Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review: Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

Rizzoli and Isles are investigating the brutal death of a big game hunter/taxidermist and the stolen snow leopard pelt taken from him.  In their investigation, they find a very unusual killer who may have been active for years throughout the country, preying on hikers and isolated people.  Then they find that it may be connected to a 6 year old Interpol case where an entire tourist party was massacred  except for one lone survivor.

Millie is the survivor from Botswana, and she has been brought to Boston to help them catch the killer.

I really enjoyed this book.  It shifts from first person POV (Millie's account of the Botswana expedition) and 3rd person POV - the current investigation.  I know some people don't like that sort of thing, but I don't mind it.  In this case particularly, I like the story told from Millie's POV, because it feels more real.

Additionally, I liked the narrator as well

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


When I was a kid, I once calculated how old I’d be in the year 2000. I couldn’t even imagine being fifty-four years old! Well, guess what? I not only achieved the astounding age of fifty-four, but have surpassed it. I’ll be seventy-four at the end of November, 2019. This would be totally unbelievable to the kid I used to be. Unfortunately, these days, it’s not only believable but real. Not quite sure how I feel about it, although I do know I’m not handling the aging process gracefully. In fact, I resent the heck out of it, for all the good that does.
At any rate, I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who’s happy to see the end of 2018. It wasn’t a great year for lots of us. Personally, I was deathly sick during much of the early part of the year, bronchitis and sinusitis finally deafening me completely in my right ear and destroying my vocal chords. Since singing was about the only thing I liked to do that I still could do, this wasn’t a happifying outcome for me. I re-joined the Methodist choir I used to sing with anyway because … well, why not? Of all the things I’ve lost as I’ve aged, including four inches, my left hip (which has been replaced by a metal one), the ability to run, dance, walk long distances, cook huge feasts, and sing, the thing I miss most is my voice. Too bad; so sad; la-di-dah. The only thing I can do now that I couldn’t do when I was younger is set off alarms at airports. Since Roswell, NM, is a relatively small place, the airport doesn’t have X-ray equipment, so I always get patted down before I board an airplane. Heck, they had to pat me down at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, too, since the X-ray only went so far. Only women security folks are allowed to pat down female passengers, so even that’s boring.
However, I attended my—gulp!—55th high-school reunion in October and had a whole lot more fun than I expected to have! I wasn’t a big kid on campus, and that’s not counting the fact that I was only 5’2” tall (I’m even shorter now). But I managed to reconnect with two women with whom I used to play flute in the Eliot Jr. High School Band (Altadena, CA). It is so good to have Phyllis McKown and Janet Levine Goldberg in my life again!
As soon as I left California, the entire state went up in flames. The Woolsey Fire got to within a mile or so to my younger daughter and her husband. That fire began in Thousand Oaks the day after that monster murdered so many people at the Borderline Bar and Grill. Fortunately, neither my daughter nor the above-mentioned Janet Goldberg was burned out, but lots of people weren’t so lucky. The Camp and Hill Fires in Northern California were even more destructive. I love my home state and really wish it didn’t have so many fires.
Both of my wrists needed surgery to repair problems associated with carpal-tunnel syndrome. Got the left wrist done. Still have to have surgery on the right, because stuff intervened to make having that wrist fixed in 2018 impossible. I aim to get that done in 2019.
Had a serious bout of colitis, too. Spent a hideous five hours at the local ER, and eventually lost ten pounds I didn’t exactly need to lose, but what the heck. A woman can never be too rich or too skinny, right? I’m still waiting for the rich part of that equation to catch up with me.

I lost my problem child, Giblett, this year. I mourn Giblett, although he was kind of a monster dog. Still, he came to me after being abandoned in a home where a murder-suicide had been committed, so I cut him some slack. Poor Gibbles was so scared when he first came to me, he refused to leave his crate. He got over that problem a little too quickly for my taste. Still, I miss him, even if he did take every opportunity he could find to bite the heck out of me. Here he is, doing his favorite thing: destroying and unstuffing fluffy squeaky toys.

