Thursday, November 26, 2015

Review: Unreasonable Doubt: A Constable Molly Smith Novel by Vicki Delany

  • Hardcover: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (Feb. 2 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1464205132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1464205132

Book Description

 What would it be like to return to your hometown after twenty-five years in prison for a crime you have maintained you did not commit? And why would you? Walter Desmond is back in Trafalgar, British Columbia, having been officially exonerated when new evidence showed corruption at worst, incompetence at best, by the Trafalgar City Police conducting the investigation. His pitbull attorney is seeking five million in damages from the provincial government. But Walt has not returned to Trafalgar to pursue money or revenge. He just wants to know the why of it. The family of the murdered girl, Sophia D Angelo, is bitterly determined to see Walt returned to prison or dead. But for Trafalgar s police, including Sergeant John Winters and Constable Molly Smith, the reality is: if Walter didn t kill Sophia, someone else did. So, case reopened. It lands on Winters desk. The records are moldering. One investigating officer is dead, the other is retired and not talking. The police are instructed to treat Walt as if he d never been arrested or convicted. Someone else apparently killed Sophia, someone still walking free. But too many minds remain closed. It s good luck for Walt that a group of women in town for the dragon boat race are staying in the B&B where he s booked, women with no local prejudices. But then a townswoman, then a boat woman, are attacked by a rapist, the media gets active, and tempers dangerously flare. "Another brisk whodunit in a beautiful western Canadian setting with an appealing protagonist in Molly, whose personal life gets as much attention as her professional one." Booklist on the previous Constable Molly Smith mystery, Under Cold Stone."

About the Author

 “It’s a crime not to read Delany,” so says the London Free Press.

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers. Her popular Constable Molly Smith series (including In the Shadow of the Glacier and Among the Departed) have been optioned for TV by Brightlight Pictures.

She writes standalone novels of modern gothic suspense such as Burden of Memory and More than Sorrow, as well as a light-hearted historical series, (Gold Digger, Gold Mountain), set in the raucous heyday of the Klondike Gold Rush. She is also the author of a novel for reluctant readers, titled A Winter Kill.

Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Vicki is settling down to the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario where she rarely wears a watch.

Visit Vicki at ,, and twitter: @vickidelany

She blogs about the writing life at One Woman Crime Wave (

Vicki is a member of Crime Writers of Canada, and Capital Crime Writers, and is on the board of Wolfe Island’s Scene of the Crime Mystery Festival.

My Review

 Great cover! Dragon boating is huge in Vancouver where I live so it is quite a familiar sight. I love the Constable Molly Smith series set in British Columbia's Kootenay region by author Vicki Delany. Delany captures the essence of the town of Trafalgar (based on the real city of Nelson) perfectly. She also portrays Hope and Vancouver realistically as well. I enjoyed the tale opening in Hope...I had never really thought about the steep mountains there as being suffocating. Interesting me Hope is just Hope! We eat breakfast there quite often on our adventures!

I have read all the previous books in the Constable Molly Smith series and I like that the continuity is always there. I have enjoyed following the characters journeys. Vicki Delany is a great writer who knows how to plot a mystery.

Unreasonable Doubt follows the story of Walter Desmond a former Trafalgar realtor. He was wrongly convicted of murder and is back in town...why? You would think he would go far away but back he is. Most people are not happy to see him. He is staying at a B&B that is hosting a number of women who are in town for fun and dragon boat racing. At least the ladies there are visitors who are friendly to him.

In Unreasonable Doubt, Sergeant Winter's wife is assaulted, then one of the dragon boat ladies at the B&B where Walter is staying. And the rumors start buzzing about B&B guest Walter. Constable Molly Smith has to deal with other members of the force bad behavior toward Walter. But good police work prevails and the ending is very satisfying.

Highly recommend Unreasonable Doubt by Vicki Delany. Looking forward to the next book set in Trafalgar!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Review: A Christmas Miracle for Daisy (Taming of the Sheenans Book 5) by Jane Porter

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1093 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Tule Publishing (Nov. 20 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B018BDVUK6

Book Description

 Media Mogul, Cormac Sheenan, had no desire to become a family man, but when his two year old goddaughter, Daisy, is orphaned, he adopts her, moving her from Montana to his home in Southern California, and becomes a devoted single father, juggling parenting duties with running his successful publishing, TV, and radio enterprise.

