Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review: Deadly Jewels: A Novel by Jeannette de Beauvoir

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 8 2016)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0140MQVX8

Book Description

 When Martine LeDuc, publicity director for the city of Montréal, is summoned into the mayor's office, she's pleasantly surprised to find the city is due for a PR coup: a doctoral researcher at McGill University claims to have found proof that the British crown jewels were stored in Montréal during WWII.

Martine is thrilled to be part of the excavation project, until it turns out that the dig's discoveries include the skeleton of a man with diamonds in his ribcage and a hole in his skull. Is this decades-old murder leading her too far into the dangerous world of Canada’s neo-Nazi networks, or is there something going on that makes the jewels themselves deadly? Is history ever really completely buried?

With pressing personal issues crowding into her professional life, Martine needs to solve not only the puzzle of the jewels, but some more recent crimes—including another murder, a kidnapping, and the operation of an ancient cult in Montréal—and do it before the past reaches out to silence her for good.

About the Author

 JEANNETTE DE BEAUVOIR is an award-winning novelist and poet whose work has been translated into 12 languages and has appeared in 15 countries. She finds that the past always has some hold on the present, and writes mysteries and historical fiction that reflect that resonance. More information at

My Review

Deadly Jewels is the second book in the Martine LeDuc series by author Jeannette de Beauvoir. I discovered this series last year with the first book, Asylum, which is an incredible book that was very close to my heart. Deadly Jewels is a fabulous follow up.

Jeannette de Beauvoir has created a fascinating character in Martine LeDuc. The reader is very involved in her personal life as well as her business life. Martine is the PR director for the City of Montreal in the Province of Quebec. It is a lovely historic city that de Beauvoir portrays very realistically.

There is a fantastic mystery in Deadly Jewels. I love history and de Beauvoir takes us back to World War II in flashbacks. I did not know that England's crown jewels spent the war years in Canada. I had not heard that tale before. Very interesting. There is an old murder, a new one, kidnapping, and Nazis.  De Beauvoir is a great writer and this mystery kept me glued to the pages. I did not want to put it down. I was completely surprised by the ending!

Jeannette de Beauvoir is one of my new favorite authors! I'm already looking forward to the third book in the series. I highly recommend Deadly Jewels.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery #1) by Vicki Delany

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2115 KB
  • Print Length: 295 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (Nov. 3 2015)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00SI0B5R6

Book Description


In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer…

As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays. That’s why she thinks her float in the semi-annual Santa Claus parade is a shoe-in for best in show. But when the tractor pulling Merry’s float is sabotaged, she has to face facts: there’s a Scrooge in Christmas Town.

Merry isn’t ready to point fingers, especially with a journalist in town writing a puff piece about Rudolph’s Christmas spirit. But when she stumbles upon the reporter’s body on a late night dog walk—and police suspect he was poisoned by a gingerbread cookie crafted by her best friend, Vicky—Merry will have to put down the jingle bells and figure out who’s really been grinching about town, before Vicky ends up on Santa’s naughty list…

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.

Visit Vicki at

My Review

Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen is the first book in the A Year-Round Christmas Mystery series by author Vicki Delany. I discovered Delany because of her Constable Molly Brown series which is an excellent series set in the Kootenay region of British Columbia.

A Year Round Christmas Mystery series is set in the fictional town Rudolph which is in upstate New York on Lake Ontario. The town is permanently set up as a Christmas town that celebrates Christmas all year long. The main character Merry owns a gift shop called Mrs. Claus's Treasures which caries gifts crafted by local artisans. I pictured Leavenworth, Washington which is a Bavarian themed town that has a lot of Christmas activities while I was reading.

Delany is a great writer and it is always a pleasure to read a cozy mystery that is well written and has a well crafted tale. There is a murder of course right near the beginning. It is a good mystery with lots of red herrings...I was surprised by the murderer reveal.

There are a lot of interesting characters to flesh out the story. Merry is single and has a couple of suitors...I am favouring the local toy maker. Merry's parents also figured prominently in the story....her father is the former Mayor and current Santa Claus while her mother, a former opera singer, now runs a music school and is singing carols with her students all over town.

