Thursday, July 6, 2017

And now for something completely different...




I recently read a really good book, that was not a mystery. Not in the true definition of a mystery book anyway.

Roses

Roses by Leila Meacham is a family saga. As the cover says, it did remind of Gone With the Wind, which is a favorite of mine.  It is a long book - 609 pages. BUT it didn't take me any longer to read than a book half that size.

Here's what it is about:

"Spanning the 20th century, the story of Roses takes place in a small East Texas town against the backdrop of the powerful timber and cotton industries, industries controlled by the scions of the town's founding families. Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick should have married but unwisely did not, and now must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies of their choice and the loss of what might have been--not just for themselves but for their children, and children's children. With expert, unabashed, big-canvas storytelling, Roses covers a hundred years, three generations of Texans and the explosive combination of passion for work and longing for love".

The story begins with Mary Toliver, now an elderly woman, changing her will to not leave the family cotton plantations to any immediate family. She wants to break the curse that has haunted the Toliver's for 100 years. Once that is done, she heads home and asks her maid to pull her husbands old trunk in the attic out and unlock it. She must get to it and look for something. Once that is taken care of she will be traveling to west Texas to tell her niece in person, that she is not leaving the family business to her. Mary dies before she is able to do either of those things.

The story is then told, of the Toliver, Dumont and Warwick families, their journey from Louisiana to Texas, how the families are intertwined, their successes, failures, and heartaches.

I can find a mystery in almost any book. The mystery in Roses is why does Mary not want anyone in the family to inherit the business, what does she mean by curse (that word also grabs my attention) and what is the story between she and Percy...hmm?

There is a second book, Somerset, which is a prequel to Roses. It was published after Roses so it is probably meant to be read in that order. She has written several other books too. I plan on reading Somerset also.

About the author: 

"Leila Meacham is a former teacher and the author of the New York Times bestseller Roses. She graduated from the University of North Texas and lives with her husband in San Antonio."




Home by Harlan Coben

Our Mystery Book Club selection for June was Home by Harlan Coben.

Home (Myron Bolitar) by [Coben, Harlan]

It is the 11th in the Myron Bolitar series and most recent. I hadn't read any of the Myron books prior to this. I did read Missing You by Harlan Coben and really liked it. It was a stand alone. (I reviewed it on here).

Here is what Home is about:

"A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: What can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend? Drawing on his singular talent, Harlan Coben delivers an explosive and deeply moving thriller about friendship, family, and the meaning of home."

I really liked it. It reads quick. Not a lot of fluff. Thrilling. Witty. And definitely a surprise twist at the end. Almost everyone in our book club really liked it also. A few had read the other books. You get enough information to fill you in on some of the history of Myron and his friend Winn, to keep up with the book. It made me want to read the prior books to find out what all has gone on with Myron, Winn, Esperanza and the characters with the funny names such as Big Cindy and Zorra. And I mean characters!

Friday, June 30, 2017

What's on this summer: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries


When you live in Texas, summer starts in May. Time for lots of reading and watching movies.

 I was looking forward to some new Mysteries on Hallmark, especially Murder She Baked which takes place in Minnesota. (visions of cooler places). Looks like we have to wait until August when there will be 4 new Garage Sale Mystery movies on Sundays at 8c. They have the following sneak peeks for the first two. Nothing yet on the other two.

Image result for garage sale mystery pictures

Garage Sale Mystery: The Beach airs Sunday August 6th at 8c

"Annie Winters is a long-time customer of Rags-to-Riches and her husband Garret is a wealthy internet entrepreneur. When Garret’s dead body is found washed up on the beach, it looks like an apparent surfing accident. But Annie doesn’t believe the death was accidental and pleads with Jenn to take a closer look. Stars Lori Loughlin, Sarah Strange and Kevin O'Grady."


Garage Sale Mystery: Murder by Text airs Sunday August 13th at 8c

"Famous country singer John Dalton's concert rehearsal is stalled when the entire crew receives a suicide note from Lita, the band’s bassist. After discovering that a Taser was used to immobilize her before her death, Jenn is skeptical that Lita’s death was actually suicide. Stars Lori Loughlin, Sarah Strange and Steve Bacic".

