Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Sand Castle Bay by Sherryl Woods

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (Mar 26 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778314367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778314363

Book Description

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Sherryl Woods takes readers to the North Carolina coast with a new family and her trademark heartfelt emotions In a trade-off she's lived to regret, Emily Castle left home years ago to become an interior designer. The youngest of three sisters, Emily desperately wanted to prove herself. Success, though, came at the cost of leaving behind the man she loved.

For Boone Dorsett, losing Emily left his heart shattered, but another woman was waiting in the wings. Now a widower with a young son, Boone has a second chance with Emily when a storm brings her home. But with his former in-laws threatening a custody suit, the stakes of loving her are higher than ever.

Will fate once again separate them-or is the time finally right for these two star-crossed lovers?

About the Autohr

 With her roots firmly planted in the South, Sherryl Woods has written many of her more than 100 books in that distinctive setting, whether in her home state of Virginia, her adopted state, Florida, or her much-adored South Carolina. Sherryl is best known for her ability to creating endearing small town communities and families. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 75 romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition.

My Review

 Sherryl Woods has a way with words and her style of writing invites the reader into new romance filled worlds.  This is a new series for Ms. Woods:  Ocean Breeze novels set on the coast of North Carolina.  It's a cozy world despite being hit by hurricanes.  Revolving around the restaurant and home of their grandmother, the Castle sisters can always find their center on the ocean shores of their childhood.

In the first book, Emily Castle has come to her grandmother's to assist after a hurricane only to find the love she left behind is newly widowed.   And has a young son who quickly adores her.  Of course there are complications and misunderstandings thrown in their path.

Lovely romance to read when you are looking for one.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: Blood, Ash and Bone by Tina Whittle

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (Mar 5 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1464200939
  • ISBN-13: 978-1464200939

Book Description

 Tai Randolph doesn’t want to hear about homicide. She’s had enough of the dark and the dangerous, and decides some time out of Atlanta is exactly what she needs to put the recent spate of corpses behind her. It‘s a idyllic vision —selling her wares at the Savannah Civil War Expo, attending a few Confederate re-enactments, perhaps a little romantic rendezvousing with Trey, who has agreed to put aside the corporate security agent routine and join her for a long weekend in her hometown. But in the South, the past is never past. It tends to rise again. In Tai’s case, it shows up as her tattooed heartbreaker of an ex-boyfriend, desperate for her help. He spins a tale of betrayal, deceit, and a stolen Civil War artifact that Tai agrees to help him recover. Suddenly, Trey’s on the case too, representing a competing — and well-moneyed — client with eyes on the same mythical prize. As the lovers square off against each other, Tai discovers that her complicated boyfriend makes an even more intriguing adversary, revealing a ferociously competitive streak under his cool Armani exterior. But where there‘s money, there‘s usually murder, this time involving the KKK and Tai‘s unapologetically unreconstructed kinfolk. As she unravels the clues to a 150-year-old mystery, she digs up secrets from her own past — and Trey’s — forcing a confrontation with a ruthless killer, and with her own willingness to do whatever it takes to save everything that matters.

About the Author

 Tina Whittle is a mystery writer working in Statesboro, Georgia. Her short fiction has appeared in The Savannah Literary Journal, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and Gulf Stream, which selected her story “Lost Causes and Other Reasons to Live” as the 2004 winner of their Mystery Fiction contest. She is a columnist and feature writer for The 11th Hour, a local alternative newspaper, and also works as a professional tarot reader.

My Review

 I am enjoying the Tina Whittle series featuring Tai Randolph.  Blood, Ash and Bone which is the third book is also the third that I've read.  I think the stories and the writing are improving with each book.  I am enjoying the setting of this third book which is set in Savannah instead of Atlanta.  And as the series has been progressing the characters are being fleshed out and becoming familiar and relatable to the reader.

 We are meeting more of Tai's very interesting extended family in this outing.  The ghosts of the War Between the States make an appearance as do the KKK.  The developing love story between Tai and Trey progresses.  I am really starting to feel invested in these characters.   And there is plenty of action-packed drama to keep you on your toes.

I really enjoyed this mystery and I'm sure you will too.  It is available March 5th.  


Peter Bowen: Historical Western Series being released as ebooks

Peter Bowen 

Peter Bowen whose historical Western series are now being re-released as ebooks.

About the Author: 

Peter Bowen lives in Montana, where he is a cowboy, hunting and fishing guide, folksinger, poet, essayist, and novelist. He is the author of the historical western Yellowstone Kelly series and the Gabriel Du Pré mysteries, about a Montana lawman.

