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 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:

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.

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

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.

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 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


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.


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.


Monday, May 15, 2017

The Watson Girl

Just finished The Watson Girl by Leslie Wolf.

This is the second in the FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett series.


Here's what it's about:

"An entire family is murdered and, by a quirk, a young girl is left unharmed. For fifteen years, she believed the killer had been caught, and he’s now on death row, awaiting execution. While trying to be content with her adoptive family, she’s living in relentless uncertainty and the fear of remembering what really happened that night when she was five years old. She’s The Watson Girl.

A therapist has asked her to participate in regression session treatments to attempt to bring back those lost memories. The closer she gets to the truth, however, the less time she has to remain alive. Now, the real killer is going to silence her, before she can remember the details of that horrifying night, when she was an innocent witness."

The clock is ticking for the Laura, the Watson Girl. Can Tess go back through the initial investigation from 15 years ago in just a few days, before the real killer makes a move on Laura? Tess's superiors think she is wrong, don't want to provide help and worse than that, they don't want to provide protective custody for Laura.
What I like about Tess, is her deductive reasoning, like Sherlock Holmes. For instance, she comments on a colleagues coffee choice and when he asks her how she knew what he had, she proceeds to describe her observations; his age, his build, his probable medical issues, why he would choose low fat and no sugar, and the smell of the coffee which told her the blend. We see this skill in her investigation.
 We also hear from the killer and what he/she is thinking and plotting, but we don't know who it is.
Quite the page turner, a little gritty at times but you won't want to put it down. Surprise ending too.
Leslie Wolfe is one of my new favorite authors. Her third in this series is "A Glimpse of Death".
Leslie also has written a series of five Alex Hoffman books. I have read the first one, The Executive.
About the author:
"Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe is passionate about writing fiction, despite spending a significant number of years climbing the corporate ladder. Leaving the coveted world of boardrooms for the blissful peace of the Florida-based “Wolves’ den,” Leslie answers one true calling: writing.
Leslie’s novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. Fascinated by technology and psychology, Leslie brings extensive background and research in these fields, that empower and add texture to a signature, multi-dimensional, engaging writing style.

Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller."

I received a free copy and voluntarily reviewed The Watson Girl.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The 14th Colony

I bet you are thinking I am not much of a blogger since I have been absent for 3+ weeks.

Had some days off work and did some fun things and went toodling around. As far as reading, I was reading our Mystery Book Club,s May selection: The 14th Colony by Steve Berry.


It is the 11th book in the Cotton Malone series. Here is what it is about.

"Shot down over Siberia in what was to be a simple meet-and-greet-mission, ex-Justice Department agent Cotton Malone is forced into a fight for survival against Aleksandr Zorin, whose loyalty to the former Soviet Union has festered for decades into an intense hatred of the United States.
Before escaping, Malone learns that Zorin and another ex-KGB officer, this one a sleeper still imbedded in the West, are headed overseas to Washington D.C. Inauguration Day-noon on January 20th-is only hours away. A flaw in the Constitution, and an even more flawed presidential succession act, have opened the door to political chaos and Zorin intends to exploit both weaknesses to their fullest.
Armed with a weapon leftover from the Cold War, one long thought to be just a myth, Zorin plans to attack. He's aided by a shocking secret hidden in the archives of America's oldest fraternal organization-the Society of Cincinnati-a group that once lent out its military savvy to presidents, including helping to formulate three covert invasion plans of Canada.
In a race against the clock that starts in the frozen extremes of Russia and ultimately ends at the White House itself, Malone must not only battle Zorin, he must also confront his deepest fear, a crippling weakness that he's long denied but one that now jeopardizes everything. Steve Berry's trademark mix of fact, fiction, history and speculation, is all here, front and center, in this provocative new thriller."

I will start with what I thought about the book and then share the MBC's thoughts.

