Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hobbies and Classics

Hobbies and Classics

I am going to ask the age old question..."What is your favorite hobby? Why do you like this hobby and is there a hobby you would

like to try that you haven't yet had time to actually work it in your schedule?

I am also asking you to tell us some of your favorite classic mysteries? What classic do you never tire of reading?

I really like the Nero Wolfe Series and of course Agatha Christie series. There are others I like but these series I

keep returning to in times of stress.

Every summer I reread Carolyn Hart's "Death On Demand Series" even though it's not yet considered a classic series.

I am finding more and more that I love taking the time to read vintage mysteries. In this genre I am still discovering new to me


I think I will start the Ellery Queen Mysteries this fall......



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review - The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner

The Nightmare Thief by Meg Gardiner is the 4th book in the "Jo Beckett" thriller series.  Publisher: Dutton, July 2011

Autumn Reiniger expects something special for her twenty-first birthday. Daddy's already bought her the sports car, the apartment, and admission to the private college where she parties away her weekends. Now she wants excitement, and she's going to get it.  Her father signs up Autumn and five friends for an "ultimate urban reality" game: a simulated drug deal, manhunt, and jailbreak. It's a high-priced version of cops and robbers, played with fake guns and fast cars on the streets of San Francisco. Edge Adventures alerts the SFPD ahead of time that a "crime simulation" is underway, so the authorities can ignore the squealing tires and desperate cries for help. Which is convenient for the gang of real kidnappers zeroing in on their target and a mammoth payday. Because what Daddy doesn't know is that someone has spotted his hedge fund's bulging profits, and the path to those riches runs right through Daddy's Little Girl. Working on a case nearby is forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett and her partner Gabe Quintana. When the pair encounters a suspicious group of men carting six sullen college kids to the woods for a supposed wilderness adventure, alarm bells ring. Jo takes a closer look, and winds up with an invite to Autumn Reiniger's twenty-first birthday party—a party they may never leave.

This was a simple case of finding out how Phelps Wylie died.  A chance run-in and in an instant Jo and Gabe are fighting for their survival as well as the kidnapped victims.  This fast-moving, action-packed drama led us on a chase through the mountains in the Sierras.  Who would survive? Who would triumph?  Both Gabe and Jo skills were put to the forefront as they made their escape thwarting the efforts of their captors.  Meanwhile, Evan Delaney and Amy Tang are doing their part by connecting the dots in their search for Jo and Gabe.  This was an adrenaline-pumping, heart-pounding, thrill-a-minute ride that had me quickly turning the pages as I could not put this book down.  This was the best book ever in this captivating and suspense-filled series.


Terri's gift to Eryn

Pamela's stitching finishes

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Felt the Earth Move under my feet...

Okay - I cant help hearing that song. LOL  Actually it was a very weird experience.  My office is a couple blocks from the White House and when the first (small) termor hit, it was like a wave.  my firs tthought - was that an explosion?  A Bomb?  Natural I guess.  Everyone is talking today about the anniversary of 9/11 and all, but that never crossed my mind.  It was just proximity.  But when the second wave hit (The 5.8 one) it was long and sustained and I knew it was an earthquake.  that actually was a tiny relief really.  After it stopped went out of my office and checking on others.  All were asking was that an earthquake.  But people were pretty cool.  We are on the 3rd floor.  The ones on the 12th floor were a lot more freaked out.

Of course we evacuated and now we hear that was the wrong thing to do.  Live and learn.  The weird thing is my coworker and I had been talking about natural disasters just Monday.  not going to do THAT again...  Why tempt fate?

Of course then there was the trip out of DC.  Ugh.  Subways were only going 15mph (and yes that is a good thing until they can inspect the damage) but with thousands waiting, I decided to walk out of the city.  Pulled out the trusty sneakers, went to CVS and bought a quart of water and off I set.  Hundreds were waiting at various bus stops, settling in for a long wait.  most people seemed pretty calm and resigned to a slow commute.  But people were talking to each other, sharing experiences and stories. It does bring us closer.

There really wasnt a lot of obvious damage.  Bricks down, that sort of thing.  A very good and lucky thing.  I know there is damage but nothing catastrophic and I think we are all grateful for that.

Cells didnt work much - I had better luck with emails, keeping people informed and then they would reach out to other friends and family to let them know that they had heard from me. etc.  By the time I started getting calls it was hours later.

