Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mystery Book Club's Top Picks of 2016

2016 is coming to a close. We had our last Mystery Book club of the year, earlier in December. We didn't have book that we all read for this month. Instead we brought snacks and treats and our favorite books that we read in 2016.  Here we are.

Our book club leader, Kay, took notes for us and compiled the list of favorites. Thanks Kay! I have done that in the past. It isn't easy. I am sharing them with you in case you need some new books to read. You will notice, they are not all mysteries or fiction.

Alice Quentin series - Kate Rhodes – first book is CROSSBONES YARD
Bell Elkins series - Julia Keller – first book is A KILLING IN THE HILLS
DISPLACEMENT – Lucy Knisley – graphic novel
NEWS OF THE WORLD – Paulette Jiles
THE REST IS SILENCE (Billy Boyle WWII Mystery Book #9) – James R. Benn
MY BELOVED WORLD – Sonia Sotomayor
THE SUSPECT – John Lescroart
BLOOD DEFENSE – Marcia Clark
THE BODY IN THE WARDROBE – Katherine Hall Page
UNDONE – Karen Slaughter
THE SECOND STAGE OF GRIEF (Book #2) – Katherine Hayton
DAWN GIRL – Leslie Wolfe
THE WARBLER GUIDE – Tom Stephenson & Scott Whittle
ME BEFORE YOU – Jojo Moyes
A MAN CALLED OVE – Fredrick Backman
THE WHISTLER – John Grisham
THE WOMAN IN BLUE – Elly Griffiths
WHAT SHE KNEW – Gilly Macmillan
ESCAPE TO EDEN – Rachel McClellan
Jason Stafford series – Michael Sears
Cormoran Strike series – Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
BORN TO RUN – Bruce Springstein
John Ceepak/Danny Boyle series – Chris Grabenstein
These aren't even the books we read during the year for our monthly selections. Would you say we all read a lot? Did you find a couple in that list that were mine?
I have some series this year that I am enjoying reading:
The Ngaire Blake series by Katherine Hayton
Onxy Webb series by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz
Selkie Moon series by Virginia King
Jamie Quinn series by Barbara Venkataraman - cozy
Bill and Piper Robins series by Ed Lynskey - cozy
Isabel and Alma Trumbo by Ed Lynskey - cozy
I also really enjoyed Dawn Girl by Leslie Wolfe - not a cozy. I am reading Executive by her which is #1 in a Alex Hoffman series. Ohhh I did not know that until now.
And here is different year in books that you might identify with.
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See you next year!



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone. I know Christmas is almost over. It is a busy time of year isn't it?

Image may contain: christmas tree, tree and outdoor

I hope you had time to relax and enjoy family as I did. The weather is crazy here; last week we had lows in the 20's (F) and highs in the 40's. Today we were wondering if we needed to turn on the a.c. with 78 degrees. Oh well, it won't last long.

I am enjoying some free time to, as I say, play with my books. :) Just finished a book coming out in January 2017 called Gun by Lee Hayton. Now starting the next Mystery Book Club choice for January, The Lake House by Kate Morton. I have also been catching up on a series called The Librarians. Check it out on TNT if you like a sci fi meets archaeology.

I will leave you with this local sign for the holidays:
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

I read In a Dark, Dark Wood this past weekend. It is Ruth Ware's debut book. Yes, two days, probably six hours. It is a quick read and REALLY holds your attention.


"Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room....

Some things can’t stay secret for ever."

Here is a Halloween poem that prefaces the book:

In a Dark Dark Wood
 In a dark, dark wood there was a dark, dark house;
And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room;
And in the dark, dark room there was a dark, dark cupboard;
And in the dark, dark cupboard there was a dark, dark shelf;
And on the dark, dark shelf there was a dark, dark box; And in the dark, dark box there was a....

Sets a creepy tone.

This is a really good, suspenseful book.

The story goes back and forth between Nora in the hospital with multiple injuries, trying to remember how she got there, to the days before she awoke in the hospital, at her college friend's "hen weekend" aka bachelorette party. The police keep stopping in to question Nora in the hospital but won't tell her anything about what happened to her. She hears two policemen in the hall outside her hospital room, say something about murder. Someone has died but who? And how did she get all these injuries? How is she involved? The story continues with Nora remembering bits and pieces slowly and back to the weekend party that led up to being in the hospital. As Nora remembers more and asks more questions, it appears her life may be in danger too.

It is a very gripping tale. You won't be able to put it down. Really.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Second Stage of Grief by Katherine Hayton


"A false accusation. A brutal murder. Can Ngaire find a killer before he finds her?

Ngaire Blakes is trying to put her life back together. The ex-cop resigned from the police after a vicious assault left her battling PTSD. Dragged into a murder investigation, she’s shocked to discover that all the evidence points to her.

When the body count climbs, Ngaire flees to the cold comfort of her estranged father’s hometown. In danger and not knowing who to trust, she severs contact with her closest allies and must learn to rely on herself if she’s going to catch the killer before it’s too late.

The Second Stage of Grief is the second book in a series of mystery novels set in the dark shadows of New Zealand. If you enjoy gritty mysteries, strong women who rise to the challenge, and thrilling psychological suspense, then you’ll love Katherine Hayton’s latest installment in the Ngaire Blakes trilogy. "

I love the Ngaire Blakes series.

In this second book in the series, we learn more about Ngaire's background, her parents and how she grew up. We also get to visit a different part of New Zealand, Te Kauwhata, where her father lives. I have always like learning about different parts of the world and cultures. We learn about New Zealand tribes and which Ngaire's family comes from. I found that very interesting, and looked up more about the area and people. Also many of the names of the characters are very different. That is interesting to me too. (I know I am not pronouncing "Ngaire" correctly in my head when I read, even though I looked it up.)

Ngaire is trying to find out who is framing her for murder from this remote town with barely any technology, and not letting anyone from Christchurch know where she is. Will she succeed in hiding while the police force sort through suspects? As in previous books, right when you think things are all tied up in a nice package, we are thrown a curve. The author is very good at surprises. This book is very suspenseful. Hard to put down.

Oh it looks like some of the bad guys might follow into the next installment....

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Onyx Webb Book Seven


Book seven of the Onyx Webb series brings the story to a whole new level. It is even more gripping a(I didn't think it was possible), as the pace quickens. I almost burned my dinner reading it while cooking the other night.

" 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 every character and most importantly, the stunning conclusion for Onyx Webb herself. "

We have new ghosts (disguised as living people) and ghosts trying to get revenge on other ghosts. But of course many of the living characters are worse than the ghosts.

Declan gets arrested. Mika gets arrested. Stan Lee gets sloppy. What about Newt's love interest Maggie? Finally got in touch with Juniper. Went to the Onyx Webb Film Festival.

