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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Holidays


HOLIDAYS:



As a nation we are gearing up to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. This has me wondering what your favorite holidays are and what are your least favorite holidays? I think the 4th Of July is one of my least favorite holidays (which probably means I am more of a grouch than I think I am) but I really can't warm up to this holiday. I don't dislike it I just don't care for the holiday. This one is probably my least favorite and then probably Easter comes as the next one.

As a child I loved Easter but as an adult it doesn't hold the same feelings for me.

My favorites are Halloween and Thanksgiving which probably has a lot to do with the season they fall in and the fact that as an adult I can still find the magic in these holidays.

The hustle and bustle of Christmas wears me out and in our family someone is always disgruntled with someone else. I just really look forward to New Years Day......LOL anyway tell us your least favorite and your most favorite holidays.

I really hope everyone has a great 4th Of July and no matter how you spend it we are a great nation.



Love,

Pam

Review: Grace Among Thieves


Grace Among Thieves by Julie Hyzy is the third book in the “Manor House” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, June 2012

When Grace’s former professor calls to warn her that there have been a rash of thefts at various historical sites, Grace isn’t surprised—because Marshfield Manor has been targeted, too. She wonders if it has something to do with the film crew roaming the grounds, digitally immortalizing the manor, but then she gets distracted by an incident much more dire: the shooting of one guest and the murder of another.  Grace does her best not to go looking for trouble, but with a murderer on the loose, she can’t seem to leave the dirty work to the cops—especially since the killer still seems to be lurking around town, waiting to finish the job of making Grace history.

Someone is stealing items from Marshfield Manor and things go from bad to worse when a guest is murdered and another shot. Grace captures the killer on film and soon becomes a target herself and will have to use long dormant skills to slice this case open.  Julie has done it again; she’s written a great story that showcases the strength and moxie of Grace Wheaton as she investigates thefts and another murder at Marshfield Manor. The author did a good job in fleshing out this mystery with plenty of diversion that kept my attention as I could not put this book down. This was an excellent read and I can’t wait for what happens next at Marshfield Manor in this enjoyably pleasant series.





--Dru



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Corpse in the Crystal Ball


Corpse in the Crystal Ball by Kari Lee Townsend is the second book in the “Fortune Teller” mystery series. Publisher: June 2012

After clearing her name as the prime suspect in a murder, Sunny Meadows hopes she can finally enjoy some serenity in the idyllic town of Divinity in upstate New York. She’d also like a second chance with Detective Mitch Stone. But when Mitch’s gorgeous ex-girlfriend Isabel Gonzales shows up, Sunny’s not sure she can compete. Then Isabel mysteriously disappears.  When the police turn to Sunny for help, her visions lead to the discovery of Isabel’s corpse in the woods. Before she died, Isabel scrawled a message in the dirt implicating Mitch in her murder. Now Sunny must help the man she’s falling in love with as she sets out to find the real killer. But this time Sunny’s clairvoyant abilities might not save her—as what she doesn’t see can hurt her.

What a great read. I love a book that keeps me in suspense and make me laugh at the same time. This fast-moving and action filled drama entertained me as the author did a good job in leading me in several directions with the many twists and turns in this well-written mystery that quickly became a page-turner. What I enjoy most is the relationships that Sunny has with her friends and family that shines in every scene and their antics had me laughing and the addition of her Granny–awesome. Their antics had me laughing. I look forward to the next book in this delightfully appealing and charming series.





--Dru



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: The Diva Digs Up The Dirt


The Diva Digs Up The Dirt by Krista Davis is the sixth book in the “Domestic Diva” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, June 2012

Determined not to be a garden-variety diva, Sophie Winston’s neighbor, Natasha, cultivates a plan to shine on television—using Sophie’s backyard. As the cast and crew of the makeover show Tear It Up With Troy bulldoze through her backyard—and vacation—Sophie retreats to her perennial boyfriend Wolf’s to replace a dead rose bush. But her tender deed goes awry when she digs up a purse belonging to Wolf’s missing wife. As speculations sprout, Wolf bolts, and then a body crops up in a garden. Is Wolf’s thorny past raising a dead head? This is one case the domestic diva can’t let wither on the vine.

Doing a good deed at her boyfriend’s house leads to a discovery that takes Sophie on a journey with surprising results. What an exciting read that I could not put down. The twists and turns in this frantic paced mystery kept me both intrigued and guessing as the story moved towards a conclusion befitting the title of this wonderfully crafted novel. This series keeps getting better and better and I look forward to the new adventure that awaits them in this delightfully entertaining series.





