Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: November Hunt

November Hunt by Jess Lourey is the seventh book in the “Murder-By-Month” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, March 2012

November in Battle Lake, Minnesota, is cold enough to freeze the balls off a pool table. lt’s also deer hunting season. When Tom Kicker is killed in a hunting accident, Mira James is hired to investigate—a job that brings her closer to a P.I. license. Braving subzero temps and shrieking blizzards, Mira uncovers a decades-old scandal that has never quite died, unlike the cold stiffs who are piling up in the town morgue. As she pieces together the clues, Mira discovers that Battle Lake’s good-old boys have been up to some bad business. But with threats and enemies around every icy corner, she may not live long enough to expose the truth.

I love this series. Mira is studying to be a PI when she gets her first case with Mrs Berns prodding. It seems that her client’s father was accidentally shot by his best friend, or was it an accident. Mira learns of a past indiscretion that may be connected and she’ll have to dig out the truth before someone else gets hurt. What a great read. This character-driven tale boasts an eccentric cast of characters that I enjoy immensely, great dialogue, and a mystery that moves the story along to an explosive finish. This is one of the best books in this wonderful series and I look forward to more of Mira’s journey with her friends in Battle Lake.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Malice DOmestic

I know our authors are looking forward to Malice this week. I know i can't wait to see who wins the coveted teapot this year.

Now though I want to ask this question...

"Do you know how many series your favorite authors write? I know one of my favorite authors is Lorraine Bartlett and she writes three series. This is one busy author.

I respect an author who willingly gives up her/his time to write multiple series. Now I have to wonder what their dreams are like each night? So many characters, plots and subplots but still I bet there is never a dull moment in their dreams.

As a reader do you dream about characters etc...?

Anyway I can't wait to hear all about malice this year. I'm afraid it might always be a tad too expensive for me to attend but I can always live vicariously through others that have the good fortune to attend, win and inspire others on their career paths.

Okay I am keeping this short as I have only returned home from vacation and I am still not caught up on rest.


Review: Fashion Faux Paw

Fashion Faux Paw by Judi McCoy is the sixth book in the “Dog Walker” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, March 2012

It’s Fashion Week in New York and Ellie’s in charge of the dogs’ modeling outfits that match their mommy-mdoels for a fashion competition. But before the first round closes, one of the designers drops dead of anaphylactic shock, her Epipen useless because someone’s emptied it.  The victim’s peanut allergy was well-known, so Ellie and her dog Rudy must comb through the brash designer’s rivals, colleagues, and many enemies to discover who was so desperate that she committed the ultimate crime of fashion.

It’s Fashion Week and all is well until one of the model has an allergic reaction. When Ellie tries to give her an injection, the pen is empty and it looks like murder when the model dies. Ellie tries to stay out of the case, but being on the insides gives her access to unwrap a killer before another person is harmed. This evenly-paced and lighthearted tale was a fun book to read. The banter between Ellie and Rudy continues to highlight this wonderful whodunit as the fashion industry serves as the backdrop. As usual the mystery kept me turning the pages and I adore the camaraderie that Ellie has with both her human and furry friends in charming and entertaining series.

With the author’s passing, her voice will be sorely missed by this reader.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: The Cat, The Wife and the Weapon

The Cat, The Wife and The Weapon by Leann Sweeney is the fourth book in the “Cats in Trouble” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, April 2012

After returning from craft fairs and cat shows to her lake house in Mercy, South Carolina, quilter Jillian Hart discovers her friend Tom is missing—and his estranged half brother has made himself at home in Tom’s house. Jillian doesn’t trust the guy, especially since he allowed Tom’s diabetic cat to escape. When Mercy police officers find Tom’s wrecked car with a dead stranger inside, Jillian’s worry turns to dread. What is this man doing in the car—and who killed him. Aided by a trio of cats and a spunky rat terrier, Jillian is determined to find out what kind of trouble Tom has gotten himself into—before someone else turns up dead.

