Posted in cooking, Cozy, mystery, New York on August 31, 2011

Once I finish Lost and Fondue I will be starting on Murder by Mocha by Cleo CoyleMurder by Mocha is the 10th in the Coffee House series.

From the dust jacket:

Clare Cosi, manager and head barista of the landmark Village Blend coffeehouse, can brew a beverage to die for.  But can she stir up some evidence against a bitter killer who has gone loco for mocha?

Clare’s Village Blend beans are being used to creatte a new java love potion: a “Mocha Magic Coffee” billed as an aphrodisiac.  Clare may even try some on her boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn – when he’s off duty, of course….

The product, expected to rake in millions, will be sold exclusively on Aphrodite’s Village, one of the Web’s most popular online communities for women.  But the launch party ends on a sour note when one of the Web site’s editors if found dead.

When more of the Web site’s Sisters of Aphrodite start to die, Clare is convinced someone wants the coffee’s secret formula – and is willing to kill to get it.  Clare isn’t about to spill the benas, but will she be next on the hit list?

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Posted in Cozy, reading on August 29, 2011

It was a great weekend, but maybe not one for reading.  Took me several days to read the book by Lee Harris and that is something I normally knock out in a day. 

On Friday I got another book in my mailbox.  Another cozy, Lost and Fondue by Avery Aames.  This is the second in the Cheese Shop Mystery series. The first is The Long Quiche Goodbye.

From the back of the book:

Charlotte Bessette – proprietor of Providence, Ohio’s, charming Cheese Shop – is busy catering a fund-raiser for her best friend, Meredith.  In addition to gourmet fondues, Charlotte is serving an array of delicious cheeses and delightful wines – the perfect complement to the setting of the wine tasting party, a once abandoned winery.  But not everyone is happy, for the winery has long been a source of local legends about hidden treasures – and buried bodies.

When a fresh body is found in the wine cellar and Meredith’s niece, Quinn, becomes the chief suspect, Charlotte trades in her fondue fork for a flashlight to prove the case against Quinn has more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.  But as Charlotte’s sleuthing starts to turn up the truth, the killer starts to turn up the heat.

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Posted in mailbox, reading on August 26, 2011

I saw this on other blogs and thought it might be nice to let you know when I get books in the mail and what I received.  I belong to 2 book swap sites, Paperbackswap and BookMooch.  Both are great sites to find books that the library might not have on their shelves.

Since I have so many books to read at home I try not to request too many…why add more to my shelves when I still have so many left to read?  I could stop working and if I didn’t get any new books, I think I have enough to read for 2-3 years assuming I read a book a day.  Now some of these books are on my e-readers so they don’t take up as much space, but I have 3 bookcases and a couple of boxes full of books.  And to prove it, here is a picture of just one of the bookcases.  Now I say that I have 3, but well one is by the fireplace and has mostly books I want to keep.  The other is in a spare bedroom and books only occupy a part of it…so maybe I should say I have 2 bookshelves full of books.  Of course the main bookshelf has books stacked 2 deep and 2 high when possible.

I’ve been trying to get books only at the library when I want to read a new series or continue on with another, but that doesn’t always work especially if the library doesn’t have all of the books.  That is probably the most frustrating but then that is where I turn to my book swap sites to fill in the gaps.

This is my most recent book that arrived in my mailbox:

The Yom Kippur Murder by Lee Harris.  This is the 2nd in the series featuring an ex-nun Christine Bennett.

From the back of the book:

When ex-nun Christine Bennett arrives at her elderly friend’s apartment to accompany him to Yom Kippur services, she finds him murdered.  He was a lonely widower, estranged from his children, and since Christine took a special interest in his life, she is determine to do the same for his death.

The police arrest someone almost immediately, but Christine doesn’t sing hallelujah yet.  Despite her years in the Church, she is quickly learning the ways of the secular world: men and women forsake their souls, protect their sins, and never forget the past….

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Posted in contest, Giveaway on August 24, 2011

Visit Dollyca’s Thoughts blog (or click on the image below) for a chance to win Tempest in the Tea by Kari Lee Townsend.

In the fortune telling business there are a lot of pretenders, but Sunshine Meadows is the real deal—and her predictions can be lethally accurate…
Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune-telling business in an ancient Victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a ”non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.
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Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2011

Well I finished up my book yesterday and started a new book last night: Once Upon a Blind Date by Wendy Markham.  Well here is something I didn’t know, Wendy Markham is also Wendy Corsi Staub.  She writes different genres under the different names.  Her mystery/thriller and young adult books are as Wendy Corsi Staub and the women’s fiction is under Wendy Markham.  No wonder I like her style of writing!

