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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates

Title: By BOOK or by CROOK
First in a new cozy series (A LIGHTHOUSE LIBRARY

Lucy Richardson left her cushy job of rare literature at the Harvard Library in Boston. Boston happens to be where most of her family lives which was more the reason why she needed to leave Boston and her future husband is the last reason she left Boston. She didn't want to marry him so she visits her Aunt Ellen in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the rest is history.
She is now assistant librarian at the Bodie Lighthouse Library on Bodie Island.

This month they are honoring Jane Austen Novels and have the rare books locked up in a cabinet. All manners of events are happening but the books are priceless. When one of the books is stolen at the grand opening of such an event this is a tragedy. When the library board president is found murdered it becomes all too real that someone might be a bit too much of a Jane Austen fan and not enough of a library fan.

Lucy lives on the second floor of the lighthouse library in her small apartment. She loves her career, her apartment and the best thing about the library is Charles the cat.  When strange things start happening Lucy isn't as spooked but when another Jane Austen Book is stolen then she gets downright mad.

This beautifully written cozy mystery with a setting to die for and any mystery lovers dream job is perfect reading for a summer, spring rain afternoon, deep in winter or the swirl of fall leaves.
A compelling mystery with interesting characters and I look forward to reading the next book in this delightful new series.

Eva Gates has penned a beacon of fun and I can't wait to read how te next plot thickens in this series.

Pamela *********

Monday, March 23, 2015

Review - Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsey

On Valentine's day 1900, young women from an Australian boarding school go on a picnic at the Hanging Rock.  3 Girls and a teacher disappear mysteriously.  A week later, a young man finds one of the girls on a ledge with no memory of the events.  

I had originally seen the movie based on this novel a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  It was a great mystery with no resolution and a hint that maybe something otherworldy may have occurred.  A pink mist, what may be visions or dreams, lack of any sign of the girls...these are all things that provide an atmosphere of the possibility of paranormal goings on.

And yet, the place was full of caves and crevices and certainly could have had a natural explanation for the disappearances.

The author says in the book that it doesn't matter whether it is based on a true story or not which I thought was amusing.  And the truth is, it doesn't.  The tale itself is very satisfying.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review - You by Caroline Kepnes

This is a pretty disturbing book - a story of obsession, stalking and murder.  Joe is a seemingly innocent man to the outside world, but internally he is obsessive and delusional.  His obsession with college student, Beck is overwhelming.  You get a great insight into his thoughts and how they drive his actions in a way that is terrifying.  His manipulation of social media to spy on her and cover traces of his crimes makes you realize how vulnerable we are in the digital age.

The thing is, he presents himself well and normal to the world, covering up how incredibly dangerous he actually is.  The problem I had though, is that I didn't like ANY of the characters and that detached me from caring about his actions.  As much as he despised the pretentiousness of the people in Beck's life, he also was pretentious.  As a result, this book was much slower going than I expected and I am not sure I will read the next - Love.


  • File Size: 2845 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books (September 30, 2014)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: A Proper Tea by Johanna Isles

I love tea! And this book was a lot of fun. There was a lot of interesting history of tea, its' discovery in the West, how it came to be a tradition in England and other fun tidbits.

It was great at explaining different types of tea and how best to serve them. 

There was a story of the legend of the Willow Plate pattern china which is so popular. 

And BEAUTIFUL watercolor illustrations!  It is based on themes such as A proper tea, a nursery tea, a picnic tea, Tea in bed etc...  and each section is illustrated accordingly and has appropriate recipes for the theme.  Many traditional, some unusual -- A Black and White Tea and a Bizarre Tea for example.

Then of course, some great recipes -- it is a cookbook after all.

My favorites to try: Elegant Sugar Thins, Banana sandwiches, Cherry cake, Bengal Sandwiches and Cold Spiced Tea


  • Hardcover: 95 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (October 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312651422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312651428

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death by Christine Wenger

Title: Diners, Drive-ins, and Death (A Comfort Food Mystery Series)
Author: Christine Wenger

Paperback Series
ISBN: 978-0-451-41510-3
US Price:7.99

Trixie Matkowski owns the Silver Bullet Diner, plenty of lake front property and cabins, a big Victorian home which she calls the "Big House", and what she doesn't own her best friend Antoinette Chloe Brownelli (ACB) for version of her name.

Anyway ACB has  bought some land to open a drive-in movie theater.

What the surprise was is that her missing beau Nick Brownelli is found murdered there. The worst happened an ACB is arrested for murder.

Trixie is trying to take care of her diner, the Miss Salmon Contest to which ACB set up but with her in jail there is a problem of hands on trouble. You see all the Miss Salmon contestants are staying at the (Big House), and on her land is also The Rubbers the Motorcycle Chefs that Nick rode with and are there for the services.

