The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, by K.C. Tansley (@KourHei) #review #coming_soon

About the book, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

  • Series: The Unbelievables Book 1
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Beckett Publishing Group; 1 edition (August 1, 2015)

She tried to ignore them. But some things won’t be ignored.

Kat Preston doesn’t believe in ghosts. Not because she’s never seen one, but because she saw one too many. Refusing to believe is the only way to protect herself from the ghost that tried to steal her life. Kat’s disbelief keeps her safe until her junior year at McTernan Academy, when a research project for an eccentric teacher takes her to a tiny, private island off the coast of Connecticut.

The site of a grisly mystery, the Isle of Acacia is no place for a girl who ignores ghosts, but the ghosts leave Kat little choice. Accompanied by her research partner, Evan Kingsley, she investigates the disappearance of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe on their wedding night in 1886. Evan’s scientific approach to everything leaves Kat on her own to confront a host of unbelievables: ancestral curses, powerful spells, and her strange connection to the ghosts that haunt Castle Creighton.

But that’s all before Kat’s yanked through a magic portal and Evan follows her. When the two of them awaken 129 years in the past with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests, everything changes. Together, Kat and Evan race to stop the wedding-night murders and find a way back to their own time—and their own bodies—before their souls slip away forever.

Buy, read, and discuss The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Goodreads


About the author, K.C. Tansley K.C. Tansley

K.C Tansley lives with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, and three quirky golden retrievers on a hill somewhere in Connecticut. She tends to believe in the unbelievables–spells, ghosts, time travel–and writes about them.

Never one to say no to a road trip, she’s climbed the Great Wall twice, hopped on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, and danced the night away in the dunes of Cape Hatteras. She loves the ocean and hates the sun, which makes for interesting beach days.

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is her debut YA time-travel murder mystery novel. As Kourtney Heintz, she also writes award winning cross-genre fiction for adults.

Connect with K.C.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts MissMeliss

I love a good ghost story, and even though I’m really old (a month away from 45) I still love the young adult/new adult genre, because I think some of the strongest female characters and most provocative stories are coming out of it.

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is no exception.

First, in Kat, we have a strong young woman who has personal experience with “unbelievables,” the author’s term for ghosts and other supernatural creations – the things we’re not, as rational adults, supposed to believe in. She’s smart, but she’s also got flaws, and I like that she’s not s superhero, just a girl with an ability to see into the unseen, an ability that, at times, is a blessing and at other times is a curse.

Then we have a neo-Gothic ghost story – a family castle on a cliffside, a decades-old murder mystery, love, money, intrigue – it feels both contemporary and historical at the same time, and author Tansley balances that feeling really well.

Mix in a research project, Kat’s teammates/friends, and bit of time travel, and this story is gripping and compelling and eerie enough that I had to brighten the lights in my room while I read it. (This may have been because I read it at 3 AM).

Kat and her roommate and best friend Morgan both felt like ordinary young women thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Their dialogue was believable, and they served as perfect counterpoint to each other. Evan, Seth, and Adam, the young men we see the most of, were also well drawn. I especially liked that even when Kat and Even grew closer, he retained his ‘still kind of a jerk’ behavior. He is kind of a jerk, but he isn’t a MEAN jerk, more a smartass, and I appreciated that.

The story itself was well-paced…just enough flashback to set up Kat’s ability, just enough of a glimpse at her present to connect her past and future, and then the mystery elements began to unfold, and everything clipped along at a glorious speed.

If you want something that defies pigeon-holing (It’s a YA, ghost, mystery, paranormal romance, time travel adventure) you definitely need to read this book. Afterward, we can bond over our mutual impatience for book two, because I believe that this series will take off, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Goes well with grilled chicken sandwiches, french fries, and sweet tea. (Trust me on this. )

 

 

 

An Unwilling Accomplice, by Charles Todd

About the book, An Unwilling Accomplice An Unwilling Accomplice

• Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 5, 2015)

In this absorbing and atmospheric historical mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford’s career and life are in jeopardy when a murder is committed on her watch

Bess Crawford has been summoned by the War Office to accompany a wounded soldier from Shropshire to Buckingham Palace, where he’s to be decorated for gallantry by King George himself.

Heavily bandaged and confined to a wheelchair, Sergeant Jason Wilkins will be in her care for barely a day. But on the morning after the ceremony when Bess goes to collect her charge for his return journey, she finds the room empty. How could such a severely wounded man vanish without a trace?

