Tuesday, July 30, 2019

What's better than football season? New season of Hallmark Mysteries and Movies

Big weekend coming up.
NFL Preseason starts. Eh. Probably will skip that. I will wait until the regular season starts.

Hallmark Mysteries and Movies has new movies coming up for August. Yay. I already have my DVR set for August 4.

Every Sunday in August, 8 p.m. central, there is a new mystery movie.

August 4:   Aurora Teagarden - A Game of Cat and Mouse
August 11: Aurora Teagarden - An Inheritance to Die For
August 18: Aurora Teagarden - A Very Foul Play

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries star Candace Cameron Bure, Marilu Henner and Niall Matter

August 25:Chronicle Mysteries - The Deep End

The Chronicle Mysteries star Allison Sweeney and Benjamin Ayres


Subject of Malice by Cynthia Kuhn

This is the 4th book in the Lila MacLean Academic Mystery series. I have read book one, The Summer of our Discontent.


"The organizers have rustled up plenty of surprises for the literary conference at Tattered Star Ranch. But the murder of an influential scholar wasn’t on the program—someone has clearly taken the theme of Malice in the Mountains to heart. This shocking crime is only the beginning: other dangers and deceptions are soon revealed. 

English professor Lila Maclean has a full agenda: she must convince a press to publish her book (possibly), ace her panel presentations (hopefully), and deal with her nemesis (regrettably). However, when Detective Lex Archer requests Lila’s academic expertise, she agrees to consult on the case. While her contributions earn high marks from her partner, it could be too late; the killer is already taking aim at the next subject. As Lila races to keep her colleagues alive, publish or perish takes on new meaning."

One of my favorite paragraphs:

"We heard about Flynn, " Calista said. "Is it true that you found him?
"Yes but-"
"How many is that now?" Nate stared at me. "I don't know how you do it, find all the bodies in town."
"Not on purpose," I said, frowning at him.
"I know. But it seems to be one of your gifts". 

I really enjoyed this book. Lots of suspense. The characters are interesting and their relationships have developed. Simone Raleigh is Lila's nemesis. And as if she wasn't bad enough, she has a twin sister? They are out to take away Lila's publication opportunity by seemingly copying her. Besides one or two murders, there is some other funny business going on with the Raleigh sisters. Things are going pretty good with Lex in their relationship, but Lila is pitched a curve ball there too. The ending was so awesome. It gave me a chill. 

I would recommend if you haven't read any of this series, that you do read the first book. It really sets up the characters. Also you will see why the ending is so significant. Oh what the hay, you may as well just read the whole series. :)

Cynthia is Professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she teaches literature, writing, and film. In addition, she blogs with Chicks on the Case and is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

You gotta read this book: Shadow of Doubt

Many years ago, we were given a class in "business writing" for the current time. The short of it was, don't use all that fluff, write like you talk. Well, they didn't really mean use slang but write in plain, everyday words. That's my basis for saying -

You gotta read this book.

Shadow of Doubt by S.L. Beaumont
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" How well do you know those closest to you?
Jessica McDonald appears to have it all: a successful London banking career, a happy marriage, and good friends.
Then a terrorist bombing rocks London in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
She narrowly escapes injury and tends to others wounded at the scene, too shocked to process what has happened. Lacking support from her husband in the aftermath, she turns to her new work colleague Will Johnston for comfort, setting her personal and professional lives on a collision course with unforeseen and explosive consequences.
Jessica barely has time to recover before another tragedy hits: her beloved father suddenly dies of a heart attack in Edinburgh, and she rushes to her mother’s side to comfort her.
Waiting for Jessica in her father’s personal effects are instructions in code and the key to a safety deposit box. As she follows the clues her father left behind, Jessica uncovers secrets that will upend the foundations of her life—and put her in grave danger.
Forced from her home and job, Jessica flees to the Scottish coast where she tries to piece together a terrifying conspiracy that has personal and global implications.
Can she stop events that could topple the political establishment of the country? Or will terror succeed?"

