Friday, May 25, 2018

Review: Double Take by RR Harris

Carter is a travel writer on assignment writing about the big island of Hawaii.  His guide is missing, so  the man's sister becomes his substitute guide.  They follow clues to find her brother and there is a little mystery of what is going on with him and his twin, and some romance between him and Nai'a.

That said, there are fun facts about Hawaii and its history and culture and lots of wonderful pictures (though my kindle copy had several pictures that didn't load for whatever reason.

It is light and fun and with the volcano erupting as well -- reminding me of what is going on right now in Hawaii.  The only thing I have mixed feelings about is the almost overuse of metaphors -- you can tell the writer really loves metaphors.  Most I enjoyed, but sometimes it seemed like too many for me.

Also, there was an odd chapter from the POV of a cat which didn't quite fit for me, though it was amusing.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Instinct by James Patterson & Howard Roughan (Formerly published as Murder Games)

Dr. Dylan Rhinehart receives an unexpected visit from the police to go to a murder scene where his book on criminal behavior is part of the crime scene. The killer is playing with him. The Dealer, as the killer is called because of his trademark leaving of playing cards on the scene, is vicious and clever and really likes playing games. 

I really liked this book. The characters are well developed and the relationship between Elizabeth (the detective who brought him in) and Dylan is very believable.

Nice twists and turns and drama -- I just didn't "get" the final murder attempt as much as I would have liked.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review: Uncorking a Lie by Nadine Nettmann

Katie is studying to be a Sommelier while working at a trendy restaurant.  One of the men she knows as a customer, invites her to a dinner party where he will be opening a rare bottle of wine he has acquired at an auction.  Only there is something wrong with the wine and his assistant dies mysteriously during the dinner.  Katie investigates and uncovers a counterfeit wine ring.

This is the second in the series and I thoroughly enjoyed the first as well (which was an Agatha Nominee).  Katie is an interesting character who is smart and knows her wine inside and out.  I love the wine info and I enjoy her burgeoning relationship with Dean from the first book.

I found this one just as great as the first and look forward to the next one.

The only thing I missed in this, is not enough Tessa (her best friend)!


Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: Ebola and the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse by Sharon K Gilbert

The author is writing at the time of the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa in 2014.  She is stating that it is a sign (along with various eclipses) of the end times of the Book of Revelation.

I have a hard time with this because the Book of Revelation, like Nostradamus' prophecies are vague and open to hugely varying interpretations.  Certainly over the years many different prophets, ministers etc... have cited signs that have never come to pass.  Her arguments do not seem to me any more believable than those.  

My problem with the author's presentation of Ebola as a sign of the Apocalypse is that it is all based on 1.  the appearance (snake-like) of the filiovirus and 2. the possibility that it becomes airborne.

People are so terrified of Ebola because of the blood.  It is a scary disease.  I posted a lot on my blog at the time of the epidemic about facts vs. the fear misinformation at the time.  I don't think the author is misinformed -- but I do think she is speculating a lot.  The thing is, in terms of numbers, there are many communicable diseases that spread and sicken and kill many more per year than Ebola.

The reasons the Ebola epidemic took so many lives is lack of resources, education and supplies.  The world was VERY slow to respond and the care was just not available until things got really bad.  Plus there were a lot of superstition and lies going around that made the medical efforts harder.  Fake News and paranoia.

The other thing that I did not like was how the author was too casual in chapter endings (for me)  Things like:  Come on and see.... which I felt was unnecessary and irritating.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Review: The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn

Anna is a psychiatrist and a survivor of trauma.  She is agoraphobic after the trauma and quite lonely.  She watched neighbors with her zoom camera lens and drinks and pops pills excessively.

The story is told from the first person and she is quite the unreliable narrator ala The Girl on a Train which is something that can be done well or very badly.  In this case, it is wonderful.

She witnesses and reports a murder of a woman she met once.  Only there is no sign of the victim and another woman is claiming to be the wife who is NOT the one she met.  Very Rear Window (which is acknowledged in the book).

