Friday, June 15, 2018

Recommendations for your summer reading list

For our June Mystery Book Club, we read books that received awards this year. We all choose books from the Stop You Killing Me website. You have probably heard of some of the award categories: Agatha, Lefty, Anthony, Dagger etc. Each category is for a specific type of mystery and there are several awards under each category such as: Best First Novel, Best Historical, Best Contemporary. If you haven't looked at this site before, here is the link. Look on the left side to find the Book Awards or peruse the other options; Characters, Authors and many other indexes. Set aside plenty of time.

I wanted to share the list of books the MBC members read. It seemed like everyone enjoyed their choice of book or books and some even read out of their comfort zone and decided it wasn't too bad. Several of us read the same books.

Glass Houses Louise Penny
A Great Reckoning Louise Penny
In Farleigh Field Rhys Bowen
The Paris Spy Susan Elliot McNeil
The Second Girl David Swinsen
Prussian Blue Phillip Kerr
A Cajun Christmas Killing Ellen Byron
The Widow Fiona Barton
The Force Don Winslow
The Dime  Kathleen Kent 
She Rides Shotgun Jordan Harper
Murder on the Hour Elizabeth J. Duncan
Lost Luggage Wendall Thomas
Dying on the Vine Marla Cooper
The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Inn  Gigi Pandian

Also at our June meeting, our MBC organizer/leader, Kay, shared her trip to the Malice Domestic which is a convention centered around conventional mysteries. Here is the link to their website.

It sounds so fun. Several of the above authors were there. Kay brought lots of giveaways for us. I will leave you with a picture of what I grabbed. I like to decorate the shelves of my home library with these. (Do you see a common theme of what I picked out? Cats, recipes, and spooky houses.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Back with Hallmark Movies and Mysteries for summer

I am back after a few months break from posting about books, movies and t.v. shows, typically with a mystery theme. I am going to try to catch us up on what I have been reading and watching.

Seemed like there was so much going on this spring with a trip, genealogy seminar, house projects (Didn't I say that last year?) and that work thing.

Not sure where you are but it is summer here and it has started off with July and August heat, in July. I saw this ice cream truck the other day.

potd-meltingicecreamtruck.jpgWell not really, but it has been 100 F already and many days close to it.

Since it is too hot to be outside much here, I look for books to read and things to watch on t.v.
Let's start today with what's on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries this summer.

This month, Hallmark M&M is featuring three new Hailey Dean mysteries. It is a Three Part Event. One aired earlier this month and you can probably catch it in a rerun. The second is showing this week.

1. 2+2 = Murder
Hailey attends her niece's school recital only to learn that the beloved music teacher has vanished. Hailey soon discovers several startling secrets amongst the staff, as well as a link between the missing young teacher and the school’s reconstruction funds. Stars Kellie Martin and Chad Lowe. This first movie is showing again 6/17/18 at 5 p.m. central 

2. A Marriage Made for Murder
Hailey's professional code of ethics prevents her from going to the police about a client's confession, so she must find another way to bring the killer to justice. Stars Kellie Martin and Chad Lowe. It originally ran on Sunday 6/10/18. The next showing is Sunday 6/17/18 at 6 p.m. central.

3. A Will to Kill
Emotionally ready to confront her fiancé's 15-year-old murder, Hailey finds herself caught up in the case of a missing college coed. The deeper Hailey digs into the young woman's disappearance the more she is convinced the two events are related. Stars Kellie Martin and Chad Lowe. Showing 6/17/18 at 8 p.m. central

The movies also star Mathew MacCaul as Hailey's almost, probably going to be her boyfriend, Giacomo Beassato as the local policeman that works with Hailey, and Viv Leacock as the undercover policeman who is her good friend and also gets in the middle of the mysteries. Nancy Grace is the writer of course, and typically makes a short appearance in each movie.

I really enjoy this series. Set you DVR for 6/17/18.

Each Sunday will have a mystery movie. Coming up will be Aurora Teagarden mysteries and Garage Sale Mysteries. I will update that schedule. Of course Hallmark M&M (not to be confused with the plain Hallmark channel) always shows Murder She Wrote, Columbo, Hart to Hart and other "old" t.v. series.

Here is the link to the website so you can check it out.

Next: a list of summer reads.

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.