If you like paranormal and haven't read any of the books yet, you have an advantage. You can keep reading and not have to wait for the next book! Until you get to the end of Book Seven, that is. :/

If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get the books for free. If you want to know more about the series and authors, here is the Onyx Webb website. (say that fast 10 times)

Excuse me. I have to go cover my mirrors.

I received a free copy.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

On to the holidays....

We are just wrapping up the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Cooked a lot, ate a lot, cleaned up a lot. Just finished making turkey soup out of what is left of the turkey. I almost couldn't find the wishbone. Do you save it, then with another person, each make a silent wish, break it and whoever gets the biggest piece, gets their wish? I don't know if it works. I have been breaking the wishbone since I was a kid. We still do it. I never remember what I wished for, so I can't say if the wishes come true. :)

Did not go shopping on Black Friday. Nope. Never have. Never will. But, I did do some online shopping on a Facebook Small Business Black Friday party. Much less stressful. And much more fun than going to a store with all those people.

Couple of things of interest:

SHERLOCK SEASON 4 PBS January 1 2017. Three episodes. YAY!

Facebook Holiday Fun: I have participated in a couple of holiday themed Facebook parties in the past year. Last Halloween and this Halloween. Fun way to get introduced to more authors and win books or gift cards. Here is one coming up that you may want to check out:

CANDY CANE CAPER BOOK CLUB December 5 1 a.m.-12/9/16 11 p.m. PST
Hosted by Kathi Daley. Kathi writes cozy mysteries and has several series.
Here is one with a Christmas theme and the name of the "party".

You should be able to search the title in FB if you would like to "attend". Or just check out Kathi's books.

Hallmark Movies and Mysteries will be showing many, many holiday themed movies starting now through December. (None of the them look like mysteries though. :/)

Last and best: Will be having our December Mystery Book Club holiday get together in a couple of weeks. We will bring goodies to share, books to share and talk about our favorite books of the year. I will share that list with you after we meet.

Got a couple of books going, so will share those soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

An Elegant Theory

Do you like puzzles? Science? Mysteries? This book is all of those.

An Elegant Theory by Noah Mulligan


"Coulter Zahn sees reality differently than others. Much like light can theoretically be in all places at once, Coulter sees multiple versions of his life. A promising PhD candidate at MIT, he and his young wife are nervously expecting their first child. When his dissertation comes under intense criticism, his estranged mother returns, and Sara tells him she's leaving him, Coulter's already delicate mental state becomes further fragmented. One evening, with his life and mental health unraveling, Coulter loses control, irreparably changing the course of the lives around him. But the very next morning, he catches a break in his research, discovering the true shape of the universe. Influenced by those around him and his own untrustworthy psyche, Coulter must decide whether to face the consequences of his actions or finish his research, perhaps making the greatest contribution to science since Einstein's theory of relativity. An existential psychological thriller, An Elegant Theory explores how the construction of memory and consciousness can shape motive, guilt, and identity through the lens of a modern-day mad-scientist motif."

Did you know "an elegant theory" is, well an actual theory? I didn't know that until I told someone the title of the book I was reading and was told oh yes, they knew what that was.

From Wiki:

"In the philosophy of science, there are two concepts referring to two aspects of simplicity. Elegance (syntactic simplicity) means the number and complexity of hypotheses. Parsimony (ontological simplicity) is the number and complexity of things postulated."

"In engineering, a solution may be considered elegant if it uses a non-obvious method to produce a solution which is highly effective and simple. An elegant solution may solve multiple problems at once, especially problems not thought to be inter-related."

"In chemistry, chemists might look for elegance in theory and method, in technique and procedure. For example: elegance might comprise creative parsimony and versatility in the utilization of resources, in the manipulation of materials, and in effectiveness in syntheses and analysis."

This book was very interesting. It is definitely a psychological thriller. We are told many things that have happened in Coulter's life that contradict each other. I found myself wondering if these were parallel universes such as Coulter's research suggested, was Coulter hallucinating or daydreaming and if so, which were reality.

I really enjoyed this book because it did make you think.  It is different than any other mystery I have read, throwing in some facts about String Theory and Quantum Physics. Those are some things I would never read on my own.

Here is some info on the author:

"Noah Milligan splits his time between words and numbers and is a longtime student of physics, prompting him to write his debut novel, An Elegant Theory, a draft of which was shortlisted for the 2015 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize. His short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including MAKE, Storyscape Literary Journal, Empty Sink Publishing, and Santa Clara Review. He is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Central Oklahoma, and he lives in Edmond, OK, with his wife and two children."

This is a book you very well may go back and read again.

I received a free copy.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Those Who Wish Me Dead

Our November Mystery Book Club selection was Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta.

Those Who Wish Me Dead by [Koryta, Michael]

I liked it! I found it to be a very suspenseful. Here's what it is about.

"When fourteen-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.

The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.

The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind."

As it says, Ethan and Allison run a wilderness survival program in Montana. Their clients are usually troubled teen aged boys. Jamie Bennett approaches Ethan about inserting a boy who they need to hide, into the program for protection. The typical witness protection program is not enough. Ethan will not know which boy it is. He will be using a false name. Ethan agrees.

Ethan sets out with the boys on the trails. He has decided they will move quicker than usual, training the boys for survival as they go. Of course he keeps trying to figure out which boy is the one they are hiding.

Things start going bad. He gets a call that his and Allison's cabin has burned down and she was attacked. The sheriff is dead. It is clear someone is looking for them. Jace sneaks away from the group, not wanting Ethan and the other boys to get hurt. He meets Hannah, a forest fire lookout who had some things happen to her, which play into the story. They set out to get Jace to safety. Ethan tries to track Jace. Oops. The Blackwell brothers are following Ethan who is following Hannah and Jace.

The Blackwell brothers are pretty frightening. They are very strange, smart and ruthless. Truly creepy. These characters are different than other bad guys you have probably read about in a story.

The book is very well written, reads quickly, and a real page turner. There are also great descriptions of the mountains and forest. It was interesting to read about how forest fires are watched for and fought.

Oh, there is quite a twist towards the end. I didn't see it coming...

Our book club leader, Kay, shared an interview with Michael Koryta. After hearing the list of books he has written, what struck me is that he is really young. He has written 12 books, is a former private investigator and newspaper reporter.... He is 34. I am impressed.

All of his books have gotten good reviews. 9 have been optioned for television or film. Those Who Wish Me Dead has been optioned for a film by 20th Century Fox.

If you like suspense and the outdoors, read it. I think you will like it.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Halloween!