About the Books: 

The Yellowstone Kelly novels take place in the Wild West of the 1870s. Reminiscent of Larry McMurty’s westerns, they feature a hilarious and sly witted scout whose adventures range from Buffalo hunts in the Zulu War to joining the Rough Riders with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Fans and critics alike have praised Bowen’s intelligent, evocative, and lyrical writing. The New York Times wrote, “Riding with Du Pré is some kind of enchantment… Bowen writes mysteries that are truly mysterious,” and Publishers Weekly called the Yellowstone Kelly series, “Very, very funny.”

Filmed from his home in beautiful Montana, Bowen speaks about the role the West has played in his writing and his life:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Paging the Dead (A Family History Mystery #1) by Brynn Bonner

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (Mar 12 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145166186X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451661866

Book Description

When a professional genealogist who teaches classes in family history scrapbooking is implicated in the murder of her client, she starts her own investigation to clear her name—and avoid jail!

Genealogist Sophie McClure spends much of her time researching the histories of families. With the help of her business partner and medium, Esme Sabatier, she is able to achieve extraordinary results in tracing family histories, which she translates into archival-scrapbooking. When one of their clients ends up dead and the evidence in the crime scene points to them, Sophie and Esme are immediately suspected of foul play. To clear their names they need to channel all of their investigative efforts—with the help of their scrapbooking club—into finding a murderer.

About the Author

 Brynn Bonner grew up in Alabama and lives in North Carolina. She was a working journalist, a high school teacher, a university instructor, and a full-time mother before beginning to write fiction. Both her literary fiction and mysteries frequently reflect the landscapes and the genuine people of her southern heritage—with an abiding emphasis on characters and their relationships to one another and to their place in the world. She has penned six novels writing as Ellen Harris. Her short stories have been featured in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Futures, Now and Then, Crossroads, and other publications.

My Review

 Light, cozy mystery featuring two of my favorite things:  a mystery and genealogy.   And archival scrapbooking which is something I always think about doing but never seem to get around to it! 

This book is the first in a series and it is off to a promising start.  The characters were all believable, fully drawn and filled out.  The story was well plotted and the book is well written.   I enjoyed the mystery portion even though I did have it solved about three quarters of the way through.

I do recommend this cozy mystery by author Brynn Bonner.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (Mar 26 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451645821
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451645828

Book Description

 From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961. 

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.

On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, it is a moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

About the Author

 William Kent Krueger is the award-winning author of twelve previous Cork O’Connor novels, including Northwest Angle and Trickster’s Point, as well as the novel Ordinary Grace. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family. Visit his website at

My Review

To say that I think that William Kent Krueger is an incredible author would be an understatement.  I have devoured every book in the Cork O'Connor series.  Krueger has a compelling writing style and develops the most amazing stories.  He descriptions of the Minnesota countryside are so vivid and intoxicating that you feel like you are a native of Minnesota even though you have only fleetingly visited there.

I wondered how I would like this stand alone novel.  I shouldn't have.  It is a rich, emotional tale of a young thirteen year old boy and the tragedies that befell his family and his community in the summer of 1961.  You become emotionally invested n young Frank from the start.  It is a story about family.  And it is a story about believing in God; the wonderful grace that comes from giving your heart to God.

This is a beautiful, moving emotional tale that delves into the hearts and souls of the story's characters.  Due to Krueger's way with words you are in drawn into the story and are emotionally committed to his rich characters.  You'll shed show tears and you will be moved and when you are finished you will be glad you took the time to read such a beautiful story about life.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: Murder Below Montparnasse (Aimee Leduc Investigations #13) by Cara Black

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (Mar 5 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616952156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616952150

Book Description

A long-lost Modigliani portrait, a grieving brother’s blood vendetta, a Soviet secret that’s been buried for 80 years—Parisian private investigator Aimée Leduc’s current case is her most exciting one yet.

When Aimée’s long-term partner and best friend Rene leaves their detective agency for a new job in Silicon Valley, Aimée knows she can handle the extra workload. At least, that what she tells herself. Repeatedly.

But all bets are off when Yuri Volodya, a mysterious old Russian man, hires Aimée to protect a painting. By the time she gets to his Montparnasse atelier, the precious painting has already been stolen, leaving Aimée smelling a rat. The next day, Yuri is found tortured to death in his kitchen. To top it all off, it looks like Aimée isn’t the only one looking for the painting. Some very dangerous people are threatening her and her coworkers, and witnesses are dropping like flies. Now Aimée has to find the painting, stop her attackers, and figure out what her long-missing mother, who is on Interpol’s most wanted list, has to do with all this—fingers crossed she wasn’t Yuri’s murderer, despite clues pointing in that direction.

Obviously, Rene doesn’t need to worry. Aimee has things under control.

About the Author

Cara Black is the author of thirteen books in the bestselling Aimée Leduc series. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and son and visits Paris frequently.

