Enjoy some Mayhem & Magic!

Our blog is meant to evoke fun with the magic of myths, folklore, movies and the mayhem of murder and madness. We have to keep it interesting so if you like different genres of movies and books then you're at the right blog. Our authors are a wide range of experts and our readers know what is top of the line in their favorite genres. Sometimes we post recipes that might be fun to try if a culinary author has one in her book that we think is especially yummy or one that Terri and I have created and want to share with you. Enjoy Guest Blogger Alice Duncan's monthly muse on her books and writing mysteries.

Plus you won't want to miss our book reviews, author interviews or our guest bloggers. So grab your favorite beverage then join us for some magic and mayhem! The good news is that you don't have to leave the house or your comfy chair. We have something for everyone's taste and every month we have a different topic for our bloggers: ones we feel that might be useful in your own writing and reader points of view. Not to mention, life in general. So join us and be sure to have a notebook handy as your to-be-read pile will grow as you add books, recipes, movies and t.v. series you won't want to miss. Not to mention folktales, myths or ideas you may wish to explore. Be careful what you wish for because on mayhemandmagic2 you just might find it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Terri's Top 10 Reads of 2014

In no particular order since they are very different books:

Death of the Mad hatter - Sarah J Peepper
Creepy - Jennifer Hillier
Sing it to her Bones - Marcia Talley
Undead by Morning - Joyce 7 Jim Lavene
The Man Who Watched the World End - Chris Dietzel
The Sherlock Files - Guy Adams
Animal Kingdom - Iain Robb Wright
Creatures of the Night (ed) Absolute Xpress
Treasure Me - Chrstina Nofti
Ebola:  The Natural and Human History-David Quammen

Most of these I have posted reviews on

Terri

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: The Halloween Mask and Other Strange Tales by David Stuart Davies


  • File Size: 219 KB
     
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (September 15, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • ASIN: B00JIE89PC

  • An Anthology of dark tales by a new-to-me author who is very skilled at his craft.  Some of my favorites include:  'The Key', 'The Lady in the Garden' and a very fun Sherlock Holmes story (This author is VERY good at Holmes Stories I have discovered) - 'Sherlock Holmes and the Ghost of Christmas Past'.

    Then I have to discuss his story 'The Books' which, though NOT a vampire tale, reminded me very much of Jonathan Harker's journey and first night in Dracula's castle.  Similar elements such as the storyteller being dropped off reluctantly at the end of the path to the Lodge and his arrival to a note, wine, fire and so on, brought back that foreboding feeling I felt when reading Dracula for the first time.  Is it homage?  Or too similar?  I found I didn't care, it still took me where I needed to go in my mind.

    And finally, my favorite story in the book: 'The Oldest Ghost Story-Writer in the Land'.  A very hold horror writer is invited to appear as a guest on a television adaptation of one of his stories on Halloween.  My two favorite descriptions follow:

    "This was real and all the more terrifying because he didn't know why he was frightened.  For a moment, his body turned to ice and his heart began to race.  He blinked furiously, gasping or breath."

    and

    "I am a Relic.  that's how I have been treated today.  Some old curiosity from a bygone age who's been wheeled out for his novelty value.  The oldest living ghost-writer in the land."

    Well written words that manage to convey atmosphere and feelings without slapping you in the face with it.  Horror at its best.

    I will definitely be reading more by this author!

    Terri


    Friday, January 23, 2015

    Review: Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris

    Title: TAGGED FOR DEATH (A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)
    Author: Sherry Harris
    Paperback: ISBN-12: 978-1-61773-017-7
    Price: 7.99

    Sarah Winston is starting her life over. At age thirty-eight she is no longer a military wife. When her ex-husband has a fling with a nineteen year old. Sarah moves out but still stays in the same area just off base.

    However her whole married life has been that of a military wife. She has friends and people who will vouch for her to be on base. She helps with the thrift shop, garage sales and many other things.

    Sarah and her friend go to tag sales. After taking a friend to tag sales all over the Ellington Massachusetts area she returns home with many bags of things to sort, tag and maybe keep a few things. The problem arises the next morning when she finds a bag of bloody shirts that belong to her ex-husband.

