Posted in 4 paws, BEA, Children, Review on May 21, 2016

Today I bring you another children’s book that I picked up at Book Expo America.  It came out in July 2015 internationally but won’t be available here until September 1.  I didn’t realize, but Max has other books out as well, so look for those available now and this one out in September.

I’m sure you are thinking…why so many children’s books?  Well they are all for my great-niece AND I can catch up on my Goodreads challenge since I had fallen off the wagon with my reading and was behind!  Children’s books are a great way to catch up.

max at night

Synopsis

Meet Max – the mighty kitten and New York Times bestseller.

This is Max. Max is very sleepy. It’s way past Max’s bedtime. Max has drunk his milk. Max has brushed his teeth. Max has cleaned behind his ears. Now Max just needs to say goodnight…

Max is tired and all ready for bed, but when he can’t find the moon to say goodnight to, he sets out to find it. But that’s not as easy as Max had hoped… Witty and heart-warming, this stylish and beautifully illustrated book is the perfect bedtime read.

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Review

I picked up this ARC at BEA and it is a cute story about a kitten looking for the moon one night because the moon is nowhere to be seen. So the kitten goes on an adventure to find the moon and that he does.

Cute story, great for kids and I think it would be a good bedtime story because it is very repetitive and calming.  Just what you need to get a kid to sleep!

We give it 4 paws up.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, excerpt, mystery, Review on May 5, 2016

All Things Murder Cover

Synopsis

Actress Veronica Walsh receives an unwelcome present when she returns to her Adirondack hometown after her soap opera’s cancellation. Hours after arriving, Veronica’s life imitates art when she finds her neighbor’s body. She assumes the role of sleuth, fingering suspects in the powerful businesswoman’s death— the retail tenant threatened with eviction, the mall developer whose deal she thwarted, and the broken-hearted suitor.

Twists straight from a script, including two leading men vying for her attention, entangle Veronica as she gathers clues. Will Veronica solve the case, or will the killer be as elusive as an acting job? And will she play the heroine or the damsel in distress?

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Review

I think this is going to be a fun cozy series. I like that the protagonist is a “retired” soap opera star, sure it was a forced retirement since her show went off the air. She is a bit older, probably in her 50’s so she has a different outlook on life.  I won’t say I grew up watching soaps, but there was a time where I watched General Hospital faithfully.

The mystery is well written because I didn’t figure it out until nearly the very end. There are several potential killers, all with good reasons to kill Anna, but only one could be the culprit.

And of course there is a love story in the making which will be nice for Veronica because while she may have been married 6 times on her soap, that doesn’t make for real life romance. We’ll see how this story line progresses in the next book.

We give the book 4 paws up!

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Excerpt

I climbed Anna’s front steps at nine-thirty, convincing myself that coffee with her would not be a trial. Tim’s caution to be careful was my silent mantra.

I pressed the doorbell and waited for Anna. After a few moments, I rang again. Still no response. I rapped three times on the door.

“Anna?” I called.

I wondered for a moment if she had forgotten her invitation. Considering she might be in her backyard, I walked around the house—her car was in the driveway—and turned into the yard. No Anna.

I swept up the back porch steps to the kitchen entrance. The door was ajar. I tapped on its frame, calling Anna’s name.

Hearing no response, I again said, “Anna?”

I pushed open the door and took a step into the kitchen. The breakfast table, usually parallel to the island, stood at an angle, one corner shoved against the wall. Two chairs had been overturned. Scattered across the floor between the table and island were shards of china, cloth napkins, silverware, and a dented box from Rizzuto’s, its red and green string still tied around it. The napkins soaked up coffee spilled from a smashed glass carafe. The damage reminded me of the “redecorating” Melanie and I would do to a set during one of our characters’ famous brawls.

And then I noticed one of the red stilettos Anna had worn the night before on the floor between the stove and island. A cast-iron skillet lay beside the shoe.

I stepped to the right of the island to avoid the mess and instantly knew I wasn’t in a television studio. Anna lay sprawled on her side, her hair splayed across her face and her right arm extended across the floor.

I rushed to her. “Anna!” Kneeling, I pulled back a few locks of the hair covering her face, flinching when I saw blood around her nose and on the floor.

I pressed my fingers to her neck to check for her pulse. “Come on!” I pleaded as my fingers swept across her skin searching for rhythm in her heart as my own heart hammered a frantic beat.

