Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Mirrors by E.F. Townsend - a little Halloweeny for this time of year

 I read The Mirrors by E.F. Townsend earlier this month and really liked it. It could be considered a ghost story, so it is fitting for this time of year.

The Mirrors is the first book in a new series - A Tori Hartley Mystery.

About:  "Is it a murderer or a ghost?
Tori Hartley rents out one of the magnificent old mansions in Old Louisville to Scott Mallory, who disappears without a trace. Facing an alarming lack of physical evidence, the police look to Scott’s blog, in which he claims to have been trying to contact a ghost by hanging hundreds of mirrors though out the house. Frantic to find her son, Scott’s mother hires a paranormal detective, Hal Breakspear. Tori finds an unlikely ally in Hal as together they investigate to determine if there truly is paranormal activity in the house, or if it only a ruse to hide a real crime by a flesh-and-blood murderer."

This description doesn't do this book justice. I found it gripping; a mesmerizing tale of ghosts, murder, historical fiction and romance. 

Tori is trying to start a new life in Louisville; owning an old, large mansion and renting it out, while buying and selling antiques.

 When the police are investigating the disappearance of her one and only renter, Scott, she finds that he has lined the long hallway with mirrors of all kinds. When Hal, a private investigator and paranormal investigator is called in, Tori inserts herself into the investigation. Scott's blog has some clues as to why all the mirrors, and hints about a ghost but it ended abruptly and now he is missing.

Lots of creepy, scary things happen during their investigations that made me jump. As Tori talks to the neighbors and historical experts of the area, many things are found out that may account for a haunting. BUT some other things are going on that point to something else. Very well written to keep you guessing and looking over your shoulder. 

I think this will be a good series. My guess is that Tori will join Hal in more of his investigations even though he prefers to work solo.

I received an ARC of this book and voluntarily provided this review.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

The Widows by Jess Montgomery

 Our Mystery Book Club read The Widows by Jess Montgomery for our October selection. 

I thought it was a good historical fiction/mystery and is the first book in The Kinship Series.

About: "Kinship, Ohio, 1924: When Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel Ross, the town’s widely respected sheriff, is killed while transporting a prisoner, she is devastated and vows to avenge his death. Hours after his funeral, a stranger appears at her door. Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner’s widow, is unaware that Daniel has died, and begs to speak with him about her missing daughter. From miles away but worlds apart, Lily and Marvena’s lives collide as they realize that Daniel was not the man that either of them believed him to be—and that his murder is far more complex than either of them could have imagined. Inspired by the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, this is a powerful debut about two women’s search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community. 

Inspired by the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, this is a powerful debut about two women’s search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community."

I like historical novels for one.  This is based on Ohio's first female sheriff as it says.

This is Maude Collins. "Originally appointed to the job after her husband, Vinton County Sheriff Fletcher Collins, was murdered, Sheriff Maude (as she was called) was elected by an impressive majority the following year. During her groundbreaking tenure, Maude Collins not only transported a fair number of prisoners, she also took down moonshine stills, investigated five murders, and even took the former marshal of Hamden into custody after he was convicted of killing a suspect."

You can read more about her here: https://ohioec.org/ohio-cooperative-living/sheriff-maude-makes-history/#:~:text=Maude%20Collins%20was%20the%20first,the%20county's%20clerk%20of%20courts.

Now the book The Widows starts with the same incident but then brings in other things that were happening at the time; moonshine, mines and treatment of the workers, move to start unions, and treatment of women. It makes for a good story. 

Lily is determined to find out what happened to her husband, not buying the explanations others are giving her. She helped her husband in the jail and picked up on a thing or two. As Marvena's story entwines with hers, she doesn't know whether to be angry with Daniel or help Marvena. The story twists together more and more as the women pull together to save the town and it's people, risking their own lives.

I really liked it. In all fairness, the MBC had mixed reviews. Some loved it. Some thought it was a little long, but we agreed being a first book in a series, characters and backgrounds need to be set up. A couple of people had read the second book in the series, The Hollows and liked it. A third book, The Stills, is coming our March of 2021. 