This was perfect to read right before Christmas but of course can be read any time. Highly recommend Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by author Vicki Delany.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Review: Away in a Manger (Molly Murphy #15) by Rhys Bowen

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1301 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Nov. 17 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English

Book Description

 In this Christmas installment of Rhys Bowen's New York Times bestselling historical mystery series, Molly Murphy Sullivan's generosity to a beggar draws her into a dangerous investigation

It’s Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and for once, Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. She has a family of her own now: she and Daniel have a baby son and 12-year-old Bridie is living with them as their ward. As Molly and the children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely little voice and see a beggar girl, huddled in a doorway, singing Away in a Manger. Bridie is touched by the girl’s ragged clothes and wants to help her out if they can. They give her a quarter, only to watch a bigger boy take it from her. But it turns out he is the girl’s brother, and they’ve come from England and are living with an aunt who mistreats them terribly. When the young boy is accused of stealing a purse, Molly intervenes on his behalf.

These children are clearly not the usual city waifs. They are well-spoken and used to better things. So who are they? And what has happened to their mother? As Molly looks for the answers to these questions, she gets drawn into an investigation that will take her up to the highest levels of New York society.

About the Author

 From Goodreads:  "I'm a New York Times bestselling mystery author, winner of both Agatha and Anthony awards for my Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1902 New York City.

I also write the Agatha-winning Royal Spyness series, about the British royal family in the 1930s. It's lighter, sexier, funnier, wicked satire. It was voted by readers as best mystery series one year.
I am also known for my Constable Evans books, set in North Wales, and for my award-winning short stories. "

I was born and raised in England but currently divide my time between California and Arizona where I go to escape from the harsh California winters.

When I am not writing I love to travel, sing, hike, play my Celtic harp.

* Constable Evan Mystery
* Molly Murphy Mysteries
* Her Royal Spyness Mysteries

Agatha Award
◊ Best Novel (2001): Murphy's Law
Reviewer's Choice Award
◊ Historical Mystery (2001): Murphy's Law

My Review

 Away in the Manger is the fifteenth book in the Molly Murphy series by author Rhys Bowen. This is the first book that I have read in this series.

I was quickly drawn into Away in the Manger. The writing is clear and consise. The story is immediately interesting. The characters are well defined.

Private Detective Molly Murphy is out on the winter streets of NYC in 1905 with her young son and her ward. A street encounter with a young beggar with the voice of an angel and her brother sends Molly down a path towards righteousness for these two young waifs. Molly relentlessly pushes forward to resolve this case, all with a husband who has been shot and the glares of her mother-in-law.

Perfect time of the year to be reading this great Christmastime mystery.

I'm definitely a fan. Highly recommend. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review: Evening Street (Bell Elkins #4.5) by Julia Keller

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 881 KB
  • Print Length: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (Dec 8 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0111HW0E4

Book Description

By day, she's a tough-minded prosecutor in Raythune County, West Virginia, a region scarred by poverty and prescription drug abuse. By night, Bell Elkins takes on a softer role. She volunteers at an auxiliary intensive care unit where nurses deal with the youngest and most vulnerable victims of drug abuse: the children born to mothers addicted to painkillers.

The place is known as Evening Street, and it is here Bell comes whenever she can spare the time. She rocks ailing infants to sleep, and she provides what medical science-for all of its marvels-cannot: A simple human touch.

One terrifying night, the distraught father of an Evening Street baby breaks into the facility. Gun in hand, he holds the staff hostage and demands a reckoning for a family grudge--with helpless infants only inches away.

And so begins a standoff at Evening Street. Bell Elkins is swept up into the crisis, as the drama escalates toward a lethal flashpoint. At the center of it all is a baby, only hours old, but already ancient in his knowledge of pain.

About the Author

Julia was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. She graduated from Marshall University, then later earned a doctoral degree in English Literature at Ohio State University.

She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at Princeton and Ohio State Universities, and the University of Notre Dame. She is a guest essayist on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS and has been a contributor on CNN and NBC Nightly News. In 2005, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Julia lives in a high-rise in Chicago and a stone cottage on a lake in rural Ohio.

My Review

Evening Street is a novella in the Bell Elkins series by author Julia Keller. I am a huge fan of this series set in West Virginia.