It's that time of year where it should be cooler (not) and it is a good excuse to have those mini candy bars on hand in case you get trick or treaters. We don't get trick or treaters much anymore. The neighborhood has grown up. But we wouldn't want to get caught without...just in case, right? And it is time for everything pumpkin. My friend Shirley just filled me in on all kinds of things that are out with pumpkin flavor right now - pumpkin flavored breakfast cereals, pumpkin flavored English muffins and I even saw pumpkin flavored premade popcorn. Who would have thought?

Just about to the end of my Mystery Book Club book for the month, and I will be telling you about that soon. But I participated in an online Book Spooktacular recently and found out about several authors that I wasn't familiar with and their books. Most of them write some books with Halloween themes. I thought I would share some of their books with you. I haven't been able to check in on the event for all of the featured authors. I am sure they all have good books.

First, the hostess of the event is Kathi Daley. She writes the Zoe Donovan series. Several are holiday themed including Halloween. Zoe is an Animal Rehab and Location Officer and features her dog, Charlie. Oh and they include recipes. I always try a recipe or two from books that have recipes and they are usually pretty good.

The first in the series is Halloween Hijinks. 

"Amid a backdrop of zombies on the run and Halloween festivities, animal control officer Zoe Donovan is faced with losing something she loves in order to save someone she loves when she finds a dead body in the basement of a haunted house just two days before Halloween. With the help of her best friends, Levi and Ellie, and her dog Charlie, she delves into a mystery as complex and multilayered as the feelings she develops for her ex-nemesis Zak Zimmerman. Halloween Hijinks is the perfect recipe, combining holiday fun with a touch of humor, a pinch of romance, and a dollop of murder."

Halloween Hijinks (Zoe Donovan Mystery, #1)

Haunted Hamlet and Costume Catastrophe are two other Halloween themed books by Kathi. She writes lot of other books too. Check out her website.

Another author that is featured at the Spooktacular is Krista Davis. I have read a couple of her Domestic Diva books and enjoyed them.

The fifth book in the series is The Diva Haunts the House.

"Domestic diva Sophie Winston is getting into the Halloween spirit- her decorations for a community haunted house are so good, it's scary. Not to be outdone, rival domestic diva Natasha is throwing a spooktacular Halloween party at her house. But when Sophie arrives, she discovers one of Natasha's guests dead in a Halloween display, and a pale, fanged partygoer fleeing the scene.Could the killer be a real vampire-the same one rumored to have lived in Sophie's haunted house back when it was a boardinghouse? Good thing a domestic diva never runs out of garlic."

Second in her Paws and Claws series is The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer. How cute is that?

"Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States, is gearing up for a howling good Halloween—until a spooky murder shakes the town to its core . . .

Holly Miller doesn’t believe in spirits, but the Sugar Maple Inn is filled with guests who do. The TV series in development, Apparition Apprehenders, has descended on Wagtail’s annual Halloween festivities to investigate supernatural local legends, and Holly has her hands full showing the ghost hunters a scary-fun time.

But the frights turn real when Holly’s Jack Russell, Trixie, and kitten, Twinkletoes, find a young woman drowned in the Wagtail Springs Hotel’s bathhouse—the spot of the town’s most infamous haunting. The crime scene is eerily similar to the creepy legend, convincing Holly that the death wasn’t just accidental. Now she’ll have to race to catch a flesh-and-blood killer—before someone else in town gives up the ghost."

Here is Krista's website:

Another featured author was Melanie Jackson. I have not read any of her many books, since I was just introduced to her, but several of her series appeal to me. The Pumpkin Thief is the 2nd in the Chloe Boston series.


"Chloe Boston, meter maid and unofficial sleuth of the Hope Falls Police Department, is on the trail of the Halloween Killer and a second troublesome criminal, the Pumpkin Thief, who has robbed every pumpkin patch in town. Aided by her dog and new boyfriend, Chloe is closing in on Hope Falls public enemies 1 and 2."

Melanie also collect vintage pictures. Here is one she posted for Halloween.

Melanie writes several different genres and different mysteries. Here is her website:

Lets not forget about the Onyx Webb series, which is like Halloween all year 'round. Book 7 is coming out Monday, Oct. 31. How appropriate.


The series is written by husband and wife, Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz.

"Delectably Creepy. Gripping. Fascinating.
Onyx Webb is a multi-genre mash-up that combines supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. So the story... Onyx Webb is a ghost. Billionaire playboy Koda Mulvaney becomes obsessed with a girl he sees inside a mirror. Juniper Cole is on her way to the prom and... well, we don't want to spoil anything - we've probably told you too much already. How all these events are related is part of the mystery that is, Onyx Webb.

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 a supernatural soap opera (think: 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 every character and most importantly, the stunning conclusion for Onyx Webb herself."

I have read all of these books. It reads and is written like a soap opera, so they are really one sitting reads.

Here is their website:

That is just a few Halloween books. There are many, many more. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Hauting of Delavere Hall

Just finished a good book to put you in the Halloween spirit.

The Haunting of Delavere Hall by Amy Flint


Isn't the cover great? Amy designs the covers of the books in this series. This is the second in the Porter Biggleswade series. (see Shadows in the Mist review for a peek into book one).

"Paranormal investigator Dr. Porter Biggleswade is settling into her new life in York. While pensioners caught up in a ghostly battle, and civil war soldiers haunting a local pub are keeping her busy, a call from a friend takes her to a crumbling estate on the Yorkshire coast. Rumours are rife at Delavere Hall, with monks and a murder at the heart of them. Secret rooms, hidden passages,  sightings of ghostly monks and the Grey Lady fuel the intrigue. Porter agrees to investigate and discovers more than she bargained for."

I am loving this series with Porter Biggleswade. In this book, Porter is hired by her friend Audrey who is set to inherit Delavere Hall. Audrey and her Aunt Harriet are experiencing supernatural phenomena at the Hall; monks wandering through the house, sounds of someone crying, "the Grey Lady", and cold spots. Audrey would like to know what exactly is going on before she inherits the Hall. Porter and her intern from PIU (Paranormal Investigation Unit) set up their equipment and spend a few nights there on and off. While the ghost hunting equipment does it work, Porter and Clarice also check out a local pub that seems to have a ghost only present when the owners sister is there. Edward Tedry is still trying to befriend Porter. Porter's parents are still on the outs and putting Porter in the middle.  Professor Dawley-Ellington continues searching for the Palette of Isis.
What I especially like about both Shadows in the Mist and The Haunting of Delavere Hall, are the central "ghosts" in both books are historical figures. Shadows in the Mist featured the Bronte sisters. I won't tell you the name of the main ghost in the second book since that is part of the mystery to be solved. I also enjoy Porter's sense of humor.