I will call this a political thriller. There is a lot of true history inserted into the story, history that I was not aware of. Partly because I was a little young at the time and partly because I never followed politics. History about President Reagan and the Pope at the time. And of course history about the title of the book; The 14th Colony. I never knew that the US had it's eye on Canada to be the 14th colony-way back in the late 1700's.

I found the history interesting. Cotton Malone is a likeable character. (I haven't read any other of the Cotton Malone books.) The end was good, fast paced. The writing is very good. was a really long book for me. Well over 400 pages. I wasn't particularly interested in the storyline until I had beca me interested in Cotton and what was going to happen to him towards the end. It just wasn't the type of book I like to read. It took me over three weeks to read it. Not good for me.

Here is what the MBC group said: One person really loved it and read it in three days. She read it alongside of a history book and kept going back and forth between the two, to compare. One person that has read other books by Steve Berry of the Cotton Malone series, said he liked the other books he read, but didn't like this one as much and it was really long. Others that finished it, agreed that the end was good and are considering reading other in the series because this book talked about something that had happened between Cotton and  Casseopeia (apparently had a relationship) and they want to know what that is all about. There were others that didn't finish it. We also discussed/debated whether or not this was a mystery. I said yes because the mystery is where are the items everyone is looking for. I say it is a thriller.

So, I would say if you like history, politics and spies, you would probably like this book.

Monday, April 17, 2017

When the Clocks Stopped: Legal Mystery Timeslip Thriller

I read a book on Inkitt recently called When the  Clocks Stopped : Legal Mystery Timeslip Thriller spiced with history and a twist of the supernatural (Mysterious Marsh Book 1)  by M.L. Eaton.

It was recommended to me by another author I have been reading, Virginia King of the Selkie Moon series.

I love mysteries. I love historical mysteries. Throwing in a ghostly presence is great. Slip through time is even better. Did I say I really mysteries in English villages? This book has it all.

"1976. A long hot summer in the mysterious Romney Marsh in the South of England.
Hazel Dawkins, a feisty young lawyer, takes maternity leave anticipating a period of tranquillity.
Instead, the dreams begin.n them she encounters Annie, a passionate young woman whose romantic and tempestuous life was adventurously lived, more than two centuries previously, in the cottage that Hazel now occupies.
As their destinies entwine, Hazel not only confronts a terrifying challenge that parallels history, she finds herself desperately fighting for survival in a cruel and unforgiving age. Even more disturbing is the realisation that her battle will affect the future for those in the past whose fate is, as yet, unwritten.
Her only ally is Annie. Together they face events that echo through the centuries, events that are as violent and compelling as they are unexpected.
And, as the past collides with the present, the time for the birth of Hazel's child draws ever nearer."

All Hazel wants to do is drop her busy modern career as an attorney, and get ready to be a mother. She and her husband move to a small English village and find a great old cottage.

Did she see an old lady in a rocking chair in that room? Must be her imagination. 

Hazel gets roped into writing wills for the people in the village, but a couple of the women seem a bit unhinged. Noises in the  attic? Smuggling people? Got to be someone's imagination. The more Hazel gets involved with these people, the more danger she is in. But she has help from Annie who lived in another time...and vice versa.

The book goes back and forth between present day and late 1700's, set in the same town of Rype. When the clocks stop, some people are able to slip through the veil of time. I love that stuff. :)

Fast paced and very suspenseful. I am happy to see it is Book One. It is available on Amazon also.

About M.L. Eaton: Retired from legal practice and semi-retired from holistic therapy - although she still teaches Reiki and other workshops - Marion lives close to the sea in the beautiful East Sussex countryside with a long-suffering husband, a lazy saluki and an urge to write into the small hours.

Have you ever heard of Inkitt?  Someone sent me a book to read that was on Inkitt. " The Hipster's Digital Library for Writers and Readers... Inkitt is a free platform for writers to cultivate ideas and watch their stories grow. On our site, users collaborate with fellow writers and readers to give each other feedback and improve. their work."