About the Author

Jeanne Quigley grew up reading mysteries, watching soap operas, and vacationing in the Adirondacks, never imagining these pleasures would inspire the Veronica Walsh cozy mystery series. Jeanne’s love of characters—real and fictional—led her to study Sociology and English at the University of Notre Dame. Jeanne has never been a soap star, but she has worked in the music industry and for an education publisher. She resides in Rockland County, New York and is a member of the Sisters in Crime.

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Posted in 4 paws, excerpt, fiction, humor, Review on April 29, 2016

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Title: NOT QUITE SO STORIES
Author: David S. Atkinson
Publisher: Literary Wanderlus LLC
Pages: 166
Genre: Absurdist Literary Fiction

Synopsis

The center of Not Quite So Stories is the idea that life is inherently absurd and all people can do is figure out how they will live in the face of that fact. The traditional explanation for the function of myth (including such works as the relatively modern Rudyard Kiping’s Just So Stories) is as an attempt by humans to explain and demystify the world. However, that’s hollow. We may be able to come to terms with small pieces, but existence as a whole is beyond our grasp. Life simply is absurd, ultimately beyond our comprehension, and the best we can do is to just proceed on with our lives. The stories in this collection proceed from this conception, each focusing on a character encountering an absurdity and focusing on how they manage to live with it.

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Review

This is a collection of shorter stories and I have to admit they are a bit bizarre, well some of them anyway! However they are interesting too. There are a few stories where they just end and in a way I felt let down, that there might have been more to the story that I guess we just have to make up on our own!

I like that some of the stories are short and some are longer. None of them take long to read and it is easy to put down if you need to stop for some reason.

I think one of my favorites was The Onion She Carried. The last line definitely made me smile in this story.

We give this 4 paws up.

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Excerpt

TURNDOWN SERVICE

Margaret’s heels clicked repetitiously on the polished marble floors of Finklebean’s Mortuary. The sharp sound echoed down aisles of metal-faced vaults in the chilled, solemn hallways. Her steps were quick but purposeful, her stride constrained by the tight skirt of her starched navy business dress. An invoice was clutched tightly in her talon-like hand. Someone owed her an explanation…and that debt would be paid.
Catching sight of the plain brown wooden door hidden off in a back hallway bearing a faded Caretaker’s Office sign, Margaret halted, causing her heels to clack loudly on the stone. She pursed her lips as she scrutinized the sign. As if using the white metal sign with flaking black letters as a mirror, she adjusted the smartly coiled chestnut bun of her hair. Then she shoved open the weathered door and marched inside.
“Excuse me,” she called out sternly before looking what the room happened to contain, or even whether it was occupied.

A portly man in old blue coveralls sitting at a rough wooden worktable looked up at her calmly. Long stringy gray hair framed his face around a set of coke bottle eyeglasses perched on the end of his reddened bulbous nose. A metal cart, half full of plastic funeral flower arrangements, was positioned next to the worktable. Individual plastic flowers littered the table surface.

Unlike the somber and silent polished gray marble trimmed in shining brass of the hallway outside, the caretaker’s room felt more like a basement or garage. The walls were cinderblock, unpainted, and the floor was bare concrete. Obviously, the room was not used for professional services.

“My bill is incorrect,” Margaret said, thrusting the invoice out at the frumpy little man between a thumb and forefinger, both with nails bearing a French manicure. “You maintain my grandfather’s plot, but this month’s bill is way over the usual twenty-five sixty-three…nine hundred dollars more to be precise. You may not be the person in charge of this, but you’re who I found.”

The older man quietly looked at her still presenting the invoice even though he had made no move to take it. “Name?”

“Margaret Lane,” Margaret said curtly.

“No,” the caretaker shook his mess of oily old hair. “I won’t remember you. I meant your granddad’s.”

Margaret pursed her lips again. “Winston Lane.”

“Ah, yes.” The heavyset man leaned back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head and cocking out his elbows. His belly pushed on the table slightly, causing loose plastic flowers to roll around on the tabletop. The flowers were separated into piles according to color: red, white, yellow, purple, and orange. “Winston Lane. His is over on hillside four, I believe.”

“I’m sure.” Margaret crossed her arms, still clutching the invoice. “So why do I have a bill for over nine hundred dollars?”