From the back of the book:

 When Charlie met Maggie…

Maggie is best buddies wtih Dominic.  Charlie is best friends with Julie.  Through the magic of the internet, they set up their pals on the most romantic blind date ever.  Naturally, Maggie and Charlie tag along for moral support – what are best friends for?

Yet when the two matchmakers meet, their concerns for their charges takes a backseat.  As Maggie looks at Charlie, she thinks she feels the earth move.  Laying his eyes on his fellow Cupid, all Charlie can think about is kissing her delectable mouth.

She’s involved with someone.  He’s Manhattan’s most committed bachelor.  What will it take for a pair of modern matchmakers to realize this simple truth: that when it icomes to finding a soul mate, true love can be found when you least expect it?


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Posted in reading on August 23, 2011

I don’t post reviews on all of the books I read because that would mean a post every day or two…which wouldn’t be bad but then would I get everything else done and wouldn’t that slow down my reading?  So I thought maybe I could just post what I’m reading with a synopsis of the book and you could decide from there.  While this isn’t a tome per se, I thought the word went well with Tuesday!

Right now I’m Reading Chihuahua of the Baskervilles by Esri Allbritten.  I would define it as a cozy mystery since non-detective characters are solving the mystery.  Here is the synopsis from inside the dust jacket:

Tripping Magazine is a quirky low-budget magazine that reports on travel destinations for believers in the paranormal.  A few fake hosts away from throwing in the towel, the Tripping staff gets the tip of a lifetime when they get a call from Charlotte Baskerville, the rich founder of a clothing company for small dogs.  Charlotte thinks that her Chihuahua, Petey, has come back from the dead, and she’s desperate for someone to come verify his appearances.

The magazine’s three person reporting team travels to Manitou Springs, CO, sure that the ghostly dog will be a work of fiction.  But when they arrive, they see evidence of Petey with their own eyes.  And he’s not just floating by – he’s howling advice and spelling out threats with tiny paw prints.  Is the ghost real, or is the whole phenomenon an elaborate ruse?

The Tripping team must navigate the kooky world of coffin races, scheming husbands, and doggie fashion to solve the mystery – and get their story written at the same time.

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Posted in Author, Interview on August 21, 2011

As a result of my last post with a review of Darcie’s book, she contacted me via email to thank me for the review.  Well I’m never one to turn down an opportunity to get a mini interview from an author so here goes!

SBR: How did you come up with the idea of this storyline?

The Mill River Recluse is the story of a woman with severe social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia who manages, despite a lifetime of physical isolation, to secretly change the lives of everyone who lives in her small Vermont town.   The basic concept for the story was inspired by a certain gentleman named Sol Strauss who lived in Paoli, Indiana, the small town in which I lived during high school and in which my mother was born and raised.  Mr. Strauss, a Jewish man who fled Nazi Germany, operated a dry goods store in Paoli in the 1940s.  Even though Mr. Strauss lived quietly alone above his shop and never seemed to be fully embraced by the town’s predominantly Christian population, he considered Paoli to be his adopted community and is still remembered today for his extreme generosity.

I also hoped to show that someone who is misunderstood or different in some way, and even someone who is seemingly far-removed from his or her community, may in fact be more special and integral than anyone could imagine.

SBR: Do you have plans for more books, and are you working on anything right now?

Absolutely — I love to write, and I hope to be able to do so for the rest of my life.  Currently, I am working on my second novel, which I hope to finish in about a year.

SBR: How long did it take you to write this book?

The Mill River Recluse took me about 2.5 years to write, and that was before I became a mom!  I have a very demanding day job and now an equally demanding (but very adorable) 18-month-old son, so the time I have to write fiction is (unfortunately) very limited.

SBR: Who is your favorite character and why

I love most of my characters for various reasons, but my favorite is probably Father O’Brien, the elderly priest who is the only person who has contact with Mary for almost all of her life.  He is good to the core and yet, like all of us, he has his flaws (which are more serious in his own mind than they actually appear to most people).

Thank you Darcie for contacting me and allowing me to ask a few questions!

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Posted in fiction on August 19, 2011

Author Darcie Chan is an attorney and lives in northern Westchester County, New York, with her husband and son. In her spare time, Darcie enjoys reading, writing fiction, gardening, playing piano, and cooking.

The Mill River Recluse is her first novel and I believe it is only available as an e-book.


Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont. Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.