There are stories on this site, by genre, that you can read for free. There are writing contests, a beta read group (someone hold my hands down), other groups, publishing information, and an online store.

Here's the link.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Short Stories

There seems to be a lot of short stories popping up, like in the old days. As a kid, I always liked the short stories in The Reader's Digest. I didn't really hear about any for many years, but maybe I just missed something. I think they are great when, a) you are in between novels, b) only have may 30 minutes and want to read something, but you know if you go back to the current novel you are reading, you won't be able to put it down.

Here are few I read recently:

Tea Time With Mrs. Grammar Person by Barbara Ventkataraman.

"Fear not, Gentle Writer, Mrs. Grammar Person is here and she has the answers to all of the questions you never thought to ask. As a dedicated and serious grammarian, she will do what it takes to be entertaining and enlightening, but never vulgar or coarse. Heavens, no! Where are her smelling salts? Warm and witty, Mrs. G.P. makes grammar interesting with rhyming, wishful thinking, story-telling and a champagne toast. You are cordially invited to join her for a spot of tea!"

This is a whimsical look at grammar in the English language. As we all remember from "grammar" school, this topic is pretty dry and boring. This book is great, going over all kinds of problematic words and their proper usage, told like a story with fun examples, that might even help you remember the rules. It also includes funny (as in both peculiar and amusing) words such as lickety-split, brouhaha, gobbledydook etc. and their meaning, before Mrs. Grammar Person signs off for her dinner date with Mr. Syntax.

Cute cover, don't you think?

If You'd Just Listened To Me in the First Place also by Barbara Ventkataraman.


"Nagging just sounds so negative, and I am not a negative person. Truth is, I’m the kind of person you'd ask for directions if you were lost, or tell your life story to while waiting in line at the grocery store, which has happened on more than one occasion, believe me."  
Sure, Ella Boudreaux is great at nagging--in fact, she’s the best---but where has it gotten her?
Nowhere, that’s where.
She can’t hold onto a job and she can’t find her true calling, but she knows it’s out there. Could a handsome stranger help her find her destiny? Or maybe he was her destiny..."

Cute, fun short story about how Ella and Charlie meet, family and family business and how sometimes you have to go all the way around to get to the same place that you would have "If You'd Just Listened To Me in the First Place."

"Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.

She is the author of "Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person"; "The Fight for Magicallus," a children's fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, "If You'd Just Listened to Me in the First Place"; and two books of humorous essays: "I'm Not Talking about You, Of Course" and "A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities," which are part of the "Quirky Essays for Quirky People" series. Both books of humorous essays won the "Indie Book of the Day" award.

Her popular Jamie Quinn Mystery Series includes: "Death by Didgeridoo," "The Case of the Killer Divorce," "Peril in the Park,"  "Engaged in Danger"."

The fifth in the series is soon to be released:  "Jeopardy in July".

Check out Barbara's blog, A Trip to the Mobius Strip -

Dead as a Dodo by Lee Hayton (previously wrote as Katherine Hayton).

"This is the first outing in my new Birdman Series and is short, sharp, and succinct...that leads into a longer novel where the criminal underbelly may or may not triumph."

This very short story, is about Alvin Williams as he lays dying in a hospital, surrounded by his family and what he experiences. I am interested to see how this will tie into the first in the The Birdman Series, "Eating Crow."  I have read several of Katherine Hayton's novels, so I bet it will be good. It's on my TBR list.

Here is her blog:
For all the dark thrillers and mysteries she writes, she is actually pretty funny in her writings in her blog.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Third Note by Virginia King

Last week, I read The Third Note, Selkie Moon Mystery #3 by Virginia King.


Here's what this book is about:

"After returning from her last strange quest, Selkie Moon is more than ready to settle down. So when she receives a parcel from her great grandmother 35 years after her death, opening it seems like such a bad idea.

