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, May 29, 2015
Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower (ZonderKidz)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books)
Uncertain Glory by Lea Wait (Islandport Press)
* The Code Buster's Club, Case #4: The Mummy's Curse by Penny Warner (Egmont USA)
Found by Harlen Coben (Putnam Juvenile)
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Traitor in the Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery by Kathleen Ernst (American Girl Mysteries)
Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower (Zonderkidz)
* Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein (Random House Books)
Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate's Treasure by Penny Warner (Egmont USA)
Seconds Away by Harlan Coben
The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
* The Code Busters Club, Case #2: The Haunted Lighthouse by Penny Warner
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
KAY: The idea for the Bad Luck Cat Mysteries came through a brainstorming session with my agent about two years ago, so I can't take full credit. After our phone conversation, I set about inventing the town of Lavender in the Texas Hill Country, the fictional Glidden River, my mystery writer protagonist Sabrina Tate (who by the way does not believe any cat brings bad luck), the despicable victim Bobby Joe Flowers, and last but not least Hitchcock, the alleged bad luck cat.
MM2: The first book will not be released until September 2015. Have you started other books in the series?
KAY: Yes. I'm currently working on the second Bad Luck Cat Mystery, which is tentatively set for publication in June 2016.
MM2: Kay, how many books have you written? How many series have you written?
KAY: I have three previously published novels. A few not-quite-polished manuscripts reside in my closet and may or may not be resurrected at some point in time. Two of the published books - Final Decree and Final Cut - are a series featuring Corie McKenna, a Houston PI. Relative Chaos features Poppy Cartwright, a professional organizer who finds a body in a messy garage. My plan for Relative Chaos to be the first of the Klutter Killer series stalled when the publisher went out of business.
MM2: When writing a book what comes first the plot, setting, character ?
KAY: For me, setting seems to always come first. I have to think about where the character lives before I learn more about the character herself. Of these elements plot may come in third while I'm in the planning stages of the novel, but it's definitely the most important. Without a gripping plot, I personally wouldn't care enough about the character or the setting whether I'm the writer or the reader.
MM2: Tell us what you like to do when you're not writing mysteries?
KAY: Of course, I love to read mysteries. I also enjoy spending time with our four grandchildren who all live nearby and range in age from one to nine. Now that the older children have learned to read I face some touchy questions, such as "Grandma Kay, why do so many of your books have 'kill' and 'murder' in the title?" And I probably shouldn't use the coffee mug around the kids that says "Do not annoy the writer - she may put you in a book and kill you." I spend a lot of time playing with our pets, a tuxedo cat named Alice, a Border Collie mix named Dawson, and a Catahoula Leopard Hound mix named Pepper. They can't read, so the coffee mug doesn't bother them.
MM2: What advice do you have for beginning authors and especially anyone who wants to write a series?
Find a great critique group that holds regular meetings, ideally one made up of writers in the same genre. Many novels by Leann Sweeney and Dean a/k/a Miranda James were born in our fabulous group, and they inspired me.
Listen to audio books because you'll learn a lot from hearing the rhythm of a book.
Read your own work aloud. What may look great on the page might not sound quite right when you hear the words spoken.
If you want to write a series, read lots of series. After you've read enough, you'll have a feel for how to write your own.
MM2: Last but never least what would you like to say to your readers?
KAY: The Texas Hill Country is a fun place to visit and covers enough territory that I could probably vacation there every year for the rest of my life and never see the same thing twice. If you live far away from Texas, I hope you'll enjoy visiting through the pages of Black Cat Crossing. Hitchcock, my fictional cat, has become so real to me that I can imagine him sitting with me as I write. I hope he'll become one of your best friends, too. The joy of delving into a new world in the pages of a brand new novel never grows old.
MM2: Leave us with your character's sage words of wisdom about you?
SABRINA TATE: Kay Finch has a quiet personality and doesn't seek the limelight. But watch out once this homebody leaves the house. She's likely to say things like "wow, that would be a great place to hide a body!" They always say it's the quiet ones you have to watch.
Enjoyed spending time with you. Have a great week.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Post WWI England is not something I really have read much about and my limited exposure tends to be mostly Downton Abbey. Rutledge is struggling to restart his career interrupted by the war. He is sent by Scotland Yard to investigate the murder of a Colonel where the main suspect is a decorated war hero and friend of the Royal Family. Secrets abound and there are seemingly no other suspects but he refuses to make a mistake and takes his time, is thorough and determined. If this goes wrong, he will be the scapegoat. Suffering 'Shell Shock' from the war, he has to prove his abilities to himself as well. And the case, certainly is complicated.
It is difficult to write historical mysteries - to get the setting, tone, manners, even dialog right. The Todds really excelled and made me very glad I finally got to this book! Now, for the rest...
Friday, May 22, 2015
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
When I read the first book in this series, I loved it - and this was no different. The characters are smart and survivors. The evil of the psychopathic charters is palpable. The story conveys an intensity that kept me turning the pages. There is always a sense that there is more going on than the characters are aware of, which leads to a lot of guessing fun.
Cliffhangers drive me nuts!
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
It is the story of a city - the fictional Gotham City. State? Who knows? It is bleak and over ridden by crime and corruption. It is ugly and bleak. In comes Detective Jim Gordon played brilliantly by Ben McKenzie. He is idealistic and became a cop for all the right reasons. But he soon finds out that in Gotham, things just aren't that easy and criminals run the city. He is partnered with Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue. Bullock knows how Gotham is and really has no intention of fighting the status quo and is frustrated by his partner's quest to make things better.
Meanwhile the city is run by mob bosses who have carved up the city into their own territories. Enter Oswald Cobblebot - "The Penguin" who has manipulation down to an art form as he plays them against each other, trying to carve his own path. Playing Penguin is Robin Lord Taylor who takes the character and owns it. I would say his performance is my favorite. The villians are over the top at times - Jada Pinkett Smith is wonderful as Fish Maroney- and we see familiar names that will be future villians over time. Power, control, money, insanity - the forces that drive these villians make them ruthless (and entertaining).
Bruce Wayne and his not-so-nice (with lots of history yet to be explored) butler, Alfred Pennyworth are part of the story and we all know where that is heading. Yet Bruce's interactions with the others is what will make him the man he becomes, he has to be there - just not the focus.
There is tons of violence, betrayals, lies, crazies, corruption and so on. There are also those who (reluctantly) stand up with Gordon to begin to fix things in this endless cesspool of a city. Most of the storylines are engaging and move it all forward. A few, such as Milo Ventimiglia's deranged serial killer and his kidnapping of Jim's ex-girlfriend Barbara made no sense and didnt seem to fit at all. Sometimes the writer's seem to be still searching for their direction.
Yet the story is just beginning, characters are evolving and it keeps me wanting to see how it gets there. Because Gotham is what makes Batman, without it, there would be no need for him.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
There is magic, explosions, scandals, betrayals, and a lot of darkness as well as humor in the story. A very modern re-telling of a classic. And while I absolutely LOVED the author's Alice in Wonderland re-telling in Death of a Mad Hatter, this one left me a bit scattered with questions I didn't find were fully answered. I think I got lost in my head a few times and that distracted me from the story.
I loved the characters of Snow and The Huntsman and some of the dwarves really engaged me, the Queen was not as much as an evil presence as I maybe would have liked. But it was quite imaginative and I do like being taken to other places with these re-tellings. This one just wasn't my favorite.
Monday, May 4, 2015