Sunday, April 20, 2014

Review: I'm Dangerous... I'm Not Gonna Lie by Erin Smith

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (April 9 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402294093
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402294099

Book Description

Celebrate the art of living loud with the sassiest, smartest, hottest gift book

From Erin Smith-a hip, irreverent visual artist with a nationally distributed gift line and a unique, pitch-perfect look-comes a mash-up of art, essays, and laugh-out-loud observations designed to find humor in the everyday mundane. Includes hilarious make-your-day quotes like:

"The super girl cape is in the'll just have to take my word for it." 

"I'm so damn happy it's like discovering blue cheese olives all over again." 

"As much as I try to be an easygoing, stretch-your-wingsand-fly type, I just can't stop trying to burst people into flames with my mind."

...and many more!"

About the Author

Erin Smith specializes in mixed media and written word collage. She established Erin Smith Art, Inc. and currently distributes her handcrafted canvases, greeting card line and gift items in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. She is licensed with High Cotton, Inc., TF Publishing, Spirit (AU), Ephemera Inc., and Enesco U.S. and UK. Erin currently resides near Atlanta.

My Review

This is a fun book that you can read over and over when you need a chuckle. Erin Smith is a talented artist whose work is generally reproduced in greeting cards and calendars. But now there is this book - I'm Dangerous..I'm Not Gonna Lie for us to enjoy. Smith utilizes mixed media with funny saying to create her art. So'll enjoy this book.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review: Until We Touch (Fool's Gold #15) by Susan Mallery

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin HQN (June 24 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I66BQEO

Book Description

 From New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery comes the story of secret desires finally fulfilled…

After a family tragedy, former football hero Jack McGarry keeps the world at arm's length—a challenge now that his PR firm has moved to neighborly Fool's Gold, California.

Larissa Owens knows where she stands—Jack sees her as just another one of the guys. No matter what her heart wishes, Jack's her boss, not her boyfriend. But then Larissa's big secret is revealed…by her mother!

When Jack discovers the truth about Larissa's feelings, her touch suddenly becomes tantalizing, and he's not sure he wants to resist. But if he gives in to desire, heartache is sure to follow. Friendship or true love—will Jack go for the ultimate play?

About the Author

 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. Visit her at

My Review

Until We Touch, book 15 in the popular Fool's Gold series by Susan Mallery features all the reasons people love to read Susan Mallery's books. She is the subject matter expert when it comes to writing a fulfilling romance tale. While this could be a stand alone novel, I think the reader will find that by reading the series you will have a much better grip on all the characters and their relationships with each other.

This is a fast, good read for a lazy afternoon. If you have been following the series, then you will be familiar with Jack and his assistant/masseuse Larissa. In this novel, Larissa finally admits to herself that she is in love with her boss and it helps that her mother spills the beans first!

Fools Gold is of course the land of happy endings so I think you know how this will play out! Great read, be sure to pick it up in June if you are a romance fan.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Review: Bitter River (Bell Elkins #2) by Julia Keller

  • File Size: 577 KB
  • Print Length: 397 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250003490
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 3, 2013)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C74OXEQ

Book Description

In the next stunning novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning Julia Keller, following the popular A Killing in the Hills, a pregnant teenager is found murdered at the bottom of a river.

Phone calls before dawn are never good news. And when you’re the county’s prosecuting attorney, calls from the sheriff are rarely good news, either. So when Bell Elkins picks up the phone she already knows she won’t like what she’s about to hear, but she’s still not prepared for this: 16-year-old Lucinda Trimble’s body has been found at the bottom of Bitter River. And Lucinda didn't drown—she was dead before her body ever hit the water.

With a case like that, Bell knows the coming weeks are going to be tough. But that’s not all Bell is coping with these days. Her daughter is now living with Bell’s ex-husband, hours away. Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, one of Bell’s closest friends, is behaving oddly. Furthermore, a face from her past has resurfaced for reasons Bell can’t quite figure. Searching for the truth, both behind Lucinda’s murder and behind her own complicated relationships, will lead Bell down a path that might put her very life at risk.

In Bitter River, Pulitzer Prize-winner Julia Keller once again weaves a compelling, haunting mystery against the stark beauty and extreme poverty of a small West Virginia mountain town.

