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.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: Death Wears a Mask (Amory Ames Mystery #2) by Ashley Weaver

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1191 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Oct. 13 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00V36ODD0

Book Description

Amory Ames and her rakish husband Milo take on a murder at a masked ball in this Christie-esque traditional mystery set in 1930s England

Ashley Weaver established herself as a bright new voice in the tradition of Deanna Raybourn and Tasha Alexander with the first in her witty and stylish Amory and Milo Ames mystery series, Murder at the Brightwell.

Following the murderous events at the Brightwell Hotel, Amory Ames is looking forward to a tranquil period of reconnecting with reformed playboy husband Milo. Amory hopes a quiet stay at their London flat will help mend their dysfunctional relationship after their unexpected reconciliation. However, she soon finds herself drawn into another investigation when Serena Barrington asks her to look into the disappearance of valuable jewelry snatched at a dinner party.

Amory agrees to help lay a trap to catch the culprit at a lavish masked ball hosted by the notorious Viscount Dunmore. But when one of the illustrious party guests is murdered, Amory is pulled back into the world of detection, enlisted by old ally Detective Inspector Jones. As she works through the suspect list, she struggles to fend off the advances of the very persistent viscount even as rumors swirl about Milo and a French film star.

Once again, Amory and Milo must work together to solve a mystery where nothing is as it seems, set in the heart of 1930s society London.

About the Author

ASHLEY WEAVER is the Technical Services Coordinator for the Allen Parish Libraries in Louisiana. Weaver has worked in libraries since she was 14; she was a page and then a clerk before obtaining her MLIS from Louisiana State University. She lives in Oakdale, Louisiana.

My Review

Death Wears a Mask is the second book in the Amory Ames Mystery series by author Ashley Weaver.  Last year I read the first book in the series, Murder at the Brightwell. It was excellent and I had been looking forward to Death Wears a Mask.

Set in 1930s Britain, Death Wears a Mask is an excellent period mystery. It reminds me of reading an Agatha Christie novel. Death Wears a Mask is entirely set in London. Amory Ames and her rascal of a husband, Milo, are members of the upper class. They are both independently wealthy and spend their days living very privileged lives. Author Weaver is able to present their lives authentically.

Due to Amory's success at Brightwell, she is sought out by Mrs. Barrington to help her catch a jewel thief who has been making off with her favorite pieces. Suspects abound. I was very caught up in this well-written mystery until the very end. I had an inkling about a few things but there were lots of surprises for me!

Great book! Highly recommend! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review: A Bramble House Christmas (Carrigans of the Circle C Book 6) by C.J. Carmichael

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1506 KB
  • Print Length: 172 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Tule Publishing (Oct. 24 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01744LU08

Book Description

Finn Knightly a.k.a. Finn Conrad wants to know why his recently deceased father left his nurse fifty thousand dollars after knowing her a mere six weeks. So he travels to Bramble House B&B in Marietta, Montana to find answers.
But Willa Fairchild is not the conniving woman he expects to find. Before he knows it, Willa-and her six-year-old son Scout-are stealing his heart. And that’s before he finds out Scout’s secret and the real reason this Christmas is so important.

Carrigans of the Circle C series
Book 1: Promise Me, Cowboy
Book 2: Good Together
Book 3: Close to Her Heart
Book 4: Snowbound in Montana
Book 5: A Cowgirl's Christmas
Book 6: A Bramble House Christmas

Praise for C. J. Carmichael's novels

“One of my favorite elements of Carmichael’s books is her gripping portrayal of family dynamics.” Kathy Altman, USA Today

“Carmichael’s dialogue sparkles…” Romantic Times Reviews

“C.J. Carmichael’s The Dad Next Door is remarkably well written. Her characters have depth…and her depiction of their emotions is spot-on…” Romantic Times

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author C. J. Carmichael has written over 45 novels in her favorite genres of romance and mystery. She has been nominated twice for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award, as well as RT Bookclub’s Career Achievement in Romantic Suspense award, and the Bookseller’s Best honor.

She gave up the thrills of income tax forms and double entry book-keeping in 1998 when she sold her first book to Harlequin Superromance. Since then she has published over 35 novels with Harlequin and is currently working on a series of western romances with Tule Publishing. In addition C. J. Carmichael has published several cozy mystery series as an Indie author.

When not writing C. J. enjoys family time with her grown daughters and her husband. Family dinners are great. Even better are the times they spend hiking in the Rocky Mountains around their home in Calgary, and relaxing at their cottage on Flathead Lake, Montana.

