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.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hot Books


Hot books:



It's hot for most of the country so my question today is "What books are sizzling to be read  in your to be read piles?"



I should make another trip to the library but I have a couple of books that I want to read. First I have to say I am still rereading some of the Carolyn Hart Mysteries. Currently HoneyMoon For Murder has my attention.



My tbr list for this week is:

SENTENCED TO DEATH by Lorna Barrett (this was a birthday present from Terri this year).



TOAST MORTEM by Claudia Bishop (A birthday present from Glenda a year or two ago)



A DECADENT WAY TO DIE by G.A. McKevett (from the author herself and signed) so these are what I know I will be reading.



Plus the Carolyn Hart Books.



Now from what I have been reading. Well I can't brag enough on the Carola Dunn Mystery GONE WEST what a delightful and fun way to spend a summer day or two.



I also read POPPY DONE TO DEATH by Charlaine Harris I have to say Charlaine has a magical touch no matter what series she write and this book I almost devoured. I haven't had a lot of reading time since moving to Blue Springs, Mo but by golly once I started this book there was no stopping me.

I think sometimes it has to be this way on reading when you get too busy or in a slump. You pick up a book and think well I'll give it a try and the next thing you know you are lost in a fictional world and do not want to come up for air. I love it when this happens because it usually helps me out of my reading slump or reminds me that sometimes you have slow down and enjoy the written page.

Thank you Charlaine for giving me back the magic of words this summer.



Happy hot Reading,



Pamela




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Ransom River


Ransom River by Meg Gardiner features a deeply flawed, compelling heroine, a murder trial, and the long-unsolved mystery it exposes. Publisher: Dutton Adult, July 2012

Rory Mackenzie is juror number seven on a high-profile murder case in her hometown of Ransom River, California. It’s a place she vowed never to visit again, after leaving behind its surfeit of regret and misfortune and the specter of a troubled past that threatened to disturb the town’s peaceful fa├žade. Brilliant yet guarded, Rory has always felt like an outsider. She retreated into herself when both her career aspirations and her love affair with a childhood friend, undercover cop Seth Colder, were destroyed in a tragic accident. While most of the town is focused on the tense and shocking circumstances of the trial, Rory’s return to Ransom River dredges up troubling memories from her childhood that she can no longer ignore. But in the wake of a desperate attack on the courthouse, Rory realizes that exposing these dark skeletons has connected her to an old case that was never solved, and bringing the truth to light just might destroy her.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this story. The drama starts off with a bang when the court room that Rory is a juror on is taken hostage and then it is full-steam ahead as we are propelled into non-stop action fraught with intrigue and suspense. This mind-blowing thriller had me consuming pages at a furious pace. The author did a great job in creating a riveting storyline with a strong and determined heroine that captured my attention as I needed to know who was doing what to whom and how it was going to end. With an explosive and heart-pounding finale, this was an awesome read and I can’t wait for the next thrilling story from Meg.

--Dru



Movie Review: The Decoy Bride

Watched this movie recently.  very fun romantic comedy even if very little surprises.  The premise is THE top eligble movie star  (Alice Eve) is trying to have a nice PRIVATE wedding to author fiance' James (David Tennant).  But the paparazzi keep ruining it.  So they go to a remote Scottish Isle called Hegg where they still are found.  in desparation, her manager hries a local woman (Kelly MacDonald) as a Decoy Bride to fool the journalists.  Typical RomCom style, chaos explodes and romance blooms.  Charming and fun mostly due to the wodnerful performances by MacDonald (who was AMAZING on Boardwalk Empire) and Tennant (my favorite Doctor).  The island setting is what makes it work for me, beautiful and quirky.

Terri

Review: The American Murders of Jack the Ripper

  • The American Murders of Jack the Ripper by R. Michael Gordon
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (October 30, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 027598155X

  • I saw a special on a cable network about the possible american murders of Jack the Ripper a month or so ago that I found very interesting.  Then I found this book and found it even more so.
    Of course, like everything, it is all speculation but it does seem to have a lot of validity as a theory.  Certainly the murder of Carrie Brown.
    And of course the suspect, Klosowski was a favorite of Abberline among others.  And the timing fits.  The switch to poisoning is a major area for possible diagreements of course.  WOULD a serial killer switch methodology that much? Lots of food for thought here if you enjoy Ripper theories though.