The House of Howling Hounds (and fluff) was enriched this year by another dog, Bella-the-Biter, who came to me via a lovely woman in Albuquerque. Bella has wild, squinchy eyes; a little pink nose; a furrowed brow and origami ears. She doesn’t bite as many people as she used to, which is a good thing. It’s also a good thing not too many strangers visit my house, because I really don’t need to be sued because Bella bit someone. Oddly, Bella is the only one of my five dogs who worships me the way I should be worshiped. Wish I could convince other humans and canines of this pertinent fact. Oh, well.
The rest of my herd remains well. Bam-Bam is still scared to death of anyone in the universe who isn’t me (and so many people aren’t, you know?). Jazzy remains a Beautiful Blue Wiener and Queen of All She Surveys. Scrappy, the friendliest Chihuahua on the face of the earth, is well and healthy, although he’s getting really gray around the gills.
Cookie, my mixed terriorist, is well, although she suffered a terrible attack by a neighbor’s dog right before Christmas. She’s okay now, and my wonderful veterinarian, Dr. Charles Smith, charged me virtually nothing to fix her. He kept her two nights in his hospital, sedated her, shaved her, flushed out her wounds, sutured them, sent her home with a bottle of pain pills and a bottle of antibiotics—and the saintly man charged me a piddly few bucks. I can’t think of another veterinarian in the world who would do such a kind thing. I took him and his staff two dozen tamales (a dozen red and a dozen green) from El Charro which, according to the guy who cuts my hair, is the best place in Roswell to get them. It was a very small thank-you for taking such good care of Cookie, and two dozen tamales doesn’t cover a fraction of the gratitude I feel for those folks. Not only that, but the woman whose dog attacked Cookie, came by today and reimbursed me! How often does something like that happen?
In 2018, many of my friends were diagnosed with ghastly diseases, from cancer to scleroderma to lupus. In fact, my older daughter, Anni, was just diagnosed with lupus. Because the only person I knew whom I knew had lupus(if that makes sense) died of the fell disease in the 1970s, I thought a diagnosis of lupus was an automatic death sentence. I’m ever so glad to know I was mistaken! Lupus won’t be a lot of fun for Anni, but it can be dealt with. Whew!
A few good things happened. Peter Brandvold gave me his character, Lou Prophet, to play with. By the time he came to me, Lou was old, weathered, cranky and one-legged, having lost one leg in an accident when one of the floozies he was with drove a car loaded with bootleg liquor off a cliff in Santa Monica. Lou was the only one who survived the accident, although one of his legs didn’t and had to be replaced by a peg. Boy, did I have a fun time with Lou Prophet! Although Mean Pete hates it when I thank him for giving me Lou (even though he waited until Lou had one foot in the grave and the other … well, a peg), I thank him anyway. I’m madly working on finishing SCARLET SPIRITS, which will be my second Daisy Gumm Majesty book containing Lou Prophet. Lou kinda stole SHAKEN SPIRITS, Daisy’s upcoming adventure, but that’s okay by me. I love Lou.
Speaking of SHAKEN SPIRITS, the paper book will be released on January 1, and the ebook will be available on January 15! What’s more, you can begin leaving reviews for same on January first! That’s just a teensy hint. Reviews are important to authors. If an author’s book gets enough reviews, bookstores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble will actually recommend it to people! So leave a review! Heck, leave several reviews! I’d appreciate it a whole lot, and so would Daisy, Sam, Lou Prophet and Spike the Dachshund! Here’s a link:

My wonderful publisher, ePublishing Works, has also set up a pre-order page on for SCARLET SPIRITS! I don’t have the cover art yet, but here’s a link if you’d like to pre-order it. I’m buzzing right along with it and should have it finished shortly after the first of the year, thank goodness! And then my reward will be to write another book! There seems something slightly askew about this picture, but I’m not quite sure what it is:

Okay, down to the good stuff. Emily Newman wins a hardback copy of HIGH SPIRITS, Joy Isley wins a hardback copy of HUNGRY SPIRITS, and Nancy DeLoera Arellano wins a copy of ANGELS OF MERCY! The last book is a trade paperback (which means it’s a largish paperback). It’s my only self-published book (so far), but I like it anyway.
Now. Since SHAKEN SPIRITS will be released in January, I’ll give away a few copies of it at the end of the month. If you’d like to enter, just send me your name and address: . Due to the high cost of postage, I’ll only be able to send physical books to people residing in the USA. However, if you live in a far-off place and win, I’ll be happy to send you an ebook (Kindle or Nook).
I think that’s it! Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger founded a Facebook page called DAISY DAZE just for posting stuff from the 1920s that Daisy Gumm Majesty and her family might have used or seen or gone to or shopped at. It’s fun, and if you’d like to be a member, check it out here: . If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here:
In the mean time, HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US. We are, in order from left to right (more or less) Jazzy, Bam-Bam, Bella, me, Cookie and Scrappy!