Both the Army and the Nursing Service hold Bess to blame for losing the war hero. The Army now considers Wilkins a deserter, and Scotland Yard questions Bess when Wilkins is suspected of killing a man in cold blood. If Bess is to clear her name and return to duty in France, she must prove that she was never his accomplice. But the sergeant has disappeared again and neither the Army nor the police can find him.

Following a trail of clues across England, Bess is drawn into a mystery that seems to grow darker with every discovery. But will uncovering the truth put more innocent people in jeopardy?

Buy, read, and discuss An Unwilling Accomplice

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound  | Goodreads


About the author, Charles Todd Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina.

Connect with Charles

Website | Facebook.


My Thoughts MissMeliss

The Bess Crawford series may be my new favorite historical mystery series, though I say this having only just finished book one, and not yet started book two, which I’m reviewing in August.

Timed perfectly for those of us who are hooked on  The Crimson Field (airing on PBS now, it aired in the UK last year), this novel blends historical accuracy with a gripping mystery, and ties everything us with a truly interesting and engaging lead character.

In Bess Crawford, Todd has created a female lead who feels appropriate for her time, but is still completely relatable to contemporary readers. She is smart, resourceful, and interesting, but she’s also very real, and her flaws only make her seem more so.

I really liked the blend of military and civilian characters, but I also appreciated that even in a story that’s pretty serious, there was room for small touches of humor. Not ha-ha laugh-inducing jokes, but small moments drawn from life. Those touches are what makes a novel sing  and this novel truly does.

I’ve been a fan of Todd’s other detective series for a while now, but Bess Crawford has supplanted Ian Rutledge in my heart.

Goes well with a proper English tea.


Charles Todd’s Tour Stops: TLC Book Tours

Wednesday, July 8th: Mom’s Small Victories

Monday, July 13th: Booked on a Feeling

Tuesday, July 14th: Mystery Playground

Wednesday, July 15th: Bibliotica

Monday, July 20th: Dwell in Possibility

Wednesday, July 22nd: Raven Haired Girl

Wednesday, July 22nd: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Thursday, July 23rd: Helen’s Book Blog

Friday, July 24th: Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, July 27th: A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, July 28th: Lavish Bookshelf

Wednesday, July 29th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Friday, July 31st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place, by Marty Wingate #review @netgalley #comingsoon

About the book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place Between a Rock and a Hard Place

  • Publisher: Alibi (August 4, 2015)
  • Pages: 288

Perfect for fans of Laura Childs, Ellery Adams, and Jenn McKinlay, Marty Wingate’s enchanting Potting Shed Mystery series heads to Scotland as Pru Parke plans her wedding . . . all while a vengeful murderer is poised to strike again.

After her romantic idyll with the debonair Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse culminates in a marriage proposal, Pru Parke sets about arranging their nuptials while diving into a short-term gig at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. At hand is the authentication of a journal purportedly penned by eighteenth-century botanist and explorer Archibald Menzies. Compared to the chaos of wedding planning, studying the journal is an agreeable task . . . that is, until a search for a missing cat leads to the discovery of a dead body: One of Pru’s colleagues has been conked on the head with a rock and dumped from a bridge into the Water of Leith.

Pru can’t help wondering if the murder has something to do with the Menzies diary. Is the killer covering up a forgery? Among the police’s many suspects are a fallen aristocrat turned furniture maker, Pru’s overly solicitous assistant, even Pru herself. Now, in the midst of sheer torture by the likes of flamboyant wedding dress designers and eccentric church organists, Pru must also uncover the work of a sly murderer—unless this bride wants to walk down the aisle in handcuffs.

Buy, read, and discuss Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, Marty Wingate Marty Wingate

Marty Wingate is the author of The Garden Plot and a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Potting Shed mysteries are planned.


My Thoughts

This is the third in Marty Wingate’s Potting Shed Mystery series, and the first I didn’t get via TLC Book Stores, but direct from Alibi through NetGalley. I love the series – solid mysteries with just enough romance to keep things interesting, but this one didn’t wow me as much as the first two, and I think it was because Pru spent so much time doing research, and so little time doing actual gardening. In past novels, I was treated to descriptions of lush gardens, so vividly represented by the author’s text that at times I could feel the wet ground beneath my feet, and smell the fresh soil or sweet blossoms. In this novel, there isn’t as much of that, and I found that the gardening, indeed the gardens, had become additional characters.