Topping all of this Sandy Harbor, New York, has laid claim to good looking Ty Brisco a Houston transplant and is the top local law enforcement. Trixie's ex-husband cheated she is not interested in Ty, he may be good looking, has a cute dimple, knows how to wear a pair of jeans and cowboy hat but no Trixie hasn't noticed.

Anyway when threats start happening, shady business deals, murders and eccentric characters chime in to this week Trixie thinks what more could go wrong? As it turns out plenty could and does go wrong.

This is a very entertaining series and the characters will make you die of love an laughter. I will read the series as long as Christine Wenger writes it. I give this book eight out of ten.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Daylight Savings Time

Good Morning,

Spring forward has begun. It has effected me in so many ways and here are but a few. I don't know when to get up and when to go to bed. Eating seems to lack luster since it feels too early or late to a meal at the proper time. I can't feel settled in and all the sudden I want to live in the past because the present is too difficult.

This is only day two of DST and I want to stop not knowing if I am coming or going. I know it will stop in a week or two and I'll laugh about how much I was upset over DST. You know this year is the worst year for this to affect me so badly. I feel it's because I have had such a bad health winter with being sick almost all winter that one more change is one too many.

Last week I had vertigo so bad I could get off the couch and out of my pj's  it was scary. Don't know what brought it on and I couldn't make it to the doctor as it was that bad.

So I am hoping all these things will work themselves out and will be doing better as soon as the spring is here and the flowers bloom. LOL... I know allergies and sinuses but at least I can get out and walk etc...
What is everyone reading? What was your favorite book you read in February?

Happy first Monday of daylight savings time.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


February turned out to be a month filled with loss, with infinitely more mayhem than magic. Three people of whom I was fond died in February (well, four, if you count Leonard, Nimoy, and I certainly do). My cousin died. Pat Browning, a dear cyber-friend and longtime journalist died. But the one that got to me the most was when I learned of Wallace J. Swenson’s death.

Most of you have probably never heard of Wally Swenson, but if I have my way, the entire world will know about him and his wonderful books soon. I had the honor of editing three of his books for Five Star’s Frontier Fiction line: BUELL, PINE MARTEN, and CARLISLE. Wally had more books in the works (I believe they were all written, actually) and Five Star aims to publish them. I will be proud to edit as many books as Wally had lying around at the time of his death.

Wally’s dream was to be a published writer of western fiction. He didn’t rely on the Old West shoot-‘em-up myth, but told stories about people who felt like friends, and he put them into situations that might actually have occurred. Don’t know how many of you have seen “Deadwood” on TV, but that will give you an idea of how Wally’s books worked.

Well, Wally died before he could even hold his first published book, BUELL, in his hands. Broke my heart, as well as the hearts of his many friends and family members. Perhaps you have to have had a dream like Wally’s in order to truly appreciate what a cruel loss his death was. I still feel like crying.

Here’s the cover for BUELL, which will be published in August of this year:

Wally chose this photograph for the cover of his book, because he says this guy looks just like Buell, and I agree with him. Please buy this book when it comes out. You won’t be sorry. And it’ll be available electronically, too, so you don’t have to spend a bunch of money. The book itself is worth a bundle, but e-books are nice like that.

As for me, life goes on. I’ll be in touch with the winners of February’s contest, so they can tell me which of my books they want me to send them.

And for this month’s contest… um… well, I dunno. How about I give away a couple of copies of SPIRITS REVIVED, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s six-and-a-halfth adventure? If you’d like to enter my contest, please send me your name and home address in an e-mail to alice@aliceduncan.net

If you’d like to learn more about my books, please visit www.aliceduncan.net and if you’re really a sucker for punishment, check out my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925


Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: Bringing Adam Home by Les Standiford and Detective Sgt. Joe Matthews

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061983918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061983917

The story of Adam Walsh's murder is tragic and frustrating.

I remember bits on the news  at the time, but was a teenager and didn't really think much about it.  But the media was different then, we didn't hear much about these type of things - they seemed distant and outside our world view really.

A boy, snatched from a sears store while his mother was in a different part of the store -- looking back NOW puts an entirely different perspective on it.  When we were kids we would often hang out in the toy section while our parents were in another section.  I even remember Christmas shopping with me and my younger brother shopping on our own with a meet up time and location with my parents at a food place in the mall.  Oh - how times have changed.  And really as a major result of this horrific crime.

A parent now would be horrified at leaving their child unattended and would come down like a hammer on poor Reve' Walsh (who probably comes down harder on herself than any other person ever could).  The fact is, even though abduction/murders of children did happen, we never heard about it.  And the idea of a predator like Ottis Toole who did it on a whim was just too unbelievable to comprehend.

So, this book chronicles the investigation from the beginning and tells the story of why the crime was not 'solved' and Toole charged in the killing, despite numerous confessions.  It does not shine a good light on the Hollywood police department and others.