Upon returning from her travels, Jillian learns that Tom is missing and when she finds a stranger in his home and his diabetic cat has disappeared, Jillian’s concern springs her into action. She finds Tom bruised and learns that Tom’s stepson has run away from home. When the boy’s stepfather is found murdered, Jillian knows that neither Tom nor Finn is capable of this crime, especially when evidence points to Finn. This was an emotionally filled story that captivated me and tugged at my heartstrings in this well-crafted whodunit. The tension-filled mystery kept me turning the pages, as I had to know what happens next. The characters were superb, the plot well defined and the dialogue powerfully moving. This is the best one yet in this wonderfully fantastic and charming series.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Rveiew: Trail of the Spellmans

Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz is the fifth book in the “Spellmans” mystery series. Publisher: Simon & Schuster, February 2012

FOR THE FIRST TIME in Spellman history, Isabel Spellman, PI, might be the most normal member of her family. Mom has taken on an outrageous assortment of extracurricular activities—with no apparent motive. Dad has a secret. Izzy’s brother and sister are at war—for no apparent reason. And her niece keeps saying “banana” even though she hates bananas.  That’s not to say that Izzy isn’t without her own troubles. Her boyfriend, Henry Stone, keeps wanting “to talk,” a prospect Isabel evades by going out with her new drinking buddy, none other than Gertrude Stone, Henry’s mother.  Things aren’t any simpler on the business side of Spellman Investigations. First, Rae is hired to follow a girl, only to fake the surveillance reports. Then a math professor hires Izzy to watch his immaculate apartment while he unravels like a bad formula. And as the questions pile up, Izzy won’t stop hunting for the answers—even when they threaten to shatter both the business and the family.

The Spellmans are back and I’m enjoying the party. Isabel chronicles her family daily activities with their clients and with each other and oh my goodness, the hilarious antics and dialogue continues to entertain me in this well-written and fast-paced tale. The quirky and dysfunctional family have all grown up, well, at least the illusion exists, as they try to one-up one another as they tackle their case load with the normalcy that is their style. Welcome back Spellmans and I can’t wait for the next installment in this wickedly delightful and amusing series.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: Town in a Wild Moose Chase

Town In a Wild Moose Chase by B.B. Haywood is the third book in the “Candy Holliday” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, February 2012

It’s winter in Cape Willington—and trouble is about to walk right into Candy’s life. First, town hermit Solomon Hatch stirs things up by claiming to have seen a dead body in the woods with a hatchet in its back. Then, a mysterious white moose starts appearing around town in the strangest of places.  Meanwhile, the town’s annual Winter Moose Fest has drawn plenty of out-of-towners who’ve come to enjoy the Sleigh and Sled Parade, the ice-sculpting exhibition, and the Moose Fest Ball. As Candy runs around town covering events for the local newspaper, she begins to suspect a link between the body in the woods, the white moose, and several of the town’s weekend visitors. But as she hunts for the killer, she’s the one who’s prey.

Something is amiss in Cape Willington and Candy is pulled into the fray. When she starts checking into things, nothing is as it seems. This was a fun read and I enjoyed all the elements that went into this nicely-done plot. This evenly-paced tale boasts a great mystery that kept me turning the pages and likable characters. This was good read in this pleasantly charming series.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review: Clobbered by Camembert

Clobbered By Camembert by Avery Aames is the third book in the “Cheese Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, February 2012

Charlotte Bessette—proprietor of Fromagerie Bessette, affectionately known in Providence, Ohio, as The Cheese Shop—is busy setting up her tent for the town’s Winter Wonderland faire, where she’ll offer fine wines and scrumptious cheeses. In the midst of that preparations, Charlotte meets an old friend of her mother, Kaitlyn Clydesdale, who has come back to Providence with plans to start a new honeybee farm.  When Kaitlyn is found dead in the cottage of Charlotte’s assistant, Rebecca, suspicion falls on Rebecca’s boyfriend, a honeybee farmer himself. Charlotte knows this beekeeper wouldn’t hurt a fly, so she sets out to find the real killer. While the town buzzes with gossip, can Charlotte catch the culprit without getting stung herself?

It’s winter wonderland in Providence, Ohio and the past has invaded Charlotte’s present with the appearance of an ex, someone from her mother’s childhood and a secret that she’s determined to find out her boyfriend. All collide when a murder occurs and with Rebecca’s young friend accused of the crime, Charlotte will have to do some untangling to find the real killer. This is a great read that entertained me from the start to the delectable end. The wonderfully written whodunit tantalized us with an intriguing mystery that I could not put down once I started. With so many suspects, I enjoyed the directions the author took to keep me on my toes. With a lovable cast of characters; great locale and good conversations, this is a terrific read filled with savory delights and I’m excited about the next book in this fabulous series.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: Zoned for Murder

Zoned for Murder by Evelyn David is the first book in the new “Sound Shore Times” mystery series. April 2012

Former Newsweek reporter Maggie Brooks has two kids, a dead husband, a mortgage to pay, and a lot of competition when she tries to get back into the shrinking newspaper business. Landing a job with a local paper, she’s bored to tears covering bake sales and Little League games. But when a developer tries to build an outlet mall in a neighboring town, what starts out as potentially a great clip for her resume, suddenly turns dangerous and ugly.  Someone will do anything to block the mall’s construction. Dirty money, nasty politics, and shady land deals abound as Maggie pursues the scoop that might jumpstart her career. When murder is added to the mix, she realizes that meeting her deadline might be the last thing she ever does. Read Maggie’s byline as she rebuilds her career, dips her toes into a shark-filled dating pool, and investigates a small New York town Zoned for Murder.