But two years later a frightening incident at Daisy’s school, shakes Cormac, and he decides to move Daisy–and his business–back to Montana where life is simpler and he has family nearby.

Now four, precocious Daisy strikes up an unlikely friendship with Marietta’s seasonal Santa Claus, and believes he’s the real thing, even though Cormac points out to her that this jolly old Kris Kringle is renting a room at Bramble House, not living at the North Pole. Daisy’s not worried but Cormac is as Rent-a-Santa has promised his innocent daughter she’ll have a mommy for Christmas.

Cormac is livid with Kris. He’s not at all ready to settle down, and he’s definitely not getting back together with his old flame Whitney Alder, so Santa can stop playing match maker as it’d take a miracle to make him fall in love, never mind marriage material.

But that’s exactly the kind of miracle our angelic Santa Claus has planned…

Taming of the Sheenans series
Book 1: Christmas at Copper Mountain
Book 2: Tycoon's Kiss
Book 3: The Kidnapped Christmas Bride
Book 4: Taming of the Bachelor
Book 5: A Christmas Miracle for Daisy

About the Author

 Born in Visalia, California, I'm a small town girl at heart. I love central California's golden foothills, oak trees, and the miles of farmland. In my mind, there's nothing sweeter in the world than the heady fragrance of orange blossoms on a sultry summer night.

As a little girl I spent hours on my bed, staring out the window, dreaming of far off places, fearless knights, and happy-ever-after endings. In my imagination I was never the geeky bookworm with the thick coke-bottle glasses, but a princess, a magical fairy, a Joan-of-Arc crusader.

My parents fed my imagination by taking our family to Europe for a year when I was thirteen. The year away changed me (I wasn't a geek for once!) and overseas I discovered a huge and wonderful world with different cultures and customs. I loved everything about Europe, but felt especially passionate about Italy and those gorgeous Italian men (no wonder my first very Presents hero was Italian).

I confess, after that incredible year in Europe, the travel bug bit, and bit hard. I spent much of my high school and college years abroad, studying in South Africa, Japan and Ireland. South Africa remains a country of my heart, the people, the land and politics complex and heart-wrenching.

After my years of traveling and studying I had to settle down and earn a living. With my Bachelors degree from UCLA in American Studies, a program that combines American literature and American history, I've worked in sales and marketing, as well as a director of a non-profit foundation. Later I earned my Masters in Writing from the University of San Francisco and taught jr. high and high school English.

I now live in Seattle and Hawaii with my three sons. I never mind a rainy day, either, because that's when I sit at my desk and write stories about far-away places, fascinating people, and most importantly of all, love. I like a story with a happy ending. We all do.

My Review

 A Christmas Miracle for Daisy is the 5th book in the Taming of the Sheenans series by romance author Jane Porter. I loved last year's Sheenan Christmas story, The Kidnapped Christmas Bride, and I love this latest tale as well.

I have been devouring the Christmas stories set in Marietta, Montana this year. So far this is the third where one of the main characters is staying at the Bramble House Inn. Tule Publishing has done a great job of interweaving these stories.

A Christmas Miracle for Daisy is a heartwarming and romantic Christmas story. It is a fast, well-written read that I thoroughly enjoyed. A well balanced tale sure to bring tears throughout and at the end. Four year old Daisy is not the only one who gets a Christmas miracle. Whitney and Cormac's story will delight you.

Highly recommend. Looking forward to Jane Porter's next Sheenan novel already.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: The Nature of the Beast (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #11) by Louise Penny

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1528 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Aug. 25 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00SSBZ51M

Book Description

 Hardly a day goes by when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage doesn't cry wolf. From alien invasions, to walking trees, to winged beasts in the woods, to dinosaurs spotted in the village of Three Pines, his tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him. But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true. And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an old crime, leads to an old betrayal. A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, it is back.

About the Author

 Many of Louise Penny's books are published under different titles by UK/Canada and US publishers.
She lives with her husband, Michael, and a golden retriever named Trudy, in a small village south of Montreal.

