Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: One Book in the Grave

One Book in the Grave by Kate Carlisle is the fifth book in the “Bibliophile” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, February 2012

Brooklyn’s chance to restore a rare first edition of Beauty and the Beast seems a fairytale come true—until she realizes the book last belonged to an old friend of hers. Ten years ago, Max Adams, a renowned, brawny papermaker, fell in love with a stunning beauty, Emily, and gave her the copy of Beauty and the Beast as a symbol of their love. Soon afterward, he died in a car crash, and Brooklyn has always suspected his possessive ex-girlfriend and her jealous beau. Now she decides to find out who sold the book and return it to its rightful owner—Emily. She believes a rare book dealer can assist her, but when she arrives at his shop, she finds him murdered. Is it possible the same couple who may have killed Daniel is now after his edition of Beauty and the Beast? With the help of her handsome boyfriend, Derek Stone, Brooklyn must unravel the murder plot—before she ends up in a plot herself.

Not again. Yep, Brooklyn finds another body, this time a book dealer who bought a stolen book that once belong to Brooklyn’s deceased friend. I devoured this fun-tastic tale from the moment I turned that first page as the mystery captured my attention with a solid storyline. This mystery boasts a great scenery where the action takes place; witty repartee; and an awesome cast of characters. I especially love Brooklyn and her internal dialogues and the relationship she has with her family and friends. This is a great read and I can’t wait for the next adventure in this delightfully fabulous and entertaining series.


 Previously posted at  dru's book musing

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: I Don't Know How She Does It


I sent this movie back to netflix so I am flying solo on this review.

Sarah Jessica Parker plays an overworked career woman, wife and mother. her husband picks up the slack and us understanding but he now is becoming a major player in his career so the juggling act begins. Family and friends do not know how she does it but she does it.

Okay so there are the other mothers who might be a tad cynical of her and the family vacations cut short because work calls and she must attend a meeting. There is always the air travel, and she falls asleep before she can actually do the art of lovemakin.

Still she tries and finally one day she realizes that her life must change starting with her and in order to make this happen she cannot tell people what they want to hear but instead she has to say "NO" and do it with dignity and kindness and I mean who cares if she buys an apple pie and puts it in a pie dish to pass off as her own baked good for her child's school bake sale?

LOL this is a really fun feel good movie. It has been a long time since I have been this kind of a mother but I see it in my daughters. I also can relate to some of the incidents so this is a movies that crosses all age groups, generations and boundries.

Peirce Brosnan is in this movie as is Jane Curtain and other top actress/actors. if you are looking for a weekend move you could do worse than I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT.

I give it 8 out of 10 stars.



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Review: Thread Reckoning

Thread Reckoning by Amanda Lee is the third book in the “Embroidery” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, September 2011

Cupid’s arrow is making its way to Tallulah Falls, Oregon, bringing lots of business to Marcy Singer’s embroidery specialty shop. But the course of true love never has run smoothly.  St. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and residents are in a romantic frame of mind. In fact, one blushing bride has commissioned Marcy to embellish her mother’s vintage wedding gown with jewels for her Valentine’s Day wedding. Marcy is delighted–until she finds that the worst bridezillas have nothing on this bride to be. When the bride’s future mother-in-law is found stabbed to death outside Marcy’s shop, matters go from bad to worse.

This was a fun read that I could not put down. This book moved at a good pace as the mystery kept me riveted to the pages. With a small town feel; great dialogue, and a lovable cast, this was a great read and I look forward to more adventures in this wonderfully-crafted and entertaining series.


    Previously posted at dru's book musing

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Deader Homes & Gardens



Hardcover Myseries Series

ISBN: 978-0-312-36362-8

After their honeymoon Claire and Peter are back home sharing a two bedroom apartment with their daughter Caron and most of the  time Carons BFF is there which means Clair needs a new home and she would like to move while she is still sane. The problem is there is nothing in Farberville, Arkansas for rent or to buy.

The real estate agent Angela Delmond makes one last effort to find Claire and Peter the house of their dreams as she shows Clairie a home that is not yet on the market. Claire falls in love with the house and all would be well if Angela hadn't disappeared while showing Claire the house.