Meanwhile they are showing some reruns of their other mystery movies.

June 30th
Image result for aurora teagarden movies pictures
Aurora Teagarden Mystery: Three Bedrooms and One Corpse 6c
                                              The Julius House 8c

July 3

Hanna Swenson: Murder She Baked - A Deadly Recipe 6c

Here's a pic of the books the series is based on.

Image result for hannah swensen pictures


Hallmark is showing a lot of Christmas movies for July - Christmas in July. Not mysteries but probably good movies.

Watch for a rerun of Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery. It was really good.


"Brilliant, dedicated, and driven, archaeologist Emma Fielding is trying to unearth evidence of a 17th century coastal Maine settlement that predates Jamestown, one of the most significant archaeological finds in years. But the dead body that accompanies it has embroiled Emma and her students in a different kind of exploration. Stars Courtney Thorne-Smith and James Tupper."

Here is the website:  http://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/







Friday, June 23, 2017

What's on this summer: TCM and Film Noir

Do you watch TCM? Turner Classic Movies?
If you haven't explored this channel, you are missing some great classic mysteries.

Here is a link to their weekly schedule. Just to give you a snapshot. Notice their movies have a category by them, so you can easily find mysteries.
http://www.tcm.com/schedule/weekly.html?tz=est&sdate=2017-06-23

For instance, 6/24/17 at 9:30 a.m., there is a Suspense Mystery listed.
"After Midnight with Boston Blackie". This is a 1940's series. It was on the radio also. Ok it is before my time, but we really enjoy this old series.

Here is what I really wanted to tell you about. Get your DVR's ready.

Image result for rear window movie
Rear Window is showing 6/24/17 7 p.m. central standard time. (cst) This is featured on the TCM segment entitled "The Essentials" which is on Saturday nights at 8 pm.

The Essentials is hosted by Alec Baldwin. He has a weekly guest also. For the past few weeks, his guest was David Letterman. Tina Fey will be his guest June 24 - August 4. No kidding.

The show was previously hosted by Robert Osborne, who passed away recently. His most recent guests were Sally Field and Drew Barrymore.

Rear Window will be followed by three other Suspense Mysteries on 6/24, 6/25. They are not part of The Essentials.

The Window - 9:15 p.m. cst
Witness to a Murder - 10:45 p.m. cst

6/25/17
The Skull Murder Mystery - 12:30 a.m. cst

Here's another of TCM specialty segments.
Noir Alley on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. cst
Check it out with this link. Really cool page.
http://noiralley.tcm.com/

So what is film noir? "Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly such that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classical film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s."
Each movie is introduced by Eddie Muller.

"Eddie Muller is an American writer based in San Francisco and is a second-generation San Franciscan per his website. He is known for writing books about movies, particularly film noir. Founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, and co-programmer of the San Francisco Noir City film festival, Muller is considered a noir expert and is called on to write and talk about the film genre, notably on wry commentary tracks for Fox's film noir series of DVDs."

Here are a few of the movies coming up this summer.

June 25

Image result for high wall movie

High Wall: "After a brain-damaged man confesses to murder and is committed, Dr. Ann Lorrison tries to prove his innocence."
 
July 2
They Live by Night Poster
 
 They Live By Night (1949): "An escaped convict, injured during a robbery, falls in love with the woman who nurses him back to health, but their relationship seems doomed from the beginning."
 
July 7
 T-Men Poster

T-Men (1948): Tauted as "Terrific and True! Two US Treasury agents hunt a successful counterfeiting ring."

July 16
Gun Crazy Poster

Gun Crazy (1950): "A well meaning crack shot husband is pressured by his beautiful marksman wife to go on an interstate robbery spree, where he finds out just how depraved and deadly she really is.

July 23
Deadline at Dawn Poster

Deadline at Dawn (1946): "When a woman he meets is murdered, a soon to be drafted sailor has until dawn to find the killer, aided by a weary dance hall girl."