Aside from that, this is a lovely novel, the perfect read for a cozy rainy weekend, or even a lazy evening in the tub. I enjoyed visiting with Pru and Christopher again, and seeing the evolution of their relationship, but I also enjoyed meeting some new friends – Madame Fiona, the dressmaker, and Marcus, Pru’s old friend from back home (and her ex) – stand out. We also got to see her friend Jo once more, and I’d forgotten how much I’d enjoyed the interaction of the two women.

The mystery itself was solid as ever. I’m sorry we didn’t get more scenes in the Botanic Gardens, but I was kept guessing whodunnit through most of the novel, and was happy with the resolution of the puzzle. Pru’s detection skills were absolutely on point, and I felt the jeopardy she was in growing throughout the story.

Three books in, spending time with a Potting Shed Mystery is as satisfying as spending the afternoon with a group of friends at a favorite pub. Comfortably familiar but with no shortage of new stories to share. I’m looking forward to book four.

Goes well with Split pea soup with ham, and cheddar bread fresh from the oven.

That Chesapeake Summer, by Mariah Stewart #review #ChesapeakeDiaries @NetGalley

About the book, That Chesapeake Summer That Chesapeake Summer

  • Series: The Chesapeake Diaries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (June 23, 2015)

From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes the latest book in her celebrated Chesapeake Diaries, a small-town romance series in the tradition of Barbara Freethy, Susan Mallery, and Robyn Carr.

Jamie Valentine is the wildly successful author of self-help books advocating transparency in every relationship. But when her widowed mother passes away unexpectedly, Jamie discovers her own life has been based on a lie. Angry and deeply betrayed, she sets out to find the truth—which may be in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay. Cutting her most recent book tour short, Jamie books a room at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point, just outside St. Dennis.

The death of Daniel Sinclair’s father forced him to take over the family inn, and his wife’s death left him a single parent of two children, so there’s little room for anything else in his life. His lovely new guest is intriguing, though, and he’s curious about the secret she’s clearly hiding. But in the end, Jamie and Dan could discover the greatest truth of all: that the search for one thing just might lead to the find of a lifetime—if you keep your heart open.

Buy, read, and discuss That Chesapeake Summer

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Goodreads


About the author, Mariah Stewart Mariah Stewart

MARIAH STEWART is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories.  A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens.

Connect with Mariah

Website | Facebook


My Thoughts MissMeliss

My last visit to Mariah Stewart’s fictional bayside town of St. Dennis, MD was in February, 2014, when I reviewed At the River’s Edge which, I think, was book seven or eight in the series. I enjoyed that book (and its predecessors) so much that I couldn’t refuse to be part of a blog tour for the latest installation.

As someone who has always loved staying in boutique inns and bed-and-breakfasts, and who has also fantasized about running one, I really loved that so much of this novel, That Chesapeake Summer centered around an inn.

I really loved how delicately the loss (off-screen) of Jamie’s mother was handled, and how close the rest of her family was. I would have loved to make her a pot of tea and a tray of scones and assure her that writer’s block is only ever temporary and that everything would eventually work out.  I also really liked the character of Daniel, and his interaction with his children was very real, and never strayed into saccharine, the way so many scenes with children can.

I’ve spent enough time in the virtual village of St. Dennis that by now I recognize familiar faces and old haunts, and Stewart, as ever, manages to balance old characters and new with poise and grace. The women always feel like distinct people, the men never feel like cookie-cutter romance novel heroes, but have dimension, and the town, of course, is the one we wish we could all live in, if only for a summer.

If I could check into the Inn at Sinclair’s Point for a week or two, I’d leave tomorrow.

Goes well with Eggs Benedict served on Maryland Crab Cakes instead of English Muffins, and freshly brewed coffee.


Mariah Stewart’s Blog Tour Summer Hat

►6/22:                 Harlequin Junkies

►6/23:                 USA Today’s Happy Ever After

►6/24:                 Reviews from the Heart

►6/25:                 Booked on a Feeling

►6/26:                 From L.A. to LA

►6/27:                 From the TBR Pile

►6/28:                 Abigail Books Addiction

►6/29:                 Romancing the Book

►6/30:                 Bibliotica

►7/1:                   Four Chicks Flipping Pages

►7/2:                   The Lovely Books

►7/3:                   Sara’s Organized Chaos

►7/6:                   Reviews by Crystal

►7/8:                   Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

►7/9:                   Bookfan

►7/10:                 Emily-Jane’s Book Corner

►7/13:                 Literary Gossip

►7/19:                 Ramblings from this Chick

►7/26:                 Svetlana’s Reads

 

 

Death By Coffee, by Alex Erickson (@AEricksonbooks) #review @NetGalley

About the book Death by Coffee Death by Coffee

  • Series: Bookstore Cafe Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (May 26, 2015)

When Krissy Hancock and her best friend Vicki decide to open a bookstore café in their new town of Pine Hills, they decide to call it “Death by Coffee,” after Krissy’s father’s most famous mystery novel. Little do they know how well the name fits…

On their very first day of business, Brendon Lawyer huffily takes his coffee…to the grave. It seems he had a severe allergy to peanuts…but how could there have been nuts in his coffee? And who stole his emergency allergy medication?

