
Queenie Baby: Pass the Eggnog (Queenie Baby Mysteries) by Christina A. Burke
The Holiday Inside Job by Mary Jo Burke
Hard to Catch a Christmas Thief (Hard Targets) by Wendy Byrne
A Christmas Ghost & Zero Regrets (Dead by the Numbers Mysteries) by Jennifer Fischetto
Christmas Canap├ęs & Sabotage (Culinary Competition Mysteries) by Janel Gradowski
Christmas in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries) by Gemma Halliday
Christmas Al Dente (Southern Pasta Shop Mysteries) by Jennifer L. Hart
Santa Claus, Lies, and Murder (Amber Fox Mysteries) by Sibel Hodge
A (Gingerbread) Diorama of Death (Helen Binney Mysteries) by Gin Jones
Mini Pie the Christmas Spy! (Mini Pie Mysteries) by Libby LaManna
Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas (Greatest Hits Mysteries) by Leslie Langtry 
Ornamental Danger (Working Stiff Mysteries) by Kerri Nelson
Motion for Mistletoe (Jamie Winters Mysteries) by Kelly Rey
Christmas in Venice by Maria Grazia Swan
Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Tahoe Tessie Mysteries) by T. Sue VerSteeg
Santa’s Little Mistake by Stacey Wiedower


Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1twEMp6

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Blog Tour: MURDER THE TEY WAY (A Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mystery) by Marilyn Levinson


Synopsis
Professor Lexie Driscoll is leading a Golden Age of Mystery book club discussion of Josephine Tey’s novels, when her sister arrives in a state of agitation. The sisters aren’t close, and Lexie wonders why Gayle has driven from Utah to Long Island to stay with her. The following morning, Gayle awakens Lexie to say there’s a dead man lying in her backyard. Gayle confesses she’s on the run because she witnessed a murder and the murderer is out to get her. Gayle takes off after begging Lexie not to tell the police she’s been there. This presents a problem because Lexie’s boyfriend, homicide detective Brian Donovan, is initially put in charge of the investigation. The murder victim turns out to be a minor criminal suspected of having burgled several homes in the area. Lexie wonders if her sister killed the man, believing he was sent to kill her.  


Lexie and her friend Joy Lincoln, a former FBI agent and now a stay-at-home mom, soon discover that all of the book club members either have secrets or are in situations involving the wrong side of the law. An older couple, Marge and Evan Billings, are at the mercy of the criminals they’ve hired to extricate their young granddaughter from Peru. Tim Draigon has lost his attorney’s license for illegal activities. He and Sadie Lu, a guidance counselor, owe money and have borrowed large sums from money lenders connected to the murdered man. Lexie’s neighbors, the Roberts sisters, are strange birds. Corinne dominates her slow sister, Felicity, and berates Lexie whenever she comes to Felicity’s aid. And who is this Johnny Scarvino Felicity fears? Another club member is murdered, one is knocked unconscious, and old and new secrets impact the lives of the members of the book club. Lexie must find the murderer before more lives are destroyed.

Review

Lexie continues with the book club introduced in MURDER A LA CHRISTIE, with a book this time by Tey. Lexie’s sister Gayle shows up, sure that someone is after her. Then there’s the man found dead in her backyard. Is he the one chasing after Gayle? Did Gayle kill him? There are some conflicts amidst the book club members, all of whom have secrets, and then one is murdered. Lexie has to wrestle with her own loyalties, including her relationships with Brian and her good friend Joy. With many twists and turns, the story moves along well. The characters and conflicts are well developed. The possible suspects are many and this makes it difficult to solve the mysteries before Levinson is ready.  A good read for sure. Although the second in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone without any problem. I'm looking forward to the next in the series!