    Then the more drastic concern is what has happened to Tiffany the nineteen year old CJ is seeing. Tiffany has disappeared. Sarah tries to stay busy but when she discovers a body on the acres the thrift shop sits on and when they arrest CJ for murder.

    Sarah thinks CJ is a lot of things but he isn't a murderer. Life gets complicated has more issues and another death come to light.

    TAGGED FOR MURDER by Sherry Harris is everything you want in a cozy mystery. It's also true another persons junk is someone else's treasure. Don't miss this wonderful first in the series.


    Pam 

    Monday, January 5, 2015

    Pamela's Top Ten books for 2014

    As promised here is my 2014 list of my top ten books. I will do a another list of runner up's this week. Now some of the book have already been returned to the library so I couldn't get detailed.
    1. The Yard (I forgot the name of the author but it's the first in the series. There is a Scotland Yard Murder Squad that forms after Jack The Ripper. Nice historical start that hits the right mark on character, plot and history.

    2. Twelve Clues Of Christmas by Rhys Bowen this is a wonderful historical cozy series. I think this book sparkles.

    3. Christmas Carol Murder by Leslie Meier What a great cozy to read at Christmas or in the winter. Lucy Stone takes on a mortae company plus is in a Christmas Play and her daughter moves out. I want to add these are only a few of the highlights.

    4. Ophelia Wylde Series by Max McCoy I can't say enough about this historical series. Ophelia dreams and when she does all hell breaks loose. She knows how to be a detective and often works with a bounty hunter. This series is one of the best of the best historical series.

    5.TheSayer Swindle by Victoria Abbott all I have to say is "If you haven't read this series you very well are missing out on one of the best cozy series on today's market." This book in the series ha me hooked from the first line.

    6.Forget Me Knot Murder by Mary Hart for anyone who likes quilts, loves quilting and has friends must read this series. Definitely cozy but add adventure and interesting characters.

    7. Mrs. Jefferies and the Merry Gentlemen. As always this book in the series does not fail and is a wonderful Christmas historical cozy.

    8. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith Okay this is my book find of the year. Not only a great detective story but the characters are witty, unique, interesting and the plot is much more layered than your average detective novel. Also Robert Galbraith is the pen name for JK Rowlings.

    9. The Skeleton Takes A Bow by Leigh Perry I have to say this is the most entertaining series that I have ever read. Sid the family skeleton is a wonderful character, as are Georgia and her teenage daughter Madison. In this one Sid is going to be in the play Hamlet.

    10. Ghost Gone Wild by Carolyn Hart in this one there is a huge problem. Bailey Ruth Evans thinks that Wiggins her boss from Heaven's Department of Good Intentions has sent her to Adelaide, Oklahoma to save Nick Magruder but while Nick needs saving it wasn't Wiggins who sent her but instead Nick's Aunt Dee. Bailey Ruth has no way to disappear or even change into lothes. From there the plot takes an interesting turn. Aunt Dee and Bailey Ruth need to et along long enough to help Nick and solve murder.


    Okay this is my top ten.

    Pam


    Review: Milwaukee Autumns can be Lethal - Kathleen Anne Barrett

    Beth is a lawyer who writes briefs for other attorneys.  She goes to deliver one to Don (a lawyer she does work for) and finds him dead.  She decides it is up to her to solve the murder and goes about it with gusto.

    The problem with writing a cozy is for the author to make the reason for investigating the crime believable.  After all, why not let the police do their job?

    I liked most of the characters well enough in this book BUT that said, the enthusiasm with which they embrace Beth's involvement in the investigation really irritated me at times.  one friend of hers actually pumped fist in the air and exclaimed YES or something like that.  I found it off-putting.

    Yet I can get past it if the story keeps me going.  And for the most part, it did.  But then, I felt the resolution didn't work either.  Where did the killer come from out of the story?  Were their clues? Maybe it was just me, but I missed it.

    Friday, December 19, 2014

    Review: Vampire: The Richard Chase Murders by Kevin Sullivan

    In the 1970s, Richard Chase's murders terrorized Sacramento.  They were brutal, gruesome and random.  The only thing they had in common was a VERY small geographic region.  

    Mr. Chase was clearly delusional and drank the blood of some of his victims (hence the moniker of 'Vampire'). 