Bell Elkins is a prosecutor in Acker's Gap, West Virginia. The mountains of West Virginia where Bell lives, are filled with broken, ragged people. Many of the citizen there, who are caught up in a cycle of despair and hurt, are addicted to prescription drugs. Sadly many babies of addicts are born addicted and require very special care. Bell has been volunteering with these babies and is very affected by it.

One newborn, Abraham, becomes the center of a drama that unfolds one night at the auxiliary intensive care unit where the babies are cared for. Bell and the nurses there deal with a distraught father who is drunk and torn up about the situation his baby is in. It is a tense drama highlighting the emotions those involve face. Shots are fired and there is a stand-off...

Author Julia Keller does a fabulous job bringing the issues of these mountain people to light. Evening Street is a great novella.

Now I need to wait for August 2016 for Sorrow Road. Looking forward to it. There is a sample of Sorrow Road included with Evening Street.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review: Murder on Wheels (A Tourist Trap Mystery #6) by Lynn Cahoon

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Lyrical Underground (Feb. 2 2016)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

 The food truck craze has reached the charming coastal town of South Cove, California, but before Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—can sample the eats, she has to shift gears and put the brakes on a killer . . .

Now that Kacey Austin has got her new gluten-free dessert truck up and running, there’s no curbing her enthusiasm—not even when someone vandalizes the vehicle and steals her recipes. But when Kacey turns up dead on the beach and Jill’s best friend Sadie becomes the prime suspect, Jill needs to step on it to serve the real killer some just desserts.

About the Author

 Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today bestselling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. Guidebook to Murder, book 1 of the series won the Reader's Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She's also the author of the soon to be released, Cat Latimer series, with the first book, A STORY TO KILL, releasing in mass market paperback September 2016.She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at

My Review

 Murder on Wheels is the sixth Tourist Trap Mystery by author Lynn Cahoon. I have read the earlier books in this series and enjoyed them.

Murder on Wheels is set in the fictional town of South Cove, California (I always think of Cambria when I am reading this series). I love the California coast and therefore already love the setting. I like the characters in this series. I am so familiar with them that it feels like coming home when I read one of these books.

Murder on Wheels is well written and the story moves along at a good pace. The story involves the fairly new hobby of geocaching. Geogaching is something that I have been thinking of trying out so it was interesting to read about. The mystery was good...I had figured out the killer quite early but kept second guessing myself throughout.

Murder on Wheels is a good cozy mystery. Give this series a try if you are into cozies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Review: Life Is _____ Forty-Day Experience A Devotional Journey Through God's Illogical Love By Judah Smith

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 677 KB
  • Print Length: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Nov. 10 2015)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Canada Limited
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00XPV623K

Book Description

 What is life? What are we here for? What will bring us true satisfaction and lasting happiness? In this companion to his highly-anticipated new book, Life Is ___, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Judah Smith takes readers on a forty-day devotional journey through Scripture to find the answers to these and others of our deepest questions. In forty daily readings, Judah helps readers understand that the meaning of life is found in loving and being loved, in enjoying God to the fullest, in trusting Him in every moment, and remaining at peace with God, others, and ourselves. This thought-provoking and inspiring collection of meditations is sure to reveal new and illuminating truths about what God intends for every person's life.

About the Author

 Judah Smith is the lead pastor of the City of Church in Seattle, Washington. The City Church is a thriving multisite church noted for its cultural relevance, commitment to biblical integrity and faith, and love for Jesus. Judah is known round the United States and the world for his preaching ministry. His fresh, anointed, humorous messages demystify the Bible and make Christianity real. Judah is also the author of his most recent New York Times bestselling book, Jesus Is _____.

My Review

Life Is _____ Forty-Day Experience A Devotional Journey Through God's Illogical Love By Judah Smith is the companion book to Life Is___.: God's Illogical Love Will Change Your Existence. I see on Amazon that there also is a study guide.

I have done 40 day bible studies before as an entire church and I find them to be very effective in bringing everyone in the church together. When everyone is reading the same book and thinking about the same things, you have a lot to talk about! I think Life Is would be a great study for a church to do together.

 The book is divided into four sections:

  1. Section 1: Life Is To Be Loved and to Love
  2. Section 2: Life Is to Trust God in Every Moment
  3. Section 3: Life Is to Be At Peace With God and Yourself
  4. Section 4: Life Is to Enjoy God
Why is there a blank in the title? Because author Judah Smith freely admits that he does not have all the answers. Smith is just here to point us at Jesus. Each day (chapter) has a reading from the bible that you need to look up in your bible, a devotional and questions.