The caretaker hunched forward, setting his chin on a pudgy arm and wrapping a flabby hand around his mouth. “Let’s see…Winston Lane…bigger than normal bill…oh, that’s right!” His face brightened with recollection.

Margaret smugly waited for the expected rationalization to begin, the extras and add-ons designed to take advantage of the gullible grieving. She wouldn’t be so easily manipulated.

“He got an apartment.”

Margaret’s expression cracked.

“That’s what the extra money is,” he pleasantly explained. “It’s to cover the rent.”

Margaret stared, blinking occasionally. A thin purple vein throbbed angrily at the side of her neck.

The man smiled. Then he pushed his round glasses further back up his nose and grabbed one of the plastic funeral arrangements from the cart. It had a block of dense green foam set in a fake bronze vase and various colors of plastic flowers stuck in the foam. The man pulled all the flowers out in a single movement and set each in the respective colored pile on the worktable. Then he placed the vase in a pile of similar vases on the floor.

“You…rented my grandfather an apartment?” Margaret finally asked. “Why?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” the older man snorted, dismembering another arrangement. “He rented the apartment, not us.”

Margaret sneered, having recovered her self-possession and indignation. “Sir, my grandfather is deceased.”

“Yep,” the caretaker agreed. He started quickly taking vases from the cart, ripping them apart, and then tossing the materials in the respective sort piles. “Guess he didn’t like the plot he picked out. Maybe it wasn’t roomy enough, I don’t know. Some things like that you just can’t be sure of till you get in a place and stay there a while. Anyway, he must not have liked something about it because he went and got himself that apartment. He wouldn’t have done that if he’d been happy where he was at.”

Margaret stood rigid. The toe of one foot tapped irritably. “How could my grandfather possibly rent an apartment? He’s dead!”

“How couldn’t he?” The caretaker snorted again. “It’s a great apartment. Plenty of light. Nice carpets. Good amount of space. It’s got a nice pool, too. Not that pools make much of a difference to a guy like him, being dead and all. Anyway, take a look; happen to have a photo of the place right here. Can’t rightly remember why.”

The man handed Margaret a bent-up photograph he pulled from a coverall pocket. It depicted a pleasantly-lit living room with vaulted ceilings. Tasteful black leather and chrome furniture was arranged around a delicate glass coffee table. On top of the coffee table sat her grandfather’s mahogany coffin, looking just as stately as it had at her grandfather’s funeral service.

Margaret glowered, unsure what to make of the photograph, noticing after a moment that she was chewing her lip as she ground her teeth. Her brain couldn’t keep up, it was all just too ludicrous for her to grasp.

The man sorted more funeral arrangements. “So…you’re telling me that my deceased grandfather rented an apartment. Him, not you.”

“Yep. That’s the long and short of it.” The man jammed the photograph back into his pocket.

“My dead grandfather.”

“Yes’m.” He took the last arrangement off the cart and disposed of it as he had the others. He paused to dust off his hands. Then he grabbed a vase from the floor, jammed a plastic flower inside from each stack, and set the newly arranged arrangement on the cart.

“How could anyone rent my grandfather an apartment!?” Margaret threw up her arms. “He’s dead! The landlord couldn’t do that!”

“Sure they can,” the caretaker countered, paying more attention to the funeral arrangements than Margaret. “The building is zoned for mixed use.”

“Mixed use?! He’s dead!” She wiped her hand down her face slowly, stretching her skin as it went.

“So? He’s residing there. That’s a residential use. Certainly isn’t commercial.” The caretaker accidentally shoved two red plastic flowers in the same vase. Laughing at himself, he ripped them out again and started over.

Margaret stepped back, perhaps wondering if the caretaker was insane as opposed to just conning her. That would explain the photograph.

She crossed her arms loosely and tilted her chin upwards just a little, trying to mentally get a handle on the situation. Her brain felt like an overheated car with no oil in the engine. “I’m sorry, but that’s very distracting,” Margaret commented, pointing at the plastic flower piles on the worktable. “Is there any way that you could stop a moment?”

“Sorry.” The older man shook a thick calloused finger at an old clock on the wall, stopped as far as Margaret could tell. “I got to get this done.”

“But…what exactly are you doing? You’re just taking them apart and putting them back together.”

The rumpled man gestured at the flowers. “Well, people pay us to put these on graves, don’t they?”