     The most interesting question I found while reading the book, is how clearly the definition of mental illness versus LEGAL insanity played out in his case.  It was well researched and presented and a very interesting read.

    Terri

    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    Top Ten lists and Happy Holidays

    Good Morning,

    I wanted to start my top ten list early instead of waiting for January. At least my top 3 authors and books. Max McCoy gets top honors for his historical mystery seasons. I can't remember any titles this morning which tells you about my week. 

    However moving right along Rhys Bowen's The Twelve Clues Of Christmas takes top honors for her Royal Spyness Christmas Mystery in her series. 

    Third place goes to the book The Yard and I mean this book takes place a year after Jack The Ripper did his wicked serial killer ways. Now there is the Murder Squad of Scotland Yard.

    After these comes a few more books that I can honestly say I love. Victoria Abbott has a series to die for and all the books (which is two out of three) I have read makes me wish I had written this series. The Sayers Swindle was wonderful as wa The Christie Caper. I want to buy and review The Wolfe Widow. 

    This leads me to Leigh Perry's A Skeleton In The Family Series. Now I have to thank Leigh for writing this series as it got me back into writing a cozy series of my own. I think her real name is Toni P. Kelner but I am not sure as the name on this series is Leigh Perry. 

    Last but not least this morning is Forget Me Knot it is a quilting mystery series by Mary Marks. 

    Now the rest of my list will have to wait until I can find details on the other books. BUT this is a start if you are looking for the perfect books for mystery readers.

    Now Terri and I have next week off so I am not sure how often we will blog. However I will be around for the next week and after.

    I am so sorry I haven't been blogging lately but I've been sick with pneumonia and am just now getting over it. I am sooo much better that I will say I am well but don't want to jinx it. LOL

    Our holiday ought to be as usual interesting. We are leaving earlier tan expected and coming home earlier than expected.

    I love and thank all of our readers and followers.

    LET your star shine bright. Please tell us when you have time what books have been fun for you to read?

    Love,

    PAM 

    Thursday, December 4, 2014

    Review: The Thames Torso Murders by MJ Trow

    • Print Length: 224 pages
    • Publisher: Wharncliffe (August 24, 2012)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0091WB4ZI

    The interesting thing about these murders is very few people even know about them. The Ripper crimes totally obscured any coverage or interest. Yet they really are just as gruesome if not more so, since only parts of dismembered bodies were found and most have not been identified.

    MJ Trow has written some very excellent books on the subject of the Ripper and I was curious to see how he presented this. I was put off a bit by the VERY detailed history of the Thames and its London districts. Too much - information overload. And yet, probably very useful in a deeper understanding of some facets of the case. (Not to mention all the references remind me of current Sherlock locations....)

    The sad thing is that most of the historical documents and information has been lost (more so than even the Ripper case) so even with the obviously painstaking research done here, it will not be possible to really know much more about this series of murders.

    But it is interesting and it also tells us about another serial murder loose in London during Victorian times, overlapping with the Ripper's crimes.

    Terri

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    Holiady Book Shopping

    I hope your holiday shopping leaves everyone with some down time to read. Also don't forget to add book books for the readers in your family.

    Okay speaking of books. Last night I made a trek to the public library and here are the books and author I brought home with me.

    First is Carolyn Hart's GHOST GONE WILD( A Bailey Ruth Evans Ghost Novel), 


    Then is, 

    A LACK OF TEMPERANCE (A HATTIE DAVISH MYSTERY) by Anna Loan Wilsey. This is a a new to me author and series. I got mine in large type hardback. It of course is an historical mystery series. It is set in Eureka Springs Arkansas in 1892.
    Hattie is a traveling secretary and when she arrives to he new job she finds that her employer has disappeared.




    Next up is M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin Mystery Series. THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISHMAN
    Well, with this title I had to check the book out. I have read this series. Some of the books I like. Some... well... not so much. I will get back to you.



    Last is Sall Goldenbaum's latest:  Angora Alibi(A seaside knitters Mystery). 


    Okay that was all o the library books...


    Now while in Kansas City last week I picked up Mrs. Jeffries The MERRY GENTLEMEN (A Christmas Mystery) and his is an historical series set in London by Emily Brightwell.  