This is an easy to read, insightful devotional that is a great 40 day study.

Review: Parables: The Mysteries of God's Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told By John F. MacArthur

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (Oct. 27 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400203481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400203482

Book Description

Pastor-teacher John MacArthur helps readers understand Jesus’ parables and how they relate to the whole of His message.

Jesus was a master storyteller, and the parables He told were ingeniously simple word pictures with profound spiritual lessons. Understanding the parables is a crucial matter for followers of Jesus. Jesus told parables so His people might comprehend His message about the kingdom of God clearly.

Master expositor and Bible commentator John MacArthur has spent a lifetime explaining the Word of God in clear and comprehensible terms. In Parables he helps Christians understand the essential lessons contained in the most famous and influential short stories the world has ever known.

About the Author

 John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, president of the Master's College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. In more than four decades of ministry, John has written dozens of bestselling books, including The MacArthur Study Bible, The Gospel According to Jesus, and Slave. He lives in Los Angeles.

My Review

Parables: The Mysteries of God's Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told is written by John F. MacArthur. John MacArthur has written dozens of books and I knew Parables would be an amazing book!

John MacArthur is an incredibly smart and insightful author. In the Introduction of Parables, MacArthur explains: "Jesus’ parables were ingeniously simple word pictures with profound spiritual lessons." He goes on to explain: "Many assume, for example, that Jesus told parables for one reason only: to make His teaching as easy, accessible, and comfortable as possible. After all, the parables were full of familiar features—easily recognizable scenes, agricultural and pastoral metaphors, household items, and common people." MacArthur finds that it is very common today for churches to have a stage and to tell a story. The pulpit is almost non-existent. This is particularly true of mega-churches. MacArthur explains that:  "The parable helps explain a truth; history gives a factual account of what happened. Although history is told in story form, it is not illustrative fiction but reality." Once the reader accepts that the parables are not stories but in fact truth they can view the parables with new insight.

The book is divided into the following chapters:

  1. One Ominous Day in Galilee
  2. A Lesson About Receiving the Word
  3. A lesson About the Cost of Discipleship
  4. A Lesson About Justice and Grace
  5. A Lesson About Neighborly Love
  6. A Lesson About Justification By Faith
  7. A Lesson About Faithfulness
  8. A Lesson About Serpentine Wisdom
  9. A Lesson About Heaven and Hell
  10. A Lesson in Persistence In Prayer
There is also an Introduction, Appendix, Notes, Index and Spiritual Index.

Each chapter begins with a scripture verse regarding a parable in the Bible then there is an in depth examination of the parable. Quite honestly this book is going to help me immensely when working on a bible study involving a parable. Parables: The Mysteries of God's Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told is a book that has helped me to understand the parables of Jesus with a much more mature heart. This is a book that will be read over and over.

Highly recommend The Mysteries of God's Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told by author John MacArthur.

Recipe: Cherry Shortbread Balls

 I decided to post something completely different today...this is one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. Enjoy! And Merry Christmas!

Cherry Shortbread Balls

1 c. Butter -soft
1 c. Icing Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 c. Flour
Maraschino  Cherries - whole - drained

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place parchment paper on 2 cookie sheets.

Blend the butter and icing sugar with a pastry blender.

Add the vanilla.

Blend in the flour. Work with your hands if needed.

Take a small amount of dough (1 tbsp.) in your hands. Roll into ball then flatten.  Place a cherry in the middle. Surround the cherry with the dough. Place on greased cookie sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Can dip in sprinkles or place one small piece of cherry on each before baking.

Bake until shortbread is slightly golden. Cool on baking racks.

Review: The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1727 KB
  • Print Length: 382 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Zondervan (Nov. 17 2015)
  • Sold by: Zondervan CA (CA SOR)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00UF72AE2

Would you wait 60 years for love? @RachelHauck's new book wrestles with this. Stop by for a $100 giveaway!

Book Description

 An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.