--Dru



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review - Conviction

I finally watched this movie.  Hillary Swank was great as I expected.  The story for those of you who don't know, is of a woman who's brother is convicted of first degree murder.  She believes his innocence and is determined to help him.  So she goes to law school and passes the bar, enlisting the help of the Innocence Project as well.  She doesn't give up and even pushes state employees to find evidence listed as destroyed that actually had not been in order to take advantage of DNA testing.  Even then he is not released due to a hard-ball DA.  She pushes to find new evidence until finally he is released.  Both her performance and Sam Rockwell (her brother)'s are amazing.

And the really amazing thing is that this is all based on a true story.  I love my brother, but can't imagine going to such extremes for him. And I have to give credit to The Innocence Project as well.  As much as we don't like to admit it, some people are wrongfully convicted.  Especially on eyewitness testimony (which in this case was perjurous).  I remember seeing a powerful play many years ago based on several cases they had freed people on.  It was called The Exonerated and starred Brian Dennehy, Chad Lowe and Mia Farrow.  I still believe the majority of police are good and truly do try to find the truth.  In this movie, the investigating officer was corrupt.  But it heartwarming to see him get out of jail and meet his grown up daughter, though you have to be sad about all he lost.  Excellent movie

Terri

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Copycat Killing


Copycat Killing by Sofie Kelly is the third book in the “Magical Cats” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, May 2012

It’s been raining cats and dogs in Mayville Heights. The small town’s been deluged, and now the local artists’ co-op is on the verge of flooding. Kathleen has been working hard to help her friends move their creations to the safety of the upstairs studio.  The artwork survives, but when controversial mask-maker Jaeger Merrill is found drowned in the co-op basement, Kathleen questions whether the death was accidental. With the help of handsome detective Marcus Gordon—and her cats’ extraordinary powers of detection—it’s up to Kathleen to unmask a killer.

This was a good read. Dead bodies seems to find Kathleen when first she falls down an embankment and then finds one drowned in basement. Are the two incidents connected, despite being years apart? Is the drowning accidental or murder?  That is what I faced as this book became a page-turner that I could not put down. The author did a good job in keeping me guessing in this mystifying whodunit. The story boasts a strong heroine who is making her own way in her newly adopted town, two friendly felines who are a whiz at communicating and a supporting cast that rounds out this charmingly terrific series and with that ending, I can’t wait for the next book in this lighthearted tale.





--Dru



Monday, June 18, 2012

Review - Fashion Faux Paw

Fashion Faux Paw by Judi McCoy

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Original edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451236270

  • Ellie is a professional dog walker.  She has been hired to take care of the models' dogs at a special Fashion Week contest.  When one of the designers is killed, she is asked to snoop and find out who did it.
    Ellie also has a special gift of being able to communicate psychicly with her charges which helps her immensely with both her job and her snooping.
    I loved Ellie and her friends - they are interesting characters.  And I loved the setting as I am a fashion addict and love competitions like Project runway.
    The motive was not easy to figure out but the story was quite satisfying
    It is mostly cozy - but the language may offend some readers

    Terri

    Review: The Psych Ward Killer

    The Psych Ward Killer by Michael Price

  • File Size: 329 KB
  • Print Length: 270 pages
  • Publisher: ProseWorks Entertainment (May 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • ASIN: B0080S2BJC

  • Detective Wilks is called in to investigate a series of gruesome, ritualistic killings of patients in the psychiatric ward of a MA hospital.  He is frequently hampered by the chief of secuirity and the ward administrator in his efforts.
    This is a pretty interesting story with what I found to be a very dynamic detective.  But the two characters mentioned above seemed a bit too one-dimensional and pardon the expression - "insane" for my taste.  I wanted to have them both sent to jail for blatant obstruction of justice.
    Additionally, I would have liked to have seen more development of the patients on the ward and their back stories.
    I did forsee some of the twists in the story, but was okay with that as they seemed to fit. And overall, did enjoy the read and did like the detective enough to try another story with him in it.

    Terri

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Review: The Halo Effect by MJ Rose

  • Publisher: Mira (July 1, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 0778321975


  • Morgan Snow is a professional therapist specializing in sexual issues. When her client (an expensive call girl who is writing a book about her lifestyle) disappears, it seems possible that one of her clients is involved. Also, that it may be connected to a series of ritualistic murders of prostitutes. Morgan feels her only way to help Cleo is to investigate herself because she can't legally or ethically violate her patient's confidences.

    This book is interesting in many ways. The first is how it switches from Morgan's first person point-of-view to third person POV when focusing on the police investigation to actual book excerpts from the expose' in question.

    Additionally, I liked both the pacing of the story and the level of insight Morgan's character showed.

    I am not sure whether or not the story actually needed the romantic element in it, but that might just be because it seems an overdone theme to me.

    Overall though, I really enjoyed the book.