But curiosity wins and the objects it contains plunge Selkie into long-buried family secrets. Suddenly an old mystery begins to echo with the present and she's wrapped in a spell that won’t let go: frightening visions, deadly encounters and a pull from the past that she can’t ignore. What happened down by the old stone well in 1896 – and why does it matter to Selkie after more than a hundred years? Armed with only her wits and psychic twinges that are hardly reliable, Selkie is drawn into a web of cryptic clues that delve deep into the folklore of Ireland where superstition still weaves a powerful – and fatal – spell.

If you love mysteries with lightning pace, twists and turns you never see coming, quirky clues and a sprinkling of the supernatural, then you’ll love The Third Note.

Join Selkie Moon on a quest that will threaten not only her sanity, but her life."

The Third Note is truly magical. Full of mystery, Irish folklore, and family history, the story of Selkie Moon continues. This is probably my favorite of the three, as the characters have developed more, we find out more about Selkie's past and her "abilities", and Selkie finds out more about herself. All of the Selkies' fun and quirky friends from the first two books are there; Davina, Derek, Coral and of course her romantic interest, Alister. If you are love mysteries with a paranormal flavor, you will love the Selkie Moon books.

Start with the prequel, Laying Ghosts, by getting your free copy here:

Laying Ghosts sets up the story of Selkie and how she comes where she is in Book One - The First Lie.

The Third Note was just published this week and is available on Amazon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and volunteered to write this review

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Onyx Webb Book 8

Are you reading the Onyx Webb series? I highly recommend it if you like ghosts, serial killers, lifestyles of the rich and famous, different timelines and suspense.


Book 8 is like a ride on the Italian Bobs (see Book 1).

Here is what the series and Book 8 is about:

"The timelines - the web - is more tightened than ever. Although the connections are clear, suspense reigns as always.

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.
The billionaire Mulvaney family, piano prodigy Juniper Cole and her brother Quinn, paranormal show hosts Cryer and Fudge, and a few others make up the core of the series. Written like a book version of your favorite tv series (think: supernatural soap opera like American Horror Story) each character’s story moves forward with most every episode. It may appear that the characters are entirely unrelated and yet episode by episode, the connections will become clearer. Like being an inch away from a spider web, with each book, the web will move further and further away revealing the full story of character and most importantly, the stunning conclusion for Onyx Webb herself.  

Onyx and Alistar's grandson Noah grow close as they create a "life" together with exciting new projects. The Mulvaney mansion is crawling with ghosts as a big event looms. Stan Lee continues to make mistakes without consequences, for now."

Here is my favorite part of Book 8:

One (that's right, one of a few) of the ghosts sharing with Declan, the Mulvaney patriarch;

"You don't know, do you? Her name is Juniper. In fact you have quite a menagerie of the dead hanging around the mansion. Let's see: There's Juniper and the one in the bowler hat (Declan's limo driver no less) and the black man with the blind woman. That makes three right there. Oh and now me - four. It's almost as if you're running a bed and breakfast  for the deceased-a dead and breakfast, if you will."

In Book 8, we have some humor and we are led to believe everything is going to alright. The bad guys are going to get theirs' and the good guys will prevail. All of the sudden the roller coaster takes a big dip and our hearts are in our throats. Oh my. 

I will hate for Book 10 to come around and end the story, really.  I could see HBO or Netflix picking the series up. I like it better than the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood series. (I love Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden series though).

Book 9 soon....

Friday, March 3, 2017

Poisoned Pen Press

What do you get when you have 15+ mystery book enthusiasts all read different books? You get a long list of great books to read.
For our March Mystery Book Club (MBC), we read books featured by the Poisoned Pen Press, an independent publisher of mystery novels. The Poisoned Pen Press was founded by Barbara G. Peters and her husband, Robert Rosenwald. Barbara Peters also owns The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale Arizona.

One featured series that I find interesting is The British Library Crime Classics. At a glance, it looks like they are books published anywhere from the mid 1800's thru the early 1900's. Here is the cover of one that one of the MBC members read. I love these vintage pictures.