About the author: Jess Montgomery


"Under Jess's given name, she is a newspaper columnist, focusing on the literary life, authors and events of her native Dayton, Ohio for the Dayton Daily News. Her first novel in the Kinship Historical Mystery series, THE WIDOWS, garnered awards even before publication: Montgomery County (Ohio) Arts & Cultural District (MCAD) Artist Opportunity Grant (2018); Individual Excellence Award (2016) in Literary Arts from Ohio Arts Council; John E. Nance Writer in Residence at Thurber House (Columbus, Ohio) in 2014.

I recommend The Widows if you like historical mysteries with strong female characters and are looking for a new series.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Hallmark Mystery Movies Back?


I saw on one of my FB mystery book clubs, an announcement about a new Aurora Teagarden mystery movie coming up in November, so I went sleuthing.

October 11, 2020 8 p.m. central

Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit Stage Death

While backstage on opening night of a new play by celebrated murder mystery author/director Neil Khan, photographer Allie Adams discovers the body of the show’s leading lady, murdered before the curtain went up. As Willow Haven PD Detective Sam Acosta launches his investigation, he invites Allie – who has been helpful in solving his first two murder cases since joining the force -- to unofficially assist him on the. case. However, Allie’s involvement makes her a target for murder herself when she gets too close to the truth. Starring Alexa PenaVegaCarlos PenaVega and Willie Aames."

October 18, 2020 8 p.m. central

Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and it Feels So Good

"Aurora's high school reunion turns deadly when a body is found in the hotel pool. Aurora and her Real Murders Club help investigate which classmate was most likely to kill. Stars Candace Cameron BureNiall Matter, and Marilu Henner."

That's all I can find out for now. Of course once "the holidays" are closer, for some reason they run all Christmas movies. Isn't there Christmas mystery movies.

Monday, October 5, 2020

All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny

 Gosh I feel like time is getting away from me and that I have been down the rabbit hole. Even though we are still working 100% at home, it seems we are back to our regular volume of work, which means I actually have to work the full eight hours or more to "get it done". On the home side, we have done a few more outings, of taking drives, a couple of masked visits, and football is back, so there is some of that to be watched. 

I listened to All the Devils Are Here on Audible and finished it a couple of weeks ago. Realized I didn't post to me Goodreads list or mention it here. 

I have read all of the books in the Inspector Gamache series and liked them all a lot. I have probably mentioned that the series is a favorite of most of the members in out Mystery Book Club.

This is the 16th book in the Gamache series.

About: " On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life. When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art. It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades. A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized. Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family. For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide. "

As I mentioned, I listened to this book. The narrator, Robert Bathurst is very good. 

I thought it was a very good book in which we find out more about Gamache's childhood, and his struggles with his own son, Daniel. Meanwhile, the person that raised Armand, his godfather Stephen, is in critical condition and it is doubtful he will survive. As Armand investigates the hit and run, more questions are found rather than answers. And some seem to have a tie to Daniel. Complex story that will have you thinking. If you listen to it, you will want to listen to it within an not too long amount of time and without distraction. Or I would recommend reading the book. I found myself rewinding to refresh what had happened because I would leave it for the weekend or several days. It will keep you on your toes. 

Towards the end, things really pick up and there is a race to the end that will have you on the edge of your seat. And then a heart warming ending. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Subscription box, a Halloween anthology and Burning Secrets

 As promised, here is what I got in my Mystery Subscription Box from Strand Bookstore.

One hardback book: Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden who is an enrolled citizen of the Sincagu Lakota tribe. I think it sounds really good and the author sounds interesting too.

"A groundbreaking thriller about a vigilante on a Native American reservation who embarks on a dangerous mission to track down the source of a heroin influx." 

One paperback book: IQ by Joe Ide.  I did read this a couple of years ago, so will probably share it.

