Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: A Deadly Little List by Kay Stewart and Chris Bullock

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NeWest Press (February 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1896300952
  • ISBN-13: 978-1896300955

Book Description

A deadly scandal surrounding a controversial land development casts a shadow over the annual Salt Spring Island theatre festival. While Constable Danutia Dranchuk searches desperately for clues surrounding an alleged suicide, nosy journalist, Arthur Fairweather comes face-to-face with another mysterious death. Can they get to the bottom of all this madness before a third body is added to the list?

About the Author


Kay Stewart was born in Texas, and Chris Bullock in Cheshire, England. They met while teaching at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Well-established as writers and editors, they moved in 2000 to a rural property near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, where they spend their time writing, supporting environmental causes, and enjoying the nature around them. A Deadly Little List is their first mystery title.

My Review

Salt Spring Island is one of the Gulf Islands in British Columbia.  It is a beautiful island surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and filled with forests, farms and lakes.  Artisans thrive there.  Bed and breakfast abound.  It is a delightful setting for a mystery!

In this bucolic setting developers are waiting to seize an opportunity.  Environmentalists will do what they can to stop them.  And in the midst of this is the annual Salt Spring Island theatre festival.  There are mysterious deaths and suspects galore.  Constable Danutia Dranchuk and newspaper critic Arthur Fairweather are both suspicious and on the trail of the murderer.  Which one will solve the mystery? Or will they join forces to solve it together?  

I love reading mystery novels set in the region where I live.  Kay Stewart and Chris Bullock have done a wonderful job of bringing Salt Spring Island to life and writing a great tale!  Highly recommend this delightful mystery novel.

Review: An O'Brien Family Christmas (Chesapeake Shores) by Sherryl Woods

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; First Edition edition (September 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778312704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778312703

Dating Matthew O’Brien-a playboy and a younger man-cost Laila Riley her career and her parents’ respect. A high price, even for love-and when Laila decides it was just a fling, she breaks it off, despite Matthew’s objections.

It’s a great time to get away from it all, but Laila has reservations about joining the O’Briens for a Dublin holiday. Matthew’s bound to be there, and she’s far from immune. What if she can’t resist temptation?

Meanwhile, the O’Briens are in an uproar over matriarch Nell’s unexpected romance with an old flame. Will she follow her heart despite the risks? And will Laila discover that some risks are actually once-in-a-lifetime opportunities?

About the Author


With her roots firmly planted in the South, Sherryl Woods has written many of her more than 100 books in that distinctive setting, whether her home state of Virginia, her adopted state, Florida, or her much-adored South Carolina. She's also especially partial to small towns, wherever they may be. A member of Novelists Inc., Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America, Sherryl divides her time between her childhood summer home overlooking the Potomac River in Colonial Beach, Virginia, and her oceanfront home, with its lighthouse view, in Key Biscayne, Florida. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

My Review

This is the third book in the Sherryl Woods Chesapeake Shores series that I have read.  This is a great romance series.  Woods is a great writer and her stories are very addictive!  Very hard to put down!

In this volume, the entire O'Brien clan heads off the Dublin, Ireland for the Christmas holiday season.  Love is in the air for the young Matthew O'Brien and his lady of choice Laila Riley.  Laila is still concerned about their age difference but perhaps with the magic of Ireland and the Christmas season she will finally see him for the mature man he has grown into.

And love is also in the air for the matriarch of the O'Brien family, Nell.  An old flame is also widowed and still looking at her with love in his eyes in Dublin.  So you can always predict what will happen in romances but it is always a nice journey to get there.

Excellent Christmas read!

Review: As The Pig Turns: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312387024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312387020

 Book Description

Winter Parva is a “picturesque” (touristy) Cotswold village with gift shops, a medieval market hall, and thatched cottages. After a disappointing Christmas season, the parish council has decided to hold a special event in January, complete with old-fashioned costumes, morris dancing, and a pig roast on the village green. 
Always one for a good roasting, Agatha Raisin organizes an outing to enjoy the merriment. The rotary spit turning over a bed of blazing charcoals is sure to please on this foggy and blistery evening. But as the fog lifts slightly, the sharp-eyed Agatha notices something peculiar about the pig: a tattoo of a heart with an arrow through it and the name Amy.

“Stop!” she screams suddenly. “Pigs don’t have tattoos.”

The “pig,” in fact, is Gary Beech, a policeman not exactly beloved by the locals, including Agatha herself. Although Agatha has every intention of leaving matters to the police, everything changes when the Gary’s ex-wife, Amy, hires Agatha’s detective agency to investigate—and another murder ensues. With that provocation, how could any sleuth as vain and competitive (and secretly insecure) as Agatha do anything other than solve the case herself?

About the Author


M.C. BEATON has been hailed as the “Queen of Crime” (The Globe and Mail). Chosen as the British guest of honor at Bouchercon 2006, she is the author of twenty-one previous Agatha Raisin novels, the Hamish Macbeth series, and an Edwardian mystery series published under the name Marion Chesney. Born in Scotland, she currently divides her time between Paris and the English Cotswolds.