Her first Armand Gamache novel, "Still Life" won the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony and Dilys Awards.

* Agatha Award: Best Novel
o 2007 – A Fatal Grace – Winner
o 2008 – The Cruelest Month – Winner
o 2009 – The Brutal Telling – Winner
o 2010 – Bury Your Death – Winner
o 2013 – The Beautiful Mystery – Winner

* Arthur Ellis Award
o 2006 – Still Life – Winner Best First Crime Novel
o 2011 – Bury Your Dead – Winner Best Crime Novel

* Barry Award
o 2007 – Still Life – Best First Novel Winner

* Anthony Award
o 2007 – Still Life – Best First Novel Winner
o 2009 – The Brutal Telling – Best Novel Winner
o 2010 – Bury Your Death – Best Novel Winner
o 2013 – The Beautiful Mystery – Best Novel Winner

* Macavity Award
o 2011 – Bury Your Death – Best Mystery Novel Winner
o 2013 – The Beautiful Mystery – Best Mystery Novel Winner

My Review

Louise Penny is one of my favorite authors. Every year she writes a brilliant novel that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. The Nature of the Beast is such a book. It is the 11th Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novel.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is now retired. Well, he is attempting retirement. Living in the intriguing village of Three Pines in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. It is a magical yet mysterious place that has been attracting all types of people over the years. The Nature of the Beast brings more of these people to life...a draft dodger, an arms dealer, a madman playwright...

Louise Penny is a master storyteller. Her books continue to amaze me. Each book is unique yet revolves around the characters who have become so beloved to her readers, myself included. I loved this tale with its fascinating characters and its plot twists. The ending completely surprised me.

I highly recommend The Nature of the Beast but do yourself a favor and read this entire series from beginning to end. I am eagerly awaiting next year's book!

Review: NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible Grounding Your Beliefs in the Truth of Scripture By Zondervan

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8138 KB
  • Print Length: 1504 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (Sept. 22 2015)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B013YY0JKO

Book Description

 The NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible provides a deep grounding in Scripture. You will appreciate the way this Bible keeps the joyful, astounding nature of the gospel always in view when addressing doctrine and the pressing questions about faith. Its content will help you understand what you believe and why while inspiring you to live for God.

My Review

 I am reviewing the hard copy version of the NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible.

The features in the NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible are:
  • 66 insightful book introductions
  • 104 Everyday Faith illuminating stories and anecdotes for twice-weekly study
  • 25 thought-provoking Culture Connections articles
  • 40 interesting Living Parables commentaries on the lives of Christian influencers throughout history
  • 75 in-depth features on the major aspects of Christian Doctrine
  • 12 simple, visually compelling Up for Debate tables present multiple viewpoints on specific topics
  • 8 charts and graphs illustrating interesting theological issues
The NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible is an easy on the eyes bible. My aging eyes have no problem reading the print (some bibles have terribly small print). I am enjoying the features of this bible such as the Doctrine 101 sections that explore the major themes of the Bible. On page 646 there is a Doctrine 101 section on The Lord's Prayer. On pages 1162 and 1163 there is a section on the differing perspectives of Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestants...very enlightening.  I like the Everyday Faith stories that help connect us to God's Word. At the end there is a Glossary of Theological Terms which is very helpful. There is an excellent Concordance at the very end.

This is a great bible for a Christian who is exploring the bible in depth.  The NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible is an exciting addition to my bible reference collection.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Great Escapes Book Tour: Death Before Decaf (A Java Jive Mystery #1) by Caroline Fardig

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2866 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Alibi (Nov. 17 2015)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English

Tour Participants

November 10 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review
November 10 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
November 11 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review
November 12 – Community Bookstop – Review
November 13 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book  – Guest Post
November 14 – Mallory Heart Reviews – Review
November 15 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
November 16 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post
November 16 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes  – Review
November 17 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review
November 18 – Musings and Ramblings – Review
November 19 – Book Club Librarian – Review
November 19 – MysteriesEtc – Review
November 20 – Tea and A Book – Review, Interview
November 21 – 3 Partners in Shopping; Nana, Mommy, &; Sissy too! – Spotlight
November 22 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
November 23 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Review, Guest Post


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Description

 Perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich and Diane Mott Davidson, Caroline Fardig’s captivating new mystery novel takes readers behind the counter of a seemingly run-of-the-mill coffeehouse . . . where murder is brewing.