Fortunately, Krissy’s love of puzzles and mysteries leads her not only to Officer Paul Dalton, but also to many of her new neighbors, who aren’t terribly upset that the book is closed on Brendon. But one of them is a killer, and Krissy needs to read between the lies if she wants to save her new store—and live to see how this story ends…

Buy, read, and discuss Death by Coffee

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads


About the author, Alex Erickson

Alex Erickson has always wanted to write, even at a young, impressionable age. He’s always had an interest in the motive behind murder, which has led him down his current path. He’s always ready with a witty—at least in his opinion—quip, and tries to keep every conversation light and friendly. Alex lives in Ohio with his family and resident felines, who provide endless amounts of inspiration.

Connect with Alex

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts

Every so often, I search NetGalley for books with ‘beach’ or ‘coffee’ in the titles or descriptions, because when I’m looking for escapist reading, that’s what I like to read about most.

Last month, such a search led me to Death by Coffee, the first entry in the Bookstore Cafe Mystery series by Alex Erickson, and it was as if this book had been written for me. The only thing that would have made it better is if Krissy’s pet was a stubborn dog instead of an evil cat, but what’s a fictional pet among friends, right?

I didn’t have a chance to dive into the novel until last weekend, but it was the perfect thing to read on a weekend when it was too hot to do anything but move from one air conditioned room to the next and maybe out to the pool and back. (Actually, it would also be the perfect thing to read on a rainy weekend, or a humid Thursday afternoon, or even a slow Tuesday night, but…I digress.)

I loved the concept of two women opening a bookstore/cafe as a way to escape from their existing lives and also make a living. I was immediately engaged in Krissy’s story – daughter of a famous mystery novelist, reeling from a romance gone wrong – these are common tropes that could feel cliche in another writer’s hands, but author Alex Erickson makes his main character so real, so vulnerable, that I couldn’t help but root for her. I wanted her business to do well. I wanted her to fall for the hunky cop (and have him fall for her as well.) More importantly, I wanted her to solve the murder of Brendon Lawyer.

While there was an element of Death by Coffee that was obviously setting up an entire series of books, I knew that going in, so it didn’t feel like there was too much backstory, or too much exposition. Erickson did a masterful job in creating a small town and the citizens who live in it, some apparently normal, others decidedly not, and I was strongly reminded of many of the small towns I’ve either lived in or visited over the years.

If you love books, coffee, and cozy mysteries, you will, as I did, find yourself hooked on Death by Coffee.

Goes well with: a grande flat white and a chocolate chip cookie. Obviously.

Moonlight on Butternut Creek, by Mary McNear #review @TLCBookTours

About the book, Moonlight on Butternut Lake Moonlight on Butternut Lake

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (May 12, 2015)

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Up at Butternut Lake comes the third novel in the Butternut Lake series—a dazzling story of two wounded souls seizing a second chance at life and love.

On the run from her abusive husband, Mila Jones flees Minneapolis for the safety and serenity of Butternut Lake. Ready to forge a new life, Mila’s position as home health aide to Reid Ford is more than a job. It’s a chance at a fresh start. Though her sullen patient seems determined to make her quit, she refuses to give up on him.

Haunted by the car accident that nearly killed him, Reid retreats to his brother’s cabin on Butternut Lake and lashes out at anyone who tries to help. Reid wishes Mila would just go away. . .until he notices the strength, and the secrets, behind her sad, brown eyes.

Against all odds, Mila slowly draws Reid out. Soon they form a tentative, yet increasingly deeper, bond as Mila lowers her guard and begins to trust again, and Reid learns how to let this woman who has managed to crack through his protective shell into his life. While the seemingly endless days of summer unfold, Reid and Mila take the first steps to healing as they discover love can be more than just a dream.