About the Author
A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and books for kids. Her latest mystery, Murder a la Christie, is out with Oak Tree Press. Untreed Reads has brought out new e-editions of her Twin Lakes mysteries: A Murderer Among Us, awarded a Suspense Magazine Best Indie, and Murder in the Air. Uncial Press e-publishes her ghost mystery, Giving Up the Ghost, and her romantic suspense, Dangerous Relations. All of Marilyn’s mysteries take place on Long Island, where she lives. Her books for young readers include No Boys Allowed; Rufus and Magic Run Amok, which was awarded a Children’s Choice; Getting Back to Normal, & And Don’t Bring Jeremy. Marilyn loves traveling, reading, knitting, doing Sudoku, and visiting with her granddaughter, Olivia, on FaceTime. She is co-founder and past president of the Long Island chapter of Sisters in Crime. 

Author Links

Webpage: http://www.marilynlevinson.com

Blog: Makeminemystery the first and third Monday of every month.

http://makeminemystery.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marilev/

Purchase Links:
Amazon B&N


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge


What is it? It is a challenge to read a book titled with each letter of the alphabet (not counting the A's and The's) between Jan. 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.  The challenge is being hosted by Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book (see http://nblo.gs/11yqDV for more details).  It's probably cheating, but I may look on my kindle TBR list and hold off on some that have more obscure first letters until January!

I set up a shelf in Goodreads for this...   and we'll see how it goes!  (I'll keep you posted!)


Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour: FRAME CHANGE : A Nina Bannister Mystery by T'Gracie and Joe Reese


Synopsis:
Nina Bannister loves to paint, and she thinks her hobby is painless enough. But she is wrong. Her love of doing seascapes leads to a friendship with a young ex docent from The Chicago Art Museum–and to their entry into the murky and dangerous world of international art smuggling.

Can she save her young friend, who has been kidnapped to the mountains of southern Austria? Can she determine the identity and motives of the mysterious Red Claw? Can she see the real painting that is hidden beneath the false one?

Her success in these matters–indeed her very survival–depend on her ability to perform a last ditch Frame Change!



Review:
Nina and her friends take an art class and create some seascapes of limited worth - mostly of worth to the painter for her accomplishments.  Having first gotten the feedback to take them off display, her friend Carol suddenly decides a new frame will make the difference.  Miraculously, her first seascape suddenly sells and the frame change and a few extra enhancements continues with unexpectedly quick sales. All part of a complex art smuggling ring, orchestrated by Michael and thwarted by Red Claw. Carol continues her involvement as she needs the money, but another woman is kidnapped by Red Claw.  As Nina unfolds what is going on, and her unintended involvement, she works to identify Red Claw and ensure the safety of her friends. An interesting twist to the usual cozy mystery.  This is the 5th book in the Nina Bannister Mystery series.

About the Authors:
Pam (T’Gracie) Britton Reese is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne. She has published books about autism with LinguiSystems. She enjoys teaching and research, but is never happier than when plotting (with her husband) a new murder, or coming up with ways that Nina Bannister can solve it.

Joe Reese is a novelist, playwright, storyteller, and college teacher. He has published seven novels, several plays, and a number of stories and articles. He and his wife, Pam have three children: Kate, Matthew and Sam.

Author Links: 
reeseswrite.com
Twitter: Nina Bannister@NinaBFurl
Facebook: Nina Bannister

Purchase Links:
Amazon B&N

GIVEAWAY : 1 ebook will be given away at each stop.  Leave a comment to be entered and then stop back when the tour is over to see who wins!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

COUNTDOWN DEAL!!!! November 20-24!

Each year, the hype for Black Friday and holiday shopping seems to move earlier and earlier. Did you notice the Christmas decorations before Halloween this year?  When I was growing up Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the holiday season.  It was when the family got together for Thanksgiving - sometimes traveling to be there - and all could participate in the decorating.  Back then, the retail stores stayed closed until normal hours on Friday morning.  I worked part-time in retail, and Black Friday was a boom for business but hell for the sales personnel!  That part hasn't changed.  Having worked a few Black Fridays in my life, I tend to avoid the whole scene. The crowds are too big, the deals not quite as good as they sound, and no, standing in line for hours to get the "limited quantity" of the one item I might want just doesn't thrill me.