My Review

A Bramble House Christmas is the sixth book in the Carrigans of the Circle C series. The author is CJ Carmichael who is one of my favorite romance writers.

A Bramble House Christmas is a heartwarming tale that is just perfect to get into the Christmas spirit. It is extremely well written and is an excellent tale. If you have read Snowbound in Montana then you will be familiar with the couple who run the Bramble House Inn. Sage, the owner of the chocolate shop, is also featured as is Callan to a lesser degree. CJ Carmichael has done a great job with introducing new characters into Marietta, Montana.

Marietta, Montana is a fictional town in the mountains south of Bozeman. It sounds like to the perfect place to spend a white Christmas.  Willa Fairchild's and Finn Conrad's story will move your heartstrings. I was in happy tears by the end...always the sign of a great romance!

If you are only going to read one Christmas romance this season then this is the one! Highly recommend.

Great Escapes Book Tour: A Dickens of a Murder by Joyce and Jim Lavene

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 373 KB
  • Print Length: 201 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: J. Lavene (Nov. 3 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B015269QSI

Tour Participants

November 3 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review
November 3 – The Mysterious Ink Spot – Guest Post
November 4 – Mallory Heart Reviews – Review
November 4 – Frankie Bow  Interview
November 5 – MysteriesEtc – Review
November 5 – Mythical Books – Guest Post
November 6 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review
November 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Review, Interview
November 7 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
November 7 – Booklady’s Booknotes – Guest Post
November 8 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
November 8 – Tea and A Book – Review
November 9 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review
November 9 – readalot – Review
November 10 – fuonlyknew – Review
November 10 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – Review
November 11 – Book Splurge – Review
November 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
November 12 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review, Interview
November 12 – THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK – Review
November 13 – Back Porchervations – Review
November 13 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review
November 14 – Community Bookstop – Review
November 15 – Brooke Blogs – Review
November 16 – View from the Birdhouse – Review
November 16 – Student of Opinions – Review


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Book Description

Lisa Wellman and Simon Canterville are surprised to find a dead man on their roof in the midst of rushing to open the Canterville Book Shop in time for the holidays. And not just any dead man – Ebenezer Hart – the man who opposed the book shop opening in Olde Town, Portsmouth, Virginia.
What might be more surprising is when Daniel Fairhaven – Lisa’s ex – turns up at the door of the three-story Victorian house to head the police investigation. She hasn’t seen him in years but the sparks start to fly as soon as they are in the same room together.

Simon and Lisa are obviously the best suspects for the murder. Each of them had something to gain by Hart’s death. Then an attempt on Simon’s life throws that theory into a tailspin.  But the biggest surprise yet comes when the ghost of Charles Dickens turns up to help Lisa with the murder investigation – and writing the mystery novel she has been working on for years.  Without a doubt, Daniel and Dickens in Lisa’s life means trouble. And there’s still the matter of trying to get the book shop open with a killer on their heels.

About the Author

 Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

My Review

A Dickens of a Murder is the first book in the new series, the Canterville Book Shop Mysteries.  It written by prolific authors Jim and Joyce Lavene. Joyce passed away unexpectedly shortly before the publication of this book. Her passing is a huge loss to the cozy mystery genre. Their daughter Jeni Chappelle has stepped up to the plate to help with this family enterprise. I hope there are further books in this series.

A Dickens of a Murder is set in the Olde Town section of Portsmouth, Virginia. I haven't been there before and it is now on my list of places to visit. I enjoyed the setting of an old period home and the idea of setting up a book shop.

Lisa Wellman is a thirty-something former librarian setting up a book shop with senior Simon Canterville. The novel opens with a body being found on the roof of the Canterville house. Simon and Lisa are both suspects. The story is complicated by the involvement of the deputy police chief who happens to be Lisa's ex-husband. Then of course there is the ghost of Charles Dickens...

Interesting cozy mystery with a paranormal element. Well written with a good story. I'm looking forward to more in this series!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: The Grownup: A Story by Gillian Flynn

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1274 KB
  • Print Length: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (Nov. 3 2015)
  • Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0138OACAW

Book Description

Gillian Flynn’s Edgar Award-winning homage to the classic ghost story, published for the first time as a standalone

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection; however, when the "psychic" visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

“The Grownup,” which originally appeared as “What Do You Do?” in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.

About the Author

Gillian Flynn is an American author and television critic for Entertainment Weekly. She has so far written three novels, Sharp Objects, for which she won the 2007 Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the best thriller; Dark Places; and her best-selling third novel Gone Girl.

Her book has received wide praise, including from authors such as Stephen King. The dark plot revolves around a serial killer in a Missouri town, and the reporter who has returned from Chicago to cover the event. Themes include dysfunctional families,violence and self-harm.