From Publishers Weekly

The murder of 16-year-old Lucinda Trimble, whose strangled body is found in a car in the Bitter River, propels Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Keller's worthy sequel to her well-received adult fiction debut, A Killing in the Hills (2012). As West Virginia prosecutor Bell Elkins and the rest of closely knit Acker's Gap struggle to fathom who could have wanted to kill the popular high school honor student, a sniper fires at the county courthouse, almost killing Bell's assistant. Days later, a devastating explosion levels Ike's diner, moments after the divorced attorney finished breakfast with her much younger lover, Clay Meckling. Suddenly, remote Acker's Gap seems under siege, with Bell, stalwart sheriff Nick Fogelsong, and their team scrambling to find answers before the next attack. Ultimately, some of them prove less interesting than the questions Keller, a native West Virginian, poses about the nature of friendship and family—as well as the engaging, unsentimentalized Appalachian community she has created. Agent: Lisa Gallagher, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The world intrudes cruelly on Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, the hometown to which D.C. lawyer Bell Elkins has returned to try to make a difference. As county prosecutor, Bell is working with childhood friend, Sheriff Nick Fogelsong, on the murder of 16-year-old Lucinda Trimble when a potentially fatal shot is fired into the courthouse and soon followed by a tragedy at the local diner. The town mourns Lucinda—bright, beautiful, bursting with potential, but pregnant and planning to marry her high-school boyfriend—while both Bell and Nick display blind spots in the course of pursuing their investigation. The town is in shock after the diner incident, and Bell’s theory about what may be behind it comes just a little too late to prevent further bloodshed. With her 17-year-old daughter, Carla, now living with Bell’s ex in D.C. after the dangerous events in Keller’s highly-praised A Killing in the Hills (2012), Bell occasionally longs for the excitement of the city, but a single compelling personal reason keeps her in Acker’s Gap, however isolated it is. Once again, Keller combines masterful storytelling, a vivid sense of place—the beauty and poverty of Appalachia—a complex cast of characters, and a suspenseful, superbly executed plot that displays a depth rarely seen in mystery fiction. --Michele Leber

About the Author


I was born in Huntington, West Virginia, and that’s where I grew up, “so successfully disguised to myself as a child,” in James Agee’s marvelous phrase.

My first real job was as a news-paper reporter — first in Ashland, Kentucky, then Columbus, Ohio, and finally Chicago. That’s what you did, I believed, when you wanted to be a writer: You went to work for a newspaper, and you learned about the world.

Along the way, I earned a doctoral degree in English Literature at Ohio State University. I won
a Pulitzer Prize. I published a book about the inventor of the Gatling gun.

My first novel is called A Killing in the Hills, and it won the Barry Award in 2013 for Best First

Mystery. It’s about a woman who returns to her West Virginia hometown to fight corruption — and perhaps to find herself as well. The second mystery in the series, Bitter River, was published in September 2013, and the third, Summer of the Dead, comes out in August 2014.

My Review

Fabulous book...loved it as much as the first novel in the series, A Killing in the Hills. Julia Keller can write and she can tell a mean story.  Bitter River can stand alone but I absolutely recommend reading the first novel as well as it is so good.

Bell Elkins, a lawyer who is the prosecutor in the small town in West Virginia where she grew up, is faced with the murder of a 16 year old girl who was found murdered in the Bitter River. Bell had a traumatic and violent childhood but has risen above everything to become a strong woman and mother. She has tried city life in Washington, DC but she belongs in Acker's Gap. Before the mystery of the young girl's murder is solved an explosion rips through a local restaurant tearing Bell's world apart anew. 

Excellent writing accompanied by an amazing story make this a book to remember. There were so many twists at the end that it was definitely hard to identify the murderer. I was kept in suspense until the end. I cannot wait for the next book in the series!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Review: Gone and Done It (Dreamwalker Series) by Maggie Toussaint

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Five Star; 1 edition (May 9 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1432828134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432828134

Book Description

Baxley solves crimes in her dreams

While planting a cherry tree, landscaper and pet sitter Baxley Powell digs up a skull. As she waits for the cops, she dreamwalks to identify the victim. Once her findings prove helpful, the sheriff agrees to pay her for consulting, if she closes cases.

 A widow and single mom, Baxley needs this consulting gig. Her in-laws want custody of her daughter, so she has to be self-sufficient.

 Complications arise when a fresh body is found on Baxley’s jobsite, planting her in the suspect pool. Concurrently, her father steps down as county dreamwalker, passing the honor to her. Some honor. People need help, and she barely knows what to do.

 With a killer dogging her heels and spirits nipping at her mind, Baxley follows her dreams.

About the Author

A scientist by training, a romanticist at heart, Maggie Toussaint loves to solve puzzles. Whether it’s the puzzle of a relationship or a who-dun-it, she tackles them all with equal aplomb and wonder. Maggie writes cozy mystery for Five Star, romantic suspense for The Wild Rose Press, and contemporary romance for Muddle House Publishing. Besides being a member of Washington Romance Writers, she’s also a member of First Coast Romance Writers, Southeast Mystery Writers of America and Sisters In Crime. She was awarded the WRW Magic Crystal service award in 2004.

My Review

I love the cover of this book! It is spooky with an air of mystery! 