    The funny this is that I loved her book Lip Service when I read it several years ago, and can't imagine why it has taken me so long to read another. LOL

    Terri

    Review: Final Sail


    Final Sail by Elaine Viets is the 11th book in the “Dead-End Job” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, May 2012

    To catch a jewel smuggler on a luxury yacht, Helen needs to pose as the ship’s new stewardess—but between serving drinks to the snobs, scrubbing floors, and cleaning up after seasick passengers, she’s starting to miss dry land almost as much as she misses Phil.  While Helen’s cruising to the Bahamas, Phil’s got his own job—trying to catch a sexy gold digger who may have killed her elderly new husband for his fortune. Good thing he’s a self-proclaimed master of disguise, playing it cool as everything from an air-conditioning repairman to a Rastafarian.  Helen’s a help to Phil in his case, but when she’s on her own on the high seas, Helen needs to watch her step as she searches out the smuggler—or she may end up going from undercover to overboard…

    Phil and Helen are back and in their latest projects as private detectives, Phil dons multiple disguises when their client insists that her father is slowly being killed by his new wife and Helen’s dead-end job skills comes in handy on a smuggling case.  This action-filled and fast-paced drama was a great read that I could not put down. The witty dialogue and humorous escapades the guys have when they are pursuing their suspects is such a fun ride that I don’t want to see end. The author did a great job in describing each scene as I imagined myself tagging along with them. This engaging mystery boasts a lovable cast and a comfortable tone and I look forward to the next exciting adventures in this pleasingly enjoyable series.





    --Dru



    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Summer Plans


    How do you plan to spend your summer? My plans are between two houses as my daughter needs me to help at her house off and on this summer. At home you will probably find me reading in my swing and my Ella taking me for walks. I would send a picture but something is wrong with my camera and so I am waiting for Frank to take a look at it.
    Anyway wherever I am I see a lot of summer reading. Not so much stitching at this point and I am thinking that at some point I will do some painting. I hear my oil paints and canvas calling me but currently I am still trying to catch up on rest and dog training. She is a good girl but energy doesn't begin to cover it.

    What are your plans for the summer? Are you going to try new foods or recipes? Will you travel or garden? Maybe get a new pet or maybe it's all about your travels of the mind with new books?

    Hugs,
    Pam HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL THE GREAT DADS!!

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Review: The Scarlet Pepper


    The Scarlet Pepper by Dorothy St. James is the second book in the “White House Gardener” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, April 2012

    As the official organic gardener for the White House, Casey Calhoun is usually up to her elbows in something or other. But when someone starts tampering with the Presidential vegetable garden, she soon finds herself in way over her head. As if it wasn’t bad enough that red peppers are growing instead of green ones and cabbage is popping up where the First Lady’s favorite lettuce should be-a hard-nosed investigative reporter is found dead after targeting the President’s unpopular Chief of Staff. Raking over the clues and rumors, Casey knows that someone is sabotaging both her garden and the First Lady’s reputation. But when she has one close call too many, Casey realizes that the next thing buried in the dirt might just be her.

    This was a very enjoyable read. Someone is digging up the vegetable garden and leaking information, putting Casey in jeopardy. When a reporter is found dead and Casey starts receiving threatening messages, Casey will have to dig deep to find the culprit. This was a fast-paced, action-packed drama with plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing. The author did a great job at keeping me in suspense as the story moved forward with spurts from Casey’s traumatic childhood. Gordon, Alyssa and Jack are back in this charming whodunit and I look forward to more exciting adventures with this crew.



    --Dru



    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Review: Perfectly Matched


    Perfectly Matched by Heather Webber is the fourth book in the “Lucy Valentine” mystery series. Publisher: Blue Dandelion Press, May 2012

    When Boston psychic Lucy Valentine finds herself involved with a group of eccentric mediums trying to fine tune their abilities, she is convinced a rare spring heat wave has flushed all the local crazies out of hiding.  Adding to her theory is her newest client in the Lost Loves division of Valentine, Inc., her family’s lucrative matchmaking firm. He’s an animal whisperer who hires Lucy to locate his soul mate—because his cat told him so. Finding his purrfect match, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. But craziest of all is the Beantown Burner, a serial arsonist who is targeting private eye Sam Donahue, brother of Lucy’s boyfriend, Sean. With the help of her kooky psychic group, Lucy must tap into hidden abilities to catch the firebug before the fires turn deadly. She never expected to discover that the motive behind the flames hits a little too close to home…and dangerously close to her heart.

    Like fine wine, this series keeps getting better and better. I love it! The heat is definitely on in this tale of mystery and intrigue. Someone is setting fires and it will take Lucy’s hidden abilities to stomp out those flames. All the familiar people are back from Marisol, to Sean to Preston, to Em, to Dovie and of course Lucy as she tackles several cases including a missing person; the search for a soul mate; an arsonist causing havoc and the usual family quirkiness that has her searching for answers. This non-stop, fun-filled and fast-moving story was a great read that I could not put down. This mystery kept me guessing and that ending…WOW! With a lovable cast, entertaining dialogue and a very comfortable tone, this is the best one ever in this delightfully appealing series.