In 2007 the novel was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer, Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie, CWA New Blood and Ian Fleming Steel Daggers, winning in the last two categories.

Flynn, who lives in Chicago, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated at the University of Kansas, and qualified for a Master's degree from Northwestern University.

Review Quotes:
"Gillian Flynn is the real deal, a sharp, acerbic, and compelling storyteller with a knack for the macabre."
–Stephen King

My Review

I've read Dark Places and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Both were compelling stories filled with damaged unlikable mystifying people. The Grownup is equally filled with damaged unlikable mystifying people.

It is a very well written short story. It had me in its grip from beginning to end. I didn't find the ending satisfying but understood why it ended that way.

$3.99 for this short story for the Kindle. I think 99 cents would have been a fairer price.

Review: A Likely Story (Library Lover's Mystery #6) by Jenn McKinlay

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1509 KB
  • Print Length: 293 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425260747
  • Publisher: Berkley (Nov. 3 2015)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00SI026IS

Book Description

 A new hardcover in the Library Lover's mystery series from the New York Times bestselling author of On Borrowed Time. Small-town librarian Lindsey Norris must solve a murder and a missing person's case involving two reclusive brothers.


Delivering books to the housebound residents of the Thumb Islands, just a short boat ride from the town of Briar Creek, library director Lindsey Norris has befriended two elderly brothers, Stewart and Peter Rosen. She enjoys visiting them in their treasure-filled, ramshackle Victorian on Star Island until she discovers that Peter has been killed and Stewart is missing. Now she's determined to solve a murder and find Stewart before he suffers his brother's fate.

About the Author

 Jenn is the New York Times bestselling author of several mystery series. She lives in sunny Arizona in a house that is overrun with kids, pets and her husband's guitars. 

From Jenn's Website Bio:

When did I decide to become a writer? Funny story. True story. I was a teenager and went to see the movie Romancing the Stone. I don't know that I decided to be a writer so much as I decided to be Kathleen Turner. Yes, that would be quite a stretch for me, but living in an apartment in New York City, writing romance novels for a living seemed like a good gig and so the dream began. I did nothing with it for YEARS.

I went to Southern Conn State Univ, where I studied English Literature and Library Science and worked at a bar called Toad's Place. I then took a full time job working as a librarian in Cromwell, CT. Still, I wrote nothing. Full time work was not conducive to writing time. I knew I needed to live in a place where I could afford to live, working part-time.

So, I packed up all of my crap and my cat and moved 3,000 miles across the country to Arizona and then I started writing -- romances. Hmmm. They were pretty bad, but I learned a lot along the way about POV, character development and plotting, etc. I took a wide variety of part-time jobs, convinced that it was all temporary because one day I would be a published writer.

While I was pursuing this dream with some pretty impressive (also called psychopathic) single-mindedness, I had my heart broken a few times and I broke a few along the way. I found my soul mate (in a library - for real) and married him. I had a gorgeous baby boy.

And then the call came! A lovely woman called from Harlequin and wanted to buy a book I had submitted a year (yes, a WHOLE year) before. She said, "We want to buy your book." I looked at the bundle of joy in my arms and asked, "What book?" She said, "Hmm. Usually people scream about now." I said, "I can't. It'd wake the baby." This was my first lesson in perspective and what is truly important in life, my family, but I still wanted to be a writer.

I signed a contract and went on to write for a couple of Harlequin's romantic comedy lines. I learned so much and I joined a group of writers who quickly became friends that I still talk to pretty much every day. I had another gorgeous baby boy.

The writing was hard for me and I learned that I was not a romance writer so much as a mystery writer. I'm just better at killing people than I am at making them fall in love. Knowing this, my husband sleeps really well at night, really! Bwa ha ha.

So, I started over. I wrote several mysteries. I submitted to agents and publishers. No one loved the whole package. They loved my characters and hated my plot or vice versa. It was agony. Then a lone voice, an agent, decided she thought I was a genius (always a good sign).

She signed me and now I had a buddy to suffer the rejection with me. It still hurt. We kept trying. It went on for two years. And then we sold! In 2008, I agreed to write a decoupage mystery series, then I submitted an idea for a cupcake bakery mystery series and it sold. Sadly, my original agent left to pursue new and different dreams of her own.

I stayed with my agency, liking her partner very much. I knew it was a good match when I submitted an idea for a library lover's series and my new agent loved it and sold it.