No this is not like that t.v. Ghost Hunters. Let me know when they find Al Capone.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale was our Mystery Book Club selection for October and Halloween.
Isn't this a great cover? I loved the book itself. The pages are heavy, aged looking and rough cut, like an old book. Just like the books in the cover.


Here is what it is about:

"Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise — she doesn’t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter’s dozens of novels.

Late one night while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter’s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story.

Both women will have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets... and the ghosts that haunt them still."

I really liked this book. But then, my favorite books way back were gothic mysteries. 

It is a mystery set in fairly modern times. 20th century anyhow, but we don't really know the year. Old spooky house, ghostly sightings, mysterious people. The back story of the family history is "icky" but sets the tone. The book reminded me of Wuthering Heights in that it is dark; the weather is bad, the house is cold, the characters are dark and melancholy, some downright disturbed.
We had a pretty lively discussion at the book club about it. Some people liked it and read it pretty quickly like I did. Some people didn't like it. Those that liked it seemed that they like gothic type mysteries set in the English countryside. Some, like me, thought the ending was neat and tidy and all wrapped up, until one person suggested that maybe the main character wasn't who we all thought she was. Hmmm. So we tousled with that for awhile too.
The book has been made into a movie in Britain starring Vanessa Redgrave. You can purchase the movie on Amazon but it is not available to watch on Amazon, Netflix etc. here.
I thought the author was interesting too. This is her first published book. She has one other, stand alone. She studied French literature and taught English in France. She left her career in teaching to write.
I found it to be a page turner and really enjoyed it.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Recipes from "cozies" in the kitchen

Happy Autumn!
I hope you are enjoying cooler weather where you are. Not here yet...promises, promises.

As I mentioned last time, for our September Mystery Book Club meeting, we read cozies that had a food or cooking theme and then were invited to bring something to share from the book we read or another book.

I did bring some cookies from one book that I read this summer. I had made the cookies before so I new they tasted good. While my book had lots of recipes in it that looked good, I decided I would try a few out before I brought them to a pot luck.

Our "leader", Kay brought some books to share and one was a cookbook, The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. I borrowed that one and decided to try a few recipes from it also.

And now I am going to share them with you. I think a lot of people read books with recipes but never try them. I won't write out the recipes here, but will tell you where you can find them and how I liked them.

Let's start with dessert first!

Cherry Oatmeal Walnut Cookies from The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian

These are vegan, not using any dairy or eggs. The moisture comes from maple syrup and olive oil. Yep, olive oil. I have made them four times now and they are really good. I took them to the book club pot luck and everyone seemed to like them. Don't use the extra virgin olive oil that is green. It has too strong of a flavor for cookies. (I know because I did that the first time around.) Oh and if you are not vegan, throw in a few mini chocolate chips or you could use a non dairy version. Yum.

On to the book I read for our cozies in the kitchen theme.

Blood Orange by Susan Wittig Albert

I made two recipes from this book.

Blood Orange, Avocado, Grape and Spinach Salad: spinach, oranges avocado, grapes, green onions and feta cheese. There is also a Orange Vinaigrette for it made with orange juice, vinegar, garlic, honey, mustard and olive oil. Very delicious.

Tortellini with Lemon Basil Butter Sauce: What's not to like here? It uses frozen tortellini. The sauce is made with butter, green onion, lemon, and basil. Also very good.

I made three recipes from The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. This is a fun book. I had seen it advertised when it came out and meant to go the bookstore and take a look. I will be getting my own copy of it. Lots of good recipes in it and some introductions to each section by different authors.


Kinsey Millhone's Famous Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich by Sue Grafton: It is what is says. Bread and butter pickles and peanut butter. I did try it. I was leery. But the two kind of meld together and it is just a good flavor and crunchy. Try it! You'll like it!

Italian Chicken by Brad Meltzer: Baked chicken using Italian salad dressing, mushrooms and parmesan cheese. The parmesan cheese makes a delicious crust on the chicken. Very good.

Charlaine's Very Unsophisticated Supper Dip by Charlaine Harris: Ground chicken or beef, three kinds of beans, Rotel tomatoes, red wine and two unlikely ingredients. Dry ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning. This can be served with chips as a dip or as a "chili". I had it as chili and with chips. lol

There are sections on breakfast, appetizers, soups and salads, entrees, side dishes, desserts and cocktails. Some of the other authors who contributed recipes are Lee Childs, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, Diane Mott Davidson, Gillian Flynn, Carolyn Hart, Gigi Pandian, James Patterson, Lisa Unger, Jacqueline Winspear and many, many more. Those are just a few of the authors I have read books by.

It's that time of year to start cooking! Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Death by Didgeridoo

 Found a new cozy series on Good Reads. I had not heard of it, that is.  The Jamie Quinn mystery series by Barbara Venkataraman.

Death by Didgeridoo is the first book in the series. There are currently four.


"Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit."

The story takes place in South Florida, which interested me, since I used to live there. Fun to read familiar highways and towns. This isn't a long book, only 111 pages but is the first in the series of

This is a good quick read cozy. Plenty of ups and downs and surprises. Looks like Adam killed his music teacher. Adam has Asperger's and I felt really bad for him. But wait...maybe he didn't do it. Although this isn't a long book, it kept me on my toes with surprises. Jamie is  a likeable character. This book sets up the characters for the next books. Duke Broussard, her friend and PI makes a good sidekick. If Jamie can keep him on task. There are some humorous parts in the book too. Dare I say a fun murder mystery?

The ending leads into the next book.

Give it a try if you like cozies or like me, like to break up reading "heavy" books with a good cozy.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Dawn Girl


So I read this book Dawn Girl by Leslie Wolfe. No it is not a spoof on Gone Girl.


Here's what it is about:


Her blue eyes wide open, glossed over. A few specks of sand clung to her long, dark lashes. Her beautiful face, immobile, covered in sparkling flecks of sand. Her lips slightly parted as if to let a last breath escape.

Who is the beautiful girl found at dawn, on a deserted stretch of white sand beach? What is her secret?

FBI Special Agent Tess Winnett searches for answers relentlessly. With each step, each new finding, she uncovers unsettling facts leading to a single possible conclusion: Dawn Girl is not the only victim. Her killer has killed before.

Hiding a terrible secret of her own, Special Agent Tess Winnett faces her inmost fears, in a heart-stopping race to catch a killer who’s getting ready to end yet another life. Will she find the killer in time? Will she be able to stop him? At what cost?

The rules of the game have changed.
So has the textbook definition of a serial killer.

Special Agent Tess Winnett is the bold, direct, and short-fused heroine of Dawn Girl. Putting her life on the line, she doesn’t pull any punches, searching only for the truth, and for the man who takes lives on her watch. Intelligent, resourceful, and uncompromising, Tess will take readers on a memorable, white-knuckled journey in this suspenseful, gripping serial killer thriller."