"A resident of one of LA's toughest neighborhoods uses his blistering intellect to solve the crimes the LAPD ignores. East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood's high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can't or won't touch."

Four Short Stories: These are in the folded items on the left. They are short short stories but have very interesting pictures of art. If you open all of them and flip them over, they fit together to make one poster.

A carry bag from Strand: Their logo says "18 miles of books".

Earl Grey White Tea: Nice!

A Linda's Lollies Wild Cherry Pop

A little fun during this continuing saga.

I read one short story from a Halloween anthology, Pumpkins and Potions, so far. Apple Bobbing Horror by Mona Marple.

Cute, fast read about a Halloween party in the town of Mystic Springs - one of the series Mona writes. The other authors are listed below. Any you have read books by these authors?

About: "Bats, hats, and talking cats abound!

Are you ready for your annual dose of Halloween hijinx, magic, and mystery? Then brew up a cuppa, give your cauldron a stir, and carve out the time for some witchy fun in this holiday anthology.

Featuring loads of spooky tales brewed up by 16 of your favorite paranormal cozy mystery authors, including:

Tegan Maher, Misty Bane, Regina Welling and Erin Lynn, Leighann Dobbs, Samantha Silver, Ava Mallory, Stephanie Damore, Constance Barker, M.Z. Andrews, Mona Marple, Elle Adams, April Aasheim, Jenna St. James, Nikki Haverstock, K.M. Waller, and Amorette Anderson.'

Burning Secrets by Shawn McGuire - Whispering Pines Mystery book 11. Are you a Whispering Pines fan?

About: "Sheriff Jayne O’Shea is on edge. Hopeful applicants have taken over the commons area, all of them begging to become residents. Villagers who left long ago have returned, causing an uproar among the locals. The slow burn feud between the sister witches has reached the boiling point. And her parents are acting just plain weird. Fortunately, it’s time for the annual Beltane celebration, the last opportunity for everyone to gather before tourists invade the village for the summer. Attendees dance around the Maypole, decorate fairy chairs, weave witch ladders, and nibble Green Man cake. Good, innocent fun. Except, this year’s fire festival is being held during the driest spring the Northwoods has seen in a decade. And like bees to honey, the event has attracted an arsonist intent on burning the place to the ground one little fire at a time."

Backgound: This series takes place in the Northwoods of Wisc. (where my dad's family is from and where I lived as a kid and went to every summer to visit. Get the attraction?) Several towns that I know and inferences to others are mentioned and I get a kick out of that. 

Whispering Pines is a small village that is owned by Jayne O'Shea's parents, that was owned by Jaynes' grandmother. It is a village where visitors go in the summer to camp, stay in cabins, enjoy lake sports, partake of the homey cafes and shop at the unique shops. The villagers have lived there mostly all their lives. You cannot just move there. You have to go before the council and apply and be able to bring something to the village to sustain yourself and the village. Jayne came to the village after leaving a job in the police department in a big city and a break up with a fiance. She was voted Sheriff and plays a big part in the village. She started a B&B in her grandmother's house after a great deal of renovation.

In this book, the village is threatened in several ways; fire by an arsonist, sisters  Reva and Flavia are really feuding and causing a lot of unrest, and Jayne has a secret to tell the village which threatens the existence of the village and the villagers.

I would start at the beginning of this series as the back story is center in the series and relationships continue to develop. 

This book comes out September 28, 2020. (I received an ARC and voluntarily provided this review)

Next: The Widows by Jess Montgomery. 

I hope you are all well, reading lots and keeping busy with things you like to do. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Murder, Forgotten by Deb Richardson - Moore

 I got to read this very good mystery/thriller/suspense as an ARC.