The main character in Maggie Toussaint's latest book, Gone and Done It which is part of the new Dreamwalker series, is Baxley Powell whose psychic gift is just emerging. She has inherited this gift from her father. While I'm not really fond of supernatural stories, the mystery element of the story makes this a good read for me.

Baxley, whose day job is a landscaper as well as a pet-sitter, isn't sure she is ready to be the county psychic or dreamwalker who has the ability to communicate with the dead. While working as a landscaper, Baxley finds a dead body in a client's yard. The police of course are skeptical that she can communicate with this body through her dreamwalking ability. Could a new career as a police consultant be in the works?

This is an interesting paranormal mystery set in coastal Georgia. It is a good story and if you like paranormal mysteries or just mysteries in general be sure to pick up a copy when it releases next month.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Upcoming Book Alert: Blessed are the Dead: A Gabriella Giovanni Mystery by Krisi Belcamino

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Witness Impulse (June 10 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GLS4VR8

For her debut novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD (Witness, on sale 6/10/2014, $2.99, ISBN 13: 9780062338907), Kristi Belcamino relies on her knowledge gained from working as a crime reporter at newspapers in California, specifically in her experience with a serial killer who police and FBI agents liked to several kidnappings and murders. Belcamino’s personal past colors this smart, thrilling novel with a unique new voice.

BLESSED ARE THE DEAD offers chilling, authentic glimpses into the mind of a psychopath while also mining the psyche of an extremely likeable protagonist.  The novel sets up a new series featuring Gabriella Giovanni, an Italian-American Bay Area crime reporter.  BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, the second book in the series will be published in July.

First Two Chapters Preview Here:

BLESSED ARE THE DEAD pits Italian-American Bay Area Crime reporter against a serial killer who preys on children. When they were little girls, Gabriella Giovanni’s sister was kidnapped and killed. Twenty years later, Gabriella spends her days on the crime beat flitting in and out of other people’s nightmares and then walking away unscathed. That changes when a little girl disappears and Gabriella’s quest for justice and a front-page story leads her to a convicted kidnapper who reels her in with tales of his exploits as a longtime serial killer and promises to reveal his secrets to her alone. Meanwhile, Gabriella’s passion for her job quickly spirals into obsession when she begins to suspect the kidnapper also killed her sister. Gabriella won’t hesitate to risk her life to garner justice for the dead.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cookbook Review: My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 36248 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (April 8 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FUZR04O

Book Description

A collection of stories and 100 sweet and savory French-inspired recipes from popular food blogger David Lebovitz, reflecting the way Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Parisian kitchen.

It’s been ten years since David Lebovitz packed up his most treasured cookbooks, a well-worn cast-iron skillet, and his laptop and moved to Paris. In that time, the culinary culture of France has shifted as a new generation of chefs and home cooks—most notably in Paris—incorporates ingredients and techniques from around the world into traditional French dishes.

     In My Paris Kitchen, David remasters the classics, introduces lesser-known fare, and presents 100 sweet and savory recipes that reflect the way modern Parisians eat today. You’ll find Soupe à l’oignon, Cassoulet, Coq au vin, and Croque-monsieur, as well as Smoky barbecue-style pork, Lamb shank tagine, Dukkah-roasted cauliflower, Salt cod fritters with tartar sauce, and Wheat berry salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate. And of course, there’s dessert: Warm chocolate cake with salted butter caramel sauce, Duck fat cookies, Bay leaf poundcake with orange glaze, French cheesecake...and the list goes on. David also shares stories told with his trademark wit and humor, and lush photography taken on location around Paris and in David’s kitchen reveals the quirks, trials, beauty, and joys of life in the culinary capital of the world.

“David Lebovitz is a rare specimen: both a terrific storyteller and a brilliant, uncompromising recipe writer. His lighthearted, almost satirical style is combined with far-reaching knowledge of food and its context. I’d follow him blindfolded on this journey to the City of Light.”
-Yotam Ottolenghi, coauthor of Jerusalem

“David Lebovitz is a chef who can write better than most food writers, a writer who can hold his own in any restaurant kitchen in the world, and, most of all, a guy who simply rejoices in food and cooking. This may be his most personal cookbook, describing all facets of his cooking life in Paris, with great stories, information, and recipes. I need two copies of this book: one for the kitchen and another by my reading chair.”
-Michael Ruhlman, author of Ruhlman’s Twenty

“Opening this beautiful book is like opening the door to David’s Paris. Of course, you get great recipes, but you also get to wander the world’s most delicious city with a friend who knows it well and is excited to share it with you. A treat  for those of us who love French home cooking, Paris, and David’s take on it all.”
-Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table
“David Lebovitz is the ultimate American in Paris and this book is the ultimate insight into his beautiful and delicious world. I am beyond jealous!”
-Suzanne Goin, author of The A.O.C. Cookbook

Black Olive Tapenade
Tapenade Noire

Serves 6 to 8

This was the first tapenade I ever made, and it is still my go-to recipe. The best olives to use are the slightly wrinkled black olives from Nyons; or, if you have the patience for pitting teensy Niçoise olives, they’re marvelously oily and are the base for a wonderful bowl of tapenade. Other olives work well, too, but if they’re very salty, rinse them in cold water and pat them dry before using them.