It IS a "gripping serial killer thriller". The subject matter was a little difficult for me, but it is so fast paced and I really wanted Tess to figure this out, that I couldn't put it down.

Very skillfully written. We are inside Tess's head as she is determined to find who killed Dawn Girl. As the description says, Tess has her own demons which we get glimpses of. She doesn't always follow the rules and irritates her boss and most everyone she works with or for. But you will be rooting for her. She is reluctantly working with a local investigator, Gary Michowsky who seems to have some issues also.

It is really, really good. I could see more books with Tess and Gary.

I hadn't read any other books by Leslie Wolfe. But this is her 6th book. I believe they are stand alones.

Here is a bit about her:

"Bestselling author Leslie Wolfe has an all-consuming passion for writing fiction. Leaving the coveted world of corporate boardrooms for the blissful peace of what she calls "the Wolves’ den," Leslie's novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She is passionate about technology and psychology, and her extensive background and research in these fields empower and add texture to her multi-dimensional, engaging writing style.

She released her first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received by the public. It was followed thereafter by Devil's Move (2014), The Backup Asset (2015), The Ghost Pattern (2015), Operation Sunset (2016), and Dawn Girl (2016). Her latest novel, Dawn Girl, pushes the traditional boundaries of crime novels, where both villain and hero are not what one expects."

I recommend it!

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Blood Orange by Susan Wittig Albert


For our September Mystery Book Club, we read "cozies in the kitchen" - mysteries that are cozies with a food theme, background etc. and that feature recipes.

I choose my go to cozy series featuring China Bayles, written by Susan Wittig Albert. This is #24 in the series.

"It's mid-April in Pecan Springs, and China is renting her guest cottage to Kelly Kaufman, who needs a temporary place to live as she contends with a very acrimonious divorce from her husband Rich. One nasty point of dispute is her part ownership of the Comanche Creek Brewing Company, which she is refusing to sell.
At the same time, as a nurse employed by a local hospice, Kelly has discovered instances of suspicious practices. Even more disturbing, she suspects that a patient was murdered. Kelly's knowledge could be dangerous, and she wants to get guidance from China on what to do. But on her way to China's house, Kelly is forced off the road and critically injured, putting her in a medically induced coma. Now it's up to China to determine who wanted her out of the picture. Was it her soon-to-be ex? His new lover—who happens to be the sister of China's friend Ruby? Or someone connected with the corruption at the hospice? China owes it to her friend to uncover the truth—but she may be putting her own life at risk... "

A little background: China has left her career as an attorney and moved to the small central Texas town of Pecan Springs. She has an herb shop named Thyme and Seasons. She shares space with her friend Ruby, who has a shop called The Cave. China sells all things herbs; books, herbs, things made with herbs and even does classes. Ruby sells incense, rune stones, tarot cards etc. They also have a Tea Room and a catering business. Whew! China is married to McQuaid, a former homicide detective, now a private investigator and on the faculty at the local University.

What is great about this series, is that you don't have to start at the beginning of the series if you don't want to.  You can pick up any book in the series and read it. The author does a quick background for you at the beginning of each book.

Each book is the name of a plant or herb and they are related to something about the story. Each chapter starts with a history of an herb; some are really interesting excerpts from books from the 1650's for example, some current day. Blood Orange has to do with the color of paint found on the car that Kelly is in, when she is forced off the road.

Since Kelly is targeted on her way to China's, China is compelled to find out what is going on; what did Kelly want to tell her, who was Kelly hiding from and why.  As if that isn't enough, McQuaid is supposedly out on a PI assignment in El Paso. He calls one night and tells China she probably won't hear from him for a few days as there won't be cell phone coverage. China begins to think he is having affair, but then several people in town mention to her about the assignment McQuaid is on with Blackie, ex sheriff, going into Mexico to track down a ring that is stealing oil field equipment. What? Why is he hiding this from her? This sound dangerous. Oh, and Ruby, the one with the store with tarot cards etc.? As the books have gone on, Ruby has developed or recently shared, that she has a gift of premonition. She tells China not to go through the door - but she doesn't know what door, or when "the door" will present itself. This premonition gives the reader the chance to say "No China! Don't do it. Don't you remember what Ruby said?"

So besides the main mystery, there is always some side stories or development of the characters, that keeps the series interesting. The author typically brings in current events that are a thread in the story.  We have craft brewerys, hospice/fraud, illegal sales of drugs to name a few mentioned in this book.

Last but not least, the author always gives us several recipes at the end of the book that are actual recipes you can make easily and taste good. I know I have made some in the past. In this book there are three that look especially good: Orange Rosemary Muffins, Blood Orange Avocado, Grape and Spinach Salad, and Tortellini with Lemon Basil Butter Sauce. I think I will put those on my home menu this month.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Life after Lewis

Well, Inspector Lewis on PBS Masterpiece Mystery is over....
As well as Wallander...
Not to mention Downton Abbey and Selfridge. (not mysteries by good PBS series')


Now what do we have for Fall 2016?

I once again refer you to Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.

This weekend, Sunday, Sept 4th, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries is showing two Gourmet Detective Movies and six Garage Sale Mystery Movies starting at 9 a.m. I have watched all of them and really like them.

LONGMIRE on Netflix 5th and final season begins or becomes available Sept. 23, 2016.

Back to Hallmark coming in October we have:

Death Al Dente: A Gourmet Detective Mystery with Dylan Neal and Brooke Burns, Oct. 9 2016. These are based on a series by Peter King.

The Julius House: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery with Candace Cameron, Oct. 16, 2016. Based on the series by Charlaine Harris.

Murder With Love: A Hailey Dean Mystery with Kelley Martin, Oct. 23, 2016. Based on the series by Nancy Grace. (yep that Nancy Grace)

Image result for picture of popcorn


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shadows in the Mist by Amy Flint


Dr. Porter Biggleswade.

An unusual name for an unusual woman with an unusual occupation.

Porter is "albino" who has a gift for seeing shadows of people who are no longer. Ironic for a living person who may look like a shadow herself. Pale hair, pale skin, thin but black eyes. Very smart and not to be fooled, and with a wry sense of humor. Porter is a ghost hunter. (Not like that t.v. show. Good grief.)

"When Dr. Porter Biggleswade, a straight-talking paranormal investigator famed for her ability to see ghosts, is headhunted by the Paranormal Investigation Unit (PIU) at All Saints University in York, things aren't as straightforward as they first appear. Porter's first major case involves investigating claims of paranormal activity at the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth, yet ghostly feuds turn out to be the least of her worries. An anonymous donor with an unexplained interest in the investigator, jealous colleagues, warring parents, and an encounter with a farmer convinced he is being haunted by spectral sheep make Porter question her decision to leave London."