Buy, read, and discuss Moonlight on Butternut Lake

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound  | Goodreads


About the author, Mary McNear Mary McNear

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mary McNear is a writer living in San Francisco with her husband, two teenage children, and a high-strung, minuscule white dog named Macaroon. She writes her novels in a local donut shop where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made donuts. She bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

Connect with Mary

Facebook


My Thoughts:

Visiting Butternut Lake via Mary McNear’s always-engaging novels has become something of an annual habit, as I’ve now reviewed all three in the series. I always really enjoy the way she writes small-town life, and the way the local diner, Pearl’s, and the lake itself, are characters in and of themselves.

But it’s the human characters, drawn so well that you totally feel like you could run into them at a diner, or on the lake shore, that really drive McNear’s stories. In this one, we see Allie and Walter and their two children again, but they’re supporting characters. The story really centers around Walter’s brother Reid, recent survivor of a terrible car wreck, and Mila, on the run from a bad relationship (though the details aren’t revealed til the end of the novel) and looking for a fresh start.

That the two of them eventually connect with each other isn’t at all surprising – it’s inevitable – but McNear has created characters so real, and a setting so vivid, that it doesn’t matter how predictable the ultimate ending is, because when you’re traveling the twisting, turning road to Butternut Lake, it really IS about the journey.

And what a journey! This novel has the perfect blend of romance, suspense, small town living, and earthy supporting characters. You can hear the Minnesota accents in the dialogue of the locals, but they never, ever stray outside of credibility and into caricature.

Congratulations, Mary McNear, on bringing us all to Butternut Lake once more, and how fitting that my visit landed on Memorial Day weekend.

Goes well with: strawberry-rhubarb pie and homemade vanilla ice cream.


Mary McNear’s Blog Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, May 12th: A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, May 12th: Lesa’s Book Critiques

Wednesday, May 13th: Fuelled by Fiction

Thursday, May 14th: Raven Haired Girl

Friday, May 15th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, May 18th: Always With a Book

Tuesday, May 19th: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews

Monday, May 25th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, May 20th: Walking With Nora

Wednesday, May 20th: Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, June 3rd: Reading Reality

TBD: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Dreaming Spies, by Laurie R. King – Review

About the book, Dreaming Spies, by Laurie R. King Dreaming Spies

Series: Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: Bantam (17 February 2015)
Hardcover: 352 Pages

Laurie R. King’s New York Times bestselling novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, are critically acclaimed and beloved by readers for the author’s adept interplay of history and adventure. Now the intrepid duo is finally trying to take a little time for themselves—only to be swept up in a baffling case that will lead them from the idyllic panoramas of Japan to the depths of Oxford’s most revered institution.

After a lengthy case that had the couple traipsing all over India, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are on their way to California to deal with some family business that Russell has been neglecting for far too long. Along the way, they plan to break up the long voyage with a sojourn in southern Japan. The cruising steamer Thomas Carlyle is leaving Bombay, bound for Kobe. Though they’re not the vacationing types, Russell is looking forward to a change of focus—not to mention a chance to travel to a location Holmes has not visited before. The idea of the pair being on equal footing is enticing to a woman who often must race to catch up with her older, highly skilled husband.

Aboard the ship, intrigue stirs almost immediately. Holmes recognizes the famous clubman the Earl of Darley, whom he suspects of being an occasional blackmailer: not an unlikely career choice for a man richer in social connections than in pounds sterling. And then there’s the lithe, surprisingly fluent young Japanese woman who befriends Russell and quotes haiku. She agrees to tutor the couple in Japanese language and customs, but Russell can’t shake the feeling that Haruki Sato is not who she claims to be.

Once in Japan, Russell’s suspicions are confirmed in a most surprising way. From the glorious city of Tokyo to the cavernous library at Oxford, Russell and Holmes race to solve a mystery involving international extortion, espionage, and the shocking secrets that, if revealed, could spark revolution—and topple an empire.

Buy a copy of Dreaming Spies

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


My Thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of the Russell/Holmes series since they first started, so when I realized there was a chance I could review the latest book before it’s release date (thank you NetGalley), I begged for the chance. Okay, I didn’t beg, but I did make the request, and was granted permission. I’m glad I did, because this was a great read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The story takes place in two parts. The first is on the way to, and then in, Japan, and involves the Russell/Holmes version of a road trip as they learn to appreciate Japanese culture, and even to blend in, slightly, though their journey culminates in espionage and an attempt to help protect the Emperor’s honor.

The second place takes place back home – Russell’s home – in Oxford, and is basically the ‘what happens after’ part of the original mission.