About: "Julianna Burke, bestselling mystery novelist, has a secret that those closest to her are hiding from the world. Julianna is losing her memory, and with it her powerful gift for storytelling that propelled her to fame. A further devastating blow comes when Connor, Julianna’s beloved husband, is murdered. Even this is not something Julianna’s mind can hold on to, and every day her assistant has to break the heart-wrenching news all over again. Julianna is desperate to know what happened to her husband. As she battles her failing mind to investigate, a detail of the murder surfaces that makes Julianna question everything she’s ever known. Somehow she must fight to find the truth, even though her grip on reality is fading."

I really enjoyed this book. It takes place in South Carolina on Sullivan's Island. 

The author does a great job showing us what Juliana, a popular mystery writer, is thinking and what she can remember and can't remember day to day. The apparent beginnings of dementia. 

They mystery unfolds after Juliana finds her second husband, Connor, stabbed with a letter opener in his study. Her daughter Logan comes to stay with her. Margot is Juliana's assistant and lives with her. As the days go on after the memorial for Connor, Logan starts picking up clues to what maybe happened, who killed Connor. It had to be someone well known to the household because the dog Annabelle did not bark. Trouble is, everyone in the neighborhood, has a key to everyone's ones house in this close knit, well established neighborhood. But who has a key to Juliana's mind, to unlock what she is forgetting. 

As the days go on, everyone could be a suspect; including Logan's brother who has made it clear the house on the beach should be sold and a bundle made. Did Harrison want to get his stepfather out of the way and declare his mother incompetent? Was Connor having an affair and the lover's husband has taken revenge? Or the lover? Juliana in a moment of confusion? The answer may be in the latest novel Juliana is working on.

The story also shows the complicated relationships between family and friends, step-parents and step-children. The island setting adds to the mystique because it limits who the suspects could be and what could have happened. 

The pace really picks up as the another tragedy occurs and the investigation almost comes to a stop.

Very suspenseful ending. 

About Deb Richardson-Moore: Deb Richardson-Moore is a former journalist and former pastor of a church whose parishioners included homeless people. Those experiences combined in her first four books -- a 2012 memoir about her early years at the Triune Mercy Center, and the three-book Branigan Powers mystery series featuring a news reporter and a homeless man.

She has now turned to darker domestic thrillers with the release of "Murder, Forgotten" in 2020.

Deb lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband. They are the parents of three adult children.

She is also the author of The Brannigan Powers Mysteries and there are three books in that cozy mystery series.

This book comes out September 18, 2020.

I received an ARC and voluntarily provided this review.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Checking in

 How are you doing? I believe we are right at six months of this stay at home, masks, etc. Wow. No one thought it would last this long. 

I did take an extra few days off with our holiday last week and we got out and about some. Meaning we got in the car and drove about 50 miles with our masks, disinfectant wipes and just looked around. We were surprised that i.e. Starbucks was still only drive through, Chik fil A was only drive through. We were leery of going it to eat anywhere actually. Finally on Monday we got brave and went into a restaurant to eat. No one at surrounding tables, all masks except to eat etc. 

Meanwhile, don't forget Van der Valk starts on Masterpiece Sunday 9/13/20 at 8 p.m. central time that is.

I am currently listening to All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny. Always so good. 

I am currently reading Murder Forgotten by by Deb Richardson Moore - an ARC of the book that comes out 9/18/20. It is very good and will post here soon. I would finish it tonight but there is a college football game on that I am going to watch.

I also have a couple more books on my table; The Widows by Jess Montgomery for our Mystery Book Club for October,  and a couple three other "read and reviews" for October.

I participated in a "help me write" small group. An author I have followed for her woman's literature series with a supernatural twist, asked if anyone on her mailing list wanted to participate in her "help me write" group for the prequel she was working on. There were four of us that took her up on the offer. She would send out a chapter or two and sometimes ask specific questions, sometimes general, for our opinion about the characters, the flow, the plot etc. We just finished that up this weekend. She actually took some of our ideas and incorporated them. It was a lot of fun.

What I am most excited about for this week is I received a notice that my MYSTERY SUBSCRIPTION BOX shipped! Yay! I almost thought I had missed out on it but it is happening. I will share about that too, when I get it.

Will post some books soon.