No Angela and it turns out the owner of the house lives in Florida. The other problem is he doesn't know if he can sell Claire the house. There are legal issues. However he might be able to lease her the house until it's for Claire to buy.

This would all be happily house after if Terry the owner hadn't been poisioned and soon after died.

More teen angst and drama are on the scene and this time it's not Caron or Inez but a relative of the people who are holding up the purchase of Claire's dreamhouse.

More people die and pretty soon Claire realizes if she hopes to move into the dream house she better figure out who is murdering the family and for what reason they are being murdered.

DEADER HOMES & GARDENS By Joan Hess will delight many mystery readers. Her killer wit and quirky characters are met with a cunning plot and a family plot to die for...

I give this book in the series 8 out of 10.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: A Fitting End

A Fitting End by Melissa Bourbon is the second book in the “Magical Dressmaking” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, February 2012

Business is booming at Harlow’s custom dressmaking boutique, Buttons & Bows, even with the presence of her great-grandmother’s ghost hanging around the shop. But thanks to the fast approaching Margaret Moffette Lea Pageant and Ball, Harlow has her work cut out for her when Mrs. Zinnia James hires her to make her granddaughter’s pageant gown.  With the debutant ball getting the whole town of Bliss, Texas into a tizzy, Harlow knows her dress has to be perfect. But when a local golf pro is found stabbed to death with dressmaking shears, the new deputy thinks Harlow and Mrs. James conspired to commit the crime. Now Harlow has to finish the dress on time and clear her name before the next outfit she designs is a prison jumpsuit.

I love this series. Harlow is back home where she belong creating fashion for the people of Bliss and a not minute too soon. Her specialty is needed as she has dresses to complete and helps a friend prove her innocence when jailed for the murder of a local golf pro. Secrets abound in this book and boy did I love discovering them along with Harlow. This well-designed drama was a good read from beginning to end. I love a good mystery especially when I’m caught off guard when the killer’s identity is revealed. The warm and familial tone, the pageantry setting, the magnetic and lovable cast was a perfect blend in this delightfully enchanting tale. And that ending, oh I can’t wait for the next book in this charming series.


previously posted at

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Old Haunts

Old Haunts by E.J. Copperman is the third book in the “Haunted Guesthouse” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, February 2012

There’s nothing quite as mournful as a gloomy ghost—and Alison has a pair of sad spirits, Maxie and Paul, haunting her Jersey Shore guesthouse. Maxie wants to know who murdered her ex-husband, a biker named Big Bob, whose remains have just been discovered two years later. Paul, pining for his still-living almost-fiancĂ©e, wants Alison to track her down and make sure she’s okay.  The only one who isn’t missing her ex is Alison—because The Swine has waltzed back into her life, specifically into her guesthouse, and is trying to win back their ten-year-old daughter, Melissa. He says he wants to get back together, but Alison knows him too well. The only question is: What is he really up to?

I love this series. The past comes back to haunt Alison, Maxie and Paul and when asked to solve a murder and look for an old friend, Alison does her best to help her ghostly friends and the journey to the end was filled with amusing exploits. This fast-paced and well-written whodunit was a fun read that I could not put down. This was a good mystery as the ending caught me by surprise. With a wonderful cast, entertaining and witty dialogue, Old Haunts is the best one yet in this delightfully charming series.


previously posted at

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review: Murder in a Basket

Murder In A Basket by Amanda Flower is the second book in the “India Hayes” mystery series. Publisher: Five Star Publishing, February 2012

College librarian and struggling artist India Hayes isn’t sure how her older sister Carmen talked her into managing a face-painting booth at the Stripling, Ohio, Founders’ Day Festival or how Carmen convinced her to wear the pink gingham pioneer dress, including mobcap and granny boots, but that’s where she finds herself in a chilly October just before Halloween. India’s annoyance turns to suspicion as she discovers the body of Zen-like basket weaver, Tess Ross, on the festival grounds. Tess leaves behind an angry blacksmith husband, a confused adopted son, greedy siblings, a dysfunctional artists’ co-op, and a chocolate-colored labradoodle with a two-million-dollar trust in his name. Much to India’s dismay, she learns Tess is the sister of her stuffy college provost, Samuel Lepcheck, and the mother of a library student worker, Derek, who has an irrepressible crush on India that she’s doing her best to ignore. Derek begs India to investigate his mother’s murder. Despite the urgings of handsome Police Detective Rick Mains to stay out of the investigation, India agrees to Derek’s request and finds herself playing sleuth as well as foster-owner to Zacchaeus, the two-million-dollar labradoodle. With her own eccentric family commenting from the sidelines and her Irish-centric landlady, Ina Carroll, as volunteer sidekick, India must discover the truth before she has a permanent canine houseguest or she ends up the next victim in the basket weaver’s murder.