    Terri

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Review: Gone Missing


    Gone Missing by Linda Castillo is the fourth book in the “Kate Burkholder” thriller series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, June 2012

    Rumspringa is the time when Amish teens are allowed to experience life without the rules. It’s an exciting time of personal discovery and growth before committing to the church. But when a young teen disappears without a trace, the carefree fun comes to an abrupt and sinister end, and fear spreads through the community like a contagion.  A missing child is a nightmare to all parents, and never more so than in the Amish community, where family ties run deep. When the search for the presumed runaway turns up a dead body, the case quickly becomes a murder investigation. And Chief of Police Kate Burkholder knows that in order to solve this case, she will have to call upon everything she has to give not only as a cop, but as a woman whose own Amish roots run deep. Kate and State Agent John Tomasetti delve into the lives of the missing teen and discover links to cold cases that may go back years. But will Kate piece together all the parts of this ominous puzzle in time to save the missing teen and the Amish community from a devastating fate? Or will she find herself locked in a fight to the death with a merciless killer?

    You know when you read a good thriller and it wraps you into its world…well that is what Gone Missing has done for me. The intensity of this riveting story drew me in immediately and every adrenaline-rushing moment propelled me towards this suspenseful trek as the monster reared its ugly head. This drama was fast-moving as I could not put this book down. The writing is superb, making me one with Kate as she analyzed all the clues that were presented. The author did a tremendous in pulling in me and never letting me go until I turned that last page, wishing for more to come. Oh man, what a ride I had and I can’t wait for the next book in this fantastically awesome series.





    --Dru



    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    Review: The Gabon Virus

    Title:  The Gabon Virus
    Authors:  Paul McCusker and Walt Latimore, MD

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Original edition (August 18, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1416569715

  • A special team - TSI (Time Scene Investigators)are called in to help stop a possible global pandemic of a particularly virulent form of Ebola which has escaped from a top secret lab in Greenland.
    Keys to the current virus and how to stop it may be found in the medieval history of a town called Eyams that survived plague in the Middle Ages.

    In addition, there are agents of a pharmaceutical company (who wants to make profits from a cure) and of a radical environmental group (who want to exterminate humans from the planet) that are all interfering the teams efforts.

    Some very interesting characters and betrayals in the story.  As well as intriguing views of the past and its plague and Blue Monk. 

    The only problem I really had is seeing the connections between the two in a believable way.  Never really understood how the current virus and the one from the past could be the same.
    Most of my pleasure from the story was from the chase of a young teen who escaped from a commune and carried the virus across Gabon infecting others.  That struggle kept me turning the pages.

    I enjoyed learning of medical advances in treatment and genetic markers connected to Ebola and liked the amount of fact woven into the fiction.  But I did have to suspend my belief at the sheer virulence of the disease.

    All in all, am interested to see what other TSI adventures there may be.

    Terri

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Summer


    This summer what books and series are you reading? As usual I am reading Carolyn Hart Mysteries but I am also trying to read as many reread Laura Levine Mysteries as possible. The heat is a real killer here in MO this year and last Saturday we got up to 107 for an actual temp.

    I really am using the crockpot more this summer. A little while ago I put a roast in the crockpot to have for supper. My daughter and her husband have major car problems right now. Plus she is working late for the next two months so any suggestions on recipes that are simple quick that I can throw in the crockpot (their central air needs work) that an 11 year old and a 4 year old will eat would be good. The boys will eat anything but all my creative energy is going into writing this week.LOL

    I miss my yardswing and I hope to have Frank bring it up the next times he comes for a visit. Finally do you have a favorite summer color to wear? Maybe more than one that makes you feel really good when you wear it? Oddly enough this year for me is lime green and I seem to lean towards yellow.