     I also picked up Leigh Perry's A Family Skeleton Mystery (this is also a series. The book I picked is THE SKELETON TAKES A BOW.
    Now I love this series and the skeleton is named Sid. LOL




    Lastly, while at the grocery store last night, they had in paperback CHRISTMAS CAROL MURDER by Leslie Meir. So I bought it.


    Will you have a Christmas wish list of books this season?
     
    Hugs,

    Pam

    Monday, December 1, 2014

    Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


    NOVEMBER RECAP


    November, 2014, wasn’t a month of great joy in this house. Well, the dogs remained happy and contented all month long, but I lost two very dear friends in November, and I resent it like fire.

    Yes, I know that once you’re here, there’s only one way out, and we’re all going to die one day. However, when my dear friend, Sara Hoge, died in the early part of the month, her passing hurt. Heck, I even made a flying trip (literally) to California in order to attend her memorial service at the glorious Neighborhood Church in Pasadena. Sara’s last remaining brother was there, and so were her three daughters and all of their children (they’re all grown-ups. Funny how that happens). Anyway, it was great to see everyone, including both of my daughters and my younger grandson Riki. Riki and I pretty much ate our way through Pasadena. I stayed with another great friend, Barbara Masters, and I’d forgotten how much fun we used to have together. So even though the occasion for getting together was solemn, the trip was a huge success. This, in spite of arriving at the Hollywood-Burbank Bob Hope Airport at 9:30 p.m. and having to drive from there in a rental car to Altadena, CA, and Barbara’s house. On the freeway. In the dark.

    It’s been sixteen or seventeen years since I’ve driven on an L.A. freeway at night. Trust me when I tell you that FAR more people live in Southern California than live in Southeastern New Mexico. The rental guy talked me into getting a GPS device for the car, and I’ll be forever grateful to him for that, because the GPS lady, Ms. Ratchett (I’d just read a Jeanne Glidewell book in which the GPS lady was Ms. Ratchett, so it came naturally) directed me to Barbara’s house perfectly. I was terrified the whole way there (all those headlights; sheesh!) but she didn’t miss a tip or a turn. Whew!

    Later on in the month, a sadder death occurred, mainly because the dead guy, a wonderful man named Steven Dierks, was only sixty years old. He’d recovered from a battle with stomach cancer and he and his wife Kate were blissfully looking for houses to buy so they could get away from the New Jersey town in which they lived. Then, out of the blue, Steve was diagnosed with stage-four renal-cell cancer. Steve and Kate went through four months of hell only to be told on a Friday that he was cancer-free. Then he died Saturday night. Not fair. I don’t approve.

    I met Kate and Steve through dog rescue. They were into Sheltie rescue, kind of like I’m into Dachshund rescue. They’d driven through Roswell (which very few people ever do, because Roswell isn’t on the way to anywhere), noticed a scruffy little terrier mix at the Roswell Humane Society, and fell in love with her. They left her there, but kept in touch with the RHS folks. Finally, the little doggie’s time was up. Carole Rogers, the RHS kennel manager, called to ask me if I’d be willing to foster a terrier until transport could be arranged to get the pup to Kate and Steve in New Jersey. What the heck. So I fostered the dog who eventually came to be called Bridey until Steve could make arrangements to fly to the Albuquerque Sun Port to pick her us. My wonderful neighbors, Barry and Ann Lasky, drove Bridey to Steve, and Steve (after trying and failing to put a diaper on Bridey) put her in a little crate, and flew her home to New Jersey under the seat in front of him on the airplane. And now Steve is gone, and Bridey, Kate, and Harper (Bridey’s Sheltie sister) are left to mourn.

    There are aspects of life of which I just don’t approve, and this is one of the biggest. Phooey.

    I’ll be giving away advanced reading copies (ARCs) of Thanksgiving Angels some time after the first of the year (because I’m going on a planned trip to Southern California for Christmas and won’t be home until after the beginning of 2015). If you’d like to enter, just send me your name and home address at: alice@aliceduncan.net  I’ll drop your name into my winner-picking wiener dog’s special contest doggie dish, and Bam-Bam (my winner-picking wiener dog) will select winners when the time comes.

    Also, please feel free to visit my web site at www.aliceduncan.net and my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925


    Thank you!