So I walked.  It was nice out.  Mid 80s low humidity.  All that helped.  Others were also walking out the same way.  By the time I got to the 14th street bridge out of the city, I ran into a pedicab who had just taken a group to National airport.  I jumped in.  My first pedicab experience.  Bumpy but nice to get to rest.  He had a very good point, when things like this happen, people come out to help.  And by feet, by bike (I bet Capital Bikeshare memberships increased a lot now), by car and bus and cab through the gridlock, they inched out.  And the subways, slow but steady.  The guy took me to the park before the airport.  I walked from there to the airport (another mile?  two?) Not sure the distance really but I figured I could rest.  I had my water, my kindle if I wanted to relax under a tree.  The path is along th eGW parkway and I have to say it was calm and peaceful, you never would have know what had happened just a couple hours earlier. 

And so, at the airport I got on the subway.  Only about a 5 minute wait and then a very slow ride to the end of the line where I park.  Slow but calm.  I was impressed.

And once I got home, checked the house and the cat.  some books had fallen, knick knacks. Nothing bad.  A GLORIOUS shower and then I turned on the news to see how sensational it all was being reported.  Nancy Grace (who I love) was over-the-top.  And it all seemed so bizarre since everything I had seen was pretty calm.  Felt an aftershock watching the tv and said a prayer that we were all safe.

And today I hum to Carole King!  hugs to all my friends!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Review - Split Second by Catherine Coulter

Split Second by Catherine Coulter is the 15th book in the “FBI” thriller series. Publisher: Putnam, July 2011

A serial killer is on the loose, and it's up to FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock to bring him down. They soon discover that the killer has blood ties to the infamous and now long-dead monster Ted Bundy. Savich and Sherlock are joined by agents Lucy Carlyle and Cooper McKnight, and the chase is on.  As the hunt for the serial killer escalates, Savich realizes he's become the killer's focus, and perhaps the next victim. It's up to Lucy to stop this madness before it's too late.

Dillon leads his team with three separate cases: one involving one of his agents who learn a family secret; second involving a serial killer running amok across state lines and third a case where he walked in on a robbery and now Dillon fears for the store owner’s life.  Unwarranted deaths, secrets exposed, and love discovered are what lies in between the pages of this thrilling read that held my attention as the story unfolded in this wonderful series.

Dru,from dru's book musing

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What does your car say about you?

Does the kind of car you drive tell us more about you? Do the shoes you wear tell us more about you? What does it say about the personality of the person who reads mysteries? LOL What does it tell us about you concerning your favorite colors?

Well I drive an "Intrigue" it's white so if we strictly went by this I would be so vanilla I would be boring. My shoes are mostly causual shoes, tennis shoes or

sandals. This probably says I am practical and on the cutesy side (whatever that means), reading mysteries well this might be a better fit because I am mystery author and if I weren't a mystery author someone would probably have killed me off a long time ago. (LOL)....

Favorite colors are red which holds passion but not my tongue (especially when I am mad) I love green not only is this the color of my eyes but I like grass, green tree leaves and earthy types of things. Now I could stop here on the colors but I won't as I also like pink. I will admit to mostly medium pink but love love love pink flowers. I like blue like the tranquil blue waters but I can't pull off wearing turquoise. I also love light blue and cornflower blue. Yello actually does cheer me up and I like orange on my insane/zany days (now don't act like you don't have them too), and pumpkin oranges and wearing browns that is when I

know fall has arrived in my wardrobe. LOLOLOL Black is for my depressing or dress up days...gray can be part of fall or spring for me as I match this with

other colors.

Okay it's your turn to give us that little bit of insight............LOL



Tuesday, August 16, 2011



Dru Ann Love has joined Terri, Dorothy and myself on our blog. Dru with be posting reviews and I am hoping she will

post blogs or interviews from time to time.

Since Terri is very busy and I have health issues Dru is a blessing to us. As you can read Terri has posted Dru's first

review and she couldn't have chosen a better book. Laura Levine and her series are great for my 'mental health' and

overall well being. (LOL) anyway join us in welcoming Dru as we very happy to have her with us.

Dru also reads tons more books than I do especially since I am currently writing a short and a book.



Review - Pampered to Death by Laura Levine

Pampered to Death by Laura Levine is the 10th book in the “Jaine Austen” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, August 2011

When Jaine's friend Lance surprises her with a trip to The Haven, an uber-luxe health spa on the California coast, she and her feline pal Prozac are eager to hit the road and bask in a week of pampering and pedicures. But upon their arrival, she discovers that this oasis in the hills is merely a fat farm in disguise, complete with celery-juice cocktails, humiliating weigh-ins, and a zero-tolerance position on carbs. And as she gets to know her fellow inmates, she realizes 300-calorie dinners aren't the craziest thing she'll be dealing with.   Among her bulge-battling companions is Mallory Francis, a B-list movie star with a knack for making frenemies with everyone she meets. When she's found strangled during a seaweed wrap gone awry, Jaine is hard-pressed to think of anyone who couldn't have done it. Perhaps it was Kendra, Mallory's bitter sister-slash-personal assistant. Or maybe Clint, a macho former co-star whose dirtiest secret is in danger of being undressed in the drama queen's upcoming memoir. Or was it The Havens' pretty young masseuse, driven to commit a crime of passion when Mallory seduced her aerobics instructor husband Sven?  With the suspects mounting faster than her hunger pangs, Jaine doesn't know who to believe. And when her search for truth, justice, and contraband calories leads her straight to the cold-blooded killer, it seems murder may be on the menu once again.