“Right…”

“They come from a factory, don’t they? Someone paying someone else to bring something a machine made? I don’t think much of that. My way, there’s at least some thought in it.”

Margaret did not respond. Instead, she watched the man fill up the cart again. The arrangements looked exactly the same as before.

“Anyway,” the caretaker went on, “don’t you owe your granddad?”

“Pardon me?” Margaret puffed out her chest.

“Sure,” the man said, peering up at her through the finger-smudged lenses of his glasses. “He said when he bought the plot that you were going to take care of it and he was going to leave you money to keep going to school. He thought you should start working, but helped you out since you were going to mind his spot.”

Margaret swallowed, ruining her attempt to look indignant. A few beads of sweat gathered at her temples.

“You figure you’ve done enough?” The man had his head held low, hiding the tiny smirk on his face.

Margaret’s eyes widened. Her arms hung limply at her sides and her shoulders slumped. “But…”

“Hey, that’s between you two. I just take care of things like I’m paid to. If he wants his plot, I do that. If he wants a two-bedroom palace, I do that instead.”

Margaret absentmindedly twisted an old, ornate gold ring on her finger. Suddenly, her eyes narrowed as if the light in the dim room had gotten brighter. The meticulously squared corners of her mind twisted and stretched deliciously. “That’s right…it was a deal.”

“Come again?”

“I agreed to have his plot cared for.”

“And?”

“Well…” Her lips slipped into a pointed grin. “I pay you a fixed monthly amount to care for that plot. Apparently this apartment is his plot now, so the rent should be part of your monthly care. I expect you to take care of it accordingly. After all, caring for his plot is caring for his plot.”

“Now see here–”

“Regardless, I can’t help but think,” she went on, “that it reflects poorly on your services if grandfather isn’t happy with his plot, not mine.”

The caretaker gawked at Margaret, his mouth hanging loose. “Is that what you think now?” The older man finally growled.

“It is,” she responded with a saccharine tone, “and I expect that all future bills will be for the correct amount.”

“Hmph,” he huffed, settling back into his chair. “Wonder what your granddad would say about that.”

Margaret smirked. “You’re welcome to go and ask him, if you think it will get you anywhere.”

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About the Author

David S. Atkinson 2David S. Atkinson is the author of “Not Quite so Stories” (“Literary Wanderlust” 2016), “The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes” (2015 National Indie Excellence Awards finalist in humor), and “Bones Buried in the Dirt” (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, First Novel <80K). His writing appears in “Bartleby Snopes,” “Grey Sparrow Journal,” “Atticus Review,” and others. He spends his non-literary time working as a patent attorney in Denver.

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Giveaway

David S. Atkinson is giving away one paperback copy each – BONES BURIED IN THE DIRT & THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL PANCAKES!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • Two winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive either BONES BURIED IN THE DIRT or THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL PANCAKES
  • This giveaway begins March 1 and ends on May 27
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 29.
  • Winners have 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!
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Posted in 4 paws, Christian, Monday, mystery, Review, romance, suspense on April 18, 2016

Uneven Exchange

Synopsis

Like fire and ice, Alexandra Callet’s life runs hot and cold. At the age of thirty-three, Alexandra owns a stunning home and a successful interior design company. But she is in love with her business partner, Jake Taylor, and he doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a woman. She should be on top of the world, but instead she feels dragged down by the void in her heart. Hoping for answers, she decides a trip to Mexico might soothe her soul.

Jake Taylor only pretends to be a confirmed bachelor. Jake has been entranced by Alexandra’s determination and exotic beauty since the moment they met, but she has no idea how he feels. He considers confessing his love, but fears jeopardizing their friendship and business. He’s caught in a web of pretending he doesn’t care, and doesn’t see a way out of it. Alexandra is recruited for a dangerous mission. Following her trip to Mexico, her resemblance to a member of an assassin’s family leads Alexandra to be recruited by the DEA. Her training leaves her distracted, and her business begins to suffer. Jake notices her sudden change, and feels her slipping both personally and professionally beyond his reach.

Should he finally take the chance…before it’s too late? After all, he has nothing to lose. However, when Alexandra returns to Mexico for her mission, things go terribly wrong. Will she be able find the strength to fight and escape the peaceful haven that has now become her prison?