“Hauck tells another gorgeously rendered story. The raw, hidden emotions of Taylor and Jack are incredibly realistic and will resonate with readers. The way the entire tale comes together with the image of the chapel as holding the heartbeat of God is breathtaking and complements the romance of the story.”
~ RT Book Reviews Top Pick

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress, Love Starts with Elle and Once Upon A Prince.
She also wrote the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel Softly and Tenderly one of their 2011 “Top Ten Inspirationals.”

Hauck has a journalism degree from Ohio State University and is a huge Buckeyes football fan. She worked in the corporate software world before she began writing full time in 2004. Hauck serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is also a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, a conference speaker and a contributor to Southern Belle View Daily

Hauck lives in central Florida with her husbandwhere she writes from her two-story tower.
Learn more about Rachel Hauck and her books at or on Facebook (RachelHauck) and Twitter (@RachelHauck).

My Review

 The Wedding Chapel is written by author Rachel Hauck. It is a stand-alone novel and is the first book of Rachel Hauck's that I have read though her books have been on my radar for quite some time.

Author Hauck has woven together stories from the past and the present. There are four storytellers:   Taylor, Jack, Jimmy, and Collette. Between the four of the storytellers, the reader is able to fully understand the story. The story centers around a chapel built by Jimmy. 

I did not have any problem with the story going back and forth. Family secrets make it very intriguing. It makes for a fast reading novel because you want to find out what is going to happen next.

Heartwarming, emotional and intriguing tale that readers will definitely enjoy.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Death Crashes the Party (A Liv And Di In Dixie Mystery #1) by Vickie Fee

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 447 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (Dec 29 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

 In the quirky, close-knit town of Dixie, Tennessee, party planner Liv McKay has a knack for throwing Southern-style soirées, from diamonds-and-denim to black tie affairs, and her best friend Di Souther mixes a mean daiquiri. While planning a Moonshine and Magnolias bash for high maintenance clients, Liv inconveniently discovers a corpse in the freezer and turns her attention from fabulous fêtes to finding a murderer. Together, Liv and Di follow a trail of sinister secrets in their sweet little town that leads them from drug smugglers to a Civil War battlefield, and just when they think they’re whistling Dixie, Liv and Di will find themselves squarely in the crosshairs of the least likely killer of all…

About the Author

 Vickie Fee is a past president of the Malice in Memphis chapter of Sisters in Crime and current member of the Wisconsin Sisters in Crime. She has a degree in journalism and spent many years as a newspaper reporter, covering small Southern towns populated with colorful characters, much like those in the fictional town of Dixie. She now lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with her husband, John. She grew up in the South on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and iced tea, and when she's not writing, Vickie enjoys reading mysteries and watching B movies from the 1930s and ‘40s. Visit her online at, or on Facebook @VickieFeeAuthor.

My Review

 Death Crashes the Party is the first book in the Liv and Di in Dixie Mystery series. This is the first book I've read that has been written by Vickie Fee.

Death Crashes the Party is a cozy mystery set in a small Southern town. I was attracted to this book because the main character is a party planner. I have planned events for years at work and as a volunteer. Author Fee successfully captured the ups and downs of party planning.

Party Planner Liv teams up with her best friend Di to solve the mystery of two murdered brothers that she discovers at a client's site while working on a 40th anniversary party. The brothers work for her father-in-law's trucking company. It seems they were involved in transporting drugs using the company trucks.

Liv's life is filled with interesting southern characters. She is happily married to Larry Joe. She has a great friendship with her friend Di. The story is quite humorous.

Good tips for party planning included. Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy Death Crashes the Party.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Review: Harbour Street (Vera Stanhope #6) by Ann Cleeves

  • Series: Vera Stanhope
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 125007066X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250070661