My Review

What an honor to be able to review Cara Black's latest Aimee Leduc book before it is released.  This is the thirteenth book in the series and they just keep getting better!

Each book in the series is set in a different neighbourhood in Paris. Murder Below Montparnasse is set of course in the Montparnasse district in southern Paris.  Rene has been offered the job of a lifetime and is off to the Silicon Valley.  Aimee is contacted by an elderly Russian emigre to protect a Mogdigliani painting.  Before she can protect it the painting is stolen and the action begins.  Aimee's mother is once again featured as a mysterious figure lurking in the shadows, perhaps protecting her child...or why is she around.  There are Russian oligarchs, flics, and suspects galore.  Wonderful read.  Loved, loved, loved the ending!

Each year when I read the latest Aimee Leduc novel by Cara Black I am reinspired to get on a plane to Paris for a week and explore all the neighbourhoods....maybe this year!

Murder Below Montparnasse is released in sure to pick up a copy...and read the rest of the series if you haven't!

Eye Candy: Desserts and Gelato of Las Vegas

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Las Vegas Christmas 2012

The View From Our Room at the Trump

The Pool


Trump Christmas Tree in the Lobby

We saw Beatles Love at the Mirage.

The Venetian and Palazzo

Favorite Dessert at the Paris.

Lobby at the Wynn

Chanel store at the Wynn.

Christmas Eve buffet at the Wynn.

Lobby at Bellagio.

Christmas Day at Bellagio

More Bellagio

Crystal Mall

Ethel M Cactus Garden
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: Tainted Mountain by Shannon Baker

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (Mar 8 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738734225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738734224

Book Description

All Nora Abbot wants to do is make enough snow to save her ski resort from the drought that is ravishing Northern Arizona. But now her husband has been murdered; angry protestors have occupied her mountain; her overbearing mother has blown into town; and energy tycoon Barrett McCreary has launched what might just be a hostile takeover of the cash-strapped resort. To make matters worse, the local Hopi tribe claims making snow on the mountain will upset the balance of the earth, so Nora turns to the ruggedly handsome Cole Huntsman for help. The only trouble is that Huntsman seems to be playing from both sides of the deck. And when a fortune in uranium claims are at stake, double-dealing is a deadly strategy.

About the Author

Shannon Baker can often be found backpacking, skiing, kayaking, cycling, or just playing lizard in the desert. From the Colorado Rockies to the Nebraska Sandhills, the peaks of Flagstaff and the deserts of Tucson, landscapes play an important role in her books. Visit her online at

My Review

 First book in a new series by Shannon Baker.  Tainted Mountain is set in one of my favorite places, America's southwest.  Contemporary themes make this book interesting reading.  I found this book could have used a little more editing as it was not the smoothest read.  Good story overall.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: Deadly Stakes by J.A. Jance

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (Feb 5 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451628684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451628685

Book Description

A thrilling mystery from New York Times bestselling author J.A. Jance starring Ali Reynolds, who finds herself working against the police to clear two innocent names…with deadly stakes.
 In Deadly Stakes, police academy-trained former reporter Ali Reynolds is contacted to investigate the grisly murder of a gold-digging divorcee on behalf of a woman accused of the crime. Lynn Martinson is dating the dead woman’s ex-husband, and she and her boyfriend Chip Ralston have been charged.

Ali is simultaneously drawn to the case of A.J. Sanders, a frightened teen with secrets of his own. He’s the first to find the body in the Camp Verde desert when he goes to retrieve a mysterious buried box hidden by his absent father—a box that turns out to be filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in poker chips.

When the body of an ex-con is discovered near the first crime scene, Ali struggles to determine if A.J. and Lynn’s cases are related. Though her friends in the police department grow increasingly irritated by her involvement with the cases, Ali must stop a deadly killer from claiming another victim…before she herself is lost in this game of deadly stakes.

About The Author

 J.A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the Ali Reynolds series, the J.P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, as well as four interrelated Southwestern thrillers featuring the Walker family. Born in South Dakota, and brought up in Brisbee, Arizona, Jance and her husband live in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

My Review

 The first book of J.A. Jance's that I ever read was the first book in the Ali Reynolds series so this series is very special to me.  I have enjoyed reading about the evolution of Ali Reynolds in this series.  In this latest outing we are following two interrelated stories that end up initially causing friction in Ali's relationship with the local police force much to her dismay.

This is J.A. Jance at her best.  This is an excellent story with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader intriguedModern electronic techniques are employed to assist the detecting making this novel very up to date technologically.  Ali's relationships with her family, Leland and her beau all progress forward in this tale.

Excellent storytelling, great story, puzzling mystery, and excellent pacing contribute to this novel's success.  Highly recommend Deadly Stakes by J.A. Jance.