Or will Jake lose Alexandra forever…

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Review

This is the first book by this author I have read and it was quite enjoyable. When I first started reading it i wasn’t sure because it seemed odd that Alexandra (or anyone) would just jump in and say Yes to helping the DEA capture someone. Or if they were going to use a civilian you would think that it would take more convincing since this was not going to be a “safe” case since she would be impersonating the sister of the person they wanted to capture and bring back to the US for trial.

Part of me thinks that Alex jumped into this because of her love for her business partner and the impression that he was a ladies man and not interested in her when that was the furthest from the truth.

I felt like the story really took off in the last half of the book when Alex was impersonating Daniela and how that situation went down and was then resolved. I did like that she had no problems relying on her faith to help her through the tough spots and to give her courage in this adventure.

This was a captivating Christian Suspense book and worth reading.  We give it 4 paws up

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About the Author

S.K. DerbanBorn in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, S.K. Derban moved to London within the first three months, and remained in England until the age of five. Her father, an American citizen, was a decorated veteran of the second world war. Derban’s mother, born and raised in the United Kingdom, was involved with the London Royal Ballet Company, and a great fan of the arts. Even after returning to the United States, Derban’s life was filled with a love of the theatre and a passion for British murder mysteries. S.K. Derban has always remained passionate about writing, and is thrilled to finally share her work with others.

Her personal travel and missionary adventures also help to transport readers virtually across the globe. When writing, S.K. Derban relies on all aspects of her life, from her faith in the Lord, to her love and knowledge of the arts.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Historical, Monday, mystery, Review on April 11, 2016

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Delivering the Truth (A Quaker Midwife Mystery)
New Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink (April 8, 2016)
Paperback: 312 pages

Synopsis

Quaker midwife Rose Carroll hears secrets and keeps confidences as she attends births of the rich and poor alike in an 1888 Massachusetts mill town. When the town’s world-famed carriage industry is threatened by the work of an arsonist, and a carriage factory owner’s adult son is stabbed to death with Rose’s own knitting needle, she is drawn into solving the mystery. Things get dicey after the same owner’s mistress is also murdered, leaving her one-week-old baby without a mother. The Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier helps Rose by lending words of advice and support. While struggling with being less than the perfect Friend, Rose draws on her strengths as a counselor and problem solver to bring two murderers to justice before they destroy the town’s carriage industry and the people who run it.

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Review

This was definitely a different type of historical cozy for me as the main character is a Quaker and it took a little time to get in groove of the “thee and thy’s”. However, I enjoyed reading a book where the protagonist is a midwife and of the Quaker faith, it was interesting to learn a bit about this faith.

Now when it comes to the murders….I had no idea. I had some suspicions but those suspicions jumped from character to character as the story progressed. I don’t think I ever suspected the correct person!

Rose does have a suitor for her affections and I will be very interested to see how this plays out in future books since he is not a Quaker but has no problems with her faith. His mother may be another story!

We give the book 4 paws up and await the next installment!

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About the Author

edith maxwellAgatha-nominated and Amazon best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife series, the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors.

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Review on March 21, 2016

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The Semester of our Discontent

The Semester of Our Discontent
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Henery Press (April 5, 2016)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1635110098
E-Book ASIN: B01A7BH83S

Synopsis

English professor Lila Maclean is thrilled about her new job at prestigious Stonedale University, until she finds one of her colleagues dead. She soon learns that everyone, from the chancellor to the detective working the case, believes Lila—or someone she is protecting—may be responsible for the horrific event, so she assigns herself the task of identifying the killer.

More attacks on professors follow, the only connection a curious symbol at each of the crime scenes. Putting her scholarly skills to the test, Lila gathers evidence, but her search is complicated by an unexpected nemesis, a suspicious investigator, and an ominous secret society. Rather than earning an “A” for effort, she receives a threat featuring the mysterious emblem and must act quickly to avoid failing her assignment…and becoming the next victim.

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Review

An interesting twist on murder in academia.

Lila is a new professor to a very cliquish university.  The professors that have tenure make it hard on those that don’t and heaven forbid if you don’t do what they want done or study what they believe in or write on what they consider proper topics!

There are several mysteries going on but the main one is who killed the professors?  The answer is quite surprising and the character that is the murderer surprised me because it was not a main character…but then it probably shouldn’t be otherwise if you kill off or use main characters as the murderer then you don’t have a core group left!  Anyway, just a little rambling from me there.