What a fun read. Humor surrounds India as she investigates the murder of a local craft artist. Along for the ride are members of her family with overbearing Carmen and her civic-minded parents. Ina, her neighbor, lends a hand to the investigation in a way only Ina can. The author did a good job of stringing me along as to the identity of the killer. The witty conversations and the supporting cast of eccentrically quirky characters were delightfully entertaining in this fast-moving mystery and with that ending; I can’t wait for the next book in this wonderful series.

--Dru Ann

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Carolyn Hart

I think every reader should have an author speciality, (maybe more than one). I recently decided to make Carolyn Hart my speciality for the year 2012 as it seems a nice fit. You see I usually spend every summer rereading some of her mysteries. I love the Death On Demand Series so for the rest of 2012 I am going to reread and read (any new ones) that I can make time for and review them for our new to cozy readers who may not know of her series. She has three series total but for this year I will only concentrate on "Death On Demand" Just yesterday I finished The Christie Caper and fell in love with Agatha Christie Mysteries all over again. Of course this is thanks to Carolyn Hart and with the warmer weather I can sit in my yardswing after my own writing session is over each day, read a Carolyn Hart Mystery and relax my mind and body.

Sometimes it's just good to go back a revisit old friends...I must admit the rest of the time I read I will be reading other books and most recently just started Lorraine Bartlett's The Walled Flower.......but afternoon reading will be my way of revisiting old friends.

New friends of course are always welcome and I have fallen in love with Lorraine's series so today I am feeling very lucky and very positive about my reading goals.



Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: Death on Heels

Death on Heels by Ellen Byerrum is the 8th book in the “Crime of Fashion” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, February 2012

When fashion reporter Lacey Smithsonian moved to Washington, D.C., from the rugged small town Sagebrush, Colorado, she thought she’d never look back. But when her former boyfriend, cattle rancher Cole Tucker, is arrested for the murders of three women, Lacey digs her cowboy boots out of her closet and hops on the next plane. She is certain of Tucker’s innocence—until he abducts her during a daring courthouse escape. Is Tucker capable of murder too? Or is there a larger conspiracy? Lacey needs to rustle up all the help she can get for this case before her old flame is snuffed out for good.

She’s back! Lacey is back in Sagebrush, Colorado and the moment she arrives the fun begins on this wild adventure. Believing that an old boyfriend is innocent, Lacey goes to talk with him and soon after, they are both of the run, with Cole having kidnapped Lacey. Finding a clue while on the run, Lacey follows her fashion sense to unclothe a killer. I had such a great time reading this lighthearted whodunit. This was non-stop action at full-speed and it never let up from start to finish. This well-styled mystery entertained me with great dialogue, a sense of being there with Lacey and a page-turning pursuit of clues to keep me guessing. I love the people that are a part of Lacey’s world from her best friends, to her coworkers, to her boyfriend and to her lovable family. These factors shape this delightfully wonderful series that has become a must read. The added bonus of “Fashion Bites” throughout the book is a nice perk that I enjoy. I look forward to more exciting adventures with Lacey and her friends.


Previously posted at   dru's book musing

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Interview with Dean James


MM2: Dean, how and why did you become an author? How long did it take for your book to be published?

I wanted to write fiction ever since I was old enough to figure out that books were written by people. I wrote my first novel when I was about twelve or thirteen. That book was never published, though I did send it to a publisher. Later on, when I began writing novels as an adult, it took fifteen years before a novel I wrote was actually published.

MM2: Will you give us an inside peek into your writing schedule and take us through a typical writing day?

