Saturday, November 29, 2014

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

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.


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


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





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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 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

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!

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:
Twitter: Nina Bannister@NinaBFurl
Facebook: Nina Bannister

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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.

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

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.

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


 "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


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!

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:


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. 

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.


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