The Female Detective

Following, is the list of the books we all read. I felt like Scarlett O'Hara when Rhett took her on the riverboat in New Orleans and she kept grabbing the pastries as the pastry cart went by, while her mouth was full. (Did I mention we also had a pot luck? This is the scene where he tells her she will get fat, or in my case, I will have too many books.) I heard many authors and titles of books I want to read.

Image result for picture of scarlett o'hara in gone with the wind in new orleans

There are a few books at the end of the list that are not from the Poisoned Pen Press list. Some of the MBC members read some other books and shared them, so I am including them.

Deadly Descent – Lottie Albright Mystery #1 by Charlotte Hinger
Constable Molly Smith Mysteries by Vicki Delany
In The Shadow of the Glacier – Constable Molly Smith Mystery #1
Negative Image – Constable Molly Smith Mystery #4
Unreasonable Doubt – Constable Molly Smith Mystery #8

Alafair Tucker Mysteries by Donis Casey
The Old Buzzard Had It Coming – Alafair Tucker Mystery #1
All Men Fear Me – Alafair Tucker Mystery #8
The Return of the Raven Mocker – Alafair Tucker Tucker #9 Mystery
Brooklyn Bones – Erica Donato Mystery #1 by Triss Stein
The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester ( From the British Library Crimes Classics list, originally published in 1864, first detective novel to feature a professional female detective)
Mary Russell’s War and Other Stories of Suspense by Laurie R. King (Mary Russell is Sherlock Holmes wife in this the series by this other. This book has 10 short stories)
The Dead Hand by Michael Kahn
Liar Liar by K.J. Larsen (debut novel)
Phryne Fisher novels and Corinna Chapman Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood
Cocaine Blues – Phryne Fisher novel #1
Queen of the Flowers – Phryne Fisher novel #14
Dead Man’s Chest – Phryne Fisher novel #18
Murder and Mendelssohn – Phryne Fisher novel #20
Earthly Delights Corinna Chapman Mystery #1
Cooking the Books – Corinna Chapman Mystery #6
(Did you know that Phryne Fisher is a television series offered on Netflix? Yep I am going to add that to my watchlist.)

Santorini Caesars – Chief Inspector Kaldis Mystery #8 by Jeffrey Siger
Murder Most Unfortunate – Rick Montoya Italian Mystery #3 by David P. Wagner
Dead Weight – The Posadas County Mysteries #8 by Steven F. Havill
The Coffin Trail - A Lake District Mystery #1 by Martin Edwards
Kate Turner, DVM Mysteries by Eileen Brady
Muzzled - A Kate Turner, DVM Mystery #1 (2013 Discover Mystery Award Winner)
Unleashed - A Kate Turner, DVM Mystery #1
Caught Dead – Rick Van Lam Mystery #1 by Andrew Lanh
Books other than from Poisoned Pen Press
Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly (a debut novel)
A Beautiful Place to Die – Martha’s Vineyard Mystery #1 by Phillip Craig
Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller
Restless in the Grave by Dana Stabenow (some of her books are featured with Poison Pen Press)

Check out the Poisoned Press' websites. They have lots of really good books featured.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Second Path - Selkie Moon Mystery #2

The Second Path is book #2 in the Selkie Moon Mystery series by Virginia King.


(Book #1 is The First Lie. I read it last year and wrote about it.)

Here's what The Second Path is about:

"A rock ripped from the soil, a message scrawled in lipstick on the floor, a torn photo, a silver spoon… What do they all mean?

Only her subconscious knows.

When we last left Selkie Moon, she was running towards the source of her deepest primal fear: the sea. Now she finds herself naked on the beach, stunned that she has no memory of the past two weeks.

