Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: Ice Blonde by Elaine Viets

Angela gets a desperate plea from worried parents to help find their missing daughter: a teen that vanished after a party during frigid temperatures and snow.  

Secrets come to light, the rich vs. working class turn on each other and when Angela gets to the bottom of it, a twist comes that I didn't foresee which I LOVED!

Another excellent addition to this series!


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Review: Robin by David Itzkoff

Robin Williams was both both loved and panned throughout his career.  He had a comedic gift that was off the charts and admired by other comedians and actors.  From Mork and Mindy (started out great, got awful later), to Comic Relief (years of amazing fun) to remarkable movies like Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poet's Society, Jumanji, to Good Morning Vietnam.  he frequently did the unexpected and he was never predictable.

Itzkoff did what I had hoped, tried to show the man behind the jokes (not an easy job because Robin clearly was a very private man) through stories from his friends and coworkers.  The book is respectful and admiring and while reading, it brought back incredible memories I have of Robin over the years that had slipped away.  

Also, it dealt respectfully about his suicide and the Dementia he was facing leaving me feeling a lot more understanding of what happened.

Well worth the read -- and make sure you go through the pictures - some of them are absolutely wonderful.

Robin Williams will be missed, but we can treasure the wonderful entertainment he left behind and this was a very well thought out read.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: Fantasy for Good (ed) by Jordan Ellinger and Richard Salter

In honor of Roger Zelazny who passed away from colon cancer, this anthology is filled with 30 stories to benefit charity.  Some of my favorite stories were:  In The Lost Lands by George RR Martin, Worms Rising from the Dirt by David Farland (Which I have to say is a great name for a fantasy author as well! :))

Absolutely loved Knight's Errand by Jane Lindskold with its wonderful twists.  and Under Fairy Tale re-tellings section - a wonderful story by Alan Dean Foster featuring frogs that save Christmas.  Totally entertaining.

There is a Funny Knight/Dragon story reminiscent of Dragonheart with Sean Connery and Kevin Costner.

Others I enjoyed are Pandal Food by Samit Basu and Man of Water by Kyle Aisteach.

Good book and good cause and have to also say - I LOVE that cover!


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Review: Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood

I always love Miss Fisher! This one is about tracking down missing girls who are pregnant and forced to work in a horrible laundry by the Church. The conditions of the poor girls (being punished for their sins under sweatshop conditions) and the utter lack of humanity in their treatment even overwhelms the unflappable Miss Fisher.  The most disturbing thing is the Magdalen laundry in the story is part of ones that really existed.  It is always hard for me to comprehend abuse in the name of Religion.

Another multilevel story with lots of twists and mysteries to solve. The gang (and its newest member - Tinker) investigate with enthusiasm. Loved it!


Monday, June 4, 2018

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

June is bustin’ out all over!

Or maybe it isn’t. Busting or not, it’s sure hot here in SE New Mexico. May’s blog was sort of a downer (actually, it was a major downer), and I apologize for that. Nothing much has changed in my world, which means my niece still has scleroderma, although there’s been no biopsy to confirm the synovial carcinoma thing, and that’s good. Probably. I still can’t hear out of my right ear, and I’m peeved about it. But enough of that!

To start with, Bam-Bam, my winner-picking wiener dog, has selected people’s names, and the winners of May’s contest are:

SPIRITS ONSTAGE: Annie Amos and Virginia Winfield
UNSETTLED SPIRITS: Diana Smith and Johnna Smith (I don’t believe these two ladies are related. For that matter, I don’t know if they’re ladies, but I’m pretty sure they are).

Believe it or not, something not merely good, but exceptionally good, happened to me in May. I’ve had more than sixty books published since 1994, and I used to be incredibly single-minded and gung-ho about writing. After all, writing books was the only thing I ever really wanted to do. And puh-leeze don’t give me that “Writers write” nonsense. I was a single mother with no money other than my crummy earnings as a secretary (a job I hated, if anyone cares). My kids’ father didn’t see any need to pay child support, so I worked one and sometimes two jobs in order to make ends meet. Rearing two daughters alone, working full tim, and taking care of everything by myself ate up all my time. There wasn’t any time for this writer to write, dad-gum it! Every time I hear some snobby person say, “Writers write,” meaning, of course, that no matter what, you’re supposed to be writing, I want to strangle that person. It’s probably a good thing the arthritis in my hands is so bad, I can’t. But honestly, do the “writers write” folks not care if their kids starve to death? I did, and if that was wrong of me, so be it.