She is so out of it with the drugs etc... it is hard to tell what is real and what isn't/  that of course, is the point.  As she wonders about Gaslighting, so does the reader.  Her life has become like that of a character of the black and white classic  thrillers she loves so much.

I love that there is doubt and then certainty, then doubt again as the ride continues.  This was a very satisfying and emotional ride.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: Dangerous to Know by Renee Patrick

Lillian Frost is back with Edith Head. This time, Marlene Dietrich asks her to find a composer that is missing. She does, only he is dead. Throw in a smuggling investigation with George Burns, Jack Benny and the FBI. Only there are also Nazis and spies. Another fun installment in the series. Agatha nominated. Lots of fun and twists and memorable characters. I love this series! and the CLOTHES!


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Review: Mary Flora Bell by Nancy A Veysey and Ryan Decker

This story seems so hard to believe at first. An 11 year old girl kills two young children pretty much just because she wants to. Her friend is there when she does and hoes nothing. Then she taunts the families of the dead children. This girl was an angry hateful mess. Sure she was brutally abused as a child but in 1968, nobody really understood or could identify the bedwetting and torture of animals as the triad we now understand today of serious psychopathy.

The most bizarre thing, is she is eventually released and able to live (reportedly) a normal life and have a child and presumably raise it well.

Additionally, there is a free book about 12 true crime cannibals which is a great 'extra'.  most of which I had never heard of and almost all extremely mentally ill or on drugs.

That said, there are a lot of typos which is a bit frustrating


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

It’s May, For Pete’s Sake!

I swear to heaven, life is just flying by. I wouldn’t mind that so much if it didn’t stop to heap coals of fire upon people I care about (and me) every thirty seconds or so.

For instance, my very favorite great-niece (actually, I think she’s my only great-niece) already has scleroderma. Look it up. You don’t want it. Trust me on this. And now she’s been diagnosed with what her doctor thinks is a synovial sarcoma that finally grew so big it shredded her meniscus. She’s THIRTY-THREE YEARS OLD, for dog’s sake! I mean, I whine and moan about all the things getting old is doing to me, but the hideous meanness of life is hitting her now, when she’s young, and it’s not fair. Single working mom, a thirteen-year-old son. I mean, come on. Where are the gods of mercy when you need them?

And then my wonderful neighbor and friend has been diagnosed with macular degeneration. That means she’s going to be blind one of these days. Talk about horrible!

My older daughter has such trouble with her feet, she has to use a wheelchair to get around. Gimme a break, life! My younger daughter also has trouble with her feet, and she just got through surgery for a detached retina and cataract surgery. These are what my daughters and I call “family heirlooms,” since they seem to pass from generation to generation (I’m sure both Anni and Robin will begin to suffer from back problems soon). Some families pass along… oh, I don’t know. Money. Jewelry. Wealth. Health. You know, good stuff, to their children. Not my family.

And yes, I know every family has its problems, but these things seem particularly harsh to me. And I haven’t even talked about my own problems yet, although you might have read about them on Facebook.

I got bronchitis. Bad stuff, bronchitis. It morphed into sinusitis. My face hurt, my teeth ached, my ears itched. And then, BOOM, all of a sudden I couldn’t hear out of my right ear! Mind you, I expected some hearing loss as I age, but this just happened all of a sudden in one swell foop, you know? So my regular doctor, after making sure all the various infections were cleared up, sent me to an ear-nose-throat guy who checked my ears and throat and did a lot of strange things (well, they seemed strange to me, anyway) with various instruments. Then he sat me down and said I had two options. One was to do nothing, and the problem might resolve itself eventually. Or it might not. The second was to insert a titanium ear tube, and the problem might resolve itself eventually. Or it might not. So, since I pay through the NOSE for a Medicare Plan F, I decided to go for the titanium. What the heck, if I never hear out of that ear again, I guess I can always sell the titanium.