Because of my current full-time and part-time jobs, I'm usually too tired during the week to write every day. So I do most of my writing, at least in the early stages of a book, on the weekends. The closer I get to finishing a book, however, the more likely I am to write every day. I don't really have a typical writing day, because on the weekends I also have to do those chores that don't get done during the week, like grocery shopping and laundry. So sometimes I write while the laundry is going, with breaks to take clothes out of the washer, put them in the dryer, and so on.

MM2: What advice do you have for aspiring mystery authors?

Read. Read. Read. And read mysteries. If you don't like reading them yourself, why would you want to spend months writing one? Read good ones and bad ones, see what works, what doesn't. Don't try to copy someone else. Let your own voice come through, but make sure you understand the basic rules of grammar. Sloppy writing won't impress anyone.

MM2:  Okay we want to know about your latest book and what you are going to write next?

The latest book, written by my counterpart Miranda, is FILE M FOR MURDER. It came out January 31st. I'm working on the next book in the series right now. The working title is OUT OF CIRCULATION, and it should be out around this same time next year.

MM2: This year will you be attending Malice Domestic?

Yes, I will, and I'm going to be doing a panel on Southern Mysteries. One of my fellow panelists is my good friend Leann Sweeney, author of the "Cats in Trouble" series. We're going to have a lot of fun.

MM2: Okay now will you tell give us a few answers to some fun questions.
1. What is your favorite movie?

The Philadelphia Story. It doesn't get better than Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Jimmy Stewart.

2. What is your favorite meal and dessert?

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, fresh biscuits, sausage or bacon, and grape or blackberry jam. For dessert, either chocolate ice cream or cheesecake (but not with breakfast!).

3. What is your favorite way to spend your free time?

Reading and/or watching old favorites on DVD/TV.

MM2: In closing is there something you would like to say to your readers?
I appreciate my readers very much, and I am touched when they take time to email me via the website ( Without enthusiastic readers, this series wouldn't be doing as well as it is, and I'm profoundly thankful for the opportunity to keep telling stories about characters I love.

Dean,  thank you for giving up your time to do this brief interview. Feel free to add questions or leave off anything you do not want to answer.


Review - Sticks & Stones

Sticks & Stones by K. J. Larsen is the second book in the “Cat DeLuca” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, February 2012

After client Cleo Jones shoots her cheating husband’s bum full of buckshot, he disappears, taking her money, her dog, and her sister with him. Private Investigator Cat DeLuca promises to return the dog and money if her client stops shooting at Walter. Cleo promises to return the dog and the money if her client stops shooting at Walter. She finds the dog and a mysterious bag full of cash, and then she finds Walter, his very dead body still warm. The cop quickly arrest Cleo for the murder of her husband. She had motive and opportunity and a dozen witnesses heard her scream bloody murder. One made a video. Cat is determined to prove her client’s innocence and it’s not an easy sell. Cat’s investigation leads to four players with secrets: a childhood friend, a gambler, a construction tycoon, and a legendary Chicago designer. But when forensic evidence suggests the detective knows more about the murder than she’s telling, Cat faces the certain loss of her agency…and maybe much more.

This book cracks me up. The pairing of Cat and her assistant took me on a fun ride as Cat looks for clues to save her friend from moving to Cuba. Surrounded by an eccentrically quirky family, Cat can always count on them when the need arises, especially with the amusing interludes that she winds up involved in when pursuing her suspects or helping out a friend. This fast-moving mystery with a good plot kept me on my toes and I enjoyed the engaging and witty dialogue throughout this book. All in all this was a fantastic read and I can’t wait for the next book in the thrill-a-minute romp through the chapters of Cat’s life. They say a cat has nine lives and I hope that’s the number of books we see in this hilariously entertaining series.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Oh, my, it’s already March. I don’t know why time flies so much faster the older I get, but it does.

As for February, it was a mixed bag. Both magic and mayhem reared their heads at different times. Probably the best thing that happened to me personally was that the blankety-blank gas bubble the eye surgeon placed in my left eye after reattaching the retina finally disappeared completely about two weeks ago. Yay! I still can’t see very well in the left eye, but that problem will be fixed eventually. Either the vision will resolve itself, my local eye doc will have to remove the cataract that formed there after the retinal surgery, or I’ll get new corrective lenses. Life can kind of be more pleasant slightly blurred sometimes anyhow, so I can live with fuzz in the meantime.