My Review

I love love love the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton.  There is no better way to while away an afternoon than with Agatha Raisin.  Agatha is a loud, brash, overwhelming but endearing middle aged British woman who happens to constantly stumble across murders and mysteries.  She lives in the quiet bucolic Cotswold area in a lovely cottage with her two pet cats...who really do love her.  She has stumbled across and solved so many mysteries that she opened up her own detective agency.

Agatha thinks she is not loved and her pursuits of love (with all types of unsuitable men of course) always bring about the funniest situations and best laughs.  Agatha has actually created a great circle of friends and people that love her in her village and in her detective agency.  An outing with some of them to Winter Parva and her discovery that the roast pig is not a pig but a dead male body sets them off on a great adventure.

This adventure of Agatha Raisin is the 22nd in the series.  I cannot recommend this entire series enough and I really really recommend that you read it from the beginning.  It is in my opinion one of the best cozy mystery series out there.  I am already looking forward to the next adventure of Agatha, Charles, Toni, and James.

Review: The Queen's Jewels by David Glenn

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cortero Publishing (July 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935585819
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935585817

A lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth I is murdered. Later, the Queen discovers some of her jewels are missing. These are obviously two unrelated events-or are they? Sir Michael de Subermore, the Queen's sworn defender, and his ally, private investigator George Monty, are charged with solving both crimes. One by one, suspects are eliminated; and, unless another candidate is discovered, the Earl of Essex, with his increasingly naked ambition for the throne, stands alone as the guilty one. But is he? To get to the bottom of things, Sir Michael must survive a shipwreck, being chained to the oars of a galley, a very strange naval battle, and several murder attempts. But even when he solves the mystery of the jewels, there is an additional problem he must resolve-and that problem involves treason at the highest levels. England's most vigorous and colourful era is captured in this stirring tale of intrigue, treachery, and dedication to duty.
About The Author
David Glenn recently published through, two Elizabethan adventure/mystery novels.  The Queen’s Sword & The Queen’s Jewels are now available in print and electronic formats through all major booksellers worldwide.
In 1999, he won the Canadian Authors Short Story competition and since then has had various other stories and articles published.

As a professional actor/singer, David has played in most Canadian theaters, and appeared in a number of films and television productions.

My Review

I love mysteries and I love the Elizabethan period so The Queen's Jewels was already a winner in my eyes.  David Glenn's writing style is easy to read and enjoyable as well.  

One of Queen Elizabeth's ladies in waiting is murdered.  And some of her jewelry is missing.  Connected?  It's up to Sir Michael de Subermore and private investigator George Monty to solve the mystery.  There is plenty of action and lots of twists in this exciting read.

Author David Glenn brings to treachery and plotting of the Tudor period to life in this adventure mystery story that is bound to please both lovers of historical fiction and mysteries alike.

Review: The Tourist David Coles and Jack Everett

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 441 KB
  • Publisher: Acclaimed Books (August 5, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English

Product Description


Robert Cleghorn was a good soldier, so good that he was first selected to join the Special Forces and following a head injury, was recruited by the CIA. A second head injury hospitalized him and psychiatrists rebuilt his memories from what they could recover.

He escapes from the hospital where he was a virtual prisoner and goes to find the love of his life: his brother’s wife and a typically English rose. Always on a knife-edge, Robert quarrels with and kills his sibling.
Finding his brother was about to go to England, Robert assumes the other’s identity and heads for the UK. Blithely unaware that the memories of his beloved are artificial, unaware of the mayhem about to erupt and the very astute English copper soon to be seeking him and unaware, too, of the Americans dogging his footsteps, Robert soldiers on. The fun is about to start.

My Review

Wonderful thriller that features British detective Stewart White who is pursuing American Robert Cleghorn.  Robert has assumed his dead brother Alan's identity after doing away with him.  Robert sets off to Britain in pursuit of his sister-in-law, Stephanie.  Robert Cleghorn has had a past that has left him brain damaged and dangerous.  He was in the Special Forces and the CIA so he has been trained to hunt and kill.

This isn't my usual type of read...a little bit more descriptive of gore than my usual but still it all fits the story, it is not gratuitous.  Hard to put down book with the action moving a fast pace.  Good characters and a good story make The Tourist a great read!  Pick up the Kindle edition for only $2.99 on Amazon.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Lassiter by Paul Levine

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553806742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553806748

Product Description


Eighteen years ago, Jake Lassiter crossed paths with a teenage runaway who disappeared into South Florida’s sex trade. Now he retraces her steps and runs head-on into a conspiracy of Miami’s rich and powerful who would do anything to keep the past as dark as night and silent as the grave. In this tale of redemption and revenge, Edgar-nominated author Paul Levine delivers his most powerful thriller yet.