This ear thing has been quite bothersome, however. I’m already unbalanced (and I’m not talking about my mental state, although that’s iffy, too). I had lumbar surgery in 2012. When I woke up in the recovery room, the adorable 16-year-old Austrian neurosurgeon smiled hugely at me and said, “Oh, my, you gave us such a challenge!” So happy to have given her something interesting to do for ten hours, y’know? Anyway, since then, my back has been full of so much hardware, I set off alarms in airports, and I tend to walk funny. Then I had to have my left hip replaced, so I have a metal hip. And (this is the important part as far as my unbalanced state goes) my left leg is now slightly longer than my right leg. So I wear heel lifts in my right shoes. What with the defunct ear now messing with my equilibrium, I’ve managed to take a couple of truly spectacular falls in recent weeks. I’m trying to remember to take my cane with me when I go places, but I more often than not forget it. Sigh.

I know I whine a lot, but jeez, I’m used to being an independent person! I’ve lived alone on purpose for years and years and like it that way. Yes, I have dachshunds. I also have lots of friends, and I adore them. I also adore most of the dachshunds. But I used to be a dancer, for pity’s sake! And a singer! My voice is now shot, too, thanks to the bronchitis-sinusitis junk. Not that I was an opera singer or anything, but I did enjoy singing in choirs and local choral groups from time to time. I even used to have a fairly respectable (loud, anyway) tenor voice. Now I croak when I talk. Singing is out of the realm of possibility at the moment. I really hope this all comes to an end, preferably before I do. It would be nice to be able to hear out of both ears again, you know? Whine, whine, whine.

Okay, enough of that. The wieners of SPIRITS UNEARTHED, Daisy Gumm Majesty’s 12th (or 13th, depending on who’s doing the counting) are: Linda Tippit, Prentiss Garner, Jeri Dickinson, and Brenda Winslow. I have to buy some more envelopes before I can send your books, but I promise I will get that done soon(ish). Congratulations, and I hope you enjoy the book!

Here’s my regular caution about my monthly contests. I love giving my work to people; however, I found out quite by accident a few months ago that sending books to Great Britain, Australia, and other countries outside the United States is beyond my monetary capability. If a resident of a nation other than the United States has an e-reader, I’ll happily supply that person with an e-book. If a person doesn’t have an e-reader and still likes to read book-books, he or she is on his or her own. I’m sorry, but what I laughingly call my writing career hasn’t made me wealthy yet. And it probably won’t, but let’s not get in to that because it always depresses me. So. That’s that.

Um . . . about May’s contest. It’s the merry month of May, or so they say, so why not give away a merry book or two? Let me ponder a moment to see if I can think of my jolliest books. Ha! Found ‘em! How’s about I give away a couple of copies of SPIRITS ONSTAGE, in which Daisy gets to play the mean and nasty Katisha in Gilbert and Sullivan’s MIKADO; and two copies of UNSETTLED SPIRITS, during which people drop dead during communion services at Daisy’s church. Sounds like fun to me.
 If you’d like to enter the contest to win a copy of, just send me an email ( and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site ( or email me (you won’t be smothered in e-mails, because I only write one blog a month, and that’s an effort). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at

Thank you!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Review: Called to Justice by Edith Maxwell

Rose is a midwife and a Quaker.  She is at the fourth of July fireworks (Fourth Day Seventh Month) when a mill girl she knows is shot and killed.  A fellow Quaker is charged with the crime and she knows he is innocent so she investigates.  

I also liked the romance and its complexity with religious and social differences.

Of course, another thing was the midwife thing which makes me think of Call The Midwife every time. LOL

Richly filled with historical details, the story is engrossing and enjoyable.  It definitely deserved the Agatha nomination.

On a personal note, as I told Edith at Malice Domestic, my great-grandfather left the Quakers and the story gave a a feeling of reclaiming some of my own personal history.


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...