After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancé robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved café down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over.

The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.

About the Author

 CAROLINE FARDIG was born and raised in a small town in Indiana. Her working career has been rather eclectic thus far, with occupations including schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom. Finally realizing that she wants to be a writer when she grows up, Caroline has completed her first novel, IT'S JUST A LITTLE CRUSH, and is currently hard at work churning out a second novel in the series. She still lives in that same small town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

My Review

 Death Before Decaf is the first book in the Java Jive Mystery series by author Caroline Fardig. This is the first book of Fardig's that I have read.

Death Before Decaf is a mystery set in Nashville. I thought it was going to be a regular cozy mystery but it is more of a chick lit mystery. The first day on the job at Java Jive, a coffee shop, Juliet Langley finds an employee dead in the dumpster and the action takes off from there.

A fun well written read.

$3.99 Canadian on Amazon


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review: The Promise (Joe Pike #5) (Elvis Cole #14) by Robert Crais

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1025 KB
  • Print Length: 408 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (Nov. 10 2015)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00K0U6MRU

Book Description

Elvis Cole and Joe Pike are joined by Suspect heroes Scott James and his K-9 partner, Maggie, in the new masterpiece of suspense from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.
Loyalty, commitment, the fight against injustice — these are the things that have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed.

When Elvis Cole is hired to locate a woman who may have disappeared with a stranger she met online, it seems like an ordinary case — until Elvis learns the missing woman worked for a defense contractor and was being blackmailed to supply explosives components for a person or persons unknown.

Meanwhile, in another part of the city, LAPD officer Scott James and his patrol dog, Maggie, enter an abandoned building to locate an armed and dangerous thief, only to discover far more than they expected: The fugitive is dead, the building is filled with explosives, and Scott and Maggie are assaulted by a hidden man who escapes in the chaos, all as a bloodied Joe Pike watches from the shadows.

Soon, Scott and Maggie find themselves targeted by that man, and, as their case intertwines with Elvis and Joe’s, joining forces to follow the trail of the missing woman as well. From inner-city drug traffickers to a shadowy group of Afghan war veterans with ties to a terrorist cell, the people they encounter on that trail add up to ever-increasing odds, and soon the four of them are fighting to find the woman not only before she is killed . . . but before the same fate happens to one of them.

About the Author

Robert Crais is the author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels. A native of Louisiana, he grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in a blue collar family of oil refinery workers and police officers. He purchased a secondhand paperback of Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister when he was fifteen, which inspired his lifelong love of writing, Los Angeles, and the literature of crime fiction. Other literary influences include Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Robert B. Parker, and John Steinbeck.

After years of amateur film-making and writing short fiction, he journeyed to Hollywood in 1976 where he quickly found work writing scripts for such major television series as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Miami Vice, as well as numerous series pilots and Movies-of-the-Week for the major networks. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on Hill Street Blues, but is most proud of his 4-hour NBC miniseries, Cross of Fire, which the New York Times declared: "A searing and powerful documentation of the Ku Klux Klan’s rise to national prominence in the 20s."

In the mid-eighties, feeling constrained by the collaborative working requirements of Hollywood, Crais resigned from a lucrative position as a contract writer and television producer in order to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first efforts proved unsuccessful, but upon the death of his father in 1985, Crais was inspired to create Elvis Cole, using elements of his own life as the basis of the story. The resulting novel, The Monkey’s Raincoat, won the Anthony and Macavity Awards and was nominated for the Edgar Award. It has since been selected as one of the 100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.