Recovering at a friend’s house, Selkie wakes up to discover a bizarre collection of items scattered across the floor. Items she apparently gathered in her sleep. Finding the ho'ohihi – the interconnectedness – between them will carry her around the globe, from Honolulu to Sydney to Paris. A dark fairy tale journey filled with fear and despair, laughter and hope, The Second Path has Selkie searching for her place in the world, in her relationships, and in herself."

I am drawn to this series because of the mystique surrounding the mystery. The books mix mythology with real life and Selkie's journey to leave her past behind and start a new life.

We follow Selkie from Honolulu to Paris to Tours, France to continue her journey into her struggle to leave her haunting past and begin anew. With the help (?) of her intuitive, sometimes psychic friends, she searches the beach where she disappeared and caves in France to find answers. Meanwhile Selkie tries to make a living with her seminars, Being Sleek. All while having strange dreams, writing messages in her sleep, and trying her hand at art to help her bring her answers. Then there is Alister, who seems to be the perfect person to be in her new life, but she keeps pushing away. The writing of the story is magical; lots of great descriptions of not only the landscapes, and tangible things, but of the quirky people Selkie continues to meet and her own thoughts and the process of making sense of everything. Surprise ending. At least to me.

I always like a book with a little mystique in it.

Here's a little bit about the author Virginia King and how she came to write about Selkie Moon that is also has some mystique to it.

"When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series, what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.

Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.

You can read about how the series evolved here: here:, taking on a life of its own through several versions, guided by readers and editors and agents and publishers. The First Lie has won a BRAG Medallion and Book Two in the series, The Second Path, has now been published with Book Three well underway."

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mystery Thriller Week February 12-22 2017

Just found out about this event on author Barbara Venkataraman's blog A Trip to the Mobius Strip.
She writes the Jamie Quinn series that I mentioned in a post.

Anyhow it starts today so I am quickly posting this so you can get signed up too. I just did.

Here is some of what it is about.

"You will receive access to all the events scheduled.  You will be invited to meet some of these award-winning and best-selling writers on various digital platforms. Ask them questions, get tips and see what they are up to now. Find your new favorite author.
You will also have free passes to giveaways, Facebook chats, free books, interview links and more. All these treats will be provided to super fans like yourself. "

Have you tried any of these events? I am currently participating in a Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt hosted by Kathi Daley - author of the Zoe Donovan series.  I have done a couple of these. Lots of fun. You find out about other authors and series they write and you may win a book!

I won 5 books in the first one I did about a year and half. That is how I was introduced to Virginia King and her Selkie Moon series. I talked about that in a post also. I am on the second in the series, The Second Path, having read the prequel and the first in the series, The First Lie.

Fun fun fun.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Redemption Road by John Hary

Our February Mystery Book Club selection was Redemption Road by John Hart.



A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free. But for how long?

And deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, the unthinkable has just happened…

This is a town on the brink. This is a road with no mercy."

Have you read any of John Hart's books? This was the first one I have read.
Of note: "Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the New York Times Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history's only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with Down River and The Last Child.'

So the story has some gritty, icky parts. But...his writing is so good, I really got wrapped up in the story and couldn't put it down. It seems like there are several separate stories going on but they are connected. I liked it and would read other books by John Hart. His previous books are stand alones but he is writing a sequel to The Last Child."

What did the book club members think? Most liked it and agreed the writing was really good, but most didn't like the gruesome parts. So be warned but it was really good.

Here's the authors website:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Exective by Leslie Wolfe

This is the second book by Leslie Wolfe that I read, although the first, Dawn Girl, is unrelated to  Executive. This is the first Alex Hoffman book.


About the book:
"A friendly fire incident in Afghanistan takes a serious toll.
A drone, out of control, brings death and wreaks havoc on a Florida highway.
An apparently successful corporation comes under scrutiny.

A memorable incursion behind corporate closed doors, led by an up-and-coming executive on a mission to find the truth about the lives lost to the very technology that was mandated to protect them.

Our skies aren't safe anymore.