Jake Lassiter, second-string linebacker turned low-rent lawyer, is cynical about the law, but if you hire him, he’ll take a punch for you . . . and maybe a swing at the prosecutor, too.

Amy Larkin—beautiful, angry, and mysterious—accuses Lassiter of involvement in the disappearance of her sister eighteen years earlier. What does Lassiter know about Krista Larkin, the runaway teen turned porn actress? More than he’s saying.

Seeking to atone for his own past, Lassiter follows the cold trail of the missing Krista and butts head with the powerful men who also knew her: a former porn king turned philanthropist, a slick Cuban-born prosecutor who’d love to be governor, and an aging mobster who once worked for the infamous Meyer Lansky. 

The evidence leads to a long-ago night of kinky sex, designer drugs—and possible murder. But before Lassiter can nail the truth, a gun goes off, a suspect falls dead, and Amy is charged with murder.

The state has an eyewitness and a slam-dunk case. Lassiter has a client he doesn’t trust and a case he can’t win. Did Amy shoot the man who killed her sister? Or the wrong man? And what really happened to Krista? The answers, buried under years of deceit and corruption, are revealed in an explosive courtroom finale proving that rough justice is better than no justice at all.

About the Author


Paul Levine is a former trial lawyer and the award-winning author of legal thrillers including Illegal, Solomon vs. Lord (nominated for the Macavity Award and the James Thurber Prize), The Deep Blue Alibi (nominated for an Edgar Award), and Kill All the Lawyers (a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award). He won the John D. MacDonald Award for his critically acclaimed Jake Lassiter novels, which are now available as ebooks. He’s also written more than twenty episodes for the CBS military drama JAG. Paul Levine lives in Los Angeles, where he is working on his next Jake Lassiter thriller.

My Review

This is my first Paul Levine novel.  Excellent surprise to discover that he is a great author.  Lassiter is the title of the novel which is the latest in the Jake Lassiter series.  The last book in the series Flesh & Bones was published fourteen years ago.

Jake Lassiter is an ex-football player who is now a lawyer in South Florida.  Not the greatest lawyer but his heart is in the right place.  I loved this book.  It is well written and you really connect with the characters in the novel.  The story itself is full of twists and turns that you don't see coming.  I loved the ending.

I highly recommend this crime mystery novel by Paul Levine. 

Blog Tour Review: A Christmas Journey Home: Miracle in the Manger (Understanding the Books of the Bible) by Kathi Macias

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: New Hope Publishers (October 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596693282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596693289

Product Description


During Isabella Alcantara’s seventh month of pregnancy, her parents and siblings are murdered in gang- and drug-related violence, simply because their home was targeted by mistake. Isabella knows she was spared only because she now lives in a different location, but she knows too that the same thing could easily happen to her and her husband, Francisco. When her grandfather offers to hire a “coyote” to bring them across the border to America, she agrees. But Francisco and Isabella are abandoned by the coyote and left to die. Francisco then valiantly sacrifices himself to get Isabella to safety. Homeless, nearly penniless, pregnant, and alone, Isabella determines to find a way to honor her promise to her beloved husband.

Living on one of the smaller spreads along the Arizona border, Miriam Nelson becomes furious with God and turns from her faith when her <br /> border patrol agent husband, David, is killed in a skirmish with drug smugglers. Though her mother and young son do their best to woo her back from the anger and bitterness that have overtaken her, they make little headway.

Two widows—one driven by fear and a promise, the other by bitterness and revenge—must make their journeys along different pathways, but with the same destination: a barn full of animals that stands waiting for them on Christmas Eve. Forced to face their personal demons, Isabella and Miriam soon discover a common yearning that will bind them together in a most miraculous way.

About the Author


Award winning author Kathi Macias has written more than 20 books, including the “Extreme Devotion” series of novels for New Hope Publishers.

Kathi has won many awards, including the Angel Award from Excellence in Media, fiction awards from the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, and the grand prize in an international writing contest.

With women’s ministry as her primary interest, Kathi is a popular speaker for women’s retreats, conferences, and churches. A mother and grandmother, Kathi and her husband, Al, call California home.


Watch the video

My Review

I am quite thrilled to be part of the blog tour for this inspiring book.  What a wonderful idea for a Christmas book.  Kathi Macias has brought the bible to life with a contemporary retelling of the nativity story.  It will appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike.  What an excellent book to give to someone who is seeking answers or someone who you know needs Christ in their lives.

This is the story of two very different women who paths converge on Christmas Eve.  In the two months leading up to Christmas these two women's hearts are revealed to us.  While you know deep down what the inevitable outcome is going to be, Macias's wonderful writing style makes the story believable and compelling.  I'm sure your emotions will be stirred as mine were and you will be moved to tears by the end. 

I highly recommend this lovely Christmas novel.  Buy a copy for yourself but be sure to get a few for friends who you know in your heart need this story.  Perfect read for just before Christmas.  With all the silliness and consumerism that often surrounds the Christmas season people need to be reminded what Christmas is really about and reminded of the true message of Christmas.