Book Description

 Harbour Street is the sixth book in Ann Cleeves' crime novel series VERA - which is a major TV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn on ITV. As the snow falls thickly on Newcastle, the shouts and laughter of Christmas revellers break the muffled silence. Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie are swept along in the jostling crowd onto the Metro. But when the train is stopped due to the bad weather, and the other passengers fade into the swirling snow, Jessie notices that an old lady hasn't left the train: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed as she sat on the crowded train. Nobody, including the policeman himself, sees the stabbing take place. Margaret's murderer is seemingly invisible; her killing motiveless. Why would anyone want to harm this reserved, elegant lady? Arriving at the scene, DI Vera Stanhope is relieved to have an excuse to escape the holiday festivities. As she standing on the silent, snow-covered station platform, Vera feels a familiar buzz of anticipation, sensing that this will be a complex and unusual case. Soon Vera and Joe are on their way to the south Northumberland town of Mardle, where Margaret lived, to begin their inquiry. Then, just days later, a second woman is murdered. Vera knows that to find the key to this new killing she needs to understand what had been troubling Margaret so deeply before she died - before another life is lost. She can feel in her bones that there's a link. Retracing Margaret's final steps, Vera finds herself searching deep into the hidden past of this seemingly innocent neighbourhood, led by clues that keep revolving around one street...Why are the residents of Harbour Street so reluctant to speak? Told with piercing prose and a forensic eye, Ann Cleeves' gripping new novel explores what happens when a community closes ranks to protect their own - and at what point silent witnesses become complicit. Also available in the Vera Stanhope series are The Crow Trap, Telling Tales, Hidden Depths, Silent Voices and The Glass Room. Ann Cleeves' Shetland series (BBC television drama SHETLAND) contains five titles, of which Dead Water is the most recent.

About the Author

 Ann is the author of the books behind ITV's VERA, now in it's third series, and the BBC's SHETLAND, which will be aired in December 2012. Ann's DI Vera Stanhope series of books is set in Northumberland and features the well loved detective along with her partner Joe Ashworth. Ann's Shetland series bring us DI Jimmy Perez, investigating in the mysterious, dark, and beautiful Shetland Islands...

Ann grew up in the country, first in Herefordshire, then in North Devon. Her father was a village school teacher. After dropping out of university she took a number of temporary jobs - child care officer, women's refuge leader, bird observatory cook, auxiliary coastguard - before going back to college and training to be a probation officer.

While she was cooking in the Bird Observatory on Fair Isle, she met her husband Tim, a visiting ornithologist. She was attracted less by the ornithology than the bottle of malt whisky she saw in his rucksack when she showed him his room. Soon after they married, Tim was appointed as warden of Hilbre, a tiny tidal island nature reserve in the Dee Estuary. They were the only residents, there was no mains electricity or water and access to the mainland was at low tide across the shore. If a person's not heavily into birds - and Ann isn't - there's not much to do on Hilbre and that was when she started writing. Her first series of crime novels features the elderly naturalist, George Palmer-Jones. A couple of these books are seriously dreadful.

In 1987 Tim, Ann and their two daughters moved to Northumberland and the north east provides the inspiration for many of her subsequent titles. The girls have both taken up with Geordie lads. In the autumn of 2006, Ann and Tim finally achieved their ambition of moving back to the North East.

For the National Year of Reading, Ann was made reader-in-residence for three library authorities. It came as a revelation that it was possible to get paid for talking to readers about books! She went on to set up reading groups in prisons as part of the Inside Books project, became Cheltenham Literature Festival's first reader-in-residence and still enjoys working with libraries.
Ann Cleeves on stage at the Duncan Lawrie Dagger awards ceremony

Ann's short film for Border TV, Catching Birds, won a Royal Television Society Award. She has twice been short listed for a CWA Dagger Award - once for her short story The Plater, and the following year for the Dagger in the Library award.

In 2006 Ann Cleeves was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers' Association for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland Quartet. The Duncan Lawrie Dagger replaces the CWA's Gold Dagger award, and the winner receives £20,000, making it the world's largest award for crime fiction.

Ann's success was announced at the 2006 Dagger Awards ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton, in London's Aldwych, on Thursday 29 June 2006. She said: "I have never won anything before in my life, so it was a complete shock - but lovely of course.. The evening was relatively relaxing because I'd lost my voice and knew that even if the unexpected happened there was physically no way I could utter a word. So I wouldn't have to give a speech. My editor was deputed to do it!"

The judging panel consisted of Geoff Bradley (non-voting Chair), Lyn Brown MP (a committee member on the London Libraries service), Frances Gray (an academic who writes about and teaches courses on modern crime fiction), Heather O'Donoghue (academic, linguist, crime fiction reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, and keen reader of all crime fiction) and Barry Forshaw (reviewer and editor of Crime Time magazine).

Ann's books have been translated into sixteen languages. She's a bestseller in Scandinavia and Germany. Her novels sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States.