A thought-provoking page turner, Executive sizzles with plausible scenarios, conveyed in technical and business terminology at an unrelenting pace.

Exploring the controversial territory of toxic leadership and its long term consequences, Executive delivers an insightful analysis spiced with cutting-edge technology and science, in an exciting, masterful political technothriller.

Fans of Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, James Bond, and Jack Reacher will be intrigued by Alex Hoffmann."

This book hooked me in the first couple of pages. A sneak peek was at the end of Dawn Girl and I couldn't put it down. But the sneak peek ended so I quickly downloaded the book.

Alex Hoffman is recruited by The Agency. Their clients are, as in this case, companies that have concerning issues they cannot get to the bottom of. Alex's assignment is to be hired as an Executive for NanoLance. NanoLance manufactures drones that the military has purchased. A few of the drones have gone rogue and killed people.  Alex is to insert herself into NanoLance and basically spy.

It is fast paced. Lots of surprises and near misses for Alex as she tries to find out who is behind all the corruption in the company. And there are plenty of candidates.

I look forward to more books about Alex and The Agency.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Breaking Point by C.T. Mitchell

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I curse it at least once a day.

On the other hand, you can find some great authors and books on the internet. I think I found C.T. Mitchell by entering a "win 35 books" deals on FB. I can't say I won the grand prize but did get on several email lists and subsequently emails offering free or almost free books. As a bookaholic, I can't resist.  He resides in Australia and has books on Goodreads and Amazon. Another great author from "down under".

In the first email I got from C.T., I was sent a free novella; Rejection - A Jack Creed Novella.

From the website:

"In this mystery thriller short story, UK born Nicholas Weatherby is about to ‘wake up’ the sleepy, country village of Lismore, NSW, Australia with a very sick, bitter and twisted plan of revenge. Communicating only through YouTube, this recluse has attracted a friend; a sympathizer who together wants to deliver Australia’s first University mass shooting.

But they never planned on Australian detective Jack Creed to be on the case. Always seeking criminal justice Jack is up to his armpits with a myriad of suspects including Nicholas’s dumbfounded parents, a taunting ex-girlfriend and a sympathizer with deep childhood scars – all with secrets to hide – making this crime fiction more mysterious."

O.K. I am not a fan of mass shooting stories since we hear about that a lot lately here. But the Jack Creed character was intriguing. So when I saw the first full Jack Creed novel - Breaking Point I grabbed it.


From the website:

"The criminal investigation is over budget. It’s in danger of being closed down. Creed’s ‘new’ murder squad team have exhausted all leads. Cabarita Beach residents are petrified; they want answers.

Then ex UK resident Sam Thompson’s charred remains are discovered. This victim is different. A small crack appears giving this police procedural case hope. The serial killer has slipped up.

From the bestselling Australian author of the Detective Jack Creed Box Set, C T Mitchell serves up his best fast paced, maximum action, psychological pulp thriller novel with a tsunami of twists and turns that will keep you guessing right to the last page in this latest mystery, thriller and suspense series. You won’t pick the ending."

I loved the book. Couldn't stop reading it. The story was good with a strong build up of suspense and sense of urgency to catch the killer. All clues pointed to Talbot yet enough things didn't add up to keep us looking and thinking - did he or didn't he. Jack Creed is a likeable character with lots of gut experience. Jo is a young, smart police officer with a fair amount of common sense although we had to holler at her a few times. She shows lots of promise and I look forward to reading more cases in their partnership.

There are actually 6 other Jack Creed short stories before this novel.  C.T. also writes a cozy series that I have acquired but have not had a chance to read yet. I love the covers of the books in the series with Lady Margaret Turnbull. Here is the first one.


Here is C. T.'s website if you want to check it out. He also writes some interesting short articles on his site. For example " Four Things James Patterson Told Me About Writing Over Lunch" and most recently, "Naming a Murder Victim-You Choose". He will also send you two of his bestsellers, free.

Check it out!