What a great read in this debut series by Evelyn David. Maggie stumbled upon a conspiracy involving the building of a mall and local politics. Not everyone is happy and when a murder is committed, this case opens wide up and Maggie will have to shut the door on a killer before the door is closed on her. Maggie’s determination to solve this murder keeps this book flowing as it nears the end in this suspenseful and enticing mystery. This is a well-written and fast-paced drama with likable characters in a small-town setting. I look forward to more investigative reporting from Maggie in the next book in this delightful new series.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

March roared in like the proverbial lion, a not-uncommon phenomenon in SE New Mexico. However, unlike more civilized parts of the country, we expect the weather to keep roaring up to and perhaps including summertime, more’s the pity. You see, spring is what we call our windy season, sort of like we laughingly call summertime our monsoon season. I’m sure folks in India and Pakistan would scoff. Heck, even we’re scoffing, since we don’t expect to get any more rain this year than we did last, which was approximately half our normal yearly boon of around thirteen inches. I know, I know, I live on a desert. But jeez Louise, we’re accustomed to SOME rain, even on our desert! Mayhem, indeed.

On a slightly less mayhemly note, I got some gorgeous covers for three of my e-books from Melissa Alvarez, who does masterful work and has a website at These covers are for my three “Land of Enchantment” books (ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS, A GAMBLER’S MAGIC and A GAMBLER’S MAGIC) originally published by Dorchester (and am I ever glad they dumped me when they did! At least I got paid royalties for the books they published and got the rights back on my old Emma Craig books, which is more than many of authors can say since Dorchester went belly-up). Melissa gave them smashing covers, which you can see for yourselves. Here’s a handy link for all my e-books: If I ever have any money again, I aim to get more covers from Melissa.

Speaking of which, the winners of February’s contest for SIERRA RANSOM (Penny Tuttle and Sandy Olubas) will receive copies of their book approximately when the winners of March’s contest for CACTUS FLOWER (Kimberly Maynard and Carole Price) will get theirs. You see, I couldn’t work for about two months because of the surgery I had to correct a detached retina. Then I worked like mad trying to catch up. Unfortunately, I work in publishing, writing and editing. I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you guys this, but publishing time and geological time are approximately equivalent, with publishing being the slightest bit slower than the latter. However, I finally got paid last week! Therefore, everybody’s books will be sent out next week. I’m so glad—both about being paid and about being able to fulfill my commitments. Finally.

As for the rest of the month, Heidi is holding her own! She’s finally eating consistently again and, while she’s still seems mighty skinny to me, she seems to be doing ever so much better than she was for a while there. Daisy is still blind and bumps into things, but she’s okay too. As for me, my left eye remains really blurry, but I see the local eye doc in May. Then he’ll tell me if I need to have the cataract removed (you always get a cataract after retinal surgery. Sort of a bonus, I guess) or merely need a new prescription. I’m hoping for the latter.

And then, in June, something truly magical will occur! My younger daughter Robin will marry her long-time beau Gilbert, and I get to house- and pet-sit while they honeymoon. This means I get to go to California and see all my friends and eat all the food that isn’t available in Roswell, which is . . . well . . . not exactly the center of the universe. Fortunately for me, my wonderful neighbors, Ann and Barry Lasky, will dog-sit for my pack while I’m pet-sitting for Robin’s and Gilbert’s much smaller pack.

So things are moving along. And a good thing, too! If you’d like to enter this month’s contest, during which I’ll be giving away two copies of PECOS VALLEY REVIVAL, a funny historical mystery set in Roswell (called Rosedale in the book), New Mexico, in 1923, please send your name and home address to me at . This book was a finalist in the New Mexico Book of the Year Awards, although I’m not sure why.

You can see a photo of the lovely book cover for PVR and read the first chapter on my web site:  Thank you!

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...