My Review

 Wow! I am so excited that I have discovered the Vera Stanhope series by author Ann Cleeves. Harbour Street is the sixth book in the series. I need to go back and read the first five!

Vera is a middle-aged larger woman...somewhat of a mess...but very smart and intuitive. I really enjoyed the character of Vera as well as the detectives on her team. The supporting characters were also very well written.

Ann Cleeves can spin a great tale. I had a hard time putting down Harbour Street. I didn't know how much I was dying to read a great English police procedural. How refreshing!

Margaret Krukowski is fatally stabbed on a commuter train. Detective Joe Ashworth who is a member of Vera's team is on the train with his daughter. His daughter is the one who notices that Margaret is not moving.  Margaret's murder sets off a series of events that brings Vera and her team into the lives of everyone on Harbour Street. 

Cleeves captures the dark mood and cold dampness of Northern England. It is set just before Christmas so this was the perfect time to read it! I understand that this series has been made into an English television series. I am going to have to get a hold of some episodes!

There are lots of wonderful twists in this tale. I love how Cleeves keeps peeling back layers and you learn more and more about the characters. I was completely surprised by the ending! Great story!

Highly recommend Harbour Street. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Review: The Guilty (Will Robie #4) by David Baldacci

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1328 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Nov. 17 2015)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00U6DNY5O
Book Description

 Will Robie is the government's most professional, disciplined, and lethal assassin. He infiltrates the most hostile countries in the world, defeats our enemies' advanced security measures, and eliminates threats before they ever reach our shores. 

But now, his skills have left him. Sent overseas on a critical assignment, he fails, unable to pull the trigger. Absent his talents, Robie is a man without a mission, and without a purpose.

To recover what he has lost, Robie must confront what he has tried to forget for over twenty years: his own past.

Will Robie escaped his small Gulf Coast hometown of Cantrell, Mississippi after high school, severing all personal ties, and never looked back. Not once. Not until the unimaginable occurs. His father, Dan Robie, has been arrested and charged with murder.

Father and son haven't spoken or seen each other since the day Robie left town. In that time, Dan Robie - a local attorney and pillar of the community-has been elected town judge. Despite this, most of Cantrell is aligned against Dan. His guilt is assumed.

To make matters worse, Dan has refused to do anything to defend himself. When Robie tries to help, his father responds only with anger and defiance. Could Dan really be guilty?

With the equally formidable Jessica Reel at his side, Robie ignores his father's wishes and begins his own desperate investigation into the case. But Robie is now a stranger to his hometown, an outsider, a man who has forsaken his past and his family. His attempts to save his father are met with distrust and skepticism . . . and violence.

Unlike the missions Robie undertook in the service of his country, where his target was clearly defined, digging into his father's case only reveals more questions. Robie is drawn into the hidden underside of Cantrell, where he must face the unexpected and possibly deadly consequences of the long-ago choices made by father and son. And this time, there may be no escape for either of them.

Reviews of Baldacci's works:

"Robie and Reel are complex characters, and anything they do is a pleasure to follow...Baldacci knows how to get readers to turn the pages, and he's in top form here."―Associated Press on The Target

"Brilliant use of language...vivid supporting characters and numerous sudden and unexpected plot twists...[Baldacci] doesn't let the action sag at any point...In [Chung-Cha], Mr. Baldacci has created one of his most memorable characters."―Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on The Target

"Baldacci has been on a hot streak for the past few years, and The Target continues the trend. This isn't a garden-variety thriller or even a garden-variety Baldacci. It's among his most exhilarating books yet."―Richmond Times-Dispatch on The Target

"Baldacci has crafted another terrific tale with two great protagonists. Just when the story line seems to veer into familiar areas, Baldacci steers it into another shocking direction. This is the best book yet in the series."―Associated Press on King and Maxwell

"David Baldacci's latest thriller is not only highly relevant, it is also well timed. And the details seem so real that it's hard not to wonder if the author is an insider; the tone is that authentic. An absolute page-turner, King and Maxwell is Baldacci at the pinnacle of his game."―

"Its pace is relentless, and Baldacci's reworking of his perennial theme - absolute power corrupts absolutely - gives the book a sense of urgency and cultural relevance that many thrillers lack."―Richmond Times-Dispatch on The Hit