Then there’s Heidi, not such a happy story, but one that seems to be getting better. Heidi is a twelve-year-old dachshund, a black-and-tan piebald, and one of the core members of my erd. Heidi stopped eating all of a sudden while I was half-blind. When this went on for a week or so, I took her to the vet, where she weighed in at 8.5 pounds. This was a loss of more than three pounds! As she started out at 12 pounds, it was a catastrophic weight loss for my precious Heidi. She’s been to the vet’s office on and off all month long, and I finally picked her up yesterday after she’d spent five days at the vet’s office, being force-fed part of the time. But they finally found a food she will eat, and this very morning (February 29) she not only ate her breakfast, but she had THIRDS! We’re all hoping she’ll gain enough weight to be able to take heart meds, since she’s developed congestive heart failure. I just hate it when one of my wiener dogs gets sick! Please send strengthening thoughts for Heidi.

On the book front, not a whole lot is happening. I sold PECOS VALLEY RAINBOW, Book #3 in my Pecos Valley series, to Five Star, so come March of 2013 Annabelle Blue will be stumbling over more bodies in Rosedale (aka Roswell), New Mexico in 1923.

Other than that, my muse seems to be taking an extended leave of absence. I’m hoping s/he will return one day because I’d really like to write more books. My books might not make me any money, but they do give me a sense of satisfaction. Sigh. Any cures for missing muses gratefully accepted!

Review - File M For Murder

File M for Murder by Miranda James is the third book in the “Cat In the Stacks” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin), January 2012

Athena College’s new writer in residence is a famous native son, playwright Connor Lawton, known for his sharp writing—and sharper tongue. After an unpleasant encounter, librarian Charlie Harris heads home to a nice surprise: his daughter, Laura, is subbing for another Athena professor this fall semester. It’s great news until he hears who got her the job: her old flame Connor Lawton.

Fearing competition for Connor’s affection, one of his admirers tries to drive Laura out of town. And then, before Connor finishes the play he is writing, he is murdered—and Laura is the prime suspect. Knowing she’s innocent, Charlie and his faithful sidekick, Diesel, follow Connor’s cluttered trail of angry lovers, bitter enemies, and intriguing library research to find the true killer before his daughter is forever catalogued under “M”—for murderer.

What a happy surprise for Charlie as his daughter, Laura, arrives for a visit that includes teaching at the local college. Laura’s visit is later marred when her ex-boyfriend is found dead and her life is threatened. This was a good read and I love the pace of this well-written story. I adore the relationship that Charlie has with his family and friends in this character-driven tale. I look forward to the next book in this enjoyably charming series.


posted previously at dru's book musing

Monday, March 5, 2012

Library Trip

I made a trip to the library this afternoon. I couldn't pass up getting out in 70 degree weather. Beautiful day outwside. Anyway I came home with two large type books. The Trembling Hills by Phyllis A. Whitney  and Miss Dimple Rallies to the Cause by Mignon F. Ballard and I couldn't be more excited to read both books.

 With the Miss Dimple Mystery Novel we go back to World War 11 and I when I read the first book I was enthralled from the first page to the last page. You can imagine my surprise and excitement when I found thsi treasure this afternoon.

We had tornadoes hit the Branson area this week and straight line winds hit our area and surrounding towns thsi week so I am ready to escape to small-town Georiga life in world war two era and this series might be of special interest to teachers because Miss Dimple is a teacher. She is also a good detective and so are some of her fellow teachers.

in The Trembling Hills again I can escape and this time with an American Gothic bas Sara Jerome not only wants to put a stop to her nightmares that a candlelit  figure who is pure evil but she wants to go to San Francisco to find her father's family and join what she hopes is her future groom and be raised to a better station in life. However her mother is opposed to the Sara moving to San Francisco and will not explain herself to Sara and when a wealthy aunt gives Sara the chance to achieve all her dreams but there is a price Sara must pay and she must confront the reality of her dreams.

I think this will keep me from my own reality for a few weeks. LOL

I am going to love my reading week.



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...