I liked the new characters, the explanations of the history of ninjas and the use of traditional (albeit translated) haiku as chapter headers. I also liked the touches that author King puts in that let us peek behind the curtains of Russell’s and Holmes’s relationship – Holmes doesn’t like to play the ‘older husband to a young girl’ role, and yet, he is older, and she is younger, and I think his aging is factoring into things more and more…

King, as always, blends mystery with social commentary and a close look at non-western cultures, and does so in a way that is incredibly satisfying, but not so much so that the reader isn’t immediately looking forward to the next novel in the series.

I didn’t want this book to end.
I can’t wait for the next one.

Goes well with miso soup, sashimi, tempura, and jasmine tea.

All That Glitters, by Michael Murphy – Review

About the book All That Glitters All That Glitters

Publisher: Alibi (January 6, 2015)
Pages: 266

In Michael Murphy’s rollicking new Jake & Laura mystery, the hard-boiled writer and the aspiring movie star head for sun-drenched Los Angeles, where a cold-blooded murderer lurks behind the scenes.

Just arrived from New York, Broadway actress Laura Wilson is slated to star in Hollywood’s newest screwball comedy. At her side, of course, is Jake Donovan, under pressure to write his next mystery novel. But peace and quiet are not to be had when an all-too-real murder plot intrudes: After a glitzy party, the son of a studio honcho is discovered dead from a gunshot wound. And since Jake exchanged words with the hothead just hours before his death, the bestselling author becomes the LAPD’s prime suspect.

In 1930s Tinseltown, anything goes. Proving his innocence won’t be easy in a town where sex, seduction, and naked power run rampant. With gossip columnist Louella Parsons dead-set on publicizing the charges against him, Jake has no choice but to do what everyone else does in the City of Angels: act like someone else. Blackie Doyle, the tough-talking, fist-swinging, womanizing hero from Jake’s novels wouldn’t pull any punches until he exposed the real killer—nor will Jake, to keep the role of a lifetime from being his last.

Buy, read, and discuss All That Glitters

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Goodreads


About the author, Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy is a full-time writer and part-time urban chicken rancher. He lives in Arizona with his wife of more than forty years and the four children they adopted this past year. He’s active in several local writers’ groups and conducts novel-writing workshops at bookstores and libraries.


My Thoughts:

I loved Michael Murphy’s first Jake & Laura mystery, The Yankee Club, so when I was offered the chance to review the sequel, All That Glitters, I didn’t have to think about it before I said yes.

I had so much fun reading this book. First, Jake Donovan and Laura Wilson are fantastic characters, and feel so real and alive that every word they utter feels like it’s crackling with energy. I especially love that Laura slips in and out of different characters when the situation calls for it – I do that myself, and it’s always nice to know I’m not the only one.

As well, the ages-old friendship between the two lead characters has matured into a grown-up kind of love, and seeing them navigate their deepening relationship at the same time that Jake is attempting to balance writing his novel, polishing someone else’s screenplay, and helping to solve a case he’s sort of a suspect in, while Laura is learning how to transition from stage actress to screen star is both funny and poignant.

The setting of 1930’s Hollywood is the perfect backdrop for such bigger-than-life characters (seriously, why isn’t someone making a series, or series of films out of these books?) and the supporting cast feels like it came right out of a David O. Selznick production. Annabelle, the female LAPD chief who is competent at work and incompetent at relationships is one of my favorite noir women, ever, but everyone else has their moment in the spotlight as well, and no one feels cheated.

Of course, Murphy’s got the mystery part of the novel perfect as well, and kept me guessing ‘whodunnit’ nearly to the end of the book, but while his plots are always well-crafted what I really love is that he acknowledges the pop culture of the day. (Part of the reason Jake is asked to polish that script is because Dashiel Hammett recommended him, after all, and Jack Benny teases him about buying dinner for Louella Parsons whom he ‘just met.’)

It’s this richness of setting and character that makes Murphy’s novels really work for me, and I’m eagerly awaiting book three, because hanging out with Jake and Laura for a few hundred pages is always vastly entertaining, though I must not forget to add that I love the way he continues to address contemporary issues (the economy, racism) in his historical pieces.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore (or it’s website) and buy All That Glitters today, because while all that glitters may not, actually, be gold, Michael Murphy’s novels absolutely are.

Goes well with Authentic Mexican food and a cold bottle of Negro Modelo beer.


Michael Murphy’s TLC Book Tours Tour Stops:TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour organized by TLC Book Tours. For the complete list of tour stops, see below. For more information, click HERE.

