Sunday, March 25, 2018

Break Time!

I have decided to take a break from my blog. Will see...

What with Goodreads and Amazon nowadays to post reviews, having a third posting seems redundant for me.

I will continue to be glad to read books for people who ask me to and then post a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

I have sooo many things I want to do and read in the next few months, that I have to give on something. I want to spend more time on my genealogy and have some non fiction books I acquired but have not yet read. I like to read "sagas" in the summer when it is too hot here to go anywhere or do anything, and have two on my list for this summer. I have a LOT of books on my TBR list too so need to get caught up.

I will leave this up, so if you have a book you would like me to read and review, you can comment here, or I am on Goodreads too.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Man by the Sea - Slim Hardy Mystery Series Book 1


The Man by the Sea (The Slim Hardy Mystery Series Book 1) by [Benton, Jack]

Just finished The Man by the Sea by Jack Benton (Chris Ward writing as).

What it's about:

"John "Slim" Hardy, heavy drinker and disgraced soldier turned bumbling private detective, is hired to investigate Ted Douglas, an investment banker who slips out of work every Friday to visit a desolate cove on the Lancashire coast. There, he walks to the shore, opens an old book, and begins to read aloud.

His wife thinks he's having an affair.

Slim thinks he's insane.

The truth is more incredible than either could imagine.

The Man by the Sea is the sensational debut novel by Jack Benton, a classic story of love, betrayal, murder, and intrigue."

I really like this book. I read it in "installments" as an ARC. Each installment ended with a cliff hanger! I am mentioning this because I liked it so much that I hated having to wait for the next chapters. It was definitely a page turner and easily read in one or two sittings.

Slim is hired by Emma to follow her husband Ted. She said she suspects he is having an affair. Slim discovers Ted is going to the beach regularly and reading out of a book in a different language, as if trying to summon someone or something.  As he investigates, Slim finds out that Ted's girlfriend of many years ago, disappeared, and was presumed drowned. He discovers this is a cold case and gets right in the middle of a dangerous situation.

As in any good noir, there is a dark feel, a private detective with problems, a woman and several near misses.

This is a new type of book for the author. I think he did a great job and am looking forward to the next in this series.

About the author: 

Chris Ward is a native of Cornwall, England, but currently lives and works in Nagano, Japan. He is the author of The Tube Riders Trilogy, The Man Who Built the World and Head of Words, as well as numerous short stories and collections.

He spends his time snowboarding, writing, playing guitar in his rock band, Steampunk Unicorn (www.reverbnation/steampunkunicorn), and generally having too much to say about just about everything.

Thank you for stopping by. Like Chris Ward (Fiction Writer) on Facebook for regular updates, or visit Chris's website at

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Update on Onyx Webb

Hey all. Remember when I read the Onyx Webb series? 10 books in all?

Well the authors are re-releasing it, I guess you would say. New covers. Pen name. I think it looks great.


Who can she trust? What is the truth?

Every decision has consequences.

What you thought you knew about ghosts is wrong. Sometimes they can walk among the living. In Onyx Webb, the silk of time weaved between lives is generations apart.
Follow a billionaire playboy who’s hit rock bottom in 2010, a girl off to prom in 1979, and Onyx Webb in 1906 on her sixth birthday.
It’s 1906, and the World’s Fair is in St. Louis. Onyx has a list of things she wants to see, and the World’s Fair Ferris wheel is at the top. But someone else has a list, too. The woman with the grey hair wants to find another little girl to take home. And like the last child, she’ll start at the Ferris wheel.
But someone else has a list, too. The woman with the grey hair wants to find another little girl to take home. And like the last child, she’ll start at the Ferris wheel.
You’ll love this superbly crafted paranormal thriller, because everyone likes twist, turns, and surprises. Onyx Webb will hook you from page one."