My preference?  Take it easy, relax, and bake cookies!  And, of course, curl up with a good book against the backdrop of the Thanksgiving weekend football games and holiday specials.   Care to join me?


November 20th - 24th, MURDER IN THE ARBORETUM will be on sale for $0.99!  Grab it and when you need to wind down after the holiday stress, curl up and follow Sheridan as she tries to solve the murder of Justin Blake.  He's not a student. He's not a faculty member. He doesn't live in Cold Creek.  Why is he in the Arboretum and why did someone kill him? As tensions rise, Sheridan takes a lead and becomes a target herself.

One more thing:  I avoided it as long as possible, but I now have a twitter account!  @ChristaN7777  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Review: SWEET MYSTERY (Under the Moonlight Book #3) by MaryAnn Kempher

Synopsis from AMAZON

Who Killed Candy Dashwood!? Candy Dashwood was young, beautiful, and accustomed to getting exactly what she wanted, by any means necessary, including sex and blackmail. Does that make her murder less important? Or her killer less guilty? Her mother doesn’t think so. She asks private detective Jack Harney to help find Candy’s killer. When all signs point to her police officer lover, the case seems cut and dry. So why does the evidence seem so flimsy? And why are the police so unwilling to dig any deeper? Jack uncovers a web of sex and deception in which nothing is as it seems, and the list of potential killers grows every day. Can he put the pieces together and discover who really killed Candy, or will her killer get away with murder? Sweet Mystery is a suspenseful murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Review
Jack left the Reno PD, went to Florida and worked security on a cruise ship Forever as a favor for his friend Curt, ex-military. Jack moves back to Reno to open a detective agency with Curt instead of returning to the force after breaking up with his girlfriend, Amy. The office they rent is next to Nene and Gaga's bakery/candy store. Nene and Gaga are grandmotherly, humorous, touching, and have a mystery of their own - who is eating candy and even Gaga's gingerbread house in the middle of the night and leaving a mess? The agency opens but doesn't have but one real client, Destiny, whose mystery revolves around missing birds from her pet store. Across various friends, the last mystery has to do with a positive pregnancy test left in a bathroom and which of Jack's friends is going to be a father. 

The real mystery, though, is who killed Candy and what was the real motive. Problem is, although the cop accused has asked Jack for help, and Candy's mother, Yvonne, has asked for help, it's well-established that cops do not like PIs nosing in their cases. When one of their own is arrested, they want the situation to go away as fast as possible.  Is that all there is to it though? Will the harassment go beyond giving Jack a parking ticket? 

The characters have depth and personality. The subplots are well integrated into the major plot rather than simply a distraction. I read this in one sitting (airport and airplane) and it was a good read. I couldn't wait to get to the end (though I guessed wrong on the positive pregnancy test). This is the third book in the series. With the focus on Jack, you can read this as a stand alone, but I would strongly recommend you read the first two, or at least FOREVER DOOMED.  I don't see a fourth on MaryAnn Kempher's author page, but I will be looking for it!

Previous books in the series:
MOCHA, MOONLIGHT AND MURDER (Under the Moonlight Book #1)
FOREVER DOOMED (Under the Moonlight Book #2) -reviewed on this blog on 3/3/2014 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review: ABOVE THE BRIDGE : A Paige MacKenzie Mystery by Deborah Garner

Synopsis: 
When Paige MacKenzie arrives in Jackson Hole, her only goal is to complete a simple newspaper assignment about the Old West. However, it's not long before her instincts tell her there's more than a basic story to be found in the popular, northwestern Wyoming mountain area. A chance encounter with attractive cowboy Jake Norris soon has Paige chasing a legend of buried treasure, passed down through generations. 

From the torn edge of a water-damaged map to the mysterious glow of an antler arch, Paige will follow clues high into the mountainous terrain and deep into Jackson's history. Side-stepping a few shady characters who are also searching for the same hidden reward, she will have to decide who is trustworthy and who is not.