I did like how several of the professors banded together to try and solve the mystery and managed to not get themselves into too much trouble!

We give this 4 paws up and think it could become an interesting series.

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About the Author

cynthia kuhnCynthia Kuhn teaches and writes in Colorado. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD and other publications. She is the current president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado and blogs with Mysteristas. Visit her at cynthiakuhn.net or @cynthiakuhn.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, Romantic Suspense on March 8, 2016

Pimpernel

Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt

They seek him here; they seek him there. For centuries, the elite of the world have sought the Pimpernel everywhere. Some want to kill him, others want to hire him, but Jack Cavanaugh knows that the love/hate relationship comes with the job title.

At present, Jack is trying to dismantle an investment scheme centered in Las Vegas, but “trying” is the operative word. It’s been a month since he put the face of the scheme behind bars, yet the scam is still going strong. As Jack tries to uncover who has stepped in as the new head, what miniscule evidence there is all seems to point him back to Claire Ramsey, an introverted PhD student studying at UNLV.

If ever there as an unlikely head of a investment scheme, Claire’s it. She has a genius IQ, but from all Jack has seen, Claire’s intelligence is as much a blessing as a curse when paired up with her acute OCD. Claire can barely make conversation with the cute guy down the hall, which makes it hard to believe she could be the charismatic salesperson who is getting international businessmen to invest $5—50 million a pop.

So what is Jack missing? What is the real story behind Claire Ramsey? And once Jack learns it, will he be able to walk away?

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Review

I thought this was a fascinating book with several twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and were a bit of a surprise. I’m not going to say too much because it will give away part of it but not to worry, what I am hinting at happens fairly quickly into the book.

When introduced to Claire, I immediately thought of the show “Lie to Me” because she was very in tune with micro-expressions people make. She also reminded me of “Rainman” because of her OCD tendencies and because she could remember long streams of numbers when not on her meds.

I also liked how a small group of people took down the “bad guys” (with the help of some others…but don’t want to give away that info either!).

I really enjoyed getting to know Jack, Ren, Margo and Claire. Hopefully there will be more books featuring these characters.

We give this 4 paws up!
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SheralynAbout the Author

Some describe Sheralyn as a girl who’s been around the block and worked at every shop. This isn’t far from the truth. Writing is what she loves most, however. There’s a magical power in stepping into new perspectives time and again, and seeing the world through different eyes. Few things increase empathy more than walking in another’s shoes for 100,000 words or so. At least that seems to be the trend so far.
Some random things to know about Sheralyn:
* She’s a wanderer (geographically)
* She can write a novel, but doesn’t have the attention span for one page in a journal
* She vehemently disagrees with Stephen King’s stance that authors should not watch TV
* She is pretty much incapable of sleeping before midnight

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Posted in 4 paws, Cozy, Giveaway, Monday, mystery, Review on March 7, 2016

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Plateful of Murder: A Terrified Detective Mystery
1st in Series
Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Ink Lion Books (January 8, 2016)
Print Length: 278 pages
ASIN: B01ADH8JTS

Synopsis

Private Detective Claire DeNardo is afraid of everything. Simple things like balloons, roller coasters, and hairpieces make her knees knock loud enough to be a band’s rhythm section. Unfortunately, the only job Claire can find is working for her Uncle Gino in his seedy detective agency. Until now, her cases have all been middle-aged men with trophy wives who needed watching. But Claire gets swept up in a murder case despite being afraid of conflict, bodily harm, and hurting anyone’s feelings. She enlists a jaded security guard, Ed, to help her. But when Ed is attacked and left comatose, Claire must stumble along by herself. Both the client who hired her and the handsome police detective want her off the case. When the wrong person is charged, it’s up to the terrified detective, to summon all the courage she can to find the true killer.

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Review

This sort of falls into the cozy genre…although the main character is a PI…however, not a great one since she took over the business from her boss and Uncle. She is broke and doesn’t come across as being extremely competent, so it makes her a bit desperate.

There are quite a few characters so there is no shortage of possibilities of who the killer might be. In fact, I was quite surprised when he/she was revealed, but maybe shouldn’t have been given a few things that happen in the plot line.

While Claire may not be the most competent PI, she has gumption and wants to see the case through. she also has a couple of suitors, her most recent client and the police detective. Which one will she choose?

I’m going to have to pick up the next books and see where the story goes for Claire.