This is the first book I have read by S.L. Beaumont and I loved it. Very suspenseful and  gripping. I couldn't put it down. There is so much to this story; Jessica's career and her marriage, a could be romantic affair, her father's death, secrets left for her to discover, current day polictics in England and Scotland, secret agents, a quaint village that is not all it seems, an island and lots of on the edge of your seat reading.

Just when you think the story is wrapping up, Part 2 begins. It is like two suspenseful thrillers in one. You will root for Jessica and Will, and be suspicious of everyone. It has a wonderful ending.

About S.L. Beaumont: 

"SL Beaumont is the author of the Amazon best-selling series, The Carlswick Mysteries and the new standalone thriller Shadow of Doubt.

She lives in beautiful New Zealand, which is only problematic when the travel-bug bites (which it does fairly often)! Her passion for travel has seen her take many long haul flights to various parts of the world. Her love of history helps determine the destination and the places she visits are a constant source of inspiration for her.

Prior to becoming an author, SL Beaumont worked in banking in London and New York.

The titles in The Carlswick Mysteries series have been awarded honorable mentions at the San Francisco and New England Book Festivals, and Conspiracy, Deception and Mythology have all been Finalists in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards. The Carlswick Deception was also a Reader’s Favorite 2018 YA Mystery Finalist.

Beaumont is currently working on the next book in the series."

Here is her website:  https://www.slbeaumont.com/

You gotta read it.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Telephone Line by Julie Mulhern

Another book I read recently was Telephone Line, Country Club Murders book 9 by Julie Mulhern.
I really like this series and Julie's Poppy Fields series. The books are well written, good mysteries, and start right off with a bang, or a thud.

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"A killer is calling, and Ellison’s life is on the line.

Ellison Russell is planning the event of the season—and she’s stressed. Why not yoga?

Because the yoga instructor gets murdered during class—and Ellison’s stress level rises exponentially. Now, in addition to raising a ridiculous amount of money, she’s babysitting a deranged cat (named after the devil himself), taking ten million phone calls (most of them from Mother), and finding more bodies (they’re popping up like dandelions after a spring rain).

There’s no such thing as balance when the killer makes it personal. Can Ellison catch a murderer or will her next namaste be her last?"

Another really great mystery from Julie Mulhern. Poor Ellison finds another body. All of our favorite characters are here; Mother, Aggie, Grace, Libba and Anarchy. Ellison of course gets involved in the investigation as things start involving her. Moments of suspense, humor and my favorite references to the '70s. Oh and a really good cliffhanger and the end. 

I highly recommend this series and while you could pick up any book in the series, I say start with book one. You will get the back story and follow the character development and the relationships. 

Anxiously awaiting book 10...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Thin Air by Lisa Gray

One of the most recent audible books I listened to was Thin Air, Jessica Shaw Book 1 by Lisa Gray.

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"She investigates missing persons - now she is one.
Private investigator Jessica Shaw is used to getting anonymous tips. But after receiving a photo of a three-year-old kidnapped from Los Angeles twenty-five years ago, Jessica is stunned to recognize the little girl as herself. 
Eager for answers, Jessica heads to LA’s dark underbelly. When she learns that her biological mother was killed the night she was abducted, Jessica’s determined to solve a case the police have forgotten. Meanwhile, veteran LAPD detective Jason Pryce is in the midst of a gruesome investigation into a murdered college student moonlighting as a prostitute. A chance encounter leads to them crossing paths, but Jessica soon realizes that Pryce is hiding something about her father’s checkered history and her mother’s death. 
To solve her mother’s murder and her own disappearance, Jessica must dig into the past and find the secrets buried there. But the air gets thinner as she crawls closer to the truth, and it’s getting harder and harder to breathe."