Review:
Paige writes for a newspaper and is assigned to write about Jackson Hole.  She starts out staying in town for just a few days, but quickly moves out of town to an old cabin.  She hears bits and pieces of conversation in the local watering hole, is drawn to one of the arches in the square, and her short visit and quick write up become a path of mystery and history as she travels not only the terrain around Jackson Hole, but in time, in search of buried treasure.  

Garner's descriptions of Jackson Hole brought make memories of a recent trip to that area, and she provides enough description that readers can get the idea even if they've never been.  Though not quite realistic, the trip back in time, the role of women in that era, and the cowboys Paige meets provide an interesting twist to the story. This was a fun read overall. I've added THE MOONGLOW CAFE to my TBR list and I am looking forward to Paige's next adventure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

VETERANS DAY 2014

 "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"  President Woodrow Wilson

That commemoration of the Armistice and recognition of the continued efforts of our military - in peacetime and wartime, in the past and present - is evident as we pay tribute today. The Armistice marked the end of the first "great war".  

Since then, as a country, we have seen other wars from World War II to Iraq. It took several generations before we acknowledged the potential traumatic effects that often are as significant as the physical injuries. Today, there are many veterans making connections and seeking support. Not just today, but everyday, when we see our men and women in uniform, we should salute them!


Interested in reading one man's experiences in World War II in the Army Air Corps?  I recommend EVER THE PATRIOT (by Candace Riccio Salem) - sale ($0.99) ends today!  AMAZON

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blog Tour: DAE'S CHRISTMAS PAST (Missing Pieces Mysteries #6) by Joyce and Jim Lavene


SYNOPSIS:

When wild horse rescue director Tom Watts is found dead on Duck Road, newly re-elected mayor Dae O’Donnell is determined to find out who killed him. Her friend Jake Burleson is accused of killing Tom even though the two men have been good friends for years.

The problem is the excavation of the horse cult that’s been happening on Jake’s property. Tom and several archaeologists working on the project think that Jake should give up his land to widen the search for artifacts. Jake won’t do that.

It’s not that Jake hasn’t been acting strangely. He shoved one of the ancient stone horses into Dae’s hands when he knew she was afraid to touch it. He’s obsessed with stopping the excavation—maybe to the point of killing Tom.


But Dae thinks there may be more to the story. Jake’s determination has shown her what the horse cult was used for thousands of years ago, the destruction the demon horses brought before they were stopped. She’s afraid something of the past may have already returned to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and there may be more deaths to come. Featuring Pet Psychic Mary Catherine Roberts!

REVIEW:
This story has everything - Dae with her "sense" of history of items she touches, a pet psychic, the caring grandfather, and the ex-FBI agent, Kevin.  When her long time friend, Jake, asks her to discern what is behind the horse statues, Dae senses something is not right. Mary Catherine's arrival and reports of animals being distressed and a sense of foreboding support Dae's unease. Will the Outer Banks fall to more than ghost horses that leave footprints and destruction in their wake?  Could the ghost horses be responsible for the death of Tom Watts?

This is the 6th in the Missing Pieces Mysteries series. Dae and her friends have history, but you can read this one as a stand alone.  Joyce and Jim have done another great job of crafting this story.  If you like the paranormal twist to your mysteries, you will surely enjoy DAE'S CHRISTMAS PAST.  I'm looking forward to her future (#7).  The previous books in the series were:

A TIMELY VISION
A TOUCH OF GOLD
A SPIRITED GIFT
A HAUNTING DREAM
A FINDER'S FEE

Also be sure to check out the other series by Joyce and Jim:  Renaissance Faire Mysteries, Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries, Pet Psychic Mysteries (featuring Mary Catherine), Stock Car Racing Mysteries, Taxi for the Dead Paranormal Mysteries, and Retired Witches Mysteries. 


ABOUT JOYCE AND JIM LAVENE
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.
LINKS
www.joyceandjimlavene.com

www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene

http://amazon.com/author/jlavene

https://twitter.com/AuthorJLavene


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