Thank you!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Review: A Merry Murder at St. Bernard Cabins by Cindy Bell

Nikki heads to a resort to meet with her family and have Christmas together.  After unexpected calls from two of her pet sitting clients, she, one of her clients and two dogs head out only to be snowed in at the resort.  After a nasty employee is murdered right outside of her cabin, and her brother is considered a suspect, she is determined to figure out who actually did it.  Along with her client/new friend Sonia, she asks questions until on her quest to find the truth she endangers herself and her brother.  An exciting rescue and capture and a pretty satisfying mystery.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Review: The Christmas Shop Murder by Linnea West

Tessa is excited when Sue opens a all-year round Christmas shop in their small town and is caught up in the excitement of its opening, until a woman who threatened to shut it down to make a dog grooming shop is murdered.  When her brother is suspected, she decides she needs to find the truth.

It was a fun setting with likable characters.  A little light on the mystery aspect - few suspects or motives.  A setup of a love triangle (which I know upsets some cozy readers).  A light, enjoyable read.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

December? Whew!

Well, blow me down with a gentle breeze, another year’s nearly bitten the dust. They seem to fly by faster and faster, the older I get. That doesn’t seem fair somehow. Ah, well. Such is life.
However, I can show you the great cover for SHAKEN SPIRITS (created by the brilliant and talented Nina Paules), Daisy Gumm Majesty’s… Oh, Lord. Here we go again. This is Daisy’s 14th adventure into publishing, but the book cover says the book is her 13th. As I’ve often mentioned before, the actual 7th book (SPIRITS REVIVED) is one for which I haven’t yet been able to get the e-rights back. Therefore, as an audiobook, SPIRITS REVIVED is #6½. When it comes out in print and e-book format again, it will still be #6½. Publishing is a strange and mysterious business, if you’re me.
Anyway, back to the cover of SHAKEN SPIRITS. Here it is! That’s Daisy reclining pretty much underneath the wheel of that automobile—which is a 1923 Cole Sportster Sedan—and Spike, her loyal dachshund, valiantly attempting to rouse her. Somebody paid somebody else a lot of money to mow poor Daisy down. The car actually slaps her up against a pepper tree (pepper trees lined Marengo Avenue, where Daisy lived, in those days). Daisy is quite shaken up by this non-accident, which occurred right after the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day, 1925. Her shaken-ness doesn’t abate when she realizes someone actually is out to get her. Below the picture of the cover is a link where you can read an excerpt from SHAKEN SPIRITS. Moreover, you can buy it, because there are links to every e-reader, paperback and hardback site known to man. Well, maybe not all of them, but close enough:

(and read an excerpt, too, if you want to)
About halfway through SHAKEN SPIRITS, Lou Prophet, a washed-up, one-legged former bounty hunter, shows up. The elderly Lou was given to me by Peter Brandvold, bless his heart (don’t tell him I said that. He cherishes his image as Mean Pete) after I’d already written nearly half of the book. Anyway, when Lou came along, I had so much fun writing him into Daisy’s life, he darned near stole the book! I’m trying to tone him down in the book I’m writing now, SCARLET SPIRITS, although he still plays a role. If you want to read about Lou before he hit rock-bottom and ended up in the Odd Fellows Home of Christian Charity in Pasadena, California, in 1925, here’s his latest book (by Peter Brandvold, of course), BLOOD AT SUNDOWN (to be released December 19, I believe). In Mean Pete’s book, Lou’s about forty-five years younger than he is in Daisy’s day, and he’s a wild and woolly, hard-drinking, womanizing, irreverent, rascally bounty hunter. He looks good, too. When he hits Pasadena, he’s still a little woolly, but he’s old and not nearly as wild as he once was. He resents it, too (and I don’t blame him, being in the same fix myself, although I was never a hard-drinking, womanizing bounty hunter):
Um… Oh, yes! I need Bam-Bam (who went to the vet this morning for a checkup and trembled the entire time) to pick a November wiener for my book-giveaway! Bam-Bam, while terrified of pretty much everyone in the universe who isn’t me, at least doesn’t scream as if he’s being tortured when he goes to the vet like Jazzy does. Of course, Jazzy is a Beautiful Blue Wiener and Queen of All She Surveys. She’s also an incredible drama queen. In fact, here’s a photo of Bam-Bam the Not-Very-Bold and Jazzy the Drama Queen. They’re lying on my bed, which has on it a crinkly silver thing that’s supposed to keep dogs off the furniture. You can see how well it works:
And (thank you, Bam-Bam) the wieners are: Julianne Sparks, who wins a copy of CACTUS FLOWER; Karla Jans, who wins a copy of SIERRA RANSOM; Marilyn Silverstein, who wins a copy of THANKSGIVING ANGELS; and Mary Jane Hopper, who wins a copy of FALLEN ANGELS. I’ll get your books to you as soon as I can drag myself to the post office, ladies.
Let me see… I’m sure something else exciting happened in November. Oh, yes. I remember now. Right after I left Southern California, the whole blasted state caught fire, and my daughter and her husband barely escaped being burned to a crisp by the Woolsey Fire. The Woolsey Fire started in Thousand Oaks the day after that horrible man shot all those people in the Borderline Bar. That bar is where Robin and Gilbert (my daughter and her husband) go with pals to watch sports and stuff. Fortunately for my family, everyone in it was spared. Far too many other people weren’t so lucky, and the entire town of Paradise, CA, was burned to cinders in one of the fires in the northern part of the state. Here’s what it looked like in Robin and Gilbert’s neighborhood while firefighters were gallantly attempting to save it from total ruin:
For what it’s worth, rains have come recently, and California has experienced terrible mudslides in the burn-scar areas. Fortunately again, Robin and Gilbert and their neighbors were spared. However, the air still stinks to high heaven. I fear it’s going to take a lot of work and planting and more rain to make my home state beautiful again. I love California, so this makes me sad. Sniffle.
Oh, yeah. Here’s something not-so-awful. Joyce Abbate, a long-time friend and dancing pal, sent me some pictures from when I belonged to the dance company, Gypsy. Here I am. These were the good old days. I could still hear, had all my original body parts (and they worked) and I could sing and dance and have fun. I miss those days. Deep, theatrical sigh here. Hmm. Maybe Jazzy takes after her mommy in some ways. But never mind that. Anyway, the Gypsy Folk Ensemble has a Facebook page, if you want to visit it:
Oh, yes! The very best thing that happened in November (for me) was that Iris Evans and Leon Fundenberger created a special Facebook page for Daisy! It’s called Daisy Daze, and it shows photographs of things that were around in Daisy’s days and that Daisy and her friends and kin might have used. For instance, they found a copy of SIXTY-FIVE DELICIOUS DISHES MADE WITH BREAD, the cook booklet Daisy used when she was coerced into teaching a cooking class at the Salvation Army. Poor Daisy, who can burn water, hated teaching that class. Worse, she didn’t learn how to cook while she did it. If you’d like to participate in Daisy Daze, go to this link:
Let me see… What books should I give away at the end of December? Beats the heck outta me. Lemme think. Ow. That hurt. However, I did find a few books I can give away. Some lucky folks will win an original hardback version (these are first editions, by golly. If I were famous, that might actually mean something) of HIGH SPIRITS or HUNGRY SPIRITS, and I’ll also give away one of my Mercy Allcutt books, ANGELS OF MERCY. If you’d like to enter, just send me your name and address: . Due to the high cost of postage, I’ll only be able to send books to people residing in the USA. However, if you live in a far-off place and win, I’ll be happy to send you an ebook (Kindle or Nook).
I think that’s it! If you’d like to visit my web page, here’s the link: . And if you’d like to be Facebook friends, please go here:
Thank you!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: Fear by Bob Woodward

In this day and age of horrible journalism, it is refreshing to see Bob Woodward's reporting.  About of a third of the book is actually source referenced.  He reports on the chaos of the administration and the games people in it are playing, to try and work around the President's behavior.  It seems a sad state of the world that any of this is happening, but Woodward's reporting is making sense of the chaos reported by various news sources.

Whether a Trump supporter or not, it is important to have the facts as opposed to all the #FakeNews out there.  Well worth the read.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Review: The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories (ed) Maxim Jakubowski

Everyone has their favorite Jack the Ripper theory or suspect.  The odds are, we will NEVER know definitively who was responsible.  That said, This book is full of fictional stories based on various old and new theories as well as just plain imagination.  It will get us no closer to solving the crimes, but it does give us enjoyable reads of various possibilities.  

Some of my favorites from the book were:  "His Last Victim" by KG Anderson, "It's All in the Genes" by Cara Cooper, "Bluebeard's Wife" by Catherine Lundoff and "Autumn of Terror" by CL Raven.


Review: Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

Rizzoli and Isles are investigating the brutal death of a big game hunter/taxidermist and the stolen snow leopard pelt taken from him.  In...