One way to pit olives is to squish them under your thumb or use the side of a broad knife blade, with the blade held parallel to the table (i.e., not facing up), and rap it down briskly to release the pit from the olive meat. Be sure to wear a dark shirt or kitchen apron since the pits like to celebrate their liberté in a very “far-reaching” way.

Tapenade can be spread on Herbed goat cheese toasts. Pastis is the classic accompaniment, although I never developed a taste for the anise-scented
elixir that mysteriously turns cloudy when water is added to dilute its high-test taste and strength. I opt for chilled rosé.

1-1/2 cups (210g) black olives, pitted
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed  lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt (optional)

1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the olives, garlic, capers, thyme, anchovies, lemon juice, and mustard a few times to start breaking them down.

2. Add the olive oil and run the food processor until the mixture forms a slightly chunky paste. The tapenade shouldn’t need any salt, but taste and add a sprinkle if necessary. The tapenade will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

About the Author

DAVID LEBOVITZ has been a professional cook and baker for most of his life; he spent nearly thirteen years at Chez Panisse until he left the restaurant business in 1999 to write books. He moved to Paris in 2004 and turned into a phenomenally popular blog. He is the author of six books, including The Perfect Scoop, Ready for Dessert, The Great Book of Chocolate, and a memoir called The Sweet Life in Paris, and he was named one of the Top Five Pastry Chefs in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle. David has also been featured in Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Cook’s Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, and more. 

My Review

 I'm a huge fan of David Lebovitz's blog. I love to read about living and eating in Paris. This cookbook was an obvious addition to my cookbook collection.

Here is a link to his blog post today: 

David's latest book is not just a cookbook. It is a book about living, cooking, eating, and shopping in Paris. The book is divided into Appetizers, First Courses, Main Courses, Sides, Desserts and Pantry. The Introduction itself details the ingredients and equipment you need in your kitchen to accomplish modern French cooking. The Pantry section details such basic items as chicken stock, creme fraiche and vinaigrette. These items are handy to have on hand. I was just looking over his recipe for Madeleines as I have a new Madeleine pan that I want to try out. And I've been drooling over the photo of the chocolate-dulce de leche tart. The Chicken With Mustard on the cover looks amazing. That will definitely be happening soon at my house.

The book has beautiful photographs of the recipes in the book as well as photos of Paris. It is available in hardcover as well as in digital. It is available today!! You definitely want a copy of this book!

Review: Poisoned Ground: A Rachel Goddard Mystery (Rachel Goddard Mystery #6) by Sandra Parshall

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1591 KB
  • Print Length: 297 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1464202249
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (March 1 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

When a powerful development company sets its sights on Mason Country, Virginia, as the location for a sprawling resort for the rich, the locals begin taking sides. Many residents see the resort as economic salvation for the small Blue Ridge Mountains community, while others fear the county will become financially dependent on a predatory company.

Few oppose the development more vocally than veterinarian Rachel Goddard. She sides with locals reluctant to sell their land and, in the process, complicates the life of her new husband, Sheriff Tom Bridger.

When a beloved couple is gunned down on the very farm they refused to sell, it seems supporters will stop at nothing to ensure the success of the resort. Now disagreement in the community has exploded into civil war with both sides lashing out. As the violence escalates, Rachel discovers the attacks are more sinister than they appear.

Can she bring the truth to light before her community tears itself apart?

About the Author

Sandra Parshall is the author of the Rachel Goddard Mysteries: The Heat of the Moon, which won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2006; Disturbing the Dead; Broken Places; Under the Dog Star; and Bleeding Through (Sept 2012). A former reporter on newspapers in her home state of South Carolina as well as West Virginia and Baltimore, MD, she now lives in the Washington, DC, area with her journalist husband and two cats.

My Review

This is the second book that I've read in the Rachel Goddard Mystery series by Sandra Parshall. I am very impressed with Ms. Parshall's writing style. I am also impressed with the story. It was a good mystery that kept me guessing until the end.

A development company has divided the residents of Rachel's small Blue Ridge Mountain community. Some people want to sell out and some don't. Old friendships are strained. Families are divided. It is amidst this turmoil that people start being murdered and vandalism is rampant. Are the murders related to the possible development...or is it something completely different.

Loved this book and highly recommend it. I am looking forward to reading more of this series.