Crais conceived of the novel as a stand-alone, but realized that—in Elvis Cole—he had created an ideal and powerful character through which to comment upon his life and times. (See the WORKS section for additional titles.) Elvis Cole’s readership and fan base grew with each new book, then skyrocketed in 1999 upon the publication of L. A. Requiem, which was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller and forever changed the way Crais conceived of and structured his novels. In this new way of telling his stories, Crais combined the classic ‘first person’ narrative of the American detective novel with flashbacks, multiple story lines, multiple points-of-view, and literary elements to better illuminate his themes. Larger and deeper in scope, Publishers Weekly wrote of L. A. Requiem, "Crais has stretched himself the way another Southern California writer—Ross Macdonald—always tried to do, to write a mystery novel with a solid literary base." Booklist added, "This is an extraordinary crime novel that should not be pigeonholed by genre. The best books always land outside preset boundaries. A wonderful experience."

Crais followed with his first non-series novel, Demolition Angel, which was published in 2000 and featured former Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Technician Carol Starkey. Starkey has since become a leading character in the Elvis Cole series. In 2001, Crais published his second non-series novel, Hostage, which was named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and was a world-wide bestseller. Additionally, the editors of selected Hostage as the #1 thriller of the year. A film adaptation of Hostage was released in 2005, starring Bruce Willis as ex-LAPD SWAT negotiator Jeff Talley. 

Elvis Cole returned in 2003 with the publication of The Last Detective, followed by the tenth Elvis Cole novel, The Forgotten Man, in 2005. Both novels explore with increasing depth the natures and characters of Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. RC’s third stand-alone novel, The Two Minute Rule, was published in 2006. The eleventh entry in the Elvis Cole series, The Watchman, will be published sometime in 2007.

My Review

The Promise is the fifth Joe Pike book and fourteenth Elvis Cole book by mystery author Robert Crais. I have enjoyed every book of Crais's that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed his latest, The Promise.

The Promise features Elvis Cole, Joe Pike, Jon Stone and LAPD officer Scott James and his patrol dog, Maggie. Having read books featuring all of them previously it was easy for me to understand their characters. It is set in Los Angeles. The plot is very believable and the writing top notch.

Fans of Robert Crais will love The Promise. It does a great job of integrating everyone's favorite characters into the tale. It is a good story with lots of action and suspense. I really enjoyed the ending.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review: The Runaway Christmas Bride by Scarlet Wilson

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1043 KB
  • Print Length: 122 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Tule Publishing (Nov. 2 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B016V4DM9E

Book Description

 Varsity coach Mitch Holden thinks he's seen everything until Scotswoman Emma McGregor steps out of her car, in a bridal dress and veil, and asks him where she can find a job. Mitch is stunned but directs her somewhere to stay... and finds himself unable to keep from checking up on her.

Emma McGregor has had the worst day of her life. Finding out her groom didn't really want to marry her was a devastating blow, but Mitch and the town of Marietta reach out to her in a way she couldn't have imagined. Nowhere seems to do Christmas like Marietta does.

But Mitch has secrets of his own. Everyone knows about the injury that tragically ended his promising football career, but there's more to the story... Will the magic of Marietta sprinkle some Christmas dust on their broken hearts and help them find their happy ever after?

About the Author

Scarlet Wilson wrote her first story aged 8 and has never stopped. Her family have fond memories of ‘Shirley and the Magic Purse’ with its army of mice, all with names beginning with the letter ‘m’. An avid reader Scarlet started with every Enid Blyton book, moved on to the Chalet School and many years later found Harlequin Mills and Boon.

She’s worked in the health service for over 20 years, training as a nurse and a health visitor, and now currently works within public health. For her, finding medical romances was a match made in heaven.  Scarlet now writes for Harlequin/Mills and Boon medical and romance lines, Entangled Publishing and Tule Publishing.  

Scarlet lives on the West Coast of Scotland with her fiancé and their two sons.

My Review

 The Runaway Christmas Bride is the first book that I have read by romance author Scarlet Wilson. She definitely knows how to write a good tale!

The Runaway Christmas Bride is set in Marietta, Montana which seems to be a magical place to spend Christmas this year. I was intrigued by hints of this story in the book, A Bramble House Christmas. And by a return visit to Marietta. I was not disappointed. The Runaway Christmas Bride is a romance with all the right ingredients...great story and well written. A fast read.

Be sure to enjoy this magical tale this Christmas season.