This is a debut novel for the author. I thought this was a pretty good P.I. crime thriller. The story held my interest. There were definitely some suspenseful moments. The story had depth; who wants Jessica to look into this 25 year old cold case, is she the missing girl, who was her mother and what happened to her, who was the man who raised her and how or if the current murder in Eagle Rock is connected. Kept me guessing. Good description of the detective work for both cases. A romantic interest for Jessica? A couple of the characters did have aliases and that got a little confusing for me. Lisa Gray did a decent job of setting the stage for a second novel. I thought the narrator did a good job, differentiating between female and male voices. 

About Lisa: Lisa Gray is a writer and journalist, and the author of the PI Jessica Shaw thriller series.

She decided at a young age that she wanted to write features for magazines and somehow ended up working as a football journalist for 14 years instead.

After too many winters spent freezing at matches and worrying about dodgy wi-fi connections, Lisa gave up football to work as a content writer at a national newspaper, where she had a spell as their books columnist.

An avid reader, she was hooked on Sweet Valley High and Point Horror books as a youngster, before turning to crime. Her favorite authors include Michael Connelly, Lee Child and Karin Slaughter.

THIN AIR is her debut crime novel and the first in a series about private investigator Jessica Shaw."

The second book in the series, Bad Memory, is coming out in October 2019. I am interested.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

Our July selection for the Mystery Book Club was Need to Know by Karen Cleveland.

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About: "What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?" 

This book was one you will get so engrossed in, you may read it in one sitting. It is a psychological thriller.  It got my interest right away. There is a "this could happen" feel to it and will have you thinking and looking around...for awhile.

The MBC group liked it a lot as a whole. Several read it in one day. We had many comments about "this could happen, what about neighbors, what about friends." There were also several "nah that would never happen," comments.

Keep You Close also by Karen Cleveland. The main character was in Need to Know is about the FBI. We heard we would hear more about this story and/or the characters from Need to Know in Keep You Close. If you like this book, you may want to pick up Keep You Close.

Karen Cleveland spent eight years as a CIA analyst, the last six in counterterrorism. She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and from Harvard University. 

Just sayin'....

Read it and see what you think.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Finally...the Award Winners Book List

Time flies when you're not having fun. Seems like work has been so busy, it sapped all the energy out of me for the past couple of weeks. I have been reading and listening to books, so will try to catch you up this week.

Our Mystery Book Club met the first week of July. It was a two in one meeting since we had to cancel the June meeting. For June, we all read any books that were nominated and/or won an award so far this year. We use the web site Stop Your Killing Me for reference. Take a look. Lots of information.


Here is the list of what the MBC members read and enjoyed. No particular order, just as I jotted them down.

N* = Nominated       W* = Won

Curses Boiled Again -A Lobster Shack Mystery
Shari Randall
Agatha *W
Cry Wolf-Zoe Chambers #7
Annette Dashofy
Agatha *N
Redemption Point-Crimson Lake Novel
Candice Fox
Ned Kelly *N
Where the Crawdads Sing
Delia Owens
Edgar *N
She Rides Shotgun
Jordan Harper
Edgar *W
Kingdom of the Blind
Louise Penny
Arthur Ellis *N
Three Stations- Arkady Renko #7
Martin Cruz Smith
Edgar-Grand Master
Martin Cruz Smith
Edgar-Grand Master
Dark Sacred Night
Michael Connelly
Barry *N
Under a Dark Sky
Lori Rader Day
Edgar *N
The Hollow of Fear- Lady Sherlock Series
Sherry Thomas
Barry *N
The Dark Lake-Gemma Woodstock
Sarah Bailey
Ned Kelly *W
Bone on Bone
Julia Keller
Mary Higgins Clark  *N
The Chalk Man
C.J. Tudor
Dagger, Barry, Thriller  *N

The Last Place You Look
Kristin Lipionka
Shamus *W Anthony McCavity *N

Mardi Gras Murder
Ellen Byron
Agatha *W, Lefty *N
The Widows of Malabar
Sujata Massey
Lefty *W
A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder
Dianne Freeman
Lefty *W
November Road
Lou Berney

This is a condensed list. I will let you look up the one's you are interested in, to see what the exact award was.

Lot's of good books here. I found more to add to my TBR list as I looked them up.