Book Two:

Onyx Webb: Book Two

About: "The story continues. The entanglements grow. Who will survive?
Onyx is in danger. Her husband’s affair has him in a tight spot. And someone wants her dead. Will he kill his wife to save his skin? 
Koda is obsessed. Who is the girl in the mirror? He’s losing it, but his friend Dane has an idea. Will a psychic in Florida help them with answers? Or will it be a mistake?
Declan Mulvaney and his best friend Tommy struggle to survive at the Open Arms Orphanage. A single act of defiance has them both in trouble. It won’t be easy to avoid the Nun’s wrath.
You’ll love the next installment of this fantastic series because the twist and turns keep coming."
Book Three
About: "Onyx’s new life isn’t what she expected. Will Koda recover from the tragedy? Declan is succeeding but at a terrible cost. Every decision has consequences.
The surprises continue in this third installment of the Onyx Webb series and you won’t believe how twisted the plot has become. It will grab you because of the surprises, but you’ll be hooked because of the unknown.
You’re in deep now. Keep going forward.
It’s the only way out."
I really liked this series. I would read it again from book one to ten without stopping. Don't you love the covers? The authors are toying with some ideas for sequels. I hope they go ahead with it.

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts

I read the 2nd book in the Madam Tulip series by David Ahern, this month.


About: "When out-of-work actress Derry O'Donnell moonlights as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip in an English Stately home, she’s trying to make some cash.
Instead, she is drawn into an alien world of wealth, titled privilege and family secrets.

A countess once a chorus girl, a gambling earl and his daughters, a cultured and handsome art expert—all caught in a terrifying web of ghastly threats, murder and abduction. As an aristocratic engagement party turns into a nightmare, Derry and her friend Bruce face the prospect of a gruesome and infamous death.

Madame Tulip and the Knave of Hearts is the second in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents."

Don't let the look and feel of a cozy fool you. This book is quite a thriller as the story moves along.  I like the basic plot of Derry trying to pay her skills using her psychic/fortune telling skills for hire.

Things are looking up for Derry. She has an a role in a play at the local theatre. Yay!
Ooops. There was fire and the stage burned down. 

Derry's mother wants her to come to London and work for her at her art gallery. Derry really doesn't think that is something she wants to do. Her mother is kind of bossy. Her artist father agrees to donate a painting for the fund raiser to rebuild the stage. Then an actress acquaintance offers her a job for a weekend, telling fortunes at a party for a wealthy countess and family in England. They also have their own art gallery on the grounds. Well, someone sends them a gruesome package while Derry is there and things go downhill pretty quickly. While the investigation into this delivery stalls the weekend festivities, Derry decides to go to London and visit her mother. Sebastian who is engaged to one of the countess's granddaughters just happens to be going that way and can give her a ride.

Hmm. Sebastian knows one of her mother's customers. The customer seems a bit strange. Now what happened to Sebastian? He was supposed to pick Derry up at her mother's gallery for lunch? 

Once again, Derry stumbles into a dangerous situation. Wealth, royalty, art thieves, forgery, kidnapping
Will Derry be able to get herself out of this one with her card reading?

Not only did I like the story, but a bit of the history of England and royalty is spread throughout the book, which I found interesting.

Book #3, Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance will be out in April.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Promise by Robert Crais

The theme for our February Mystery Book Club was mysteries with service dogs.

We had read Suspect by Robert Crais which was the first Scott James and Maggie book. Scott and  Maggie are in the K-9 unit and Maggie is Scott's partner. I liked it so much I wanted to read another Scott and Maggie book.

The Promise is the  Elvis Cole #16, Joe Pike #5 and Scott James and Maggie #2, all rolled into one.


I almost had a heart attack reading it, especially the end. Well not really but you know what I mean.

Here's what it's about:

"Loyalty, commitment, and the fight for justice have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

When Elvis Cole is secretly hired to find a grief-stricken mother, he’s led to an ordinary house on a rainy night in Echo Park. Only the house isn’t ordinary, and the people hiding inside are a desperate fugitive and a murderous criminal with his own dangerous secrets.

As helicopters swirl overhead, Scott and Maggie track the fugitive to this same house, coming face-to-face with Mr. Rollins, a killer who leaves behind a brutally murdered body and enough explosives to destroy the neighborhood. Scott is now the only person who can identify him, but Mr. Rollins has a rule: Never leave a witness alive.