You'd think I'd rest now. You know, take a chill pill and just enjoy the ride. Yeah, I'm not built that way. After so many years of hours hunched over my keyboard, banging out stories, years spent checking my mail box and my email inbox for good news, I don't think I'll rest until I really feel like I've achieved what I set out to do. And so, I agreed to write the bargain hunters series and most recently, I sold another idea for a mystery series set in London that looks like it will be a blast to write! This will be my fifth mystery series. Wow. I am very excited!

Is it enough yet? I don't think so. So far, three of my series have landed on the New York Times best seller's list. Awesome, but still, there's something just outside my reach. I guess I'll know what it is when it's in my grasp. Maybe it is something only time can give me. I don't know.

In the meantime, I am writing up a storm in the corner of my kitchen in my house in the desert. While my house, which is filled to bursting with kids, pets and my husband's guitars, is not the New York City apartment I dreamed of as a teen, I wouldn't trade it or the life I am living for anything!

My Review

 A Likely Story is the sixth book in the Library Lover's Mystery series by author Jenn McKinlay.  This is a great series and McKinlay is one of my favorite cozy mystery writers. McKinlay is a great writer and storyteller!

Set in coastal Connecticut, in the fictional town of Briar Creek, Lindsey Norris is the librarian of the small town library. Lindsey has a great supporting cast of friends to assist her with solving local mysteries. As the town librarian, Lindsey has been delivering books to inhabitants of the local Thumb Islands. The book opens with Lindsey along with her friend Sully trying to deliver books to two older brothers who are recluses on a local island. They are hoarders who are rarely seen in town. Lindsey and Sully quickly discover the island is booby-trapped and one of the brothers is dead. Could the other brother be to blame? Where has he gone?

A Likely Story moved along a brisk pace. I found it hard to put down. At one point my heart was racing. Great cozy mystery!

I highly recommend A Likely Story. I'm looking forward to the next book in the Library Lover's Mystery series.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Review: Rest Assured: A Recovery Plan for Weary Souls by Vicki Courtney

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W Publishing Group (Nov. 17 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084996492X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849964923

Book Description

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28

Women are overcommitted, overconnected, overburdened, and overwhelmed. Their lives are full, but oddly, their souls are empty. They are aching for a bold challenge one that will bring rest to their longing souls.Rest Assured is for the daring women who truly want to disrupt their current patterns and see lasting change.

Divided into two parts, Rest Assured offers not just an intervention: The Badge of Busyness, The Exhausting Pursuit of Happiness, Tethered Souls and Worried Sick.

But also a recovery plan: Prioritize the One Thing Needed: Time for God Create Room to Breathe: Time for Solitude Give Yourself a Break: Time for Leisure Pay It Forward: Time for Others

If the soul is weary, it s time for an intervention.Rest Assured is not a quick fix, but rather a bold challenge that aids women in identifying the negative patterns that prevent them from experiencing rest in their souls. Most importantly, it will give them the tools needed to break the cycle.

A Rest Stop challenge is included at the end of each chapter for use in Bible studies and book clubs. Bonus material includes a 30-Day Restitution Plan and 100 Ways to Give It a Rest."

About the Author

 Vicki Courtney is a speaker and the author of numerous books and Bible studies. For more information, check out her author page at

My Review

Rest Assured: A Recovery Plan for Weary Souls is a new book by Christian author Vicki Courtney.  This is the first book of Vicki's that I have read.

Rest Assured is divided into two parts. The first part, Enemies of Rest: The Intervention:
  • The Badge of Busyness
  • The Exhausting Pursuit of Happiness
  • Tethered Souls
  • Worried Sick
The second part, Redeeming Rest, The Recovery:
  • Prioritize the One Thing Needed: Time for God
  • Create Room to Breathe: Time for Solitude
  • Give Yourself a Break: Time for Leisure
  • Pay It Forward: Time for Others
 There are two other sections at the end:

  • A Thirty Day Restoration Guide
  • 100 Ways to Give it a Rest
 Rest Assured is a wonderful read and is a tool to help us to identify the things in our life that are causing us to be exhausted. Women need to learn how to say No, to be able to stop committing to helping with everything. There is only so much we can do in a day.  The author shares this thought with us in the introduction: question, “What is your greatest risk?” I realized that my greatest risk at that moment was not to do more, serve more, or prove more, but rather to do less. Much less. So I decided to tell the truth. “My greatest risk is slowing down and resting. I have forgotten how to be still.” (Vicki Courtney. Rest Assured: A Recovery Plan for Weary Souls (Kindle Locations 196-198). Thomas Nelson.) I think we all have forgotten to be still.

I really enjoyed Rest Assured and I think that it would be a great book for a women's bible study to take on.