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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Blog: Acorn Television

Blog: Acorn TV
By Pamela James
I had acorn for a long time then we switched to Direct Tv and didn't renew acorn. 

Last weekend we renewed acorn and here are some of movies and series I have been enthralled with.

First one is Crownies and if you like Janet King you will love her in Crownies. This is a marvelous series on many levels. It's pretty much before she became a judge and fills in a lot of backstory. I give it 8 out of 10 stars.

Next up: Agatha Christie's Witness For the Prosecution except this is nothing like previous books or movies. I think the movie is entertaining but I can't help but ask "What would Agatha think of this version?"
I give it a 6 out of 10.

Next came "The Interview." this is a compelling show with the right elements of suspense and drama. You think you know what is happening but do you really know or is it all smoke and mirrors?
8 out of 10 stars.

I revisited Brokenwood Mysteries and I enjoyed it more than ever so it gets a 9 out of 10 stars.

Poirot: I watched a few of these "They came to Bagdad was very enjoyable and as was other episodes. I enjoy Miss Marple and Poirot of course, this receives 10 out of 10.

Midsomer Murder: Of course I love this series no matter who is in charge and can't wait for season 19 which I hear will start soon and I can't wait for my front row seat. 10 out of 10 for the Bantling Boys and The Green Man. All seasons are great and I dearly loved the one about the author they thought was dead. Anyway, this deserves 10 out of 10.

Agatha Raisin: I loved this series before and in fact might've loved it more than when I read the books. I have watched a few of the episodes yesterday while trying to get my blood pressure under control. It did the trick for entertaining me and my BP went down.
This still deserves a 10 out of 10 from me.

Until later,

Review: Deadly Scandal

DEADY SCANDAL by Kate Parker:

This is a new series featuring Olivia Denis, the story is set in 1930's London.
Olivia Denis is wife to Reggie Denis who works for the Foreign Office.
It's no secret that Reggie as been murdered, except to those who claim it is a suicide and trying to cover up his murder.

What is worse like all men Reggie did have his secrets. He didn't deserve to die for them.
Olivia wants the murderer found and punished. She finds Ali's in the most unlikely places. 
no doubt there is going to be a war with Hitler, but who are the good guys, who are the spies and what does any of this have to do with Reggie and his murder? Is his murder more personal and by all mean what do books and the seeing a play have to do with his murder?

Soon her apartment is trashed, the police do not seem that interested and men keep showing up on her doorstep trying to offer their services of help. 
Her friends humor her and it's apparent Olivia must have a job or move home with her father. Something she would rather die than do as they do not see eye to eye. She really wants to be independent. So she goes to work as a society reporter for a newspaper. One thing Olivia knows is fashion, women and some of the right people. She goes to teas, cocktail parties, diplomat welcomes, operas, anything to do with fashion.
This is her cover story but she is also on an assignment that is secret and she hopes will help her uncover Reggie's killer.
She travels to Germany and finds people in Germany that have no reason to be there unless of course they are following her every move.
Danger is all around and when she returns home the stakes are raised higher than ever before.
One murder after another puts her a step closer to her goal if she doesn't become another victim.

DEADLY SCANDAL is the best book I have read in 2017 and goes to the top of my list.
This book predates the war and it is fascinating from the fashions to the characters.
I love Olivia Denis and I am a fan of this series.
Kudos go to Kate Parker for writing this book and series. I hope to see that she has won an award for this book and series.
Pamela James 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: BeSwitched by Molly Slow

Cathy is a very shy girl who is being bullied by the popular Tiffany.  Surla is a cat - the familiar of a nasty witch for hundreds of years.  She and Cathy switch bodies and Surla uses her confidence to help Cathy make friends and with boys at school.  They worry both about Idis (the witch) retaliating and whether they can switch back.

Thanks to Surla, Cathy gets a date with the popular Craig, who turns out to be a horrible person, playing a terrible joke on her with Tiffany.  Bullying and getting revenge back is a theme.

It is geared toward the younger end of Young Adult, but it is a fun, light read with humorous shenanigans and a bit of justice thrown in.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Nic returns home after ten years to take care of her father's house. Another woman is missing, just like ten years ago when her friend Corrine disappeared. The story is told backwards - counting down to the new disappearance.

I tried to like the book, but between the time jumping and backwards telling, I struggled to follow the events. Of course, I also had the problem I had with Girl on the Train -- I couldn't stand the characters. I finished it, but I am not sure why.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Binge Watching Blog and Other Topics

Today I am blogging about what I've been binge watching on Netflix and other shows.
Then I will move along to some other topics.

Netflix: I have been adjusting to new medications in diabetic and taking double the blood pressure meds.
So with this in time I've been alternating between Midsomer Murder and Foyle's War. 
I have all of the episodes of both many times. This makes it easy to rest, enjoy the episodes and I can color or crochet while watching Netflix.