For all of them, the night is only beginning.

Sworn to secrecy by his client, Elvis finds himself targeted by the police even as Mr. Rollins targets Maggie and Scott. As Mr. Rollins closes in for the kill, Elvis and Joe join forces with Scott and Maggie to follow a trail of lies where no one is who they claim — and the very woman they promised to save might get them all killed."

Amy Breslyn's son was working in Afghanistan and was killed by a suicide bomber. She is a chemical production engineer. She wants to find out who was responsible. This average, middle aged, super smart woman is no one anyone would look at twice at or think twice about. She is trying to make deals with people who would know who is responsible and supply them with material to make bombs. Are the people she is dealing with who they say they are? 

Meryl Lawrence hires Elvis Cole to find Amy. Amy works for Meryl. Meryl says Amy stole a lot of money and disappeared. She doesn't want the police involved.

There is also Joe Pike, Elvis Coles' partner, with cameos of his cat. (Can't go wrong with a cat in the book.) Joe brings Jon Stone into the search. Jon was in the Army for 13 years, with 6 of those with Delta. He is now doing contract work for the government against terrorism. He is described as a "professional warrior."

This book is super suspenseful. It is the kind of book I was trying to read faster than I can read. Does that make sense? If words were objects in a room, I would have been tripping over them. The characters are complex. There are a lot of other characters and I found myself getting mixed up with some of the ancillary characters. Of course several of them were using other names. And I was reading too fast. No one trusts anyone. Everyone is after everyone else. 

*Robert Crais is an American author of detective fiction. Crais began his career writing scripts for television shows such as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, Quincy, Miami Vice and L.A. Law. His writing is influenced by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Robert B. Parker and John Steinbeck. Crais has won numerous awards for his crime novels. Lee Child has cited him in interviews as one of his favourite American crime writers. The novels of Robert Crais have been published in 62 countries and are bestsellers around the world. Robert Crais received the Ross Macdonald Literary Award in 2006 and was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 2014.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Carrots by Colleen Helme

Found a new cozy series that I like.

A Shelby Nichols Adventure. The first book in the series is called Carrots. 

Here's the blurb:

"Shelby Nichols is an average woman who is married to the only guy she ever fell for. Her life is organized and predictable, revolving around her husband and two children. All that changes the day she stops at the grocery store for some carrots. As the cashier rings up her purchases, a gunman is busy robbing the bank inside the store. When a customer grabs the robber’s mask, he is shot and everyone runs for cover.
Everyone except Shelby, who finds herself face to face with the killer. The next thing she knows, she’s lying on the floor with a bullet wound to her head. Luckily, the bullet only grazes her scalp, and she doesn’t suspect any lasting affects until later, when she suddenly ‘hears’ what people are thinking. With this uncanny ability, her life takes on a whole new dimension. Her kids think she’s bossy and too old to understand them, but that’s nothing compared to her husband. He says he loves her, but what is it about the redhead at work that he doesn’t want her to know? As if that isn’t enough, the gunman knows she can identify him, and he’s out to silence her forever. In her fight to stay alive, she is saved from certain death by a handsome hit-man with ties to organized crime. This pulls Shelby even deeper into danger, where knowing someone’s thoughts can not only hurt her feelings, but get her killed."

One headline I saw describe the book as "The Godfather meets Love Story".  I will throw in a twist of Lucy.

The bank robber is after Shelby. But the mob is after the bank robber. Shelby gets in the middle of that and the local mob leader wants to see her. Once he finds out she can read minds, he makes a deal with her. Of course the police need to interview her, since she saw the bank robber and the people that are after the back robber. Once they find out she can read minds, that want her to help them out. Then there is the new lawyer, Kate, in the law firm where husband is also a lawyer. She seems to be after her husband. Shelby uses her ability to try to find out what exactly she is up to.