We give this 4 paws up!

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About the Author

carole fowkesCarole Fowkes is the author of the cozy mystery series, “The Terrified Detective.” She has also had stories in a number of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and other similar anthologies. She’s a registered nurse and lives with her husband in Dallas, Texas.

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Posted in 4 paws, mystery, Review on March 5, 2016

what the fly saw

Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: 9781250048301
Hardback, 336 pages
Release Date: March 3, 2015

Synopsis

Albany, New York, January 2020

The morning after a blizzard that shut down the city, funeral director Kevin Novak is found dead in the basement of his funeral home. The arrow sticking out of his chest came from his own hunting bow. A loving husband and father and an active member of a local megachurch, Novak had no known enemies. His family and friends say he had been depressed because his best friend died suddenly of a heart attack and Novak blamed himself. But what does his guilt have to do with his death? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. The minister of the megachurch, the psychiatrist who provides counseling to church members, or the folksy Southern medium who irritates both men—one of these people may know why Novak was murdered.  Detective Hannah McCabe and her partner, Mike Baxter, sort through lies and evasions to find the person who killed their “Cock Robin,” But McCabe is distracted by a political controversy involving her family, unanswered  questions from another high-profile case, and her own guilt when a young woman dies after McCabe fails to act.

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Review

This is a follow up to The Red Queen Dies and I will let you know that I think you should read that book first because part of the book carries over into this one. Not a lot and you probably wouldn’t miss out on too much by not reading TRQD first, but at least you would understand the background in some places.

I learned a few things in this book that I don’t recall from the first book – nothing earth shattering, but I don’t remember reading that Hannah was African American. It doesn’t matter in the scheme of things, but I usually like to picture the characters in my head and don’t think I did that with Hannah.

I like how the crime to be solved isn’t easy to figure out. With this installment I did not guess who the killer was like I did in the first book. I was actually a bit surprised at who it was and what led the police to solving this crime!

I did notice that there were many famous people that are dead but in her book were still alive. In fact MLK Jr was still alive until around 2010 and the MLK Jr holiday didn’t start until about that time – or at least that is my understanding.  As the author says in her Acknowledgements, her world is like a parallel universe to ours.  Plus she also explains what ORB stands for which is Our Reach Beyond and for the orb weaver spider.  Also those that post on the web are not bloggers, but threaders.

I am really liking this series and can’t wait to see what happens next. We give this 4 paws up too.

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About the Author

Frankie Y. Bailey is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). Her areas of research are crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture. She is the author of the Edgar-nominated Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters in Crime and Detective Fiction (Greenwood, 1991). She is the co-editor (with Donna C. Hale) of Popular Culture, Crime, and Justice (Wadsworth, 1998). She is the co-author (with Alice P. Green) of “Law Never Here”: A Social History of African American Responses to Issues of Crime and Justice (Praeger, 1999). With Steven Chermak and Michelle Brown, she co-edited Media Representations of September 11 (Praeger, 2003). She and Donna C. Hale are the co-authors of Blood on Her Hands: The Social Construction of Women, Sexuality, and Murder (Wadsworth, 2004). She and Steven Chermak are the series editors of the five-volume set, Famous American Crimes and Trials (Praeger, 2004). They also co-edited the two-volume set Crimes of the Century (2007).

Frankie’s most recent non-fiction books are African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study (McFarland, 2008), nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha awards, winner of a Macavity award. She is the recipient of the George N. Dove Award (2010). With Alice P. Green, she is the author of Wicked Albany: Lawlessness & Liquor in the Prohibition Era (The History Press, 2009) and Wicked Danville: Liquor and Lawlessness in a Southside Virginia City (The History Press, 2011).

Frankie’s mystery series features Southern criminal justice professor/crime historian Lizzie Stuart includes Death=s Favorite Child (Silver Dagger, 2000), A Dead Man=s Honor (Silver Dagger, 2001), Old Murders (Silver Dagger, 2003), You Should Have Died on Monday (Silver Dagger, 2007), and Forty Acres and a Soggy Grave (2011). A short story, “Since You Went Away” appears in the mystery anthology, Shades of Black (2004), edited by Eleanor Taylor Bland. The Red Queen Dies (Minotaur Books/Thomas Dunne), the first book in Frankie’s near future police procedural series set in Albany, New York, featuring police detective Hannah McCabe, will be released in September 2013.