July 30
Born to Kill Poster

Born to Kill (1948): "A calculating divorcée risks her chances at wealth and security with a man she doesn't love by getting involved with the hotheaded murderer romancing her foster sister."

Don't you love the promo posters?

Next up: Hallmark Mysteries and Movies

Sorry about the font...problem between the  chair and the monitor.

 
 
 

 






 
 

 
   
 



What's on this summer - PBS

All the network television shows are off for the season. Not that I watch that many, but I have a few I like such as Elementary, Hawaii 5-0. (I like the banter between Danny and Steve) :)
Did you notice how this last season of Elementary ended like the last Sherlock episode?

So what's going to be on this summer for mystery lovers?

Here's what I found out.

Longmire will not be on Netflix until Fall 2017.
Wayward Pines will not be on in 2017. It was left with a cliffhanger so there is room for another season, but the writers haven't decided what's next.

Lets start with PBS

Image result for grantchester series

Granchester: Season 3 started 6/18/17. Sunday 8 p.m. central time

"James Norton (Happy Valley) stars as the handsome, jazz-loving vicar Sidney Chambers, with Robson Green as his law-enforcement ally, Inspector Geordie Keating, in Grantchester, a mystery series based on the acclaimed novels by James Runcie. Although Sidney lives the life of a clergyman, sometimes he can’t help but fall into more worldly habits as he solves murders in the bucolic village of Grantchester, tirelessly searching for justice, spiritual fulfillment, love, and a really hip jazz club.
The crime-solving duo returns for Season 3 this summer. When we last left the sleepy village, Sidney faced a moral dilemma: be with the woman he loves, or take the moral high road. The vicar has never been a saint, but is this a step too far?"

Such a good series. The first episode took place at Christmas time with snow. Great to watch with it being 90+ out. 7 Episodes! You can watch the first episode on your local PBS website or they usually reshow it before the new episode.

Image result for prime suspect tennison


Prime Suspect: Tennison: Season 1 starts 06/25/17 Sunday 9 p.m. central time

" Jane Tennison isn’t on the force for long before she starts to learn the cold facts of police work. She turns the head of her handsome boss, DI Bradfield, but also impresses him with her instincts. He enlists her help, and Jane becomes immersed in her first murder investigation".
3 Episodes

Image result for endeavor series

Endeavor: Season 4 starts 8/20/17 Sunday 8 p.m. central time

"Shaun Evans (The Take, The Last Weekend, Silk), charms audiences with his portrayal of the cerebral and solitary Detective Constable Morse in Endeavour, written by Inspector Lewis creator and Inspector Morse writer Russell Lewis.
In Season 4, it’s the summer of 1967, and the effects of the Cold War and sixties counterculture are being felt in Oxford. How will this changing landscape affect our favorite detectives?"

The PBS website doesn't say how many episodes of Endeavor there will be. Looks like you can watch previous season episodes online.

They are showing Midsomer Murders on Thursday nights too. Two episodes back to back!

Next up: TCM and Film Noir!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Award Winning and Nominated Books

Good Grief! I fell like I am in a sequel to Lemony Snicket and a Series of Unfortunate Events!

After a short vacation, we have had a lot of home large and small appliance "distractions" and technology "distractions." So I have been absent from here.

For our June Mystery Book Club meeting, we read any books from the Award Winning and Nominated Books for 2017 and late 2016.  Below is the list of everything the members in our MBC read from the Awards list. It's a lot, isn't it.

I read A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny. This book won an Agatha Award. Louise Penny is one of the book club's favorite authors. I would describe her as a story teller...you feel like you are in the story, can see the scenery, see the characters and smell the great food they describe. If you have read any of her books in the Gamache series, Ruth is my favorite character.  :)

I wanted to quickly share the list, in case you are looking for summer reading.
You can find the complete list and awards at http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/

Enjoy!