Saturday, December 27th: Vic’s Media Room – Review of Book 1, The Yankee Club

Monday, January 5th: Omnimystery News – author guest post

Tuesday, January 6th: Reading Reality

Wednesday, January 7th: The Book Binder’s Daughter

Thursday, January 8th: Joyfully Retired

Friday, January 9th: The Reader’s Hollow

Monday, January 12th: Mystery Playground

Tuesday, January 13th: A Book Geek

Tuesday, January 13th: Vic’s Media Room

Thursday, January 15th: Dwell in Possibility

Friday, January 16th: Fiction Zeal

Monday, January 19th: Open Book Society

Monday, January 19th: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, January 21st: Lilac Reviews

Monday, January 26th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, January 26th: Psychotic State Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 27th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, January 28th: The Discerning Reader

Thursday, January 29th: Mom in Love with Fiction

Friday, January 30th: Laura’s Booklist

Date TBD: Read a Latte

The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty Wingate – Review

About the book, The Red Book of Primrose House The Red Book of Primrose House

Publisher: Alibi (November 4, 2014)
Sold by: Random House LLC

In Marty Wingate’s charming new Potting Shed Mystery, Texas transplant Pru Parke’s restoration of a historic landscape in England is uprooted by an ax murderer.

Pru Parke has her dream job: head gardener at an eighteenth-century manor house in Sussex. The landscape for Primrose House was laid out in 1806 by renowned designer Humphry Repton in one of his meticulously illustrated Red Books, and the new owners want Pru to restore the estate to its former glory—quickly, as they’re planning to showcase it in less than a year at a summer party.

But life gets in the way of the best laid plans: When not being happily distracted by the romantic attentions of the handsome Inspector Christopher Pearse, Pru is digging into the mystery of her own British roots. Still, she manages to make considerable progress on the vast grounds—until vandals wreak havoc on each of her projects. Then, to her horror, one of her workers is found murdered among the yews. The police have a suspect, but Pru is certain they’re wrong. Once again, Pru finds herself entangled in a thicket of evil intentions—and her, without a hatchet.

Buy, read, and discuss The Red Book of Primrose House

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Goodreads


About the author, Marty Wingate Marty Wingate

Marty Wingate is the author of The Garden Plot and a regular contributor to Country Gardens as well as other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Potting Shed mysteries are planned.


My Thoughts

Marty Wingate’s first Potting Shed Mystery, Garden Plot fell into my life last spring, just when I needed it, and I absolutely loved it, so when I was offered the chance to review the sequel, I jumped at it.

I’m glad I did.

The Red Book of Primrose House picks up a few months after the end of the first novel. Pru Parke is still dating Christopher, and has taken up her post as head gardener of Primrose House. I love that their relationship has grown, and that Pru’s job has also been developed.

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing. Navigating a relationship is never easy, but Pru and Christoper live many miles apart, and must balance work and distance, with the need to actually spend time together, and author Wingate handles it with humor and grace, and just enough romance to keep things moving.

As well, there’s a mystery to be solved: Ned, a village institution in his own right, is brutally murdered (as if murder is never NOT brutal) and Pru can’t help but investigate, especially since she seems to be a target. This plot, the A-plot, is also handled with grace. Author Wingate spins a good story, and keeps us just enough unsure of the perpetrator that when they are finally revealed we are not disappointed that were right, but relieved we weren’t wrong.

Of course I loved every word Marty Wingate wrote, and even wanted to be holed up in Pru’s tiny cottage with my own Christopher (my husband’s actual name, I swear) building a fire, but what I find really compelling about these novels is that all of the elements – gardening, history, romance, mystery – are perfectly blended with each other to form a coherent whole that is both entertaining and thoroughly engaging.

I really hope there are more Potting Shed mysteries in the future, because Marty Wingate has, in me, a fan for life.

Goes well with Buttery roast chicken, spring vegetables, fresh strawberry shortcake, and a nice white wine, followed by cups of hot tea.


Marty Wingate’s TLC Book Tour

TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a virtual book tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. For the complete list of tour stops see the list below. For more information, click HERE.

Monday, November 3rd: Bibliotica

Tuesday, November 4th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, November 5th: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 6th: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, November 6th: Luxury Reading

Friday, November 7th: 5 Minutes for Books

Monday, November 10th: Reading Reality

Monday, November 10th: Omnimystery News – guest post

Tuesday, November 11th: Kahakai Kitchen

Wednesday, November 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, November 13th: Under a Gray Sky

Friday, November 14th: Back Porchervations

Monday, November 17th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 18th: Dwell in Possibility

Wednesday, November 19th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, November 20th: Open Book Society

Friday, November 21st: 2 Kids and Tired Books

Monday, November 24th:  A Book Geek

Tuesday, November 25th: Brooke Blogs

The Betrayed, by Heather Graham (@heathergraham) – Review

About the book, The Betrayed The Betrayed

Series: Krewe of Hunters

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (September 30, 2014)

One night, New York FBI agent Aiden Mahoney receives a visitor in a dream—an old friend named Richard Highsmith. The very next day he’s sent to Sleepy Hollow because Richard’s gone missing there.