Frankie is a member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Mystery Writers of America (MWA). She served as the 2009-2010 Executive Vice President of MWA and as the 2011-2012 President of Sisters in Crime (SinC).

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Posted in 4 paws, mystery, Review on March 4, 2016

red queen

Synopsis

Frankie Bailey introduces readers to a fabulous new protagonist and an Alice in Wonderland-infused crime in this stunning mystery, which kicks off an exciting new series set in the near future.

The year is 2019, and a drug used to treat soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder, nicknamed “Lullaby,” has hit the streets. Swallowing a little pill erases traumatic memories, but what happens to a criminal trial when the star witness takes a pill and can’t remember the crime? When two women are murdered in quick succession, biracial police detective Hannah McCabe is charged with solving the case. In spite of the advanced technology, including a city-wide surveillance program, a third woman is soon killed, and the police begin to suspect that a serial killer is on the loose. But the third victim, a Broadway actress known as “The Red Queen,” doesn’t fit the pattern set by the first two murders.

With the late September heat sizzling, Detective Hannah McCabe and her colleagues on the police force have to race to find the killer in a tangled web of clues that involve Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Fast-paced and original, this is a one-of-a-kind mystery from an extremely talented crime writer.

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Review

This is a slightly futuristic mystery (2019) and in a small way reminds of the JD Robb books – mostly in the technology aspect. Everyone has something called an ORB and while it is never described, it is like a souped up smart phone that does video calls and much more.

I thought this book was a great introduction to Detective Hannah McCabe and her life as a detective and some baggage she carries from her past that is tied to her brother. The family dynamic is interesting to say the least with her dad and brother. I think there is a love interest that is hinted at, but we don’t know much about this person other than they have a secret relationship. We do not even know their name.

The murders were interesting and what they had to go through to tie together 3 murders that did not seem to be related at all, but were. I will say that I sort of suspected someone by something that was said but I wasn’t 100% sure what the tie-in was so it was a nice surprise to have guessed the killer but not know exactly why.

I don’t read many police procedural type books, but I really enjoyed this one. We give this 4 paws up.

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About the Author

Frankie Y. Bailey is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY).  Her areas of research are crime history, and crime and mass media/popular culture. She is the author of the Edgar-nominated Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters in Crime and Detective Fiction (Greenwood, 1991).  She is the co-editor (with Donna C. Hale) of Popular Culture, Crime, and Justice (Wadsworth, 1998).  She is the co-author (with Alice P. Green) of “Law Never Here”: A Social History of African American Responses to Issues of Crime and Justice (Praeger, 1999).  With Steven Chermak and Michelle Brown, she co-edited Media Representations of September 11 (Praeger, 2003).  She and Donna C. Hale are the co-authors of Blood on Her Hands: The Social Construction of Women, Sexuality, and Murder (Wadsworth, 2004).  She and Steven Chermak are the series editors of the five-volume set, Famous American Crimes and Trials (Praeger, 2004). They also co-edited the two-volume set Crimes of the Century (2007).

Frankie’s most recent non-fiction books are African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study (McFarland, 2008), nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha awards, winner of a Macavity award. She is the recipient of the George N. Dove Award (2010). With Alice P. Green, she is the author of Wicked Albany:  Lawlessness & Liquor in the Prohibition Era (The History Press, 2009) and Wicked Danville: Liquor and Lawlessness in a Southside Virginia City (The History Press, 2011).

Frankie’s mystery series features Southern criminal justice professor/crime historian Lizzie Stuart includes Death=s Favorite Child (Silver Dagger, 2000), A Dead Man=s Honor (Silver Dagger, 2001), Old Murders (Silver Dagger, 2003), You Should Have Died on Monday (Silver Dagger, 2007), and Forty Acres and a Soggy Grave (2011). A short story, “Since You Went Away” appears in the mystery anthology, Shades of Black (2004), edited by Eleanor Taylor Bland.  The Red Queen Dies (Minotaur Books/Thomas Dunne), the first book in Frankie’s near future police procedural series set in Albany, New York, featuring police detective Hannah McCabe, will be released in September 2013.

Frankie is a member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and Mystery Writers of America (MWA).  She served as the 2009-2010 Executive Vice President of MWA and as the 2011-2012 President of Sisters in Crime (SinC).

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