The University in York (reported to be the most haunted city in England) has received a donation to set up the PIU. The donor wants Porter as part of the team. One problem for Porter and her department, is the University already has a parapsychology department. The staff is not happy that PIU has been set up and is getting better equipment then they have. There is also a lot of competition in this area, apparently. Colleagues are bidding for contracts behind other's backs while flirting with those (specifically Porter) in the running. Some of the "ghosts" aren't ghosts at all.  Porter and her intern, Clarice, spend many nights investigating the supernatural complaints. It is dangerous sometimes. Porter gets clobbered in the head, falls and faints a few times. But it is all in a days' or rather a nights' work.

I especially liked the story line about the Bronte family; of the Charlotte and Emily family. I really didn't know much about the actual family, so it was fun to learn more about them through the children's shenanigans, and their father's worry over brother Branwell. Did I say one of my favorite all time books is Wuthering Heights? I see some of their story in Wuthering Heights. Most of what is described in Shadows in the Mist about the Bronte family, is based on fact. Not the haunting part. Where they lived, who was in the household, brother Branwell's addiction, even Tabby, their maid.

This first book sets us up for book two: The Haunting of Delavere Hall. I will be reading that soon.

By the way, have you ever seen a shadow?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Onyx Webb Book Six

Finished Onyx Webb Book two days.

Onyx Webb: Book Six: Episodes 16, 17 & 18 by [Fenton, Richard, Waltz, Andrea]

Have you been reading this series? 

If so, this could be the best in the far. Books 1-5 were really good but this one was great. Book six in which we have; a very interesting new character in Newt, old ghosts, new ghosts, and we get to go to Loll! As always, this was a page turner, easily read in one sitting but the characters are more developed now and more intertwined. The story is like a web but this one is being woven from the outside in...I am already worried about Book 10 and how there MAY be no more.

I have written about the first five books in this series of 10 books. They are really quick reads because they are written like a soap opera. There are many characters that are leading separate lives but all tied together in one way or another...with a supernatural twist. We are skillfully taken all over the United States and through many decades with the characters, but it is easy to follow. There is not a lot of description as in a traditional book so each chapter is quick and to the point.

Think Twilight, Harry Potter and even Once Upon a Time.

This could be a Netflix or HBO series and be great. (Quicker for the fans than getting it to Hollywood, I would guess, so I say this for me.)

The authors, Richard Fenton and Andrea Walsh have an interesting background too. They haven't always done fiction.

Here's a couple of links.  I highly recommend the series but you have to start with Book One.
Two links to the series and info about the authors.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review - but I am ENTANGLED.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Some Mystery Book Club Members Recommendations

As you may have seen in a previous post, for our MBC meeting for August, we read any mystery set in/along the Appalachian Trail.

Several people were absent this month and were somewhere cooler than Central Texas but we had a good group and a good discussion. Here is what others read and it seemed everyone recommended the book that had read.

The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron: 1st in a series with Mike Bowditch, a retired game warden.

This book takes place in Maine. The main character, Mike Bowditch is very likeable. There are lots of good descriptions, lots of twists and a surprise ending!

The Precipice by Paul Doiron: #6 in the Mike Bowditch series

Very good writing, good thriller, good description of the countryside. Mike Bowditch reminded the club member of Joe Pickett in C.J. Box books.

A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller: #1 in the Bell Elkins series
This book takes place in West Virginia. Three club members read this book and recommend it. They all really liked it saying the writing is very good, really liked the use of metaphors, the places mentioned are real places that they are familiar with (that always makes a person even more interested in a story, I think), the descriptions were very good such that you could visualize the scene, and the ending was really good. The book has two story lines running through it which was done very well.

Bitter River by Julia Keller: #2 in the Bell Elkins series
One person also read this second book and said it was very good, great descriptions and two story lines that merge. All definitely recommend this series.

The Gray Mountain by John Grisham
Two members read this book. It takes place in Virginia.  They said is was good, felt the information/description about lawyers and their work was correct. One person felt the ending was abrupt but took it to mean there will be another book with the characters.

The Devil's Hearth by Phillip DePoy: #1 in the Fever Devlin series
This book took place in Georgia. Comments for this book are: well written, page turner, gave the reader a pretty good feeling of what it would be like to live in a cabin, and recommended it.

Black Heart on The Appalachian Trail by T.J. Forrester
One person read this book. This book takes place in Maine. It is about several people, not known to each other, that take to the Appalachia Trail for different reasons, different goals. They all have "issues."

One comment that seemed to be made by most of us, was that the main character in many of the books, grew up in the Appalachians in different states, moved away, but came back.

We finished up by discussing T.V. shows and movies, which we so often do. One person recommended the movie A Walk in the Woods with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

It is based on the book A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: Red Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.

I watched it after our meeting. It is a very entertaining, funny story of Bill Bryson who attempts to walk the trail from Georgia to Maine with one of his friends from the past (because no one else will go with him).

I will end with this line from the movie: Stephen, Bill's friend ask him how he knows so much. Bill answers: "There's these things called books. It's like television for smart people."

Blind Malice

For our August Mystery Book Club, we are reading mysteries set in/along the Appalachian Trail.

My choice was Blind Malice by Annis Ward Jackson. Blind Malice is the first in the Rachel Myers Murder Series set along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.


"First in a series of 12 murder mysteries set along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Blind Malice introduces Rachel Myers, a native of the area who has come home for her father's funeral. The service is barely over when questions surrounding her father's death and his financial affairs begin to pile up.

Myers is not a professional detective but her natural ability for solving intricate puzzles, her tenacity, and her faith in that little spark that says she's on the right track, enable her to uncover shocking secrets from her father's past and come face to face with the menace that led to his death. "

If you don't know, and I didn't remember, the Appalachian Trail is a 2200 mile trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. In the late 1970's, while camping in the Florida Keys, we met a guy who had recently hiked the entire trail. Whew.

I really liked this book. Rachel is a likeable character that you empathize with immediately. Some real issues are explored in this book: aging parents, commercial development of the country side and what the locals think about it. (I found this to hit home, living in Central Texas and the huge population explosion and development.)

Rachel also has to deal with suspicious "friends" of the family, a high school sweet heart, a current sweetheart and a BIG family secret all wrapped up very cozy at the end. I really liked the descriptions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Must be beautiful and I can sympathize with the people in their small town.