"The best Baldacci novel in years...What makes The Hit live up to its title is the payoff at the novel's end. By then, Baldacci has planted an emotional hook that remains long after readers have turned the last page of the book."―Associated Press on The Hit

"Another fast paced page turner that will keep you glued to the an author who continues to standout in the increasingly crowded thriller field."― on The Forgotten

"Baldacci is a master when it comes to writing about small-town conspiracies and a lone hero who fights against all odds to clean up corruption. The narrative moves slowly, so the reader has a chance to solve the case along with Puller. It might seem straightforward, but the final reveal will surprise even hardcore thriller junkies."―The Washington Post on The Forgotten

About the Author

 David Baldacci writes because he can't imagine not writing. He published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996; one year later, it was adapted for film, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 30 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers, and several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. David has also published five novels for children. We don't know when he sleeps.

A lifelong Virginian, David graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

David and his wife, Michelle, are the co-founders of the Wish You Well Foundation®, which supports family and adult literacy in the United States. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.

David and his family live in Virginia.

My Review

 The Guilty is the fourth Will Robie book by author David Baldacci. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest book by Baldacci. It has all the components that a great mystery should have.

The Guilty brings Will Robie home to Mississippi. The small town he left over 20 years ago...leaving behind a girlfriend who didn't run off with him and a father who was just a little too tough for his own good. Things have changed...his father who is now a prosperous lawyer is not only in jail charged with murder but has a new much younger wife and is living the grand house of Robie's former girlfriend. And Robie has a young half-brother.

Robie returns to look into his father's case. The reader quickly discovers that everything is not as it seems. The story is compelling and fast-paced. I loved all the twists and turns. Great book!

Highly recommend The Guilty.

Review: NIV Bible for Men Fresh Insights for Thriving in Today's World by Foreword by Jeff Goins

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5411 KB
  • Print Length: 1696 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: B013Z02GGC

The Kindle version is only $4.99 today!

Book Description

A much-needed devotional Bible designed for a new generation of young adult men.
Combining the current writings of key young authors and pastors with a clean, accessible design, the NIV Devotional Bible for Men fills a critical gap in the Bible marketplace: a highly approachable yet spiritualty challenging Bible targeted specifically at young adult men.

This compelling new Bible speaks to the topics, challenges, and expectations that will instantly connect with men ages 18-34. It covers such critical issues as career, sexuality, leadership, pornography, relationships, financial stability, spiritual growth, substance addiction, culture, character, education, self-image and more. Each of the 260 devotions is carefully designed to ensure extensive, sustainable immersion into God's Word, leading to meaningful life impact.

Sensitive to the technologically connected, time-starved lifestyles of today, the NIV Devotional Bible for Men offers the quick impact and deep spiritual engagement that young men can't get with any other Bible.

NIV Devotional Bible for Men features include:
  • 260 devotions of 600-800 words apiece
  • 2 methods to engage: reading through the Bible canonically from Genesis to Revelation or topically, using the topical index
  • "Leveled" Scripture engagement that allows readers to choose between 1-minute, quick topic summaries or deeper, 10-minute devotional experiences
  • Devotions from young pastors and leaders such as Matt Chandler, Shane Claiborne, Craig Gross, Gabe Lyons and Jud Wilhite
  • 52 "Myth Articles" state commonly accepted myths in our culture today, then refute those myths with answers from God's Word.

My Review

The NIV Bible for Men: Fresh Insights for Thriving in Today's World is a bible that I am giving my husband for Christmas.

The NIV Bible for Men is aimed at men 18 to 34 but after looking through the devotions, I believe that a man of any age could find wisdom and guidance. It provides fresh insight for dealing with the all of the issues that men face today. The NIV Bible for Men covers topics such as career, sexuality, leadership, pornography, relationships, financial stability, spiritual growth, substance addiction, culture, character, education, and self-image. It presents these topics in straight-forward yet insightful ways. There are 260 devotions in this bible. They are written by well known pastors and leaders such as Matt Chandler.

There are also Myth Articles sections where accepted contemporary cultural ideas are refuted with answers directly from the Bible. These will be helpful for discussing these contemporary ideas with people who have questions about the bible.

The NIV Bible for Men is a great bible for men of all ages. Great Christmas gift in my opinion!