    --Dru Ann



    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Review: Bare-Naked Lola


    Bare-Naked Lola by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez is the third book in the “Lola Cruz” mystery series. Publisher: Entangled Publishing, May 2012

    Going undercover is second nature for Private Investigator Lola Cruz, but she’s out of her league when the case of a murdered Royals Courtside Dancer leads her to a local nudist resort. Parading around the sidelines of Sacramento’s professional basketball scene in a barely-there cheerleading outfit is one thing—but parading around in nothing but smile? If she has any chance of hiding this from her traditional family and on-again/off-again boyfriend Jack, she’s going to have a lot more than her duct tape bra and killer dance moves to keep under wraps.

    What a great read. Lola latest case has her going undercover as a cheerleader. When a clue points her in the direction of a nudist resort, how far will Lola go to get the job done? Well, you’ll have to get your own copy to find out. What a great read. This was one fun and sexy drama that I did not want to see end. The mystery kept me guessing but the comedic exploits and the romance, oh the romance had me smiling as the story progressed. With sexy and spitfire Lola on the case, the killer does not stand a chance. With amusing and witty repartee and a lovable cast, this story was muy excelente and the best one ever. I look forward to more exciting adventures with Lola and her friends in this enjoyably entertaining series.





    --Dru


    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan


    Oh, boy! It’s June, and all my e-books are on sale at Kindle and Smashwords for 99-cents each! Here are the links. Kindle: http://aliceduncan.net/page5.html and Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/aduncanzianet

    Not only that, but I get to go to California, where I’m originally from. In California I’ll get to see all my old California buds, and I’ll also (and this is the most important part) get to attend my daughter Robin’s wedding to Gilbert Polozzi, which should be mega-fun. So what if I won’t be able to see yet? I can enjoy the pictures afterwards.

    Speaking of not being able to see yet, most of the eye doctors in Roswell have given up performing cataract surgery (I learned the hard way that when you have surgery to correct a detached retina, you always get a cataract as you’re healing. It’s kind of a two-for-one deal). Ergo, I get to go to Albuquerque to have my cataract assessed (one trip) and then removed (another trip). 400 miles round trip. Overnight stay. I know my semi-cousin hates it when I say this, but Roswell is a STUPID place to live!

    I also had an MRI in May, the results of which have prompted my doctor here in Roswell to get in touch with a neurosurgeon in (where else?) Albuquerque. With luck, the neurosurgeon will be able to scrape away the calcium deposits on my lumbar spine, stick spacers between the squashed discs, glue ‘em in there, and then put some sort of shield around the surgery spot so my spine doesn’t have the opportunity to crumble again. I’m not exactly looking forward to an operation on my spine, but if it works, I might possibly not be in constant pain any longer. Heck, I might even regain an inch or two of the three I’ve shrunk. I’m sure my muscles will protest, but to heck with them.

    Naturally, this will also be a two-trip ordeal, one for the assessment and another for the surgery. After the surgery, God knows what will happen, but I suspect I’ll have to spend time in the rehab center here in Roswell (at least we have one of those), and two of my dogs will have to be looked after by others because I won’t be able to pick them up. Fortunately, Giblett, the heaviest (and cowardliest) of my wiener dogs comes complete with a handle. He has a genetic malformation that makes him walk like a duck, or Charlie Chaplin, so I keep a harness on him all the time for easy pick-up. Also fortunately, through my work with New Mexico Dachshund Rescue, I have someone willing to keep him during my ordeal. My darling, WONDERFUL neighbors, the Laskys, will take care of my other wieners until I can resume looking after them myself.

    Gee, for a person who’d never had surgery in her life until last December, it looks as if by this coming December, I’ll have had three of ‘em. Getting old is so much fun. Not.

    On the book front, FALLEN ANGELS is now available as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, Sony, or whatever other e-reader you have. And if you don’t have an e-reader and don’t mind reading books on your computer, you can download a free Kindle application from Amazon.com.

    Also (this is the scary part), I aim to publish the next Mercy Allcutt book, ANGELS OF MERCY, by myself via CreateSpace. This is a total experiment. When the book is published, it will be available as a trade-size paperback and via Kindle, Nook, Sony and the rest of the e-publisher venues. This is both exciting and frightening. I mean, I’m no Nora Roberts with a ten-million-person fan base. I’m just little old me, who writes books some people like to read, but most folks have never heard of. This is the cover art the talented and overall wonderful Melissa Alvarez did for ANGELS OF MERCY:





    Anyhow, please wish me luck on all fronts. Heck, you can even buy my books if you’re feeling particularly generous. My e-books will be on sale for NINETY-NINE CENTS EACH during the month of June! Wow, Whatta de