Award Group Title Author
* indicates winner
Agatha Murder in Morningside  Heights Victoria Thompson
Agatha  Fogged Inn Barbara Ross
Agatha* The Semester of Our Discontent Cynthia Kuhn
Agatha*, Lefty A Great Reckoning Louise Penny
Agatha, Anthony, Lefty Design for Dying Renee Patrick
Agatha, Lefty Nature of the Beast Louise Penny
Agatha, Lefty Decanting a Murder Nadine Nettman
Agatha, Lefty Terror in Taffeta Marla Cooper
Agatha, Mary Higgins Clark Say No More Hank Phillipi Ryan
Anthony You Will Know Me Megan Abbott
Anthony, Barry Wilde Lake Laura Lippman
Anthony, Barry, Edgar, Shamus IQ Joe Ide
Anthony, Barry, Edgar, Shamus, Thriller Where it Hurts Reed Farrel Coleman
Anthony, Barry, Left, Macavity The Killing Kind Chris Holm
Anthony, Edgar  Shot in Detroit Patricia Abbott
Anthony, Edgar, Lefty Heart of Stone James W. Ziskin
Arthur, Ellis * Strange Things Done Elle Wild
Barry Missing Presumed Susie Steiner
Barry The Darkest Secret Alex Marwood
Barry Collecting the Dead Spencer Kope
Barry The Wrong Side of Goodbye Michael Connelly
Barry The Queen's Accomplice Susan Elia Macneal
Edgar The Ex Alafair  Burke
Edgar The Lost Girls Heather Young
Edgar Jane Steele Lyndsay Faye
Edgar A Brilliant Death Robin Yocum
Edgar What Remains of Me Alison Gaylin
Edgar*, Anthony, Barry, Steel Dagger, Ned Kelly  Rain Dogs Adrian McKinty
Edgar*, Barry Under the Harrow Flynn Berry
Edgar*, Thriller Before the Fall Noah Hawley
Gold Dagger, Steel Dagger Real Tigers Mick Herron
Left, Agatha Murder in G Major Alexia Gordon
Lefty Die Like an Eagle Donna Andrews
Lefty Crowned and Dangerous Rhys Bowen
Lefty*, Agatha Body in the Bayou Ellen Byron
Lefty*, Agatha* Reek of Red Herrings Catriona McPherson
Mary Higgins Clark Quiet Neighbors Catriona McPherson
New Blood Dagger Freedom Child Jax Miller
Shamus Brush Back Sara Paretsky
Thriller Underground Airlines Ben H. Winters

Monday, May 22, 2017

Onyx Webb Book Nine by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz

If you are a fan of the Onyx Webb series, Book Nine is out. And you know what the means...
Book 10 and the final installment in the series, is coming out in July.

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About Book Nine:

"Welcome Back to the World of Onyx Webb! This is Book Nine. (Episodes 25, 26, 27, & 28) Haven't Gotten Entangled Yet? Please Start with Book One.

Book Nine is the most cataclysmic book in the series yet and what we have been building to for so long. The web is almost entirely formed now. But questions remain: what happens to everyone now that it is?

Onyx Webb is a complex multi-genre mash-up that combines elements of supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times.

In Book Nine: The Mulvaney's host the Solstice Eclipse Ball for the Restoring Savannah Foundation and Gerylyn's prediction comes to pass. Stan Lee gets his revenge and Juniper battles a dark evil at the mansion. Onyx Webb spends her days at the lighthouse alone again without Noah Ashley but Noah may have other plans."

I know I have said "this is the best one", with each book, but I have to say, Book 9 may be the best one (Will wait for Book 10 to make a definitive choice). If you have been reading the series, you won't believe the ending. And you won't believe how the web is tightening and tightening around the characters. We know from previous books in this series, just because a character dies, doesn't mean they are dead. So many questions to be answered in Book 10. This is a series that you will hate to see end, yet you can't wait to see how it ends.        

I was privileged to be one of the "100" readers for the authors.  We received copies of the books, swag, treats, got our names mentioned in the front of the books, got to vote on the colors of the writing, and got to vote on the cover change from the original. It really was fun. I would have read the series despite all the goodies, because I like supernatural soap opera type books and shows. (Did I say Dark Shadows?) This series is really good without being too gritty, gory, scary...there are some things but it isn't the majority of the story. I heard the authors are talking with some producers about a series. That would be so cool!

You can get the books on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 and $3.99 or free under Amazon Prime. Give it a try.