 I plan on reading more in this series.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Murder Run by Shelly Frome

If you like 1940's mob movies, you will love this book. The story is set in today's time but the character's are out of an old movie. I could picture Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney as a couple of the characters. :)

Jed has made some mistakes in his life and is trying to stay on the straight and narrow. He moves away from the bad influences, and gets a job as a handyman for Miss Julie. She has moved out to the country in Connecticut and seems to be afraid of something or someone. When Miss Julie turns up dead, and everything seems to point to him, he must return to his old acquaintance's and neighborhood to clear himself. Unfortunately, those acquaintance's are "mobsters".


"In this crime novel, a wayward handyman grapples with the suspicious death of his employer, a fragile choreographer who secluded herself in the Litchfield Hills. As the fallout mounts, the reader is taken to various locales in and around Manhattan, an escapade in Miami Springs and back again to the hills of Connecticut until this twisty conundrum is finally laid to rest."

Here is a bit about the author, which I found interesting too.

"Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, and has written over twenty-five plays and novels and continuing profiles for Gannett Media.
A frequent contributor of articles on all facets of creative writing and acting, Shelly appears in numerous periodicals including Southern Writers Magazine. He is also a film critic and contributor to writers' blogs and websites in the U.S. and the U.K.
His fiction includes Twilight of the Drifter, The Twinning Murders,and Lilac Moon. His Hollywood crime caper Tinseltown Riff was released in March 2013.
Among his works of non-fiction are the acclaimed The Actors Studio and texts on The Art and Craft of Screenwriting and writing for the stage. Shelly lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina."

Good lazy summer day read.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

251 Things to do in Tofino

Went off my usual path and read this book. It is not a mystery and it is not fiction. I "met" Kait on Goodreads and she offered me a free copy of her book on Tofino.

251 Things To Do In Tofino: And It Is Not Just About Surfing by Kait Fennell


The mystery for me would be "Where is Tofino? Why would a person want to go there?"

"Welcome to Tofino, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, the surf capital of Canada and much, much more. They call this the “end of the road” for Western Canada, but you are going to be calling it the start of the best time of your life. All you need is this eBook, an open mind, an open heart and the sense of wonder and adventure to embark on the journey of a thousand lifetimes."


"Kait Fennell is a permanent resident of Tofino who finds herself more at home in the water than anywhere else. An islander at heart, she has travelled all over the world - from flying and developing pilot guide books in the Okavango Delta, Botswana to volunteering for a small pilot school in Durban, South Africa. Recognized as a National Garfield Weston Foundation Scholar, and graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Technology with a Commercial Pilot License, she left her aviation roots to pursue her passion for surfing, healthy living, the environment and indigenous culture."

I enjoyed reading through this book.  This book is so comprehensive. I particularly liked the history of Tofino and its native people that is given at the beginning. One of my favorite books when I was a kid was Island of the Blue Dolphins. I was very intrigued about the people that lived on the Aleutian Islands. Not Tofino, but I also liked reading about the natives of Tofino.

 The book then goes on to give you 251 things you could do while in Tofino: from hiking, biking, surfing, camping, to where to stay, places to eat (lots of fish, sushi, but even Tex Mex, ice cream, coffee), shopping and how to get around, things to do in the summer and things to do in the winter. The Appendix provides a list with contact information of places to stay, restaurants, stores and even emergency services. A bonus is short interviews of some of the people that call Tofino home, with their favorite things to do and information about businesses. Again a WIDE variety.

If you are planning a trip to Tofino or Vancouver area, grab this book! Easy to read, not dry and stuffy.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Missing Inheritance

Just finished Missing Inheritance by Ken Herring.


"JT Lockie and Shawna have to solve the mystery before it's too late as they are swept up in a mystery going back several decades. It starts with the mysterious death of his father and a stranger who appears out to get Shawna. The story centers around stolen art, Colorado gold mines, Russian rubles, murders, and family secrets. JT and Shawna must travel to Italy in search of clues and solve the mystery before more people die."

This book is exciting and suspenseful all the way up to the end. I liked it because it is a different storyline than I have read lately. It deals with the stolen artwork by the Nazi's in WWII. People are after some of the artwork that they believe J.T. knows something about, and they are serious about getting it back. Can J.T. and Shawna stay one step ahead of them? And there are people going after those people. There is a lot of history mixed in with this fictional story. Or is it?

This story made me want to look up information about the stolen artwork. Here is a interesting article from a couple of years ago about finding some of it. You will see that this book, Missing Inheritance, isn't that far fetched. Wow!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Kind Worth Killing

Our Mystery Book Club selection for July is A Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson.

What happens when the child of Nick and Amy Dunne (Gone Girl) grows up? You get Lily Kintner.

The Kind Worth Killing

"A devious tale of psychological suspense involving sex, deception, and an accidental encounter that leads to murder. This is a modern re-imagining of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train from the author of the acclaimed The Girl with a Clock for a Heart.

On a night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets the mysterious Lily Kintner. Sharing one too many martinis, the strangers begin to play a game of truth, revealing intimate details about themselves. Ted talks about his marriage and his wife Miranda, who he’s sure is cheating on him. But their game turns dark when Ted jokes that he could kill Miranda for what she’s done. Lily, without missing a beat, says calmly, “I’d like to help.”

From there, Ted and Lily’s twisted bond grows stronger as they plot Miranda's demise, but soon these co-conspirators are embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse--one they both cannot survive--with a shrewd and very determined detective on their tail."

This one is hard to put down and has a turn in the middle that makes you say "ohhh". It is told in the first person by four different characters, Lily, Ted, Miranda and the detective. I liked that style in this story. You could see what the characters were thinking and how they got to where they did more than a traditional third person story.

I then watched the movie Strangers on a Train directed by Alfred Hitchcock. I had seen it before. I have seen most of Hitchcock's movies. But I didn't remember it in detail. I would say they are pretty close (although one starts out on a train, one on a plane), but then there is an added twist in the middle taking the story to a different level.

And then there is always Throw Momma From the Train. A hilarious take off of Strangers on a Train. I love that movie. :)

Criss cross....

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bauman's Rare Books

What do most people do when they go to Las Vegas? Hit the casinos.

What do book addicts do when they go to Las Vegas? Go to a book store.

I found out about this book store when I was watching Pawn Stars. (I like looking at vintage and antique things and the guys are pretty funny). One of the "experts" they call in to the store to "take a look" at books that come in, is a book appraiser named Rebecca. The store is in Las Vegas thereby Rebecca must be in Vegas = "Google Rebecca Pawn Stars". Tada! She works for Bauman Books. And it is right near "the strip" in the Venetian Palazzo shops. A short walk from our hotel. Hurray!

The picture above is what you see as you walk in. It goes from floor to almost ceiling. I wanted to get a full length picture but some guy kept standing in the way. Yes, I did ask if I could take a picture. You can as long as you don't use a flash.