Now my library trips have been interesting as the library has many book donations this year.
I think I have more than my fair share of Perri O'Shaughnessy because I love the two sisters who write this series. I'm crazy about legal thrillers which meant this series is of special interest to me.
While at the library I have picked up other books. A new series I love is DEADLY SCANDAL by Kate Parker.
It is set in 1930's London and I admit to being enamored with Olivia Denis the main character.
Jenn McKinlay has my heart with her hat shop series. Many diversions spent reading her series.
Now if all of this feast is not enough I bought two new books this week.
New Books: Ellie Alexander has penned Fudge and Jury (A Bakeshop Mystery) then I added a paperback mystery to one of my all time favorite series. The Body in the Wardrobe by Katherine Hall Page. I have read this series since her early days and love Faith Fairchild.
Now back to what else we have been watching on many different channels. First Hallmark Movies and Mysteries I have been binge watching Perry Mason (see what I mean about me and legal thrillers) plus I have been alternating those with Jesse Stone Mysteries and when I am tired of everything legal I bounce between Andy Griffith Shows along with Hannah Swenson's Mysteries. 
On a personal note: My grandson won a gold medal in wrestling so he proceeds on to finals.
My granddaughter Cassie will have her wedding reception this weekend on Saturday the 11th from 1-4 at a park. We live in Kansas and the weather is supposed to be 80 and over this Saturday.
My daughter will be here with my grandson Chase (the gold medal winner) so we'll probably have company.
Now on the down side is that my granddaughter Bree will have her tonsils out in a few days. 
I think you are mostly caught up on me. Although I admit to still sending a few Christmas Packages. This will happen for another month then it's the real birthday family-run of things.
Say a prayer for my daughter Amanda and her family as they go thru a tough time. 
I will write reviews when I can but you have to know currently Kate Parker and Jenn McKinlay have my reader heart. Although I really want to read another Christopher Fowler Historical Mystery, I also can't wait to return to my cross stitch projects.
Until later:

Monday, February 6, 2017

Movie Review: Beware the Slenderman

I became aware of this attempted murder case when People Magazine ran an article on it.    Two friends:  Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier  become obsessed with the character which is an internet meme:


The idea was to photoshop images of the tall, faceless man in photos and create stories.

Apparently these two girls decided it was real and attempted to kill their friend and become followers and live with him in his house in the woods.

So, HBO made a documentary about the TWELVE YEAR OLD defendants and the history of the Slender Man meme.

Beware the Slenderman

Fascinating and very sad.  These girls are quite disturbed and the movie shows how they really are out of touch with reality.  What was heart wrenching though, was the interviews with the parents who really saw no signs of the horrible attack to come and their devastation at the events.

In this age of altered facts and internet memes, one hopes it isn't a sign of more to come and that it is in fact, a learning moment and that more tragedies don't come from the modern day bogeyman.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

The Joys of History

1924 is the first year in which Daisy Gumm Majesty will be eligible to vote in the United States of America. Women were granted the vote in 1920, but Daisy wasn’t twenty-one and, therefore, was unable to vote in that election. Now you only have to be eighteen, but even if that were the law back then, she still wouldn’t have been able to vote in 1920, because her birthday came after the election. This is only relevant because she and her father have a political discussion in the book SPIRITS UNITED, to be published sometime this year. I have to finish writing it first, of course. I’ve never taken so long to write a book in my life. Gah. Don’t know what happened, but I suspect having a hip replaced, having cataract surgery, and enduring months of physical therapy disrupted my regular writing schedule.

Anyhow, the Gumms and the one remaining Majesty (Daisy) decide to vote for the Republican candidate, Calvin Coolidge, in 1924. Daisy’s favorite president up to and including 1924 was the Republican Theodore Roosevelt, because he was a reformer! No longer could food-processing companies poison the consumers of their foods with impunity, because Teddy Roosevelt put his foot down (not on the food). Roosevelt was also a vigorous conservationist and established the United States Forest Service, allowing the creation of five National Parks. Daisy is all for national parks and for reform, even if she isn’t quite sure what needs to be reformed.

Like most of us, Daisy is more concerned with her day-to-day life than she is about national and international politics. She probably would lift her eyebrows if she read about Coolidge’s immigration law, which restricted immigration to the United States, but she wouldn’t think too much about it because it didn’t affect her personally. She’d be more interested, not to say delighted, that her daily newspaper had begun printing crossword puzzles because she’s a wordsmith, if not a particularly well-educated one.

She’d naturally be horrified by the brutal murder of young Bobby Franks by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who wanted to prove their intellectual superiority by committing the “perfect crime.” As Sam Rotondo could have told the two murderers, there’s no such thing as a perfect crime; but sometimes it’s difficult to find evidence pinpointing the perpetrators of whatever crime is under examination. In fact, this is a problem for Daisy in SPIRITS UNITED. As ever, Daisy remains only slightly daunted in her search for the criminal. According to Sam, she’s not supposed to be anywhere near the crime and its suspects, but Daisy persists anyway. She’s such a buttinsky!

Daisy is a good person. Even she feels a little uncomfortable about her animosity toward the entire German people because Germans killed her husband via the Great War. She knows she’s being irrational, but she can’t quite help herself. This is primarily because she and a whole lot of other people blamed the war and everything that happened during it on Kaiser Wilhelm. They’re wrong, of course. The Kaiser was as much of a nitwit as anyone else, but he was far from the only instigator of that ghastly and incredibly stupid war. However, Daisy couldn’t know what we can know, because the war was current news to her. It wasn’t history, as it is today. Did you know, for instance, that many Germans didn’t believe they’d actually lost the war? Well, they didn’t. After all, no battles were lost on German soil.