    Hugs,

    Pam


    Review: Murder on the Half Shelf


    Murder On The Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett is the sixth book in the “Booktown” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2012

    Stoneham, New Hampshire, is a haven to bookstores, including Tricia’s own mystery shop, Haven’t Got a Clue, but is sadly lacking in bed and breakfasts. Pippa and Jon Comfort’s Sheer Comfort Inn opens its doors to the public in a week and the couple has offered some locals a free night as a trial run. But what should have been a pleasant overnight stay for Tricia becomes a nightmare when she makes two startling discoveries: Pippa’s murdered body in the backyard, and the fact that her husband Jon is actually Harry Tyler, a man Tricia loved—and believed dead—for nearly twenty years. Now Harry is the prime suspect, but Tricia doesn’t believe him capable of murder, regardless of her own feelings toward him. And even though Harry’s led a life of lies, Tricia’s learning that Pippa had her share of secrets that some people may have not wanted revealed.

    Tricia continues to live up to the nickname bestowed on her as the village jinx. An invitation at a B&B takes the wrong turn when Tricia stumbles, yet once again, upon a dead body. Everyone at the inn is a suspect, and being labeled a suspect does not bode well with Tricia as she searches for clues to clear her name. What a great book. The author has done it again, delivering a well-written whodunit that I could not put down. With the many twists and turns and a room full of suspects, the mystery kept me guessing and I was totally surprised when the killer was revealed and then that ending… awesome! This is the best one yet in a series that continues to get better and I can’t wait for the next book in this wonderfully charming series.





    --Dru



    Friday, July 6, 2012

    Review: Ice Cap

    Ice Cap by Chris Knopf is the third book in the “Jackie Swaitkowski” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, June 2012
    Jackie Swaitkowski has made the transition from lackadaisical, pot-smoking real estate lawyer to obsessive, pot-smoking criminal defense attorney. And now, in the middle of the worst winter on record, her ne’re-do-well client is headed for a first degree murder rap. The case pulls Jackie reluctantly back into her late-husband’s extended, and famously outrageous family. Complicating matters is a handsome journalist whose interest in Jackie exceeds the professional.
    I know when I read a Jackie Swaitkowski novel that I’m in for a thrilling ride that I don’t want to see end. In this case, Jackie defends her client against a murder charge that involves a member of her deceased husband’s family. And the fun begins as Jackie pursues her case with her usual aplomb but runs into some tumbling blocks that may put her in harm’s way. One of the things I love about this book is the comfortable tone the author presents. There are so many twists and turns in who-did-what-to-whom that kept me guessing until far into this intriguing mystery. Jackie is such a fun character that you can’t help but love her eccentricities as she navigates the world she lives in the pursuit of justice. Harry, Joe and Sam also make appearances as Jackie’s trusted friends. With this great cast, excellent dialogue and the beautiful setting of the Hamptons (in the winter), this was one of the best book in this wonderfully exciting series.


    --Dru

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    Review: Beef Stolen-Off


    Beef Stolen-Off by Liz Lipperman is the second book in the “Clueless Cook” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, July 2012

    As the food columnist for The Ranchero Globe, Jordan McAllister catches the eye of cattle baron Lucas Santana, who invites her to the Cattleman’s Ball, hoping a positive review for the ball might boost the county’s sagging beef sales. To ensure Jordan enjoys herself, Santana sets her up with a prime cowboy companion for the event—Rusty Morales. Jordan’s delighted to go with him and two-step the night away. But instead, she winds up in the emergency room where her date is DOA. When Rusty’s mother begs her for help, Jordan knows she needs to grab the bull by the horns and get to the bottom of this mystery before she corrals herself into trouble.

    There’s no sophomore slump here in the second book in the Clueless Cook series. Once again, Jordan finds herself in the middle of a murder and not all the beef in the world will derail her from solving this murder before she winds up on the chopping block. This was a great read that kept me entertained with a solid plot, crisp writing and witty dialogue. There were many twists and turns in this riveting mystery that kept me guessing and was surprised when it became clearer as to the identity of the murderer. I love seeing Jordan become more confident in her abilities, especially with the support of her friends, who also provides snippets of comedic exploits in this delightfully appealing series. This was a fun read and I look forward to more adventures with Jordan and the gang. Bonus recipes are included.





    --Dru Ann