Anyway, the above book shelf is in the middle, with two rows of books on either side. Some are locked cases. Others are open and you can pick them up and look through them if YOU ASK FIRST.

There are a lot of books that look like the above but there are also many first editions of classics such as Gone With the Wind ($20,000) To Kill a Mocking Bird ($6800), Wuthering Heights ($15,000), Dr. Seuss books, Harold and the Purple Crayon and other children's books, books by Hemingway and signed letters and pictures of past presidents and actors. There was a photograph of Vivien Leigh in a Scarlet O'Hara costume (dress from the bbq) with a thank you letter written by her for $1750.

This book intrigued me but it was under glass in the front case pictured above. (Oh it is about food and recipes, that's why).

"Louise Andrews Kent revolutionized America's appreciation for rural life and cooking. In addition to her popular historical fiction, magazine articles and columns, Kent's fame was especially centered on the "very successful Appleyard series that flowered from the 1941 best-seller, Mrs. Appleyard's Year… She invented Mrs. Appleyard to be 'plump, rosy, and cute'… a wonderfully motherly, easy-going, adaptable and witty woman," whose popularity with readers sparked an influential series of cookbooks (Warner, Province of Reason, 176-7). In 1942 James Beard named Kent one of the "four famous gourmets" he chose to name their favorite cookbooks. Precedes a book guild edition in orange boards with a brown-and-gold background design on dust jacket. "

I didn't buy anything but they did have nice brochures of their current books for sale, which I did pick up. Very fun for a "book person" to look at.

Here is the link to their website if you would like to browse. They also have stores in Philadelphia and New York. There is a great picture of one of the stores on the website, so you can get a better look. The Vegas store had a different display when you came it. Maybe you will find something you just have to have.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Currently reading...

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson.
This is our July book club selection. Looks like its got a good twist here in the middle.

"Criss cross".

Will be having a little break so hope to get a lot of reading done.

See you soon!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Case of Section 950, Seat E-14

Just finished The Case of Section 950, Seat E-14: a Sam Cloudstone Novella (Sam Cloudstone Chronicles) by Jimmy Martin.


 This is a good action mystery. Here is the synopsis:

" Sam Cloudstone is a modern day hero, one that would prefer to live by his wits instead of his brawn. But like any hero, Sam's not afraid to get physical when he has to!

He is a full blooded Comanche living in today's world. He tried to follow his father's footsteps becoming an oilfield engineer, but couldn't handle the confined spaces of a modern office job, or the soul destroying stress of corporate life.

Leaving that world, he became a free spirit, surviving as an author, a songwriter, a photographer, a bartender and a bounty hunter. One day he accidentally crosses paths with Melissa Steinhardt, a beautiful and impetuous "Damsel in Distress", and his life changes forever!

Attempting to help her involves him in a 70 year old mystery that pits the two of them against the FBI, the CIA, and a billionaire drug lord. They end up in a chase across Texas, each new destination dictated by solving the riddle preceding it. Their final stop ends in a showdown between all of the parties involved, at the "Enchanted Rock" in the middle of the historic Comanche territory in the Central Texas Hills.

The first clue is inside the cushion of Seat E-14, Section 950 of the now obsolete and disused Astrodome, Houston's former Pride and Joy...  "

The story spans from Houston to the Texas Hill Country. If you are from Central Texas or familiar with Central Texas, you will enjoy the "chase". Lots of "I know where that is. Is that a real place? Yes it is."

There is never a dull moment or dull part of the story,  as Sam and Melissa try to find Section 950, Seat E-14, and where that leads them. Smatterings of WWII history, current day technology, past technology, lots of bad guys, good guys, and good guys that are kind of bad guys. Lots of people chasing other people....

The ending is quite exciting and surprising. I liked it!

Here is a bit about the author, Jimmy Martin.

I received a free copy in exchange for a review.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Summer 2016

Looks like it is hot all over the US right now. Need some indoor mystery movie watching? Here's what's coming up on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.

Garage Sale Mysteries: The Novel Murders with Laurie Loughlin.

"Jennifer Shannon (Loughlin) is a garage sale shopping expert whose sharp observation skills allow her to uncover valuable antiques, as well as help her local police department investigate crimes and solve mysteries. When an impoverished man enters Rags to Riches - a consignment shop where Jennifer sells the gems she’s found at garage sales - and asks to have an item home-delivered, Jennifer agrees. Upon her arrival at his run-down apartment, Jennifer finds the man murdered. As the police survey the crime scene, Jennifer cannot help but think there is something familiar about the details of the killing – and soon realizes that the victim’s cold- blooded demise is a re-enactment of a murder in a classic mystery novel."

This started 6/5/16 and I stumbled on it. It is rerunning this weekend. I watched it last night. Really good. Someone is murdering people with clues based on famous murder mysteries i.e. Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle..
The story takes you down a couple of possible paths and I think you will be surprised at the end.

Aurora Teagarden Mystery: Three Bedrooms, One Corpse with Candace Cameron.
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery

"When Aurora pitches in to help her busy real estate mother, Aida, she quickly realizes she has again walked into a life or death situation. When a body is discovered at her first house showing and a second body is found in another house for sale, it becomes obvious that there is a very cool killer at large. Stars Candace Cameron Bure, Marilu Henner and Yannick Bisson."

Starts Sunday 6/12/16 8 p.m. central

Murder She Baked: A Deadly Recipe with Alison Sweeney, Cameron Mathison
Murder, She Baked: A Deadly Recipe

"Bakery owner Hannah Swensen (Alison Sweeney) just can’t keep her hands out of the batter when murder stirs things up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, leaving the sheriff dead, a deputy accused, and a killer on the loose. For years, Sheriff Grant’s been the iron hand in town, but when his dead body is discovered, Hannah’s brother-in-law is accused of the crime. Soon, Hannah’s dishing up scandalous secrets, steaming hot betrayals, and enough intrigue to keep the gossip mill at The Cookie Jar going through several pots of decaf. And the closer Hannah gets to the truth, the closer she gets to finding the murderer with a calorie-laden, nasty recipe for silencing people."
Starts Sunday 6/19/16 8 p.m. central
(Note to self: fudge cupcake recipe on the website under Murder She Baked)

The Flower Shop Mystery: Dearly Depotted with Brooke Shields

"Abby Knight, ex-lawyer and crime buff, and the owner of Bloomers Flower Shop, is having a week to be reckoned with. A reluctant bridesmaid at her drama queen cousin’s wedding, Abby ends up not just doing the flowers...but having to find out who murdered a wedding crasher. Stars Brooke Shields, Brennan Elliott and Beau Bridges."
Starts Sunday 6/29/16 8 p.m. central

I have watched a few of the previous seasons of all of these and LOVE them.