Daisy’s creator (moi) has read extensively about World War I, however, and it’s easy for me to see Daisy’s prejudice is . . . well, biased, you know? I mean, all prejudices are. The fact that a German Jew invented the gas that eventually drove her husband Billy to his suicide is only ironic to those of us who understand WWI wasn’t, as it was often called, The War to End All Wars. Rather, it was only the beginning of a long, steady decline in German policies that eventually led to Hitler and his cronies murdering millions of Jews, Gypsies, Catholics and other “inferior” people.

All of this is kind of my way of saying, in effect, that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For instance, my own two grandsons, Daigoro and Rikiichi, had a Japanese father. Born in Tokyo, by gum. And do you know why Keiji (Dai and Riki’s dad) was born in Tokyo? Because Keiji’s father, who was born and reared in California, was sent to a Japanese detention camp in Poston, Arizona, during WWII. He was so annoyed by his family’s incarceration (and the loss of everything they possessed) that he moved to Japan as soon as he could. Then there occurred a series of other circumstances that led to him moving back to the United States. If not for WWII, Dai and Riki would be Satomuras instead of Oshitas, but I won’t go into the reasons for that here. Let’s just say life is complicated. It’s even more complicated for Dai and Riki when it comes to the Issei, Nisei, and Sansei question. Nevertheless, Riki always attends the Nisei Festival in Los Angeles every year. What the heck, you know?

My son-in-law’s family changed their Italian last name to a non-Italian last name after WWII, by the way. Not that it matters here. I just mention it because it’s interesting, and I wonder if Sam Rotondo’s family would be tempted to do the same thing if they lived long enough to see WWII. Clearly, Daisy’s not the only person in the world to descend to irrational biases. Heck, my other son-in-law is an Armenian from Iran. Mind you, Armenians are culturally Christian but he’s from Iran and, therefore, if he were attempting to get into the United States today, he couldn’t.

Gah. Enough of that.

I’ll be in touch with the winners UNSETTLED SPIRITS, January’s contest book, individually. At the end of February, I do believe I’ll give away three copies of the original hardback version of GENTEEL SPIRITS. If you’d like to enter the contest, just send me an email (alice@aliceduncan.net) and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site (http://aliceduncan.net/) or email me (you won’t be smothered in newsletters, because I only write one blog a month). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925.

Thank you!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Christmas Caramel Murder By Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen loves the Christmas Season in Lake Eden, Minnesota but this year nothing is as cozy as it should be murder is anything but cozy.
Phyllis Bates is back in town and she is Herb Beeseman's ex-girlfriend and now she is playing Mrs. Claus to his Mr. Claus all isn't going too badly until Lisa Herb's wife comes to the rehearsal of "A Christmas Carol" and sees with her own eyes that Herb has not received a stage kiss from Phyllis but a real kiss. Lisa storms out with Hannah on her heels.
Lisa and Hannah go to the Cookie Jar Bakery to figure out how many caramels they will need for the gift bags since they are making all the treats for the play performances.
While there they are hungry and decide to meet in an hour at The Corner Tavern to eat and make plans for the recipes.

However, after they have their supper and get ready to leave Hannah notices in the corner parking lot that there seems to be something on the steep bank in the snow. She's right soon she finds the body of Phyllis, what is worse she also finds something that incriminates Herb and even worse is the fact that they soon find that Phyllis was murdered.

Christmas Caramel Murder by Joanne Fluke is a real old-fashioned page-turner. 
As always this mystery in the cozy series is chalk full of recipes to die for and it's the best  Christmas Mystery I have read this year.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Reviw: Super Volcano: The Ticking Time Bomb Beneath Yellowstone National Park by Greg Breining

I never knew until recently that Yellowstone was such a large volcano.  This book discusses what scientists have learned about past super eruptions there have been and the devastation that occurred as well as how it compares against other volcanic eruptions throughout history as well as what could be expected from another.  A very interesting book but sometimes I got a bit lost in the terminology but nonetheless very informative and not at all dry.  You have to walk away with a greater respect for nature and its power.

I look back on earth sciences as it was called then (maybe still is?) and there has been SOOOO much learned since I was in school.  I hope kids today are getting all this new info.  


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: True Crime : Virginia by John F. Jebb

I really liked this book.  It had a variety of cases from Virginia's history.  Some I had never heard of - like the colonial case of Nancy Randolph.  One I had actually been inspired to write a fake poison pen letter for a history assignment on in high school -- George Wythe.  Many discussed the problems Virginia and laws have struggled with re. race and the law -- The Martinsville Seven comes to mind.  So it is a lot more than just reporting true crime cases.   Of course it is also an expose of innocent people's wrongful convictions as well.  It ends with the Virginia Tech shootings and all the issues that brought up.  

It is a very informative and thought provoking book in many respects