Most longtime residents of Mill River consider the marble house and its occupant peculiar, though insignificant, fixtures. An arsonist, a covetous nurse, and the endearing village idiot are among the few who have ever seen Mary. Newcomers to Mill River–a police officer and his daughter and a new fourth grade teacher–are also curious about the reclusive old woman. But only Father Michael O’Brien knows Mary and the secret she keeps–one that, once revealed, will change all of their lives forever.



A friend was kind enough to loan this to me from her kindle to mine.  In fact she loaned me two books, this one second, but told me to read it first, that it was her favorite.  Sometimes I believe people when they say things like that (and sometimes I don’t) but am I glad I listened to her!  This book kept me on the edge of my seat in various parts of the book wondering if Mary was going to be ok, why did the priest take spoons and was that police officer as creepy as it seemed?  I liked how the story jumped around in time and how we learned the history of Mary even though she was mentioned often in the “present” portion of the novel until the end.  Darcie does a great job at bringing all of the characters to life and interweaving their lives.  Nearly everyone has some sort of secret.

I give this book 4 stars and if you have a chance, pick it up for your e-reader.  It is a bargain at $0.99 on Smashwords!

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Posted in romance, suspense on August 10, 2011

Gloria Schumann is originally from Detroit but attended college in TN where she met her husband, Paul.  They moved to Minnesota before ending up in Austin where they still reside.  I learned from her site that she was never much of a reader growing up (oh the horror!) but quickly delved into reading whenver she could once she found her passion, stories about relationships. 

Author Gloria Schumann was kind enough to send me a PDF copy of her book, Called Home Two Hearts Answer.


Emma Benson’s view of life was crafted as a child by the death of her brother, the abandonment by her father and later, the man she trusted she would marry. A teacher by training, she forgoes her chosen path to save the Wisconsin farm she calls home from financial ruin.

A tornado threatens damage, but David Schlosser—back in town after years in New York writing best-selling novels—could ruin her neatly tended life. He’s looking for the charms of the small town he once rejected and finds more than he bargained for. He risks everything to get what he wants.

The storms of life throw Emma and David together and into the world of a criminal determined to ruin their plans by any means necessary. Robbery and near death connect Emma and David to their nemesis and during the throes of securing life and limb they make every effort to resist falling for one another.

My Review:

 I enjoyed this book because it combined two of my favorite genres – romance and mystery/suspense.  Ok so the mystery/suspense part was mild but it was still there and I found myself wondering who was doing everything.  Yes it was obvious who was harrassing Emma, but then there is a twist in the story and you have to start looking elsewhere for someone else.  That I was not expecting.  I did find the character of Emma very hard headed and wondered if she really wanted to be happy or if she was going to let the past control her future.  Emma did learn to move on with her life and realized that past experiences are not always repeated but it took her quite some time to come to that understanding!

All in all I would give this 3 1/2 stars.  Definitely worth a read.  So pick up a copy at your local library or nearest bookstore.

Posted in California, fiction, mystery on August 9, 2011

Heads You Lose is a joint collaboration between Lisa Lutz (known for The Spellman Files series) and David Hayward (He writes poetry and has a editing/writing company).  The authors each write a chapter and then hand it off to the other.  In between the chapters there are comments about what is written and David’s foray into some alternate reality where there are strange reality shows. 

This is the official book overview from the website:

From New York Times–bestselling author Lisa Lutz and David Hayward comes a hilarious and original tag-team novel that reads like Weeds meets Adaptation.

Meet Paul and Lacey Hansen: orphaned, pot-growing, twentysomething siblings eking out a living in rural Northern California. When a headless corpse appears on their property, they can’t exactly dial 911, so they move the body and wait for the police to find it. Instead, the corpse reappears, a few days riper … and an amateur sleuth is born. Make that two.

But that’s only half of the story. When collaborators Lutz and Hayward—former romantic partners—start to disagree about how the story should unfold, the body count rises, victims and suspects alike develop surprising characteristics (meet Brandy Chester, the stripper with the Mensa IQ), and sibling rivalry reaches homicidal intensity. Will the authors solve the mystery without killing each other first?

My Thoughts:

I was given this book to read from a friend in my book club a few months ago but just picked it up this week.  I had been told that the authors alternate writing each chapter but she didn’t tell me that there were comments in between each chapter and footnotes!  I have laughed my way through the whole book while trying to figure out who is committing the crimes.  I especially loved chapter 14.  I’m not going to say why, that would spoil the fun.  But if you pick up this book to read, don’t jump to that chapter, you won’t understand the humor.

I definitely recommend this book if you want a little mystery but a lot of humor too.  It is definitely light hearted and the interaction between the two authors between each chapter also gives you some good insight into why they wrote what they wrote, well sometimes.

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