Oh, dear, I’ve done it again, haven’t I? I didn’t mean to sink into negativity. Ahem.

Let’s get back to the exceptionally good thing that happened to me in May. After being published for so many years, earning so little money for my efforts pretty much sapped my writing energy. It wasn’t fun any longer, and I had trouble thinking up plots. It takes a long, long time to write a book that can be read in hours, and if the author isn’t making any money doing it, why do it, y’know? Fortunately for me, all those books having been published led some folks to think I knew what I was doing. Therefore, I was offered an editing job by a publisher. Which means, of course, I actually was making through my writing, although not precisely the way I’d imagined it would happen.

Anyhow, I began editing books written by Peter Brandvold. Mean Pete (he calls himself that; I’m not being unkind) writes really, really good westerns. His books are full to the brim with action, violence and sex. He has several ongoing series featuring people like Bear Haskell, Deputy US Marshal; Yakima Henry, a half-breed wandering law officer (he does other stuff, too); Mike Sartain, a Cajun who takes it upon himself to enact justice on people who would otherwise get away with their fell deeds; and Lou Prophet, a dissolute, funny, big-hearted, foul-mouthed bounty hunter. All these guys are young in the books Mean Pete writes about them in the 1880s and thereabouts. My books are set in the 1920s.

But you know what? Mean Pete gave me Lou Prophet! Mind you, Lou’s kind of a broken-down crock by Daisy Gumm Majesty’s day, but he’s still a firecracker, albeit an elderly and one-legged one. You see, after his youth was spent on tangleleg and loose women and he got too old to continue as a bounty hunter, a film company in Los Angeles hired him to be a consultant on some of their western flickers. Old Lou had himself a high old time for a while there. Then one night he got into a motorcar with two ladies of the night and a case of bootleg hooch, and somebody drove the car off a cliff in Santa Monica (which is right on the Pacific Ocean for anyone who doesn’t know). Lou was the sole survivor, although he lost one of his legs during the accident. Therefore, in 1925, poor old one-legged Lou, while still a foul-mouthed, uncouth sort of fellow, has fallen on hard times. In fact, in SHAKEN SPIRITS, the Daisy book I’m writing now and in which he has a part, he’s living at the Odd Fellows Home of Christian Charity in Pasadena, California.

Doesn’t it just seem inevitable that Daisy and Lou should get together? It did to Mean Pete and me. Daisy and Sam break him out of the Odd Fellows Home, and Lou is now helping Sam figure out who’s trying to kill Daisy. I haven’t had this much fun writing a book in, literally, years.

So thank you, Peter Brandvold! You’re not as mean as you like people to think you are. Most of the time. Here’s a picture of Mean Pete and me when he drove through Roswell on his way to Arizona to get away from the Minnesota winter for a month or so (he lives in Minnesota).

For the record, if you’re of a mind to, you may pre-order SHAKEN SPIRITS, which will probably be published in October of this year (providing I have time to finish it. Editing cuts into writing time, dang it).

In the meantime, if you want to read Daisy’s latest adventure, SPIRITS UNEARTHED, in which Daisy’s dachshund, Spike, finds a shoe with a foot in it at the cemetery and chaos ensues, please feel free to do so:

Now. Whatever should I give away at the end of June? Beats me. Oh, I know! I’ll give away some of Mercy Allcutt’s books. There will be no more Mercy books, by the way, until I can get the rights back to the last one. At any rate, I’ll give away a copy each of LOST AMONG THE ANGELS, FALLEN ANGELS, ANGELS OF MERCY and THANKSGIVING ANGELS. If you live in a country other than the USA, you’ll have to settle for winning an e-book, because sending books all over the world is too expensive for this little old crippled lady.

If you’d like to enter the contest, just send me an email (alice@aliceduncan.net) 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 (http://aliceduncan.net/) 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 https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925.

Thank you!

Review: Deadly Solution by Keenan Powell

Maeve Malloy is a lawyer who has had struggles with drinking, done a stint in rehab and trying to prove herself again as a lawyer.  She is...