All of these pieces are skillfully connected in the story. Shelby has to hide all of her connections to these people from everyone. There are humorous parts such as her disguise that isn't always on right. There is plenty of action...pretty much non stop. Yet it is a quick read.

There are 10 books in this series with 11 coming out next month. It looks like the characters that are introduced in book one continue. (Except the ones that don't make it to the end of the book.) I think it is a book that will grab hold of cozy lovers that like action and likeable characters. (There was a preview of the next book at the end of Carrots and I found myself ready to just read on. It jumps right in where the first book left off.)

About the author:

As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble… I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.

(I received a free copy and published this review voluntarily)

Friday, January 26, 2018

The X-Files

Image result for pictures of the x files
Let's talk about The X-Files for a quick minute.
Did you watch this TV show in the '90's?

I did and really liked it. It ran from 1993-2002 with a comeback in 2016. Season 11 has been airing on Fox on Wednesdays with four episodes so far.

It is so good that I wanted to give it a mention in case you were a fan and thought "nah, it can't be as good as the original series". 

Background: Created by Chris Carter
"The series revolves around Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who investigate X-Files: marginalized, unsolved cases involving paranormal phenomena. Mulder believes in the existence of aliens and the paranormal while Scully, a medical doctor and a skeptic, is assigned to make scientific analyses of Mulder's discoveries to debunk his work and thus return him to mainstream cases. Early in the series, both agents become pawns in a larger conflict and come to trust only each other and a very few select people. The agents also discover an agenda of the government to keep the existence of extraterrestrial life a secret. They develop a close relationship which begins as a platonic friendship, but becomes a romance by the end of the series. In addition to the series-spanning story arc, "monster of the week" episodes form roughly two-thirds of all episodes.
The X-Files was inspired by earlier television series which featured elements of suspense and speculative fiction, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Tales from the Darkside, and especially Kolchak: The Night Stalker."
There you go. Four of my favorite TV shows right there.
The original cast stars in the current 11th Season; David Duchovy (Fox Mulder), Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully) and Mitch Pileggi as Scully and Mulder's boss (Walter Skinner). We even have "the smoking man" played by William B. Davis (the main recurring villain.)
I especially liked the third and fourth episodes of this season.
Episode 3 - Plus One: "Mulder and Scully engross themselves in an investigation about a series of deaths caused by the victims being haunted by their own doppleganger."  
This episode is M. Knight Shyamalan creepy. A woman locked up in a mental institution plays hangman with her equally strange twin brother who is obviously a hoarder living alone in a creepy house. They play hangman telepathically. And the game is not friendly. If that's not creepy enough, people are being followed by their doppleganger, including Mulder and Scully. And they don't look friendly either. Mulder and Scully are trying to find out what is causing this phenomena. As usual, Scully has the scientific explanation and Mulder thinks it is a paranormal occurrence. This episode will make you want to cover your mirror.
Episode 4 - The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat: "While Mulder and Scully explore the concept of the Mandela Effect, the come to discover events that potentially led to the X-Files existence."
This episode was actually quite funny while following the theme of unexplained occurrences. A man keeps showing up mysteriously in the parking garage where Mulder lives, asking for Mulder's help and seems to have people coming after him. When Mulder asks the man his name, he replies "Reggie...something." He can't remember. He then becomes Reggie Something for the duration of the episode. Reggie is trying to convince Mulder that they knew each other, but "they" have caused alternate memories for large groups of people. Mulder asks Reggie "who's they" and Reggie replies "Dr. They". The episode has many of these quips delivered with a dry sense of humour that had me laughing. The best was when Scully finds Mulder tearing through boxes of old VCR tapes trying to find the first episode of The Twilight Zone. He tells her about how watching the Twilight Zone at age 8 inspired him to become interested in the paranormal. The funny part? They show Mulder at age 8, very animated, sitting on his parents couch with a bag of Jiffy Pop watching TV. He has the body of an 8 year old but his adult head. Hilarious. There are also the usual jumpy moments too.
If you were unsure about watching another season of The X-Files, I highly recommend it. You watch all of this seasons episodes on Fox online and Hulu.