I love this series.  Jaine is such a hoot as she fantasized about being pampered and eating fat-laden meals at the spa Lance gifted her when the reality is that Lance sent her to a fat-farm eating 900 calories per day.  Her main goal become finding food but when one of the guest is murdered, Jaine who has appointed herself a part-time semi-professional P.I. starts investigating and the antics that she gets into is so hilarious.  You really can't help but laugh at the internal dialogue that she has with her feline room-mate is such a joy.  The bonus is of course of the email transmissions that she gets from her parents. This book is too darn funny.

Dru Ann L Love

   dru's book musing / my quilts / Dru's Cozy Report (15th of the month)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Yesterday I watched “The King’s Speech” (I know. I’m slow). Good movie! Not one I’m going to re-watch a gazillion times, but very good, and I loved the speech therapist guy, whose name I can’t remember.

This movie-watching thing got me to thinking about personal-favorite movies, books, and music. Often the movies, books and music I personally enjoy over and over again aren’t universally lauded in any “best of” lists, but I figured what the heck. Here, in no particular order, are a few of the movies I can watch endless times and never get bored:

Death on the Nile

The Magnificent Seven

Little Big Man



The Big Sleep (Humphrey Bogart/Lauren Bacall version. Come to think of it, I’m not sure there is another version)

Chicago (even though, as my daughter Robin pointed out to me once, there’s not a likable character in it, which would kill a book for me. Go figure)

Topsy Turvy

The Pirates of Penzance (with Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline)

Books, again in no particular order, are:

The Amelia Peabody Emerson books, by Elizabeth Peters

The Roots of Heaven, by Romain Gary (this is probably my favorite book of all time, actually)

Half Magic, by Edward Eager

Little Witch, by Elizabeth Bennett

The Circular Staircase, by Mary Roberts Rinehart

The Window at the White Cat, by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry (which reminds me of a writing workshop I took once, in which the group leader posed the question, “When is a western not a western.” Answer: “When it’s written by Larry McMurtry”)

Music is iffier, but here are songs I love, in absolutely no order whatsoever:

“Is That All There Is,” sung by Peggy Lee

“It’s a Wonderful World,” sung by Louis Armstrong

“Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma,” the New Seekers

“Blinded by the Light,” sung by Manfred Mann (hey, it’s my list, and I like his version better than the Boss’s)

“Time After Time,” Cindy Lauper

“I Guess that’s Why They Call It the Blues,” Elton John

“Love Stinks,” the J. Geils Band

Hmm. I’m sure there are others, but those will do. What about you guys? What are your favorites? They don’t have to be on anybody else’s list. These are personal favorites, and nobody gets to pick on you for them.

In other news, GENTEEL SPIRITS, the fifth Daisy Gumm Majesty book, is now for sale. Since it probably won’t show up in any brick-and-mortar store unless you request it, you can ask your local library to get a copy, and that would make me Very Happy. Or you can buy a copy for your very own self on-line or wherever! Whatta concept. The trouble with hardbacks is that they’re so blasted expensive. However, in a year I’ll put it up on Smashwords & Kindle, and then you can download it cheap. This is kind of the way it used to be with hardbacks and paperbacks. The hardback came out, and a year later, the book would be published in paperback. However, the times, they are a-changin’. Which is the title of another song I like.

Oh, and I picked up another couple of wiener dogs yesterday (this is why I watched “The King’s Speech,” in truth. These poor guys, Bella and Bam Bam, have been so grievously neglected in their short lives, they needed lap time and lots of it). It’s going to take quite a while before they’re comfortable in their new surroundings. Their owner surrendered them because he didn’t want to be bothered by them any longer. It appears to me he hadn’t wanted to be bothered by them for several years, but I won’t go into rant mode here.

And you can also enter my monthly contest! All you need to do to enter is send me your name and home address at alice@aliceduncan.net . I can’t remember which books I’m giving away this month, but you can see them (and even read excerpts) on my web site: www.aliceduncan.net

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s “favorites” lists!

Review: Blotto, Twinks and the Intimate Review by Simon Brett

Blotto and his friend go see  Light and Frothy;   a new popular show and his friend falls for the star of the show.  After his friend is k...