What makes it different from John Walsh's own book on the murder of his son 
is that this book was written by the man who repeatedly was shut out of the case over the years, and is the one who finally put the pieces together and found the evidence to close the case once and for all.

Both books actually are incredibly good.  And though telling the story of a horribly tragic murder of a beautiful young boy,

they are also the story of how the world changed.  And I don't say that lightly.

Adam's story is also John's story.

John Walsh had a waking nightmare that left him full of unimaginable pain, frustration, rage and he could have turned it inward and that would have been the ending of a sad tale.

Instead, John Walsh made it his life's work to change the way we react to a missing child.

Both books detail that struggle and it's results.  Some of which we know, some we don't.

But the highlights?

  • Child pictures on milk cartons
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

I do remember when this opened because it was very closed to where I worked at the time.  What Mr. Walsh learned and pushed others to support is that everyone needs to work together to find children.

This is another thing we all are used to now with CSI and other shows constantly checking it for similar crimes.  Nothing like it existed.

  • Laws too many to mention
Walsh was behind so many laws.  He worked with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle (back when Congress actually WORKED) to pass laws to aid law enforcement and help protect the innocent.

Probably the most important one to him, was the one that bears his son's name:

  • And of course the one that most of us knows him for:

A show most of us have watched.  A show that has resulted in the capture of well over 1000 wanted criminals.

And on a related note, when I was a member of the True Crime Book Club for the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, we actually met on the set of America's Most Wanted which is on the bottom floor of the Museum.  So we were in the nerve center where people answered the telephones and took leads.  Even empty but for us, I felt a bit a part of it at the time.  Had a sense of awe at what happened right there every week...

John Walsh has made the world a better place and done work that others have taken up and will continue to do.  At great personal cost.  He is a man I admire greatly.

And the book was as good as I had hoped as well. :)


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: Unscrupulous by Avery Aster

  • File Size: 670 KB
  • Print Length: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc. (August 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Taddy Brill is a Manhattanite to the core.  Self-emancipated from her parents as a teen, she now runs a highly successful PR firm.  Everything is excess - clothes, vacations, personal grooming,sex - it doesn't matter - she believes in having it all.  Until she meets Hotel Mogel, Warner Truman.  Then she might learn to share...

Wild characters and scenarios.  A fun escape.

Over-the-top decadent fun!


P.S. Very graphic erotica for those who need to know :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


Yes, I know it’s already February, but January got clean away from me, so here’s my first blog of the new year.

Lucky me, I got to spend Christmas in Southern California with my family and a ton of friends. It was fun. After Christmas, I dog-sat for my younger daughter and son-in-law’s dogs while they went traveling up to the wine country and San Francisco.

What’s more, visiting my old stamping grounds seems to have dissolved the writer’s block I’ve been suffering from for a couple of years. Yay! I finished SPIRITS ONSTAGE, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s ninth adventure, which will be published soon. Then I’ll need to write another one. The only problem now is time. But I’ll find it somewhere.

But the best part of my trip was eating. I love food. And Southern California has restaurants of all shapes and sizes. I got to eat Middle Eastern food, East Indian food, Japanese food and good Italian food! And Gilbert, Robin’s hubby, fixed a magnificent prime rib for Christmas dinner. But I’m home again, and cooking for myself. Feel free to send condolences. Not that I don’t like to cook, but I can’t do tempura or falafel and stuff like that. Well, I have done both, but they seem to taste better when someone else fixes them.

Here’s a photo of my grandson Riki my good pal, Barbara Masters, my late friend Sara’s daughter, Cathy; my daughter, Anni; and me at Pinocchio’s Restaurant in Pasadena. Yum!

And here’s Stephanie Cowans and her son, Colin, at another meal (have I mentioned I love to eat?) Steph and I used to dance and sing together back in the Good Old Days:

But all good things have to come to an end, I reckon, so on January 3, I boarded a plane (at 7:30 a.m.) at LAX and flew to Dallas. You see, in order to get anywhere from Roswell, you have to fly to Dallas first. Same thing on the way home again. So when I left Roswell, I flew to Dallas and then to Los Angeles. Going back, I flew from LAX to Dallas, and waited. And waited. And waited. Weather delays from all across the country had trapped people in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, some of the poor things for days. But I eventually managed to get home at about 8:30 p.m., where I discovered my hounds, who had been well cared for by Ann and Barry Lasky, delighted to see me. I was delighted to see them, too, but boy, was I tired.

However, things are zooming along this year. Already I have a new audiobook out. I know it’s after Christmas, but if you should find yourself in dire need of a heartwarming Christmas story, check out CHRISTMAS PIE:

I’ll be holding a contest again this month, and I’ll be giving away copies of . . . oh, heck, I don’t know. I think I’ll let the winners select any old book they want, providing I have a copy on hand. If you’d like to enter, please send me an e-mail including your name and home address to alice@aliceduncan.net  At the end of the month, Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, will select as many winners as he feels like picking.

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