Maureen—Mo—Deauville now lives in the historic town and works with her dog, Rollo, to search for missing people. She’s actually the one to find Richard…or more precisely his head, stuck on a statue of the legendary Headless Horseman.

Mo and Aiden, a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI’s unit of paranormal investigators, explore both past and present events to figure out who betrayed Richard, who killed him and now wants to kill them, too. As they work together, they discover that they share an unusual trait—the ability to communicate with the dead. They also share an attraction that’s as intense as it is unexpected…if they live long enough to enjoy it!

Buy, read, and discuss The Betrayed

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Goodreads


About the author, Heather Graham Heather Graham

New York Times and USA TODAY  bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels and has been published in more than 20 languages. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and the mother of five, she enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from locations such as Cairo, Egypt, to her own backyard, the Florida Keys. Reading is still the pastime she still loves best, and she is a member of many writing groups. She’s a winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Thriller Writers’ Silver Bullet. She is an active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and also the founder of The Slush Pile Players, an author band and theatrical group.

Heather annually hosts the Writers for New Orleans conference to benefit both the city, which is near and dear to her heart, and various other causes, and she hosts a ball each year at the RT Booklovers Convention to benefit pediatric AIDS foundations.

Connect with Heather

Website | Facebook | Twitter


My Thoughts

After I reviewed Heather Graham’s The Hexed a few weeks ago, I fell so much in love with the world she’s created that I ran right out and bought (well, okay, I used my iPad in my pajamas and clicked to get the kindle edition) the second in this Krewe of Hunters series, The Cursed.

And, just as when I read The Hexed, once I started reading The Cursed, I couldn’t put it down. The same is true of this book, The Betrayed.

This one takes place in Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, and while it’s a more reality-based Sleepy Hollow than the popular TV series (which, I confess, I enjoy despite the many, many historical inaccuracies), it at least acknowledges that the series exists (and that it’s good for tourism). The new hunter, Aidan Mahoney is everything you want in a paranormal romance hero: sensitive, strong, protective, but never patronizing.

The new female lead, Maureen “Mo” Deauville (who comes with a sidekick in the form of giant Irish Wolfhound Rollo) is funny, spunky, smart, and just a little bit reckless – all the perfect traits for a paranormal romance heroine.

Together they fight crime – cliche, I know, but, it’s what happens. What is NOT cliche is Heather Graham’s uncanny ability to weave historical subplots with contemporary plots, and give us just enough romance to keep the homefires burning softly, but not so much that the plot is overshadowed.

Yes, there are ghosts, and people talk to them, but Graham makes that work, as well, treating the ability to see and speak with the dead as something special, to be savored, and used on the side of good, rather than something sinister.

If you, like me, prefer your spooky stories with believable characters and accurate history, you should grab a copy of The Betrayed right now. Then you should read the rest of Heather Graham’s amazing novels, because you will NOT be disappointed.

Goes well with roasted pumpkin seeds (with garlic salt) and spiced apple cider.


TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a blog tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours. For the complete list of tour stops, see below. For more information, click HERE.

Monday, September 15th: From the TBR Pile

Monday, September 15th: Books a la Mode – Spotlight and giveaway

Tuesday, September 16th: Bewitched Bookworms

Wednesday, September 17th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books

Friday, September 19th: Supernatural Snark – Spotlight and giveaway

Monday, September 22nd: Read – Love – Blog

Tuesday, September 23rd: A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, September 24th:  Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile

Thursday, September 25th: Queen of All She Reads

Monday, September 29th: Saints and Sinners Books

Tuesday, September 30th:  Mom in Love with Fiction

Thursday, October 2nd: Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Thursday, October 2nd: Ladybug Literature

Monday, October 6th:  Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, October 8th: Sara’s Organized Chaos

Thursday, October 9th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller

Monday, October 13th: Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, October 15th:  Bibliotica

Monday, October 20th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Thursday, October 23rd: My Shelf Confessions – Wonderfully Wicked Read-A-Thon Giveaway

Thursday, October 23rd: Harlie’s Books